08th Jun2022

Wolverine Wednesday #53

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #21

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

Wolverine continues to reject Deadpool’s over enthusiastic X-Force audition. But as the pair find themselves at loggerheads the net is closing in on them, from one side comes Danger and from the other a double/double cross.

While I did have some personal ups and downs with the previous issue, it did have a great cliffhanger and in my opinion this issue didn’t capitalize on it. I think this in part was due to the non-linear storytelling approach. I am all for Deadpool in the Wolverine series, but maybe him leading the narration, scribbling over the credits page and having the text page from Weasel is all a bridge too far? The fact that Percy does address Deadpool’s more than central role via the fourth wall breaking perhaps indicates he has pushed it as far as he possibly can. For the conclusion of this arc I would like to see Wolverine lead the narration again, giving his perspective on the events of the last two issues and how he really feels about Deadpool. The story continues to centre on Deadpool wanting to join X-Force and Wolverine being 100% against it. I feel the balance of this argument is detracting from the ‘A’ plot. As always it is great to see Maverick. I like the little exchange he has with Deadpool, as he is unaware of recent developments with Maverick. It is an education in silent storytelling in how there is a silent pause as they part ways. I also like how Wolverine is asking Deadpool a lot of questions about how they have ended up in this situation. It is like he is taking on the role of the reader. There is one question in particular that drew a laugh and that was Wolverine asking if the whole thing was just a nostalgia trip. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying the antagonist in this story arc is Danger, the sentient version of the Danger Room, who first appeared back in Astonishing X-Men. That was my first and last exposure to the character and Wolverine quickly fills in a few blanks, again taking the role of the reader and asking “Weren’t they on our side last time?” The scene where Danger comes into the story is complete with a nostalgia trip of its own, by appearing in the Blackbird. This is one of the high points of the story from storytelling and artwork aspect. What really makes it stand out and play on the nostalgia is that the Blackbird only appears in shadow, but as a reader you immediately recognise what it is. You may even hear the animated theme tune in your head! Danger also comes armed with an army of Wolverine danger room ‘robots’ to do their bidding. Again it is a nostalgia hit as they are decked out in the yellow and blue costume as opposed to the brown and tan he has been wearing since Dawn of X. I fluctuate between which costume I prefer most so getting to see both is always a plus. Making it more of a plus is seeing Kubert art in the yellow and blue again. Something I noticed in this scene was the fact Kubert’s art appeared much more cartoony than it has through any point in this series and even at any time in his long career. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision to match the tone of the story or a time restraint thing. It only really came across as cartoony in some of the action sequences, especially with the Wolverine ‘bots’, so maybe it was a story decision as the rest of the book was the same tone as before. The art kept the theme of the last issue by opening up with circular panels. Circular panels to me always seem so ’90s so no complaints here! There is a sequence where Deadpool makes light of the amount of exposition, in this sequence Kubert does brilliantly to keep the pace of the action from getting the reading actually bogged down in the exposition. Then just for good measure, he follows it up with an explosive double-page splash. The cliffhanger at first was confusing, but then upon further examination it did leave a whole plethora of possibilities. While the issue did have highs and lows both in storytelling and art I don’t feel it clicked with me as a good follow up to last month’s issue.

Sabretooth #3

Writer: Victor LaValle | Artist: Leonard Kirk | Colourist: Rain Beredo | Letters: Cory Petit

Sabretooth is left stewing in Krakoan Hell. This has given him time to plot, which is a danger to island life. His pieces are moving into place, but is the game set to move against him.

Like Wolverine #21 this issue was also a weak follow up to a promising start to the series. In hindsight I did have the benefit of reading #1 and #2 in one sitting. You could ask if #2 would have been as strong had I read it a month after #1 or whether #3 would have felt stronger had I read it immediately after the first two issues? I know I said in my previous review of this series I wanted to see more of the supporting cast, but I have since changed my mind! They dominate the issue a little too much for my liking. While it is not a major problem as I understand these characters are important to Sabretooth’s grand scheme. The problem with it is we don’t learn enough about them to care at this point and also the set-up becomes a little too set in a formula as the characters make their way back to Krakoa and display a hint of anterior motives. In my opinion, by focusing too much on the supporting cast you miss out on what made this series interesting and that is Sabretooth at his sadistic best. These characters could be important, equally I wouldn’t complain if he tore them all limb from limb! This is only a 5 issues series from this point on I’m hoping for much more Sabretooth focus. Personally, the whole series could have revolved around the three persona’s of Sabretooth in hell, it is the most interesting part of the story. There is a whole Shutter Island vibe to this issue, especially with the prison break. However there are parts of Krakoa I don’t understand from reading this issue. Like am I wrong or are people just in normal houses? With Dawn of X it seemed all the creators went to great lengths to agree and produce an overriding aesthetic. So why don’t the houses follow this rule? Why aren’t they a mixture of Shir and Krakoan tech? The prison looks like a normal prison, even looking like Alcatraz in one scene. Although that is then confirmed to be in their mind’s eye. When I read it through once there was some confusion over how much of this is in the head stuff and how much is actual physical interaction between characters. With the art I don’t want to sound over-critical but nothing really stands out, which is a shame as good art can always lift an average story. Again the cover is the most dynamic part of the comic so again why not have the same artist on the interiors? The violence seemed toned down from the previous two issues and everything just seemed to lack a level of detail. On the highlights of the art there is a lovely choice of colours in one scene that really plays up the mind’s eye element of the story. When the characters have to visit Krakoa they all appear in a random form as they are banished to hell. Of these Madison Jeffries and Third Eye’s forms are the most visually appealing. I am really hoping this series gets back on track after this lacklustre issue. Seeing as there are only two to go it would be good to see Sabretooth really cut loose and with the way things panned out here it is a real possibility!

Seeing as I didn’t have too much to say about these two issues I thought I would fire up the random number generator and review a comic from Wolverine’s past and boy was the generator kind! I was hoping to do more of these this year but X Lives/Deaths kind of consumed a lot of time. As it stands Wolverine is down to a single title for the remainder of the year so hopefully this will become a more regular feature.

Wolverine #65

Writer: Larry Hama | Artist: Mark Texeria | Colourist: Marie Jevins | Letters: Pat Brosseau

This is a rather important issue under Hama’s reign. A lot had happened in the previous 10 or so issues leading up to this. The return of Weapon X, the death of both Mariko and Silver Fox and Logan learning about his false memories. What this issue does perfectly is take stop and take stock of all that, as well as lay the foundations for the upcoming story arc. Lastly it gives Logan a happy moment amongst all of the chaos and death. A lot of Hama’s run went into the animated series version of Wolverine which was my first exposure to him. So whenever I was picking up back issues and came across something I had previously seen in the animated series it was like hitting a landmark. This issue heavily features the cabin in the woods, with the tree engraved ‘Logan/Silver Fox.’ The happy moment is him finding out the cabin wasn’t a Weapon X memory implant. These implants would be central to a lot of Hama’s story arcs, especially around this period. The story opens with a good danger room sequence of Wolverine cutting loose on his own. An old Team X mission is mentioned a few times in this issue and the death of Terry Adams is going to take center stage going forward. God, I could sit and read that entire arc now! Jubilee is pretty much Wolverine’s full-time sidekick by this point in the comics and there is some brilliant character work for her as she shows a maturity the animated series version never did. Sticking with the animated series theme the cover is like looking at a scene from the show! With a cover date of January 1992 it must have been airing and Texeria makes full use of its popularity with his cover image. It would have popped on the LCS shelves of the ’90s. Texeira draws Logan very much in the Clint Eastwood mould and that is not going to get any complaints from me. He also gets top marks for good arm hair and good violence. I thought he actually stuck around longer than he did after taking over from Marc Silvestri who had gone to found Image. This issue ticks some of the Wolverine tropes that littered the ’90s like a good old fashioned bar fight! I really had a fun time revisiting this issue. When the number came up I roughly knew the period it was in but I had a nice surprise with how key it was as I got a quarter of the way through. Like I said earlier it is a good stop point in the series. If a new reader was picking it up it would give a real taste of what has been before and what is coming up.


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