Monday, 19 March 2018

All-New Wolverine, Volume 5: Orphans of X Review (Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal)


Lost a loved one to a Wolverine? Join the Orphans of X! The aim? To hunt down and kill all Wolverines using material gleaned from the magical Muramasa blade, that neutralises the Wolverines’ healing factors. 

So does they do it - nuh buh muh huh guh? Sorry, my brain shut down at the astoopidity of that question! The real question should be: is it at least a somewhat entertaining read before Laura and co. inevitably beat them? Eh, kinda… 

It’s the same problem with each Wolverine book: whoever’s writing it always crams it with action but it’s always tension-free because, no matter how badly injured Wolverine gets, the healing factor has them up and walking about quicksmart. So it goes here. Characters “die” with the frequency that most normal people sleep so death’s impact is totally lost in this series. And I couldn’t get too excited about the Orphans of X as they have this villain of the week vibe to them, because that’s basically what they are! 

Laura’s mom returns from the dead just as the Orphans begin their campaign against her, which, I get wouldn’t be an obvious ploy to Laura as she didn’t really know about them at that point, but it’s obvious to the reader. So, again, if you’ve got ten or so working brain cells (does a quick check - phewf, just about!), it doesn’t exactly make for edge-of-your-seat reading. 

What’s worse is that Tom Taylor seems to be a smarter writer than this. Through Daken and Gabby he makes wry observations about how convenient Laura’s mom turned up just as this new threat emerged, and how Daken’s arm tattoo returned exactly as his arm regrew (“So… do you just keep one tattooist permanently employed or…?”). It feels like a very workmanlike effort. 

But I like the chemistry Taylor’s created between Laura, Daken and Gabby which reminded me of DBZ’s Goku, Vegeta and Gohan and their banter is one of the better aspects of this title. Taylor also seems to be having fun with the healing factor angle, concocting inventively gory plans that you couldn’t get away with with other non-healing characters. And I liked that it didn’t end in a predictable snikt-fest (though there be plenty of that nonsense along the way!), with Laura instead choosing a more cerebral approach. 

Juann Cabal’s art is quite good for the most part - if you’re a Jamie McKelvie fan, you’ll definitely dig this dude’s style - and Terry Dodson and Dan Mora’s covers were great. 

All-New Wolverine, Volume 5: Orphans of X wasn’t so good that it’ll leave much of a lasting impression but it’s an entertaining enough read. Given Wolverine books’ usually low quality? Not bad, pickle. I mean, bub.

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