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
The deaths of major comic book characters have been a big trend for a long time. It usually happens when a major character becomes boring. We all know that boring most likely means that the character has been over exploited, to make money and finally because we’ve seen them so often every month in multiple titles that they just get stale. They become a weak, pale version of what used to make them so cool. Usually sales decline and comic companies start trying to figure out new ways to make the character popular again, one of the ways to generate some excitement again is to “kill” the character. This will get news online, in papers and probably on tv and generate interest and interest means dollars. This is what has happened to our once mysterious, mean mutant berzerker, Wolverine.
Let me first say, Wolverine used to be the coolest damn character ever. He was mysterious, he was a loner, he hung out at bars and got wasted, he killed people and he didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about him. His past was a mystery and we all so desperately wanted to know who he was. Over the years his popularity grew, he was in movies, a ton of cartoons and was in dozens of comic books every month. His past was over explained, and what we all found out about him didn’t quite measure up to what we had hoped for. He was no longer a loner, he became headmaster at Xavier’s school, he appeared in dozens of X-titles. He even joined the god damn Avengers! Wolverine was officially corporate in every way. He started hanging out with Captain America for crying out loud-taking orders from SHIELD etc, ect! Everyone’s fav mutant was no longer mysterious, he was drawn more as a handsome, dashing superhero instead of a mean little hairy runt with fucked up weird ass hair. Wolverine was officially boring. A tough thing to accomplish honestly.
So now here we are, Marvel is trying the whole “Death” stunt with Logan. Let’s face it people, you have nothing to fear. Wolverine is not really dead. He’s worth too much money. Marvel does want us to miss the guy though. So I figure he’ll be gone for about a year and we’ll see him pop back up in some really ridiculous way(this will again maybe make some more money-the return of Wolverine!). But for the moment let’s just let ourselves be shocked-okay? So issue number one is actually quite impressive I must say. It’s a pretty neat little story here that’s bound to get incredibly brutal and bloody by it’s finish. Steve McNiven is easily one of my favorite current comic book artists and his work shines here.
The story is quite simple. Wolverine has lost his healing factor, he’s hiding out and there’s a bounty on his head. It seems that super powered killers are hot on his trail and the first real threat to arrive is Nuke, the star spangled psycho, who’s dead set on collecting some big time money. What we get here is a no holds barred classic Wolverine story, much like the ones I used to love as a teenager. There’s a pretty amazingly brutal sequence when Nuke and Wolverine go head to head, and I mean that literally that you’re not likely to forget any time soon. I’m on board with this one as it looks and feels much like the stories that they should have been telling all along.
I’m also looking forward to his return to Madripoor(hinted at the end of the issue), as well as seeing who else shows up to take out Wolverine. Razorfist? Wildchild? Bloodscream? Lady Deathstrike? Omega Red? I only hope it’s not Sabretooth. That guy should have stayed dead, having him kill Wolverine might be a little to cliche, though it’s certainly a strong possibility after reading issue number one. Let’s hope when they do bring Logan back from the dead, and they will, they give him one solo and one X-men book to star in. Use Logan wisely and make him more of what he used to be before. A lone wolf.
Lastly my complaints!! Okay this issue is $4.99, infact the other Marvel title I bought today was $4.99 as well, if this becomes the going rate of new weekly comic books I’m fucking outta here. This issue, though quite enjoyable was pretty thin on story. The panels keep getting bigger most pages only contain four panels, some three, some two and several full pagers. It’s got a two page splash as well.
This issue took me about five minutes to read. It looks thick, but it’s full of “Extras” a ton of random panel sketches, the “directors cut” which narrates what McNiven is supposed to draw each panel and five page interview with Co-creator Len Wein. Basically a bunch of stuff that should have been put online for free. For $4.99 an issue these comic book companies better bring MORE to the table. More story, bigger page count, and maybe smaller panels. This should have been a double sized issue. I think it’s time for the big two to pony up and give us readers more bang for our buck! I can’t afford FIVE dollar comic books every week nor do I want to spend that on any new comic book. What do you think?