Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Adam Kubert and Frank Martin
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 3 out of 10
They say seeing is believing, but when you’re dealing with a haphazard structure and a villain who can make you see things that aren’t there, it can be hard for even veteran readers to find their footing. Case in point - the sophomore issue of Wolverine. While writer Benjamin Percy and artist Adam Kubert are formidable creators in their own right, the twisty story they’ve committed to doesn’t play to their strengths, making it feel unnecessarily difficult to follow.
Of course, part of the problem that Percy grapples with is in this brave new era of the X-Men, community is key - but when Wolverine is the first Krakoan solo book, you’ve got to come up with a reason for Logan to be running off by himself. Unfortunately, Percy can’t quite commit one way or the other - while last issue, Percy showed the damage a mind-controlled Wolverine can do in a team setting, he immediately undercuts that sentiment with CIA agent Jeff Bannister, a cardboard cut-out of a supporting cast member whose folksy monologues about lawns don’t quite capture the ruggedness and tragedy that encapsulates Wolverine as a character.
The other, perhaps more pressing problem is the threat Wolverine faces feels so ephemeral that it’s almost impossible to get a bead on what’s actually happening. It’s not to say that illusion-based characters aren’t feasible in comic books - heck, Mysterio’s got his own movie - but the key is that you don’t overstay your welcome with the fake-outs, that you use them as a sort of tempo to throw your heroes and your readers off-guard. But Percy and Kubert don’t stick around with enough follow-through to let readers catch their bearings - there’s a sequence featuring the Marauders (inexplicably taking the introductory scene away from Logan, the headliner of the book) that looks spooky enough, but isn’t clear for readers what the illusions are supposed to be masking. A zombie Kitty Pryde may be an arresting image, but it all feels a little too early in the game.
And speaking of early in the game - I’ll admit, a second issue feels a little early for Adam Kubert to be showing signs of slowing down. There are tons of distant shots and tiny crowded panels here, which makes beats like the opening three pages or a scene with Logan vowing to bring in his psionic assailant lack any real emotional punch. Where Kubert excels, however, is in his action beats - the aforementioned image of zombie Kitty pulling Bishop under the water is the highlight of the entire issue, and a scene of Logan impaling Lady Deathstrike looks brutal. Colorist Frank Martin, however, does really strong work throughout, giving this issue a lovely sense of weight and mood regardless of the scenery - in particular, his scenes on the water give Wolverine #2 a wonderful atmosphere.
While Percy has done some strong work with Logan and company over in X-Force, his solo run with the Ol’ Canucklehead is leaving something to be desired. Some of it is because Adam Kubert isn’t firing on all cylinders, whether it be due to wonky layout choices or simply a time crunch - but given that this is Logan’s first ongoing series in years, you’d think there’d be a more concrete and thoughtful direction going on. Given the pedigree of the team involved, I wish I could say Wolverine is indispensable reading, but this will appeal to diehard fans only.