Book of Doom: Wolverine #50

wolverine50I think I like that cover. It’s fairly neat. For those of you paying attention, it’s time, once again, for the entire Legion to get together for a round-table discussion of an issue that came out this past Wednesday. This week’s pick is Wolverine #50, and, from what I’ve seen, it appears that we’re all in agreement over what we thought. It’s been known to happen from time to time.

To start with, I’ll let you know what my thoughts are. I don’t read Wolverine regularly, or ever, really, and I don’t think that I’ll start anytime soon. In order to tell a compelling story, a writer needs a couple of things. First, they need a bit of space in order to do so, and, secondly, they need a reason to do it. Unfortunately, since the primary story of this issue only gets half the space as a regular issue, and since the primary story is cut up and interrupted by flashbacks and metaphorical nonsense, there’s just not enough space to provide the proper gravitas to the situation that’s taking place. Secondly, there’s really no reason for the story to happen at this point. Wolverine and Sabretooth have hated each other for a long time, so why, all of a sudden, does Wolvie decide that now’s the time that he should go for the killing stroke? And why be sporting about it? Why not just slash Sabretooth’s throat when he’s sitting down at the beginning? I’ll probably pick up the next issue, just to see what happens next, but I don’t really care, as this can’t possibly be the last fight between the two. That’s crazy talk.

Well, what’s everybody else think?

First, I’ll defer to Jim Doom:
I like Wolverine a lot, and it was the awesome Wolverine / Sabretooth battle from the Mutant Massacre era that helped lure me in to comics.

I also like Jeph Loeb a lot. I’ve loved his books with Tim Sale, I thought Hush was pretty cool, and I really enjoyed Superman / Batman.

So I felt a bit exploited, because reading Wolverine #50, it seemed to scream out “You’ll buy this and you’ll like it because it’s a whole lot of Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting, and who doesn’t love that?”

Well, I don’t love it when it seemed to just come out of the blue. Wolverine’s going to just show up and kill Sabretooth? Sabretooth has had the protection of the X-Men off and on for years now; what changed? Is it just because Wolverine has his memories back?

And speaking of that, wasn’t it revealed long ago that Wolverine’s memory of Sabretooth killing Silver Fox was one of the Weapon X memory implants? Because, she was alive and everything, and that contributed to that discovery of the false memories?

Wolverine #50 was a big huge letdown for me, but it does have the potential to redeem itself. If there’s some explanation regarding the potential contradiction in memories, I’ll enjoy that. If there’s some purpose to this story beyond fight-fight-fight, I’ll be pleased with that. This is a book that I buy anyway, so I’ll stick with it. I’m just not sure I’ll be pleased with that decision.

And what was with the backup story, reliving the first fight with Hulk, but dropping in that “memory” from Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine? Was that trying to suggest Wolverine’s memory restoration was more than just a restoration, and he can unconsciously peek into another reality, a la Power Girl, Donna Troy and Psycho Pirate, thus suggesting the Ultimate Universe and the mainstream universe can cross over? Or was it just being cute? I don’t really hope for either.

Good points, all around. Next! Take it away, Jean-Claude Van Doom:
During this week’s Worst to First, I put Wolverine #50 right in the middle of the pack. Everything above it was great. Everything below it sucked. Let me now make perfectly clear that this book belonged with the dregs of the pack. It was a perfect example of what’s wrong with Marvel, how there’s no serious planning involving their characters, no real development.

Where is Wolverine right now? Well, involved deeply with Civil War, and in outer space, and tracking down lost memories. So, why not suddenly have him decide to kill Sabretooth, even though old Creed is A MEMBER OF THE X-MEN. And the only justification given is that Sabes has done bad in the past. So, why not?

With such a thin plot, it’s obvious that the real only reason Wolverine is going to fight Sabretooth is because it’s the obvious storyline for a big issue (#50) and a way to sell a lot of books. The contents of this story don’t matter. It’s just a marketing blip, soon enough to be forgotten.

And the art makes me really question whether Simone Bianchi is any kind of rising star. It’s fine in places, but the big battle splash page is a horrifying example of an artist defying all physiological knowledge to make something “cool.” But, it isn’t even cool.

Also, the backup story was pointlessly dumb and scatter-brained. Even if it had been worth a damn (which it wasn’t) the terrible combination of the artistic style with the faux dot coloring would’ve ruined it.

Yeah, that faux dot coloring sucked. Lastly, here’s Fin Fang Doom:
Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. It’s been done dozens of times before and it will be done dozens of times in the future. It makes sense that this fight would happen now because Wolverine and Sabretooth are both on X-Men teams right now, albeit different ones. But nothing happens in this fight to differentiate it from all those other fights the two have had over the years. The writing is not amazing, the art isn’t spectacular.

The most interesting part of the whole issue came in the back up story, when Wolverine remembers being ripped in half by the Hulk. Or, rather, he remembers Ultimate Wolverine being ripped in half by Ultimate Hulk. WTF?! If I decide to buy another issue of his Wolverine run, I hope Loeb follows up on that idea.

P.S. Black and white does nothing to enhance the artwork of Simone Bianchi or Ed McGuiness, unlike it did for Ariel Olivettie on Punisher War Journal or whoever did that Wolverine issue two years ago. I kind of wish I would have gotten the color version.