05th Jun2019

Wolverine Wednesday #26

by Ian Wells


Hulkverines #1-#3

Writer: Greg Pak | Artists: Ario Anindito & Guiu Vilanova | Colourists: Morry Hollowell & Andrew Crossley | Letters: Joe Caramagna

The first issue is a dense but exciting read. I say dense because it packs alot into the opening and it has to as it is setting up a story only three issue in length. Coming to this from Weapon X, which was also penned by Greg Pak I thought it would be accessible and to a degree it is. But at the same time it makes a lot of references to Weapon H and Immortal Hulk. So I am assuming accessibility comes from a readers enjoyment of one or more of those three series. What it may lack in new reader friendliness it makes up for in levels of fun. There is a subtle Incredible Hulk #181 homage cover to get the ball rolling. I also like the proclamation on the cover, under the title. “C’mon you know you love it.” One element I did really like seeing was the return of ‘Wandering Banner.’ A trope that went out of Hulk comics years ago after it reached its popularity during the Bill Bixby TV series. Some of the events of issue one are a touch circumstantial, particuarly when Wolverine shows up at the end. But like I said a lot has to be crammed in so that in the next two issues we can sit back and enjoy the ride. After issue ones last page reveal it didn’t occur to me till half way through the second issue where this falls chronologically in regards to Wolverine The Return and the events in Uncanny X-Men? Then I decided that was a can of worms I didn’t want to open. Issue two very much feels like a love letter to the old Marvel Team Ups and early crossovers. Here it is magnified as a three way play as the three characters invovled all share powers and abilities. As well as the three protagonists, we have two antagonists Dr. Alba from Weapon X and classic Hulk villain The Leader teaming up. If this was a movie they would be chewing the scenery levels of villainy in thier nefarious schemes. While the first issue was well plotted and moved at a good pace. And the second was a brilliant homage to Marvel comics of yesteryear, the final issue felt a little rushed. The best laid plans of nefarious duo Alba and Sterns seem to reach a quick climax before facing a complete turnaround. As a story this works a nice little coda to both Weapon X and Weapon H. In all it is an entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It ends rather perfectly with Logan and Banner going into a bar, for them it is just another chapter in Hulk/Wolverine. Even more perfect is the ending for our new favourite scene stealers Dr. Alba and The Leader. It is an ending that very much plays into the fun element than ran through this story. Art wise I have no complaints with this series. Even with Anindito doing issues one and three, with Vilanova on the second it wasn’t a massive shift in styles that it detracted from the story. If anything it worked in its favour. Because the second issue is like an old Team Up comic and it features alot of characters explaining back story to other characters it is almost fitting that it is in another style because its like when you use a different artist for flashbacks. The art for the backstory section is different from the other two issues which are happening in the now. For a Wolverine or a Hulk fan this is well worth picking up. Not sure when the trade is available but the issues are widely available on eBay and you might even be able to purchase them as aset like I did. There should be at least one Wolverine vs Hulk story every two years!


X-23 #12

Writer: Mariko Tamaki | Artist: Diego Olortegui | Inker: Walden Wong | Colourist: Chris O’Halloran | Letters: Cory Petit

As an issue that completes the story started last month it is a solid read, but as a series finale it falls a little flat. It feels like Tamaki has had this ending forced upon here, whether its due to sales or the upcoming X-titles reboot would just be specualtion from me. So it gives the issue the feel of making the best of a bad situation. It is Tamaki wrapping up her story arc after two issues, wrapping up her over arcing narrative to X-23 and saying goodbye to the characters and fans all at the same time. It is a shame the series has had to come to an end as Tamaki was hitting a good stride. She was delivering a great blend of intriging plots, well paced action and humour, all of which is highlighted in this issue. When you read Laura and Gabby under Tamaki’s writing they come across like real sisters. The dialogue is on point, even to the extent they have sisterly arguments during action sequences. Coupled with Olortegui’s cartoony style there are some priceless facial expressions subtely exchanged too. Laura and Gabby’s relationship actually carries some emotional baggage now and the issue starts with a heart wrecnhing moment for Laura picking up from the events of the previous issue. It is such a well delivered moment it actually stopped me in my tracks briefly. There is also another pull at the heart strings moment later in the book. It is a moment that shows how much Gabby has eovolved as a character and shows potential for how much more she can grow outside of just being a fun sidekick. I like how by the issues end the arguing is in the past and they can move on without saying a word, its a silent sister bond perfectly delivered on the page. You know its a silent bond because of good writing. Once again Olortegui brings his A game. I’m all aboard any action sequence that takes place on a train (pun fully intended). As well as the action going on around our protagnists you actually get a feel for the train moving at speed too. I have just felt the whole time absorbing Olortegui’s art that TinTin has to have had an influence on him somewhere down the line. Its just little moments in action sequences that give me this inclination. Coupled with the inks and colours even when the story takes on a serious tone or is in deep action the colours are always bright and eye catching. Adding to the adrenaline of the action sequences. Olortegui really knows how to pace an action sequence through a variety of panel layouts, whether they are lots of small panels or a two or three larger panels his action flows. I think I am going to miss the artwork must of all now this series has reached its end. That is not to say Tamaki has been phoning it in. I have state previously how the series has gone from strength to strenght and I could only see it getting better. She had strong ideas and like I said she was moving Gabby out of sidekick terriotry I would have been fun if it could have stayed around a little longer to see this developments flourish.

I would reccomend the trade paperbacks for anyone looking for a solid action/mutant stories, particuarly if you are looking for a story with strong female leads as well. The latter half of the series is definetly the strongest. At this stage who knows what the future holds for Laura and Gabby. I said last month I would love to see a Gabby miniseries or one shot. But with the changes coming to the X-titles on the horizon that seems further away than ever. The end of this issue would play perfectly into one but with Hickman calling all the shots on all things X next year I can’t see anyone doing anything with her. I also mentioned how I feel some time in Uncanny would be good for Laura, again Hickman holds the all the cards. Perhaps X-23 is a charatcer who will be better suited to miniseries every year or so. Like Claremont intended for Wolverine back in the day. In my opinion X-23was at her strongest in X-Force and Avengers Arena where she built up sort of like cult followings enough to finally give her some solo success. I still think there is a future where Wolverine and X-23 share a series. Just make it the new Wolverine ongoing. Arcs could alternate, they can drop in and out of each others arcs, there would still be a platform for Gabby as well that way. But I’m just a fan I’m not master Hickman what do I know about shaping the X-Men line of comics?


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