24th Feb2021

Wolverine Wednesday #41

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #9

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Adam Kubert | Colourist: Frank Martin | Letters: Cory Petit

I just had a big, stupid smile on my face as I read this from cover to cover! Outside of just being a fun read, this issue actaully moves the story in interesting ways from where we left off last month and it leaves you waiting for the next issue. In the previous issue I mentioned how Maverick was portrayed as a real badass. A character trait of his we haven’t seen too much of, especially in recent years. This issue sets it up as a plot point as to why he is this all new badass Maverick . Just as a little side note I continue to enjoy Wolverine’s commentary on how mutant affairs are shaping up on Krakoa. #9 only had 1 text piece which is an improvement on recent months. But I still didn’t bother to read it. Also there is a mention of Wolverine’s memories in this issue which raises the question have the events of House of M been undone with the resurrection protocols on Krakoa? This story hits a lot of nostalgia notes. But it does it in a way that services the story rather than just servicing the fans. You can never go too wrong when the plot revolves around a superhero apparel black market auction. I took particular joy in the way Kingpin kept popping up in the background of this setting. Like he wanted to be seen and conspicuous at the same time. A lot of the nostalgia hits comes from the items in the auction. Hitting upon some of Marvel’s greatest moments. Kubert’s art also plays a big role on plucking those big ‘ol nostalgia strings.  It is a big help that he drew these characters in his formative years as they were becoming household names. This issue has a big double page horizontal spread in it! How 90’s is that? But it looks amazing and yes it has Kingpin skulking in the background! The issue kicks off with a flashback to the old Team X days. The flashback is 3 pages of story and each page is a 16 panel grid. The second of these pages is a page of beauty and genius. Essentially the 16 panels make up a portrait of Sabretooth, but at the same time within a couple of the panels the story is going along. In nice bit of symmetry the last three pages are a flashback sequence. So again the 3 pages of 16  panel grids are utilized. I like the combination of old and new that Kubert is using in a story that is doing the same thing. The grid pages are a bold contrast to something like the big double page spread. Both styles show a range of technique and move the reader in different ways. Again I will have to end by apologizing for my complete bias for this story arc. But it is playing right into my sweet spot. It is pulling material from the Larry Hama and Marc Silvestri run, which is prime days of collecting Wolverine back issues. Team X. Check. Maverick. Check. Sabretooth. Check. Patch. Check. All true Wolverine fans remember the first time they saw him as Patch! I’m  particularly enjoying the fresh approach we are seeing to the dynamic between Wolverine and Maverick in their Team X days. I know I usually complain if a story arc goes more than five issues. But if this stays as consistent as this I would easily take ten. Hell I’d take a monthly ongoing! After the traditional big action last page splash I can not wait for #10!

Wolverine Black, White & Blood #3

Writers: John Ridley, Donny Cates & Jed MacKay | Artists: Jorge Fornes, Chris Bachalo & Jesus Saiz | Letters: Clayton Cowles

Hands down this is the strongest of the three issues in the series so far. What makes this issue stand out from the previous two is that each issue stands on their own, but also as part of a collection. Because each is so vastly different from each other they work really well in the anthology frame work. Kicking this third installment off is a story of Wolverine, Mariko and Amiko. Again like Wolverine #9 it is linking to my prime era of collecting with the use of these characters as well as Silver Samurai making an appearance. The structure of the story is brilliant effective for a short story. It is bam, bam, bam hitting the spots keeping things moving before the wrap up. No time or space is wasted by writer and artist in perfect sync. The tone of story and the art are a perfect combination. We see a side of Mariko we haven’t seen before and it got me thinking how her rebirth should have been such a bigger deal than it was. Scarlet Samurai was a great story line but the amount of deaths and rebirths in comics I have probably robbed her return being a big deal for both Wolverine and Wolverine fans. Not only is this story the best in the issue, it is the best in all three issues. It will be hard to top in next months finale. The second story sees Donny Cates playing to his strengths by have Cosmic Ghost Rider appear. He really acts as the main character, visiting Wolverine in ana almost Ghost of Christmas past capacity. The story has a real sense of run right down to the interaction between Wolverine And CGR. (Is this the first time they met)? To the gate crashing appearance of Juggernaut.The fun continues with the fact that the whole story is just a bar fight. The opening caption sets it up perfectly! You have to as the question is this the Wolverine vs Juggernaut bar fight from Wolverine #93 or another one? Cates is the fan fiction guy so it wouldn’t surprise me. Again the art and story are perfectly harmonized. However I don’t think Bachalo’s style s suited to this colour pallet. Some of his unique style wasn’t crystal clear at first glance. The last story is completely left fieldd but holds its own against the other two. On a personal level the art isn’t a style I would gravitate towards normally. But it really works for the setting of this story. I will give the art high praise for gruesome realism, especially on one wound Wolverine receives. This series is the perfect platform for a story like this. Where else will you get Wolverine teaming with Magik on Mars! Was anyone expecting Deaths Head to turn up at nay point in this series?! The dialogue between Wolverine the old timer who has seen it all and Magik the eternal teenager who gives no s*!t about most things is on point. As with every issue I know I’m not supposed to but I always question the time line of when the story takes place. I think it has been written so it appears Wolverine foreshadows the X-Men finding their own place with Krakoa. Even with the black, white and red colour pallet as with each issue you get a sense the artist has a specific reason for choosing whatever costume they choose for Wolverine. In this story it is outwardly addressed why he has chosen his old X-Force duds. I mean there is a costume that plays up to the colour pallet of the book. Next month brings the final issue in this limited series. With the bar set so high by the three issues on offer in this issue it will need to be a strong showing to out do this one and go out with a bang. The clock is ticking for next month!

 

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