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Aug 18

Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Or Generations: The Best, if you prefer.  Which is a better title, and kind of sort of what it says on the cover, but I’ll go with the solicitations and the digital listings.

So, just like last week’s Phoenix one-shot, this is a story in which a legacy character from the present goes back in time for no adequately (or even inadequately) explained reason, and meets the original.  Sort of.  I guess Phoenix wasn’t really the original Jean Grey.  An earlier version, anyway.  If there’s an explanation for any of this time travel stuff, it’s presumably going to show up somewhere else, and (plot mechanics aside) it’s of no relevance to this story, so let’s set it to one side.

This is effectively an extra issue of All-New Wolverine, by regular writer Tom Taylor.  So that’s a good start.  At first glance, though, All-New Wolverine doesn’t lend itself to this format, because Laura has met the original Wolverine plenty of times.  They starred in X-Force together, for one thing.  What can you do with them?

More than you’d think.  It’s mostly in the wrap-up, though – much of this issue is a runaround team-up exercise in which Wolverine helps Wolverine Classic rescue Akiko from the Hand and Sabretooth, because they were the main villains of the classic Wolverine period.  The Hand ninjas here are presented as undead, which I don’t think really took hold as a standard feature of the Hand until a bit later, but heck, why not.

And it’s a very nice looking action issue.  Artist Ramon Rosanas worked on the last run of Ant-Man, which was more of a comedy-drama book (leaning comedy), and he was great there.  Here, playing it straight, he’s equally impressive – he’s a great storyteller, and he’s given a bit more room to play than he was on the relatively dense Ant-Man stories.  He’s got a nice clean line, and there are some bits here that remind me somewhat of Steve Dillon – though he does seem to struggle a little with making the old-style Sabretooth character design look intimidating.  Nolan Woodard’s colours are excellent; the sunset colouring on the opening sequence is just lovely.

Remember Akiko?  She was the adopted daughter of Wolverine and Mariko Yashida, a plot thread introduced by Chris Claremont in the mid-1980s and instantly forgotten about.  And yes, she’s usually called Amiko, but this isn’t an error – or at least, not an error on Taylor’s part.  When she first showed up, in Uncanny X-Men #181, she was indeed “Amiko”.  But by her next appearance in Kitty Pryde & Wolverine #5, which is basically the time frame for this story, Claremont had changed it to “Akiko”.  Most likely, he was simply correcting an error, because “Akiko” is a common Japanese name, unlike “Amiko”, which is Esperanto for “friend”.  Somewhere along the line Larry Hama winds up doing a story where she changes her name to “Amiko”, but at this point in continuity she is indeed “Akiko”.

Anyway, the point here is that Laura is also Wolverine’s daughter, at least in a sense.  When Taylor began his run, and Laura was suddenly taking up Wolverine’s mantle and standing for his legacy, I questioned whether she had ever really had that sort of relationship with him.  After a while I came round to thinking that this was precisely the idea – that she was overcompensating for a relationship that never really took place, and that Gabby’s role was to give Laura the chance to take the parent role and get it right.

So this is Laura meeting Logan after she’s somewhat come to terms with their relationship and feels able to speak up about it.  And Logan, who’s been around the Marvel Universe and knows the tropes, also figures out that he’s very likely encountering his daughter from a future timeline.  The pay-off – and stop reading here if you don’t want spoilers, because it’s a good scene – is to have Wolverine explain his absence from Akiko’s life in the traditional manner of the time – I’m just too dangerous to be around, you’re better off without me, and so forth.  All of which is played entirely straight until Laura points out that they had to rescue Akiko precisely because she was attacked without him around to protect her, and basically accuses him outright of making excuses for not taking a proper interest in this girl who’s supposed to be his daughter.  Precisely why Logan is ducking his responsibilities is left more vague, but the general implication is that he’s unable or unwilling to shift gears to take on that role.

In the background of all of this is Laura getting the chance to complain to Logan about his failure to really treat her as his daughter.  And it works because it’s very low key: using Akiko lets Laura be completely direct about it while leaving the relationship we actually care about, the one between Laura and Logan as the elephant in the room.

I liked this one.  Sure, there’s a bit of filler in the first two thirds while the book plays the hits, but it’s still good fun.  And the pay off finds a clever way of making the Generations gimmick work.

Bring on the comments

  1. mark coale says:

    I thought this was pretty good. Definitely that it’s the regular writer of the book for one of the characters. And I think the regular title is easily the best X title right now .

  2. David Goldfarb says:

    I can think off the top of my head of an anime character named Ami, so while Akiko is certainly more common, Amiko would not be impossible as a Japanese girl’s name.

  3. wwk5d says:

    You’d think something like this would have had a profound effect on Logan’s character and actions, going forward, but…not so much.

    Granted, these stories are more about (or supposed to be about) the legacy characters learning some Big Important Lesson, but having the originals completely be unaffected by it does lessen it’s impact.

  4. Chris V says:

    Well, as pointed out, we have no idea where or when this event is actually taking place yet.
    Is it the past of the Marvel Universe we know?
    Is it an alternate reality?
    Are these books going to have some sort of effect on the post-Secret Empire Marvel Universe?
    We really don’t know yet.

    The Phoenix one seemed to be taking the stance that it was a time-travel story, where there is only one possible time-lone, and that teen Jean’s involvement with Phoenix could have dire repercussions for the Marvel Universe.
    This one? Not so much.

    At the very least, if Laura really did travel back in time to meet 1980s Logan, then Logan really should have had some memory of Laura from his past when he first meets her.

    Of course, there’s always the chance that none of this will ever be explained, and these really are pointless one-shots (which sometimes tell a good story in the end, like this one).

  5. Luis Dantas says:

    There are all kinds of possible, even cliched explanations for why Logan did not have memories of this meeting with future Laura. Particularly seeing how a few years later there would be many stories about Logan’s erased memories.

    As a comparison point, 1992’s Guardians of Galaxy Annual #2 was the last part of a crossover with the Punisher, Daredevil and Wonder Man annuals called “System Bytes”. It happened in an entirely different timeline from those other annuals but did not even bother to attempt to explain how the Ultra Max virus from the other annuals jumped timelines.

    Still, I sort of hope that the glaring lack of mention of Amiko in, what, 30 years or so will be addressed further down the line and dovetail into this apparent memory paradox. There may well be an imminent plotline addressing both dangling threads.

  6. wwk5d says:

    “There are all kinds of possible, even cliched explanations for why Logan did not have memories of this meeting with future Laura. Particularly seeing how a few years later there would be many stories about Logan’s erased memories.”

    Logan met Akiki/Amiko when he was a member of the X-men, around the time of the first Secret Wars. Unless Xavier mind-wiped this information from Logan’s head, it shouldn’t be an issue with regards to his erased memories.

  7. Joseph says:

    Within the story Laura lays it out pretty directly: I don’t really know what’s going on, it doesn’t ammeter, focus on what’s happening so it doesn’t kill you. I think that’s pretty good advice to the reader as well. Don’t worry about whatever convoluted poly mechanics are at work. Laura doesn’t know and bright so we. Maybe later it will matter, but as is, the story works well and at least emotionally fits into the beats of the ongoing. This was good.

  8. JD says:

    > Still, I sort of hope that the glaring lack of mention of Amiko in, what, 30 years or so

    Uh ? Amiko did appear quite a bit in Aaron’s Wolverine run a few years ago. She was dating the new, young Silver Samurai.

  9. Chris says:

    Akiko Logan is Old enough to date?

    Is Franklin Richards and Billy Connors?

  10. jpw says:

    I think one of my biggest issues with the Marvel Universe these days is the way nearly every character just hops around through time and different realities constantly and it’s all just no big deal.

  11. mrjl says:

    it seems perfectly reasonable to think he stayed away because he really believed being around him was dangerous

  12. Joseph says:

    @jpw bendis, of all people, touches on this in his current run on Jessica Jones, in the form of a man on the street perspective as Jessica interogates a normie whose life was altered by Secret Wars.

  13. Chris says:

    Then again Ant-Man’s kid is an adult or something

  14. Mo Walker says:

    Normally I would knock a title for not explaining a key element of the plot, in this case how Laura time/dimension traveled. Since I knew in advance there was not going to be an explanation, I graded this purely on its entertainment value. I hope Ramon Rosanas becomes one (if not) the regular artist on All New Wolverine.

    Regarding Logan not remembering the events of this issue. I believe the Cosmic Cube created a pocket reality that allows the contemporary heroes interact with the ‘classic’ versions.

  15. Paul says:

    It does, which is why earlier stories got away with that excuse. But this story isn’t claiming that he doesn’t believe it, more that he’s convinced himself of it because it’s a convenient thing to believe.

  16. ASV says:

    There’s no time period in which Wolverine wore blue and yellow, Sabretooth wore the fur cuffs and collar, and Amiko was around, right?[/continuity pedant]

  17. Mark coale says:

    I thought Cassie Lang was a kid again, after being brought back.

  18. Joseph says:

    Cassie is written as being about 14 or so, it seems to me

  19. Nu-D says:

    “There’s no time period in which Wolverine wore blue and yellow, Sabretooth wore the fur cuffs and collar, and Amiko was around, right?”

    I haven’t seen this issue, so I don’t know exactly what the characters were wearing, but Logan was in Blue/Yellow and Creed wearing fur in 1991 during the Jim Lee run. I’m not sure what it means that “Amiko was around,” but it hadn’t been too terribly long since she’d been seen.

    So I’d say you could try to fit this in right then, if you think costumes can only exist one at a time. But frankly, just because we didn’t see Logan in blue/gold between 1981 and 1991, doesn’t mean he didn’t wear it from time-to-time in heretofore unseen adventures.

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