Comic Comments – Underneath

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

This is a story follows up a limited series from 1989 starring Wolverine and Havoc entitled Meltdown.

The story is set back before Schism (the breakup of the X-Men with Wolverine leading one back to the school and Scott leading the others on Utopia) and just after M-Day (when many mutants lost their mutations) so I’m totally confused as why it appears now in Wolverine volume 4, issue 309. Yet here it is folks!

I always like to give credit where credit is due. Here’s the credits for this issue: Ivan Brandon, Writer; Rafael Albuquerque, Art pg 1-13, 18-20; John Rauch, Color pgs 1-13; Jason Latour, Art pgs 14-17, 20-36 and Color pgs 14-16; Jeanine Schaefer, Editor.

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.

Let’s start with the art since art was big part of the Meltdown series.  It was avant guard, more impressionistic.  That’s how I’d describe it not being an art student but more of an art fan.  I didn’t like it because I found it distracted from the story instead of adding to it.  The style is reflected here on the pages done by Jason Latour but toned down a whole bunch.  I’d refer you to where you could get the TPB but everywhere I looked they were sold out so just sent you to the cover art, the interior was much more abstract.

As for the art of this one, I don’t really care for it.  The start is the heavy outline boxy style that reminds me of kids coloring books not a gritty story like this.  The other is more focused on being stylistic than telling a story.  Comic book or graphic novel art should focus on telling the story, expanding it beyond words through images.  Neither hit this mark for me.

As for the story it centers around Elixir as a boy.  Elixir was/is a mutant with the powers to heal people, manipulate your body into healing itself.  He later learned it could be used in another manner, to make your body destroy itself.  That was his downfall.  For a time he was on the X-Force team that Wolverine commanded.  That was before the downfall and when he was a man.  So why this story of him as a boy trying to figure out Wolverine is beyond me.  Why it’s here in this volume only the Secret Star Chamber of Marvel knows.

Elixir tags along on a personal mission of James’s.  You see James seduced a redhead (he’s got a thing for redheads) who was caught in between her mutant state and human state when M-Day happened.  She told him of a place where a mutant man was feeding off other mutants like her.  James, being James when to stop it.  Elixir wanting to understand James more tagged along.

We see how much James has matured.  Now he’d take the adult role and keep Elixir from going into what is going to be a battle to the death of the energy vampire mutant.  Then he simply said, “Kid you want to get yourself killed, you get right to it. I ain’t yer Daddy.  Just so long as you stay out of my wake.” Not at all the stand he’s chosen to take as Headmaster James “Logan” Howlett.

In the end the energy vampire is the villain of the Meltdown story returned.  There is a battle and Elixir gets involved.  In the end it’s James himself that gives Elixir the answer to understanding the appeal of Wolverine – He gets back up and tries again to do the right thing despite shortcomings and failures.

The story was a good one. It depends on the reader knowing a lot of background stuff from long ago.  It’s very out of place in the flow of what’s going on now in this book and in the Marvel Universe.  I felt that somewhere there was a lack of planning on Marvel’s part so they tossed in an old story that was sitting on the shelf unpublished to fill the gap between arcs.

We are going to leave the Wolverine title for now.  I’ve reached the current story of Sabertooth Reborn.  I know you can feel my <strike>trepidation</strike> excitement over that.  My next Comic Comments will move on to the Wolverine and the X-Men volume 1 issues 1-3 the Welcome to the X-Men Now Die arc.

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

I liked this exchange here where Elixir is announcing to his professor that confuses him, that he wants to understand him. Yep they are in James’s favorite watering hole in San Francisco. James settles the bartender down about a kid being there and the two talk. One of the things that I think made some kids more interested in James than Scott is James would talk to them as equals not down to them. This conversation is cut short by the cute redhead that walked in and sent over a bottle. James gets pu and walks off telling Elixir that the back of head will have do for now.


Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

Here’s the seduction. He doesn’t care that she’s not full returned to her human form. It appears her skin is still partially stone on her back and arms. He knows she wants something from him but he’s thinking maybe a bit of pleasure before business. Of course she’s up to it, pillow talk after gets him going on the mission.

All these panels are the block large outline type of art that I don’t enjoy. I can’t say I detest it because I hold that back for stuff I find really really horrid. (you’re gonna see some next post) This just bothers and distracts me as a reader.


Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

Wolverine Volume 4 Issue 309

Here’s the secret to understanding Wolverine – he tries to do the right thing. He regrets mistakes and short comings he has but he’s honest about them. He’s motivated to keep getting up and keep trying to achieve the standards he aspires to hold. That’s the appeal – we all fall short and at times feel to tired to get up and try again. James heals he comes back and keeps trying. Even with the emotional turmoil he carries within he’s not lost hope that some day, some how he’ll get there.

Until next time!

One thought on “Comic Comments – Underneath

  1. Pingback: Comic Comments – Welcome to the X-Men! Now Die! | Mary Louise Eklund

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