Friday, November 25, 2011

WOLVERINE #138 - May 1999

Credits: Erik Larsen (writer), Jeff Matsuda, Steve Scott, & Yancey Labat (pencilers), Jonathan Sibal, Scott Elmer, & Scott Koblish (inkers), Mark Bernardo (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Wolverine helps dozens of the aliens escape before joining forces with Torgo and Aria to stop Galactus. Their plan fails when Aria is unable to possess Galactus and Wolverine’s bone claws aren't sharp enough to destroy his cosmic converter. The Starjammers rescue Wolverine and Aria, but cannot save Torgo. Wolverine watches in horror as Galactus consumes Prison World. He’s also informed that Aria did not survive her injuries. Upon returning to Earth, Wolverine meets with Warbird again and apologizes for hurting her while possessed by Aria.

Review: And now we’ve reached the rushed, chaotic conclusion. I can see what Larsen’s going for here, and on paper it sounds like a decent ending. Wolverine is forced to learn that he isn’t truly “the best there is” after facing a resounding defeat, and is now given a motivation to regain his adamantium. To throw in a few more angst pains, he loses the new alien friends he’s made and is unable to rescue the family of the kid asparagus alien (who’s already lost the rest of his race to Wolverine’s teammate…or however you choose to define Dark Phoenix). Larsen also hammers home the idea that Wolverine refuses to ever quit in a fight, even against Galactus, a side of the character that’s usually glossed over in favor of tired machismo.

That’s all fine, but the execution reads like a long, exasperating sequence of Wolverine running around in circles as aliens get blown up around him. The story’s almost over before we even get to see Wolverine make his move against Galactus. Making matters worse is the trio of pencilers, accompanied by a trio of inkers, that have somehow ended up in the same comic. Jeff Matsuda is Jeff Matsuda (and he’s still looking rushed), Steve Scott’s work is reminiscent of Cully Hamner’s, and Yancey Labat’s pencils resemble early Stuart Immomen. Who could’ve possibly thought this was going to look right? Am I to believe that Marvel didn’t have a dozen manga-style artists on speed dial in the late ‘90s? It’s hard to believe that a title like Wolverine could be such a shoddy production, especially during the debut of a new creative team.


Lebeau2501 said...

Well, Marvel is going to put talent on smaller titles to up sales on them, and let the composition of the titles that will sell no matter what slide. It's sort of along the lines of an X-Men fan like me refusing to miss an issue of Uncanny no matter how many times I have to look at Greg Land's art. Also, look at how many issues of the new Incredible Hulk sold and that comic had, like, 6 artists.

kerry said...

I remember really digging Matsuda's art at the time, even though I thought it was a weird fit for Wolverine (I had a similar thought about Humberto Ramos years later). I'll have to dig these up and re-read and see what I think about it now that I'm, you know, a grown-up.

Matt said...

So three issues ago, the cover called him "Wolvy", and now this issue says "Wolvie". Classic late 90's Marvel (but not in the good way which I defend so often)!

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