Wolves In Street Clothing
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #3 (Marvel) by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
In my earlier reviews of Issues #1-2 I commented that this book, while entertaining and worth a look, wasn’t quite living up to its expectations. I had high hopes that Jason Aaron would kick some new life into a tired motorbike and make this book interesting once again. Well, it took him three issues to jumpstart the thing but it seems to be running fine now. Aaron adds some new wrinkles this issue and that has changed the whole complexion. I’m back on board, at least until the conclusion of this story arc in Issue #5.
When Issue 32 ended with Wolverine surrounded by the twelve Strikeforce members, all with self-healing powers, adamantium claws, protective armor and a slew of arsenal I figured Issue #3 to be a long, drawn out bloody battle royale with Wolvie emerging badly damaged but victorious. He did cut and run at the end of the issue, but I assumed that was just so in Issue #3 he could flank them and surprise attack after getting into his usual mad berserker rage state and winning on adrenaline alone, shortly followed by my getting bored and crossing WOLVERINE WEAPON X off my pick list.
Well, he actually does practice the “cut and run” battle strategy, acting like a jungle guerilla fighter and picking off his opponents one by one over the course of several days while he wears down their resolve. But that doesn’t take up the whole book - - - and it’s what’s going on back stateside that really makes this interesting.
The reporter Ms. Garner is becoming more active in her investigation of Blackguard and starting to get some help as she turns over some very damaging information while trying to stay alive. Her prying has been discovered and Blackguard tries to suppress her. It’s the interplay between the investigation to turn over Blackguard’s wrongdoing, and their actions to cover up their activities and influence Congress to grant them a big military contract that make this fun and interesting to me. The scenes of the Congressional hearing are very well handled and realistic enough to create apprehension.
There are some great moments on the action side of this book as well. What I really appreciate is that rather than take up too many pages showing how Wolverine defeated all the Strikeforce members, Aaron uses the captioned narration of a Strikeforce member to describe it. This takes up less space and is even more effective in planting in the reader’s mind the new gritty nature of Logan, as we can imagine things far worse than comics are permitted to show.
I just love the narration on the Strikeforce X Performance Evaluation. As you keep reading it you can sense the desperation and frustration as they fail to accomplish their mission. The narrator resorts to reciting the operations manual to try to indicate that they know what they’re doing: “Remember. See your target before you fire. These cancer bullets cost $250,000 apiece. We waste ‘em, the CEO’ll have our asses.” Then Wolverine takes the gun away from a soldier and off-screen pumps four rounds into him, proclaiming “Best million bucks I ever spent.” (Great scene!) And the very last panel of this book is a grim reminder of the new hard-edged Logan. It shows what happened to that solider Wolverine tortured and then planted a bug on so he could trail him later.” Again, indicating some extreme violence rather than showing it. This isn’t your dad’s Wolverine book, son!
DARK WOLVERINE #75 by Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu, art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
I made a decision to not get wrapped up in all the Dark Reign titles, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t check out some of them . . . . . nibble at the edges and see what’s good . . . the same way I’ve been nibbling at the Batman: Reborn titles and sampling them. I didn’t want to like this book. My limited exposure to Logan’s son Daken (who steals the book from dad with this issue) didn’t impress me and I really didn’t want to like the character. So I didn’t want to like this book either, but I still wanted to check it out.
Hmmm, it ‘s kind of interesting. Oooo, it’s got an edge and a mean-spirited one at that! Ahhh, I sort of like that. Daken as portrayed here is a real conniving and manipulative sort of smart ass who also deliberately goads the other members of the Dark Avengers into skirmishes . . . but I can’t help but like him since he’s not going to fall for Norm Osborn’s crap (and that is one character I have never liked before and don’t like now). Daken’s “got my own plans.”
In fact, he baits Osborn right on page 2 after he gets asked “Do you know what a hero is?” and daken replies “You mean like Spider-Man?”. The double-take, grim and frustrated expression on Osborn’s face as he reacts to this comment is priceless. Daken’s heartless and doesn’t care who gets hurt as he works his plan, including a support staff member who gets caught and punished for stealing files for Daken, as well as an attractive female H.A.M.M.E.R. soldier whose emotions he manipulates to lure her to his bedroom so he can “hammer” her (couldn’t resist that set-up line, sorry). She’s thinking that she’s sleeping with the famous Wolverine/Logan.
Daken baits Venom/Spider-Man and then Bullseye/Hawkeye. And he’s got his mind set on using Dark Hawkeye for his plan as the story ends with the Fantastic Four interrupting a gala event to make an accusation about him. As Daken concludes “ . . .as an extremely paranoid man once told me. It’s all about perception.” Great stuff, that.
And somebody (I assume Mr.. Way) made it easy for us to get into this book and catch up to the character’s history, even if we’ve never read a single book featuring Daken before. The credit page summary does a remarkable job of detailing Daken’s story in a very short space. The end of this book is a 10-page “Dark Wolverine Saga” that gives a little bit more of the story in chronological order with some great single page artwork. Very nicely done. I know I’ll be looking for Issue #2!