Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wolverine Origins: Comic Book Series

“Wolverine: Origins” is quite a needed project headed by writer Daniel Way, who is responsible for the first 18 issues of “Venom” and the second volume of Deadpool as well as several issues tracking Wolverine. Considering how many alternative Earths Marvel has, which results in some misconceptions about the nature of some of the most iconic characters, readers needed a comic book series that would answer most mysteries about the shadiest super hero of them all, Wolverine.

Issue #1 was published back in 2006 and right now the series spans over 37 issues and has been answering two major questions: Who the fuck is this Wolverine and where did he come from? As well as being a series devoted to hardcore fans, who want to scavenge for even the smallest details about Logan, it also pieces together an excellent timeline for the average comic book reader to use as a reference and for pure enjoyment alike.
Skipping the plot arcs and areas of Logan’s past, which can be found in Wikipedia fairly easily, I shall focus mainly on mechanics, story telling and effect on the reader, judging by my own experience. I have come across on opinions on forums, which mark this particular series as untrue to the character, hinting that perhaps they are too uneventful. I would like to point out however that 1) this is a sort of documentary in motion that covers several decades and involve many players and 2) most of the recollections involve violence.

The beauty behind this series can be described with one word: balance. And I think I would fall in repetition to point out how well Mister Way captured the measures, of how much story and solid writing should go with action, how these elements would fit issue for issue and progress thereafter. Flashbacks are common and serve mostly as a tool to show the reader the blocked memories that resurfaced and help Logan on his way to deal with the loose ends in his life and memory. However the loose ends that can spare more information on why Wolverine was a subject to experimentation and mind defragmentation bring more trouble than closure. One of the strongest points in terms of writing is creating a very believable and intelligent narrator out of Wolverine as well as keeping his edge. Dialogue has been top notch so far, considering how easy it is for writers to make characters bicker and speak in one-liners and punch line jokes. This quality from Daniel Way engrosses the reader in the world of Marvel and made me at least spend a sleepless night plowing through all issues in one breath.

One answered question leads Logan on yet another dizzying chase with his life on the line. Dark characters emerge from his past and deliver a grizzly and violent performance in the series such as Logan’s own son, Daken. X-Men and even the Hellfire Club make a several issue worth of appearances with risks for the whole world involved as usual. Rated A+, “Wolverine: Origins” makes an extensive use of the color red and fans of gore and violence will find enough professionally drawn fights to the death in great details, such as Wolverine versus Daken, versus Deadpool and even Captain America.

Finally I would like to discuss the art crew, working on Origins from issue one up till now. First we have pencils by Steve Dillon, the artist behind the gruesome “Preacher” and “Hellblazer”. For me he does a formidable job to create a very sober and stark world, which suits the overall tone of the series, even though I think his style didn’t allow him to depict Logan’s features. If I didn’t knew I was reading about Wolverine, I would have never recognized his face. Nevertheless it is something to get used to and doesn’t detract much from the experience. Next in line though even for a short time was Mike Deodato Jr., who I find most enjoyable for his character anatomy, dynamic compositions and his attention to detail and shading. He created a genuinely gritty atmosphere that somewhat bordered a little on the noir side, if you would pay attention to the covers he has produced. Doug Braithwaite is the current inker right now and though I can’t exactly define what he does and what captures my eye in particular, I can cement the opinion that he is well suited to be on the art team for a long time to come. Since it would take me a lot of time to list everybody from colorist to letter artists and even individual cover artists, I am settling for the more general commentary that each and every member to be included in this project hasn’t let me down as a reader and an admirer of modern visual arts.

It’s a safe bet that “Wolverine: Origins” for me was an exceptional read.

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