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Jul 21

Wolverine: Exit Wounds

Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

No, I’m not quite sure why this exists either.  It’s a one-shot anthology with three Wolverine stories, which would normally scream “completist fodder”.  But it’s an unusually high end one, since at least it’s using creators who are strongly associated with Wolverine: Larry Hama, Chris Claremont, and (admittedly more of a stretch) Sam Kieth.  Apparently it’s something to do with Marvel’s 80th birthday celebrations, so I guess the idea is to let these guys play to the nostalgia.

It’s still a book that’s unlikely to trouble the attention of anyone other than completists and big fans of the creators, though.  Larry Hama leads off with “Red in Tooth and Claw”, illustrated by Scot Eaton and Sean Parsons, which is a flashback to the old memory-implant idea that he made so much of during his early 90s Wolverine run.  Hama always enjoyed the potential for surrealism in Wolverine’s altered memories, particularly when he had Mark Texeira on art.

But this story feels just as indebted to Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X”, particularly visually, as the Professor and his familiar two sidekicks discuss what’s going on in Logan’s mind while he’s being brainwashed.  They’re no more able to distinguish between real and false memories than he is, and there are flashes in here of familiar Hama tropes like the death of Silver Fox, or the radiator chained to a tree, that won’t make a huge amount of sense unless you’re familiar with the original stories.  To be honest, the radiator didn’t make a tremendous amount of sense at the time either.

The very rough idea seems to be that even in this state, Logan’s rage – however useful it might be to the Professor – is still driven by his anger about Sabretooth killing Silver Fox, which I guess is why his identity is never entirely eradicated, or something.  But at the end of the day, it’s the usual Weapon X schtick: the amoral Professor, and the two sidekick scientists who seem to have at least a little more concern about what they’re doing, even if it never runs to the length of actually saying no, because they seem to have convinced themselves that it’s all in a good cause.  Or a legitimate cause, at any rate.  It’s a good routine, but this story feels like simply a reprise, without bringing much new to it.

Chris Claremont’s “Aftermath” is drawn by Salvador Larroca – who’s currently working on an ongoing title, which makes you wonder how long ago this was drawn?   It’s a postscript to the Kitty Pryde & Wolverine mini.  Since Claremont’s Logan has friends everywhere, he takes Kitty and Yukio to visit a friend whose noodle restaurant is under threat from rival ramen shops.  Naturally, not only is Wolverine a badass, he is also a reflective master of Japanese cuisine.

It’s not a genre I’m familiar with, to put it mildly, but I think the joke here is Claremont extending his Wolverine-in-Japan theme by doing it as a cooking manga.  Which is quite a funny idea.  The result is very Claremont – but then that’s the point of the exercise, isn’t it? – and this has quite a bit of charm to it.

Finally, Sam Kieth’s Wolverine stories in Marvel Comics Presents are better remembered for their visual style than for anything that actually happened in them, and so he does indeed give us an exercise in style.  Ostensibly, it’s a story about Wolverine being stuck in a South American swamp on a mission gone wrong, and crossing paths with Venom, who just happens to be passing for whatever reason, don’t ask.  I’m not entirely sure about Kieth as a Venom artist – for me, Venom works best when he’s a grotesquely distorted figure in an otherwise fairly normal world, while Kieth likes to exaggerate across the board.  There’s virtually zero plot to this – it doesn’t even end so much as gesture vaguely in the direction of finishing – and while Kieth’s art can be lovely, you can see it elsewhere on vastly better material than this.

Overall, there are a few decent moments in here, and it’s aiming a little higher than the completist fodder you might expect, but it’s very eminently skippable.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    Yeah, there’s a whole load of these one shots by past creators – PAD & Dale Keown did a Hulk one-shot, Claremont & Bill S are doing (did?) a New Mutants one, and there are others I forget.

    > Hama always enjoyed the potential for surrealism in Wolverine’s altered memories, particularly when he had Mark Texeira on art.

    I never liked Texeira’s Wolverine for two reasons, one contextual (it was *such* a jump from Silvestri’s, and not in a good way for me) and one general (Texeira can do great painted work… but he did Wolverine in pencil & ink, and it was a muddy mess for it).

  2. Moo says:

    “Naturally, not only is Wolverine a badass, he is also a reflective master of Japanese cuisine.”

    What he does best is curry rice.

  3. Ben says:

    I’m as hard on modern Claremont as anyone, but I thought that story was kinda cute.

    He should do that kinda stuff and ditch the epic melodrama and Claremont-isms.

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    Looks like Wolverine will not be any less exposed now that he is again alive than he used to be while dead.

  5. Mikey says:

    Would love to see Scot Eaton get more work in the X-Men line. He did solid work on Carey’s X-Men Legacy.

  6. Luke says:

    I liked this more than I thought I would, but in the Claremont story, the lead thug is called both Gogo and Goro, and the kid is called both Tatsuo and Raiden. It’s only ten pages long, and the sloppy editorial took me out of it. I can only assume that Claremont loves Mortal Kombat and the editors weren’t so thrilled.

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