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Review: The Death of Doctor Strange #1

The Death of Doctor Strange #1

As a lifelong comic book fan, I can honestly say, I love living in the times we are now. Growing up, the only thing we had to see onscreen were the cartoons from Marvel. Eventually, we would see the Japanese version of Spider-Man, which doesn’t quite hold up. Then there was the Incredible Hulk TV show, which actually showed a complex superhero, before the modern explorations we’re able to enjoy now.

Then came the Blade movies, and we not only got to see action in the horror genre but watch comic books start to become part of the mainstream. Fast forward to now, and we have comic book superheroes in live action and animated TV shows and movies. The recent hit MCU TV show What If..? proves you can tell complex compelling stories using animation. In the debut issue of The Death Of Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme has finally met his mortality, leaving the world defenseless without him at guard.

We open on Stephen as he awakes in the Sanctum Sanctorum, as he goes on  a walk with Bats, he recount show his gift for surgery came back and how he has at least returned to it , part time.  Of course, his job as Sorcerer Supreme takes paramount, as he stops a police shooting a man who was possessed b the Seven Sons of Cinnibus, thereby severing a connection to the evil lords, whilst saving the man’s life.  Later, we find Stephen teaching a class at the Strange Academy, where Dole, Dormammu’s son , sense his father’s presence nearby, alerting Stephen to spring into action, with Illyana by his side,  as he encounters the Crimson Bands Of Cyttoraki  who have entered his dimension. Then everything gets titled on its head, when one night as he sits in the Sanctum Sanctorum alone, a malevolent force is at their doorstep and has Stephen at a disadvantage. By the issue’s end, all his allies feel his life-force leave the astral plane, the mystery of who killed lies at the center, Mordo is not the culprit and multiple extra dimensional invasions are happening all over Earth.

Overall, The Death Of Doctor Strange #1 begins a crackling murder mystery that proves anyone can be the villain. The story by Mackay is exciting. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a thriller worthy of Dashiell Hammett.

Story: Jed MacKay Art: Lee Garbett
Color: Antonio Fabela Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: The Death of Doctor Strange #1

The Death of Doctor Strange #1

Listen, we all know Doctor Strange isn’t going to stay dead. With a film coming out next year, the character will eventually be back in the way we’ve known (though maybe a bit more aligned with the film). So, the “death” aspect to The Death of Doctor Strange #1 isn’t much of a surprise or interesting. Who the murderer is, might be. The details of the comic are really what’s going to win us over.

Written by Jed MacKay, The Death of Doctor Strange #1 takes us through Stephen Strange’s life. He recounts his origin in some ways and what his role in the Marvel Universe is. We get the balance that this is a person who has a lot of responsibility as a Doctor and as the Sorcerer Supreme. MacKay generally beats us over the head that without Strange, the Marvel Universe and Earth is facing a major threat. The debut issue is a lot of setup as to WHY Strange dying matters.

The Death of Doctor Strange #1 is that moment of the story while the villain’s shadow looms over and threatens everything underneath. The issue is the ball in the air and now we have to see how well it can be hit. The defenses are down. Someone is a murderer. The question is who will stand up to protect the Earth. How will they do it. And, how killed Stephen Strange? None of this is surprising at all and none of the setup feels all that original. We’ve seen “key” heroes get killed and then a threat shows up that only they can stop. This is just a magical version of that. It’s not bad as a start but it’s also not all that exciting.

The art by Lee Garbett matches the tone of the story itself. With color by Antonio Fabela and lettering by Cory Petit, it’s good but not great. There’s nothing bad about the art at all. What’s missing is that bit of excitement. For a comic all about “magic”, the art doesn’t really have any. The scenes of its use feel rather… mundane, like a kids’ magician making some colors. There’s never that moment that really surprises or takes advantage of the fact this is magic we’re dealing with. Everything feels a bit… grounded.

Beyond the very end reveal, there’s nothing surprising or all that interesting about The Death of Doctor Strange #1. It reminds people of who Stephen Strange is and why he’s important. It’s a comic that feels like it exists to make the case as to why its main character matters. The fact it has to makes it feel like that’s been a failure leading up to all of this. Most of the comic is pretty much what we’d expect but it’s a decent setup and start. Really what matters is where it all goes from here and if the team can really make this an exciting story to come now that there’s actual danger to deal with.

Story: Jed MacKay Art: Lee Garbett
Color: Antonio Fabela Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Wolverine #15

Wolverine #15

It’s been a while since I checked up on Wolverine’s solo adventures and for sure, I checked out long before Jonathan Hickman revamped the X-line in spectacular fashion. I’m glad I did because Wolverine #15 had a few nice surprises that kept me interested.

The pirate lord Sevyr Blackmore tells the tale of when he met Solem, a mutant with adamantium skin. Sevyr captured him when Solem was a kid but found he couldn’t kill him and couldn’t keep him held captive because he escaped everything. Instead, he took him under his wing and taught him the life of a pirate and in these kinds of tales, the student soon becomes the teacher and Solem turns out to be very, very good at what he’s learned. After all has been said, Wolverine and Sevyr go at it, with the winner to continue on the trail of Solem.

I got drawn into this issue of Wolverine pretty easy, despite my own shortcomings with not knowing much of who the cast was. I can confirm Sevyr’s tale works well for someone new to Wolverine. I like Ben Percy’s work, notably his work on Year Zero for AWA Studios. I think it would be hard to write villains for Wolverine. He heals and can cut anything in his path. Sevyr’s acidic blood mixed with having the foresight to install a magnetic floor to keep Logan in one spot seemed like a winning formula to me. And having Solem be a step or two ahead of Logan is a nice touch.

I was not expecting to be impressed with the art of Adam Kubert in 2021 or to have him throw out visuals that keep his work looking so fresh. I mean, I like his art and all but what I saw in the pages of Wolverine really stood out to me. I could gush all over this issue. While I’m sure Percy’s script is tight, Adam Kubert really knows how to make the story flow from panel to panel. I thought the colors by Frank Martin looked a tiny bit odd paired with Kubert’s art but I was sold after a few pages.

Could it be better? Sure. Everything can be better. I’m not much of a fan of Wolverine because he used to just pop up everywhere and mess up the place. Characters like Wolverine tend to feel a bit stale to me and I can honestly say I haven’t picked up his solo book in years. However, I was really enjoying what I read from Wolverine #15, so it’s definitely possible to put some good shine on something that for me was dull. Enough so that I want to see where this tale is going to go. Sevyr and Solem seem interesting enough as foils to Logan. This is definitely a book to read but it wouldn’t hurt to buy it since there was enough thought to make it feel like the story went somewhere and delivered on some good action.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Adam Kubert
Color: Frank Martin Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0

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Review: Moon Knight #2

Moon Knight #2

What’s a rather disgusting way that someone could control someone? How about by having drops of sweat contaminate their water. Moon Knight #2 breaks the question of why the elderly mob was all under the control of one mind, as Moon Knight cracks that problem by discovering the building’s janitor has the ability to control others through his sweat. There’s still someone in the shadows that’s out to get Moon Knight but that’s a tale for another issue.

Moon Knight is a character that works very well in a supernatural world so pairing him with a vampire assistant actually kinda works. I don’t know how I feel with there being an issue between Khonshu and MK. It feels like every volume of this title has this trope and it gets old but for now, it’s not presenting any storytelling problems. Having Marc Spector in full control works for me. I do kind of feel like being an older Marvel fan and reader of Moon Knight that I’m having to adapt to a lot of changes to the world he exists in but nothing feels like a negative. I like what Jed MacKay is doing here, establishing what feels like a normal version of Marc and putting him in what almost feels like a position that Daredevil would be in: a savior to those who need him and one that people can easily reach. Also, I thought the sequence where Marc tastes the sweat, gross as it was, led to a really powerful moment showcasing what you get when you cross the ex-Avenger. It’s a subtle but awesome reminder that Moon Knight is a bad-ass.

Alessandro Cappuccio’s art is reminisce to me of an early Jae Lee and I think it rocks on a book like Moon Knight. I think an art style like this could really pay off if this books gets really deep into things like vampires or even Marc’s association with werewolves and other supernatural threats. It’s dark and brooding and there’s something almost fearsome in the eyes of the possessed in this issue. And again, back to the moment Moon Knight defeated the poisonous janitor, the visuals were impressive. Great colors by Rachelle Rosenberg and Cory Petit’s letters continue to work. And I hope we continue to see Steve McNiven covers as I thought this issue had a great cover.

I was really happy with Moon Knight #2. He’s one of my favorite Marvel characters. I think most of the Moon Knight runs always start with a lot of promise and great execution, but then after a year or two just become something rather unremarkable. I hope Marvel and even Jed MacKay can continue to give us issues like this one because I know it’s a character with a bigger future ahead and a loyal fanbase that want these adventures to continue. I definitely think this is an issue to read.

Story: Jed MacKay Art: Alessandro Cappuccio
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0

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Review: Moon Knight #1

Moon Knight #1

With a high-profile television show on the horizon, Marvel has started its push for Moon Knight. After his recent storyline in The Avengers comic, Marc Spector headlines a new volume of his series with Moon Knight #1. And, the result is a bit mixed in its result. The concept of the comic is solid but it seems to be a rather surface representation of the character, one who has had a mixed history when it comes to his writers.

Written by Jed MacKay, Moon Knight #1 casts Spector as a protector of the night. He now runs the Midnight Mission where he defends those who “travel at night”. This puts him in conflict with the “monster” aspects of the Marvel Universe like vampires, rat men, the things that go bump in the night. When he’s not doing that, he’s seeing his appointed shrink to help him work through his issues. Spector is the “Fist of Konshu”, the priest of the god of the moon who is tasked with fighting evil. He also has Dissociative Identity Disorder, so there’s a whole question as to what’s real at times and what’s due to that.

At that surface level, the comic is great. There’s fantastic pacing and action. Spector is an engaging lead and the supporting cast and upcoming conflict are intriguing. The comic works really well as Marvel’s version of Batman… who really does have some issues to work through.

But, the comic fails the character as well.

Moon Knight is one of the high-profile Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe. The son of a Rabbi, Spector had a troubled relationship with his upbringing becoming a mercenary. His Judaism has been a varying part of the character depending on the writer with those who are of that faith delivering a bit more insight into the varying conflicts within those of the newer generation. MacKay’s take feels like it’s setting the groundwork to not just reject Spector’s Jewish upbringing but borders on the erasure of it.

In one panel, Spector discusses his being a “High Priest” of Konshu to which he is challenged by his psychiatrist who notes it’s a contradiction from his Jewish upbringing. Moon Knight states “My father was a Rabbi, I was a war criminal. Contradictions are nothing new for me.” The rest of the comic spends its time emphasizing the “High Priest” aspect without again mentioning Spector is Jewish. And there points to a failure in the character and those handling them.

Konshu is an Egyptian god who has “enslaved” a Jewish individual to do his bidding. The Biblical connotations are clear and the writing could easily play with the Jewish enslavement by Egyptian Pharaohs and their eventual exodus from bondage. But, MacKay doesn’t. He gives us a Spector who is ok with his role. We should be getting Moses but instead, we get acquiescence. We should get the real conflict that many Jews face every day, but instead, we get complete assimilation into his role. There’s an aspect, and one that would elevate the series and character, that’s missing. We get the action but not the depth.

Alessandro Cappuccio‘s art is beautiful. With Rachelle Rosenberg‘s colors and Cory Petit‘s lettering, the comic is visually fantastic. There’s such a dichotomy in the art switching between scenes of banter between Spector and his supporting cast and all-out action. The comic is absolutely fantastic looking keeping up a run of artists who have not just done the character justice but nailed the look and tone of the character and series.

Moon Knight #1 isn’t bad. It’s full of action and great banter. But, it’s missing a key element so many of the character’s writers have missed. There’s a perspective and conflict within Spector that seems to be skipped over again and again. Still, it’s an entertaining comic if you’re looking for Marvel’s Batman taking on things that bump in the night.

Story: Jed MacKay Art: Alessandro Cappuccio
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Heroes Reborn #7

Heroes Reborn #7

Heroes Reborn has been an interesting event. It’s one that has shown its potential. But, that potential has never really been reached. The narrative has taken on a different delivery with a series of one-shots and a main series that’s been split. Half of the main event comic has focused on the members of the Squadron Supreme while the second half has dipped its toes into the bigger story of a world changed. This “final” issue continues that pattern. Heroes Reborn #7 has the Squadron Supreme attempting to figure out who the Avengers are while the second gives a better idea as to who is behind everything.

Delivering an event in a style that’s almost like an anthology is absolutely something different and new. But, it also has felt like not enough. Writer Jason Aaron has juggled his two tasks and done with what he could. The comic has had to build this world with a rich past and current present while also addressing the mystery before us. The mystery aspect has felt like it’s gotten shortchanged as the series has done its best “What if Marvel did DC?”. That riff on DC has been interesting and entertaining with numerous winks and nods. But, there’s something that doesn’t completely click about it all. It’s not really DC as more Earth-3 DC as the Squadron Supreme builds up a pile of bodies and we learn more of their thirst for war and destruction.

With the main event, you’d think this issue would wrap things up. Nope, it’s extended even further with the upcoming Heroes Return. That makes this seven-issue series feel even shorter in its goals. It’s the opening chapter in what will likely be dragged out further than it needs to. The issue for Heroes Reborn interestingly doesn’t seem to be the content or concept but its execution and packaging.

The art by Aaron Kuder and Ed McGuinness is solid. The comic looks great as each brings their styles to the issue. It looks great and that’s not a problem at all. Mark Morales ads his inks to McGuinness’ pencils with Dean White and Matthew Wilson handling color with Cory Petit on lettering. Everyone looks fantastic, the locations are interesting and the moments between characters flows nicely. The issue never pops though. There’s moments that should have been memorable but it never hits the reader. It could be due to the shortened storytelling pages but the imagery never stands out as epic and memorable.

Heroes Reborn #7 like the issue before both works and doesn’t. There’s some great ideas and concepts but it never quite clicks and flows. Everything feels too short and like it’s missing that moment that really hits you. The fact that it ends as just one chapter doesn’t help matters. This is another Marvel event that doesn’t hit the mark.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Aaron Kuder, Ed McGuinness
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Dean White, Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2 is an intriguing comic. The second issue in the event, the issue feels more like a tie-in than the main event. Split between two stories, it definitely delivers some insight and teases the overall story but it doesn’t feel like much of a drawn. It’s both good and bad in a way.

Invaders From the Negative Zone” focuses on Hyperion delivering a bit of an origin in some ways but more showing us more about this “hero”. Writer Jason Aaron gives us a hyper-patriotic Superman who has no problem killing and whose philosophy seems to be “might makes right”. It’s an intriguing story that gives a good sense of who we’re dealing with as Hyperion must stop a jailbreak from the Negative Zone.

Like the debut, it also feels like the more interesting aspects are the other versions of characters we know in this world. Like the debut, all of that is surface deep. It drops hints and teases of a twisted world but doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail to really become interesting. Where the issue is most important is it teases Hyperion knows something isn’t right but is willing to fight to keep things as is.

Dale Keown provides the art with Carlos Magno. Magno also handles inks with Scott Hanna and Edgar Delgado is on color. The story is full of over the top visuals emphasizing the hyper-violence that Hyperion brings to the fight. Murdering villains is not an issue. Between the visuals and the dialogue, there’s also a lack of remorse in doing so. There’s some visuals that pop with memorable moments. There’s definitely a few that’ll get readers to pause. They do a solid job of emphasizing Hyperion’s brutality.

Welcome Home, Soldier” feels more like the continuation of the first issue. It features a veteran checking in on Hyperion with a reveal as to who it is towards the end. Aaron gives a decent story that has its moments but overall is too little of a movement on the main storyline. It also features some gaps in the story forcing readers to strain a bit to pieces of the puzzle together.

Ed McGuinness handles the art with Mark Morales on ink and Matthew Wilson on color. It’s a story that has some zing to it but whose visuals feel a bit like a throwback to the 70s and 80s at times. It generally looks good but doesn’t feature the memorable moments like the opening story. While the visuals also keeps its individual a mystery, it’s not too hard to guess who it is, which makes the whole reveal lack a punch.

Heroes Reborn #2 isn’t a bad comic at all. It just doesn’t feel like the “main event”. The stories feel like either slivers of an issue’s worth of storytelling or they feel like something that’d normally be relegated to a tie-in. It’s not bad at all but like the debut, it feels a bit like a throwback in some ways. Overall, not bad and will work when read all-together, but on its own, it’s a bit of ho-hum.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Dale Keown, Carlos Magno, Ed McGuinness
Ink: Scott Hanna, Carlos Magno, Mark Morales Color: Edgar Delgado, Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Heroes Reborn #1

Heroes Reborn #1

What if Marvel was DC? That’s the vibe I got from Heroes Reborn #1, the latest Marvel “event” that has Blade awaken in a world he does not know. This is a world where the Avengers never formed and existed. Instead, the Squadron Supreme has stepped in and things have progressed differently in other ways. The result is a ho-hum start that has an interesting mystery but lacks memorable excitement.

Jason Aaron continues his Avengers run with this sidequest. Heroes Reborn #1 isn’t a bad debut but it also doesn’t quite deliver a punch. Instead, we’re guided around the world by Blade as he attempts to figure out what has happened. He’s the only one, maybe, that remembers the world isn’t right. Blade, as our guide, introduces us to the various members of the Squadron Supreme and lets us know what has happened to key Avengers members like Tony Stark, Carol Danvers, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk. We also get to meet this world’s twist on classic Marvel villains. Most just feel like riffs on the combination of characters we’ve seen so many times before. Take two characters, mash them together for a whole new thing to sell.

And that’s part of the problem with the comic. It’s entire draw is to see what’s different expecting readers to be excited that Dr. Doom is mashed with the Juggernaut. The dialogue is a bit on the cheese end of things and the various introductions don’t feel like complete stories. In fact most are not. So there’s an emptiness in a way. We’re also left pondering how Blade is getting around in this strange world as he travels to see Thor or his final stop. We just accept he’s able to.

But, in a way, Aaron has a bit of a success with the comic. It hearkens back with a retro style in its dialogue and battles. It forgoes an edgy darkness for a classic pop-superhero sensibility about it. When I read the comic, I didn’t feel like I was reading a Marvel comic. Instead, the style in dialogue and look was more akin to DC. It’s an interesting stylized choice and not too surprising based on the fact the Squadron Supreme is front and center.

There’s also a lot that does work in the comic. Blade’s confrontation with Nighthawk and Thor are solid and the teases at the end is the really “meat” of the debut issue. But, it doesn’t quite feel like enough. This feels more like a “zero” issue than a solid debut issue.

Ed McGuinness‘ art is fantastic as expected. There’s some fun imagery on the pages with interesting layouts that catch the eye. With Mark Morales on ink, Matthew Wilson on color, and lettering by Cory Petit, the art pops often. There’s some rough spots, some uninspired villain designs, but like the writing there’s a bit of a throwback to the art style and some of the panels. The art does some interesting things blending “classic” comics, the 90s, and modern comics seamlessly. Page layouts are a bit more modern. Some the character design is more 90s and 00s and some of the character stances feel much older and classic. It works in a fun sort of way.

Heroes Reborn #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of what works does so really well. But, there’s also a lot that feels like clunkers. There’s a mix of styles and voices in a way and it doesn’t always blend together. Some of the comic feels like a spoof of the past. Some of the comic feels like an homage. And some of the comic feels like it’s taking itself too seriously. It’s a bit mixed as to what it wants to be. But, its mystery is one that has me wanting to come back and see what’s behind all of this and more importantly, what comes after.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Ed McGuinness
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #13

Guardians of the Galaxy #13

When the Guardians of the Galaxy relaunched under Al Ewing‘s guidance I was excited to check the series out. I followed it through its first arc and enjoyed where it was going. But I fell off and found myself reading an issue here and there that tied into something else. With Guardians of the Galaxy #13, the issue feels like another good jumping on point. It’s perfect for new readers as well as long-time fans.

My experience with the Guardians of the Galaxy goes back to the team from the future but I fell in love with the team during the Abnett and Lanning days. Since then there’s been ups and down (a lot of downs, lets be honest) but Ewing’s run has been solid (of what I’ve read of it). With The Kree and Skrulls now in an alliance, The Guardians of the Galaxy have a new role, that of superheroes. They’ve been soldiers, misfits, and thieves, but now they’re getting a more formalized take… Avengers in space. And that’s not a bad thing. With a large cast of heroes, the teams can now tackle multiple issues and try to help the infinite issues out there.

Guardians of the Galaxy #13 kicks off with two, an attack on the Kree/Skrull capital planet and the mystery of a cult on a mysterious planet. Each provides different aspects to the issue. With one we get the big-screen adventure and action. The other builds a mystery that will clearly play out down the line. We also get to know each team and members and how the various personalities play out. There’s also a bit of uniformity now too hearkening back to those classic days of matching uniforms (with a bit of a throwback to them).

The art by Juan Frigeri is fantastic. Frigeri is joined by Federico Blee on color and Cory Petit on lettering. There’s some amazing visuals that make you take notice. From the opening of Throneworld II to Super Skrull managing the teams, to the Guardians arriving to battle, and more, there’s so much to enjoy. There’s a fun energy about the art. The colors help and the lettering adds personality to so many of the characters. All of that combines into a visual treat that makes the comic fun!

Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is a near-perfect jumping-on point. There’s just one sequence between Peter and Gamora that feels really out of place. But, beyond that, the comic is a fun adventure. There’s a certain energy and excitement about the issue that jumps from the page. If you’ve wondered about the Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the point to hop and because it looks like it’s going to be an awesome ride.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Juan Frigeri
Color: Federico Blee Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Wolverine #10

Wolverine #10

Wolverine #10 starts out like an action movie with Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin channeling that black ops Team X killing machine energy that the folks who made X-Men Origins: Wolverine tried and failed at. Maverick gets to shoot, fight, and kill his way out of being mind-controlled with Wolverine trying to get him to find healing in Krakoa. However, unlike Wolverine who basically has a whole family (Found, cloned, blood, and otherwise) waiting for him on the island, Maverick doesn’t have friends: just co-workers and employers. That’s the tragedy at the heart of the relationship between Maverick and Wolverine. Logan wants to move on while Maverick wants to continue to re-live the past glories of his Team X days and wander around with guns and a mask taking out baddies for the highest bidder even if he no longer has his mutant powers.

Adam Kubert has been drawing Wolverine for over 27 years, but his work on Wolverine #10 shows that he still enjoys drawing Logan’s berserker rage and the nobility buried underneath. (Full disclosure, he’s my favorite Wolverine artist along with John Romita Jr. You gotta love second generation comics pros.) Kubert also has some damn good storytelling chops, especially in his approach to layouts. He uses white space to simulate Maverick coming out of his mindwipe as well as gaps in his memory. At the beginning of the comic, Kubert uses close-ups and different angles on the same stand-off to show Maverick starting to fill in the details with the help of Wolverine. The next page uses more straighforward panel choices while keeping the blanks, and by the time the Merchant grazes Maverick with Frank Castle’s pistol, we’re back in double page spread mode with insets showing these former Team X members doing what they do best while colorist Frank Martin turns on the red.

Wolverine #10 features quite a few of these compositions from Kubert, namely, a double page spread freezing a moment in time while the story progresses through small grids or inset panels. This is also happening while Martin sets the general tone of the page with his color choices from sleazy neons for the port of Madripoor to *fittingly* black for the Mercs and finally light greens for Krakoa. Frank Martin uses darker greens for the inset panels to drive home that Maverick is really hostile and skeptical about Krakoa even if it means rest and the restoration of his considerable abilities. These color choices along with the insets give you the key story information about the sequence while the rest of the spread adds context and atmosphere. They also show how Maverick is still boxed into his past as a merc and is cool with taking money from the CIA (Who tried to kill him earlier) even while he chides and quips at Wolverine for being a cult leader and Kool-Aid drinker. He’s definitely the kind of guy who says “sell-out” unironically.

Wolverine #10
Dudes rock…

Between the chases, killings, and tough guy one-liners, Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert continue to explore nostalgia in Wolverine #10. Kubert is an interesting artist choice because he worked with Larry Hama and other on the Wolverine and Weapon X comics in the 1990s that the past two or three issues have been trying to evoke with the Madripoor setting, Team X (Especially Maverick’s mask.), and even the short, yet sweet return of “Patch”. Also, the plot of the comic revolves around an auction of basically Easter Eggs from the Marvel Universe like the grave stone from “Kraven’s Last Hunt”, and Maverick, Wolverine, and the Mercs end up going on a mission to a warehouse with these items. However, Wolverine realizes the emptiness of nostalgia and doesn’t even look at what’s in the “Team X” before torching them. Percy shows where Logan is at as a character while also commenting on creators who yearn to re-tell the stories of their youth instead of breaking new ground.

Basically, there have been enough Wolverine flashback/origin stories, and it’s time to put him in new context or remix these previous stories like he and Kubert are doing with Maverick as they focus on the psychological dimensions of the relationship between them. There was that great flashback sequence in Wolverine #9, and now in this issue, Percy and Kubert show the sad reality of Logan and Maverick’s friendship as they’re perfectly in-sync when fighting CIA agents or various goons, but talk past each other once they get a quiet moment on the helicopter or overlooking Krakoa. Logan and Maverick are like (ultraviolent) work buddies, who really gel professionally, successfully complete projects together, and even throw a few brews back at the happy hour, but don’t really work out of that context. So, Maverick’s actions on the last couple pages of Wolverine #10 hurt like hell, but they do make sense. They might stand back to back on the cover, but these are men heading in polar opposite directions with Logan having both family and national responsibilities. Also, the blank panels come back hinting at Maverick resigning himself to just being a weapon again instead of trying to restart his life in Krakoa as Adam Kubert wrings emotions out of just white on the page.

Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin balance black ops action and the complicated relationship dynamic between Logan and Maverick in Wolverine #10. It also features breathtaking layouts from Kubert and smart color choices from Martin and has nods to the 1990s era of X-comics while adding a little substance to those books’ style.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Adam Kubert
Colors: Frank Martin Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 7.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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