Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus #1
Written by Ethan Sacks
Art by Diogene Neves, Adriano di Benedetto and Frederico Blee
Lettering by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 5 out of 10
When the Weapon Plus program was first introduced to continuity, it was an interesting way to link together seemingly disparate characters across the Marvel Universe. And that fact still holds true for the concept overall. However, the spin writer Ethan Sacks and atrist Diogenes Neves give into that bit of shared history between Captain America and Wolverine comes across as dull and uninteresting. Seasoned readers won’t find much to chew on here, and those who are new to the history presented here will probably wonder why they paid five bucks for a book that reads like an inconsistently illustrated Wikipedia article.
A lot of what Sacks is doing here relies on the framing device of a prerecorded message from the deceased Fantomex, and that’s not a strong foundation for the issue to build on. While it does allow the writer to get a lot of exposition out of the way, it’s not the most interesting way to learn these facts — something that even the characters lampshade by trying to get the message to fast forward. Our heroes are thrown into this situation to finish what Fantomex had started in terms of discovering more about the Weapon Plus program and the other possible super-soldiers that are out there, but Sacks doesn’t effectively build any stakes or intrigue. We’re just bombarded with facts, treated to a few fight scenes and introduced to a new character that ties our heroes a little closer together. While I can see Sacks attempting to play with some themes about how Cap’s presence during World War II also inspired bad people to do what they thought was right, it’s a premise that doesn’t really hold much water. And it’s certainly not the kind of dramatic conclusion that you want to hinge an issue on.
But it’s not all Sacks’ fault, as Neves’ artwork doesn’t do him any favors. He reuses similar shots from page to page. His body proportions are all over the place, and while the issues starts fairly strong from an expression standpoint, Neves completely loses a handle on these characters' likenesses. It’s frustrating because when he gets away from most of the action scenes, those problems tend to smooth out a bit. As the book becomes a little bit more dialogue-driven, we get to see some stronger anatomy and more varied shot selection. Though the expression work remains an Achilles heel across the book, it’s really strong in a couple of places — namely, a close-up of Cap’s eyes.
On some level, this issue feels a little bit like homework — nobody wants to do it, but you might as well get it out of the way. It’ll be interesting to see how the Weapon Plus program narrative develops moving forward with the introduction of Sacks’ new villain, but the idea of heaping even more retroactive continuity on top of retroactive continuity seems tedious at best. Remember how much cooler Wolverine was before we got Wolverine: Origin? There’s something to be said for leaving some narrative stones unturned. This is a one-shot that your pull list probably won’t miss.