This is the last completed arc in Wolverine. Just one stand alone until we leave it for the next title on my pull list. We’ll return to the title after I work through the other completed arcs in other titles I read regularly. Next up will be Wolverine and the X-Men arcs that are complete. Before you start wondering given what the rotation has been so far, no I don’t just read Wolverine titles. My system of going alphabetically puts many of the Wolverine themed titles together and X-Men just behind those. Yes, I do read a lot of books he’s in because he’s my favorite character. If you are getting tired of him just hang in there. Once I get through the Ws and Xs it’ll be some time until I get back to him.
Now to the number jump and just what volume do the 300+ issues go? I’ve left them in volume 4 and it seems so has Marvel. (you can always click on images to enlarge them to read stuff) That’s a screen cap of my free digital copies that came with the more recent issues. They file them under volume 4 like me. The orderly librarian in me doesn’t like the jump. It doesn’t make sense if you are going to count all issues ever listed then jump back to issue 1 of volume 1.
That gets my notes out of the way, on to the Rot arc of Wolverine Volume 4 Issues 305-308. Here’s the credits: Cullen Bunn, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciler; David Meikis, Inker Cam Smith joins David as Inker for issues 306-308; Rain Bredo, Colorist; VC’s Cory Petit, Letter; Jim Cheung and Jason Keith, Cover Art of issue 305; Chris Samnee & Javier Rodriguez, Cover Ar of issue 306-308; Jared K. Fletcher, Designer; Jake Thomas, Assistant Editor; Jeanine Schaefer, Editor; Nick Lowe, Group Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer; Dan Buckley, Publisher; and Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
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.
This brings back a villain I liked Dr. Rot who psychologically tortured James back in the Wolverine Weapon X Insane In The Brain arc. It’s a great story with very pretty interior art. I hardly recommend you check it out. In this arc James again encounters Dr. Rot who is amazed by James’s brain and healing factor. After James starts having trouble telling reality from hallucinations just like in his time with Dr. Rot he sets out find the doctor.
I have to say there are aspects of this arc I don’t like. They just get to fantastical (like the brain machines/bombs in the first arc). I can take a mad genius who manipulates people by re-wiring/surgery on brains. I can take a mad genius who tortures/manipulates people into hitmen or assassins that self-destruct and he sells them to the highest bidder.
There are parts of this arc I loved. I find James overcoming psychological torture, his ultimate weakness a good story line. Dr. Rot is the person who knows how use James’s Achilles heel. Rot’d ability to control James is a thread to which I’m clinging. There is a way to make that an epic battle between the two of them that gives James a way to over come that mind control business for good. I’m hoping that is what happened here in this arc. There are panels that allude to it, but the kicker at the end leaves some doubt. Just like the Get Mystique Final Repose‘s ending came back later to bite us readers in the ass with yet another round of Mystique after James.
I don’t buy that Dr. Rot’s taking out pieces of James’s brain makes it heal clean, no memories. How about in the last arc when Mystique kept shooting James in the face? Didn’t pieces of his brain splatter out his nose from being liquefied by the repeated impact on his metal skull? Why wouldn’t that cause blanks spots? I’ll make leaps with you, if you are consistent in the rules of those leaps.
In the end this arc that could have been grand but felt as if it was just pathetic devise to get James back to having amnesia of sorts like he was before M-Day. So now he’s not got a stable relationship, Sabertooth is back, Mystique is back, and he’s got amnesia. We are quickly falling into the same old tired stuff. I returned to comics, to Wolverine upon hearing about change and growth. Those reasons are quickly evaporating. It’s going to get easier to alienate me from the title for a while if we keep rehashing stuff I’ve read for 30 years.
As for the art, I like the interior art. It’s good solid comic book art. Many times it pulled me deeper into the story. That’s what the art is supposed to do add visual elements to the story. I do think they went over the top on the gore factor. Yes, Dr. Rot collects brains and isn’t observing sanitary conditions. I get that. But trust me (I’ve seen lots of real stuff having a college friend that majored in forensics) blood doesn’t work that way be it from live or dead bodies, but especially from dead ones. I know there is an audience for gore. That’s why we have gore horror and such. I’m just not one of that audience. I’ll take realistic gore to a point. I don’t see it as an aspect of entertainment but more to add an emotional and realistic punch.
As for the covers, issue 306 is my favorite. I like the abstractness of it but what it represents within the story. Issue 305 looks like a stock image of Wolverine. I imagine they said “Oh crap we forgot to get a cover made we’ll use this.” The others go well with the arc and visually summarizes the story.
Next is an odd book out of sequence in the stories currently building. This one is set back before Schism. I’m not sure why it got stuck in here. Underneath is a stand alone where we revisit the time James lived in Utopia and was still working with Scott Summers, kinda.
I think these two panel sum up James’s motivations in this story very well. It’s these things that made me like the first appearance of Dr. Rot. It’s these issues and what can be done with them to make James grow as a character. I envisioned many ways to go with what Rot knew about the triggers left by Weapon X. Going back to fretting amnesiac Logan at a school for mutant kids, at least he’s still headmaster and still split from Scott. So far that’s not been undone. Also the boy in the in the window in the second panel of the second scan drew the picture that’s shown to Melita in the scan below so we know, that’s a memory of something he was forced to do by Rot’s using Weapon X control phrase.
Here James, on the trail of Dr. Rot, finds Dr. Rot’s father. We learn Rot’s real name and a bit of his back story. Also there’s an undercurrent here about James’s father issues. Remember his living son is Daken a homicidal maniac. This man was a father who’d given up on his homicidal maniac son, maybe it hit home a bit too much. Also take into consideration James’s issues with his biological father and the man he considers his father, the whole nature, nurture thing. Then there’s many levels here striking emotional cords in the character. That’s good writing on any level, when you can use one short scene to strike multiple cords in a character to motivate life changing action. Cudos on this piece here, CUDOS.
Melita is the one that cracks the case. We learn she still loves James but couldn’t take his infidelity. She remembered what Dr. Rot did how James was afterward and wants to help. Only this time he doesn’t know who she is in the end. It’s a change, a twist on the usual can’t be with the woman sad ending for James but I hated to see it end. I wanted to see them be like Luke and Jessica Cage a couple that endures and grows together. Nope, not to be unless they re-meet and fall in love again. See the boy’s picture there in the panel it’s a nice visual tie-in into the story that good art does subtle details that builds and deepens the whole telling of the story.
These two pages need a bit of explaining. While holding James captive last time Rot found in the control phrases put in by Weapon X. This time he’s using them to control James and make him harvest brains. The phrase that turns James off, stops him from fighting is broken up over the red panels. In the red panels James is breaking the control of the phrase by making new associations with it. In the end he makes his own decisions and isn’t controlled any more. He knows what he is doing when he goes for the final battle. I’ll leave you to read the story to see what that out come is for Dr. Rot.
Annnddd here’s we’re we are left. Back to a way too familiar place – amnesic James in a school for mutant kids. He can’t remember his latest love. He doesn’t know what he can’t remember. He’s worried about what he can’t remember, what’s missing? I thought we’d solved all of this got past it and moved on to build a character but nope. I do like how in these panels Quentin’s face is blurred, James can’t get it. Is that because he’s broken the mind control stuff by figuring out the re-association thing to fight back or is he more susceptible to control and Quentin is capitalizing on that? Only time will tell.
Until next time!