I have to admit, I had been very close to dropping Wolverine Origins up until volume 4 (collecting Wolverine: Origins #16-20 and Annual #1), in which did just enough to maintain my interest, largely due to the appearance of Captain America, Bucky and Nick Fury in the World War II flashbacks. The appearance of Deadpool on the last page of issue #20 had me eagerly anticipating the release of volume 4.

I pre-ordered Wolverine: Origins Volume 5 - Deadpool Premiere HC (Wolverine) from Amazon, fortunately before the value of the Aussie dollar took a nosedive. Wolverine: Origins Volume 5 collected issues #21-27 (even though Amazon only list it as containing #21-25) and begins with Deadpool having been hired by a mysterious third party to catch and kill Wolverine. The action takes place in San Francisco, and basically follows Deadpool doing what he does, running around, wise cracking and blowing stuff up. The running battle spans three plus issues, as you'd expect of two guys that can pretty much heal from any wound. In the end though, it's Deadpool that gets the upper hand, managing to bring Wolverine down.

As Deadpool has Wolverine restrained and strung up over a swimming pool, with the intention of drowning him, Wolverine's son Daken arrives and proceeds to cut off poor Deadpool's hand. Daken flicks the switch that would drop his old man into the water, however an explosion throws Wolverine against a wall and he remains on land. A single handed Deadpool then goes toe to toe with Daken. In the mean time Wolverine is able to free himself.

Once Wolverine regains his composure, he's able to distract Daken long enough, drawing him out into the open, where the Winter Soldier is waiting with rifle and scope at the ready. The Winter Soldier fires a carbonadium bullet, striking Daken in the back of the head. You have to go back to volume 2 or 3 to recall that Wolverine sourced a couple of carbonadium bullets, carbonadium being a substance that dramatically slows the mutants healing factor.

As Wolverine picks up Daken, ready to take him away for 'de-programming', Wolverine turns to a recovering Deadpool to reveal that the whole thing had been a set up. Wolverine had hired Deadpool, through the Winter Soldier, in the hope that the threat of someone else killing Wolverine, and therefore spoiling his chance of revenge, would draw Daken out into the open. This marked the end of issue #25 and the end of Steve Dillion's run as illustrator for the Origins series.

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Stephen Segovia picked up illustrating duties for issues #26-27, and personally I saw an instant improvement in the series. These issues focused largely on Wolverine taking Daken to a place where he believes they will not be disturbed. A place from Wolverines past that still has a few surprises in store for him. It turns out that in the 1940's, during World War II, and the Japanese internment camps, Wolverine was responsible for recruiting 'volunteers' to participate in experiments for what could have been the beginnings of the Weapon X program. As Wolverine and Daken arrive at what are supposed to be abandoned labs, we find out that not all of the experiments have been destroyed. At the same time we are treated to flashbacks of Daken's past. We learn that he showed signs of cruelty toward others from a relatively early age, and like his father, his mutant powers manifest during a family crisis. Following the deaths of his adoptive parents, Romulus appears, to guide him, and then induct him into a secret society of killers. The key to these two issues is the ending. Daken awakes, but with no apparent recollection of who he is, or what's gone on before. De ja vu?

Volume 5 really was a book in two halves. Although I'm a big Deadpool fan, I felt that the five issues he featured in were a little unnecessary in the context of everything else that's been happening in Origins. The five issues revealed very little about the history the two characters may have shared, so we never really learnt anything new. All up the five issues could have comfortably been condensed into two, although I suppose the same could be said for volumes 1-4 as well. To me issues #21-25 felt like a struggling sitcom that calls in the A List special guest star to lift flagging ratings. Issues #26-27 on the other hand were quite good, and I'd go so far as saying they were the best two issues I've read of Origins to date.

My gripe with this volume as with volumes 1-4 is that the plot can be described as 'plodding'. This seven issue collection could most definitely been condensed into four. Dillion's artwork is really not to my taste so I'm glad he's moved on to other things.

Overall, Wolverine: Origins Volume 5 will not be the worst collection you'll read this year, but by the same token, it probably won't be the best either. I'd give it 6 out of 10.

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