15th May2019

Wolverine Wednesday #25

by Ian Wells

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Uncanny X-Men #11-#15

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg | Artists: Salvador Larocca & John McCrea | Colourists: Rachelle Rosenberg | Letters: Joe Caramagna

I want to start things off this week for looking at how Wolverine is being reincorporated into the X-Men universe via his appearances in the flag ship book Uncanny X-Men. I read the first six issues digitally and I found them to be very consistent. Its biggest strengths are that it gives as much equal page time to each character in a very large cast as possible. There is a great blend between the older established fan favourite characters and the new cult characters with online cult followings. I see it as paying great respect to X-Men stories past and present. Also even after countless X-Men stories since the 60′s the first six issues to this incarnation of Uncanny manages to feel fresh and new and that is its crowning glory. I recommend checking it out, even if you dip out for a few issues coming back in at #11 like I did is a pretty accessible jumping on point. What might seem daunting is the amount of mini series tie-ins to the ‘Age of X-Man’ event thing. But as an ongoing series Uncanny remains pretty strong. #11 largely focuses on Cyclops and his return to the living. Which you can’t really argue with as he is the heart and soul of the X-Men. The issue culminates with Cyclops in a showdown with some of the X-Men’s longest running foes and that is when Wolverine decides to show his face in an action packed finale. The issue then features a back up story titled ‘Wolverine Returns.’ Now I don’t want to stir the pot but I wonder of this is a little back handed jab at the mini series of a similar title. It tells the story of what Wolverine has been up to prior to the finale of the main story. It provides an interesting dynamic as he interacts with the young Cable, with the latter telling him to look out for Cyclops. In the next issues as Wolverine and Cyclops go about their new mission the chalk and cheese aspect of their relationship is played up. On a personal level it was great to see some original members of the New Mutants join the ranks. Over the last two years I have earned a new respect for the New Mutants. There is an even deeper cut in #13 as the new team set up base n Harry’s Hideaway! Throughout these issues one of the biggest strengths is seeing how Wolverine interacts with the likes of Black Widow, Cap and Bucky. Rosenberg also plays up the good cop/bad cop element of the Cyclops, Wolverine partnership. Although it does take to #15 for Cyclops to actually on panel ask Wolverine’s opinion on how to handle things. Normally I wouldn’t pick up random issues of X-Men even if they did center on Wolverine. I was just curious to see how his return was handled in the pages of Uncanny. Largely these issues handled his return better than the ‘Return’ mini series. Maybe it is more fitting an X-Man returns in the pages of Uncanny before going his own way again. In conclusion these issues were enjoyable as well as being easily accessible to new readers.

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Dead Man Logan #6-#7

Writer: Ed Brisson | Artist: Mike Henderson | Colourist: Nolan Woodard | Letters: Cory Petit

It was very beneficial to my reading experience to get this two issues together. #6 wraps up the end of Old Man Logan on Prime Earth (I believe they are calling it) before heading back to The Wastelands. Is it easier to write a characters ending opposed to a characters return? Okay maybe Old Man Logan leaving Prime Earth doesn’t need to be twelve issues but the six we have had so far have been way more satisfying then anything in Wolverine The Return. This issue in particular has more emotional baggage than that series. There are great moments between Logan and Captain America. A relationship I always love being explored. Then there is the nostalgia hit of Jubilee and a more modern favourite to me was the moments when he said goodbye to Glob. It will be interesting to see if young Wolverine returning will pick up any of these new relationships. I part of the issue where Logan meets… spoiler… young Logan is well handled. There was always the potential it could have been turned into way big a deal. But Brisson writes it well, it is a case of X-Men have seen some crazy stuff in their time. Two Logans in one bar at the same time is just more crazy. I really like the colours on display in this issue. They help the cartoony style fit the sombre mood. It still appears colourful but on a second reading everything is just slightly muted, lots of pastel blues and purples adding to the mood of the story. This issue is a very gratifying read and honestly I would have been completely satisfied if the series ended here. I could have used my own imagination to decide what happens next, but now we are going to get six issues from this stellar creative team in the craziness of The Wastelands. #7 is a complete shift in tone, pace and style from the previous six and it remains very entertaining. Going back to The Wastelands there was always potential the story could tread on familiar ground from the original story by Millar and McNiven. Thankfully after just one issue everything about the setting and story feels fresh. Its exciting to be back with a different creative team at the helm. Brisson wastes no time in getting Logan out of his comfort soon. While the previous six issues felt like an action/adventure Wolverine story this shifts into the realms of Western/Mad Max vibe as is to be expected but then he dials up the horror aspect as well with the simple introduction of some cannibals. Cannibals + Mutant healing factor = great story telling. The art too is very different from the original story. Henderson and Woodard’s Wasteland is a much dustier and barren setting than before, playing up the Western vibes. While the art isn’t s gritty as the original story it is bloody without being gory. A lot of the violence is implied and we only see the end result. I will point out at this stage it would be a benefit to have read the original story and the Secret Wars mini series Old Man Logan by Bendis and Sorrentino. This is because there is moment towards the end of the issue that toes all three stories together. Rather than have that moment stop you in your tracks with questions, if you have read those stories your response will be ‘cool.’ Very excited now to see what the rest of the series has in store and how much more is it going to tug at the heart strings.

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X-23 #11

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

If you haven’t heard the news by now X-23 is ending with #12. This is a shame as this issue sets up a new dynamic between Laura and Gabby that has great future potential. Now with the end in sight the story line will be wrapped up next issue and very likely not explored for some time. The crux of the issue relates to a plot point that has been building up in previous story arcs and I’m glad Tamaki has finally delivered on it. Gabby has been a bundle of fun and energy since her debut and with this story Tamaki pulls a complete 180. Like I said it is just a shame we won’t get more story to see this new Gabby develop. Unless, is there another X-titles reboot on the horizon? What would be great now Gabby is on this new path would be to finally see a solo mini series or at least a one shot. Also as a side note maybe it would be a good thing for Laura to spend some time over in Uncanny X-Men as a team player rather than holding her own ongoing. Talking of Uncanny this series seems to be devoid of any connection to Uncanny despite Laura being a team member in it. When the old Wolverine series was in its prime it would cross over with events X-related or bigger. I know people prefer some characters to not interact with events but Laura has featured heavily in Uncanny so why aren’t her and Gabby in the alternate reality created by X-Man? Tamaki should have been allowed to tell a  three issue arc or a done in one issue of Laura in that time line. But hey X-Men comics? There is some good writing skills on display in this issue. As Gabby wears her heart on her sleeve everything think she is thinking or feels has to be said directly to Laura. This balances with Laura who puts on a brave face but has the internal monologues to vent her true feelings. What am I going to miss most about this series is the art. Diego Olortegui has been a breath of fresh air. The biggest injustice in comics is that his name wasn’t part of the Marvel Comics #1000 project! This is a dialogue heavy issue as the two characters argue but his artwork still flows and has pace to it. There is something happening in every panel so you aren’t just breezing through the dialogue and turning the page. His action sequences are fluid and well paced. Importantly they feel real as well, there aren’t any over stretched limbs and front facing butts! This is a well crafted issue both from a writing and artistic stand point. The dialogue feels real as does the action. A good set up for what is unfortunately the final issue next month.

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