Comic Comments: Wolverine No More/Wolverine Forever

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 15Though not numbered as an arc these two stories fit together and close the huge arc that’s been developing since volume 4 started.  It is told in Wolverine Vol. 4 Issues 15 and 16.

All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
The credits are as follows: Jason Aaron, Writer; Goran Sudzuka, Art; Matthew Wilson, Color Art; Jae Lee with June Chung, Cover Art; VC’S Cory Petit, Letterer; Jared K. Fletcher, Designer; Jody Leheup, Assistant Editor; Jeanine Schaefer, Editor; Nick Lowe, Group Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer; Dan Buckley, Publisher; Alan Fine, Executive Producer.  It takes a village to make a comic.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 16I’ll start with the art.  Again the same cover team as the other issues in this volume. There things I love and things I hate about both these covers.  First off the wolves, wolves don’t look like that.  They don’t have coats like that. They don’t have musculature like that.  Wolves just don’t look like that.  I will say the posture of the one in silhouette is good but if as artists you are going do so well with anatomy of the human body use that talent with the anatomy of animal bodies too!

Second I have an issue with James having an underbite on both covers.  He’s never had an underbite.  Aaron and I each had one but braces fixed it for us.  This dental hygienist’s daughter can’t take bad teeth.  I can take the slightly oversized upper and lower canines on him.  That’s been done so much to suggest the animalistic aspect of his nature.  A visual reminder of his always struggling against his beast nature.  However, I can’t stand by and watch bad orthodonture be depicted.  My up-bringing won’t let me.

That said let me say I like the face and format of issue 16.  It’s excellent and interesting.  The red is very eye-catching and the off-center half face shot grabs you.  The claws on display unite the elements.  It’s an excellent cover.  I even like the position of his fingers there, unique and eye catching.

Interior art is fine. At times it’s very pretty, at other times it’s off for me. I’m not sure how, it just is. I don’t dislike but something, too something at times. At times seems to me to be a very talented novice that’s not found their voice yet. That’s how I would describe it if it were a written piece. Too studied, too following the formula, now owned and expressed by the artist’s individuality. It’s a hard line to walk in comics to hold to the tropes and be original. It takes talent and experience to do it. Same goes for genre writers – hold to the required tropes but express your own voice. Only comes with the confidence, insight, and comfort that experience can give.

In the story James is dealing with the heartbreak of learning the last five people he killed, the Marauders, were his children.  No, he didn’t know they existed but once he got into the Red Right Hand’s inner sanctum to find them all dead (think Masada) there was the proof he’d just killed his own children.  His revenge hurt him deeply, he joined the Red Right Hand whose membership requires death of family caused by Wolverine.  He can’t blame mind possession this time – he was in full control of himself.  He did it willingly and against the advice of his BFF, who is now an angel.

In issue 15 we see him wallow in that pain. Of course he runs to the Canadian wilderness to go wildman at some point in this wallow. He does all he can to numb himself against it, almost killing himself over and over, drinking to drunken hallucinations but always his healing factor brings him back.  To say he hits rock bottom isn’t going too far. In issue 16 he finds himself. Partly because he saves a group of children and returns them to his family and partly because Melita is once again strong enough to fight for her man.

I was disappointed with the final pages of issue 16.  It was a stupid over the top ending to what was a character changing emotional issue.  There are funny pages of various superheroes telling Melita who Wolverine is to them.  The big two page spread of ‘here’s your friends’ was so sappy and so dopey.  It annoyed me so much I physically dropped the issue.  I felt it was a grand disservice to the more moving mature aspects of what James was going through this time as he comes out of the emotional fire with a purpose to help kids like the ones he never knew he had.  (Had to happen with his man-whore ways, condoms James use them). Instead we get this ending that seems to have come from the mind of a 5-year-old – “And then, and then, ALL his SUPER HERO friends show up to stand together for him!”  pfft stupid.

Which I guess is it’s okay to have a hokey ending since we are set up now to enter a really hokey three book arc, Goodbye Chinatown.  Did not like it as it violated my ‘no magic or aliens’ in my X-Men rule way too much.  Even with my fingers in my ears shouting LA-LA-LA I couldn’t ignore it.

The good things to come out of Wolverine No More/Wolverine Forever are major.  James realize he is a hero by nature and can do a world of good.  He took on the mission of helping kid be kids and protecting them.  I feel he did this to honor his kids that are gone, the ones he killed and buried with his own hands.  He also realized these revenge marches have consequences beyond no more bad guys.  I think that’s a lot of character growth bought at a very bitter price.  If Marvel has the guts to keep that growth as part of him and build on it then this whole going to hell and Red Right Hand was one of the best Wolverine arcs ever.  If they don’t it falls to just another mind controlled/revenge arc for Wolverine. We have too many of them as it is.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 15

Gunhawk is the only character from the Red Right Hand who we learn their name. He’s William Downing, or more accurately William Howlett. We don’t know if he knew James was his father. We don’t know much about him other than his mother was Delores Downing and obviously a lover of James at some point. Honestly I’d love a series that fills us in on each of the Marauders from James meeting their mothers up to their starting training to be the Marauders.

As the one thing he could do for them as their father, James buries each of his children. I think here we see the regret and respect he give them. He owns what he has done and with William buried he’s now off to fall into deep despair.


Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 14

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 15

Here we see the drunken dreams of James. Thomas Logan (his biological father), Dog Logan (his half-brother), Daken (his psychotic living son), and the head of Victor Creed (his arch enemy) all torment him, laugh at him. I like how even the head on the pole laughs at him.

We don’t know what happened to Dog Logan but here we get a look at him beyond Origins.  I don’t know if we’ve seen him when I was out of comics for a few years but now I see him. I like how the three have a family resemblance that even our James has.  That’s a great touch!  They are very different but yet you can see the family there.

Also as for the interior art let me point out the first panel on that first page there.  That James face bugs me, it like the burial page above just lacks something for me.  BUT the last panel on the second of these pages I really love.  It is fantastic.  I’m not sure what the difference is, but to me it’s a world of difference.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 16

This is where the second issue opens. A different kind of wildman from what he’s been before. He’s not on a rage in the forest. He’s doing penance with the wolves. Something totally different from what we have seen him do before when he’s run off to the wilds to cope.

Also I like that he has a full beard. I can’t recall seeing that before. I do recall wondering why feral Wolvie shaved. So the full beard to him is a very nice touch that brings home he’s in the wild gone wild.  Oh and that’s much closer to what wolves look like that the cover of  issue 15.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 16

To me it’s right after these panels of James’s soul searching that Marvel totally drops the ball on this story. BUT here in these panels they have it in hand and are in the red zone making a dash for the Super Bowl winning touchdown with just seconds to go! Here James is coming to terms with his pain, here he’s looking for purpose and finds it, here is where the maturing of 130 years of living comes to a point. Here I’m cheering the writer, Marvel, and the whole thing! YES, YES we might actually get character growth! Then…

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 16

BOOOM! HOKEY ENDING! Marvel fumbles on the one yard line! NOOO!!!! Here is the ending where James stumbles into Melita in a parka. She tells him he has much to live for and many people who care about him. While doing this apparently (despite Luke Cage pointing out in a previous issue that it couldn’t be done) all his hero friends sneak up quietly behind him and line up to look at him fondly.  Yep they sneak up on a man with super senses, hearing, sight, and most importantly smell.  He hasn’t a clue they are there.  STUPID STUPID STUPID ending.  Go ahead Luke tell ’em  (panel from Wolverine Vol 4 Issue 5.1)

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 5.1

It is stuff like that makes me stop buying comics for long periods of time. I can’t take stupidity well. I go feral and run off with the clowder to meow at the wall, sleep in the sun, and chase laser pointers.  What can I say, running with the domestic pets soothes my soul.

Oh stay tuned for more insanity in the next arc – we have a talking private eye gorilla, dragons, magic, and a literal subterranean (really it IS under the ground!) drug world run by a crime family.  I bet you can’t wait it’s almost as grand as that time Logan fought talking dinosaurs from space in the land that time forgot.

**ML bangs her head on the desk at seeing such stuff**

Until next time!

One thought on “Comic Comments: Wolverine No More/Wolverine Forever

  1. Pingback: Comic Comments: Wolverine Goodbye Chinatown | Mary Louise Eklund

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