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Wolverines #1 [Review]

wolverines001Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Nick Bradshaw, Alisson Borges
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editors: Katie Kubert and Mike Marts
Cover: Nick Bradshaw, FCO Plascencia
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

In a lotta ways, I’m lost. I recognize some characters, of course (at least by name/vague recollection)…but it’s rather difficult to reconcile this as taking place in the same continuity as the stuff I grew up reading in the ’90s and early/mid-2000s. It’s also quite a challenge to consider that Wolverine–Logan–is really, truly, permanently, not-coming-back-ever-never dead-is-dead DEAD. Moving on…

Thankfully, the “Previously…” page is there–I don’t have to track down all those Death of Wolverine follow-up minis I skipped. Sure, they’d flesh out the DETAILS, but for where this series and this first issue in particular picks up, that’d be superfluous for me.

We open on a bloodied Mystique getting psyched to go through a door; then jump “back” to present. Where we find Mystique, Sabretooth, Daken, and X-23 being forced to work with some escapees from Dr. Cornelius’ experimentations. The mission is to locate/retrieve an object to help them survive. Unfortunately, the Wrecking Crew has also appeared in the vicinity, and confrontation ensues. Though the object sought is located–the adamantium-encased remains of the late Wolverine–this success is short-lived with the appearance of an old villain I certainly would not have suspected. The villain absconds with precious bounty, leaving our protagonists’ situation in disarray.

I picked this up to give it a shot–I’m currently buying all 3 weeklies from DC Comics, might as well give Marvel‘s a try. Moreso than that, though…the cover intrigued me. Kinda generic in a way, but it certainly grabs my attention, seeing the adamantium-encased body of Wolverine surrounded by individuals tied to him (from life, and from what he gave it for). We only get the arms of Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Daken, and X-23 (with a couple of the Weapon X kids in the background)…no Mystique. But that’s not something I even noticed until writing this review.

The actual story is ok enough…where I’d thought the premise of the series might be the characters tracking the body, the cover suggested otherwise, which was why I bought this. And since (thankfully!) the cover suggests these characters around the body and the opening of the issue has them seeking it…hardly spoilers to say that yeah, they find the body IN THIS ISSUE. However, the villain that showed up and left the group in bad shape gives the characters a new quest/hunt, which should sustain the weekly nature of the series for a bit.

I appreciate Soule being on this, given my understanding that he’s the architect of the death of Wolverine…good to see that he’s the one to follow-up “long term” on the development, rather than just killing the character and moving on. And while I wouldn’t think I’d care about the characters involved, have not kept up with them (for example, the last I recall of Sabretooth, he was beheaded by Wolverine…though I’m loosely aware there was a recent-ish story that saw his return) the interactions are not too bad here and I’d be interested in seeing more, seeing these characters in a world without Wolverine.

The issue’s visuals are not bad…there’s a cartooney quality at points that’s mildly distracting and reminds me of Humberto Ramos‘ work. Not a terrible thing, but not entirely my cup of tea. On the whole this simply has the look of a comic book…I credit that to the strong linework (and I suppose that’s a shared credit with the inking). Ultimately the art’s relatively neutral for me…neither a significant turn-off nor a draw. It’s just there, it does its job, and I’m satisfied with it.

Had Marvel priced this at $2.99 as an enticement to investing in FOUR issues monthly, I might’ve been tempted to give it a shot on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, this is a $3.99 book…and a large contributing factor to my having been almost completely driven me away from Marvel stuff is their pricing. Their $3.99 price point combined with frequent double-shipping was a huge turnoff…and if 2 issues at $3.99 apiece each month is enough to frustrate me away from Marvel books, DOUBLING that frequency does nothing positive to my mindset.

I did see somewhere (Bleeding Cool, perhaps) that this series is scheduled to be collected in monthly volumes…provided those are not $20 apiece and I can find ’em at a discount, there’s a possibility I’ll go a bit further into this series that way…or perhaps consider an advance/pre-order for a discount on almost certainly inevitable Marvel Omnibus.

If you don’t mind the $3.99 and are a fan of Soule‘s work with Wolverine and/or Wolverine’s death so far, this may be a decent series to consider. As a single issue this fits the norm…the overwhelming part of the price comes from the realization of the series’ shipping frequency.

[ My thoughts on the final issue of The Death of Wolverine (the week it came out) ]

The Weekly Haul – Week of October 15th, 2014

While it could have been a small-ish week, this proved–yet again–to be another HUGE week, as far as my desires for a $10-$20 week are concerned.

weekly_haul_october_15th_2014a

Turok and Magnus both out, as well as Unity and Q2: Quantum and Woody for Valiant, both TMNT books from IDW, and the DC weeklies. I’m far enough behind on Futures End that I let that stay behind, with the intent I’ll catch up next week. Not likely at this point to catch up on the reading, so…c’est la vie.

weekly_haul_october_15th_2014b

And though I have several of them from the previous round of One Dollar Debut editions, snagged the various Valiant books. Store owner gave me the Valiant Universe Handbook free, and the others fell within my usual standing order of all $1/promo-priced books.

With the cover changes to the review blurbs, at least these are different-looking editions.

I usually despise variant covers…but these $1 editions I’ll let slide, BECAUSE they’re Valiant, and they’re not every-day editions.

The Action Philosophers is apparently the first chapter of a hardback due out next week…while it could be interesting, I’ve sorta had my eye on The Fifth Beatle for a bit, so if I buy anything from Dark Horse, that’s likely to be the one I go for.

Along with all these, I also picked up the “final” chapter of The Death of Wolverine, to read the thing for myself before various reviews and spoilers and such. I was rather disappointed, but at least that was my own thoughts/feelings without being “spoiled” on the “how” front.

$4.99 for a shiny cover…didn’t bother to count the pages, but seemed like very little story for the price, and unlike the recent DC 3D covers, this cover seemed to be an added element of the price, along with several pages as a “checklist” of the various variant covers for this miniseries.

I’ll just have to make darned sure I redeem the digital code so that part doesn’t go to “waste.”

Spoilers on The Death of Wolverine

deathofwolverineshiny004b

Yeah…spoilers.

I’m gonna spoil the thing.

That means I’m definitely giving away how the issue ends.

Talking about how it ends means the issue and series will be spoiled.

Beyond the title itself being a spoiler.

‘Cuz I’m gonna spoil the details of how he dies, etc. And I’m going to assume you’ve read the issue if you’re reading this, or you don’t care.

From here on, the blame’s on you, Bub.

So, I’ve never bought into this, not really. For one thing, we JUST HAD a Death of Wolverine in 2008, and a Wolverine Goes to Hell in 2011.

deathofwolverinetpb2008 wolverinegoestohelltpb

But now, hardly 6 (and 3) years later, after whatever the heck’s gone on in the last couple years’ worth of Wolverine comics with Marvel Now and such since AvX…we have an event mini-series showcasing the death in the title itself.

deathofwolverineshiny004b

I might have bought the entire mini at $3.99 an issue with the shiny covers. They can even kinda get away with it, in my mind, on the notion of shiny covers = shiny metallic claws. But for $4.99…nope, no thank you.

And I only bought this issue to read the conclusion for myself before having it spoiled for ME, and to gauge my interest in the series in general. But I’d already been put off at the notion of a 4-issue “event mini-series” followed by a 7-issue follow-up mini, and then the various other tie-ins.

I was greatly disappointed at the LACK of a “previously” page for this issue–having grown QUITE accustomed to them in Marvel’s single-issues, given their easy omission for the graphic novel. So I don’t really know in any detail what came before in this particular mini, nor much of the recent past for the character, except he’d become “killable” with the apparent loss of his healing factor.

This issue lacked much of any substance for me as a result–picking up simply with Wolverine entering a lab facility much like the one so integral to his own history, and finding Cornelius–presumably and contextually the “mad scientist” doctor who was so integral to Wolverine’s past–experimenting on numerous subjects, STILL seeking to perfect the adamantium bonding process.

The hurt-able Wolverine fights a guard–enhanced/upgraded by Cornelius–where blood is shed and it looked like Wolverine lost his claws…or some sort of add-ons. With Cornelius facing ruination once more, he begins the adamantium process on his subjects, and it seems Wolverine tries to stop it–cutting the feed, but as a result being bathed in the liquidized metal.

Cornelius flees, and the adamantium-drenched Wolverine follows. Extracting Wolverine-like justice on the doctor, he then walks to the edge of the facility to face the sunrise/sunset (whichever) where he sinks to his knees and “dies,” the liquidized metal hardening around him.

Whether he suffocates, or the metal was hot and he was burned to death, or what, I’m not actually sure “just” reading through. And while PERHAPS there’s something “fitting” to him being killed encased in the stuff that he was famous for having inside him, it doesn’t work for me. Not at initial reading, not right now. Not for this EVENT.

Had this been just another issue of an ongoing Wolverine series, where he happened to die…an issue UN-hyped and simply ending leaving the QUESTION of “is he dead?!?” hanging, and THEN having followup books to deal with his apparent death…maybe that’d work better for me.

I’m also quite bothered by the price point to the feeling of lack of story. There are a bunch of pages of “checklist” of the numerous variant covers for this series. Unneeded pages, because you don’t need so darned many variant covers (or any at all!)

For Marvel‘s pricing–the $3.99+ cover prices–I’m not about to buy into a minimum of 19 issues of followup to a 4-issue mini-series. Maybe if I find collected volumes cheaply, or happen across stuff in a bargain bin, or perhaps for one or two issues pick ’em up another week when I haven’t already busted my budget. But no certainty.

I “get” that they (Soule in particular, it seems) want to convey the illusion that Wolverine is actually, fully, totally, completely, definitely, really, no-joke dead Dead DEAD not-coming-back-ever-never-Never…but nope, I don’t buy that.

Maybe he’s “off the table” for the final couple months of 2014, all of 2015, and into 2016 (so far planned). Two years? Ok.

Throw in an extra year, let’s say he’s dead through late 2017. Three years. He’ll be back. I honestly, truly CANNOT imagine a Marvel “capable” of resisting the urge to keep THE Wolverine–Logan, James Howlett, whatever his name is–the character that’s been around since the ’70s and all–off the table for more than a few years. Granted, I thought for sure Jean Grey would be back within a year or two and we’re going on 11 years now. But Jean never supported an ongoing solo series, and Wolverine’s topped 300 issues of solo-ongoing issues.

So…I blew $5 on a crappy single issue with a shiny cover. I read the death for myself, and I’m basically back to no Marvel for a bit. Looking back into the issue, I will probably pick up the Nightcrawler “tie-in” as that will likely be a meaningful story, and if it’s just one issue, all the better…I don’t have to invest in a bunch of issues.

On the whole? This is what it is. I shouldn’t be surprised; I’m certainly not at all impressed, and while “they” got me for this issue…I’m thankful that I KNEW BETTER than to get the entire series. All those tie-ins? Maybe if there’s a Death of Wolverine Omnibus or something I’ll consider it.

After all…the lasting element of the Death of Superman 22 years ago wasn’t the death itself–that was just the vehicle to get to stories of what happened once Superman was gone; how the people around him reacted and got on with their lives, etc. And I might’ve just talked myself into an interest in the follow-up stuff with that analogy…but for Marvel’s pricing, frequency of shipping, and driving stuff into the ground in big clusters rather than spread out and “paced.”

So long, Wolverine…see ya soon.

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