Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WOLVERINE Annual ‘99 - March 1999

Crying Wolf!
Credits: Marc Andreyko (writer), Walter McDaniel (penciler), Walden Wong & Scott Koblish (inkers), Gina Going (colors), Heisler & Revenge Graphics (letters)

Summary: Wolverine suspects famed author Duncan Vess is a werewolf. When he follows him home after a book signing, he encounters Deadpool, who’s been hired by a mysterious group to kill Vess. Their fight is interrupted by Lycus, a werewolf who’s targeted Vess for exposing werewolf secrets in his novels. Eventually, a council of elder werewolves appears. They reveal that they hired Deadpool to kill Vess, hoping that a human execution would be more inconspicuous. The Council punishes Lycus for acting on his own by turning him into a wolf. They leave when threatened by Wolverine, and Vess declares that he will go into hiding.

Continuity Notes: A footnote establishes that this story takes place prior to X-Men #90. Walter McDaniel, or perhaps the inkers, doesn’t seem to be drawing Wolverine with bone claws, even though he’s months away from regaining the adamantium.

I Love the ‘90s: Deadpool cites Bob Saget as an example of a hack comic. Presumably, Deadpool would know today that Saget is actually a filthy stand-up with a mean sense of humor. Deadpool would probably be a fan.

Review: I can just imagine the Twilight references if this story had been published today. Maybe they would’ve been funny, as opposed to what we have here. Some writers can give Deadpool brilliantly funny quips, while others can’t seem to go further than generic “light-hearted” banter. There is one amusing moment when Wolverine realizes that Deadpool’s too cheap to make his blades out of silver, but that’s really it. And, honestly, I’m not sure why exactly Marc Andreyko thought that a secret werewolf novelist would’ve served as a legitimate springboard for a Wolverine/Deadpool story. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by Walter McDaniel’s pencils. Normally, I can’t stand his art from this era, but this is a better job than anything I saw in Deadpool. Sometimes he still resembles a subpar Jeff Matsuda, but his Ed McGuinness-style Deadpool isn’t bad at all.

Beer Run
Credits: Marc Andreyko (writer), Massimiliano Frezzato (art), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Heisler & Revenge Graphics (letters)

Summary: During a poker game, Wolverine takes Nick Fury’s SHIELD car for a beer run. On the way home, he’s abducted by the Hand and forced to fight a dragon. Wolverine escapes as the Hand are sucked into another dimension. Meanwhile, local hoods have stripped Fury’s car. Wolverine finally returns home to discover his friends are asleep.

Continuity Notes: Wolverine is drawn with metal claws in this story as well.

Review: I’m almost positive this story was originally going to appear in a 1998 black and white Wolverine holiday special that was cancelled at the last minute. The one-shot even made its way into the Bullpen Bulletins’ checklist, and “Beer Run” sounds like one of the stories listed in the summary. I seem to recall many fans at the time wondering (rightly so) how exactly something of this caliber ended up as an annual back-up. The gray-tone art by legendary Italian artist Massimiliano Frezzato is absolutely beautiful, blending the story’s elements of action, humor, and fantasy perfectly. The plot is obviously silly, but I was struck by how much it reminds me of post-2000 “New Marvel.” Wolverine is buddies with Captain America, the Thing, She-Hulk, and Nick Fury. He's wearing a wife-beater and jeans. Villains are used with no real concern for continuity (how often can the Hand summon dragons?). Art by a prestigious foreign artist. It stars Wolverine. That’s New Marvel, right? Did they ever reprint this back-up? Aside from the fact that it isn’t needlessly padded out and doesn’t feature any gore, profanity, or heroes fighting each other, it would fit right in with something published today.


wwk5d said...

"Wolverine is buddies with Captain America, the Thing, She-Hulk, and Captain America."

Small typo ;)

G. Kendall said...

Yeah, that second one should be Nick Fury.

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