05th Sep2018

Wolverine Wednesday #16

by Ian Wells

Weapon X #21 – #22

Writer: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente | Artists: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz & Yildiray Cinar | Colourist: Frank D’Armata | Letters: Joe Caramagna

weapon-x-21-22

I am so glad the new direction for the series is finally here. Issues twenty and twenty one were so poor compared to the high standard set in the previous eighteen issues. #21 continues to be a train wreck, wrapping up the two part story started last month. Frantic for frantics sake, at times reading it feels like a parody of itself. Part of the parody feel comes from the art work, I am still not impressed by it. It simply doesn’t fit the story. The last two issues have felt like the creators saying ‘we know the new direction is coming, so lets try something different.’ All it is, is an editorial decision that I didn’t agree with. But who am I to complain? What’s done is done. The issue does finish with a nice lead into #22 and the new direction. So moving on to #22 and things start to look very good from a story point of view. I have previously mentioned the potential that Marvel has in their hands with this title. Now is the time to run with it. It doesn’t start with anything to flashy or other the top. What we get is a solid story, laying plenty of groundwork for better things to come. There are all the elements present that you would expect from a Weapon X story. Action, humour and a well balanced plot. I was sold as soon as I read they were going up against a religious cult. Then the final page cliff hanger made it worth the cover price alone. The X titles get a lot of complains for not being new reader friendly. Well with this being a new direction it is very accessible to new readers.  There is very little mention of the previous team incarnation and I really hope this doesn’t mean it is the last we have seen of Warpath. While it is accessible to new readers there are a few deep cuts to past X-Men lore that may but people off. However it should say it in no way hinders the flow of the story. Yildiray Cinar returns to art duties having previously worked on the title earlier. I was happy with his art then and I am very happy to see him back. He is a better fit. The team are outfitted in new duds and with D’Armata’s colour choices the characters certainly pop on the page. More so than the teams previous visuals. I love Cinars Domino, although that may be because her portrayal in the previous two issues still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Loving Sabertooth too. It is very close to his original look I grew up with in the animated series! Why can’t he just return to that look full time? It’s been too long. Also returning is Razzah on covers. Cleverly he has the new team bursting through the image of his cover for Weapon X #1. I am really looking forward to seeing how far the creative team can push this series now. The stage is set just go nuts!

X-23 #2 – #3

Writer: Mariko Tamaki | Artist: Juann Cabal | Colourist: Nolan Woodard | Letters: Corey Petit

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I  am loving the covers for this series so far, all supplied by Mike Cho and Jesus Aburtov. I like the minimalistic choice. The title isn’t overly dominant and there is no corner box art or other icons cluttering up the cover. Essentially you get a gallery style piece. Much like the old back cover gallery pictures on the back of Classic X-Men in the 80′s. On the story side I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would. It has really been a pretty seamless transition going from Tom Taylor to Mariko Tamaki Again her Gabby is on point, really dialling into what made her popular under Taylor’s watch. The Cuckoos as potentially crazy villains is a good direction, as is Laura raging a war on scientific research relating to cloning. However it has been three issues now and not a lot has been explained yet. Which leads me to believe we are heading for a six issue story arc. If Tamaki delivers I won’t be complaining but being at the half way point now there are still two directions for the story to go. Each issue starts with Laura’s internal monologue. Some characters can get away with no internal monologue or narration. For others it feels part of their DNA Wolverine is a character who has always had consistently good ones so I feel it is important for Laura to follow in his foot steps. I like how Tamaki uses it to open issues, rather than having it run throughout. There was a recent article about why Laura has returned to the X-23 moniker. Wow was that article over buzzed. She says one thing about it and if I hadn’t read that article I would have treated it as a throw away line. On art Cabal is excelling and it seems having fun. Watch out for the Easter eggs. Cabal and Woodard are not only a great match for each other but also a great match for the series. While the subject matter is series Laura has a much more positive outlook on live than say Wolverine or Old Man Logan so the colours and the more expansive art work should reflect that, rather than being dark and moody. How can it be dark and moody with Gabby around anyway? Like I said good stuff so far but I don’t really want to see this story stretching to six issues, lets start getting answers next month please.

Old Man Logan #45 – #46

Writer: Ed Brisson | Artists: Juan Ferreyra & Damian Couceiro | Colourist: Carlos Lopez | Letters: Cory Petit

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Two very different but equally enjoyable issues. Firstly #45 wraps up the Bullseye story arc in a nice bow. Don’t worry the cover is simply a homage to the classic Bullseye/Elektra image from Daredevil #181, Logan does not meet his end in this issue. That is really my only complaint with the issue. Come on we knew Logan or Bullseye weren’t going to die in this issue it made the stakes very hollow. Brisson done his best to dress them up with heartfelt speeches from Logan and deep meaningful narration. But Old Man Logan is scheduled to die in a twelve issue series and Bullseye is too important to the Daredevil franchise. All that a side it is another solid issue. Plenty of action complimented by brilliant art work. Ed Brisson’s Bullseye is completely unhinged, its brilliant! How great of a character is Glob? What X book is he in? I might have to start picking it up. I continue to be blown away by Ferreyra’s art. Oh by the way he commented on my review last month. Just saying! In this issue he gets to turn his hand to more action than the previous two. It opens with a car chase which is always difficult in comics. He manages to convey a sense of speed and motion rather well. I particularly like the sequence of the taxi crashing across the entire width of two pages. There is also a brilliant twelve panel page which Ferreyra uses to build tension and show Bullseye at his sadistic best. Sticking with art but shifting to #46 Damian Couceiro is in the same vain as Cinar and Ibrahim Roberson on Weapon X. I think it is fair to say he has a looser style when it comes to detail, it has a slight Batman the animated series feel to it. Especially in the medium and head shot panels. His Logan however doesn’t look particularly old or distressed considering the ringer we have seen him go through in recent issues. As for the story well I’m always happy to see Alpha Flight make an appearance and I like Couceiro’s renditions of them. It is a little strange to see the Alpha Flighters interacting with this version of Logan but it is no less heart breaking when he has a heart to heart with Puck. Brisson has captured what makes Puck everyone’s favourite member of the team. I know Brisson is involved in the new ‘Uncanny X-Men’ so maybe we will be seeing more of them soon. Finger crossed. The issue is good set up for what seems to be a simple and fun story after all the seriousness of the last arc. Horror has been working itself into comics more and more in recent years. Even into stories you wouldn’t expect. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. The early signs for this so far are that it will work. Like I said it seems very simple so far nothing over complicated. Of course all that could change but at the moment we have Logan and Alpha Flight in a very Stephen King setting. Eagerly awaiting next month and hoping I’m right.

Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #4

Writer:  Charles Soule | Artist: Matteo Buffagni | Colourist: Jim Charalampidis | Letters: Joe Sabino

Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #4

Writer: Tom Taylor | Artist: R.B. Silva Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto | Letters: Joe Sabino

Hunt For Wolverine: Mystery In Madripoor #4

Writer: Jim Zub Artists: Thony Silas & Leonard Kirk | Colourists: Felipe Sobreiro & Andrew Crossley | Letters: Joe Sabino

Hunt For Wolverine: Claws Of A Killer #4

Writer: Mariko Tamaki | Artists: Butch Guice & Mack Chater | Inkers: Cam Smith, Mack Chater | Colourist: Jordan Boyd | Letters: Joe Sabino

hunt-for-wolverine-issues-4

I thought it would be best to review the final issues of the ‘Hunt For’ series all in one hit. This will prevent me from repeating myself. We pretty much knew after the second issue of each series no team was actually going to find Wolverine. By the end of each of the four finale issues this was confirmed to be the truth. When the ‘Hunt For’ books were announced it seemed like a fun/interesting way to bring him back. But before they were even half way through another one shot was announced as was the five part ‘Return of Wolverine’ which is written by Charles Soule. As he very much feels like the architect of Wolverine’s return it feels right he has the final say. I can’t believe it has taken till the final four issues to actually get some connective tissue between the titles. This comes in the shape of a shady organization known as Sotiera, so look out for them being a part of Wolverine stories in the coming years. Both ‘Weapon Lost’ and ‘Adamantium Agenda’ kept up their consistency for their respective finales. ‘Weapon Lost’ wraps up the storyline for all its characters very satisfactory. It will be interesting to see if anyone picks them up in other series going forward. Soule delivers a intriguing cliff hanger and you feel as he is penning ‘Return Of’ it will be important for that series. Over in ‘Adamantium Agenda’ all the ground work Tom Taylor laid out in the previous three issues across the flashbacks and the present day stuff comes to a brilliant conclusion. There is even time for that Taylor sense of  humour. I don’t no if it is a happy coincidence are careful planning but a major plot point of this issue ties in with X-23′s motives over in her own series. Again there is a brilliant cliff hanger that makes you want more. As it effects a wider range than just Wolverine it will be interesting to see if and where it is picked up, especially with the future of the X books get a reshuffle. Part of that reshuffle ties nicely into ‘Mystery in Madripoor’ a series I still can’t make out what it all had to do with anything. This final issue felt like a Psylocke story more than anything else. So in that regard it was well handled but at the end of the day over four issues it brought nothing to Wolverine’s eventual return. Even the cliffhanger was Psylocke-centric, is she getting her own ongoing? Lastly there is ‘Claws of a Killer’ I praised other series for being consistent and you can argue this has been consistent through its four issues too. Consistently frantic! It is strange how Tamaki is telling such an interesting story over in X-23 and then you read this. X-23 is well told with ground work being laid where you want to know the outcome. All this just felt rushed. It feels like ‘fight, fight, fight. Then oh Daken has been kidnapped cause we need to end on a cliff hanger.’ In conclusion all of these series aren’t in my opinion essential to Wolverines big return in September. If I had to recommend one even though ‘Weapon Lost’ I would choose ‘Adamantium Agenda’ as it actually contains some Wolverine. All of this leads us to…

Hunt For Wolverine: Dead Ends

Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Ramon Rosanas | Letters: Joe Sabino

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It’s rather fitting that a one shot about Wolverine rather than giving us answers gives us way more questions. If the month was May this story could have been told in a zero issue for Free Comic Book Day. It just feels like ticking boxes. I read an article recently saying how Wolverines return has been handled badly, making it a boring affair. After reading this I would have to agree. I’m not terribly excited about the upcoming five issue series ‘Return of Wolverine’ I would rather just get straight to a new #1 of an ongoing. This issue sets up a new villain and you no full well as soon as his new ongoing gets in the swing he’ll be back to being ‘There best there is at what he does’ fighting my popular villains with more meaningful longevity. The ‘Hunt For Wolverine’ one shot that started us this path months ago was such a great issue. It was packed full of action, mystery and emotion. Largely since then any story related to his return has been slowly down hill. There are some positives to be had with this issue though. Soule writes as we know a solid Daredevil, his Iron Man is also on point. Having a great chemistry with Kitty Pryde. Also what Soule does well is wrap up all the points of the four mini series without making it sound like a mind field of information. Really you could read this without having read them and pick up all the key points ahead of next month and save yourself some money in the process. On art duties Marco Checchetto supplies a beautiful cover showcasing all the major players to the story. On interiors I fell in love with Rosanas work when he done the Generations one shot last year. I been waiting for him to come round to a Wolverine book again and really he should be doing more. Get him on the new X books Marvel. He dies beautiful locations, action sequences, talking scenes, everything really. I’m never big on established characters getting new villains, at least Rosanas has made Persephone visually appealing. He does great facial expressions which is a strength to have in a book with a lot of talking. Often some artists have very flat faces with nothing going on. Here when Stark is shocked you can see it, when Kitty is angry you can see it. All in all a solid enough story without being ground breaking. Wolverine essentially is back now lets just get on with it.

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