What do you get the villain who has everything? In Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda #1, you go to auction and try to win the genetic code of a singular superhuman. Is it good?
Brian Michael Bendis is gone from Marvel, but his New Avengers live on! The opening of Adamantium Agenda takes us back to a time when a suspiciously ad hoc explosive threatened the lives of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Wolverine. Well, not Wolverine. He’ll be okay. And that’s what makes him special.
Imagine if that kind of healing ability fell into the wrong hands?! Our heroes will make sure that doesn’t happen, in international waters and Eyes Wide Shut masks! But are they really getting what they bargained for? And how will this submerged, metal tube deal with a PO’d PI?
Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda is one of several seemingly superfluous mini-series running through Marvel Comics this spring, leading to the inevitable, never-in-doubt return of everyone’s favorite Canucklehead. It might be the most cynical of marketing approaches — I mean, either the guy is alive or he isn’t; 16 issues to figure it out just seems like milking.
But of course, good art can spring from even the most commercial of fields. Adamantium Agenda is penned by Tom Taylor, who’s been stewarding the All-New Wolverine, Laura Kinney, pretty much since the original died. That book has been met with critical and even financial success (being one of few titles that holds its audience month after month, showing no signs of attrition), so going in, the odds were at least decent that something meaningful might come from this.
But what we got in #1 was 10 pages (exactly half the book) of set-up before the actual plot started. It’s a good set-up, or at least it would have been if a lot of the impossible specificity of the threat had been cut out. This was a scene that necessitated probably less than half the time that was devoted to it, and it steals from the development of the present-day narrative. After this first installment, it almost feels like Taylor only had enough story for three issues but had to stretch it out over four. There’s a nice twist at the end, but everything leading up to it, once the story actually starts moving, is fairly predictable black market crime stuff.
R.B. Silva’s art is a dichotomy, too. His figures are striking, powerful and well-detailed, but man does he draw some weird faces. They’re all kind of the same, and their expressions are more doll-like than human-like. Jesus Aburtov really comes through with his colors, though, using bright, primary colors in the beginning to accentuate the superhero feel, but darker and duller greys while aboard the submarine.
Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #1 has some good ideas, but it’s also kind of unfocused and jumbled. There may not be enough story here for the full four-issue mini-series, which leads to a belabored flashback intro and some thin dialogue in the present-day story. Combine that with middling art and you’ve got about what you’d expect for a book of this nature — not the worst thing ever, but not really a good justification for its existence, either.