Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WOLVERINE #76 – December 1993

Northern Dreams
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Tomm Coker (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Pat Brosseau (letters), Kevin Somers (colors)

After Wolverine gets into a motorcycle accident, a group of bikers follows the address in his pocket and takes him to Heather Hudson’s home. Wolverine continues to recuperate and asks Hudson to do some research into the Weapon X project. Lady Deathstrike trails Wolverine and finally tracks him to Heather Hudson’s home.

Continuity Notes
Heather Hudson finds a paper by Dr. Monica Hines on “the apparent effect of complex metallic salts on the immune system and tissue regeneration”. Hines is the female scientist in the Weapon X project who was killed off a few issues earlier. Wolverine is convinced that his immune system doesn’t work without the adamantium. This is an odd conclusion to make, because I’m pretty sure Wolverine was shown using his healing factor before he received the adamantium.

Wolverine is smoking again, after he quit in the previous issue. I could have sworn that there was a period during this era where he really did stop, but I could be wrong.

To say that this issue is light on plot would be an understatement, but it’s successful in establishing a new tone for the series after the events of Fatal Attractions. Wolverine’s gone from repeatedly bragging about being the “the best there is” at what he does, to thought captions like “I’m all used up and hurtin’ and I sure want to go home…before all the wild things come snappin’ after me.” It reminds me of Claremont’s treatment of Wolverine during his final days on Uncanny X-Men (when Jubilee was nursing him back to health), but Hama’s able to make the character’s disposition not seem like a retread of a previous story. It’s interesting that there’s no background given on Heather Hudson, Puck, Alpha Flight, or Lady Deathstrike in this issue. For the most part, you can figure out how the characters relate to Wolverine by their role in the story, but it does seem to go against Marvel’s “every issue is someone’s first” ethic of the era.

Continuing the tradition of odd guest artists for this title, Tomm Coker fills in for Adam Kubert. If I remember correctly, Coker once gave an interview to Wizard saying that he dropped out of comics for a few years and re-taught himself how to draw after seeing his work on this issue. I wouldn’t say that his work here requires such drastic action, but it’s certainly not what you would expect to find in a mainstream superhero comic. Some pages remind me of Mike Mignola or Kevin Nowlan, while other pages seem more sloppy than expressionistic. I remember that a friend of mine, just getting into comics from the X-Men cartoon, hated the art in this issue. Even if some of the pages are hard to look at, he does a good job with Wolverine’s hallucinations, and the quiet scene between Heather and Wolverine towards the end of the issue looks nice. I remember that Coker returned to comics with a Gen 13/Maxx special, which looks a lot better than this issue, but I don’t know what he’s worked on since then (a quick Google search shows that he’s involved in the film industry, apparently).

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