14th Oct2020

Wolverine Wednesday #37

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #4

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic | Colourist: Matthew Wilson | Letters: Cory Petit

When I first read this issue I found it a pretty solid read. But when it came to doing the review and I was flipping through it, it raised a few questions and is a tad confusing. Basically the issue picks up the second of the stories started in the double sized first issue. However the opening pages show Wolverine debriefing with the ‘X big wigs’ after the mission in the previous issue. Maybe there is some bridging material within the pages of X-Force also penned by Percy. Or maybe I am over thinking everything. To me it is comics 101. The story within each issue can be part of a larger story but it has to be more clear cut. The timelines are a little off. That said the opening pages are a very fun interaction between Wolverine and Magneto. There is some talk of Wolverine not being 100% behind the idea of the X-Men as a nation, again I think I will need to dip into X-Force for the bigger picture. As solid a read as it was there was a brief moment when I felt I had read this story before. Wolverine hoodwinked by a gang of strangers who it turns out have all been affected by the X-Men’s actions. As the main bulk of the story unfolded there was enough going on to make it different. There was a nice little call back to Cullen Bunn’s time on the Wolverine Weapon X series a few years back now. The best part about this issue was seeing Omega Red back to his menacing best. There was a story arc in Weapon X last year or the year before where I really didn’t like the way he was depicted. Here he is back to what makes him such a formidable foe. Omega Red is the type of character where he should lead with his actions not his words. Obviously with comics there need to be some words but he doesn’t need to be all talky talky. The way others talk about him can build the tension and fear. The way he is introduced in this issue brilliantly plays to this philosophy. With the art Bogdanovic is more than capable of following Kubert from the previous issues. The legendary Kubert does provide the cool cover which book ends with the climax of the issue very well, rather than just being  pretty picture! At times he displays a very sketchy style which works well for pages with multiple characters talking back and forth, like with the introduction of the gang of strangers. As the actions ramps up the art takes on what I can only describe as a more solid style. This makes for a visually appealing contrast in styles for action and talking pages. This contrast is backed up by the colour work of Wilson who provides a distinct change in pallets for the warmth and brightness of indoors for the dark and cold of the North. Quick update I have decided against reading the text pages. Take me out of the moment too much and never go back to them. Hopefully after the first year of this new status quo they go away!

Wolverine #5

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic | Colourist: Matthew Wilson | Letters: Cory Petit

Again another solid issue. The only draw back being Omega Red is absent. He served his purpose in the previous issue. Now Wolverine faces off against Dracula. I am always a little skeptical of Wolverine and Vampire stories. But new era and a writer I have enjoyed so far so why not approach it with an open mind. By having this approach I was greatly rewarded! Percy brings whole new angles to the Wolverine Vs Vampire story. The little details set it apart from previous stories that have used this trope. Simple things like why they want his blood and how they use it is different from before. There is a rogue trio of teen vampires who bring a nice quirky element to the story. One of them does swear a lot. Of course it is all censored out so I found myself taking longer to navigate the censorship and put in my own words! This issue moves at a rip roaring pace and strikes the perfect balance between action and set up. Also it is looking like another short story arc. However the motivations of Dracula aren’t 100% front and centre. Perhaps there was some connective tissue way back in the set up in #1. Perhaps there is some explanation in the text pages. Quick Update still not reading these! The issue is the winning blend of old school Wolverine heroics and aptly for the time of the year straight up horror. There is something about Wolverine teaming up with a band of younger rag tag loners that works pretty much every time. Again on art duties Bogdanovic and Wilson are going stride for stride. The issue opens with a great splash page of Wolverine in peril. Real whites of the eyes stuff. I also really like the stretchy silhouettes in the background, adding to the horror vibes. Again we get the white/blue hues for the outdoor scenes. With the action passing in front of these coloured backgrounds everything pops. In this issue we get a third setting of city life. This is depicted in a softer more detailed style, again with a distinct pallet of colours. The designs for the vampires are straight out of Hellboy or the Blade movies, very visually appealing. Whenever they are on a page the eye is drawn to them and they have a presence really playing up the horror vibes. In conclusion this is good stuff, a fresh approach to a story tried a dozen times before. I stated it looks like this is going to be another short story arc as all the pieces are moving into place at a good pace. However there is now a stumbling block in its path. A pretty huge stumbling block in the shape of the X-Men line wide cross over X of Swords. I’m not a big cross over fan. I will just read the two issues of Wolverine that it crosses through and get the gist of the story from social media. The last two pages of this issue are a small set up to X of Swords and I have to admit I am very intrigued how a certain element of the set up plays into the story and the event as a whole.

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Lastly this month I picked up the Giant Size X-Men #1 Tribute to Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. This one shot is more than a mere reprint of one of comics most famous issues. It is that story as originally told but with a plethora of different artists providing one page each. The story kicks off with Alex Ross’  homage to Gil Kane’s famous cover. Other artist include Juann Cabal, Ramon Rosanas and Rahzzah who have all worked on Wolverine related comics in the last few years. Current X-Men superstars R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz as well as industry heavy hitters Chris Samnee and Leinil Yu. The pages that first introduced Wolverine to the pages of X-Men when Xavier is rounding up his new recruits are provided by Siya Oum, Stephan Segovia and Rain Beredo. This issue is well worth X-Men completists picking up for its reasonable price. I suggest striking quick before the eBay vultures begin cranking up the prices, especially for the variant covers.

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