Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Dark Reign The List: Wolverine #1
Aaron, Ribi, Palmer & Wilson
Breaking tradition with the rest of this series of one-shots, this issue has Norman Osborn’s objective not to kill Wolverine, but instead to infiltrate a facility called The World. Marvel Boy falls out of favor with Osborn and warns Wolverine that Osborn is after this one time Weapon X program and Wolverine pursues. This is everything that a one shot should have in it. It’s got an interesting story, good characters, great characterizations, a real conclusion and threads left open for later usage. This is a very good comic book.
Marvel Boy finds Wolverine and explains to him Osborn’s plan. Wolverine, unimpressed with Marvel Boy, then orders him to team up with him on foiling Osborn’s plan. This interaction not only manages to level-set Marvel Boy and his involvement, but it also manages to provide some great banter that is subtly funny and entertaining. However, the team up is short lived.
Upon arriving at The World, Marvel Boy is attacked by zombies and Wolverine. The mindless creatures chase Marvel Boy into the arms of Fantomex, another variation of the Weapon X program. Fantomex and Marvel Boy manage to create their own interesting dynamic as they become the team up in the comic. Their personalities are established immediately and the characters become familiar quickly and remain interesting throughout the comic.
Wolverine and the other zombies are victims of The World’s weapon, which preys on their victim’s belief in a deity. Marvel Boy and Fantomex don’t believe in God and are therefore immune to it. The comic manages to flow very well considering Wolverine is absent for a good portion of it. Eventually, Marvel Boy and Fantomex figure out how to switch the weapon off and Wolverine returns. He provides a few more great moments as he interacts with the others.
The comic book is great for a number of reasons. First of all, the comic doesn’t fall into any of the usual Wolverine trappings. He doesn’t go berserker while screaming how he’s the best at what he does. Instead, the dialogue has a level of humor to the point that Jason Aaron lets you know that he gets how funny the Wolverine clichés actually are. He uses them to his advantage. For example, the three characters have thought bubbles as they fight and Wolverine’s is “Snikt, Stab, Repeat” It’s hysterical and plays right into all of the overuse of the character and the standard writing for him.
The artwork is great. The line detail is subtle with the faces, which works well when dealing with the mindless zombies. However, the close-ups of Marvel Boy’s expressions capture every emotion perfectly as he reacts to all of the insane things that Wolverine or Fantomex say to him. It’s a terrific comic book visually.
Obviously this is not essential reading, but the sketch pages, reprint of Jason Aaron’s first Wolverine story and the two entries from the Marvel Encyclopedia help justify the $4 cover price. The story is very good and opens up the potential for a greater cast and storylines to come. If you appreciate a good, but different Wolverine story that has some humor in it and is light on the assassin stuff then this story is for you. You even get some laughs out of Norman Osborn’s scenes. This is a great one shot and Wolverine story.
4 out of 5 geek goggles