Logan is dead, but his legacy lives on in the form of his friends and family, now tasked with protecting a new batch of Weapon X test subjects. Of course, that was an easier plan before a member of the Imperial Guard arrives from deep space with questions about Wolverine’s demise… Your Major Spoilers review of Wolverines #9 awaits!
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Peter Nguyen
Inker: Derek Fridolfs
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Kate Kubert & Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Wolverines: “Logan met his end while destroying a revamped version of the Weapon X project, located in a facility known as Paradise. Logan could not escape, but others did: Five test subjects, all granted strange new powers. None were ever intended to survive outside the program, and all have been infused with a ticking clock in their DNA that will kill them unless it can be deactivated.”
Meanwhile, Wolverine’s old frenemy, Fang of the Imperial Guard, has come to Earth to pay his respects and, along with Wolverine’s son Daken, has stepped into the proverbial minefield, leaving them in the path of a Frost Giant!
A HUGE CAST OF CHARACTERS
So, Wolverine was killed something like two and a half months ago, followed by a weekly series featuring his nearest and dearest. Daken, X-23, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth and Mystique are all part of this story, as well as six new Weapon X survivors, and last issue’s new arrival: Fang of the Imperial Guard. I’m a fan of group books, and I don’t mind a large cast, but this one feels a little bit full up, especially since the focus of the issue is on two stories: Daken’s interactions with Fang, and Deathstrike forging a FWB relationship with new kid Shogun (who is somehow infused with the essence of Ogun, her old lover, another Wolverine villain.) Interestingly, it’s Fang who steals the show, showing off an array of super-powers I didn’t know he had, and goading Daken into realizing how much his late father hated him, which seems like an odd lesson. There’s also a cute bit with another weapon known as Fantomelle being sent to retrieve Logan’s eyepatch from the Madripoor bar where he used to bounce, which is cute enough.
SOME INTERESTING STUFF
On the plus side, this issue really does delve into Wolverine as a character, but it does so by showing us half a dozen different characters who represent different facets of his varied portrayals, sort of a ‘Death of Superman’ thing with more characters involved. The plotting feels a bit scattered and rushed to me, and the art doesn’t really help that assessment, feeling scratchy and rushed itself. There are some really lovely moments in the pillow talk between Deathstrike and Shogun, but on the whole, the characters feel alternately bloopy and blocky, and Daken especially suffers from a lack of facial expression that makes his scenes feel flat emotionally. I don’t have the same sort of cynicism that some might have about superhero stunt-deaths, and I am behind the decision to use secondary characters (notably trans-reversed Sabretooth) to tell a story off the beaten path, but the combination of a death that is obviously not final and using these characters to talk about Wolverine feels an awful lot like an issue worth of “I wonder what Poochie is doing?”
THE BOTTOM LINE: FEELS CROWDED AND RUSHED
On the other hand, I get that this is a book for Wolverine fans dealing with the ramifications of the loss of their heroes, and while I’m not one of those folks, I can see the appeal of the title. Wolverines #9 does fun character work with Daken and Lady Deathstrike in different directions, but gives me some issues in terms of pacing and art, but earning a better-than-average 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. What I’m really wondering is when Fang became a super-powerful space god…