Sunday, 14 August 2016

Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted Review (Jason Latour, Paco Diaz)

Sabretooth’s taken control of the Hand, the most powerful Japanese ninja clan, and Wolverine’s killed one of its members posing as a politician. Now the authorities, along with the new Silver Samurai, are after Wolverine. Snikt ‘em all, bub-san!

Jason Aaron’s name is on this but he only co-plotted the story with his Southern Bastards artist Jason Latour – Latour wrote the script, which is a shame because he’s nowhere near as talented as Aaron. Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted is yet another weak Wolverine solo book though it’s saved somewhat with its innovative format (if you’re reading this digitally that is). 

This one’s like every other Wolverine in Japan story: Wolverine fights ninjas, puts on a kimono and uses a katana, honour is mentioned, there’s sushi and even a sequence atop a bullet train kinda like the one in the last Wolverine movie. It’s like there’s a checklist for every time Wolverine visits Japan! 

Latour doesn’t give Wolverine a strong narrative voice and the character only seems to exist on the page rather than the reader hearing him in their mind as well. The story is rambling, long-winded and very unfocused. Although Logan’s supposedly on the run he doesn’t do anything to clear his name, nor does he seem that bothered to do so. The new Silver Samurai’s motivations were underwritten and unconvincing and Sabretooth’s plan was pure generic bad-guy stuff. It’s definitely not the strongest of stories. 

And yet. This is an Infinite Comic and I read this digitally on a HD screen which is what the Infinite range was designed for. As a result, Paco Diaz’s polished, slick art is perfect for the format, the layouts are stunning and the transitions are wonderful. I always enjoy reading Marvel’s Infinite Comics as they feel like a delightful hybrid between traditional comics and animation. If you’re going to read this one, definitely try to read it digitally with Comixology’s Guided View.

The only downside is Ale Garza’s fill-in art for a couple of chapters. The switch is quite jarring with scratchy lines suddenly everywhere, before thankfully going back to Diaz’s clean lines. And while there is a lot of action that’s detailed and well-drawn, it’s very unexciting – it’s Wolverine, you know that no matter what he’ll be fine thanks to his healing factor. 

Japan’s Most Wanted is unfortunately another low quality Wolverine story but I’m bumping up the rating on this one for the swish Infinite Comics experience which made this one helluva smooth read!

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