Tag Archives: wolverine

Review: Return of Wolverine #4

Return of Wolverine #4

Can Logan handle the truth of what he’s done?

As the penultimate issue of the series (finally) heralding Wolverines, uh, return to the Marvel Universe, Return Of Wolverine #4 does an admirable job of setting up the conclusion, but there’s nothing here that really excites, either. It’s an example of a perfectly average – at best – book.

The story tries to have shocks, but fails. There’s a revelation that, presumably, should carry some weight, but either I’ve read far too many comics and books or it’s telegraphed early enough that any surprise is long gone by the time you finally get to it. The promise of the first issue has either been long spent or Charles Soule ran out of time while writing this. Soule is a really good writer, and has produced some top tier comics; this just isn’t one of his best.

Declan Shalvey does his best to bring the scores up, but while he’s very solid, there’s nothing here that pushes this comic into a Must Buy purely because of the art.

The comic’s plot is focused almost entirely on a conversation and the flashbacks that part of the story is told in, which leaves one with the feeling that not a whole lot occurs. Certainly the longer flashbacks were almost unnecessary when combined with the brief flashes we get earlier in the comic (personally I find the brief flashes have more of a weight than the full window into the past; less is more, after all). There’s very little inherently wrong with the comic, but it’s hard to recommend paying full price for an issue that doesn’t seem integral to the story when a quick recap blurb in the finale would sum up this issue in its entirety.

Unfortunately, it’s a comic that neither demands to be read nor garners enough of an emotional reaction in your humble reviewer to find a lot to talk about. It’s simply very okay. That’s not always a bad thing, but neither is it a particularly great thing, either. As the oft used phrase goes, “it is what it is.”

And that’s very average.

Return Of Wolverine #4 is a comic that’s far from bad, but struggles to be anything more that pretty good. At the end of the day, for the price of this comic, I expected more.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Declan Shalvey 
Colours: Laura Martin Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
 Story: 6.2 Art: 7.6 Overall: 6.6 Recommendation: Read 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Wolverine: The Long Night #1

Wolverine: The Long Night #1

Following a string of mysterious deaths in Burns, Alaska, Special Agents Sally Pierce and Tad Marshall arrive to investigate. They soon find there’s more going on than meets the eye… 

Based on the podcast of the same name, this new mini-series is actually really solid. Written by Benjamin Percy, who also scripted the podcast, the first issue focuses not on Wolverine but instead two FBI agents trying to figure out who murdered a fishing crew and two women. Wolverine: The Long Night #1 feels more like the X-Files than it does a Wolverine story. And that’s not a bad thing.

Percy creates an amazing set-up and setting that just adds to the mystery. The locations, the characters, everything is perfectly thought out to enhance the story. The first issue feels like every detail is thought out not just in the story but in the art as well.

Marcio Takara with Matt Mill on color and lettering by Joe Caramagna handle the art duties. This is a great example of where the art and the story match perfectly. Takara’s style with Mill’s color creates a dreary mood to the comic that screams murder mystery. Percy’s story setting is brought to life in a way that just enhances the mood of the comic.

This is a solid murder mystery read that so far just happens to have Wolverine involved. I’ve never listened to the podcast but after reading this first issue I’m tempted to give it a shot. This is a great set up to the story and again it feels more like a police procedural than anything else. If that sort of story appeals to you, this is a comic that’s a must get.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Marcio Takara
Color: Matt Milla Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Unboxing: One:12 Collective Wolverine 5 Ronin Fall Exclusive

The One:12 Collective Wolverine 5 Ronin figure depicts the mutant enduring the brutality of 17th century Japan. Based on his appearance in ‘5 Ronin’, Wolverine is authentically dressed in traditional samurai clothing and comes complete with two katana swords of arming length, and two sheaths that can be neatly tucked into his waist belt and a scarf.

We open up and show off this Mezco Toyz Fall Exclusive for their One:12 Collective line.

What’s the figure like? Find out!

You can join the waitlist and hopefully get yours.

Marvel and Stitcher to launch second season of Wolverine: The Lost Trail

Marvel and Stitcher have announced Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Lost Trail, marking the second season for the critically-acclaimed scripted podcast series. The 10-episode second season will be available exclusively on Stitcher Premium starting in winter 2019. It will be released widely across all podcast platforms later in the year.

Following the incredible fan reception of Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Long Night,” Richard Armitage will reprise his role as Logan in Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Lost Trail.”

Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Lost Trail” is an epic quest that takes place in the Louisiana bayou. Following the events of Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Long Night,” Logan (Richard Armitage) returns to New Orleans in search of redemption, only to discover that his ex-lover, Maureen is nowhere to be found. And she’s not the only one. Dozens of humans and mutants have gone missing, including the mother of a teenage boy, Marcus Baptiste. With Weapon X in close pursuit, Logan and Marcus must team up and follow a trail of clues that leads them deep into the gothic heart of the bayou, where they encounter biker gangs, Cajun thieves and a world of wonders that defies explanation. It is here that they find Greenhaven — a backwater refuge run by a powerful mutant named Jason Wyngarde.

The show’s cast includes notable actors Bill Irwin as Jason Wyngarde, Bill Heck as Remy LeBeau, and Blair Brown as Bonnie Roach.

Award-winning comic book author Ben Percy, director Brendan Baker sound designer Chloe Prasinos will return the series, produced by Daniel Fink and Chloe Wilson of Marvel and Jenny Radelet of Stitcher.

The first nine episodes of Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Long Night” are now available on all major podcast platforms and devices. Listeners can tune in to the season one finale on Wednesday, November 7.

Diamond Select Toys: Claws, Bugs and Nightmares Hit Comic Shops!

Treats are what Diamond Select Toys is delivering, in the form of new items coming to your local comic shop this week. A new assortment of Nightmare Before Christmas action figures makes its debut, as well as a new Minimates set, Gallery PVC and Premier Collection statue from the Marvel Universe! Read on for details, then put on your costume and head to your nearest comic shop to load up on goodies!

Nightmare Before Christmas Select Action Figures Series 6 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! Christmas is coming, and the gifts are grotesque! The hit NBX action figure line from DST continues with a sixth assortment, featuring characters and accessories only available on the specialty market! Three different multi-packs make up the series, including Sally with the Mummy Boy and exclusive Hanging Tree, the exclusive Clown with Undersea Gal and her exclusive tank, and the exclusive Harlequin Demon with the Devil and another piece of the exclusive gift-making table – combine it with the pieces from Series 5 to form a larger diorama! Each set comes packaged in display-ready Select packaging with side-panel artwork. Sculpted by Cortes Studio. (Item #MAY182293, SRP: $24.99/ea.)

Marvel Comic Gallery Wolverine PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The X-Men’s resident berserker joins the Marvel Gallery line of PVC dioramas! This 9-inch scale sculpture of Wolverine shows the hero in his classic brown costume, perched on a rock formation with claws extended, ready to tear into an opponent. Featuring detailed sculpting and collectible-quality paint applications, this sculpture comes packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Phil Ramirez! (Item #APR182171, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Elektra Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys Release! She’ll pierce your heart, and we don’t mean figuratively! This breathtaking sculpture of Marvel’s premier assassin is posed atop a marbled pedestal, holding her signature twin sais. Measuring approximately 16 inches tall, this 12-inch scale statue features detailed hand sculpting by Clayburn Moore, as well as high-quality paint applications. Statue comes packaged in a full-color box with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity. Limited to only 3,000 pieces! (Item #FEB182309, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Movie Minimates Ant-Man & The Wasp Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! These Minimates are actual size! This box set of mini-figures captures the cast of the next Marvel movie in the 2-inch scale, so you can have life-size superheroes running around on your desk! Scott “Ant-Man” Lang, Hope “Wasp” Van Dyne, Hank Pym and the Ghost are all included in this four-pack, packaged in a full-color window box. Each Minimate has 14 points of articulation, fully interchangeable parts, and most have removable helmets. Designed by Barry Bradfield! (Item #JUN182327, SRP: $24.99)

First Impressions Featuring: Venom

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s First Impressions where we take a look at a handful of comics in order to discern just how accessible they are for new readers, because every comic could be somebody’s first – and that’s the first question that’ll be answered with this feature. The second is whether you should  start there because sometimes a book could be accessible to new readers but the quality could be less than average, and so each comic will receive a score out of ten based upon Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale.

Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far. All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.


Now that you’ve read the typical disclaimer above we’re going to do something different this week. Because the Venom is released this week in theatres, I thought it would be fun to look exclusively at the ongoing Venom series, and at what point makes the easiest jumping on point aside from the first issue – and whether you absolutely need to go back and read every issue. To help with this, I haven’t read any Venom since the first issue came out (one would think this was fore thought and planning, but it was a happy accident).

Venom #2 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yeeeah…?
Recap & Review:
Eddie Brock has been sent to stop a group of former special forces or something. Then he had a hole blown in his chest.
Score: 8

Venom #3 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
More or less
Recap & Review:
Venom is now decidedly less dead, but has to stop a Godzilla sized symbiote. Luckily he has help from Miles Morales. Right?
Score: 8.2

Venom #4 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Not really
Recap & Review:
Venom gets a history lesson. Basically.
Score: 8.1

Venom #5 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yes
Recap & Review:
Eddie Brock is woken up rudely by Spider-Man in a remarkably apt way to bring new readers into the series. There are a few referrences to earlier issues in the series, but nothing prohibitive to your enjoyment if you just want to start here. 
Score: 8.6

Venom #6 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yes
Recap & Review:
Venom verses a dark elder god. It’s a fantastic conclusion to the first arc in the series, and one that pulls a lot of emotional weight – and more than enough action scenes.
Score: 8.6

The brilliance of this series is that as somebody who has barely read any Venom over the years, I never once felt lost. It didn’t matter that Venom used to be a space knight, a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy or that Eddie Brock hasn’t always been the host of the Venom symbiote. Almost any issue can be your jumping on point aside from the first one, and each is worth reading.

If for any reason you haven’t read this series and get inspired after watching the movie, you can rest assured it’s a very new reader friendly jumping on point.

First Impressions Featuring: Bats. Lots of Bats.

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s First Impressions where we take a look at a handful of comics in order to discern just how accessible they are for new readers, because every comic could be somebody’s first – and that’s the first question that’ll be answered with this feature. The second is whether youshould  start there because sometimes a book could be accessible to new readers but the quality could be less than average, and so each comic will receive a score out of ten based upon Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale.

Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far. All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.


 

 

Return Of Wolverine #1 (Marvel)
Can a new reader start here? Oh yeah.
Recap, review: Wolverine was dead. Now he isn’t. In the book that represents one of his first full appearances since dying in 2014 or so. With the return, we get a really interesting reintroduction that ties nicely into the character’s rich history and some of his most notable tropes over the years. I can’t wait for the next issue.
Rating: 9.1

Detective Comics #988 (DC)
Can a new reader start here? 
Yes.
Recap, review: 
Part one of a new arc, and one that you can probably dive into knowing that only Selina Kyle ditched Bruce Wayne at the alter and he isn’t doing well with it.  
Rating: 
9.0

Burnouts #1 (Image)
Can a new reader start here? 
Yes.
Recap, review: 
Highschool, drugs and aliens. A totally normal combination that makes for a really cool comic.
Rating: 
8.2

Batman #55 (DC)
Can a new reader start here? 
Yes.
Recap, review: 
Well shit me. Even having an idea of what was coming, I was in no way actually expecting what happened. A recap is irrelevant (par for the course with a new arc), and the review boils down to “you should read this.”
Rating:
8.1

The Last Space Race (Aftershock)
Can a new reader start here? 
Yes.
Recap, review:
Honestly, this is just a super fun comic that’s almost grounded in reality and realism. Almost. I can’t wait for the next issue.
Rating: 
9.0

Batman: Damned #1 (DC)
Can a new reader start here? 
Yes.
Recap, review: 
Look, you’ve probably heard about about this comic for non story related reasons. Because of the changes in art from the first and second printing (shadows in certain areas on a naked Batman will be less revealing) the price of the first printing has reached obscene levels in the first week. But is the comic worth getting the second printing for the story? Yes is the short answer – if for no other reaon than to see Lee Bermejo’s jaw dropping art work.  
Rating: 
9.0

Review: X-Men Grand Design- Second Genesis #1

X-MEN GRAND DESIGN SECOND GENESIS #1 (OF 2)Cartoonist Ed Piskor leaves the Silver Age and enters the Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne era in X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 retelling the story of the X-Men from Cyclops and Professor X’s assembly of the “All-New, All-Different” team of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, and Sunfire to rescue the original X-Men from the mutant island Krakoa to the conclusion of the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga”. The comic’s biggest strength is Piskor’s meticulous attention to craft including panel layouts and lengths, color choices, and lettering. With so much material to cover, there are no wasted beats in his storytelling, no filler. This does harm its emotional resonance which pales in comparison to Claremont’s original saga that partially worked because the longform storytelling created a connection between readers and characters and developed various relationships in more depth, like Wolverine and Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Cyclops, and Professor X and Lilandra to name a few in this time period.

However, for the most part, Second Genesis #1 is beautiful, yet streamlined take on one of the most important pop culture icons from a talented writer/artist. Even though there are appearance from various secondary foes and antagonists and even mentions of and cameos from heavy hitters like Magneto and Galactus, Piskor establishes from page one that the Hellfire Club will be the chief opponent of the X-Men in Second Genesis while continuing the larger Ur-narrative of the Phoenix that he hinted at in the first volume of X-Men Grand Design. And the force or character that these two powers rotate around is Jean Grey and later the Phoenix force taking on the appearance of Jean Grey as Piskor agilely summarizes the retcon that allowed for Jean Grey’s “ressurection” and absolving of a murder of planets in a sequence of dark panels that show her go from a powerful mutant to almost a fetus. He even shows his horror chops in his recreation of the famous scene in the “Phoenix Saga” where Jean absorbs radiation and crash lands the X-Men team after they rescue Professor X from mutant hater and experimenter Stephen Lang. A classic countdown sequence combined with some shocked facial expressions builds the suspense that culminates in a firebird rising from Jamaica Bay.

Although Second Genesis #1 is much more plot-driven, and the best X-Men stories I would argue are more character driven (And Claremont managed to cram a lot of plots in too.), Ed Piskor still takes care to flesh out the individual X-Men’s flaws, personality traits, and memorable moments. There’s a baseball game with Nightcrawler playing catcher, early in the book, Colossus and Wolverine link up in a trademark fastball special, and there’s even a panel with Storm’s claustrophobia. Piskor writes and draws Kitty Pryde as plucky and ingenious without being annoying and accidentally saving the X-Men with her phasing ability as Claremont and Byrne were trying to finish off their great epic while also introducing an actual student for the Xavier institute per editorial mandate. She adds bursts of joy and energy between the shadow and flame of Dark Phoenix and whited out psychic duels between Mastermind and Cyclops. The Phoenix and Hellfire Club predominantly take center stage while Professor X’s deal with Lilandra and Shi’ar runs off to the side, and even though some of my favorite X-Men were on this incarnation of the team, they lack a strong identity unlike the original five plus Havok and Polaris in X-Men Grand Design.

Don’t get me wrong. For all its flaws in the characterization department (For example, Piskor puts Professor X and Cyclops at a graveyard at the top of the page, and Thunderbird’s death at the bottom and barely hints at his headstrong nature.) and lack of focus on the Jean/Scott dynamic when Jean is at the center of the story, Second Genesis #1 is the rare mainstream comic created auteur style by a single creator. Ed Piskor gives the subplot heavy, soap operatic narrative of the X-Men a strong thread to follow and lets his nostalgia and love for the source material shine on every page. His art style is retro without being simplistic, and there is a kind of minimalism to his use of captions and dialogue, especially compared to the overwrought style of Claremont. In fact, his strongest emotional beats involve few words at all like Jean and Scott spending one last night in bed before the X-Men’s honor duel against the Shi’ar, and he punctuates these emotional crescendos with the use of black and white instead of the colorful costumes, spaceships, and energy bursts that permeate this book and the X-Men canon as a whole.

Even if it focuses more on singular narrative building than the growth of one of superhero comics’ greatest ensemble casts, X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 is a wonderful example of the cyclical nature of myth as Ed Piskor filters the beginning of Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men through a lean, visually striking storyteller’s lens or his childhood fantasies through a steadier, yet no less energetic hand. I’d probably rather reread the “Dark Phoenix Saga” though.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 7.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Old Man Logan #39

PDFtoJPG.me-1Logan isn’t healing the way he used to. Something is wrong — recent fights are leaving their marks, in ways he’s never experienced before. Beaten down, Logan goes to the one people he thought he could always count on for help…The X-Men. But when an old pupil of Logan’s asks for his help, it’s Logan’s enemies who will learn the hardest lesson: This old dog still has bite.

It has been a long time since I last read a comic like Old Man Logan #39I don’t mean that in the way you probably expect, however; I don’t tend to read much from the House Of Ideas any more aside from Old Man Logan and the odd X-Men or Avengers offering, so it has been a long time since I read a comic that has echoes of Wolverine and the X-Men – a series that remains one of my all time favorite runs. Old Man Logan #39 brings back the feeling I got from the early issues of Wolverine and the X-Men as Logan heads to an X-Men outreach center in Central Park in a really heartwarming sequence as the young X-Men see their old mentor for the first time in awhile.

With Wolverine returning from the dead, and soon to return to the Marvel Universe properly, there’s a feeling within this series that Old Man Logan won’t be around for much longer; his deteriorating healing factor, and the way he handles himself amidst the other X-Men has the hallmarks of a Hallmark goodbye. Without the cheesy writing. Wolverine is the reason that I’m a comics fan, and unlike the Death Of Wolverine miniseries from a few years ago, Old Man Logan #39  seems positioned to give the (much older) Logan a very fitting send off.

Ironically, this issue is also an easy jumping on point  for those hankering for a bit of Old Man Logan action. Ed Brisson gives you enough context to enjoy the back and forth between Logan and the X-Men (though I have no idea why there’s an X-Mansion in Central Park, it doesn’t matter; why it is there is irrelevant to Old Man Logan #39), but it’s the return to what, personally, I consider the classic X-Men villain – the public that hates and fears them. Granted, I’m not as familiar with the current X-series as I could be, but this issue is one of the first times in the series that I’ve really felt a tangible connection to the X-Men – coincidentally, I’m sure – and reminded me why I used to love the X-Men so many years ago.

Whether Marvel is getting ready to retire Old Man Logan in favor of the younger model returning or not, this issue continues a trend of high quality entertainment for the series, and is well worth your time and dollar.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Ibraim Roberson Colourist: Carlos Lopez
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review, however this comic is still on hold at my LCS for me.

Review: Hunt for Wolverine The Adamantium Agenda #1

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

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