07th Nov2018

Wolverine Wednesday #18

by Ian Wells

The Return Of Wolverine #2

Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Declan Shalvey | Cover: Steve McNiven

return-wolverine-2

I have often criticised comics that ask more questions instead of giving answers as bad reads. However if there is a character that this story trope suits really well then it is Wolverine. It is especially effective in the hands of a talented writer like Charles Soule. This issue doesn’t dwell on the events and questions of the last one. Instead we are thrust straight into the action with Wolverine and his new accomplice on a speed boat in hot pursuit of another speed boat. The entire issue does not deviate from the boat. Its like a scene from a James Bond film condensed to twenty odd pages. I get the feeling after two issue that over the course of the story very little time will have elapsed. Essentially over the five issues we will get the story of Wolverines immediate return to the living rather than his reconnection with the Marvel Universe. As long as it is told well I would be happy with that and so far it has been. Each issue in a way will serve as a series of set pieces. This one being the high adrenaline issue! The ‘hot claws continue to be a hot topic, in this issue Soule comes up with a way for Wolverine to use them to great affect and in keeping with the high octane action of the issue. With the action largely contained to the speed boat and it being a very linear story Soule has to nail the pacing. It is a good solid read which leaves you awaiting the next instalment. He is going for the questions upon questions approach rather than answering anything from the previous issue. Soule is a talented enough writer that he could easily deliver all the answers in the final act. But again it would be in keeping with Wolverine’s character if some stuff did go unanswered.

In this issue like the first one there are some indications that Wolverine may not be entirely in the land of the living. If this five issues turned out to be a psychological mind f!*k I would be okay with that as long as it is a good read and I am entertained by the time the fifth issue comes out. Declan Shalvey takes over art duties for this issue. The new black costume like the ‘hot claws’ has come in for some criticism. It does seem a little odd how it has appeared out of nowhere. Last issue we had the big speech about his yellow and blue one being his ‘heroic side’ and now he’s kitted out in something completely new. That being said however Shalvey draws it beautifully. With the action predominantly taking place at sea the black and red colour scheme really pops against the blue backgrounds. This issue is less bloody than the previous but only slightly. I think Shalvey’s style along with the colours makes it less graphic even but the fights are still bloody. All through the issue the art is bright and bold, a complete contrast to Old Man Logan but totally in with the vibe of the action on offer. There were no Weapon X visual call backs in this issue so I believe that was purely a stylistic choice by previous artist Steve McNiven and not a deeper meaning for the plot. If you are on the side of Wolverines returning feeling like its being badly handled and overly drawn out than this issue and probably the rest of the series isn’t for you. However as a Wolverine fan this issue stands up to his past adventures, particularly with the action and it sets it up well for issue three.

Old Man Logan #49

Writer: Ed Brisson | Artist: Ibraim Roberson | Colourist: Carlos Lopez | Letters: Cory Petit

old-man-logan-49

Considering how much I hated the first meeting between Logan and Maestro on Ed Brisson’s watch I was looking forward to his run and the title itself ending on a return to that feud. However I really enjoyed this issue. What will benefit this arc over the previous one is that it is only three issue. So the story will be tighter, more direct to the point and all round a easier read. What I really enjoyed about this issue is that even though it features an over the top villain in Maestro it still has a grim and gritty realistic feel to the story. This feel is backed up well with the art from… Once Brisson found his form on this title he hit upon a good formula with the character that in combination with alternating lengths of story arcs has made for success. Issue #49 has the feel of an old fashioned Wolverine tale. While all the stuff about his past is fun, a simple story is often best with him. The same goes for Old Man Logan. Logan rolling into a back water town and involving himself in their goings on just seems to work time and time again.

Brisson shows his skill as a writer by balancing the main story with some set up for the upcoming twelve part series ‘Dead Man Logan’. It is a scene that draws on the nostalgia of the original ‘Old Man Logan’ story whilst also conveying the horror that Logan is putting himself through by living in this world where he could change everything. Again it is a scene well backed up by the artist who is Ibraim Roberson. I loved him on Weapon X and he has shown his adaptability coming on to ‘Old Man Logan’. Which is perhaps more grim and gritty compared to Weapon X which was more action heavy. This issue showcases he can do both. I really like his Logan, he looks short! That counts for something when he is supposed to be 5ft3″. A visual that got lost some time in the 90′s. In the flash back/forward scene Roberson in partnership with Lopez do a brilliant job in honouring the aesthetic of McNiven’s art on the original story whilst still keeping it fresh and recognisable as their own style. Its in this sequence that we get a very creepy almost jarring splash page. It makes you think give Roberson a new ‘Tomb of Dracula’ mini series.

X-23 #5

Writer: Mariko Tamaki | Artist: Juann Cabal & Marcio Fiorito | Colourist: Nolan Woodard | Letters: Cory Petit

x-23-5

It might sound harsh that I say I’m glad this story arc is over, but I am! For me it showcased both the strengths and weaknesses of Tamaki as a writer. Now I could only dream of being this good so I stress these are only things that I found as strengths and weaknesses for my enjoyment of the story. The strengths far out weigh the weaknesses so I am really looking forward for what Tamaki has in store for Laura and Gabby as the series goes on. Part of my dislike came from having the Cuckoos as the main protagonists. They have never been a favourite of mine especially as villains. Again though I found how Tamaki write their interactions with our heroes rather interesting. It was packed with dark humour. I personally found the story clearer to understand with regards to what was happening with two Cuckoos inside the bodies of Laura and Gabby respectively. It was more certain to the reader whos voice was whos and enjoyed how the action dictated when the voices wold change. Like to Cuckoo in Gabby was pure evil but every now and then she still demonstrated Gabby’s sense of humour complete with teenage pout brilliantly rendered by Cabal. Tamaki continues to shine whilst writing dialogue and the over all relationship between Laura and Gabby. I’m sure some readers would of had question marks over her handling of this after taking over from Tom Taylor. She more than matches him on this aspect. At the end of the issue we get to see her play to this strength by having the story arc come full circle to a plot point started in the first issue of the series. I also like how the issue tends to open and close with internal monologues or narration but these tend to be shifted to one side once the action starts.

The current X books are in such a good place art wise at the moment aren’t they? Juann Cabal and Nolan Woodard are a dream combination! This series so far has been bright, bold and vibrant. The action sequences leap off the page in barrage of colour and movement. Cabal’s Laura looks much more grown up and mature than previous incarnations and this really fits with her current direction. I love the attention to detail, like when they aren’t in costume the characters have distinct personalities when it comes to their fashion. It is a little disappointing Laura continues to forever be changing costume. There have been some many solid desigsn for her recently I like to see her settle on one. If you are in any doubt as to the talent of Cabal and Woodard just flip to over half way through the issue. There is a double page splash of Laura and Gabby leaping to fight each other. Beautiful! Nuff said! The du are joined by Marcio Fiorito but my untrained artistic eye couldn’t tell you what parts are his. In conclusion this issue wraps up a ultimately flat story arc but was highlighted with great art, especially in the action scenes. However there are enough positives to keep me interested going forward, so roll on next month.

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