An Origin Story Digitally Retold… Sort Of

Picture_1_mediumA life filled with tragedy and sadness is what pervades this digital comic on DVD.  “Wolverine Origin” is based on the miniseries that came out several years before.  Through the panels of this well-crafted digitalized comic, we find out about how Wolverine became who he is.  A mutant’s ability is triggered by a traumatic occurrence and from early on, James Howlett’s (Wolverine) life was filled with calamity.  Through his misfortunes, we see the legend of Logan and why he had a thing for Jean Grey.  We also understand why Logan has lapses in his memory and cannot remember his past.

Claudio Osorio, Marc Iacovelli, the voice talent and the rest of the team that brought this story to the screen do a good job of bringing this heartbreaking tale to life.  Also, the score gives just the right sense of foreboding.  We know that a story about one of the most popular characters in the Marvel universe can only end in tears.

However, is this digitalized retelling of his origin necessary?

The characters’ depth and emotions seem no more intense than when they were first produced on the written page and the artwork, though well inked, does not become three-dimensional.  It lays there as flat as if it were still on the page.  When Wolverine pops his claws for the first time, one should at least feel some of the emotion normally seen in animation. Sadly, this is not the case.

As a digitalized comic, while it is not a failure, it does not revolutionize the idea of this type of genre either.  It is a middle-of-the-road retelling of an amazingly written and inked miniseries.  That said, the DVD is worth buying.

This disc is also packed full of extras that are well worth the price of admission.  There are trailers for other digital comics that you will want to take a look at as well.  However, what makes the “Wolverine” digital comic redundant is that the audience knows his story so well that there are no surprises, or keen insights that we might gleam from seeing his history unfold in this type of manner.  However, as encapsulated storylines go, such as the origin of “The Ultimates,” those who are not comic book readers will find these re-imagined characters interesting.

The documentary is also interesting as writers, colorists and others discuss how a comic book comes together.  As a reader, you get a deeper appreciation of how this process works.  One wonders how a monthly series can get out knowing how perfectly orchestrated things have to be in order to get a book out on time.  Notes detailing how the written series came to be are also included.

Tom DeSanto writes about how he wanted to protect the mystique of Wolverine and did not like the idea of Marvel ruining what makes Logan so compelling.  It is interesting to read how DeSanto was happy about how the comic turned out. One wonders what his opinion would be in regards to the digitalized version.

Highly entertaining is the bonus digitalized “Original The Incredible Hulk Issue #181.” Reminiscent of the cartoons of the late ‘60s (Captain America, Thor, and the Fantastic Four for example), done by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, this digital comic successfully brings to life a one-shot that features Wolverine in what is described as a “gaudily” dressed little man fighting alongside and against the Hulk.  The narration is what gives this story its funny and often poignant moments, which show just how successful this genre of comic animation can be.

All this considered, the “Wolverine Origins” DVD is worth purchasing despite several apparent flaws.  The motion comic genre is quickly finding a place in the media world and the additional disc information is sure to entertain everyone- from the sometimes-comic-book-reader to the most rabid fan.

Don’t be a knucklehead- pick this one up.

enablingVery well said Donna-Lyn. While the digital comic version of “Wolverine: Origins” isn’t as sharp as it could be, it puts a great story on another format, which makes it more accessible to non-fans. Simply put, if a non-fan watched this, they’d still fall in love with the character and would not care about the lack of 3D animation and killer sound effects. Because of that, this release is a success. Nevertheless, it fails to truly hit the mark because it doesn’t cater more to the people that are truly connected to the medium. Despite that though, it’s far from a waste of time.

-Patrick Hickey Jr.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 611 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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