07th Aug2019

Wolverine Wednesday #27

by Ian Wells

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Dead Man Logan #8 – #9

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

There were a number of Wolverine one shots over the summer I was really looking forward too. Each in their own way  were good and bad in places, but more on them later. The one consistent over the summer months for Wolverine comics has been Dead Man Logan. What is working in its favour is only being twelve issues we know the end is in the sight and we get to read along and enjoy the fun of getting there. That being said I don’t want Brisson’s time on Wolverine to end. He has certainly come a long way in my eyes since I tore his first Old Man Logan story arc to pieces! Having the story now take place in The Wastelands but being telling a completely fresh story is also a huge bonus. Yes it is always nice when Brisson touches on elements of the original story but Dead Man Logan can stand on its own. We get reunited with Dani and Baby Bruce and there is a great touch of adding Wasteland version of Forge into the narrative as he was part of the series earlier issues and Brisson’s Old Man Logan story as a hole. There is a new status quo in this future reality but perhaps best of all is the addition of Sabertooth. Remember when we had Wolverine: The End? It was so disappointing that his biggest adversary played no part in it. The prospect of them now going toe-to-toe for the remaining three issues is an exciting one. Henderson continues to deliver on art. Every issue I have to stand corrected on what I said about him after the first issue. I thought he might be too animated shall we say for this subject matter. But with each issue the further and further we go into the madness of The Wastelands he seems a more and more better fit. I think the colour pallet helps a lot. If Henderson was coloured brighter and more bold then it would look more animated like in the earlier issues. Woodard has adapted the pallet to convey the dusty desolateness of the setting and the story and art benefits from the subtle change. Quick mention for Declan Shalvey who has been providing covers through out the series. Props to the old school Sabertooth on the cover for issue nine, one of the best villain looks in all of Marvel comics. Always love seeing it! Lastly what I like a bout Henderson is the man knows when to deliver a splash page. In issue eight the honour goes to Sabertooth in the midst of a perfectly villainous moment and in the issue nine the splash page is reserved for the cliff hanger ending. So nine entertaining issues so far and only three left. I’m pretty pumped for this series.

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Wolverine/Captain America: Weapon Plus #1

Writer: Ethan Sacks | Artist: Diogenes Neves | Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto | Colourist: Federico Blee | Letters: Joe Sabino

Was really looking forward to this. No matter how many times Weapon X/Plus gets revisited I am always a sucker for it. The fact that Marvel actually gave this oneshot a fair bit of publicity before its release made me think it was going to be worthwhile. Comic news sites were running stories on it and putting Weapon Plus and any future potential in the spotlight again. But after reading it all that build up left me a little flat. Before I go in-depth on the story I want to clear up any confusion. This is a oneshot, despite when you turn the last page and there is a tease for other Weapon Plus projects. The story didn’t end with the usual ‘The End’ or ‘To Be Continued’ caption. But then it had a whole page with the caption ‘Next’ implying there is a next installment. I quickly had to check the August solicitations to confirm there wasn’t an issue two and there isn’t. So that was all very strange. Onto the positives then, firstly it was a entertaining enough without being exceptional. Right from the cover its playing on nostalgia. Seeing Cap depicted as a test subject, naked just with his shield and the iconic Weapon X style helmet is very fun. I was very pleased to see Wolverine in the brown and tan costume. It therefore sets this comic inline with current X-Men continuity, but also again its playing on nostalgia. When you see Cap and Wolverine together for the first time it casts your mind back to Uncanny X-Men #268. There is no doubt in my mind the first splash page in this comic is a homage to that image from that classic issue by Jim Lee of Cap and Wolverine attacking The Hand in Madripoor. As everyone knows Wolverine and Cap have history so seeing Cap interacting with Fantomex, a newer addition to Weapon Plus lore is enjoyable to read. Especially with Wolverine acting as a mediator. Along the way there were some nice links to past Weapon X/Plus stories as well as teasing some interesting plot threads that I really wanted to be pulled on more. At times it felt a little action heavy, whereas I think something involving government level conspiracy should always have a lot more tension building rather than all out action. But you put Wolverine and Cap together and people are going to expect a few heads to be beaten. Being action heavy though was good for the art. Its bright, bold and maybe you cold argue a little too cartoon-y for the subject matter. But all round pretty solid stuff. Neves’ choice of panel lay outs are great for the more action heavy scenes. The use of smaller panels against an dynamic background give good action and reaction shots. This oneshot is a good read, though at times it did feel too much was being crammed in. Perhaps the subject matter and some of those threads I mentioned would have been better if they were given more space to breath over more issues.

Wolverine vs Blade #1

Writer: Marc Guggenheim | Artist: Dave Wilkins | Letters: Travis Lanham

When I saw this solicit I wasn’t overly bothered about picking it up. Although I was curious as to why on the cover Wolverine was depicted in his X-Force costume, which he hasn’t worn for coming up to ten years now. However I am glad I did pick it up as between its solicitation and its release it has been announced Blade is coming to the MCU so even now I bet there are copies of this going for more than cover price on eBay. Marc Guggenheim has written runs on bother characters that I have read and enjoyed so there was always the chance this oneshot was going to be half decent. I think I’m right in saying Guggenheim was writing Wolverine and Blade during the first Civil War event. In issue five of Blade he and Wolverine face off/team up and this issue picks up weeks after that one from 2007. But you can easily read and enjoy this oneshot without any prior knowledge of those two runs. While it is enjoyable I can’t understand why there was a need to revisit that era. It’s not like either character needed a push for an upcoming project. Its all very paint by numbers classic Marvel Team up style. Because the tried and trusted style of a Marvel ‘vs’ story is so well loved its the little touches that make the stories that much better. It begins with a cold open where the two titular characters are teaming up so it kind of flips the format on its head from the outset. As it is Wolverine ‘vs’ Blade the story also features mutant/vampire hybrids, because why not? The driving force of the story revolves around this prophecy which kind of plays on the classic Marvel Team up formula and thats all I’ll say without spoiling the outcome. There are a few times in the story where Blade suffers from MCU syndrome in that even the brooding daywalker has to be funny and quippy. The art is very stylized and another good fit for the subject matter. It is very refreshing to see the artist not render Blade to look like Wesley Snipes. Perhaps Wilkins had inside knowledge! It is cool seeing Wolverine in his X-Force guise, which is probably his third best costume of all time. I like how on the cove cover of the title is in the classic Wolverine font. Blade’s name has the three claw marks through it and Wolverine has two sword marks. The comic comes with a ‘mature content’ warning on the cover and most of that as you most likely guessed is down to the two protagonists hacking and slashing their way through the story. A solid story that actually reads like a oneshot, not like the Wolverine/Cap comic. It has a clear beginning, middle and end. It is done in one with nothing left to worry about going forward.

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Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1

Writers: Larry Hama, Chris Claremont & Sam Kieth | Artists: Scot Eaton, Salvador Larroca & Sam Kieth | Inker: Sean Parsons | Colourists: Matt Milla, Val Staples and Ronda Pattison | Letters: Joe Sabino

This was the most disappointing of the three one shots. When you consider the talent involved and the fact they were cherry picking where in Wolverine’s timeline they were dropping their story and the fact they have all had great success with Wolveirne in the past, it shouldn’t have been such a let down. Maybe I’m being too harsh because when I did take all the aspects into account I had a certain expectation going in. I understand Marvel want to celebrate their 80th birthday by having a comic of one of their most marketable characters on the stand, also I understand the nostalgia factor the premise of this comic offers. I just feel it could have been better executed. Lets start then with the first story. Everything you know about Wolverine probably came from Larry Hama’s run on the character through most of the 90′s. I love Hama for this reason and when I first started collecting back issues his run was the bulk of my purchases. So if Larry Hama wants to come back and write a Wolverine story that is fine by me. Lets have him back soon to write a good one. The story in question had all the ingredients that should appeal to me what with Hama and the story having ties to Weapon X. It is interesting enough of a story but in a one shot you want to be slapped in the face more! Because the story has such close ties to Barry Windsor Smith’s classic Weapon X origin story and is no where near as good the best way to describe it is icky! The art is solid by Eaton. There are panels where he homages Windsor Smith but he knows to stay well clear of trying to replicate the Weapon X artwork. Milla’s colours too clearly emulate Windsor Smith, with the flashes of garish pink here and there. The second story is by X-Men royalty Chris Claremont. A writer a defined Wolverine in the pages of Uncanny and his first mini series. So again why does this fall so flat? I think I am right in saying that this story is meant to take place immediately after the Kitty Pryde/Wolverine mini series. A great series that added more depth to both characters at the time. This little interlude does not get anywhere near that. Its a classic and cliche story of Wolverine helping out an old acquaintance by asking questions later! I really don’t like the artwork either. Every panel, every expression, every movement of action is too clean. Saying it is bland would be too much but its the artistic equivalent of a hospital. It is poles apart from anything else I am currently reading it made for an uncomfortable read. Lastly we have a very short story written and drawn by the legend Sam Kieth. Storywise Kieth hasn’t made the same impact on Wolverine as the other two writers, but artistically he has left a huge impression. If nothing else his entry in this one shot has made me want to revisit his Marvel Comics Presents run on Wolverine. It is a rather simple story, without any real point to it really. But when you are Sam Kieth you have license to do style over substance. The artwork as to be expected is phenomenal. This one shot is a must have for Wolverine completists. The Kieth artwork is worth the cover price alone! The stories have the overall feel of between the panels rather than adding anything groundbreaking to the characters.

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