05th Jul2023

Wolverine Wednesday #63

by Ian Wells

Wolverine #34

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

Benjamin Percy and co. are really putting it all on the table with this story arc. This issue delivers across the board from cover to cover and we aren’t even into ‘Fall of X’ yet! Percy has a lot more Wolverine on the horizon, guiding this series and X-Force through the upcoming event and out the other side. He also has a Ghost Rider crossover coming up and the recently announced Predator/Wolverine mini-series. I’m here for it all and having enjoyed nearly all of his output so far I am not expecting any drop-off in quality. The last issue left us on an all-action cliffhanger and no time is wasted on throwing the reader into the thick of the action mere moments after last month’s final panel. There is a lot of cursing in this issue, of course it’s censored. I don’t mind it and it has been a constant throughout the run, just with the amount this time it did slow the reading experience. Maybe it is just me who gets stuck thinking of a different word each time! The James Bond, big budget blockbuster vibes continue as Wolverine, ably assisted by my boy Maverick go on a sightseeing tour from the North Atlantic, to Norway and the Faroe Islands. Each location comes complete with a very distinct set of panel layouts and colours. The pages where Wolverine and Maverick are blown into the water are a deep blue. This serves a dual purpose as it makes the duo really pop off the page. At the same time though it highlights their isolation against Beast. Is it a coincidence they are isolated against a Beast-blue background? Ryp displays a nice little trick on these pages also. When Wolverine and Maverick are in the water the white panel boarders have jagged edges and are and an assortment of angles, mimicking the waves. Then as they find dry land again the borders become solid and more uniform. Later in the issue we get a great colour contrast in a sequence where Beast tries to talk it out with Wolverine. Again this is a scene that lends itself to James Bond comparison as it takes place over a lavish Lobster dinner, although Beast doesn’t devour it with the demeanour of Blofeld. D’Armata’s colours really play a part here. As the red of the lobster as Beast smashes into it provides some foreshadowing of how he plans to deal with Wolverine come the story’s conclusion. If Percy’s writing brings the action, Maverick’s is very much the exclamation point. I get the impression Ryp is having fun with his inclusion too. He gives him a speed boat with lots of missiles and rather fittingly he outfits him with a very Rob Liefeld looking 90’s gun! One thing about this issue that really annoyed me was there is a part where Beast sends Wolverine a hologram message like Leia in Star Wars. But the contents of the message are relegated to a text page, robbing us of a cool visual! This issue doesn’t deliver the same high octane cliffhanger of the previous one. It is more of a “oh sh!t, this is going to be important down the line” kind of cliffhanger. It very much feels like we are finally in the endgame now and I can not wait to see how it all comes to an end.

X-23: Deadly Regenesis #4

Writer: Erica Schultz | Artist: Edgar Salazar | Colourist: Carlos Lopez | Letters: Cory Petit

This issue does mark an upturn in the quality of the story and personally of my enjoyment. For me, the use of flashbacks continues to be the driving force in this series and without them it would definitely be weaker content. Whilst the flashback sequences aren’t the dominating factor of the story and aren’t even groundbreaking moments they do allow the story to flow better as they offer up moments of symmetry in the present part of the story. Part of what makes the flashbacks really resonate with me is the big nostalgia hits they give me. This time around we get a small sequence of Laura and Logan bonding during a mission. Again it’s brief but it’s meaningful, as it reminds the reader of other issues where they have teamed up and of course the brilliant dynamic they have in the movie Logan. Then Salazar hots us with an excellent half-page splash of the Yost/Kyle/Crain era X-Force. That era is what made me reconnect with X-23 after only having read ‘Innocence Lost’ years before. And I think that this is a benefit of having a series like this that is retrospectively slotted into existing continuity. It provides a new puzzle piece for new and old readers and therefore creates bigger scope. One last point on the flashbacks, in this issue which isn’t really action heavy they provide some room for breathing between all the talking. Kimura talks X-23 through her master plan so this issue very much has the feel of the calm before the storm. Kimura’s plan and delivery don’t quite rank with the machinations of Beast over in Wolverine but that seems an unfair comparison as it has been building over a number of issues now. With Kimura long-term fans would think they know her motivations so to see a retcon will either prove a good story or not at the end of the day. There are a few close-up panels of Kimura where she reminds me of someone and I can’t place her and it’s annoying me! It would be interesting to know if Salazar had someone in mind or if my mind is playing tricks on me. Salazar again serves up an array of expressive facial expressions. As well as displaying some great cartooning for background acting if you will. Also in this issue, there is some good work with silhouettes. Another thing I liked, that I saw a few times in this issue is when there is a close-up of Kimura for example, in the extreme foreground he had X-23 clawed fist, this worked well in creating drama, putting you in Laura’s POV. I just wanted to mention the cover before wrapping things up. Kalman Andrasofszky has provided covers on all the issues so far, but this has definitely been the strongest. Apart from being just a kick-ass image, it provides some foreboding of things to come. It is the best Haymaker has looked and actually makes him look a decent character. Perhaps that is why he felt this issue was stronger, he wasn’t in it! As I mentionedm the story is picking up place and some pieces have fallen into place now. We are over the halfway mark now and I am now expecting an action-heavy conclusion over the remaining issues considering the draw for breath this time round.

Wheres Wolvie?

Your concise guide to Wolverine and Wolverine adjacent comics, hardcovers and TPB’s for July

  • Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 Facsimile Editions – Len Wein/Herb Trimpe
  • Marvel Age #1000 – Wolverine (Laura)/Sabretooth Variant Cover Appearance (Greg Land)
  • New Avengers Modern Era Epic Collection TPB Vol.1 – Brian Bendis/David Finch
  • Wolverine #35  – Benjamin Percy/Juan Jose Ryp
  • X-23: Deadly Regenesis #5 -Erica Schultz/Edgar Salazar
  • X-Force #42 – Benjamin Percy/Paul Davidson

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