(Marvel NOW!, 2013)
Reviewed by Cory Thrall
WRITER: Paul Cornell
PENCILS: Al Davis
INKS: Mark Farmer
COLOR ART: Matt Hollingsworth
When I first read that Marvel would be releasing a Marvel NOW! Wolverine title, I was excited but a little worried, as Wolvie has his mug in so many books right now (including the ‘Savage Wolverine’ title that began recently), be it an X or an Avengers book. So I was worried this might all just be a cash-in to gather attention on the character in a more ‘solo’ fashion, in anticipation for the new film. And, it very well might be. Either way, I was happy to grab it, and eager to read it, but I’m also a huge Wolverine fan, so a lot of my initial worries were tossed out the window as soon as I opened issue #1.
The issue begins right in the middle of a battle of an odd kind - a man wielding some form of energy weapon, disintegrating hostages here and there and, of course, reducing Logan to a mess of flesh every chance he gets. Since we’ve come in mid-battle, we have no placement for what we’re seeing, why it’s happening, or who the players are. This is a small problem with this book, as it gives a feeling almost similar to how many first issues are treated nowadays - like 30 second trailers for the series. The formula seems to be in a lot of cases exactly like a film trailer - Character! Something Bad! Dramatic Statement! Roll credits. What saves this book from feeling as rushed or half-baked is a tight script by Paul Cornell that focuses more on Logan’s experience and character than it does Wolverine. I still feel it could have used at least a page or to of an intro, however.
The story itself, as introduced in this first issue, is an odd one, but it’s fun. What I like most about this title is that - for now, at least - they are letting this be more of a Logan story than a superhero one. It’s awesome to see him interact with police, and just work more on a ‘street level’, especially after all of the drama in the Marvel universe that he has been a major center of for years now. But, instead of the tired ‘disgruntled bruiser’ that is the easy-as-pie go-to writing for Wolvie, this comic makes him feel more human again, and therefor much more relatable. Of course, I fully expect other characters and teams to eventually make an appearance, but for right now this feels more like a harder edged version of Marvel’s “Hawkeye” title, which is very similar in approach.
The writing from Cornell is a perfect fit for this title, and for Logan as a character, as he seems to understand both sides very well. There *is* a difference between Logan as himself and him in the suit, and this script shows the layered character in true form. This comic is written very lively and energetic (no pun intended), and even with the awkward opening had me into the story pretty much right away. The dialogue is easy and simple, more like how people actually talk, as opposed to posturing and dramatic statement after dramatic statement. The characters all feel legitimate, even the ones we meet here, and most of those with no background or personality being introduced at all. It’s a great script.
My enjoyment of Al Davis’ artwork tends to sway in different directions over time and through the titles he covers. His work can look awesomely strong and sleek at the same time, and this is when he works best, but at times he’ll draw in a face or some other feature that just doesn’t work. In the first couple of pages of this title, there is an amazing panel of Logan’s face, then the next panel it looks awful. That’s always been my beef with his stuff, and it rears it’s head occasionally here. The majority of the book is beautifully drawn, however, and I must say the more ‘messed up’ & ‘melted’ shots of Wolvie (you’ll see what I mean) are some of the best panel work in the whole issue. So, I hold onto my enjoyment of his art, but with the same reservations I’ve always had.
This is a strange beginning to a title, and especially a Wolverine one, but I think it’s going to work. The issue may end up with many destroyed police cars, disintegrated and injured hostages and civilians, and mindless and cold murder on nearly every page - but when all is told it still retains that well rounded character of Logan, and is more of a street crime story than it may sound. And, in a way, it’s also a lot weirder than *that* makes it sound. A very curious and exciting book, beautifully drawn and well written. As Wolvie did at the very last page, I’m making my way as fast as possible to issue #2!
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