Origin by Paul Jenkins

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In 2001- 02 Marvels chief editor Joe Quesada decided to take a very big risk, creating a limited series on the true origins of one of their most popular characters.  Up until this point Wolverines history was mysterious and vague.  The question being, did the fans really want to know the truth about Wolvey?  Ultimately it did not matter if we wanted to know or not, it was happening.  In the end, the art and composition mixed with a well composed plot made Origin a hit.  Triggering a load of new stories regarding other popular characters origins, spin offs, and was even incorporated into the Fox movie franchise.

Given the reigns to this delicate project were scribes Bill Jemas and Paul Jenkins along with input from Mr. Quesada.  Bill Jemas was considered comics bad boy for eliminating the comic code from Marvel, and risks like Marvel Knights, the hazardous Origin was completely in his field.  While Paul Jenkins is an expert in dark stories with work on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and Hellblazer.  The great plot conceived by the writers was handled skillfully by established artist Andy Kubert fresh of the popular Ultimate X-Men line.  And freelancer Richard Isanove who won the Wizard Fan Award for his work on this project.

Origin follows a privileged young boy, James Howlett, in Alberta, Canada, (yeah, that’s my home) a girl hired to be his companion and a local boy, neglected and beaten by his father.  Their worlds are torn apart and turned upside down as they deal with abnormal mutations and dark family history.  When family secrets are brought to the forefront the events that follow are detrimental to young James.  Following him from this trauma to the point he could no longer handle reality.  This may be classified under the super hero genre but it reads like a beautiful contemporary, a heart wrenching tale of a boy who becomes a monster.

The plot and characters are so well conceived, Origin is a masterpiece of modern comic books.  Marvel walked a tight rope revealing Wolverine as a child with unpredictable characteristics of incompetency and anxiety.  This forced them to do a massive character arc that was executed almost flawlessly.  The art adds another dimension that drags you in, with beautiful colour and imagery.  Plus the amazing covers done by Joe Quesada, himself, are a great bonus.

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I think every one should read Origin, and is typically one of my first recommendations for new readers to Marvel.  Whether you like Wolverine, super heroes, comics or none of the above the miniseries has enough depth for any reader.  I give Origin 5/5 over and over.  Despite it breaking a lot of Marvels biggest secrets it also leaves you with many more questions, and actually brought your sympathy for Logan up a level.

Thanks booknerds, snikt snikt.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy says:

    I love reading what others thought of books I have enjoyed- to gain a new perspective. I eagerly looked forward to each issue, and my husband and I would take turns being the first to read the comic and then having to wait for the other to finish before we could discuss our thoughts on the continuing story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      I know what you mean, when I got the tpb I passed it around to a dozen people for their impressions.

      Like

  2. Michael J. Miller says:

    The way this book affected me emotionally is still a vivid memory. It stays with the reader, lingering in your heart as much as your mind. You’ve also made me rethink my afternoon…a (well deserved) reread may be on the horizon now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      It really was an unexpected emotional roller coaster. I just reread this after 10+ years and it still has the same effect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael J. Miller says:

        For me, that’s one of the marks of great literature – comic or otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Green Onion says:

        That massive character arc I mentioned, that takes a bunch of great literary tools, they nailed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember reading somewhere that the reason they finally decided to create his origin was because they figured the movies would eventually attempt to and they wanted to keep control over that part of the storyline.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      Thats funny, I couldn’t imagine how horrible the movie industry would mess that up.

      Like

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