I was actually pretty impressed with the first Marvel Knights Animation, Inhumans. I wondered on that review if part of it was the fact that I had never read the original story, but alas I think it’s just a quality project. Once again, I’m only going to quickly sum up the story since it’s widely known at this point and who needs yet another history lesson for Wolverine? Alright maybe a short one. Back in the day Origin was Marvel’s answer to the success of the X-Men movies. The goal was to answer the questions about Wolverine’s past in the comics before the movies did it. Well the joke was on them since it took Fox almost a decade later to make a solo Wolverine movie, but hindsight and all that jazz. Paul Jenkins was an unlikely name at the time to tackle the project, but he teamed up with Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada and mapped out the difficult and spotty timeline of Marvel’s number one mutant.
The story explains basically everything associated with Wolverine’s past, from his pseudo name of Logan all the way to his obsession with red-heads. It also tackled the taboo subject of his 90’s bone claws and the possibly why he spent so much time in Japan.
The story begins in Canada and gives us plenty of red-herrings as to who will become the Wolverine as we meet a hairy individual known as Logan and his son Dog. The story is narrated through the diary and eyes of Rose, a young woman who has been hired to help at the Howlett’s house. She’s put in charge of their sickly son James as the woman of the house is practically bedridden and rarely leaves her room. From there a complex story of family and betrayal unfolds until our young James is pushed over the edge and his mutant power manifests.
Obviously the original story is great and basically all of it is represented here. I think towards the end some of it was cut out either for time or its graphic nature; perhaps though I just don’t remember the story as well as I think I do. I think once again Marvel Knights has handled Jenkins story very well and made it work in this format.
The animation this time around wasn’t as fluid as it was with Inhumans. I can definitely forgive awkward movement and such, but Kubert’s art style in general didn’t lend itself to this style of animation. Additionally, Isanove’s unique and brilliant coloring style is toned down for the animation because it simply wouldn’t work any other way. It’s not terrible, but when it’s good it’s good; and when it’s bad it’s very noticeable.
The voice acting was actually very strong. I remember hating the grandfather in the comic and the actor for him brought that hatred back instantly with his performance. Rose’s accent was the only thing that sounded hokey at times, but overall the cast did a great job and really helped bring the story to life.
I honestly think these are a great idea and a far better answer to the motion comics. I not only convinced my wife to watch this, but her friend as well. In that regard it’s a great introduction to the world of comics and the fact that so far they’ve tackled two of Marvel’s biggest stories is a great start. I’m curious to see what the next project will be since Jenkins’ work has been the focus for the last two releases. I definitely think he’s style of writing lends itself more to this style of animation, but it would be great to see more regardless. If anything this serves as a great snap shot in the history of comics, when they took chances and tackled a story line that had been unanswered for decades.
Story: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada
Artists: Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove
Produced by: Shout Factory and Marvel Knights Animation
Release Date: 7/10/13