- March 23, 2022
X Deaths of Wolverine #5 Review
Written by: Benjamin Percy
Art by: Federico Vicentini
Coloring by: Dijjo Lima
Lettering by: VC’s Cory Petit
X Lives of Wolverine #5 ended the time-traveling Wolverine story, but X Deaths of Wolverine #5 ends the event. This whole series was released and formatted to invoke House of X and Powers of X, but the story itself doesn’t. It’s at its best when it’s a solo Wolverine title. It does this by capitalizing on relationships Wolverine should have had decades ago.
This issue shows how the series has been at odds with itself. On one hand, its all about Wolverine stabbing a bunch of things as he relives twisted versions of history. On the other hand it wants to tell a story that affects all of mutandom. Every time it tried to focus on one, it damaged the other. The half of the story that spent the least time with Wolverine has an emotional climax that pins itself on his relationships and his place in the X-Men. That’s the story that ends here, and it doesn’t feel right.
X Deaths of Wolverine #5 is far from a bad comic. The art remains draw-droppingly gorgeous, giving singular pages to characters that will stick in my mind for years. The opening with Moira feels perfect when paired with the ending with her. Wolverine taking the lead because his kids shouldn’t suffer for him is growth that actually pushes the character. The thing that keeps bothering me is that these great, personal moments are intercut by the fate of mutantkind. That part feels too big for a story that feels so small as often as it does.
I don’t want to go from Wolverine having a mega-dad moment to Beast and Sage talking about how the villain threatens all of mutantkind. When a story wants to have world-ending stakes as its backdrop, it should remain in the background so that when its solved with the small crux of the story, it has thematic importance. When the world-ending stakes take over the small story, it becomes this wedge between the reader and whatever message the story is trying to serve.
There’s a lot of good stuff in X Deaths of Wolverine. I believe it reads better when read all at once rather than weekly, but that wouldn’t fix the problems I have with it. This issue is an average to good ending with standout moments. It would have been much better served as a solo arc of Wolverine, I can’t say that enough.