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Aug 3

Wolverine: In The Flesh

Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

This started as a capsule for this week’s X-Axis but seems to have grown a bit, so let’s give it its own post.

Wolverine: In the Flesh This is a comic written by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, in which Wolverine teams up with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino.  I’ve never heard of celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, who is, in British terms, not a celebrity at all, thus lending an added veneer of weirdness to a comic which is already flagrantly bizarre.  I don’t even have much of a clue of where celebrity chef Chris Cosentino sits on the American celebrity pecking order, although since his resume seems to consist mainly of appearances on reality shows, it sounds as though in UK terms we’re talking about someone significantly further down the pecking order than, say, Gregg Wallace.

(Though Wolverine and Gregg Wallace is a comic I could get behind.  “Sabretooth nearly got me there!  If only there was somebody who could distract him by vividly describing a cake!”)

As if the San Francisco setting wasn’t enough of a clue, this thing has been in the works for years.  It was announced way back at WonderCon in April 2011, when it was supposed to be coming later that year, and when the cover art was already in circulation.  That explains a lot, since Marvel stopped commissioning this sort of blatant shelf-filler a while back – but presumably are willing to bung out a completed story in the hope of recouping some of their costs.

The plot – and, perhaps surprisingly, it does actually have one – involves Wolverine investigating a serial killer in San Francisco.  It is apparently of the most tremendous urgency that this serial killer should be caught, because there could be riots or something otherwise, though quite why people would be rioting about that isn’t really explained.  The presence of celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is justified on the basis that he can comment in an informed way on the killer’s dismemberment of his victims, thanks to his expert knowledge of butchery.  Which actually might have worked as a plot device if celebrity chef Chris Cosentino had contributed anything more elaborate than saying, in effect, yup, those are butchery techniques.  Ultimately it turns out that the killer has some plan involving mutants or something, but it’s really academic, since when he gets hold of Wolverine, he can (in theory) keep butchering him indefinitely because of the whole healing factor – the implication seems to be that he’s selling his victims from a well-reviewed food truck, which is hardly the grandest plan in villaindom, but hey, we can’t all be Dr Doom.  Celebrity chef Chris Cosentino naturally returns at the last minute to help Wolverine beat the bad guy.

But let’s pause there lest this fly by too fast to savour.  I reiterate: this is a novelty team-up comic in which Wolverine joins forces with a celebrity chef whose contribution is to offer informed comment on a serial killer’s butchery skills.  This is a real thing that really exists.  You can buy it!

In fact, the end product isn’t completely incompetent – somebody, whether the credited writer or otherwise, has at least hammered it into a passably structured story.  The art by Dalibor Talajic is never less than acceptable and at times really quite good.  But none of that is ever going to overcome the sheer WTF factor of watching the plot manfully strain to justify a team-up between Wolverine and a guy whose main claim to fame is that he won season 4 of something called Top Chef Masters.  In the manner of stories written by people who know what shape a story is supposed to have but don’t really have anything to say, it ends up gesturing vaguely in the direction of a moral that “you don’t need super-powers to be a hero.  You just need to care.”

Quite right.  It’s not just the Wolverines of this world who are heroes.  There are also the celebrity chefs who write stories where they team up with Wolverine to fight serial killers using their knowledge of butchery.  I think we can all agree that these are the true heroes.

Still, let’s be absolutely fair to this comic.  What it does have going for it is perfectly good artwork, a passable understanding of what a plot looks like (and frankly, it shows more sense of structure and discipline in that department than most of the books that come out of the X-office), and an unshakeable commitment to the bafflingly surreal premise of a team-up comic between Wolverine and celebrity chef Chris Cosentino.  In its combination of a wildly misconceived premise and surprisingly competent execution, it often winds up being perversely entertaining, though not necessarily for the right reasons.

It’s very far from the best thing the X-office put out this week.  But it’s definitely the most memorable.


Bring on the comments

  1. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    I am now going to imagine that celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is always refered to as such throughout the book.

    “Dammit, celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn’t identify butchery methods. You’re the best there is at that, celebrity chef Chris Cosentino.”

  2. Mark Clapham says:

    Woah. Looking forward to ‘Man vs Food vs Ultron’ next.

  3. Sol says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m an American who frequently watches the Food Network and gets their magazine, and I have no idea who celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is. I guess I haven’t really watched many of the Top Chef / Iron Chef America shows. (Iron Chef America is to Iron Chef as American Godzilla is to Godzilla…)

  4. Sol says:

    Just looking at his Wikipedia article, he won Top Chef: Master in 2012, a year *after* he started writing the comic. So he was even more obscure when the project started….

  5. Si says:

    I wish this comic sold so well they made it into an ongoing series, and celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is permanently a sidekick. Because you know Marvel would do that, if they caught a whiff of lucre. Hey, if it sold really well, Wolvering and Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino would become the tentpole title of the whole X line.

  6. Ward says:

    Bought this out of morbid curiousity. It was about as good as you expect. They did manage to work in a (completely forced) use of “best there is”.

    Oddly, there’s a lot of Toyota product placement. Not sure if that’s a paid sponsorship, or if it’s a joke about the omnipresent Toyota placement on Top Chef. If it’s a joke, it’s played totally straight.

    Least believable thing? Wolverine knows Cosentino because, apparently, Wolverine is a noted foodie.

    Whole thing reads like fanfic… Which is basically what it is.

  7. kelvingreen says:

    nextwave was too silly for modern Marvel. This is not. I don’t understand the world.

  8. “I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do doesn’t get tougher than this.”

    That’s a cooking thing, right?

    This’ll turn up in a Panini Wolverine annual five years from now, just like that ego-massaging Spidey Meets Jay Leno back-up Ron Zimmerman wrote.

    But hey, at least it wasn’t the 75th anniversary issue of The Beano, which was cover to cover sleb-slobber.


  9. A.L. Baroza says:

    Hey, remember that time in the ’70s when Daredevil teamed up with Celebrity Spoon-Bender Uri Geller?

  10. Zoomy says:

    Best celebrity team-up ever, and very appropriate for House to Astonish – Superman #155, in 1962. Superman joins forces with celebrity wrestler Antonino Rocca and they fight Samson and Hercules, brought to the sixties by Mr Mxyzptlk, although it all turns out to be an elaborate Silver Age scheme to catch some gangsters, and Mxyzptlk is, naturally, actually Krypto the Super-Dog in disguise…

  11. The original Matt says:

    Didn’t superman also have a boxing match with Muhammad Ali?

  12. Tom Healey says:

    Can we have Avengers Vs The Great British Bake Off next? (I’m only half joking, I think Sue Perkins would be an excellent addition to the marvel universe.)

  13. Roswulf says:

    As with Sol, I’m an American who has watched way more than his fair share of cooking shows (including a couple seasons of Top Chef Masters), and I have no idea who Cosentino is.

    I will say that winning Top Chef Masters, while not really a source of “fame,” is very good evidence that Cosentino’s a damn good chef. It’s probably the highest achievement in 2010s American cooking competition show-dom. So…he’s got that going for him.

  14. fusionwarrior says:

    This is one of THE WORST COMICS EVER WRITTEN. It is insulting! It insults writers, Wolverine fans, Marvellites, basic human intelligence, AND IT DEDICATES TWO WHOLE PAGES to insulting Vegetarians EXPLICITLY. Marvel must have signed a binding agreement with Top Chef for this to be published, otherwise no editor in their right mind would have let this through any time after THE SEVENTIES. I would not recommend reading this if it was given to you FOR FREE. The art is pretty good though, and obviously was given far more love than this script was. This comic belongs on and not in stores, and certainly should not be endorsed by Marvel.

  15. Nick says:

    My wife and I watch a lot of cooking competition shows and I had never heard of Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino either.

    I am one of those collectors who is a completest (I went and bought Wolverine: X-Isle in the dollar bins even after reading Paul’s reviews on the old X-Axis site), but I don’t see myself ever buying this.

  16. Max says:

    I think I have Wolverine X-Isle in a box somewhere. I don’t think I ever read it.

  17. Anya says:

    What, no food based superpowers? That’s a missed opportunity. I admit to vaguely knowing who Chris Cosentino, but only vaguely. In the celebrity pecking order he probably rates below the local TV weatherman.

  18. Ben says:

    If he’s not even on the wikipedia page for famous chefs he can’t be that famous. Give us a Wolverine/Emeril team-up, Marvel. He’s already got his catchphrases “BAM” “Let’s kick it up a notch!” Grim and gritty Emeril, that’s what the X-books are missing.

  19. Neil Kapit says:

    I’m tempted to read this for the same reason I watched the Human Centipede; now that I know it exists, I can’t quell the grotesque curiosity I have based on its concept alone.

  20. Tim says:

    Rogue and Paula Deen would be a great read.

  21. Dave White says:

    Tim, now all I can think of is Paula Deen trying to have a Genosha-themed wedding with mutant waiters wearing numbered skinsuits and not understanding why everyone else seems to have a problem with it…

  22. Tim says:

    Sounds like that recipe needs more sugah.

  23. Cerebro says:

    For some reason, Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino sounds like he would be great fodder for a future edition of The Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

  24. Chief says:

    Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino really needs to be capitalized throughout the whole review. 🙂

  25. orangewaxlion says:

    I’ll also acknowledge I have no idea who this is but I don’t really follow cooking reality TV shows. That said, he was involved with “Time Machine Chefs” which sounded like an amazing gimmick I read about at the time but still haven’t seen. I’m disappointed it was only a special and not a series…

    My theory is that they’re releasing this to pander to the Hannibal fandom? Even before I had a clue what this was about, the strange prominence of skinned flesh on the cover made me wonder if this was somehow a cannibalism comic.

  26. wwk5d says:

    This is such self-indulgent crap that even Bill Jemas is raising an eyebrow.

  27. errant says:

    I’ll give it this: As pointless and poorly conceived as we think it might be, it has a much clearer purpose for existing than either Astonishing X-Men or Uncanny X-Force, vol. 2.

  28. Daniel wheeler says:

    Thought it was weird that a chef that is known for chopping up animals would have such a problem with seeing a human butchered to the point where he was constantly puking..the story even pretty much highlights that he is a butcher (not in the pejorative sense) and that insult to vegans seemed pretty nasty and vindictive.

    Other than besides that it’s not really a bad comic considering it was written by a celebrity chef.. tho i can’t help wondering if he at least had some help with the script?

  29. Stan Abbitt says:

    Salut là pour tout le monde, c’est mon premier rendre visite de cette blogue ; cette site web portées remarquable et vraiment bien matériel en faveur de lecteurs visiteurs.

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