01st Feb2023

Wolverine Wednesday #58

by Ian Wells

This week I bring you a review for the latest of The Beast Agenda in Wolverine #29 plus a retro review from Wolverine comics past. The reason for the retro review is that I missed a Wolverine comic this month! My credentials are slipping! I only found out on the day it came out that the one-shot Murderworld: Wolverine even existed. I contacted my LCS right away, unfortunately they didn’t have one to send out in the post but they’ve ordered me one for next month. So I booted up the random number generated and I was relatively happy with the issue it spat out.

Wolverine #29

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

When I do my reviews I always read the story straight through first time around. Then thumb through it a second time to make notes and a third time to make notes solely on art. On this second go around the issue brought up some interesting points. Firstly I believe I am right in saying this is the longest story arc within the series so far at four issues long and I think this is what affected my overall enjoyment of it. Of course, the nature of the story doesn’t allow for Percy to put a pin in it and revisit it later as he has done previously. Therefore it is a balancing act for him. We have had two issues of Wolverine slowly getting out of The Pit, could this have been shorter? But then if it is too short it makes the stakes feel lesser! While it isn’t a bad issue I do feel it would read better in one sitting with the previous issues or dare I say it; like it has been written for the trade collection. Another element that lends to this issue feeling better suited to being read in one hit is the speed at which the story moves, the story is 90% narration with two interludes to another plot point. We have had build up, build up, build up for three issues. Now we have one issue of what is essentially a Wolverine character study. It will be interesting to see if it wraps up next month or if it stretches to six issues. Because things move at such a rate of knots and the narration is so captivating, you could easily overlook the details of the art. That is not me saying it is bad art, I have made it clear every month how much I have enjoyed Ryp on this arc. To me, it feels like he read the script and immediately understood the pacing required and therefore he doesn’t want the art to slow the reader down to look at outlandish imagery. The nature of the story and pacing calls for lots of montage type pages and splash pages highlighting moments from Wolverine’s past. I am an easy mark for this sort of thing, always love to see artists doing their versions of classic moments. Ryp doing Weapon X, the death of Mariko and murdering Daken will never not be fun to me. One visual that runs through the issue and is even present on Leniel Yu’s cover is the Krakoan vines. Ryp uses them to divide up panels and it ties up wonderfully as the story builds to its climax. Again Ryp excels at all The Pit stuff, sadly though it seems that portion of the story seems to have ended. A mixed bag of an issue, but long-time Wolverine fans will definitely find something in the story and definitely more in the art. For newer fans, Percy does do some work in fleshing out the more horrific workings of The Pit even more than in the recent Sabretooth mini-series.

Wolverine #15 (1988)

Writer: Peter David | Artist: John Buscema | Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz | Colourist: Glynnis Oliver | Letters: Ken Bruzenak

This issue is cover dated Early November 1989. It is the fifth part of the Gehenna Stone Affair titled ‘Homecoming,’ so it will be interesting how accessible it is as an issue and whether it passes the Jim Shooter test. I feel this issue does a very good job of recapping this particular arc. But it doesn’t recap larger parts of continuity, there is no narration catching the reader up with Wolverine as a character. The first fight scene doesn’t work how his powers work into the narration for example, so on that front it fails the Jim Shooter test that every comic is someone’s first comic. Since the start of the Wolverine ongoing whilst in Madripoor he has been going by the name ‘Patch’ after the events of ‘Fall of The Mutants’ led the world to think the X-Men were dead. In this issue everyone reveals that they have always known Patch and Wolverine are one and the same. An editor’s note here and there would have helped a new reader understand that potential continuity black hole! A larger chunk of the story is a flashback to things that happen between panels and between this and the previous issue. For me, this disrupts the flow and made it a less enjoyable read. This issue shares some of the problems I had with the current #29. Reading it you can tell the previous four issues were all setup. There are a lot of characters and elements at play, so we get this issue of realisation from Wolverine about what is going on. Leaving one issue for resolution. At times I feel two issues of resolution would read better and allow the story to breathe more. I first read this whole arc in a trade paperback, back when I thought I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on early Wolverine issues in my hunting! I have always enjoyed the early pulp days of the Wolverine series, particularly here where it is blended with a horror B movie vibe. The opening splash page is worth the price of admission alone! It is just so beautiful and moody, I want it as a poster! I would also like to point out that the lettering for the credits is very Will Eisner in The Spirit. Whilst the issue is largely safe in its mainly six-panel pages, some might say a house style the fact Sienkiewicz is inking the legendary Buscema raises the bar. Buscema’s figures have great weight and movement to them. There is a story beat where a middle-aged, larger man is running behind the more athletic Jessica Drew and the differences in their gaits is very distinct, really putting the effort in rather than just seeing the script saying you have two people running. It is the same for fighting sequences, there is a half-page splash of Wolverine, Archie and O’Donnell squaring off in a brawl with some cops. The three of them all visually have different forces behind their fight stance. While not a very easily accessible issue, it is very fun and always a pleasure to revisit this era of Wolverines pulp-inspired past.


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