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Evil Geek Book Report – Wolverine Classic Vol. 1

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It took until 1989 to give one Marvel’s hottest properties his own series. Which in hindsight seems crazy since we know how much he’s been shoved down everybody’s throat since. But the late 80s/early 90s were simpler times. This TPB covers the first five issues of Wolverine’s inaugural ongoing series.

I had recently read Wolverine’s first 1982 mini series (and plot to the new Wolverine movie) by X-Men scribe Chris Claremont and art by Frank Miller. It was excellent. Wolverine in Japan fighting for the woman he loves bound by the code and honor of the Samurai. It’s a touching and humanizing tale. Balancing everything that makes Wolverine an interesting character.

Fast forward 7 years and a lot had changed in the X-Men’s world. After the events of the “Fall Of The Mutants” storyline the X-Men were presumed dead by the world at large and scattered across the globe. Wolverine relocates to Madripoor, an island divided by economic wealth and glamor and its dark, seedy under belly. He adopts the name “Patch” and an identity to go with it. By keeping his claw usage to a minimum he’s able to fit right in with the pirates and the criminals. He chooses to fight injustice in his own Wolverine type way.

People are being killed left and right over the acquisition of a Moramasa sword known as the Black Blade. It’s so powerful that it possess anyone who wields it. Somehow, Jessica Drew (former Spider-Woman, current private investigator) and her friend/partner Lindsay McCabe get mixed up in all this and Jessica becomes possessed. The Japanese mutant and old foe of Wolverine, The Silver Samurai gets involved too. You sure as hell know that ol’ Logan isn’t going to pass up an opportunity to point his spiky hair in the middle of this. Because of his healing factor and physical prowess he’s the only one that can stop Jessica. Guess what? In the process he himself becomes possessed, creating the perfect host for the sword.

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SPOILER ALERT:

He overcomes it at the end by sheer force of his will. It’s really lame and lazy writing.

I’d say skip this collection if you can. Unquestionably not a “classic” as the TPB title indicates. It wasn’t awful or unreadable, it was just kind of blah. It definitely had promise, Wolverine’s Patch persona is kind of like Dirty Harry. He’s tracking down all these murderers and criminals his way, not afraid to kill people at the drop of a hat. The story is mostly told by his narration too, giving it a Film Noir, lone law man on a mission vibe. Mix that with ancient Samurai lore and we’ve got something very interesting brewing. Or so I thought.

Chris Claremont, for what it’s worth added some interesting things to the story but was mostly sub par. Which isn’t a surprise since his glory days of X-Men writing were winding down at this point. John Buscema was the artist for the series. I hadn’t encountered his work before. It was adequate for issue 2 and 3 but the 1st issue is wretched. It looks like he was in a rush or had a severe deadline to make. Everything looks hurried and not defined. Very humble beginnings for one of the most popular characters of all time…

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There’s the 4th and 5th issue of his ongoing series included in the TPB as well. I’ll refrain from discussing those since it’s clear the storyline wraps up a few issues after what’s included here. If you’re curious about Wolverine’s time in Madripoor give this a look. But if you want to see the real beginning of Wolverine’s solo adventures pick up the Claremont & Frank Miller mini series.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on January 2, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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