Comic Comments: And Then There Was a War/Back In Japan

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 20

This story runs in Wolverine volume 4 Issues 20, 300-303. Okay I’m not sure it’s still volume 4 or did we revert back to volume 2 which would match what issue numbers we would have had volume 3 and 4 not occurred and the issue be numbered straight through. I’m leaving them in volume 4 just to keep chronological order straight for myself. WTF! Marvel this former volunteer librarian is upset in disruption of issue numbering.

The credits for this run are complicated. Issues 300-303 are done in chapters with changing artists.  So stand back for a long credit appreciation list.   Credits for the whole arc are: Jason Aaron, Writer;  Jared K. Fletcher, Designer; Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner, Assistant Editors, Jeanine Schaefer, Editor; Nick Lowe, Group Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer; Alan Fine, Executive Producer. The issue specific credits starting with Issue 20: Renato Guedes, Pencils and Cover Art; Jose Wilson Magalhaes, Inks, and Matthew Wilson, Colors. Issue 300 credits: Adam Kubert & Paul Mounts, Art for Chapters 1, 4, & 7; Steve Sanders & Sotocolors, Art for Chapters 3 & 6; VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer; no cover art credit listed in credits due to cover variants the one I have is the Adam Kubert cover.  Issue 301 credits: Billy Tan & Jason Keith, Art for Chapters 8, 11, & 12; Steve Sanders & Sotocolor, Art for Chapters 9 & 10; VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer; Adam Kubert, Cover Art.  Issue 302 credits: Billy Tan & Jason Keith, Art for Chapters 13, 15, & 16; Steve Sanders & Sotocolors, Art for Chapters 14 & 16; VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer; Arthur Adams, Cover Art. Issue 303 credits are: Billy Tan, Steven Sanders & Paco Diaz, Art; Mat Milla, Sotocolors, Jim Charalampidis and Rachelle Roasenbert, Color; VC’s Chris Eliopoulos, Letters, Brandon Peterson, Cover.

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.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 300

WHEW!  It took more than one village to make a comic this time!  Apparently many wanted to help celebrate hitting the 300th issue since the start of Volume 2.  Oh his whole solo title run it’d be the 304th issue.  So let’s not get picky, let’s not go into who counts who’s volumes and issues.  Still why go back to Volume 2?  I dunno once again it’s left to the Secret Star Chamber of Marvel to know what the heck they were thinking.

Now for the cover art of the arc – to me the best is issue 301.  I like the composition of it.  I like that he’s in his Samauri mode, appropriate for an arc set in Japan.  I think the colors are lovely.  Over all it hits all the right notes with me.  Thought cover 20 was close I don’t like the orangeish skin tones, could be bad printing and I’d love the original. The worst is issue 303.  OMG!  Those glowy outlines are back! (pounds head on desk takes comfort they aren’t in piss yellow).   Ohhh and shiny shiny outfits that fit like a glove, ICK.  The back ground looks off too, like a mix of photo and art – photo shop of horrors again?   Finally cover that has the worst dental work – Issue 302 saw the need for some underbite action.  Cover 300 which does nothing for me at all can at least bear teeth without an underbite.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 301

The interior art is all over the board with so many contributors.  Issue 20 is wonderful and I love the interior there.  The rest vary from great to bad but luckily no awful stuff.  After the jump I’ll chat about specifics.

The story made me lose heart for my hero.  First off Sabertooth is no longer dead with his soul decapitated in hell.  How long did that last?  eh undid the soul part in just a hand full of issues.  I’ve had decades of *singsongs* Sabes and Wolvie sitting in a tree f-i-g-h-t-i-n-g.  I’m so over it.  I liked it being settled and moving on.  Can’t be though because I think Marvel fears letting a story line grow but instead cling to the tried and true plots until even the characters in the book mock them.  I was pissed off to take three steps back to this tired overly done story again.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 302

Speaking of that didn’t last long, Mystique’s death was even shorter. But we knew this was coming as the ‘magic’ Hand bought her corpse and dang they bring people back from the dead as often as they go get groceries. Dammit another tired worn out thing done again – just wait there will be a bit that includes a chase where James kills her in the end.  This pissed me off too.  When can we stop doing the same damn thing?

Seraph is still alive too. Guess it doesn’t matter we saw her bones in her coffin over in Wolverine Origins only part of that story became cannon – Daken. So mark this down as another back from the dead. It never stops!

Why do I feel I’m trapped in Groundhog Day? Where’s Bill Murray? Do I have to fall in love with Andi McDowell to get out of these over done plots? WHAT WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO MARVEL? Don’t know how to do it maybe take a gander at Fables they do it with style, grace, and character growth but keep a stable core of beloved characters. You could learn something there Marvel.

The core of the story I didn’t care about.  It’s a crime family war in Japan. Except here some of the crime families have magic that bring back the dead and there are unlimited numbers of them. James teams up with his adopted daughter Amiko’s foster mom Yuriko to try to stop the war. Amiko’s boyfriend is the Silver Samurai’s son and moves in to claim his father’s position but winds up allying himself with the newly returned Sabes and Mystique. This leads to a fight between them and a break-up.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 303

James and Yuriko eliminate the Hand in Japan. (how much you wanna bet this isn’t the end of them either?)  We learn she’s alive after Hellverine’s attack but wheelchair bound. Doesn’t keep this ninja woman down or stop her from trying to get James’s pants down. Which leads to something that may destroy James and Mariko’s relationship. Which is yet another thing I find disappointing about the arc. The only thing cheery in it is Amiko, Yuriko, and James become a happy crime fighting family.

Overall I found this a very disappointing arc. Many of the things that enticed me to start buying Wolverine comics regularly again have been undone. I feel this is a disservice to long time fans. We love our characters we want to see them develop, we don’t want to keep doing the same things over and over again but this time only in San Francisco without flashbacks. I know I’m banging my head on the wall hoping for this type of deeply mature change but hope springs eternal.

Next is a stand alone issue entitled One More Round. There’s more spoilery bits and comments after the jump, join me won’t you. If not – Until next time.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 20

Here we open the story at a dirty water hot dog cart in Central Park. Seems James is treating his lady love to breakfast. Really. I like this art.  I like the suspenders over the wife beater.  Kinda gives a nostalgic look to his casual fashion.  Love the details here down to their shoes.  I had to crop this so you could see that.  It’s a happy everyday scene.  Something we don’t get much of in this title so I had to share it.  Nicely done.  Cudos all the way around on that one.

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Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 20

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 20

Logan sees the head of the crime families and gets into a scuffle. Who bails him out except a group of ex-girlfriends who have gotten together and formed Seraph Investigations. I’m thinking on your application you have to have slept with Wolverine to get an interview. They must have a lot of prospects.  She’s the oldest one of his lovers there in the awkward moment in the car.  Two crime bosses, three ex-lovers, current lover, and James all in the van.  I love the body language there from each of them.  Melita finally figures out what her man’s connection is with all these angry women.  Yeah girl, you just became eligible for the team.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 300

Speaking of women trouble, here he is after dispatching a group of the Hand with Yuriko. She’s still trying to get in his pants. Really is it the pheromones like Daken has but controls. Maybe it’s just so many of us go all woozly for the good bad boy. Either way, he’s sticking to being faithful to Melita for now.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 300

Here James learns Victor Creed is back. Like many in Marvel Universe, Sabertooth just can’t see his arch enemy as a professor much less a head master of his own school.  We get the classic Runt name calling.  Still gotta wonder what is the relationship between the two.  Now that Victor is back from the dead I’m going to find the silver lining of that to be I get to throw out that whole stupid Evolution story line.  They aren’t alternative evolution line from dogs – they are mutant humans again!

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 301

One thing James knows is that he’ll always win because he fights for more than just himself. Here he’s fighting for the honor of Mariko’s family, to protect his daughter, and defend his second homeland. Victor is always fighting for his own selfish reasons. Sure James has those too but he has more than just that.

Also I have to ask when did Victor start cross-dressing?  I mean here he apparently has taken the Scarlet Witch’s hand-me-downs.  He’s wearing her headband and rocking it too I might add.

As for the art of these panels I like it.  I’m not as crazy about it as I am the issue 20 stuff up above but this is very good, very nice and I can live with it cross-dressing villains and all.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 301

This art on the other hand bugs the heck out of me. It’s too glowing and too cartoony for me in a comic that’s rated for adults not kids.  Also the panels being askew annoy me.

Here we see the ultimate embarrassment for teenage Amiko, Dad and boyfriend meet for the first time to fight, in public.  Don’t you hate when your father gives your boyfriend a hard time?  Then again the boyfriend just threw your father into a tree.  I’d say first introductions aren’t going so well here.  This is before James and Amiko find out he’s gone all Zorg on them.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 303

One of my favorite movies is The Fifth Element. The villian in the story was Jean-Baptiste Zorg played in a wonderfully campy manner by Gary Oldman. On this page Silver Jr looks just like that character.  He’s just lacking the clear headpiece that holds up the swept over hair.  Zorg actually has a collar like that in one of the scenes too.  LOL! Just after this page Silver Jr. does a very Zorg like think and kills all of them in the room there laughing at him.  Nope not a murderer not at all.  I can see why Amiko broke up with this loser that can’d stand up to Mystique.  Heck she’d stand up to Mystique and she doesn’t have all the gadgets he has.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 302

This is a very touching scene. In the battle against the Hand they use a gas that causes psychotic delusions based on your fears. James’s is being in hell and being forced to kill his kids again. He refuses to do it. He won’t kill his children again. I think this speaks to how deeply that changed him.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 302

Yet it’s true there are times he has to let the animal in him loose to survive. This is one of those times, he defeats the hand and afterward in beserker mode has sexs with Yuriko – only… It’s not Yuriko. It’s Mystique! See I told you she had a thing for him. There they go again. He’s not gonna be happy with himself over this.  You know those pictures are going to come back to bite him in the ass with Melita.

Look at the first panel in the body in the right corner.  Does it have claws?  Does it have claws like Laurie Howlett? (Another of Logan’s adopted daughters but she’s more of a genetically engineered clone that he adopted. )

Read that second panel there – yep they went there.  Marvel went there to talk about smelling sex.  So this is a mature labeled title let’s keep the cartoonish art out of it. IF we are going to talk about smelling sex then let’s get some more realistic art.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 303

Sure enough at the end of the arc it does. Not only does Amiko have boyfriend troubles so does Melita. I’m not sure Mystique has the qualification to join the Red Right Hand but they sure would approve of her handy work here.  Though honestly I don’t think it would have mattered if it were the real Yuriko because she’d done the same thing with him.  I guess the difference is Mystique had her boyfriend Sabertooth take pictures.  Bad thing is James doesn’t know all this has happened.  He’s going to get home to trouble from Quentin the problem student at work and Melita at home.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 303;

Just had to toss this one in because I laughed outloud to Sabertooth’s response. I don’t like Galactus (breaks my no aliens rule) but here it’s pretty funny.  Like I did with the last arc if you can’t like it at least laugh at it.

Apparently Victor feels pretty-oh-so-pretty in Wanda’s old headband that he’s added it to his costume now.  It is practical in keeping sweaty hair out of your eyes as you attack Wolverine again.

That’s it for this super sized mess of an arc.  We had way too many artists, way too many returns from the dead, way too many back steps for me to say it was good one.  I can take comfort in the idea that the changes I dislike might only last as long as the changes I liked – a handful of issues.

Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Comic Comments: And Then There Was a War/Back In Japan

  1. Pingback: Comic Comments – A Wolverine Arc That Is Dead To ME! | Mary Louise Eklund

  2. Pingback: Comic Comments – One More Round | Mary Louise Eklund

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