DVD Review: Wolverine: Origin (Shout! Factory)

Over the years, there’s been a lot of titles with the words “Origin” and “Wolverine” in it.  We’ve got a movie, a video game, and at least two comics using those words (or variations of them) in the title. So when you do an internet search, choose wisely!  Today, though, we’ll discussing one more title you’ll have to sift through in your internet searches, Marvel Knights new release Wolverine:  Origin.

Based on Marvel’s 2001 6 issue series, Origin, this straight to DVD release was written by Paul Jenkins.  Who, along with Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada, wrote the original comic.  It also features the original artwork by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove.

what's it to ya, bub?!?!?

what’s it to ya, bub?!?!?

Right off the bat, you’ve got to keep something in mind here when you’re about to sit down with your popcorn and watch this feature.  This “animated” movie is really a “motion comic”.  It’s not a traditionally animated feature.  It’s produced by Shout! Factory, which has done a few other Marvel titles, like Ultimate Wolverine v Hulk and Marvel Knights:  Inhumans.

If you’re not familiar with motion comics, it’s basically like you’re watching the comic book come to life.  I mean that literally, not figuratively.  There’s very limited animation.  Which, in the case of Origin, makes a bit of sense, because the video is almost word for word faithful to the book (although, now that I’ve said that, I do believe the video delves a bit more into the “relationship” between “Cooky” and “Logan”.  But, that’s more a fault of the original story, not the DVD release.) and it keeps intact the original style of the artwork.

Because I knew I was going to be watching this feature, I went back and revisited the original comic series.  If you haven’t looked at the artwork in awhile, you should.  Andy Kubert (pencils) and Richard Isanove (colors) artwork is interesting to say the least, especially for a Wolverine book.  But, I suspect, that’s done intentionally.  The art is very much reminiscent of an old children’s picture book, with a colored pencil feel.  Not what you would expect from a Wolverine origin story.

is that...sabreooth?!?

is that…sabreooth?!?

I’ll tell you what, Andy Kubert is an interesting artist.  He’s definitely not afraid to explore outside what he’s famous for.  And I say that not as a fanboy of his or anything.  I’m not some crazed, every issue collecting, X-Men superfan. I say that as a fan of comics and comic art, in general.

original cover

original cover

Much like it’s comic book predecessor, the Origin animated feature is also done in installments.  I’m not sure what the intention is behind that decision.  It’s as if it was made to run on television as a mini-series.  But, from what I’ve been able to gather, it hasn’t (as least not yet).  Since that’s the case, it probably would’ve served the story much better if it ran as one hour long movie, rather than broken up into parts.  Going through the credits after each “episode” takes away from the “animated feature” aspect of it all.

All this being said, since the comic and the new DVD are nearly one and the same, what it all boils down to is the story at the heart of both:  Wolverine’s origin (and that, kids, is how they came up with the title!).  Specifically, whether or not his story really needed to be told.

Your friendly neighborhood jman goes back and forth about this one.  It’s reminiscent of Darth Vader’s story being told in the prequels.  When it comes to characters like Vader and Wolverine, people love them so much, they want more and more of them.  But, that’s a double edged sword.  Because the more that’s told about these characters, the more the veil of mystery is pulled away and the more water downed they become.

did you care at all about this kid?!?!?

did you care at all about this kid?!?!?

Much like Vader’s back story, Wolverine’s starts out as with the protagonist as an innocent child.  I understand what the writers are intending; how an innocent child can turn into such a monster.  But, for once, can’t we just see a kid be the monster that he is (Marvel flirts with that very notion in Thanos Rising.  Which I highly recommend)?!?!  Wouldn’t have Vader’s story been that much better if he was just a bad seed right from the beginning?  Is it less dramatic that way?  Would you care less for Vader if he was?

As a tale in itself, the story in Origin, is a solid one. There are a few things that they should’ve went a little deeper into, like what was the deal with the scratches on James/Logan’s mother (Mistress Elizabeth)?  They made such a big deal showing them, how did she get them?  Was it from Thomas?  Was it from James/Logan’s brother?  Or from James/Logan himself?

I know that the intention with Mistress Elizabeth was to keep the reader guessing about what really happened to her, but they didn’t give us enough to care.  And let me ask you this, how could Master “soft” John be so flippin happy-go-lucky with an insane wife, an overbearing father, a dead son and another son who should’ve been living in a bubble?

this guy deserved some bone claws to the gut!

this guy deserved some bone claws to the gut!

But, that’s really here nor there.

The question remains:  is the origin of Wolverine (or Darth Vader or Thanos) necessary?  I say yes.  We all care too much about these characters not to know everything about them.  What matters the most, is not that the origin story is told, but how it’s told.  And, if you’re a fan of the original Origin story or the art, and you keep in mind this is a motion comic, you won’t be disappointed by Wolverine:  Origin.



Images courtesy of:

Anakin Skywalker:  www.geekdad.fr

your friendly neighborhood jman - Feature Editor

About your friendly neighborhood jman - Feature Editor

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