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Jun 30

Wolverine: Infinity Watch

Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

So this exists.

Quite why it exists makes a little more sense now we know that the X-Men line is being pared down to just two titles for the Jonathan Hickman relaunch.  And that means Marvel needed to get Wolverine back into circulation in order to save Hickman having to deal with that – but they couldn’t follow it up in the way you’d expect, with a relaunched Wolverine solo title.

So here, instead, is five issues of filler tying into a crossover that finished six months ago.  Strangely, it’s written by Gerry Duggan, the writer of Infinity Wars and a bigger name than you’d normally expect to find on such a superfluous project.  And it’s not that he phones it in – there’s a story here, to be sure.  It’s just not a Wolverine story.  It’s an Infinity Wars Appendix with Wolverine standing around in the background.

Return of Wolverine ended with Wolverine returning to the X-Men Mansion, which is a problem, because that’s not what happened in Uncanny X-Men.  But Duggan duly gives us that homecoming scene anyway, only for Logan to swiftly realise that it’s all an illusion created for him by Loki.  (Quite how Wolverine failed to spot the high-profile news of the X-Men Mansion’s destruction in the newspapers… well, never mind.)  Loki is actually looking for the other Wolverine who was brought back with much fanfare in Marvel Legacy and then awkwardly brushed aside as an alternate version when Marvel decided to go in a different direction.  So that other Wolverine shows up to briefly explain the plot of Infinity Wars, and then set up the plot, which goes like this:

At the end of Infinity Wars, Adam Warlock gave the Infinity Stones a soul and packed them off to wander the universe with minds of their own.  This was the latest solution to the question of keeping the Infinity Stones out of the hands of bad guys.  The Time Stone has now resurfaced on Earth and, apparently failing to get the memo about what Warlock was trying to achieve here, has hooked up with a random convict called Hector Bautista, who promptly uses his powers to escape.  Wolverine, who knows a Guardians of the Galaxy plot when he sees one, has no particular interest in any of this, but there’s still four issues to go, so he gets roped into looking for Hector anyway.  The other token plot reason for using Wolverine here is to bring in that baseball bat with time crystals from the Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine mini nearly a decade ago – but that’s kind of tenuous as well.

After a brief skirmish with Warbringer, Hector gets hauled off by the Fraternity of Raptors, in order that Wolverine and Loki, and, oh, the ghost dog from Doctor Strange, can pursue them into space.  If you’re not familiar with the Fraternity, they’re Guardians villains, drawing on concepts from Darkhawk, and fronted by Talonar, who is Nova’s younger brother.  Got all that?  Is it what you were looking for in the follow-up to Return of Wolverine?

There’s a rule of thumb that if the characters are complaining about the plot, then something’s probably gone wrong.  And Logan spends a lot of time complaining about why he’s in this book at all.  Which, considering he’s the title character, is a bit troublesome.

Now, Duggan’s generally a good writer, and there are some cute gags here.  There’s a certain charm to Logan getting dragged into a cosmic storyline that he finds both baffling and dull, and winding up Loki by refusing to treat it with the appropriate gravitas.  But this whole dynamic is still an attenuated version of the way this story might have played out with Deadpool in the role, with the wisecracking dialled back to a more weary snark.  Artist Andy McDonald is pretty solid in the light comedy, with refreshingly dense storytelling and a good sense of place.  I’d happily see him on another X-book in the future, one with a bit more focus to it.

Here, the final act detours wildly, and turns out to be all about Loki taking the initiative to tie up Talonar’s storyline. Hector learns to control his new powers, but winds up serving mainly as a plot device for Loki to use in the Talonar plot.  And Logan’s main function is to run around the corridors and give Hector a bit of a pep talk.  As best I can make out, the long-term point of this story is to establish Hector and lay the groundwork for an Infinity Watch revival.  As a Wolverine story… well, it just isn’t one.  Not only is it a story from which you could remove him entirely, it would actually be a simpler and stronger story with Loki going it alone.  (It certainly doesn’t need the dog as well, no matter how adorable a character he is.)

If you enjoyed Gerry Duggan’s Guardians and really want to see him follow up on the Fraternity of Raptors, then this is the book for you.  You’ll probably wonder what the little guy with the claws is doing there, though.

Bring on the comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I for one am glad the line is being pared back to the two books initially and by all reports, a single X-men title after that.

    It’s something which hopefully will give greater focus to the line much in the same way the pared-down X-book like had in the early Morrison Era with the three team books, Wolverine and Cable, plus minis

  2. wwk5d says:

    “So this exists.”

    You could have just stopped with that, since it pretty much sums up this mini.

  3. Jpw says:

    It’s amazing how convoluted something as simple as bringing back Wolverine became.

  4. Ben says:

    I only read the first issue (didn’t change my mind on Duggan being anything other than journeyman level competent) and I was totally baffled at why this has Wolverine in it other than to sell copies.

    And I generally love Aaron, but time diamond baseball bat is one of his ideas best left forgotten.

  5. Andy Walsh says:

    Sorry, Andrew, Hickman has indicated that there will be a whole line of X-Men books post HoX/PoX. A first wave will launch in the wake of those books, and a second wave next year. Expect the first wave to be announced at or around SDCC.

  6. Adam Farrar says:

    I came to this series not for Wolverine but for the Infinity storyline. It doesn’t make it any better. Duggan’s Guardians of the Galaxy started out with a lot of promise but sales lagged and to keep going, he pitched “Infinity Countdown” and then “Infinity Wars.” But in getting bigger, the story struggled under the weight and expanded cast. I don’t think anyone expected that story to end here but there’s no enthusiasm for it to continue. If Duggan had been allowed to keep going on GotG without kickstarting a crossover, it would have been much better off.

  7. Si says:

    In related news, I see Wolverine has another child. She’s a wild brawler with claws. This is getting truly ridiculous.

  8. JCG says:

    Luckily it’s not that hard to avoid Wolverine and Wolverine derivatives.

    If you skip their solos and minis and oneshots you’ll generally only come across one in the flagship book.

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