Wolverine: Prodigal Son, by Antony Johnston

In the grand tradition of alternate-universe fanfiction, writer Antony Johnston and artist Wilson Tortosa have created a shonen manga take on the popular X-Men character Wolverine. Their new series Wolverine: Prodigal Son is a reworking of Wolverine’s origin story: what if the young superhero-in-training had grown up in a martial arts school in Canada?

In Johnston and Tortosa’s world, Logan is a grumpy teenager with a mysterious past. He’s by far the best fighter at the Quiet Earth School in the Canadian wilderness, an isolated institution devoted to the study of martial arts. Bored and irritable, Logan is torn between a desire to see the outside world and fear over his upcoming graduation, but when his mentor takes him on a trip to New York City, Logan encounters a series of new challenges... including one that will change Quiet Earth forever.

Tortosa’s straightforward, energetic artwork is ideally suited to Prodigal Son’s violence-driven storyline, and the story’s original characters are well-defined and likable, if somewhat generic. Johnston rounds out his cast with Logan’s Quiet Earth mentor Mr. Elliot, Elliot’s daughter Tamara, and a memorable assortment of villains (including my favorite: a mute, telepathic supervixen with a dramatically billowing coat and a wicked facial scar). However, if you buy this book hoping to see a fresh take on more of the traditional X-Men cast, you’re going to be disappointed—I didn’t recognize a single additional character*. Wolverine: Prodigal Son is plenty entertaining, but it’s aimed squarely at hardcore Wolverine junkies and fans of OEL manga, not X-Men purists.

*Admittedly, I’m no expert, and a minor character might well slip past me.
Posted by: Julianka


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