13th Jan2021

Wolverine Wednesday #40

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #8

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artists: Adam Kubert & Viktor Bogdanovic | Colourists: Antonio Fabela & Matthew Wilson | Letters: Cory Petit

I actually really enjoyed this issue despite it not delivering on the cover image. As a sidenote, the cover must be the first time Adam Kubert has drawn Maverick since the 90’s and he looks amazing! The mask doesn’t look a joke no more as he steals all the limelight from the titular star. The pace and tone of the story made for a nice change after all the fanfare of X of Swords. This is the 350th issue of all incarnations of Wolverine as an ongoing series. Apart from being a double sized issue it doesn’t really mark the fact. The issue is split into two stories with the first being called a prologue. It is a ten page prologue but really it just works as an extended opening to the second story. I think by not marking the milestone of the issue works in its favour as Percy can expand the opening to a new arc with more pages to play with. The strong prologue is Logan and Agent Bannister swapping war stories. Like the scene in Jaws but more mental scars than physical. Basically this opening sets the espionage thriller tone that continues through the issue and I am hoping remains strong through the arc. There is a great two page sequence where Logan’s narration is telling one story and the visuals are telling another. The panels still track and read as a story without the dialogue. The main bulk of the story is then dedicated to Wolverine being on the trail of his old buddy Maverick. The whys and whats of it all are left rather vague. As a espionage thriller fan I really enjoyed the greyness of the story. Down is up, left is right and all that spycraft misdirection. Percy uses the tried and trusted ‘superhero tech/memorabillia auction’ to set the wheels in motion. It is a good gimmick, but hopefull the rest of the arc doesn’t hinge on it too much. It just needs to be a setting nothing more really. With the cover and solicitations we know Maverick is coming back. So with that in mind Percy does such a wonderful job of ramping up the tension, the thrill of the chase and painting Maverick as a bad ass! There is a lot going on in this issue. It has the tricky job of picking up from issues 4 and 5 having had X of Swords in between. Largely it works thought it isn’t 100% how I remember things ending. Perhaps Omega Red’s presence on Krakoa was dealt with in X-Force? Him being on Krakoa does lead to a confrontation with Daken, Gabby and Logan. Always good to see Gabby. I like the use of panel layouts on the three pge confrontation. It has dialogue but again like the pages in the prologue it would very easily track without them. The panels per page add to a real time sense of how the events unfold. Both colourists do amazing job switching pallets between locales. Fabela has a bit more to do and it is good work for Island life, labratories and the setting for the final showdown all have very distinct colours. I am assuming everyone saw the last page reveal online so I won’t mention it here. I will say it goes hand in hand with the tone of the story. Also the prologue left a little plot thread that could be picked up anytime in the future. My resolution for 2021 is to completely ignore all text pages and I won’t ever mention them in this blog again. If you couldn’t tell I really enjoyed this story. But then again I am a massive Maverick fan and 100% bias.

Wolverine Black, White and Blood #2

Writers: Vita Ayala, Saladin Ahmed & Chris Claremont | Artists: Greg Land, Kev Walker & Salvador Larroca | Colourist: Frank D’Armata | Letters: Clayton Cowles

Three more solid stories on offer without breaking the mold for what makes a good Wolverine story. There are few things in comics that never getting boring and Wolverine facing off against Sabretooth is one of them. Especially when the creative team is not dictated to by the contraints of continuity. It is just breeze in, do you X amount of pages and breeze out. Greg Land gets a lot of bad press for his art style. There is actually some good story on show for a change. Good use of panel layouts to dictate the pace of the fight, as well as making it more dynamic by haivng the action move diagonally. His Sabretooth is a little sketchy and not very detailed compare to Wolverine who we get in his civvies and in his costume. For ten pages the story delivers everyting you want from the two great foes duking it out and a nice little mic drop at the end. The second story by Ahmed and Walker is by far the strongest. Walker’s Wolverine is on point. In the black and white format he still makes it clear it is the brown and tan costume. Having Arcade makes it the must fun out the three and his inclusion as the villain allows more to be done with the flashes of red, other than just blood. Great visualy story telling, a story set in  year X of Wolverines life is firmly planted in 2020 with Arcade having like a blood lust meter to handicap Wolverine. Again a nice twist ending. Lastly we have X-Men heavyweights Claremont and Larroca. They play to their respective strenghts by having it take place in Madripoor and teams Wolverine with Kitty. All in all though the story falls flat for me. They are pitted against some lacklusture, nondescipt anime style villains. I have reread it three times now and there is  major plot hole in why their powers aren’t working! What has made Wolverine Black, White and Blood work so far is the remit to just tell a kick ass Wolverine story. Claremont being the X-book encyclopedia he is can not resist tying it to continuity. Even if it is a continuity he etablished it does take away the enjoyment, pop flick nature the other stories had. I don’t like Larroca’s depiction of Kitty. I don’t know if it is because she reminds me of some I can’t put my finger on or it is becuae I just flat out dislike the way he has drawn her! Solid enough issue. Not as strong as the first issue. But that is the problem with anthologies, you have to takw the rough with the smooth. Going in Ayala and Ahmed were completely new to me but there was enough here I will look out for their names in the future. Same for Walker who I have heard of, but will check out more of his work based on this issue.

 

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