15th Nov2023

Wolverine Wednesday #67

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #38

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Juan Jose Ryp | Colourist: Frank D’Armata | Letters: Cory Petit

How many times can I open these reviews by saying how fun a read it is? Well, as long as Percy keeps delivering at this level I will have to keep saying it. I will be the first to admit that #37 left me unconvinced both in terms of the issue overall and the general direction the arc was taking. Maybe I judged too quickly after one issue and of course, I don’t envy writers who have a good thing going on having to work around a tie-in. But the execution of this issue completely won me over on the direction the story is moving. Modern comics are populated by writers who are over-complicating things. Percy is keeping an element of fun, whilst being able to move his story along without getting bogged down. The approach he is taking with having to tie into the ‘Fall of X’ event is masterful. As mentioned last time out I wasn’t 100% sure of the motivations of Wolverine for the issue. It became a little clearer here as it is Wolverine clearing up loose ends in the wake of the Orchis attacks. To some that may have been evident in #37 but as it turned out that was a stand-alone issue. And this is what won me over. In this issue we get another loose end, cleaned up with the aid of another team up! In this day and age it is a ballsy move to do a series of stand-alone issues which are under the umbrella of a larger event. Again repeating myself from last time out, it does feel like Percy doing fan fiction, perhaps that is an oversimplification. But he is certainly doing what he feels is the right way to approach this situation and it is certainly working for me. In this issue Wolverine teams with Captain America. There is always some sort of aura around a Wolverine/Cap team-up. Percy is aware of this and taps into it by making the comparison between what the pair saw the Nazis did, to what Orchis are doing. Naturally, the issue kicks off with Logan and Cap meeting in a bar and then from there everything moves pretty quickly. Even having time to squeeze in a flashback to their WWII days beautifully rendered by Ryp. I think the poses the two are in are very close to a panel from the famous Uncanny X-Men issue where they team up in Madripoor. I did find it odd Wolverine was never in his costume in the story, but as I came to write this I was questioning whether Percy and Ryp were paying homage to the X-Men animated series flashback episode? I’m going to put this out on social media and see if I get a reply. It is a testament to good writing that Percy was able to seamlessly weave Legacy House back into proceedings and have it work alongside the story of Orchis and the motivations of Wolverine. It is crazy to think that Percy has told such a variety of stories with only a handful of characters, he just knows when to rotate them in and out of the story. The inclusion of Legacy House allows Ryp to hit some nostalgia with the auction items. There were two panels of this particularly that reminded me of the old Osborne Puzzle books I used to read as a kid. Detailed pages where you have so many items crammed on a page and you have to pick out the items you need. I wanted to shout out D’Armata on colours in this issue, especially with the natural look all the lighting has. Night feels like night, stepping onto the lower decks of a ship feels exactly like they should with the changes between one and the other being as clear as night and day. Even Cap’s shield has a healthy glow, it draws the eye on the page. Again Ryp treats us to another of those full pages with multiple action across multiple levels. The ship setting is perfect for this as we see Cap disrupt the auction on the upper level, as Wolverine crashes through the the bottom of the hull. This was just pure uncomplicated fun. It wiped the slate clean from the mixed reception to the last issue. Like I said I salute Percy for giving us stand-alone issues within the confines of an X-Men event. What stands out most is that this issue can completely stand on its own. It has no connection to the previous, it has no strong connections to ‘Fall of X’ as a whole. It can be read and re-read just for what it is here in between the covers. Bringing characters in from other corners of the Marvel Universe is always a treat. It is something we haven’t really seen in this iteration of Wolverine. Doing it in stand-alone issues is a great way of going about it too. It’s not over doing it in multi-part stories, it’s just quick and well-told tasters. I am really looking forward now to the next issue.

Predator vs Wolverine #2

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artists: Ken Lashley, Andrea Di Vito & Hayden Shermen | Colourists: Juan Fernandez & Alex Guimaraes | Letters: Cory Petit

Dare I say it? Another fun issue from Mr. Benjamin Percy involving the best there is at what he does. Perhaps that is how I will have to start referring to Percy. He seems to play by three logics, that when combined together equal great storytelling. Pacing is king, respect for the source material and keeping it simple. He is not afraid to wave his geek credentials in the air. He is clearly a fan of Wolverine and Predator, it shines through on the page. But he never lets it get in the way of telling the story. A good example of this is when he chooses to homage the first Predator movie. We see Sabretooth unloading all the rounds of a huge Gatling gun till it’s empty. Kudos to Di Vito for executing it in two panels. Told with sound effects and no exposition to hit home that it is an homage. There is another good Sabretooth character moment when we see his ferocity being enough to take out a Predator. I would love to ask Percy how invested he was in Wolverine growing up and things like his favourite reads. He has such an understanding and respect for the character that he can tell this story and have it feel so natural, like it has always been a part of Wolverine’s past. You are never reading this and are taken out of the moment with a continuity question of theory. I liked the addition of two new Team X members, even if they were only there for collateral! I still get a kick out of all things Weapon X/Team X related that upon seeing these two I had the Star Wars effect. I needed to know their names and backstories! Seeing Professor Thornton out in the field was also a nice little touch and something we hadn’t seen before. One thing of note and it really is nitpicking, is that I found this issue didn’t flow between the timelines as well as the first. We had a very quick opening in the present, where we only see Predator in one panel, then straight into the jungle setting which took up the largest part of the issue. The finale felt more like a tease for the next issue rather than wrapping up this one. In hindsight, the first issue did have the benefit of being a larger page count so it could tell more story in each setting and stretch out more between them. I remember liking Di Vito’s art on X Lives/Deaths and while I don’t dislike it here it just isn’t completely grabbing me. I think part of it is that Team X by Jim Lee or Adam Kubert are so ingrained in my mind, as is the look of Predator from the first movie that I feel it is harder for an artist to put their own spin on it and sway me. I’m not going to get into lowering one to praise another but when there are two clearly distinct styles in one issue it’s only natural readers will have a preference. I am anticipating the art changes through the rest of the series now. I do like how the black Team X costumes really pop against the lush green jungle provided by Fernandez colours. Also, the effects of conveying the Predator’s cloaking is well presented. This is a well-constructed issue to build upon the solid foundation set out in the first issue. It moves along without a hitch and leaves things perfectly balanced for the next instalment.

Wolverine Is Turning 50

Yes, the big 50 is coming up and here on Wolverine Wednesday I will be marking the occasion throughout the year. Marvel is of course hitting us with a plethora of variant covers in January. I will have to see how I feel after Christmas before committing to buying any. I do really like the concept behind them though and it got me thinking about a gap in the market. I’m no expert but would an issue that reprints all the variant covers at the end of the month a) be in demand and b) be cost-effective? I personally think it would because I would buy one. It doesn’t have to be a big production, not a TPB or hardcover sized item. Just standard comic size, standard comic paper, all the covers. At this point I don’t want to commit to bi-monthly, but I would like to bring some extra Adamantium-laced content to 2024. At the moment I thinking of doing a deep dive on the all-important Hulk #180 and #181 and the history behind it. The focal point of the year would be a Top 50 countdown of the best Wolverine stories broken down into a number of categories. Nothing is set in stone yet but the make-up of the list would be along the lines of; 20 Wolverine stories from the volumes of the ongoing, 10 X-Men stories, 5 mini-series and so on. Other ideas include talking movies, cartoons and toys. So make Wolverine Wednesday a must-read for all things Wolverine in 2024. SNIKT!!


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