In the history of the Marvel Universe, no character has taken on as many roles as the man known as Wolverine. One of those iconic characters was that of Patch. As Patch, Wolverine ran the streets of Madripoor fighting organized crime while also running a local dive bar.
In Wolverine: Patch #1, Larry Hama revisits his time exploring this version of Wolverine. The story takes place right before Hama’s iconic run on Wolverine. Like the original, this story focuses much more on mystery and espionage than spandex and mutant powers.
As Patch complains about the quality of scotch at the bar, he encounters a shady group that wants to hire him to solve a mystery. After negotiating his pay, Wolverine finds himself on the wrong side of Nick Fury–which must mean he is on the right path. A quick jump out of a plane later, and Wolverine: Patch #1 drops us right into the middle of a conflict that would make any Cold War writer proud.
Hama does a great job setting up the rest of the series, but this first issue is rather shallow as he depends on a combination of nostalgia and action to try to hook the reader. Accordingly, the art team does all of the heavy lifting in this issue. The character designs drive the idea of international espionage rather than superpowers being the focus. The white suit serves as a direct tie to the original designs with some modern tweaks. And the colors of the jungle are bright and deep, while the bars provide an intimate setting for backroom deals. Of course, you cannot have a Wolverine comic without being reminded of his healing factor. Panels of a mangled arm popped back into place help provide that staple.
Wolverine: Patch #1 is not going to be an industry-changing story, but it does provide a nostalgic tale. Fans of Hama’s original run on Wolverine will discover enough throwbacks to draw them in immediately, while fans of Wolverine in general should be entertained enough with this first issue to want to come back for more.