08th Dec2021

Wolverine Wednesday #48

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #17 – #18

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artists: Lan Medina & Paco Diaz | Inker: Cam Smith | Colourists: Java Tartglia & Dijjo Lima | Letters: Cory Petit

These two issues are a brilliant romp through the espionage flavour of the X-Men world that Benjamin Percy has been shaping in the pages of Wolverine in recent months. The two part story is a colourful journey that takes the reader from the lightheartedness of karaoke night at The Green Lagoon, through the grey tones of mutant espionage and the depths friends and enemies a like will go to for the ‘greater good.’ As well as all that Percy hits us with some stops and homages on some of cinemas greatest spy movie moments. Jeff Bannister has been a great addition. A cross between ‘The Dude’ and Jason Bourne. He leads both issues with a strong internal monologue. I know I have been saying it a lot but I feel I need to dip back into X-Force. Does Bannister play a role with his CIA connections there? Right there is something I need to address before going any further. No not the text pages! I know I have been singing the praises of Maverick and have been very happy to have him back in the pages of Wolverine in recent months. But in these two issues he is an a$$hole! A huge one! I don’t just mean the way he acts in the story and the decisions and actions he takes. Spoiler alert… Him joining in with the karaoke is a million miles away from the brooding mercenary of the 90’s. I have to admit though I do miss the costume. If you are going to have him back, have him back! I did find it funny in #17 when he wore his mask diving, with a diving mask over the top. Adam Kubert takes a two issue break. Lan Medina takes art duties on #17 and Paco Diaz on #18. I know Medina from an engrossing Deathlok series from 2010 and Diaz has past Wolverine experience on the digital first series ‘Japan’s Most Wanted.’ It speaks volumes to both of them that they not only fit seamlessly with what Kubert was doing in previous issues but also fit with each other in consecutive fill in issues. The only note I would make is that perhaps the pair don’t have the same experimental panel layouts that Kubert has been dazzling with throughout this series. Adam Kubert does provide us with two very opposing covers. #17 presents the duel heads of Wolverine and Maverick almost in a sort of Ying and Yang layout. A nod perhaps to the tone of the story? Circles within circles, that kind of thing! #18 is Kubert in full pomp. A battle ravaged Wolverine stands ready to go again! Perhaps the biggest news coming from the recent buzz around X Lives/X Deaths of Wolverine is that Kubert will not be joining Percy on that series after the success and synergy they have created on these 20 odd issues. Josh Cassara who works with Percy on X-Force is taking the reigns on that one and personally I am looking forward to it. I have seen a lot of his stuff and he is more than ample of providing kick ass Wolverine in the footsteps of a legend like Kubert. My only criticism of this two issue story arc is that it comes to a rather light hearted conclusion, which kind of rubs against the overall tone of the story. On another day this wouldn’t have been such a negative from me. But with X Lives/X Deaths (XL/XD from here on in I think) on the horizon and dominating the Wolverine landscape for the next few months I would have liked more of a definitive conclusion. It has already been teased that Wolverine and The X-Men as a whole will be turned upside down by this event. So does Maverick factor in afterwards? The same for Jeff Bannister? In true Wolverine fashion we are getting more questions with every answers. I am heavily assuming #19 is the last and expecting a new #1 some time after XL/XD wraps. With The X-Men turned upside down too what happens to X-Force? I will definitely need to catch up before and if it is ending and restarting!

Talking of what the future holds let’s talk Wolverine Wednesday’s in 2022. My schedule for this supposed monthly column has been up and down in recent years. Of course we know what the biggest effect was. There was a time in 2020 when I was just happy to be reviewing comics again no matter how sporadic. The post has been another major effect. I was hoping to have received two more issues before this went live, but it wasn’t to be. Those were X-Men Legends #8 and #9. This was a series I totally slept on and missed #7 too and it now seems to be a stupid price online! For those who also slept on the X-Men Legends series the premise is iconic writers returning to characters they shaped in the past to tell a story that seamlessly fits into their original continuity. The three Wolverine centric issues sees Larry Hama returning piting our hero and Jubilee against Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red. Hopefully I will have all three issues to review in the new year. Post deliveries pending it could be a bumper start to the new year with XL/XD being a weekly series, so there will be four issues already by the end of January. On the subject of revisiting past Wolverine stories I have come with a way to fill months when outside sources influence what I can write about. Going back to the original Wolverine series I will draw a issue at random and give it a review. I am going to skip the first mini series, as that as been reviewed to death and just jump straight into the first ongoing series that began in November 1988 and ran 189 issues until June 2003. I will not be counting when new volumes returned to the original number. What spurred the idea for this and will also make a great Christmas gift for the Wolverine fan in your life is the ‘Offical Index to The Marvel Universe: Wolverine’ I was flicking through my copy and it got me nostalgic for the old comics. Just looking at the covers most of the time I can immediately recall the story within, as well as where I brought it. It will be fun to revisit the ones I don’t remember so well and even the ones I remember hating when I first read them.

 

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