Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! It’s going to be a hell of a week no matter the outcome of a certain politically-charged event, which at the time of writing is undecided, so I hope comics and this review rundown in particular will provide you with the probably very necessary reprieve from the real world. Our main book for this week is the debut of the anthology series Wolverine: Black, White & Blood, featuring a pretty impressive line-up of creators (which thankfully will be more diverse as the series moves along).
We’ve got that as well as other books in the Rapid Rundown, all on this week’s edition of the Marvel Rundown!
Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1
Written by Gerry Duggan, Matthew Rosenberg, and Declan Shalvey
Art by Adam Kubert, Joshua Cassara, and Declan Shalvey
Colours by Frank Martin, Guru-eFX, and Declan Shalvey
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Adam Kubert
This anthology series was announced right on the heels of DC’s own announcement of their digital-first Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red series, which is also an anthology series with new creators every issue. I’m not saying that this is a creatively bankrupt move by Marvel, but given that the first major non-Dawn of X X-Men title is just a riff on something DC dropped is a little petty.
But other than that, how was the issue? There are three stories here, each of them told in black and white with a splash of red for good measure. You’d expect each story to tackle Wolverine in its own unique way, perhaps showcase a different side of his personality with each story. Hell, the title page lists his various identities which led me to believe that we’d get at least some sense of the long and crazy life he’s had. This is partially true, with the second and third stories certainly highlighting different sides of Logan’s life. It’s the first story, by Gerry Duggan, Adam Kubert, Frank Martin, and Clayton Cowles that really soured me on the issue and sapped my enthusiasm. Or honestly, whatever enthusiasm I had about reading another Wolverine comic. Especially one written and drawn by people who have worked on the character in the very recent past. It’s this really generic, paint-by-numbers look at Wolverine’s Weapon X days that I really could have gone without reading. Kubert’s made a name for himself as the premier Wolverine artist given that he launched the current series with Benjamin Percy, so I expected something a little more definitive and unique. It’s still gorgeous, making use of plenty of double-page spreads with dozens of small panels to contrast against the big action that Wolverine is going through.
The next two stories are the ones that I really enjoyed. The second story by Matthew Rosenberg, Joshua Cassara, Guru-eFX, and Cowles is more of a media res story that heavily incorporates flashbacks and features some fun Wolverine espionage action with a satisfying ending. Cassara’s work on X-Force has been blowing me away and this story is no exception. He has such a sense of scale and detail and really manages to explore the more grimy and violent side of the Marvel Universe in a very interesting way that doesn’t land in the grim-dark area that the first story fell into. The last story, written and drawn by Declan Shalvey with lettering by Cowles, was my favourite of the bunch. Whenever I read something written by Shalvey, I wonder why I’m not reading more comics written by him. He’s either not very good with deadlines or has a long-gestating project or two in the oven. I don’t know. What I do know is that I love his artwork, and I love that he pulled off a rather common setting that Logan finds himself in: the wilderness, be it Canadian or American. Sure, the last page or so is loaded with information that tries to explain the story, but as a whole it worked for me. Shalvey is a master sequential artist and a pretty talented writer and I really dug the tone he achieved here.
With that in mind, I’m giving this a strong BROWSE. It’s not a full-on recommendation because of how I feel about the first story, but the next two are pretty fun glimpses into both sides of the character and they’re gorgeous to boot.
- Guardians of the Galaxy #8
- It’s Knives Out in space! Al Ewing, Marcio Takara, Federico Blee, and Cory Petit weave a murder mystery that showcases each of the Guardians’s individual strengths, with Rocket in particular shining. The issue also continues to expand on the fallout from Empyre, and incorporates other recent Marvel cosmic events to great effect. This was a fantastic two-issue story. —JG
- Marauders #14
- This week’s X of Swords installments are the proverbial calm before the storm, and Marauders finds the heroes of Krakoa and Arrako sitting down for a nice meal and a mixer. It’s a nice opportunity to see the disparate Krakoans interact with each other as they size up their opponents, and to flesh out the Arrakoans with personalities beyond ‘bad guys.’ The cliffhanger, if it sticks, is an absolute game-changer for this event, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. —JG
- Web of Venom: Empyre’s End #1
- We all know Knull’s coming, and he’s been coming for a while, but this issue injected a lethal dose of horror and terror into that promise. This was a wild ride, reading like an alternate take on Ridley Scott‘s Alien, and got me much, much more excited for the King in Black event coming up in December. Clay McLeod Chapman seriously impressed me with his script and how he slowly built the tension, and Guiu Villanova‘s cinematic and terrifying artwork helped sell the Knull threat. —HW
Next week, we’ve got a double dose of Spider-Man, some more X of Swords chapters, and Iron Man!