Comic Comments – Wolverine Noir

Alternate cover for Wolverine Noir Issue 1

This is a 4 issue limited series.  It takes the characters of the Wolverine stories and casts them in a hardboiled  private eye Noir story set in in 1937 Bowery NY.  All the characters appear as versions of themselves Logan, Dog, Mariko, Yuriko, Smitty, Thomas Logan, Victor Creed,  and Rose.  They all put in an appearances in the tale. None of them are mutants, just regular people.   It is well done and I enjoyed this take on them.

Wolverine Noir Issue 2

The series is written by Stuart Moore; C. P. Smith, Artist; Rain Beredo; Colorist, Jeff Eckleberry, Letterer; Daniel Ketchum, Editor; Axel Alonso, Executive Editor; Joe Quesada, Editor In Chief; San Buckley, Publisher; Alan Fine, Executive Producer; C. P. Smith and Dennis Calero, Covers.

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.

As I said when I placed this on my pull-list I love Noir fiction. I’m not sure what my passion for dark tales with no one is clearly a hero but there are clear villains says about me personally but I do enjoy a good dark tale.  This certainly falls in that category and pulls all the tropes of Noir into play.

Wolverine Noir Issue 3

Wolverine is cast as Jim Logan a private eye with his “brother” Dog Logan they run a seedy detective agency in the Bowery called Logan and Logan. Dog is a simple muscle head with Jim being the brains of the outfit.  The story starts with the high class dame walking in off the street and hiring them.  Classic!  This is Mariko’s role. She’s a rich Japanese woman here on business for her father.  She needs them to find out who has been following her and why.  Clues lead to a local flophouse.  Dog pleads to investigate that on his own and Jim lets him go.  That’s when Dog goes missing and Jim sets out to find him. Along the way we meet Amiko and Victor Creed.  In flashbacks we get the story of how Jim and Dog wound up in the Bowery and in doing so meet this story’s versions of Smitty, Thomas Logan, and Rose. In true fashion the story ends with Jim not being totally innocent over all but being a victim all the same. The twist at the end is who is behind making him the victim. Like all good Noir tales it’s a shocker but makes sense. I’ll not divulge it well worth the read.

Wolverine  Noir Issue 4

I love the seedier versions of the familiar characters. Some actually wind up better in this tale they they are in the main continuity.  Thomas is a preacher.  Victor is rich and gets the best of Jim at every turn.  Some are worse, Jim doesn’t get all the noble qualities of our Logan but has enough to make him recognizable.  Amiko comes out equal but Mariko get short changed of true love in this tale.  Rose is totally different but still is the ‘Little Redhaired Girl’ of Jim’s heart.  I thoroughly enjoyed the story but I don’t want to see it continued.  Sometimes a good tale is enough – don’t mess with it.

The art suits the style of the story.  I like it here very much.  It’s dark gritty and never quite gives you a clear image of what is really going on.  Which matches what a true Noir tale is completely.  However I’d find this annoying in a regular comic.   I think it is important to match art style with the script and this is a perfect marriage.  The perfect match gave more punch to the story overall and made this a success in my book (and I’ve read A LOT of Noir books).  Cudos.

This covers all the completed recent arcs in my in-box until my next shipment.  When that shipment arrives several titles will be completing arcs.  Until then I’ll hit some older issues I like of various titles.

Next – panel and pages comments:

Smiity in this universe is a gardener to the Logans

In this universe Smitty works for Thomas Logan. He’s a grizzled WWI vet and gardener. He’s also more of a father to Jim than Thomas is. I include this as a glimpse into how different the characters are but still similar they are to their counterparts in the main universe.

Despite not liking Dog, Jim is still loyal

We later learned what happened, why Jim hates and owes Dog. Here we see some of the same character traits of the Logan we know in our universe. I also like how far he is going to find his brother/partner. Loyalty is still worth something to this hardboiled PI.

Classic shot of PI on phone in front of closed blinds with light streaming into the scene

I include this just because I thought it was pretty. Also it has all the classic elements in the Noir type – grungy investigator on the phone, closed blinds with light streaming though making stripes on the scene. Very well done.

So messed up can't keep a lie straight so go with the truth

Here Mariko and Jim meet after Dog has gone missing. Jim has had a few run ins with people trying to find Dog and now knows Mariko is in on this but still isn’t sure what this is. I like how he knows he can’t keep a lie straight so he goes with the truth of who he is and why he’s there.

Jim concludes his truth and sees Mariko through booze goggles

I liked this page as Jim concludes telling his truth to Mariko. I like how it goes from the flashback to the seeing Mariko with beer-goggles. Only he’s drinking whiskey like our Logan does so is it Booze-goggles. I also like how they show what’s happening, illustrate seeing her through the haze.

Jim Logan at 17 in a suit, freshly shaved

I include this for contrast. Here we see Jim Logan at 17 just before the pivotal events that send him and Dog running to the Bowery. We see how different he was from the man we know in the story.

Victor Creed wouldn't get Friends With Benefits...

In this story Victor Creed (aka Sabertooth in our usual universe) gets the best of Jim on every turn. Which is a flip of what we usually see with Logan winning in the end most of the time. Here though Yuriko still has to settle for being a friend-with-benefits kind of relationship. Still Jim cares for her as much as our Logan cares for his Yuriko, neither pretend they are in love but both acknowledge it’s a deep relationship.

I’ll not go further so the twists and reveals aren’t spoiled. If you are a fan of Noir and like Wolverine this worth the read.

Until next time.

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