Wolverine: Weapon X #1
“The Adamantium Men, Part 1 of 5”
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ron Garney
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy
Cover artists: Ron Garney/Adam Kubert/Olivier Coipel/Alan Davis
Editor: John Barber
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99 US
I didn’t enjoy this comic book at all, but honestly, I can’t blame the writer, the artist, the editor or the publisher. It’s my fault, you see. For some reason, I expected to find something a little different, something a little new. I’d heard good things about Jason Aaron’s Marvel work, and since I’ve enjoyed Ron Garney’s efforts in the past, I figured this newly launched series might something I’d appreciate. But hey, it’s a new Wolverine comic subtitled Weapon X. I’m at a loss to explain why I’d expect anything more than the typical blood, bravado and black ops that have been part and parcel of the title character for the past couple of decades.
People — innocent and otherwise — are being slaughtered in the jungles and villages of Colombia, decimated an elite squad of assassins, some of which seem to have some familiar edged weapons at their disposal. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Logan catches up with an old friend (but not before he comes to the aid of a damsel in distress, of course). Logan learns someone is putting the science and resources of the defunct Weapon X project to use, and he sets out to find out who’s behind it and what they’re doing with the deadly technology and philosophy.
Garney’s loose, sketchy but animated style suits the dark world of solo Wolverine stories quite well. It’s in keeping with the gritty qualities of the plot and the rough-around-the-edges look and attitude of the title character. He also conveys the arid, raw landscape of a South American village as easily as he takes us into the sleek and shiny labs of a government black-ops research facility. Still, there are times when the art looks a little generic. The colors serve the story well, and I like how Jason Keith employs an eerie, sci-fi green to convey the power of the unseen antagonists. The reader doesn’t know what the green glow is about, but s/he wants to find out.
So, for your $3.99 US, you get: 21 pages of story and art, along with a few filler pages and a preview of another Jason Aaron comic. DC Comics has adopted a number of $3.99 titles as well, but invariably, there’s value added along with the increase in cover price. Here, we have Marvel Comics getting its readership to pay for its advertising. “Thanks for paying too much for this comic book. In return, we offer you a plea to buy another one of our comics.” Also included is background information, a la Marvel Universe Handbook style, on the Weapon X project and one of the supporting characters who turns up in this issue. One might welcome this extra information, but Aaron’s script provides enough exposition about both elements on its own and in a much more concise fashion.
Wolverine’s bloody approach to justice works in the dark corners of the Marvel Universe where assassins hide or where super-villains lay waste to landscape and lives. But in an everyday urban environment — such as the train where part of this story takes place — his claws and willingness to kill and maim come off as far too harsh. For a moment, Wolverine stands out as the villain, as the criminal. The Punisher is a wanted man for this kind of behavior, so I wonder why Wolverine gets a free pass. I don’t care for him in that moment, not one bit. Now the new reporter character that’s introduced here is interesting at first, but there’s a stereotypical quality to her as well. Aaron obviously doesn’t get much of a chance to develop her character in this single issue, though, so it’s not as though I could expect to find any great depth at this point.
The creators deliver exactly what was asked of them and have earned their paycheques. All you need to know about this comic book is to be found in its title. It’s a typical Wolverine comic, and it’s connected to his past with the Weapon X program. End of story. If those elements appeals to you, you’ve probably already bought and enjoyed the issue. If they don’t, you probably avoided this comic in the first place. As I should have. It’s not a slight to the people who crafted this comic. I looked to this comic book to find something new, ignoring all the signs that there was nothing new to be found. 4/10