WOLVERINE #5.1 (Marvel Comics, April 2011) “Happy” by Jason Aaron, Writer. Jefte Palo, Art. Nathan Fairbairn, Color Art. Paolo Rivera, Cover Art. VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer.
Above the art on the splash page/credits page is a short but accurate summary of the game-changing event that led to the transformation of Logan into Wolverine. Below that art is another short but accurate summary of what has happened to Wolverine in the years following his escape from the living weapon experiment through his association with the X-Men and Avengers and involvement with his children = Daken and X-23. The last sentences bring us right to the current situation and takes us right to the events of this particular “Point One” issue . . . . .
“He’s been to hell and back. Literally. But there’s one experience Logan’s never had before . . . “
That single page contains more information that a new reader or a returning reader will obtain about the current state of Wolverine than in the following 22 pages. For someone hoping to find a convenient “jumping on” point in this title, WOLVERINE 5.1 is less than satisfying. What they will get is an amusing and entertaining story that wraps up and resolves it’s single issue conflict yet leaves the possibility of more with a post script cliff-hanger ending. I like Jason Aaron and the body of work he is creating both at Marvel and DC/Vertigo. I like this story. It’s a good example of his style and what he’s capable of. He strings an engaging story together and entertains the reader at the same time. Yet, this book pales when compared to the power and impact of the other three I’ve reviewed. I kept looking for a similar revelatory or inspiring moment while reading WOLVERINE 5.1 and it never occurred for me. (I haven’t read the rest of the “Point One” books beyond the 4 that I’ve reviewed here. It is possible I’ll act on impulse and pick up another one later. I’ll let you know if I do.)
I also feel that WOLVERINE 5.1 may be the least attractive of the four “Point One” books I’ve written about as far as the art team goes. It could be that Jefte Palo’s style is not my personal favorite. It’s more of a minimalist style with elements of pulp/noir and muted coloring. There are some nice touches and the close-up expressions are well done. But the art here also pales in comparison to those other books.
The experience that the opening page refers to Logan’s missing is . . . . a birthday party. Huh?
It’s also a surprise party. So while Logan is off on an impromptu tracking effort and rescue mission through the Canadian woodlands, the guests arrive early at his present homestead . This allows Aaron to have a little fun and “goof” on some established Marvel characters as they gather and socialize while waiting for Wolverine to show up at the door. I laughed several times at some of the situations and dialogue - -- something that the goofball villains (the Buzzard Brothers) in this issue also made me do. However, the last two pages seem to indicate that the Buzzard Brothers are returning , gaining their freedom from prison in exchange for servitude as killers for another criminal organization. Odd.
Could it be that Aaron is simply running out of ideas now that Logan has been to hell and back? Is he trying out a lighter side now? Is Wolverine going to become a humorous super-hero title now? I wouldn’t welcome that - - and it would be completely out of character. I also feel that the Buzzard Brothers are a bit one-dimensional and the entertainment and comedy value will become less and less with repeated exposure.
There’s just nothing special in WOLVERINE 5.1 to make me want to “jump on” and start reading this book. I appreciate the single issue story here. I enjoyed it. Most readers will. For that reason alone I feel it’s worthy of mention here. Rating: B+.