Answers To Questions You Never Cared About – Review Of Wolverine #310on July 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm
Did you even realize he’d been gone? Yeah, me either. Much as it may impugn my comics expert cred, I’m going to go out on a limb here and fess up that I didn’t really remember he’d been killed off back in 2007 as the culmination of a story arc by writer Jeph Loeb called Wolverine: Evolution. I mean, I’m sure I read those issues. I’m sure if I look around through the 23 or so long boxes we have stored here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, they’re probably sitting in their bags and boards. The story apparently just didn’t stick to my brain.
And, why should it have? It was around this time we were also getting bombarded with the whack-a-doodle Wolverine: Origins series, that got its start through the less than satisfying Wolverine: Origins and Endings by Daniel Way the year before. Comics were in full Wolverine/Sabretooth saturation mode, and that’s before the Wolverine: Origins movie from 2009 that put the idea of Sabretooth back in popular consciousness. Victor Creed, Sabretooth, was like cockroaches or the Kardashians – he never really seems to go away.
So, how does that bode for what Marvel refers to as “The long-awaited sequel to EVOLUTION. How did Sabretooth survive his beheading all those years ago?”
Marvel gives it a parental advisory. I give it an “M”. For “meh.”
I’d say there were tantalizing glimmers of answers to the beheading question after the jump, but mostly it’s just spoilers. Follow me there anyway.
First, the good news about this book. If you’re a fan of Simone Bianchi art, Loeb has teamed up with him again on this series, as he did in the orginal Evolution series. The pages are beautifully rendered. Bianchi handles the color for his own pencils. Be warned however, if you like your art sequential, this will not be your cup of tea. If you like art that take some chances with how the pages is used, there is much to like here. The layouts are lush and make use of some nontraditional spreads that serve to enhance the storytelling in a fluid manner rather than distract from story beats.
Meanwhile, the story itself – Loeb has been itching to tell this story since he put Creed in the cold, cold ground back in 2007:
“We never intended to leave our bed unmade,” says Loeb. “‘Evolution’ was only half the story. Talented people like Daniel Way continued to explore what happened to Romulus and Wild Child and all of that was shared with us as it went along. So our story will pick up where we left off and at the same time incorporate what has happened.”
I can understand wanting to go back to comfortable territory and relive some of the stories you enjoyed telling in times past, but did the audience need a four issue arc to explain his return? Loeb thinks so, and has had it planned for some time now:
“I’m not a big fan of a decision [to bring a character back to life] and try to figure out how to make that work if it wasn’t done from the beginning,” he said. “It was discussed from the very beginning when Axel and I first discussed this story, if he was going to come back, and it was an if, how we were going to do that.”
Killing off a major player in a title’s continuity is a big deal. Or, at least it should be. That the man who killed off Sabretooth should be the one to bring him back under planned circumstances is encouraging. The larger question will be as to whether the story comes off successfully. Here are the problems as I see them so far:
- Sabretooth kept showing up in other properties after his death in Wolverine: Evolution, so the emotional impact of his return has been blunted.
- Loeb and Bianchi may be excited to revisit the big bad, Romulus, again in this story, but he wasn’t all that interesting the first time around. For something that was supposed to be a Lupus sapien, he didn’t even have real claws. Nor did the Evolution story itself.
- We’re introduced to a new mystery lady in this story. A beautiful, exotic ninja babe coming to Wolverine’s defense and then disappearing again just as quickly? Yeah, that never happens.
- Wolverine gets sent back to explore the Weapon X facility in Canada, the scene of all the crimes that have been perpetrated upon him. Again. He goes back to investigate the Weapon X facility in his continuity more often than Madonna tries to do something shocking to get back in the headlines. It’s tired and predictable. There must be other places he could be sent to avoid going back to the Weapon X well, right? I hear Maine is nice this time of year.
Sure, Maine has nothing to do with Wolverine’s continuity and I didn’t squawk when Wolverine was sent back to Japan yet again under Jason Aaron, but I guess, beyond Bianchi’s artwork, I’m not really feeling anything innovative coming out of this story so far. In fact, all it would take would be the inclusion of some other predictable element, say a random flashback to Daken or an encounter with Omega Red, and I think I’d win Wolverine Bingo.
And that’s less exciting than this story. So far.