Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Aaron, Garney & Keith
When grading anything it’s difficult to use the same scale. For example, you probably wouldn’t score the movie 2001 using the same criteria as you would Ghostbusters. Both might be great movies, but one is an entirely different entity than the other. For me, Wolverine has been a “down” title for quite a while. I usually cringe reading it and generally don’t quite understand where the stories are hatched from. This issue is fantastic. Does it stack up with the Weapon X story from a couple of decades ago? That was 2001. This is Ghostbusters.
The premise is a simple one: Wolverine is hunting Mystique.
The issue begins with a flashback to the 1920s with Wolverine and Mystique together facing a firing squad. The scene is a good one and it’s interesting. My problem is Wolverine’s origin. Every time a flashback or a new piece of his past is revealed it confuses me. If it’s something I hadn’t seen before I cant help but wonder if this is the retelling of a previous story, maybe one I missed (Wolverine appears in dozens of titles throughout the year in the Marvel U) or if it’s an all new telling of his past. I couldn’t even read the opening paragraph on the first page of who Wolverine is without heading to wikipedia to fact check. So I wasn’t thrilled to see Mystique and Wolverine hanging out 90 years ago. I pressed on.
Wolverine begins hunting for Mystique in Afghanistan. He does some stuff that I found odd in his interrogations of the locals. Again, for this title, I couldn’t characterize Wolverine in a hundred words or less because it’s generally all over the place. My hopes for this issue hit rock bottom.
Then, a ray of hope: Wolverine and Cyclops. They are at the scene of the ending of the Messiah Complex and they discuss Mystique. Personally, I wonder why they want her so bad and not Bishop or Gambit, but this was an excellent scene. They talk about using X-Force and Wolverine’s history with Mystique. It’s a well done scene and it turned the issue completely around.
Back to Afghanistan and the real cat and mouse game begins. Mystique kills innocent people (and shows her pleasure in doing it) while Wolverine tries to save those left in her wake. It’s a simple sequence, but it really brings to the forefront the personalities. It was very good.
Back to the 1920s, we see how Mystique and Wolverine become “friends”. Wolverine is indifferent while Mystique wants him badly enough to follow him. I take it this will be more fleshed out in the next couple of issues.
Back in Afghanistan, Mystique springs her trap on Wolverine and reveals a twist within this issue that had me turning back the pages to re-trace what had happened. It’s an excellent ending. Plus, it’s a cliffhanger.
The issue ends up being fantastic. If you only read one issue of this series, this would be a great one. You see a good characterization of Wolverine, you get a little drama, you get a little mystery revealed within the issue, you get a trap and a cliffhanger to keep you coming back. A great issue. My only negative by the time the issue ends is with the flashback to the 1920s and I admit, this is solely because I am sick of Wolverine’s thousands of origins.
The artwork was very good. Mystique looked great as did the natives in the 1920s and in Afghanistan. My issue with the art was the length of Wolverine’s claws. They seem to vary way too much, but it’s a minor complaint I guess.
Such a simple concept for an issue. There’s no black ops or SHIELD or initiative or secret clan of cats. It’s Wolverine hunting down one person, another mutant. It works and even though it’s issue one of four, it would be a great read all by itself. If you left Wolverine over the last couple of years, I would encourage you check out this issue. Take a chance.
5 out of 5 geek goggles.