This week approached with incredible anticipation. Not only does the comic drought officially end but Marvel is soliciting a story I never actually thought they would do. When I picked up “Wolverines” off the shelf I was elated to be reading more about underutilized characters that had disappeared over the years. But then I cracked it open and I was very confused, first of all I couldn’t tell which character was supposed to be the Josh Peck character—or for that matter, Josh Hutcherson or maybe a bit of closure for the Chris Hemsworth character who nobody even seems to mention. I mean he was brutally assassinated by a sniper and nobody even mentions his name? What kind of story is “Wolverines” even trying to—Oh! This isn’t about that campy/gritty remake of “Red Dawn”, this is a piss poor tie in book to the Death of Wolverine… and it’s a weekly book as well, splendid.
If you ask me—or read my actual review, I quite liked “Death of Wolverine”. It was self-contained, engaging, but more importantly it killed off Wolverine so I don’t have to see him improperly put into my books like a pickle into a fruit salad. So imagine how pleased I was when they announced a book about all his chummy mates trying to be the next cunuckle head. By the way, did you read that tie in book about all the test subjects in the new Weapon X? No? Me neither because I opened up the first issue and they all had the appeal of jalapeño tooth paste. But they’re in this book too. So let’s review, in this book is all the Wolverine cronies: Mystique, Sabertooth, Daken, Lady Deathstrike, and X-23. Also the four random Wolverine rip off characters are there, and apparently they have hypnotically taken the Wolverine Scooby Gang hostage.
Now I am one of the first to admit that comics use soft science like a hemophiliac uses band aids. After all, comics invented the metal adamantium in the first place. But the premise of this book is that the four Weapon X rejects captured each of Wolverine’s rowdy chums by hypnotically planting suggestive words that either cause them pain, pleasure, or death. They don’t explain much further than that either—like how do they die? Do they say a magic word and all their limbs pop off like crash test dummies? So we’re going into this story and the setup is already sloppy. Then, throughout the story we see the Wolverine homies bonding with their captors and each other. I’m gonna stop you right there. So not only is Daken back from dying three times, but now he’s a friendly shoulder to cry on? Also? What kind of hypnosis did they use to make Stockholm syndrome happen this quickly? These folks can apparently kill all the Wolverine buckaroos with a rude phrase and Mystique is over there telling one of the Weapon X rejects that life isn’t so bad and it gets better—okay, admittedly this is the sort of thing Mystique does before she stabs people in the back so maybe that’s something to look forward to.
Usually I’m not one to critique the art on books. After all, unless the work is completely abhorrent, Rob Liefield, it doesn’t take away from the story. So in this book, majority of the art is Nick Bradshaw. Personally, he’s not my favorite—he’s not bad, just not my style. His work is much more illustrated/animated with heavy use of flat colors and thick lines that are more reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons. That sort of thing works great for books like “Wolverine and the X-Men”. It does not work well for books involving blood and gore, gratuitous violence, and darker themes like impending death and human experimentation. Hey, remember how I said he was the artist they chose for most of the book? Because he most certainly didn’t do all the book. There are two pages, two pages of graceful and beautifully detailed frames where a Daken is attacked. It is some of the most beautiful art I have seen in print—and it is a complete flow killer. It made me wonder why they didn’t do the entire book like this. It made me mad we went back to Bradshaw. It made me uninterested in any further story in the book. I don’t know what the intent of these two pages was but it didn’t work, it was a bad idea, and it was the only good part of the book.
There’s over a dozen times that Mark has to team up with somebody to overcome an obstacle—and many of those times he wishes he didn’t have to. There was the time he teamed up with that felon that could turn to stone in order to take down a criminal syndicate. We can always talk about when Mark teamed up with Dinosaurus to better the world. Remember that time Mark found his father on another planet? He had started another family and they were in danger of being attacked by Viltrumites? And also? It was the first time Mark had seen his father since the man nearly killed him. Mark is a really great team player and the reason this works is because Mark is able to see flaws in himself that he can’t overcome and there’s a compelling reason for him to be with these people he can’t stand. So instead of using a magic handcuff next time to make a team, can we just try a little harder to write these books better?