Or “Oooh! Scary stuff kids! Blah! Blah!”

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Though most years I don’t ever follow through with the cool costumes that I conceive during the year (this year’s favorite was pro wrestler “Earthquake,” to honor the late John Tenta, who recently passed away), I always like to do SOMETHING in honor of All Hallow’s. Now that I’ve reproduced, I have a built-in excuse (“Oh, this is for Molly!”), but the whole point is for grown-ups to act like kids. Y’know, dress ridiculously, eat tons of junk-food, try to annoy and scare your fellow man. (Though that IS most of what I do every day.) In any case, when I went to work at the comic store on Sunday, I scanned the racks for something appropriate to review today. Something horrifying. A story to chill the very blood. A comic to leave us all shivering and turning on extra lights. Suddenly, across the darkened comic book store, I saw it. A wolf howled in the distance, as my eye locked on the perfect victim…


gsw1.jpgGiant-Size Wolverine #1.

Arooooo OOO ooo OOOOOOO!!!

As a fan of E.R., I’m going to call this book GSW from now on. And anyone who remembers comic books between 1990 and 1997 should have a good idea what’s frightening about the idea of MORE Wolverine. When I was young, I was a HUGE Wolverine fan, due mostly to Chris Claremont. Ironically, I lost my taste for the character with the limited series, the point where many people started hailing him as the next coming of Superman. And I began to really dislike him when every single new title on the stands was the adventures of a down and dirty loner with pithy dialogue and a vicious streak. So, you can understand, a triple dose of Logan frightens and confuses me. However, I’m always willing to say that I’m willing to admit to being wrong. So, in the interests of fairness, and for you, the Major Spoilers constant reader, I’m taking one for the team.

I started with such good intentions… I picked up this issue, intending to be nice, to give it a chance, to put aside any of my own biases against Wolverine and judge it nicely. Then, only three panels in, they tick me off. Marvel has a real problem lately with spelling, typos, and grammar errors (notably in the Marvel Encyclopedia series) which I chalk up to over-dependence on Spell Check. As much as I hate to be the Grammar Police, I hate this panel so much more.


No, it shouldn’t. I also shouldn’t HAVE happened this way, what with it being written in English, and all. Okay, with that snotty nitpick out of the way, we go back to… THE SCARY. Dun dun daaaaahn! The story starts with young Leelee Buchman, alone in her hovel in the woods. Suddenly, something appears in the sky, a shooting star. Though, it should be noted that they don’t usually shoot straight down, and they don’t crash into your yard at Mach eleventy-seven, and they almost NEVER turn out to be a giant robot. Mostly.

Not far away, a man named Sweeney hunts in the woods, where he finds another result of this “falling star,” a man who fell to earth… with foot long claws. He pokes the stranger with his rifle and gets nothing but SNIKT for his troubles, not to mention having the barrel sliced off his favorite squirrel-killin’ gun. Of course, being a caricature of every slack-jawed, inbred, grit-eating yokel in every Ain’t-From-Around-Here-Are-Ya-Boy story since 1945, Sweeney runs straight to the sheriff to report that “The Martians is here!”

We find out from this exchange that the crash and the discovery of Wolver– I mean, the spaceman, takes place near the Buchman house, local quasi-haunted home of the designated creepy family. You know, th’ family that had all’a them strange doins some years ago, but ain’t been rightly seen ever since, an’ folks is always sayin’ they heared or seen sompin’ strange, Ah tell you whut. These cliches aside, David Lapham’s story creates a compelling tone of claustrophia and forboding. The art is moody (if occasionally muddy) and usually works to the story’s advantage, though not always.


What’s with the “Tom and Jerry in a dark room” cartoon eyes, hmm? In any case, “the alien” is gone, and of course, he’s gone to the Buchman farm. Logan’s healing factor is kicking in, even after apparently enduring re-entry and crashing into North Dakota hard enough to leave a Wolverine-shaped crater halfway to the earth’s molten core. Little Leelee has a heart of gold, and is helping to nurse him back to health, even though she thought he was a bug-eyed monster from planet Melmac. She soon realizes the truth, though.


Leelee is apparently a victim of abuse, moving our cliche ratio dangerously high, but still not yet overpowering the story (the presence of a superhuman and a giant robot skewed that calculation away from realism before we started). Leelee asks why Logan has been mumbling about a hydra, and suddenly things start to click. The meteor was a killer Hydra robot, bent on destroying Logan for his role in the “Enemy of The State” storyline, and it’s willing to destroy all of Bugtussle to get to him. Just to prive it’s point, Optimus Primeval arrives and takes out a large chunk of the Buchman farm to get at him. I can’t really tell what happens next, but Wolverine manages to stop the robot cold, with help from SOMETHING dark and hard to see.

Leelee’s brother Horace, he of the swingin’ fists, arrives and accuses her (rightly) of hiding the spaceman, raising his hand as Logan loses consciousness. Back in town, the sheriff and friends try and find enough courage in various bottles of booze to confront the thing in the woods, but unintentionally clue in a Hydra sleeper agent to Wolverine’s survival. When he wakes up, Wolverine gets the whole story on why the Buchman family is playing Boo Radley. Seems Mama Buchman’s children have a tendency to be born “messed up,” but Leelee was the only one who didn’t look like a bag of hamburger meat. When the doctor decided Leelee had to be “rotten on the inside,” and tried to drown her, Mama got a bit upset.


Okay, I have to quote the great philosopher Buffy Summers, here, and ask “Raise your hand if EWWW?” If I’m reading the scene right, Mama (or some part of Mama) helped to destroy Hydra’s automaton. Soon after, the villagers with torch– Excuse me, the sheriff and concerned citizens arrive at Chez Buchman, their theory being that obviously the strange doings are the Buchmans’ fault, what with them being the demon family and all. Just as long as we have a rational thought process going… Turns out this selfsame sheriff is responsible for shooting Mama Buchman and wants to relive old memories. Wolverine tries to talk the crowd down with an ingenious ploy, perfectly in keeping with our 1950’s B-movie tone.


No matter how I edit it, that panel looks distorted. The crowd starts to calm, but just as Logan almost has the situation under control, Hydra arrives with Jack Kirby frapguns drawn and flying saucer aircraft, whipping the scared natives into an alien killing frenzy. In the confusion, Sweeney gets trigger happy and shoots Horace for presumably consorting with the Killer Mutants from Omicron 12. Bad idea. Mama doesn’t like it when people hurt her family…


Needless to say, chaos ensues, and only little Leelee can keep her Mama from devastating the entire town, by swearing that she’ll hate her forever. This logic works, Mama retreats out a water main into the ocean, and Wolverine takes little Leelee someplace safe. (I hope that’s not the X-Mansion, cause that place has more security breaches than Dunkin has donuts). Wolverine’s last act is to bury mama’s skeleton, apparently her only human remains, in a seriously creepy scene.

Overall, this issue worked for me, both as a suspense tale, and as a Wolverine story. Mama’s (presumably mutant) form was suitably icky, and even the use of some of the hoariest storytelling cliches doesn’t hurt Lapham’s story. The art is spooky enough, even with it’s cartoony elements, reminding me in places of Berni Wrightson. All in all, as Wolverine stories go, it was well done and a little bit scary. GSW finishes up with reprints of X-Men 6 & 7, two well-drawn issues with little else going for them, save commiting the unforgivable crime of introducing Omega Red.

I imagine the editorial conference when like this: “Hey, why do we need another dark and gritty fighter with a healing factor and weapons in the back of his hands?” “Well, this one’s Russian!” “Oh, well, carry on, then!” All in all, even though the first story is better than I expected, it’s not enough to carry the $4.99 pricetag alone, knocking off half a star and giving GSW #1 a scaaary but respectable 2.5 stellar masses.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. October 31, 2006 at 4:33 pm — Reply

    You know, it dampens the suspense somewhat when we can see the “Wolverine” category before we click on the jump link.

    That said, good review. I might drop by a comic store and thumb through GSW#1 in the next day or two. Thanks!

  2. October 31, 2006 at 11:16 pm — Reply

    “You know, it dampens the suspense somewhat when we can see the “Wolverine” category before we click on the jump link.”

    The site’s not called Major Spoilers for nothing! :D

    But seriously, that is how our publishing system works with category tagging and all.

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