Monday, July 6, 2009

WOLVERINE #145 – December 1999

Wolverine #145

On the Edge of Darkness

Credits: Erik Larsen (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: In the past, Skrull agents invade the X-Men’s ship after the team is knocked unconscious by Magneto’s electromagnetic pulse. They take Wolverine, and leave a Skrull imposter in his place. Wolverine is brought to Apocalypse’s headquarters, where he’s forced to fight Sabretooth. After Wolverine proves himself the strongest, Apocalypse removes Sabretooth’s adamantium skeleton and attaches it to Wolverine, who is brainwashed into becoming Apocalypse’s Horseman Death. Later, he’s sent to kill Apocalypse’s previous agent of War, the Hulk. After a lengthy battle, Wolverine begins to hesitate. The Hulk realizes the fight is over and leaves.

Continuity Notes: Hulk was transformed into War back in Incredible Hulk #456.

Gimmicks: An enhanced $3.99 version of this issue has foil claws on the cover. There's also a version with silver claws, and a reprint with gold claws.

Review: Seventy issues after it was taken away, Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton returns. You would think Marvel would’ve waited until issue #150, but #145 was designated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the character, so it was given the honor. I was a reader of Savage Dragon at the time Erik Larsen’s Wolverine run began and wanted to give him a chance, but I gave up on the run after a few issues. Even while the issues were being released, Larsen was very upfront about editorial rewrites of his script, which often resulted in clunky, exposition-filled dialogue and redundant narrative captions. This issue isn’t as bad as some of the issues I’ve read from his stint, but it does have more than its fair share of dry, repetitive captions.

The story intercuts Wolverine’s battle with Sabretooth in the past with his current fight with the Hulk, which prevents either fight from being too tedious. Lenil Francis Yu keeps the action pretty energetic, and his hyper-realistic style actually works very well on the Hulk. As a straightforward action story, all of this is fine, but it doesn’t feel like a satisfactory conclusion to such a long-running storyline. Hama began dropping clues about how Wolverine’s adamantium might be returned almost as soon as it was taken away, but the event didn’t happen until years after Marvel removed him from the book. It feels as if the event has had no setup at all, and it’s only happening now in order to make the latest Apocalypse storyline seem like a bigger deal. Wolverine losing his adamantium was an event-driven, gimmicky idea, but Hama took the story seriously and used it as an opportunity to do something with Wolverine’s character. This issue might be an entertaining action comic, but its lack of depth just makes it forgettable.

3 comments:

Matt said...

"This issue might be an entertaining action comic, but its lack of depth just makes it forgettable."

Which is probably why I barely remember it!

I really liked the Larsen issues, though. He did such unusual stuff with Wolverine -- the fight against all the Marvel second-stringers (Moon Knight, U.S.Agent, etc.), and the fight against Galactus (!) were a lot of fun!

I think I was so used to editorially-added captions and such, that I eventually stopped noticing them. To be honest, these days I miss them!! Nobody ever uses verbose third-person narration any more! Even Chris Claremont has scaled it back. It's kinda sad...

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

I have always felt bad for Larsen concerning his run - it seemed as if he had a really good idea of how to write Wolverine, putting the character in some fun action-heavy sci-fi oriented adventures that were a great contrast to the rather uninteresting blah guys with guns blah ninjas blah bullshit that had defined the vast majority of the title's run. But he wasn't able to get a single one of his own stories off the ground in a satisfactory manner - if you read his comments about how editorial & the art staff butchered his Galactus six-parter, it really makes you wonder how anyone ever gets anything decent out of Marvel's doors.

PeterCSM said...

My cover to this issue is different. It has Wolverine's full body with half similar to an x-ray. I didn't realize before that there were multiple covers to this issue.

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