Friday, 8 November 2013

Wolverine Volume 1: Hunting Season Review (Paul Cornell, Alan Davis)

What is it about Wolverine that makes him such a difficult character to get right? He’s great in ensemble series like Wolverine and the X-Men, the Avengers, and various other team books, but put him on his own and things get very shaky - there are precious few Wolverine books that are actually any good, and Wolverine: Hunting Season is definitely not one of them.

An alien gun is possessing people and forcing them to kill – enter Wolverine as he begins slaughtering them in a vague attempt to figure out this new threat. And why is Uatu the Watcher suddenly appearing?

The Marvel NOW! Wolverine series should be way better than this as he’s such a popular character, and Paul Cornell’s writing it – but for many reasons, it’s a very poor book. The enemy is terrible – an invisible being that inhabits people? Hmm… nope. An alien gun? … nope. No, I’m not interested in any of this so far. But that’s the whole book! Like so many Marvel titles these days, the already-anaemic story gets stretched to 6 issues not for narrative purposes but for financial reasons – this book could’ve been an ok two-parter but 6 issues? It’s so boring!

Cornell seems to think Wolverine isn’t interesting enough on his own and introduces maybe the most boring backup team seen since Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD premiered. Four nondescript middle-aged white people with tablets sitting in a pub are Logan’s tech squad, sending him data and doing other dreary computer stuff that’s not at all interesting to read. They couldn’t have an X-Man like Beast or Doop or any character that’s more interesting than a group of nobodies do this stuff?

I get the feeling Marvel editorial are trying to make Wolverine more palatable to a larger audience because he keeps saying that he wants to control his berserker rage – except that doesn’t last very long. Once he encounters innocent people possessed with this alien wielding the gun, he has no problem gutting them but stops when the alien possesses a kid. Why kill grown-ups so easily but draw the line at kids? Audience reaction – there’s nothing heroic about killing kids (there’s nothing heroic about killing innocent people but it’s more heinous to kill kids) and Marvel would like Wolverine to be seen in a better light, despite that going against his pre-established character (and he’s killed kids before). So that’s an irksome development in this book. 

Mediocre writing and terrible story aside, the one thing that saves the book is Alan Davis’ art who at least makes the Hunting Season arc look great. Joined by frequent collaborator, Mark Farmer, who inks his pencils, the first four issues’ artwork is the best thing about this entire book. Unfortunately the last two issues are drawn by someone called Mirco Pierdeferici whose work is just scratchy and messy in comparison. 

This Wolverine book is terrible! If you’re looking for better Wolverine books, check out Mark Millar’s Enemy of the State or Old Man Logan, or Jason Aaron’s Wolverine: Weapon X.

Wolverine - Volume 1: Hunting Season

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