Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Super-Powered Comics: Rampaging Wolverine

With the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine on DVD today, I thought I would go back and look at the single best release the movie gave to us. (I still haven’t watched the film yet; expect my review in the near future) That title is a one-shot called Rampaging Wolverine from just a week before the film. Behind a painted cover by Nelson are forty-eight pages of glorious black and white art. The concept harkens back to Marvel’s magazines of the seventies and eighties. I still miss Savage Sword of Conan, so I gave it a try as soon as I saw it in Marvel Previews.

Joshua Hale Fialkov and Paco Diaz Luque open the book with a tale called “Sense Memory”. The story details Logan’s first experience with Madripoor. Pirates get involved, and Wolverine uncovers secrets in both the present and the past. It brings back great memories of the early Claremont/Buscema days of Wolverine, a time period I still fondly remember.

“Unconfirmed Kill” by Chris Yost and Mateus Santolouco is by no means as strong a story, but it does offer a short and clever play on Logan’s healing factor.

“Kiss, Kiss” is a prose story by Robin Furth with spot illustrations by Nelson. Furth may have been reading Lord of the Rings before she wrote this one: it involves Wolverine’s battle with a giant spider. Even so, the story does have a couple clever bits in it, and just the embrace of superhero prose in the book makes me happy.

“Modern Primitive” by Ted McKeever closes out the book. The author of Metropol and Eddy Current seems like an odd choice for the Canadian mutant, but his art style actually offers a pretty cool Logan. The story is a rather straight forward affair about his battle with a giant baboon (no, seriously, it is a giant baboon), but the story really isn’t the star here. McKeever’s art is not for everyone, but if you enjoy it at all you will get some fine work in this one.

Though no story but the lead are rock-solid, Rampaging Wolverine offers a compelling and entertaining package. The art is beautiful through-out, and even in black and white, forty-eight pages with no ads for $3.99 is a steal in today’s market. A black and white follow-up book is on Marvel’s schedule in the near future, this one starring Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. If it is as good as Rampaging Wolverine it too will deserve a Recommended.

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