Hellverine #1 Review: Judge This Comic Book by Its Cover

Hellverine #1 offers readers a few genuine surprises at the end of Benjamin Percy's epic Wolverine run.

Hellverine is one of those comic book characters. You know the ones – a spin-off of a recognizable character whose over-complicated origin is surpassed by the "rule of cool." Trying to pitch the idea to a regular person would likely be a fool's errand; their eyes would glaze over right around the time you brought up the secret Hell-focused laboratory under the Pentagon. But show them any picture of Hellverine, complete with flaming skull and claws that would leave any Heavy Metal reader salivating, and you'll have a fan for life. 

The concept was a one-off for a Wolverine and Ghost Rider crossover from nearly 15 year ago, so why resurrect it now? Well, because Ben Percy has been killing it as the writer on both Ghost Rider and Wolverine for a few years now. And with Wolverine #50 concluding his titanic run on that series this week, it seems Marvel is letting Percy cut loose with a four-issue Hellverine miniseries. 

There isn't much to the character in this opening issue as he's more of a force of natue as he spends the issue plowing through sinful victims like an over-zealous Ghost Rider. But instead of simply being shown to be the latest "Spirit of Vengeance," Percy hits readers with a surprise revelation that he's actually tied to a victim from the "Sabretooth War" – the 10-issue event that concluded his Wolverine run. It's a welcome surprise, revealing that this miniseries is an epilogue of sorts on top of it being a fun ride for its own sake.

It's still goofy in how the story addresses occult-based government cover-up, cannibalistic aristocracies, twisted priests and undead soldiers infused with Hell-based energy (the DOOM franchise would like a word…) with complete seriousness. But artist Julius Ohta has an absolute blast bringing it all to life in his artwork. The biggest beneficiaries are Hellverine himself and the aforementioned undead soldiers, who look like the answer to the question, "What if Jigsaw designed a team of Cenobites?"

Hellverine #1 gets a strong recommendation from me, even if you haven't been keeping up with either Wolverine or Ghost Rider. Percy has shown his knack for crafting compelling stories since his days writing Marvel's audio dramas and the artwork revels in the ridiculous nature of it all. 

Published by Marvel Comics

On May 29, 2024

Written by Benjamin Percy

Art by Julius Ohta

Colors by Frank D'Armata

Letters by Travis Lanham

Cover by Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, and Marte Gracia