20th Dec2023

Wolverine Wednesday #68

by Ian Wells

Predator vs Wolverine #3

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artists: Ken Lashley/Hayden Sherman/Kei Zama | Colourists: Juan Fernandez/Alex Guimaraes | Letters: Cory Petit

So far this series has not missed a beat. Providing action packed entertainment whilst flirting around the edges of Wolverines extensive existing continuity. I was interested to see if this issue could keep up that consistent run as it ties closely to such n important moment from Wolverine’s past; that being the Weapon X experiment. The Wednesday Warrior in me wasn’t entirely comfortable with this story weaving into the timeline of the classic story arc. We get a combined five pages bookending the Weapon X stuff and I think this goes a long way to the issue not depending on that completely. If you ignore the nagging question of when this would actually occur during the experiment and enjoy it for what it is this is very fun, if slightly hokey. Percy does provide some nice story beats that add to the Wolverine mythos. He is also able to dance around those questions of continuity by hiding it behind Wolverine’s memory and Government red tape, so he does get kudos for that. I liked the addition of Predator wanting Wolverine as a trophy now he has seen him with his new shiny Adamantium skeleton. The entire flashback sequence and the present day part of the story is told all with narration, how many times have I stated how Percy is up there with the best when it comes to writing in Wolverine’s voice? Well this issue adds one more notch to the tally! Hayden Sherman takes over art chores for the Weapon X portion of the issue. This is my first exposure to him as an artist. Whether 15 pages are enough to judge an artist, I can say I liked what I saw. In the context of him drawing Wolverine in this particular era I can say it feels like he is remaining true to his style whilst homaging the work of Barry Windsor Smith from the Weapon X story. Sherman obviously has a much animated style to Smith and this plays perfectly into the more light hearted nature of the story and it works really well. As I said a lot of the story is narration, but Sherman is also doing a lot of the heavy lifting with visual story telling. One element I really like is how he cuts from big panels, down to smaller ones to highlight a smaller action that would have been lost in a bigger image. Guimaraes joins Sherman on colours and again it is a case of his choice of palette be reminiscent of the Weapon X story whilst not being an exact replica. Where it stands out most is on the last page of the flashback where we see Wolverine in the famous Weapon X helmet. The blue of the background really allow the red of the visor and the blood on the claws to pop. There is some significance to the helmet as Percy ties it into the Predator. Before the issue ends we get another era of Wolverine’s past. This time he is training with Muramasa in the art of sword fighting. Again the Wednesday Warrior in me would actually place this era as actually being before the Weapon X programme but I could be wrong! Art is by Kei Zama and to me it has a very anime vibe to it. It may just be the timing but to me the art and colour has a very Blue Eye Samurai vibe. As the two are training I like how they flow through the page, moving between and overlapping panels. This part of the story doesn’t really add much to the issue, again it is merely set up for the next issue. I was disappointed to discover that this is a four issue series so it will be interesting to see how things work out with regards to flashbacks and the present in one remaining issue. Another entertaining issue, pretty solid without reinventing the wheel. When I say it is a little hokey I mean it as a compliment. Not everything in an issue has to matter and if Percy has to go a little Silver Age style to tell his story I’m all for it.

Wolverine #39

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

Wolverine continues his whirlwind tour around the Marvel Universe, this time stopping off in the grimier side of Wakanda. This issue more than the previous two firmly cements my belief that Percy is telling the story he wants to tell, slapping the ‘Fall of X’ banner on it and not really caring how much it ties in, if it ties in at all. I 100% back this approach, it feels like ‘Fall of X’ has been going on half the year! This issue delivers action and intrigue and more importantly does it all in one issue. One thing I want to bring attention to is Percy carrying on the Stan Lee ethos of ‘one universe.’ Obvious with the recent Ghost Rider crossover it was easy to establish both characters in the here and now as he is penning both series. But here it feels likea conscious decision by him to really connect this story with the current goings on in the Black Panther series. I like how the issue isn’t dependent on the team up with Black Panther as a selling point. He only appears at the half way point of the story and acts as nothing more than muscle for Wolverineas they thwart Orchis and some unsavory Wakandans. I can’t say if Birnin T’Chaka is a Percy creation or something established in the Black Panther series. What I can say is that it is a welcome addition to the Wakanda mythos. Wolverine describes it as being like Madripoor and it really is as simple as that to have something new added to the pages of Black Panther. Juan Jose Ryp was is perfect to draw the colourful world of Wakanda, especially with the seedy underbelly introduced in Birnin T’Chaka. All his character depictions are very unique and the facial expressions do a lot of story telling. The action continues to be dynamic with Wolverine and Black Panther fighting side by side. Panel layouts contribute to the flow of the action. With every page turn D’Armata brings a freshness to the colours as we switch from location to location. You can look at this issue from two perspectives. Firstly you could say it is a little light on telling a Wolverine story with consequences. On the other hand if like me you don’t want the series to get bogged down with the larger event this is perfect fodder. It is fun to see Percy write other Marvel characters and have them seamlessly flow into his story and depart. It is a page turner of action and I’m here for it, bring on the next team up!

Wheres Wolverine?

First up we have all of the Wolverine-centric comics on sale in January. The second part of the list are all the variants coming next month to celebrate 50 years of Wolverine. For these listings I have only stated the artist, rather than the whole creative team.

  • Fall of The House of X #1 – Gerry Duggan/Lucas Werneck
  • Rise of The Powers of X #1 – Kieron Gillen/R.B Silva
  • Wolverine #41-#42 (Sabretooth War Part 1) – Benjamin Percy/Victor Lavalle/Cory Smith/Geoff Shaw
  • X-Force #48 – Benjamin Percy/Robert Gill
  • Amazing Spider-Man #42 – Alex Saviuk
  • Avengers #9 – Pete Woods
  • Avengers INC. #5 – Todd Nauck
  • Black Panther # 8 – Dan Panosian
  • Blade #7 – Ema Lupacchino
  • Captain America #5 – Jim Rugg
  • Daredevil # 5 – David Marquez
  • Dead X-Men #1 – Kevin Eastman
  • Doctor Strange #1 – E.J. Su
  • Fantastic Four #16 – Chad Hardin
  • Immortal Thor #6 – Carlos Magno
  • Incredible Hulk #8 – Dustin Nguyen
  • Miguel O’Hara Spider-Man 2099 #1 – David Yardin
  • Miles Morales: Spider-Man #15 – Ken Lashley
  • Punisher #3 – TBA
  • Sensational She Hulk #4 – Dan Jurgens
  • Spider-Boy #3 – David Baldeon
  • Spider-Woman #3 – Corin Howell
  • Superior Spider-Man #3 – Betsy Cola
  • Venom #29 – Leinil Francis Yu
  • Wolverine #41 – Clayton Crain
  • X-Men #30 – Ethan Young
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