09th Jun2021

Wolverine Wednesday #44

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #12

Writer: Benamin Percy | Artist: Scot Eaton | Inker: JP Mayer | Colourist: Matthew Wilson | Letters: Cory Petit

Unfortunately this issue brings the current story arc to a climax in much the same fashion as the previous story arc. Lots of good set up, with well balanced action and consequence and then a final installment which falls rather flat and is over rather quickly. This in itself raises an interesting dilemma. A dilemma I think the current Wolverine ongoing series is perfectly set up to tackle…

I once saw online a famous comics writer put forward the idea that comics should only be reviewed once a story arc was complete. I largely disagree with this as comics are brought on a monthly basis the creative teams need to sell readers new and old on an issue by issue basis. Good single issues are sold by word of mouth. Especially in the age of social media. So how is Percy tackling this? Well we are now 12 issues in and the structure of story arcs is very fluid. It is a fluidity that lends itself both to the modern angle of writing for the trade, while also be accessible to new readers with shorter arcs. The arcs also play to a longer game. It may seem impossible to cater all three of those aspects, especially in mainstream comics, but some how Percy is doing it. The story ends with the caption “To Be Continued” but solicitations show next issue we are off to the Krakoa Gala and in #14 a new story arc begins. It is good in one way that you can have a shorter story with some sort of conclusion like we got here, but you know the story is going to go bigger further down the line. Percy also has the possibilities to expand stories in the pages of X-Force but it hasn’t happened yet.

Maybe reading the solicitations is clouding my judgement on reviewing an issue on its on merit. Especially if I know what is coming next month, the conclusion of the story becomes sort of inconsequential. You get the impression the way this issue wraps up that when the story arc does return in the future there may be a shift in focus, especially when it comes to the antagonist. A lot of this issue deals with how Wolverine is going to find a solution to Louise’s little problem we discovered last month. This includes a nice cameo from Forge in a night in shining armour role. Using the tech of Krakoa to tackle the problem. Percy sets up an angle for The Nightguard which could have potential further down the line.

I think readers are going to have to start having a shot whenever a character says something along the lines of “Seeing as X-Force is Krakoa’s CIA…” I swear it is always Beast! If you see him on a page shot glasses at the ready! My biggest complaint with this issue is, if it isn’t clear enough already, it all revolves around the conclusion. It all feels a little rushed. Think of it as like a scene in an Ocean’s 11 style movie. The action is being described as it unfolds and then blink and you miss it, it’s all over. Perhaps the fact that what I took away from it was that a lot of the ‘science’ behind the grand plan was explained in the text pages. As you all know I gave up on reading them way back. Perhaps you should take a shot every time I mention that too! Scot Eaton on art is the consistent factor in these two issues. Whilst in the last issue I felt he was perhaps trying to roughly emulate Kubert to keep a consistency for readers between arcs, in this issue he is definitely looser. There is certainly less hatching and noodling, especially around the masks on close ups. More noticeable in this issue is the tone of Wolverine’s costume. Bearing in mind it is meant to be the tan and brown version is does tend to look more yellow. Again the artists involved effortlessly flick between the horror and superhero elements of the stories. Kubert does provide a brilliant cover with Weapon X undertones which is always a good thing. These theme’s are continued in the story by Eaton.

While I have presented mainly negatives around this issue there is still plenty to enjoy. One good thing about these short, sharp story arcs is that we are not getting bogged down in continuity. Each arc is relatively new reader friendly. For example if you want to see Wolverine vs Dracula you don’t need all of the previous eleven issues. With a few more shifts on the horizon for the wider picture of the X-Men universe it will be interesting to see how Percy tackles it and if this fluid approach to story arcs continues.

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