Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
Remember when Wolverine was truly awesome?! No? Well it’s been a long while since Wolverine was a mysterious, weird looking, bar brawlin’, little runt with indestructible razor sharp claws. Now he’s Old Man Logan because X-23 is the female Wolverine. Now he’s been in a bunch of mainstream movies with a tall, hot, hunky leading man playing him. He’s been way overexposed over the years so Marvel could fully cash in on big time profits. He’s hardly a mysterious character anymore. Wolverine is much like say, the band Metallica in 2016, a watered down, bland, tired version of the badass metal band they were in the 1980’s. Wolverine however didn’t always used to be this way believe it or not way back when he was the epitome of cool. He was so damn awesome back in the 1980’s even the indie comics couldn’t come up with a character who was half as kick ass as ol’ Logan. Yep Marvel had their shit fully together and they knew it. Back in the 1980’s the X-men were something special and over the years they’ve become a gang of predictable, mega mainstream pop culture icons. Well back when Wolverine was a scary dude the X-Men was really the only place you could find this character monthly until 1989 when he finally got his own series. Here’s an example of how awesome the character was in the 80’s. Another amazing cover from the master Barry Windsor Smith….
Here’s a look at one heck of a great cover by the master Barry Windsor Smith way back from 1985 with Daredevil #217! This has always been a favorite of mine and there’s just no denying that Barry’s unique style rivals any current artist. Anytime in the 80’s that he was involved you just knew you were going to get something memorable. This particular cover is no exception to the rule, Barry gives us an epic cover with Daredevil & The Back Widow swinging high up in the skyscrapers giving our ol’ pal Spidey a run for his money for pure perfection in acrobatic form!
Just got done reading the Death of Wolverine #4, the final nail in the coffin for Logan! Now we all know that Wolverine will only be “dead” for maybe a year or two tops. Same cookie cutter superhero death formula as always, a big comic book hubub, news stories, a bunch of comic books that feature the effect of the characters death, funeral issues, blah blah blah..Yeah so Wolverine will be going MIA for a little while and hopefully people will miss him enough that Marvel can then again make some big money on his return as well.
So was the death of Wolverine worth all the media hype, shiny metallic variant covers, director’s cuts and a high cover price of five bucks a pop? I’m gonna say a firm no. This series should have been at least 6 issues better yet 8 to really tell a compelling unforgettable Wolverine story with some serious staying power. Aside from a strong first issue, the story in general while playing on nostalgia from Logan’s past felt incredibly rushed with not much real substance and not much new to offer to his complex story.
On a positive note at least it wasn’t Sabretooth who “killed” him, his final nemesis “Cornelius” was at least a surprise and the series art was pretty fantastic. Shocking? Nah…issue number four brought Logan’s legacy full circle back to the Weapon X program where Cornelius of course was creating super soldiers with adamantium laced bones and of course he needs Wolverine’s healing factor to ensure his test subjects can survive the procedure. Of course when he realizes he no longer possesses it, he’s got little use for Logan and orders a new nemesis Major Sharp to destroy him. Ultimately the ending is in many ways very predictable and I can already see the image of Wolverine literally bursting back into the realm of the living in a year or so.
My final thoughts, I’m glad Wolverine is “dead”. He’s been done to death literally. He’s been around every corner for the last two plus decades, he’s turned into a bit of softie too. Wolverine is not the mysterious anti-hero we came to fall in love with anymore. I think some time apart is healthy, he’s like a lover who you’ve spent every waking second with for far too long, you need some time to breath dammit! I also really hate these ‘Death’ of events. They’re NOT shocking in the least. If you really wanted to shock us have his death take place unannounced in his main core book! Have all this shit happen but don’t tell us he’s gonna die a year before it happens!! Imagine if Robert Kirkman announced every death in The Walking Dead and made a damn spectacle out of it every time someone kicked the bucket?! How shocking would that be?!
I also don’t like all these tie in books, I for a second considered buying “The Logan Legacy” #1 today until I saw how terribly drawn and stupid every panel of it all looked. I for one look forward to a good loooong ass break from Logan. When they do bring him back, and they will,I hope Marvel learns from their mistakes. Give him a spot in the X-men(One title), give him one solo book of his own, get his hairy ass out of The Avengers and make him more like the guy who we used to all wanna hang out with! Make him pissed, mean and most of all a loner like he was meant to be. I look forward to the day I miss me some Wolverine!!! ‘Nuff said…..
Hey Barry!! Where the heck have you been lately?!! Unless I am completely uninformed (which could be the case) I am wondering why this amazing artist has been missing from the comic book industry as of late? He is by far one of the BEST comic book artists of all time. I remember him most distinctly for his amazing artwork on the amazing “Weapon X” series in 1988, the hugely underated “Machine Man” limited series of 1984, X-Men #205 which is probably my all time favorite Wolverine one shot solo story and finally his one shot Thing and Human Torch story from Marvel Fanfare #15.