Monday, March 2, 2009

WOLVERINE #112 – April 1997

The Light at the End of the Day
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Anthony Winn (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas & Graphic Color Works (colors)

Summary: Wolverine passes through Manhattan’s East Village and stops two thugs from accosting a man in a wheelchair and his girlfriend. The woman, Kirstin, offers Wolverine a place to stay in the building she works in as a super. A juggling mime who watched the confrontation is lured into a basement by a mystery figure. That night, Wolverine tries to sleep, but can’t stop thinking about the events of the past few months. The next day, Kirstin guides him to a construction site, overseen by Helen Bach. Wolverine offers to work for free, hoping to spend time doing honest work. Later, while walking home with Helen, Wolverine spots the two thugs he stopped earlier defacing his motorcycle. Wolverine’s surprised when Helen attacks the men. After fighting them off, Wolverine pushes his motorcycle into his apartment. He’s greeted by the mime he saw earlier, who is now juggling butcher knives.

I Love the ‘90s: The letters page finally gives an actual email address where letters can be sent.

Review: This is another issue that sets up the new status quo of the series. It largely serves as a character piece, but it also manages to introduce a decent amount of plot and offer a few hints about the new supporting cast members. Nothing really came of the new supporting cast, but I like what little we see of them. Clive, the man in the wheelchair, and Helen both chastise Wolverine about using violence, which helps to reestablish the idea that Wolverine himself isn’t entirely comfortable with his violent nature. Helen’s willingness to become violent herself when provoked adds some mystery to the character, one that actually was resolved a few issues later.

Hama tries to build the new direction from the previous issues, as Wolverine claims that living in the city is his response to hunting deer on Xavier’s grounds, essentially having him test himself by going from one extreme to another. It’s a quickie way to resolve the “feral Wolverine” arc from the post-AoA issues, but that story had already played itself out by this point, and using it to justify a new direction is preferable to just forgetting it or dragging it out any longer. The Onslaught storyline is referenced again, but Hama gets decent material out of it. The building Wolverine is helping to rebuild was damaged by Onslaught, and another scene reveals that Wolverine’s guilt over his role in indirectly creating Onslaught keeps him awake at night. Hama finds a clever application of Wolverine’s powers, as he works out relentlessly, hoping to force himself to sleep after tiring himself out. However, his healing factor prevents him from staying exhausted long enough to sleep. It’s a smart idea, and it’s another example of Hama “getting” Wolverine in a way few writers do.


HardtravelingHero said...

I'm wondering what it would be like to have Hama back on Wolverine. After Rucka, Millar, Guggenheim, Loeb...

Or would it be like Claremont coming back to X-Men again and again and just not "getting it" anymore, though most of the writers of the past...almost decade rarely seem to "get" the characters.

I haven't care for the direction most of the X-Men titles have gone in over the past decade. A few exceptions, but that's all.

I miss my early to middle 90s.

Matt said...

Hama still "gets" G.I. Joe, so I bet he could pull off a return to Wolverine too.

wwk5d said...

Is it just me, or was Adam Kubert providing covers long after he stopped penciling the title? It's kind of interesting that he still was at this point. I wish he stayed longer, he and Hama did some good stuff with the character.

PeterCSM said...

I'm always seeing this issue in the 50 cent bins presumably because it has a mime on the cover. I frequently see a Batman comic in those very same bins that also has a mime on it (except that one's female and prefers strangulation to stabbing apparently). Shouldn't the mime's knife be invisible?

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