Wolverine: Weapon X #8 Review: Brain Power

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… Since there are no Marvel titles next week I am breaking up the reviews. I will do three this week and three next. First up is ‘Wolverine: Weapon X’. Hope you enjoy it.

Wolverine: Weapon X #8 (details)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Michel Lacombe

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with a nurse, on her final rounds, checking on the patients. She opens the door to one of their rooms and finds everyone dead. As the nurse runs into the hall she finds a dead guard just before the lights go out. She runs and when she thinks she could be safe, Wolverine jumps through a window and menaces her.

Pulling back we see this is all a mental illusion and Logan is really strapped to a chair with Dr. Rot playing the scenario out for him. When Wolverine refuses to kill the nurse and forces himself out of his chair, the doctor shuts down Logan’s mind. We then see a flashback to a week ago, when Wolverine found one of the serial killers that have been let loose on the world from Dunwich. The man is totally insane and Logan has to kill him.

He gets some more information from Melita but refuses to be drawn into her attempts to get closer. At her urging, Logan goes to check out a homeless shelter where all the known killers had spent some time. After only a little while, Dr. Rot strikes and knocks out Wolverine and some others and takes them back to the sanatorium.

Back in the present, Logan is strapped to a gurney and wheeled to a holding area where he learns from the former head of the hospital, Dr. Marshall Swinson, that Rot was once a patient and led an uprising where he replaced the staff with  his insane brethren. The doctor is now without arms or legs and is forced to clean the floor with his tongue. He begs Wolverine for death.

Logan is taken to Rot’s workshop where the madman attempts to remove his brain but can not get through the admantium skull. So instead he opts to use electrodes to hook Wolverine up directly to his machine. Rot wants to unleash the killer in Logan but he fights back, so the mad scientist kills one of his guards to get another brain to increase the power of his machine.

The full effect is enough to make Wolverine project his pain all the way to Melita who dreams he is in trouble at Dunwich. Meanwhile the mob has sent a group of toughs to see what happened to their friends. And Rot finally gets readings on Wolverine’s traumatized brain and it moves him to tears of joy.

MY TAKE: This is an okay issue but definitely is on the weaker side compared to the rest of the series. We are given a lot of background very quickly and not all of it makes sense. It actually raises as many questions as it answers and the flow of the story was affected. There are still a lot of interesting and good ideas, but execution is suffering here.

For example, even after reading it twice, I am not completely sure if the last two issues were all a dream or it was just the end of the last one that was not real. I believe it is the later but a case could be made either way. Also, how come no one bothered to check on their facility when the killers stopped coming? Obviously some group ran the place and would want to look in on it periodically.

Even more puzzling is how a committed lunatic can invent a machine that manages to use dead brains to control people. Anyone that smart would have stood out and gotten snapped up by some hero or villain a long time ago. Even in Marvel, it stretches the believability to the breaking point.

Now I am glad to finally get some details on what is going on and see how they were able to take down Wolverine. I do not  agree that it would be that easy to overcome and brainwash him but at least they made some mention of his mental toughness and brain alterations here. Still it should not be that easy to make him forget himself or completely change his personality with a machine.

I am also still on the fence about the new relationship. While I do enjoy seeing Wolverine dating, I do not know enough about Melita to really care about her character or know if she would make a good match. In truth it seems like anyone he dates will die unless they are an established character. It is mentioned here, and I find it comforting, that at least Wolverine is questioning it but things are still moving too quickly. I prefer for these romances to happen more naturally.

In the end there are some great and fun concepts here, with the brain manipulation and mental health ward scenarios, and I am enjoying Dr. Rot as a villain. It just slapped together and the story seems to be rushed along to get to the finale next issue. The tale started off a bit slow and now feels sped up. With better pacing and a more coherent plot line, this could have excellent. I am sure the whole arc will read better in trade but as a single issue this one has left me wondering rather than wowing.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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  1. I don’t think this issue was slapped together at all. In your last review you complained about how things were dragged out and wondered what the explanation behind his brainwashing was. Well this issue not only goes out to explain the mystery, but even reference other past brain washing Logan went through in the past. (Horse Man of Death anyone?)

    Logan’s tolerance for brainwashing has always been inconsistent and evidence of Enemy of the State is proof of that. Wolverine Weapon X can’t be held responsible for Marvel’s poor inconsistency since this has happened a million times before. Jason Aaron is brilliant and his respect for old readers should be appreciated and not scorned.

    I definitely give this issue 5 stars

  2. Last issue did feel dragged and this issue felt rushed. Pacing is one of the big issues I have seen so far, you have to know when to plod on and when not too. I do not think it is a good idea to dump all the so called reveals into one issue especially when it negates what came before.

    The big difference here is, in all the brain washing, was that the other organizations knew who he was and custom made the programs to compensate for his will power. This is versus a doctor that can simply knock out Wolverine like any other homeless man and then control him? Sorry I still don’t buy it.

  3. I loved this issue. For one, despite his psychic barriers, Wolverine all too susceptible to brain control/wash. I tend to think it’s due to his own self-doubt which inherently weakens his mind to the point that he lets go. He knows he’s been used and he knows he has to work to remain in a stable mental condition. It works against him I think, never mind that he was unaware of the attack, so they had time to control him. I have no problems with him being overrun easily.

    As for the brain machine, I took it that he developed these devices because that was what he was into prior to his confinement. Whomever must have thought that him talking about brain controls is just too damn crazy. So yeah, it’s over the top but in a fun and deviant way.

    Who knows if this place was never looked into before, its really only been a year. It is plausible that people came and he invited them in and they were never seen of again. Perfectly within the realm of the horror genre. This also being in San Francisco allows this place to exist on a surreal level. If this was in NYC, then many questions could be raised.

    Melita I think will be a throw-away character eventually, like Cassie Lathrop (who should make a return, since the setting is close by). A product of the writer who will get wisked away when he leaves. But I like her. She’s of a different nationality and the seeds were planted in issue #1 when he saved her. She got attracted to the bad guy, the guy she never had before. Nothing wrong about that. Lets see how long it lasts and why Wolverine is fond of her and using her. I take it that he’s using her to find something/someone and needs help. He obviously is growing to her or else he wouldn’t be questioning it. I for one can’t wait for issue #9

  4. yeah, “bowels” is right… we’ll see a lot more of those by the time this story arc wraps up.

    boobs, butts, bowels and brains; this is definitely a story any person with a shred of moral decency will not want kids to read.

    oh, and a little insight, too, on the revelation Rot has about Logan (James); my guess is that Wolverine has some kind of memory shunt or (whatever you want to call it, like) a trans-memory template to allow for multiple memory implants?

    i mean, Logan is still a programmable killer of sorts…

    oh, sorry, SPOILER ALERT!!!

    heh heh

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