Monday, June 16, 2008

WOLVERINE #89 – January 1995

The Mask of Ogun
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Fabio Laguna (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Marie Javins (colorist)

While on his way back to New York, Wolverine meets Ghost Rider, who warns him that a specter from his past named “Ogun” has returned. Wolverine follows Ghost Rider to a museum where Ogun’s spirit has killed the employees. On display are Ogun’s sword and his mask, which Wolverine remembers shattering after he killed Ogun. Ghost Rider explains to him that mystic objects can’t be destroyed by physical means. After they’re distracted by noises from the other side of the museum, Ghost Rider and Wolverine return to see that Ogun’s sword and mask are gone. Ogun suddenly appears and attacks. When Ogun throws his sword at Wolverine, he flashes back to a lesson Ogun taught him about balancing his human and animal sides. Ghost Rider saves Wolverine from the sword, which Wolverine then uses to split Ogun’s mask in half. As his form dissipates, Wolverine sees his own face on Ogun’s body. He explains to Ghost Rider that Ogun used sorcery to reach beyond the grave and attack him with a part of himself. Meanwhile, Gambit warns Sabretooth that Wolverine is coming.

Continuity Note
Ogun is Wolverine’s former mentor, who tried to possess Kitty Pryde’s body in the Kitty Pryde & Wolverine miniseries. The image of him on this cover doesn’t represent the interior art at all.

It’s another issue that’s marred by Laguna’s artwork. The incessant swipes continue, with even the Wolverine image from X-Men #1’s cover getting lightboxed. Swiping from the cover of the highest-selling comic ever isn’t the smartest way to hide what you’re doing. I don’t remember Laguna getting any more work from the X-office after this, so maybe they realized that he was doing more tracing than drawing (the Swipe of the Week archive has a few examples from this issue). The story reads like filler while it’s biding time until next issue’s confrontation with Sabretooth, although I do like the idea of Ogun’s spirit returning as an antagonist. The final confrontation seems to hinge on the fact that Wolverine is balancing his human and animal natures, but I don’t see how that’s represented just by having him throw a sword. The mask it cuts splits in two, so the imagery there is obvious, but that doesn’t feel like much of a payoff. The idea that Ogun is attacking Wolverine with a part of himself doesn’t really make a lot of sense, either. The flashback scene with Ogun repeatedly hitting Wolverine until he gives in to his animal rage is nicely done, though. It’s definitely a weak issue, but I can see the potential of Ogun as a recurring threat for Wolverine. It’s surprising he wasn’t brought back sooner.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I reviewed this issue on my own Ghost Rider site, and you were much, *much* more charitable toward it than I, lol.

Seriously, this comic was just plan awful.

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