Marvel’s MAX series often pushes the boundaries of the comic book industry with explicit and mature content. Aimed toward adults, the imprint allows superheroes to embrace their darker side, but also brings the opportunity to create original content for Marvel. The Wolverine MAX series is a great idea for a character that is not against killing his enemies. Historically a dark anti-hero already, it will be interesting to see what Wolverine will do now that he is not limited by comic ratings.
Previously in Wolverine: Wolverine is one of the most well-known superheroes of the modern era. Marvel Comics has exploited his popularity, having him appear in many of their titles. Heavily involved with the Marvel universe, Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan, is the headmaster of a new school for mutants, the leader of his own X-Men, and a member of the Avengers. Past always shrouded in mystery, what new adventures will the Wolverine MAX series reveal about Logan?
MEMORY PROBLEMS (AGAIN)
Jason Starr’s introductory issue takes us between two locations: a plane crash outside of Japan, and a flashback into Wolverine’s past. Much like his character before House of M, Wolverine is trying to piece together his memories. So far, I cannot tell if this is canon or its own separate story. It is also hard to tell if the flashbacks are Logan’s attempts to recall memories or the actual events that happened before the plane crash. Hopefully, later issues will clear everything up, but for now, the jumping narrative is confusing. The writer does not take advantage of the free range he has with the MAX series. Aside from a few “F” bombs and a bloody shark fight scene, there is nothing separating this comic from any other Wolverine comic. Although I was not expecting a large amount of explicit content, I thought the story should have a fair amount. In fact, the latter half of this issue had no mature content at all. It is disappointing, since many readers bought this comic because of the MAX label.
TWO CONTRASTING STYLES
Since the scenes are separated between current events and flashbacks, Wolverine MAX employs two different styles. The flashback panels remind me of Japanese woodblock art. It blends rough, blocky figures and warm colors with detailed ink renderings. Wolverine is portrayed as more animal than man in this style. Meanwhile, the events involving the plane crash in Japan are more polished. It is a shadier style, with softer and cooler colors. Wolverine MAX takes a risk in employing this creative form to separate the two scenes. However, it is more distracting than innovative, since the contrasting graphics create two separate entities. Also, both artists, like the writer, do not take full advantage of the MAX label in this issue. One eviscerated shark and one small sex scene frame, and that is it. It is very tame, even by modern comic standards.
THE BOTTOM LINE: NO SHOCK VALUE
With the MAX series, the reader expects a certain amount of explicit content blended with a good story. Wolverine MAX #1 has not done this so far. With the introduction of Sabretooth and the rivalry that goes with it, I am curious how this will be taken to an “adult” level. I hope future issues will use this freedom more wisely. Wolverine MAX #1 earns only 2 out of 5 stars overall.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!