This week marks the beginning of the first ever (or at least one of the first) weekly series from Marvel Comics: Wolverines.
As the sequel/follow up to Death of Wolverine and events from Axis, where does this new weekly series plan on taking us? It’s a dollar more than the DC weeklies, so it should hopefully be taking us somewhere good. Speaking of which, is it good?
Wolverines #1 (Marvel Comics)
After the events of Death of Wolverine and a few tie-ins, our story opens up in Nevada where the Corneulius Test Subjects from the aforementioned stories have taken X-23, Mystique, Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, and Daken to a Project X facility called Paradise. There, the want the villains and anti-heroes to find something for them that can help them… not die (I think at least). However, our protagonists aren’t the only ones the Cornelius Test Subjects will have to worry about since the Wrecking Crew has showed up on the scene as well:
…You are no longer our morale officer. X-23, you are in charge of helping our spirits lifted!
I did not read the Death of Wolverine story or any of the Aftermath mini-series leading up to this weekly. I just didn’t have the time and I hoped that this first issue would do a good enough job of supporting new readers or people like me on what is happening in the story.
With that said, for a first issue, it does an okay-ish job in that department. There’s a text recap at the very beginning that discusses all of the story bits that took place before this comic, but in a very brief and quick form. If you were not reading any of the material that came before, the recap isn’t that helpful (the recap doesn’t even mention that Sabertooth is currently inverted) and the comic just completely drops you into the middle of the ongoing story. As such, this isn’t really the best way to initiate readers to a brand new series (Earth 2: World’s End handled this in a far better way), but for everyone who has been reading along, they should be fine and shouldn’t have any problems.
Besides the whole accessibility thing, how was the book anyways? It was perfectly okay, but lacking in areas. Like I said, there’s really not that much setup for new readers outside of a quick recap page, so the story just gets straight to the main plot of the book (though it can feel a bit vague at points since the recap doesn’t cover everything). Most of the book is just a lot of action and characters chatting with one another, dishing out some very quick characterization to give the audience sort of an idea of what the cast is like and what we can expect from them. Other than that, there’s not much else to chew on when it comes to the story. You either read the previous event and all of its tie-ins or you didn’t.
Ah… you were crumbled into pieces by a hand at one point? Is that what you mean?
There is good and bad with Charles Soule’s writing as well. Character-wise, it seems fine and everyone gets plenty of time to establish themselves, but there are some characters I’m not that familiar enough with to tell you if they are accurate or not (Like Daken. First time ever reading a story with him in it). One thing I’m a little shaky on is Lady Deathstrike’s deal, since last time I saw her was in Brain Wood’s X-Men and she was completely different (a different age and even race too). The dialogue and narration on the book are fine, with a couple of good lines and interactions from one another, however the narration seems almost random as to when it’ll pop up (first page has a bunch and next time there is any is one single panel). The pacing is decent, but the story structure and flow feel rather off a lot of the time. There are a few of awkward scene transitions, the characters sometimes pop in suddenly, and the whole opening structure was kind of poorly thought out. We open with a shot of 6 months later, then we jump to now where everyone is fighting, then to an hour previously before the fighting, where everyone is chatting, and then back to the present almost immediately. It honestly could have cut out the double page spread at the very beginning and the story would have benefited greatly.
The artwork for the book is handled by Nick Bradshaw, with FCO Plascencia doing the colors. Their work on the book is very solid (thanks to the coloring, I kept getting reminded of Snyder’s Batman) from start to finish. The characters are well drawn, the action is decent if a bit static in areas, the layouts are fine, and most of the panels have actual backgrounds to them. It’s well done work, though with the more cartoonish lines and brighter color palette, the art doesn’t actually fit the serious and dark tone the book’s trying to have in areas, especially the bloodier moments. It feels like a weird choice on the book, especially considering the book also had two pages drawn by Alisson Borges and she does a better job of capturing the tone with her art style (the coloring is still a bit too bright). Now, I have no idea why the issue had a fill-in artist, considering the fact that this is the FIRST issue (that’s not a good sign for this series so early on), but either way, the artists’ styles don’t mesh very well. Also, Alisson’s work is much more problematic when it comes to drawing character physiques, proportions and stances.
Also, Mystique somehow teleported to the other side of that girl between panels.
Is It Good?
Wolverines #1 is an alright issue overall. Fans who read Death of Wolverine and all of its tie-ins will probably get more out of this than others, since the book isn’t really all that new reader friendly.
The writing and artwork are fine, but there are some problems in different areas that hurt the book a bit. Overall, it’s hard to really recommend this from just reading the first issue, especially since other weekly books I’ve read have had a great first outing (and were also a dollar cheaper). Maybe wait a bit on this one before investing any time or money into the series.