Group Review: Death of Wolverine #2

It’s week two of our group review coverage for Death of Wolverine and guess what? He still ain’t dead! We’re going to take this one to very end so join us for the second issue, where our writers/reviewers will give their opinions and a score for the issue. First here’s what the issue is about: Wolverine’s dying… like for reals bro. Not now, like in two more issues.

4077950-0+deathofwolv2014002_dc11_lr-page-001JAMES: 3/5

Where issue #1 got me excited, motivated and knocked me out with killer graphics, heartfelt story, and oozing emotion.  Issue #2 didn’t quite do it for me.  Now the visual art is still top of the line, and I particularly liked the action sequences feeling like something out of a Matrix movie (The first one, not the others) with its quick framing and fluid movement.  Still though, things just seemed a little bit too convenient with friends and enemies kind of popping in and out way too easy in a place that was supposed to be kind of tight with security.  It just seemed weird to me.

I am still digging on the dialogue enough, and the interactions are well done and honest.  I’m just a little put off with the “pop ins” that occurred here in this one.  There is no doubt in my mind with this event that we are going to go through a whole slew of enemies, friends, and others all over the place.  I just wish that it could be done a little more conservatively than what we got here in Issue #2.

The art still carries the day however with its action as well as the “extras” detailing the art process.  Still worth the buckage in that regard, but just barely.  Let’s hope that the writing can build back into form to match the art.

Death-of-Wolverine-2-spoilers-4NICK: 3/5

Death of Wolverine #2 was a bit of a let-down for me. It seems like Soule and McNiven are going to put Wolverine through something like a Monster-of-the-Week format for four weeks, where a big bad motherfucker challenges Wolverine, renowned as the biggest and baddest of the motherfuckers, and he moves on.

I'm not sure what his endgame is at this point. He's following the bounty on his head, and now it's a bounty on all the people like him? Where I was willing to overlook some of the flaws in the first one for the poetry of the tale that was being told, this one seemed a little ham-fisted, beating us over the head with emotional moments. "Don't forget, Wolverine's for real going to die!" We know, guys. We know.

McNiven's art is flawless, as per usual, so I have nothing but good things to say about him. One of the narratively weak parts of the book for me (the two-page flashback spread during the fight with Sabretooth), was saved for me by McNiven's use of ink wash and pencil shading. He draws like a boss, and he makes extremely strong narrative choices all the time. He's a treasure.

If this series were longer than 4 issues, I'd be considering dropping it next week based on this issue, even if it did have Wolverine as Jack from LOST, rocking the beard and the existential sadness. Since it's a short series, I'm willing to stay on and see where it goes from here.

Death-of-Wolverine-2-spoilers-2ANDRE: 3/5

I’m starting to get the sense that this series exists mostly to show Wolverine fans one last time that, yes, the man who’s the best at what he does is indeed a badass. Soule and company succeed in that respect, but it seems as if they’re missing out on an opportunity to do something more, perhaps on the level of Neil Gaimain’s ‘Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader’ story from a few years back. But I know I shouldn’t linger on what wasn’t since this issue turns out to be a pretty fun couple of pages, and at the very least, proves that Logan can indeed rock just about any hairstyle.

Soule seems determined to bring in quite a few of Wolverine’s closest allies and enemies per issue, only to have them disappear a few pages later. The cliffhanger from last issue merely leads to some dull dialogue between Wolverine and Viper, and she ends up disappearing without having served much of a purpose. The most fun I had reading this issue was in the first couple pages where an incognito Wolverine meets with one of Viper’s henchmen, and we see him momentarily relaxed in a tuxedo with the nice touch of X-shaped bandages over his injured hands.

Unlike last issue’s fight scenes though, the ones here don’t have nearly the same level of grit, or threat of impending death. Logan takes out Viper’s thugs without even rumpling his new long locks, and his short fight with Sabretooth seems mostly there to provide Logan a reason to up his new look with an eyepatch next issue. And while I thought the sense captions were an interesting touch last issue, I now have to defer to Dustin’s opinion that they’re little more than a gimmick that doesn’t add anything to the storytelling experience. When Viper’s appearance brings about the smell of different toxins, it’s neither surprising nor an impressive observation. Perhaps Soule is going to employ them in a more elegant way as the series draws to a close, but I could have done without them. I’ll give it this though, I never thought I wanted to see an exploding Iron Man head again after the third movie, but Steve McNiven makes it a cool sight.

3951735-death_of_wolverine+2_canada+variantSTEVE: 3/5

First off, who in the bluest of hells does Wolverine think he is to jock my flavor? The loose-knit ponytail / weird beard / sick purple shades combo is totally my gig. So is beating up a room full of ninjas, incidentally, but I’m willing to let that slide. My ensuing copyright infringement litigation against Marvel Comics notwithstanding, I found Death of Wolverine #2 a much more mixed bag than its impressive first issue.

The first thing I noticed is how short this story really is. If you look at it, there are only something like 17 pages of actual comic book, with the back matter padding out a significant bulk of its 27 pages. For a comic with a price point of $4.99, that’s kind of taking the piss.

Still, there were some great moments in this book thanks to Soule’s organic, sometimes even funny dialogue, as well as McNiven, Leisten and Ponsor’s visual direction. It does, however, feel less like a completed submission than issue one. In terms of art, this thing jumps between scenes like the aforementioned ninja fight, which had great, fluid consistency, and the Sabretooth scuffle, parts of which felt rough and rushed. That could be a clever expression of the style used in each fight, but the way it’s presented, I doubt it was intentional. We do get that nice flashback fight intro with scenes recalling their previous encounters, though; that was pretty.

But it’s that jumpy tone which permeates the book that takes this issue down a notch for me, with all of the random cameos seemingly there just to tick the “Wolverine history” boxes, and a flippant death sentence pardon that doesn’t feel justified. Admitting that my modern Wolverine knowledge is patchy at best, the last thing I remember is Sabretooth breaking down Logan to his bare elements, mentally and physically; this isn’t even mentioning their dicey past together. I get that he’s a hero, but the Wolverine I know has killed for a lot less.

I’m still on-board with Death of Wolverine, though. I do really like most of the art, and Soule’s overall tone and neat devices intrigue. I just hope they can tighten this narrative noose a bit better before finally pulling the lever.

Death-of-Wolverine-2-spoilers-5DUSTIN: 1/5

If you were wondering if issue #2 could top issue #1 it did. At least for me because I thought the first issue was terrible and I thought that this second issue was even worse. Not only were all the cameos just there for cheap pops, but no one and I mean no one, served the greater plot line.

What’s been really annoying about both issues so far is that nothing really happens and then the issue is over. It’s like Soule wrote a giant-sized issue and then McNiven said, “I can make that into four issues easy” and then he got really lazy any time action needed to be shown. These two creators have no chemistry and it’s pretty fucking clear with this issue. Soule is saying, “go wild on the action” and then we get a fucking panel for the broken sunglasses… like anyone in the world was wondering about Logan’s sick Aviators.

“What happened to his sick Aviators during the fight? WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!?!?”

The point is the action sequences suck and are very boring. McNiven has pretty art, but he needs more direction on battles and hey maybe watch a martial arts film or something so that you’re not just showing the aftermath for fights.

I did laugh a bit when Wolverine felt bad about killing Sabretooth. Seriously? What about the other couple hundred of men you laid waste to just in issue #1?

The last gripe I’ll bother talking about was the eye thing. The creators should have taken a close-up of themselves and put the caption, “PATCH” underneath it. Who wants to bet a copy of issue three that Logan will show up in an eye patch to homage himself and cater to the fans a little bit more. Frankly the fan service is killing any chance this story might have had.

Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Steve McNiven Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $4.99 or $5.99 Release Date: 9/10/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital