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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) ]

Randomish thoughts

– I’ve passed on buying the Cry for Justice JLA mini-series partially for the cover price…but mostly because I am So. Freaking. Frustrated. with the FREQUENT use of splitting singular images across multiple covers…of the same stupid ISSUE. Make issues 1-2 go together for a single image. Spread an image across issues 1-3.  Spread an image across chapters 1-2, or chapters 1-3, or however many “panels” the image is made of. But darnit, DC…quit doing it across multiple single-panel/front-covers of the same issue!

– I’ve lost track of all the Marvel comics that I have passed on due to the $3.99 price.  Marvel, I assume you’re making plenty of money to cover for what I’m NOT buying. But I’ve been tempted a lot of times by random Marvel issues–whether Dark Wolverine #75 for a couple reviews I read, issues of Old Man Logan where I’ve contemplated picking up all the issues available so far, or any of a number of one-shots when I just want to add an extra comic to my stack or whatever. But I always put the issue(s) back or neglect to touch them when I realize/recall that hey…they’re $3.99, and that’s TOO MUCH in my mind for a standard (Marvel) comic.

– I’ve passed on the single issues of Astro City: Dark Age this time around…though I was sorely tempted to snag issues 2-3 this week just because they were there.  But they’re $3.99 and I see no point to the cardstock covers…just give me a paper cover and newsprint interior so I can read the darned story…save the high-quality cover stock and paper for the collected volumes!

– I’m debating whether or not to “pre-order” a “subscription” to the upcoming “Archie gets married” arc kicking off with Archie #600.  Saw an ad on facebook–one that was PROPERLY targeted (I’ve clicked on more comic-related and new-books-related ads than I have anything else–wish they’d get the hint and stick to those instead of the assinine personals/etc. ads!). Probably going to opt for the singles, provided I can find ’em. Missed on the Freshman Year arc because no one ever had the 1st issue of the arc, or a middle issue was missing (i’m NOT going to buy parts 2 and 4-5 without 1 and 3 at the same time, for example). If it was chapters 1-4 or 2-5, I might go for it and hunt the missing chapter as a single.

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