Monday, November 21, 2011

WOLVERINE #137 - April 1999

Countdown to Destruction
Credits: Erik Larsen (writer), Jeff Matsuda (penciler), Jonathan Sibal (inker), Mark Bernardo (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Wolverine rescues Aria, who takes him to Prison World’s main power core. They shut off the power, freeing the inmates. Before they can escape, however, they’re ambushed by the Starjammers, who have agreed to join the Collector’s cause. Corsair explains that Prison World was designed to be invisible to the outside world, but is now exposed without power. Wolverine questions what kind of threat the Collector needs to protect the aliens from, just as Galactus arrives on the horizon.

Creative Differences: The third-person narration on the opening page is mistakenly lettered in Wolverine’s distinctive font. (According to Erik Larsen, almost all of the captions were added by editorial anyway.) Other lettering mistakes include a hand-written correction mixed in with the computer-generated font, and numerous dropped words.

Review: I had given up on the Prison World arc by this point, but if I had made it to this chapter, I probably would’ve stuck around for the final issue. I realize that Galactus too often shows up in outer space stories, and many X-fans hated his appearance in this arc, but his role in this story does work as a legitimate twist. Wolverine’s spent the past several issues fighting to free these aliens, only to discover the Collector is trying to spare them from Galactus. Ooops. Now, the Collector could’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble by simply telling his subjects why he’s gathered them, but I’m under the impression that he’s supposed to be too arrogant and enigmatic to even consider the possibility. I still think the art’s too rushed and inappropriate for the subject matter, but I’ll give Larsen credit for picking up the pace and actually using the setting to his advantage this issue.


kerry said...

The Marvel books of this era were LITTERED with typos, which I attributed to an overextended Comicraft, which seemed to do every Marvel book on the stands. Misspellings, word omissions, balloon omissions, misattributed balloons and captions, font gaffes like you mention here--nothing was safe from sloppy lettering. It makes me appreciate guys like Todd Klein even more, and to this day I won't pick up Elephantmen because I look at it and all I see is some nice art overpowered by busy fonts and effects.

Matt said...

I don't really remember all the Comicraft typos, etc. -- though I surely must have noticed them at the time. Even so, I really liked that period when Comicraft lettered practically every Marvel title. Their "basic" font is one of my favorite comic book lettering styles, and I loved their sound effects and cover blurbs, too.

Giving individual characters like Wolverine and the Thing their own fonts was a bit much and I could've lived without it, though I did like when characters' first person narration boxes had some sort of special identifier -- Captain America's shield in a box he was narrating, for example. And I loved that they replaced footnote asterisks with a little icon appropriate to the title (X's for the X-Men, little spiders for Spider-Man, and so on).

There are those who say that if a letterer is doing their job correctly, you shouldn't really notice their work. I noticed Comicraft every month, but I really liked what I was noticing! A comic lettered by Comicraft just looked more exciting to me than one lettered by hand, or by any of today's very "plain vanilla" computer letterers.

I will always be a big fan of some hand letterers though, such as Klein, Rick Parker, and Tom Orzechowski. And Joe Rosen always had the most distinctive credit boxes!

Lebeau2501 said...

Is this around the time of the issue with the infamous racial slur?

G. Kendall said...

It's a few months later:

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