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Underrated: Wolverine Stories

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Wolverine Stories.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the past, both at Graphic Policy and Ramblings Of A Comics Fan that were it not for Wolverine then there is a very good chance I would never have picked up a comic book. Whether it was X-Men: The Animated Series, Wolverine Unleashed #8 or even just regular old Wolverine #118, the one common thread that brought me in to each of these things was the clawed Canadian mutant.  Over time I would  come to realize that Wolverine is so much more than just a violent claw-fisted mutant, and so this Underrated will (hopefully) shine a light on some of the stories featuring Wolverine that may not be thought of as highly as others. With Logan hitting theaters, I felt that now would be a good time to look at some of Wolverine’s more underrated stories.

Tales such as The Japan Adventure, Weapon X and Old Man Logan are thought of in many ways as classic stories, and while some of the tales he’s featured in are somewhat terrible, there are some very underrated gems out there, and these are the ones I wanted to look at today, focusing on a handful of my favourites.

A few things before we start; firstly, these comics are all currently being published in an ongoing series. Secondly, I’ve got eclectic taste so these may not be for everybody so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.

  • wolverine-119-coverNot Dead Yet (Wolverine Vol. 2 #119-123)
    This is quite possibly one of my favourite Wolverine stories. Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, the story is set during the time Wolverine had no adamantium in his body, it is told both in the present and the past by use of flashbacks. Wolverine is being hunted by one of the best, a man who has planned for years to be able to take down the nearly unkillable Canadian mutant with adamantium bones, but what he doesn’t know is that Wolverine‘s bones are no longer coated with the metal, and Logan is suddenly much more vulnerable than he used to be.  I keep coming back to this story every few years, and I have mentioned it several times on this blog, too.  It’s available in trade paperback format, and I highly suggest you pick it up.
  • Bloodlust (Wolverine: Bloodlust one shot)
    A one shot by Alan Davis, this is an absolutely beautifully constructed comic that explores the internal conflict of Wolverine‘s soul;  a recurring theme in many of the comics he has appeared in. Davis asks whether Logan is more of a man or beast at his very core, and delves deeply into Wolverine’s psyche to do so. But the question isn’t as simple as it first seems, and Alan Davis is at his very best here when he combines Logan‘s internal dialogue with the backdrop on the final few pages. For a more detailed review you can check out this link, but suffice it to say that this is easily one one my most treasured comic book stories.
  •  Wolverine 43Wolverine #43
    I reviewed this when I reread it a year or so ago (the curious can find that here) for a another feature. Although it wasn’t as great as I remembered it being, this is still a really interesting story as we get to see Wolverine engage with his more noble animal side when confronting a run of the mill, all too believable, villain.
  • Wolverine And The X-Men Volume #1 (collects issues #1-4)
    Although there are numerous story arcs within the first full volume of this series, and I feel that I could honestly include the entire forty two issues from the first series, if you’re going to read the entire series then you should start here. Another Jason Aaron story, with numerous talented artists, this series was one of the best on the racks every week during it’s original run. Juxtaposing brilliantly with the equally amazing Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender, this series focused on the one X-Man least suited to running a school does exactly that, frequently with disastrously hilarious results. There’s a lot more heart in this series than you’d initially expect, and it’s well worth tracking down the entire run.Uncanny_X-Force_Apocalypse_Solution_Vol_1_1.jpg
  • The Apocalypse Solution (Uncanny X-Force #1-#6)
    Rick Remender
    opens his seminal run on Uncanny X-Force (and if you can read the whole run, please do) with a story that finds X-Force, led by Wolverine, tasked to take out the reborn Apocalypse. This is the story that sets the tone for the entire series, and without giving anything away, is absolutely worth your time. Gritty, dark, and violent, this is a series that deals with the dark underbelly of the X-Men, and shows just how far they’re willing to go to protect mutant kind.

There we have it – a mere handful of underrated Wolverine stories. There are so many more stories featuring the Canadian mutant that are worth reading, so there’s a good chance there will be a second (or third) part to this list eventually. In the mean time, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.

Until next time!

Preview: Vendetta Reaches its Epic Conclusion in Uncanny X-Force#17!

This January, Vendetta reaches its epic conclusion in the pages of Uncanny X-Force#17 – from writer Sam Humphries and artists Harvey Tolibao and Dexter Soy! Classic X-Force villain Stryfe has returned and is determined to exact his revenge upon Cable…by taking from him what he holds most dear: his daughter, Hope!  But rather than killing Hope, Stryfe plans to corrupt her. He’s put Bishop—the man who relentlessly hunted her across time—in Hope’s crosshairs…and the means to end him in her hands. Will Stryfe get his revenge by enabling Hope to get hers? One thing’s for sure: after this, X-Force will never be the same. Don’t miss the senses-shattering conclusion to “Vendetta” this January in Uncanny X-Force#17!

FOC – 01/06/2014, On-Sale – 01/29/2014


It’s Mutant vs. Mutant as Vendetta hits Uncanny X-Force and Cable & X-Force!

There’s bad blood brewing amongst the X-Men – and it’s time to settle a score. It’s a brawl of the X-Forces this January as Vendetta comes to Uncanny X-Force and Cable & X-Force from the creative teams of Sam Humphries and Harvey Tolibao and Dennis Hopeless and Angel Unzueta!

For years, the mutant Bishop relentlessly chased Cable and his adopted daughter Hope Summers through time and space on a mission to wipe her out of existence. Though they narrowly escaped with their lives, the scars still remain. Now, the man who has haunted Hope’s dreams has returned to the present – and he’s working with their fellow X-Men?!

Hope is out for blood, and nobody is going to stand in her way, even if she has to take down all of Uncanny X-Force to get it! But as Hope exacts her revenge, a much greater threat closes in from the shadows – and one of the X-Men’s deadliest villains returns!

Can Hope fend off her demons, or is this the beginning of the end for her and X-Force? Find out this as Vendetta begins in Cable & X-Force #18 with subsequent issues shipping weekly throughout January!

FOC – 12/16/14 On-Sale – 01/08/14!


FOC – 12/23/13 On-Sale – 01/15/14!


FOC – 12/30/14 On-Sale – 01/22/14!


FOC – 01/06/14 On-Sale – 01/29/14!


Around the Tubes

The weekend, a long weekend, is almost here! What are folks doing? So far what announcement from New York Comic Con has you the most excited?

Around the Tubes

CBR – ABC Greenlights “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” For Full Season – Not a shocker.

Kotaku – The New Fables Game Is Cool, But Something’s Off – Don’t care, still want to play it.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Archer and Armstrong #14

CBR – Astro City #5

Comic Vine – Avengers Arena #16

CBR – Batman #24

Comic Vine – Captain America #12

Comic Vine – Coffin Hill #1

Comic Vine – FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics #4

Comic Vine – The Manhattan Projects #15

Comic Vine – Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #2

Snuggly Oranges – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #1

Comic Vine – Red Sonja #4

Comic Vine – Rocket Girl #1

DC Women Kicking Ass – Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Comic Vine – Three #1

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #12

Comic Vine – The Walking Dead #115

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and I’ll be spending it at the Small Press Expo which takes place in Rockville, Maryland just outside of Washington DC. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it.

Around the Tubes

Gizmodo – The Only Thing These Superman Coins Will Rescue Is Canada’s Economy – Want…. eh?

Calgary Herald – New musical explores comic code – Interesting.

CBLDF – Tokyo Olympics Emboldens Censors – Boooo!

The Beat – Z2 Comics relaunches with Pope and Haspiel – Congrats!


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Action Comics #23.2

Kotaku – Cyborg 009

Comic Vine – Deadpool #16

Comic Vine – Earth 2 #15.2

Talking Comics – Ghosted #3

Comic Vine – Green Lantern #23.2

Comic Vine – Indestructible Hulk #13

Comic Vine – Infinity: The Hunt #1

Comic Vine  – Justice League #23.2

CBR – Justice League #23.2

Comic Vine – Liberator #3

The Beat – Liberator #3

Comic Vine – The Manhattan Projects #14

Talking Comics – Mighty Avengers #1

ICv2 – Orchid Vol. 3 TP

Comic Vine – Red Sonja #3

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #11

Comic Vine – X-Men #5

Around the Tubes

Day one of Gen Con was fantastic. Here’s on to day two!

Around the Tubes

New York Times – Dancer Injured During ‘Spider-Man’ Performance – Another one!?

ICv2 – Warhammer: Diskwars – Hoping to get a demo of it.

CBR – Vertigo’s “The Unwritten” Relaunches in January with New #1 – Ok then.

The Mary Sue – Gina Carano Wants A Wonder Woman Movie, And She Wants It Done Right – She might be able to pull it off.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Avengers Arena #13

Comic Vine – Harbinger #15

CBR – Justice League of America #7

Comic Vine – Justice League of America #7

Comic Vine – Nightwing #23

Talking Comics – Saga #13

Talking Comics – Thor: God of Thunder #11

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #10

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Men #10

Around the Tubes

New comic book day has come and gone, what’d everyone get?

Around the Tubes

Bleeding Cool – Frank Miller To Meet With Zack Snyder Over Superman-Batman Movie Plans “In The Next Few Days” – Yeah, cause he totally gets the characters.

CBLDF – Using Graphic Novels in Education: American Born Chinese – An awesome new column for this important organization.

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Animal Man Annual #2

Comic Vine – Batman Annual #2

Comic Vine – Batman, Incorporated #13

Comic Vine – Daredevil #29

Comic Vine – Detective Comics Annual #2

Comic Vine – Fearless Defenders #7

Comic Vine – The Flash Annual #2

Comic Vine – Guardians of the Galaxy #5

Comic Vine – Indestructible Hulk #11

Bleeding Cool – Liberator #2

ICv2 – New Crusaders: Legacy TP

Comic Vine – Red Lanterns #22

Comic Vine – Superman Annual #2

Comic Vine – Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1

Comic Vine – Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #9

Comic Vine – Venom #38

CBR – The Wake #3

Comic Vine – The Wake #3

Talking Comics – X-Men #3

Comic Vine – X-Men #3

The Beat – Wednesday’s Review Slate: Skybreaker, Liberator and Tom Strong

Around the Tubes

So with new comic book days coming out yesterday, what’d folks get? Did you enjoy Superman Unchained #1? Batman #21? the new American Vampire? Find out what we think later today!

Around the Tubes

The Salt Lake Tribune – Superman: Still flying high at 75 Expect a lot of articles like this one this year.

Yahoo – Superman’s 20 Most Un-Super MomentsSome of these are so bad.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Alpha: Big Time #5

Comic Vine – Astonishing X-Men #63

Comic Vine – Avengers Assemble #16

Comic Vine – The Black Beetle: No Way Out #4

Comic Vine – Deadpool #11

Comic Vine – Demon Knights #21

Comic Vine – Doomsday.1 #2

Comic Vine – Great Pacific #7

Comic Vine – Green Lantern Corps #21

Comic Vine – Guardians of the Galaxy #3

ICv2 – Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix Vols. 1 & 2 TP

Comic Vine – The Manhattan Projects #12

Comic Vine – Masters of the Universe: The Origin of Hordak #1

Comic Vine – Savage Wolverine #6

CBR – Savage Wolverine #6

Comic Vine – Thor: God of Thunder #9

Comic Vine – Ultimate Comics X-Men #27

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Force #6

Comic Vine – Venom #36

Picks of the Week: X-Men #1 and 9 Other Choices

XMen_1_CoverIt’s a light, but solid week of books with tough competition as to what the pick of the week should be. After much deliberation, I’m going with X-Men #1. Brian Wood is writing this series featuring a line-up of kick-ass women. That’s right, this is the second “X” comic dominated by women. Wood is an amazing writer and to see him take on these iconic characters in Marvel’s new status quo is just too interesting to not make “the” pick of the week.

Here’s the rest of this week’s picks in alphabetical order.

  • X-Men #1 – see above
  • Adventure Time Annual #1 – BOOM!’s Adventure Time series has been amazing and entertaining. More of it? Hells yes!
  • Clive Barker’s Next Testament #1 – Clive Barker taking on religion? Done!
  • Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood #4 – The excellent Shakespeare mash-up series continues. Making me interested in the Bard is impressive.
  • Lost Vegas #3 – The caper in space series has been entertaining and creative so far.
  • Princeless Vol. 2 #3 – One of the best comics out there. Great for kids and adults, the series is funny and has great social commentary.
  • Star Trek #21 – It ties directly into the movie, hopefully the comic will see a boost from fans of the movie.
  • Uncanny X-Force #5 – The other “X” series headlined by women, it’s been some pretty solid action so far.
  • The Wake #1 – Scott Snyder’s new series. Nuff said.
  • The Westwood Witches #1 – A solid indie comic that’s creepy horror at its finest.

Review: Uncanny X-Force #3

UncannyXForce3The first two issues of this series have been chock full of action, so with good reason it’s easy to anticipate the book slowing down a bit. It didn’t slow down without a fight though, if you catch my meaning. Psylocke is once again taking the lead and, given she’s the main reason I picked up this title, I was very pleased to see her shine.

The Dialogue:

Someone get that girl a bar of soap! Psylocke has shown that one of her mutant abilities may be cursing. No, not in the form of putting a hex on someone, but having a mouth that would make a sailor blush. I like it though. It really sets her apart from the other people in this book and is in line with her “I don’t care” attitude regarding everyone’s opinions. There is a lot of back and forth emphasis in the dialogue and someone is being a little liberal with the ability to use bold print. It’s almost the norm in some spots so there are either a lot of very important words, or everyone is just yelling sans exclamation points. Bishop offers the most profound dialogue as he shows he’s fluent in speaking zombie with complex phrases such as “Grrr” and “Arggh”.

The Art:

Not very colorful, but highly effective. There are a lot of monochromatic themes going on here in this issue, which is fine because it’s done during some important moments of the book. We are brought a full range of colors during the breaks in action and I’m enjoying this type of style. There are a few panels where there is so much going on with the backgrounds that it gets a bit difficult to sort through everything. On the other hand there were plenty of panels that had no backgrounds at all so one could say it was a book of extremes. A little hard on the eyes and if it was consistent one way or another, it would have been a bit more appealing visually.

What I Loved:

Betsy is a bad-ass and this title has done a great job sticking to that. I’m not sure if Psylocke is a leader, so much as she’s taking charge. Because of her personality, she’s doing things her way and letting Storm and Puck decide if they want to keep up with her. Bishop seems to be raging mindlessly in an effort to obtain Ginny, the little girl whose mutant ability seems to put people in a state of euphoria. We aren’t sure what his motive is yet as his only dialogue has been a series of grunts and growls, but the end of this issue leads us to believe that he may not entirely be in control.

What I Hated:

If there’s one thing I’m not enjoying about this series is Fantomex and his clone/lover. They are running around and suddenly can’t stop thinking about Psylocke so they decide to seek her out while avoiding Dark Fantomex (who apparently can stand up quite comfortably on top of a 747 mid-flight). Quite frankly this side plot is a bit distracting and I could do without it.

Favorite (non-spoilerish) Line:

“What was I supposed to do on this stupid planet? Get a job at In-N-Out Burger? They don’t exactly hire six-armed super villains.” Spiral’s snarky comeback when Puck insults her for how she’s been living her life.


In Conclusion:

There are a lot of characters in this book and it’s pretty good at giving you a snapshot of who they are and why certain things may or may not bother them. That being said, the distracting side plot seems out of place and I’m not entirely sure what Storm and Puck are doing there. They seem like dead weight because the book is driven by Psylocke and she doesn’t much listen to their opinions. Overall it’s a good read but it’s probably not for everyone. If you’re a fan of Psylocke, it’s a must have otherwise you may just want to wait until you can borrow a copy or the digital version drops in price.


Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read


Uncanny X-Force #3 Credits: 

Writer: Sam Humphries Pencils: Ron Garney Inks: Scott Hanna Colorist: Marte Garcia with Israel Gonzalez Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit Cover Art: Kris Anka Editor in Chief: Axel Alonso Associate Editor: Jordan D. White Editor: Nick Lowe Publisher: Marvel Comics Cover Date: May 2013 Cover Price: $3.99 US Title: “Sweet Virginia”

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