This week: Reviews of Cable #23, Red Robin #9, Superman: World of New Krypton #12 and Wolverine: Weapon X! Read the rest of this entry »
Of all the Dark Reign – The List specials I’ve bought in the name of providing a service to our readers, this one ranks around the middle. Well, towards the top really, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a Simpsons reference. By now, you don’t need me to tell you that this has almost nothing to do with Dark Reign. Contrary to the title, it also doesn’t really feature Wolverine all that much. In fact, as near as I can tell the whole thing turns out to be a prelude to the forthcoming Deathlok series, of all things.
So with that in mind, why am I so upbeat about it? The answer is simple: it’s hilarious.
The issue’s cast consists of Wolverine, Fantomex and Marvel Boy, who infiltrate the Weapon Plus development facility, The World, and Norman Osborn, who spends his time shouting at a wall of monitors. Wolverine himself is sidelined at a fairly early point, leaving Fantomex, in full snooty Frenchman mode, and Marvel Boy to have a fight with the sentient brain that controls The World while at the same time protecting it from Osborn’s agents.
Aaron has won me over to his version of Wolverine before, but with this issue, he also convinces me that he does a very passable version of Fantomex. Indeed, with Marvel Boy in the cast, the whole thing comes across somewhere between a Grant Morrison homage and a Grant Morrison parody, but it’s easy to see that Aaron is doing that deliberately (Marvel Boy being forced to kiss the giant, amoeba-esque organism housing The World’s brain sticks out as an example of that.)
Esad Ribic provides the artwork, and although I’m not a specific fan, I can’t deny that it works rather well. Ribic has the ability to put the fantastic elements alongside the more realistic ones and have them appear as if they can credibly exist within the same universe. Colourist Matthew Wilson brings particular flair to the pages too, however, and his contribution should not be ignored.
The book is rounded out with a rather less impressive bonus strip, some guidebook pages and some pencil/ink comparisons, all of which make the price tag a little more bearable. It’s fair to say this isn’t an essential purchase for anyone following Dark Reign or Wolverine, which makes it more than a little misleading, but as a comic, there’s plenty to enjoy, and for all the whining about how “The List” has been a real disappointment in terms of continuity, it’d be much easier to accept the situation if the comics were all this good.
This week: Capsule reviews of Batman: The Widening Gyre #2, Gotham City Sirens #4, Hulk #15, Wolverine: Weapon X #5 and X-Men Forever #8! Read the rest of this entry »
This week: Capsule reviews of Dark X-Men: The Confession, Giant Size Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Hellblazer #259 and Power Girl #5! Read the rest of this entry »
Barry Windsor-Smith’s Wolverine story is considered a defining chapter in the life of Wolverine, a fact evidenced by the recent re-release, issued alongside Origin and the Claremont/Millar miniseries to tie-in with the movie. So how does it hold up to modern-day scrutiny?
It has to be said that as a story, it’s actually much weaker than you might expect. Perhaps time has stripped it of its mystique – when originally published, serialised in Marvel Comics Presents, the story contained many new and interesting details of Wolverine’s past, but by today, the finer points have long since passed into the character’s common lore. Similarly, since it is a full-length graphic novel compiled from 8-page instalments, rather than written as one, the pages become a repetitive miasma of endless conversations between the same scientists – and what’s more, Wolverine himself is mostly a device in the story, spending most of it reduced to a feral and incoherent state and offering no narrative perspective.
So, with that being the case, one can only wonder why Weapon X remains a story worth owning. And the truth is, it’s obvious from the moment you start reading – the thrill of the artwork remains intact, as striking as ever. Windsor-Smith’s storytelling techniques are uniquely talented, and the artist commands each panel and page masterfully. Images that could make covers and splash pages themselves are composed in virtually every panel. Time may have stripped away what made the story unique, and the presentation may have robbed it of its pacing, and storytelling trends conspired to make it seem outdated, but there’s a purity of technique on display that can’t be denied.
This particular edition collects additional Wolverine material from Windsor-Smith, including a more recently-written short from the same period, offering the perspective of a grunt working security at the Experiment X facility. There’s little special or interesting about it, but its inclusion is worthwhile nonetheless.
And so, before buying Weapon X, you have to wonder – are you the sort of person who’ll enjoy it? There are plenty of good reasons that the story might bore you, after all, and even the most casual Wolverine fan will learn very little new from it – especially since continuity revisions have already altered much of the story’s substance anyway. However, if you’re able to approach it as a piece of historical and technical importance, then you should find that there’s more than enough to enjoy.