06th Feb2019

Wolverine Wednesday #22

by Ian Wells

X-23 #8

Writer: Mariko Tamaki | Artist: Diego Olortegui | Inker: Walden Wang | Colourist: Chris O’Halloran | Letters: Cory Petit

x23-8

This series continues to go from strength to strength. Tamaki has hit on a perfect blend of action, humour and heart to bring quality stories to the reader. Regular readers will know I wasn’t completely sold on the opening story arc, though I did see plenty of positive signs for the future. There is no doubt Tamaki has definitely grown into the series. ‘X-Assassin’ is only two issues in and I’m already fully on board. I think a lot of it has to do with what I mentioned last month about this story being like a very familiar flavour whilst be something completely fresh at the same time. The mission statement for the series is Laura and Gabby fighting experimentation on mutants. This story arc hits closer to home with the antagonist being yet another clone and also by tying to the opening arc of ‘All New Wolverine’. The arc that gave us more Laura clones and fondly remembered for giving us Gabby. I am more than happy that every once in a while we get a story arc with something I am familiar and comfortable with. I don’t need new, new, new every story arc. Mariko Tamaki takes the familiar flavour and makes it fresh by using the story to further develop the relationship between Laura and Gabby. So far things have been relatively plain sailing between the duo and you get the feeling things are going to change soon as Gabby becomes more tuned into the world around her. With the previous issue and now this one we see Gabby get pushed more and more into center stage. We surely can not be that far off a Honey Badger one shot or mini series by now? I want a comic with ‘Honey Badger #1′ proudly emblazoned on the cover. In recent years we have seen less appealing characters pushed into the limelight with one shots and minis so why not Gabby? When All New Wolverine was at its peak I fell in love with the plethora of talented artists that rotated on that series and now I can add Diego Olortegui to that list.  He serves up a real visual treat with this issue and excels on the scenes where Gabby is front and center. I heard an interview once with Paul Dini and he was talking about when they introduced the younger Robin to Batman The Animated Series. He said whenever he was in the background they would have him doing childlike things like swinging his feet or doing handstands. Orlortegui does a similar thing with Gabby. Shes running into gun fights with a smile on her face and eating plates of cookies in the X mansion. There is a brilliant double page spread early in the story which shows off all his skill. Its Gabby running head first into a confrontation with some heavily armoured goons complete with that smile. She has a wise crack for them all and when she has finished with them and you turn the page she is just stretching out with a wink for Laura. Another visual I was particularly happy to see was Beast piloting a helicopter sharply dressed in a suit and bow tie! This issue is a good entry in the ongoing adventures of Laura and Gabby. It is serving up interesting character dynamics, plenty of action and potential for a recurring villain. Basically its ticking a lot of the right boxes.

Return of Wolverine #4

Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Declan Shalvey | Colourist: Laura Martin | Letters: Joe Sabino

return-wolv-4

Charles Soule has obviously been given a free reign in his job of bringing Wolverine back into main continuity. Don’t get me wrong Soule is a very accomplished writer but for me it is dragging on now and this issue was very weak compared to the previous three. Perhaps ‘dragging’ is the operative word and it would be very cynical for me to say that has been the important part from Marvels point of view because people like me will invest in it all. On the other hand perhaps it is me having an overly negative reaction to a poor sub standard issue. Like I said I enjoyed the previous three and looked forward to where it was going. Last issue the X-Men showed up and that felt like it was going to be a pivotal moment in the series. Cruelly we had that pulled from under us as this issue picks up moments later and simply explains away their  quick retreat. What was especially interesting in the previous issues was the presence of past Wolverines. Whether they were in Logan’s sub conscious or what is yet to be revealed and yet they don’t make an appearance in this issue. Essentially all we get is new antagonist Persephone explaining a bit about herself to Wolverine. I don’t think I would be going to far if I said this issue felt like it was written by someone completely different! I have some theories as to why such a beloved characters return is missing the mark. Firstly Wolverine has always been a character that has leant himself to good mystery stories. In my opinion a good mystery is a blend of set up, misdirection and revelation. These four issues and you can include the previous ‘Hunt For Wolverine’ titles have all been all set up! So far the story has danced around the biggest mystery if how and why Wolverine is back from the dead. Instead we have been introduced to a new villain and that brings me to my second point. Wolverine has always had a strong and colourful rogues gallery it makes more sense to me that they should be playing some part in his returning story. Until we get some answers in this story I don’t feel like Persephone is a valid villain to fight Wolverine and at the same time she doesn’t seem important to the why. It has already been revealed she has a problem with all mutants so what makes Wolverine special? With only one issue of ‘Return’ left I can’t see a good outcome or any further development on Wolverine joining the Marvel Universe again and ready to begin a whole new round of adventures.

Wolverine: The Long Night #1

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Marcio Takara | Colourist: Matt Milla | Letters: Joe Caramagna

long-night-1

I thought I would do a quick bonus review of the first issue of Wolverine: The Long Night. This is the comic adaptation of last years hugely popular and successful Wolverine scripted podcast. The podcast debuted around this time last year on Stitcher Premium, before all ten episodes became available on Stitcher later in the year for free. For Wolverine fans the story ticks a lot of boxes. It has a mystery to follow revolving around interesting characters and it plays to a number of Wolverine clichés. I would even say the story is accessible to people who just enjoy scripted podcasts without any prior knowledge of the character. This is because it kind of exists in its own continuity and takes place just after the Weapon X experiment. So no X-Men continuity baggage! A sequel titled Wolverine: The Lost Trail is already in production. This comic is penned by the same writer as the podcast so it is a pretty tight adaptation. Both this comic and the podcast were very good at establishing tone and both obviously went about it in different ways. The podcast used sound technology to create a realistic atmosphere and implemented the dramatic pause to great effect. The art by Takara and Milla uses very atmospheric backgrounds to great aide its tone. Scenes on morgues or at a cult leaders base of ops were spot on in tone and having listened to the podcast previously were quite spine tingling to see. There is a scene where Logan decimates the crew of a trawler and this utilises a beautiful water colour style background. I did however find the day light scenes to bright! A minor complaint in an otherwise good first issue. I liked how the comic paid homage to the podcast by having lots of talking head panels. If you have already listened to the podcast like me I don’t think you will be rushing to pick these up in single issues. You already know all the cliff hanger moments. I think I will be picking this up when it gets a trade paperback release as it is a very solid Wolverine story. Good work all round and if it continues its success with the sequel it could be another field in which Marvel can unleash their toy chest.

 

 

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