Even though he’s mainly known as a member of the X-Men, Wolverine was an Avenger for quite some time in the 2000s and was a part of Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers team. In Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda #1, writer Tom Taylor, artists R.B. Silva and Adriano Benedetto, and colorist Jesus Aburtov get part of the New Avengers band back together as Iron Man, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones chase down a lead that a superhero’s DNA is up for sale at a black market auction. It’s a bit of a spy caper featuring characters with outsized personalities and a unique personal connection to Wolverine that is outlined in the opening, flashback sequence. Unfortunately, the art and colors don’t match the liveliness of the writing, and the book comes across as middling at best.
Throughout Adamantium Agenda #1, Taylor chooses sharp, simple plotting over labyrinthine, continuity heavy ones. The flashback sequence is something out of the M & M ad that has been repeated ad nauseam before every movie in a major theater for the past couple years with the New Avengers trying to defuse a touch triggered bomb for Maria Hill. Because of his healing factor and “unkillableness”, Wolverine goes for the sacrifice play even over Luke Cage and his bulletproof skin that culminates in Silva, Benedetto, and Aburtov’s best sequence: a double page, green tinged explosion.
The bomb plot is an easy way to establish the characters, create an emotional bond between them and Wolverine, and even have a little bit of action. Wolverine triggers the bomb instead of Luke because he doesn’t want his daughter, Danielle, to grow up without a father, and this creates a tender moment between him and Jessica. She has never looked so sincere when she thanks him for this, and even the awkward Ben Day dots that differentiate the flashback from the present scenes can’t kill the mood. Of course, Spider-Man is all jokes and buddy buddy with Wolverine because their awkward friendship is already pretty well documented.
This flashback leads into the present, reunion mission, and Tom Taylor channels his inner Roger Moore Bond film with a bit of an underground base submarine caper. His wit sparkles, especially every time Jessica gets in a quip, with jokes about everything from BitCoin to villain “safe spaces”, and probably the best joke of all is that Spider-Man just wears his regular superhero mask to the super, sketchy masked auction.
Faces aren’t R.B. Silva’s strong suit as an artist in Adamantium Agenda #1, and Adriano Bendetto’s inks don’t seem to make much of a difference except for things like making characters’ clothes seem lived in. During moments of extreme stress and emotion, he runs away from character faces like when Tony Stark is talking to Kitty Pryde about how much Wolverine meant to him, (I.e. the previous flashback) and the verdant Canadian landscape unintentionally becomes the focus on the scene. Silva’s hit or miss facial expressions, clumsy choreography, and some bad lighting choices from him, Benedetto, and colorist Jesus Aburtov really put the onus on Taylor to keep the story entertaining. And he does, for the most part, milking all the awkward humor and explosive action out of an undercover mission featuring characters not really known for their stealth. At least, Tony is at home with the sleazy one percenters.
Adamantium Agenda #1 has one hell of a cast of characters, and Tom Taylor wastes no time having them go on an epic mission with action, jokes, and the occasional heartfelt moment. The final page takes the miniseries in a completely new direction, but Jesus Aburtov’s muddy colors and R.B Silva and Adriano Benedetto’s less than expressive, half-assed superhero house art visuals keep this from being a surefire summer blockbuster hit.
Story: Tom Taylor Art: R.B. Silva with Adriano Benedetto Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Story: 8.0 Art: 6 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review