Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WOLVERINE: EVILUTION - September 1994



Credits
: Ann Nocenti (writer), Mark Texeira (layouts), John Royle (penciler), Philip Moy & Andrew Pepoy (inkers), Dave Sharpe (letters), Monica Bennett (colors)

Summary: A vision sends Wolverine to Prescott, a nearby town with a controversial nuclear plant. He meets Red Waterfall, an Indian who refuses to sell land near the plant; land the plant needs to comply with federal regulations. Meanwhile, a teen named Jimmy starts a group called the Devos, youths determined to fight the technological age. Their rituals attract an ancient spirit, one that calls for a female sacrifice. Boom Boom is kidnapped and brought to the plant to be sacrificed. A young follower brings Jimmy the Spear of Destiny, recently stolen from Germany, which he plans to use on Boom Boom. Wolverine and Red Waterfall rescue her and confiscate the Spear. When the ancient spirit emerges, Wolverine uses the Spear to drive it away. The town returns to normal, and the plant is soon closed.

Continuity Notes:
  • This story is set before Wolverine lost his adamantium skeleton in X-Men #25.
  • The idea that Boom Boom regularly visits a small town north of Salem Center creates a few continuity problems. As a member of X-Force, she wasn’t living in Salem Center until X-Force moved in with the X-Men, which was after Wolverine lost his adamantium. It’s possible the story is set during the early days of X-Force, when the team lived in the Adirondack Mountains; however, X-Force were known fugitives at the time, which is hard to reconcile with Boom Boom casually walking through town and hanging out with teenagers.

Production Notes: This is a forty-eight page prestige format one-shot. The price is $5.95.

Creative Differences: Numerous lettering corrections in this one. Some are obviously done to add exposition, but others have no apparent significance.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority: Even though the prestige format books weren’t submitted for Code approval, Marvel’s reluctance to show blood probably explains why the chickens sacrificed by the Devos leave green blood behind.

I Love the '90s: Red Waterfall predicted trouble “in the 1990s, the anniversary years.” Also, the owner of the nuclear plant says the jobs it creates will help during the recession, although the early ‘90s recession was long over by 1994.

Review: An Ann Nocenti/ Mark Texeira Wolverine story? This has been on my “Must Track Down Someday” list for years, so of course I picked up a copy when I saw one in the discount bins. Unfortunately, Texeira only provided layouts, leaving the pencils to John Royle, an artist that would’ve been considered a midlevel talent at Wildstorm in 1993. And the story…well, I have no idea what happened here. It’s not hard to guess that this sat around in a drawer for years before publication, but sometimes the narrative is so choppy I wonder if it began life as a Marvel Comics Presents serial and was later cut down to forty-eight pages. For clarity’s sake, I’ll try to run down the rough spots in ye ol’ bullet points format:

· First of all, I’m half-convinced that Boom Boom was originally intended to be Jubilee. She’s repeatedly referred to as a “girl who wishes she were a boy,” which doesn’t fit Boom Boom, but does match Jubilee’s original appearances (remember when she was a tomboy?). Her powers are also described as firecrackers, which is the standard definition of Jubilee’s powers.

· Even if the female lead was always supposed to be Boom Boom, just using that version of her name dates the story. She’s been “Boomer” since the early days of X-Force. This couldn’t be fixed?

· The leader of the Devos, Jimmy, is revealed as the son of the nuclear plant owner about halfway through the story. There’s an obvious conflict between the two, but it doesn’t amount to much of anything. The only real confrontation between them is so rushed you have to wonder why it was even included; the story (as published) could work just as well without Jimmy’s father at all.

· By the way, aren’t nuclear plants public utilities? Could a lone individual even own one?

· The scenes of a ten-year-old boy casually stealing the Spear of Destiny from a museum are just mind-boggling.

· The theme of the story involves technology outlasting the men who create it, which has Nocenti connecting Wolverine’s metal skeleton with the ecological consequences of nuclear power. Just when you think she’s going for a blanket rejection of technology, though, she has Red Waterfall give Wolverine a speech about the futility of fighting destiny, and even has him speculate that it was inevitable that the white men would defeat the natives. Therefore, white men now control technology, even if it will poison the earth. It’s all a part of a great test, and perhaps nothing should be done about it. That’s certainly a strange turn for the story take; even stranger is the conclusion, which has the nuclear plant inexplicably shut down, and Red Waterfall happily planting herbs in his garden. So what was the point of his speech? Was there a dramatic reversal that got left on the cutting room floor? Like the rest of the story, I’m left wondering what on earth happened to this book.

4 comments:

wwk5d said...

Given the names attached to this...sad that it turned out so disappointing. Now I'll know it's not worth tracking down.

Who did the cover? It looks very much a Jim Lee clone.

G. Kendall said...

Royle did the cover, and it's a pretty fair representation of the interiors. And since I paid less than a dollar for the book,I guess it was worth the price just to see how odd the final product is.

Anonymous said...

This is legitimately the worst comic I have ever read. I Like your review though.

Ethan Dezotelle said...

"By the way, aren’t nuclear plants public utilities? Could a lone individual even own one?"

Hello? Mr. Burns?

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