Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes & Various Artists’ “Wolverines”

4305599-wolvs2015001_dc11-0[1]So, in late 2014, Wolverine died.  If you were following comics, you probably noticed.  If you weren’t following comics, you probably didn’t.  It was a surprisingly good mini-series, in my opinion. I didn’t read any of the pre-amble, but I enjoyed the series enough to sign-up for some of the aftermath.

The post-Logan series that interested me the most going in was the weekly-released Wolverines from writers Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes.  I’m not very familiar with Fawkes, but I discovered Soule on his 2013/14 She-Hulk run, then followed up on him with Letter 44, Strongman, Death of Wolverine and Inhuman.  I enjoyed them all at least as much–or more–than I had anticipated, so I was cautiously optimistic about this title.

This review is meant to sum up the entire 20 Issue run of Wolverines.  I honestly don’t remember every artist that worked on it, but part of my initial excitement was due to the first issue featuring the art of fellow Monctonian Nick Bradshaw.  I haven’t followed Bradshaw’s career closely, but I enjoy his work enough that if I’m even half interested in the subject of the book he’s drawing, I’ll usually pick it up.

So Wolverines‘ art comes out of the gate swinging.  The other half dozen artists or so involved in the book maintain pretty consistent work, but nothing in the series really stands out. I can only think of maybe one or two stand-out panels that stick in my mind, and they’re more memorable for what is happening, rather than how it looks as its happening.

You will never find a more retched hive of scum and villainy.

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

The whole story is quite interesting.  It starts out appearing as though someone has put together a team of mutant healers, and intends on running them as a sort of mutant Suicide Squad.  The first arc unveils how each of these characters–Sabretooth, X-23, Daken, Lady Deathstrike and Mystique–has handled Logan’s death, and how they ended up recruited into this definitely not a Suicide Squad.  Later arcs involve stealing Logan’s admantium dipped corpse from Mr. Sinister, a token Deadpool appearance, and some other twists and turns.

Fawkes contributes some solid dialogue in his issues, but I would be willing to bet real money that the general outline of the story was all Soule.  It has his fingerprints all over it: strong dialogue, a seemingly derivative plot outline that turns into a solid–maybe even surprising–ending.  It’s one problem is that it certainly didn’t need to be 20 issues long.  This story could really have been handled in 12, maybe 15 issues.  But then it wouldn’t have ended just before Secret Wars came along to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER™, as it often does.

At 20 issues–4 trade paperback volumes–I don’t think I can really recommend this to anyone.  I’d be very curious to see if it binge-reads well.  Having to wait a week between each issue probably added to my enjoyment, because I didn’t really tire of the stuff going on in the laggy middle sections, and if a character I didn’t care about was featuring prominently… the focus had usually shifted for at least a little while the next week.

If you happen upon all four volumes in the 75% off bin at your LCBS it’s worth the read.  I really enjoyed several parts of the series–especially the ending, which really only pays off if you read the whole series–and I’m glad I got to read it.  I deeply regret how much I paid for it, though.


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