Written by Elliott Kalan
Art by Jonathan Marks
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 23, 2014

With one month left until Wolverine’s promoted death, many writers have used the opportunity to tell stories  on Logan’s struggle with mortality. Writer Elliott Kalan takes the same approach in Wolverine Annual #1 and brings Wolverine back to his basic animalistic roots for a heartwarming tale of Wolverine and Jubilee on a camping trip.

It’s comforting to know that despite the many changes done to Jubilee’s character over the years, from losing her powers to becoming a vampire, her relationship with Wolverine still works as well it did when it first developed in the nineties. Wolverine has had many teenage girl sidekicks over the year but thanks to the 90s animated series, his bond with Jubilee is immortalized and remains familiar to all readers. Kalan uses Jubilee’s current role as a devoted single mother and Baby Shogo strengthens the theme of passing along the torch, or wolf pack, through to the next generation. Together, Logan, Jubilee and Shogo bring a sense of family to the X-Men that’s been sorely missing.

If it sounds like Jubilee steals the spotlight in this issue, you’re right but I think that’s the point. No one believes for a second that Wolverine’s death will last longer than it takes for all the mourning and memorial issues to come out but that doesn’t mean writers can’t play up the notion of Jubilee following in her mentor’s footsteps. Even if it won’t truly happen, the story ends with both Wolverine and the reader realizing how much Jubilee has changed due to meeting him and that’s all you can ask for in a franchise where characters don’t truly pass on.

Jonathan Marks’ has a gorgeous painting-like quality to it that works perfectly for the outdoor setting and for the somber faces of the characters. When the mood shifts due to Shogo being taken, Jonathan Mark stages the scenes like a horror comic, fully embracing Jubilee’s vampire-look like no artist has done before. There’s numerous panels here that will stick to you, making this issue that much more memorable.

This is the rare type of X-Men story that both new and old fans can pick up and love. With one month left, these are definitely the stories Marvel should be telling to make Wolverine’s death as bittersweet as possible.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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