Wolverine Week-44-in-Review: Giant-Size Jrpbsp-DiG Crossover

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… Due to a vacation, wedding and plenty of comics without much time, I am going to be doing shorter reviews for Wolverine’s appearances this week with no recaps. Next week, I will be out of the country but as soon as I get back, I will do full reviews of ‘Astonishing X-Men’ and ‘New Mutants’.

X-Force #20 (preview)
Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Mike Choi & Sonia Oback

SPOILERS BELOW…

JRPBSP’S TAKE: This was a concluding issue for Laura’s plot about her capture and escape from the Facility and it does a decent job at that. We see Laura finally getting to cut lose a bit thanks to a smart idea of lacing the water in the sprinklers with trigger scent. She is very tough here, almost beyond belief, even before her own personal berserker rage. The scene with her pulling out her admantium claws and burning her severed arm demonstrated that well.

The best scenes, however, are given to Wolverine in the beginning. We can finally see how he really feels about X-23 and their situation. It is only a page but we get a better feel for their relationship in a few panels then we have been shown before.

I was disappointed to see that Laura never really lets her guard down much in the arc. I was hoping to see a bit more of her human side, but instead she shows how tough she is. We get a few glimpses at the end when she discusses friendship and going home, but I did want to see more of that. I would have liked a more permanent end to the Facility and Kimura too.

Still, in the end it was well-written and a fitting end to the story. Laura finally got her chance in the spotlight and she was able to carry the story well. Agent Morales was a nice addition, a very human foil to give us a real understanding on how horrible the whole situation is. I hope we see her again in a later story.

X-Necrosha (preview)
Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost; Zeb Wells; Mike Carey
Artists: Clayton Crain; Ibraim Roberson; Laurence Campbell

SPOILERS BELOW…

JRPBSP’S TAKE: This is an interesting set up for the Necrosha event where we get the beginnings of three separate stories to tie into the arcs for ‘X-Force’, ‘New Mutants’ and ‘X-Men: Legacy’. Each tale is done by the writers for those books which is smart but does lead to some confusion and disjunction in the issue.

The first story, which leads into Necrosha proper, does a very nice job of giving Selene’s history and goals while setting up a full-scale assault on the X-Men. The resurrections are fast and furious although few are unexpected. It does set things up for a massive event though with the X-Men being besieged by a hoard of former friends and enemies.

Of course, this is all a delay tactic meant to keep the mutant heroes away from the true threat. I was glad to see Selene finally arrive on Genosha island to begin her preparations for her ascension. Though I am not sure why she is spending so much time trying to take down the people that wronged her before becoming a god. I would have thought she would wait to become all powerful to indulge in petty vengeance.

The biggest problem with the story is that you have to have read the ‘X-Force’ issue that came out the same week in order to be able to follow everything. I do like making things tie together but since this is supposed to introduce the new story to people that might not have been reading ‘X-Force’, it would have been better to separate the plot a little. As it is, this could easily be titled ‘X-Force’ # 20.5.

The ‘New Mutants’ arc, “Binary”, was focused on Doug Ramsey who is instructed to take down his former friend Amara for Selene. It was nice to see Doug again although I am not sure why he is shown to be so inhuman when the rest of the Hellions seem to be pretty normal. I know we do not see their thoughts, but they do not read as robotic.

Once again, however, this story leads directly into the ‘New Mutants’ story that is released this week. Since this is a precursor to that issue, neither has to be read in order to make sense of the other. Still it felt rather extraneous to give a short introduction to a story you can read at the same time. It would have been smarter to have the first ‘New Mutants’ issue of Necrosha be next month.

It is nice to see the Hellions and Doug back in any form. They are good characters and I hope they get to stick around. There is not much to this story, but Doug’s power upgrade is impressive. He can now read and translate any sort of language including non spoken ones. It will make him much more effective if he sticks around after this story is over.

The final story, “The Foretelling”, is about Destiny working for Selene but trying to pass a message on to the X-Men via Blindfold. It is a simple tale but has potential as a setup to ‘X-Men Legacy’. Blindfold has been missing for a while and I am glad she will seemingly be the focus for the arc. I would have liked an explanation of when she got back however just as a tie in.

However, I am not certain about what the true purpose of this story is going to be. It reads like a backup plot, and since the ‘X-Men Legacy’ story does not start for a couple more months, I am afraid that there will be a lot of confusion. I would have rather seen the story set up a more in depth plot so it feels more relevant to over all story.

In the end this is an interesting start to Necrosha which does look to be an entertaining crossover. I am eagerly awaiting all of the stories, especially the main plot in ‘X-Force’. Hopefully it will pay off and have some real impact by keeping some of the revived mutants around in the future.

However, the different writers and time lines made things kind of muddled. While you can easily put “Binary” before the Necrosha story, it takes place later in the actual comic. “The Foretelling” is supposed to happen at the same time but we see Selene and her crew in her headquarters rather then where they were previously shown to be hopping all over the place. It makes it hard to see this as an single united story. While I know it has separate plot lines, when you put them in one issue they should not contradict each other.

Wolverine: Weapon X #6 (preview)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Yannick Paquette
Inker: Michel Lacombe

SPOILERS BELOW…

MY TAKE This is the first truly original Wolverine story I have read in a long time. While it has some elements we have seen before, the idea of Logan in an insane asylum is very different and interesting. It is also such a natural fit that is a wonder why no one has done it before. Although this is little more then a setup issue, it succeeds in capturing my interest immediately. I especially like the Lovecraftian overtones in the issue.

Aaron continues to impress with his depiction of Wolverine’s personality and actions. It is nice to have at least one series that really feels like the Logan I am familiar with. The rest of the characters here are a bit too over the top to be really interesting yet. Doctor Rottwell certainly has potential but is too insane to be much more then a caricature so far.

There are definite problems with the details of the story, however. For example, having Logan write his message to himself on the outside of the door where he will not be able to see it makes no sense. Also, why would a man that is obsessed with removing and playing with human brains want a patient who has a skull you can not cut through?

I also hope that is is explained how they manage to drug and control Logan with his healing factor. Even extremely well-funded and technologically superior groups have had trouble with that, much less be able to put him to sleep with a push of a button. Since Wolverine now has all his memories, I would expect it is even more difficult to control him than before. I know this is just the first issue but since they spent a while on his so-called drugs I would have liked a hint.

In the end, this is a very interesting and original story with strong characterization of Logan. There are some details and questions that detract from the plot but only in a minor way. There is a great deal of potential here for this to be a truly memorable story. I hope it can deliver on the promise.

Wolverine: First Class #20 (preview)
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Dennis Calero

SPOILERS BELOW…

MY TAKE This issue wraps up the two-part Skrull, pre-Secret Invasion story with Captain Marvel. The Kree takes center stage and has most of the big fight scenes. While I know he was a powerful force, it does not leave Wolverine and Kitty much to do. They spend the majority of the issue running away injured or helpless and that distracts from the entertainment of the issue for me.

Kitty does have a couple of good moments but Wolverine’s one fight happens almost entirely off panel. Which also leads people to wonder, as I expect is intended, whether or not the real Logan won at all or if he was a Skrull all along. That simply serves to muddy the already confusing and overdone Secret Invasion plot even more. While that story was decent enough, I do not see the point of having it be revisited.

The plot is merely an escape story without much else going on. I do not know much about Captain Marvel but I did like him in this. He has a good balance of power and compassion. Kitty gets a few good lines and Wolverine and Kitty’s return to the mansion is amusing. But there simply were not enough of these moments to really make this anything more then an average issue.

I hope we get the focus switched back to Logan since his name is on the cover. I have no problem with Kitty having center stage either but if I wanted to read a Captain Marvel and Skrull story, I would go through the back issues. I actually like the retro feel but this was trying too hard to be relevant to current Marvel stories. At least Colossus is the next guest star so all the players will remain in the X-Men family.

Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine (preview)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Esad Ribic
Inker: Tom Palmer

SPOILERS BELOW…

MY TAKE I have not read most of the List comics but seeing this I have to question why they were bothering to make it a series. The story is not really bad, it has some good moments and it was nice to see Logan’s faith being addressed, but it did not seem to be any different then any other one shot. Basically a throwaway story that featured Wolverine and others.

I am not personally a fan of any of the Weapon Plus elements and so I found it hard to get into the issue. It did not help that Wolverine spent most of the comic as a mindless fanatical beast. Therefore the bulk to the story fell onto Marvel Boy and Fantomex. Although they are written well and have some good lines, neither of them is interesting enough to me to carry the story and make it enjoyable. I found myself scanning ahead to see when Logan would be regaining his senses.

The plot, such as it is, was simply about keeping Osborn from getting his hands on the Weapon Plus facility, the World. It is good to have some kind of resolution to that storyline rather then leaving the place up and running for anyone to access. I did not quite get how Noh-Varr suddenly knew that Osborn was sending his agents right then to attack the place considering he left the Dark Avengers weeks ago.

Still for as much as I did not really care for the principles or the plot the writing was still very solid. Aaron has a flair for Wolverine and does a great job with dialogue and adding little touches of humor and characterization. I really liked the nod to Deathlok at the end. I just could not get over the rest of it to really enjoy the story. At best it was a decent read but one that will soon be forgotten.

X-Men Forever #10 (preview)
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Paul Smith
Inks: Terry Austin

SPOILERS BELOW…

MY TAKE This is the funeral issue for Wolverine and I have to say it is about time. While I know that the team has been busy, Logan died before issue one so it has taken ten issues for everyone to gather and pay their respects. Usually you see the mourning issue immediately after a death or no more then an issue or two later. This feels almost tacked on due to its lateness.

Still it was great to see everyone gathering together and remembering Wolverine and Scott’s eulogy was particularly well done. I am also impressed that with so many guest stars it never feels overdone and many of them get their own special moments. Some of these characters are ones that Claremont invented and yet has not written in decades. They do feel a bit dated but still have their own unique voice and style and that is great to see. It makes me wish that Claremont would include some of them as regular cast members, especially the New Mutants and Excalibur.

The plot was merely about the funeral, with guests arriving and reflecting on Wolverine and on what they have lost. But it was an important enough event that it pretty much required a full issue. I was glad that the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and even the Hulk stopped by to pay their respects. It was a good way to show just how important Wolverine truly is to the Marvel Universe as a whole.

One thing did really bother me though and that was the ending with Nathan. While I never really agreed with the whole Nathan and Cable plot, by this point Scott’s child had most definitely been sent into the future and we have seen plenty of Cable as well. Even if you ignore that story, Nathan should be no more then a toddler at the oldest. But here we see him as a young boy living with Cyclop’s grandparents. It was one of those moments that completely takes you out of the entire story.

But the issue was still good, it is just annoying that they are still calling this series the continuation of the original X-Men run when pretty much nothing of continuity is being honored. I am, however, still enjoying the series for the most part and am looking forward to the next issue with Colossus. They just need to remove all references to the past events and start fresh otherwise it is too jarring.

DiG here. With jrpbsp writing so many reviews this week in abbreviated format, I’ve decided to tack on my Week-in-Review at the end of his massive post. I actually enjoy this version better, so let us know if you prefer that we bypass the recaps in the future.

Hulk #16 (preview)
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ian Churchill
Inks: Mark Farmer

DIG’S TAKE: Jeph Loeb is a big name in the comic book industry. Unfortunately that renown has not translated into any quality stories in the Marvel Universe the past few years.

Just look at ‘Ultimates’ 3, ‘Wolverine’ #50-55, and ‘Ultimatum’ if you doubt my assertions.

So it should come as no surprise that ‘Hulk’ #16 continues this trend.

All of the classic Loeb ingredients are there: trite dialogue, grade-school parables and plotting that would shame Jerry Bruckheimer.

The good news? The X-Force crossover seems to be at an end.

New Avengers #58 (preview)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger

DIG’S TAKE:: Brian Michael Bendis can be extremely frustrating.

On the one hand, he has made ‘New Avengers’ a must-read book for close to five years, picking his way through three major Marvel Universe-wide events, sometime nimbly, sometimes laboriously.

This particular issue is quite strong (though I would argue that ‘Dark Avengers’ is better), but every time he touches the Norman Osborn-media angle, the believability just fades away, at least for this reader.

The Wolverine connection? Daken gets his ass handed to him again.

How did this guy ever hold his own against the X-Men?

Marvel Holiday Spectacular (preview)
“If the Fates Allow”
Writer: Jim McCann
Artist: Todd Nauck

DIG’S TAKE: This year’s ‘Marvel Holiday Spectacular’ offers an X-Men holiday story with tender thoughts of the missing Kitty Pryde, whose sacrifice has, unfortunately, largely gone ignored in Marvel continuity. So while this tale is most appreciated, its sincerity does ring rather hollow…

And last but not least, don’t forget the ‘Wolverine Art Appreciation’ collection that does a very nice job of reprinting all the Wolverine Art covers from earlier in the year sans logos and featuring background on each artist and art style.

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