Comic Book Review: Wolverine: Weapon X #1

Marvel, in its typical money grubbing approach to comics, has decided that Wolverine desperately needs yet another title. Evidently, Marvel feels that poor Logan simply does not get enough exposure at all. Clearly three solo titles in addition to three team titles and an assortment of random mini-series and one-shots are just not enough. I have to give Marvel credit, when they realize that they can cash in on a character or concept then they will absolute saturate the market with that character or concept and run it completely into the ground until readers simply say enough and stop buying it. Like that ever happens.

At any rate, Jason Aaron gave an interview that gave me hope for Wolverine: Weapon X. Aaron stated that he wanted to just focus on what makes Wolverine cool, give us plenty of action and not get bogged down in Wolverine’s continuity. Aaron said that he was hoping to make Wolverine: Weapon X new reader friendly and try to cover new ground rather than going back and re-visiting characters and events from Wolverine’s past. That sounds good to me. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Wolverine: Weapon X #1.

Creative Team
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ron Garney

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin in a small village in the jungle of Colombia. We see a woman with several children. A man appears and kills the woman and the children. We get narration about all of the various deadly animals in the waters and the jungles of Colombia. The voice then says that the most dangerous animal of all walks on two feet and is called “civilized” and will kill you in a moment no matter who the hell you are.

We see a man arriving back in the village and seeing the woman and children slaughtered. The man freaks out and attacks the shadowy figure that killed the women and kids. The shadowy figure beats up the man and then asks “Where are they?”

We cut to an old temple where a bunch of rebels are meeting. These men are guerilla fighters who have been attacking Roxxon’s coal mines with the goal of driving Roxxon out of Colombia. Suddenly, the man from the village comes running into the temple. The man is gagging on something. One of the rebels hits the man’s back. The man then coughs up a small canister that hits the floor. Then some type of gas begins pouring out of the container.

The guerilla fighters then quickly run out of the temple. As the exit their base, they begin to get gunned down by armed soldiers who were waiting for the guerilla fighters. We then see a shadowy figure with glowing green claws similar to Wolverine’s claws kill the last of the guerilla fighters. The green clawed figure then throws an Ace of Spades card (with a skull and crossbones on it and a red “X” drawn on top of it) on top of one of the dead guerilla fighters.

We cut to a subway train in San Francisco. Two thugs pull out guns and tell a woman to give them all of her money. The woman hands the thugs her purse. However, the woman will not give the thugs her Blackberry because it has all of her notes for her article for the newspaper about mercury levels in the sturgeon in the area. The woman is a reporter.

One of the thugs threatens to kill the woman if she does not give him her phone. The other thug then approaches Logan who is passed out and snoring loudly with a newspaper covering his face. The thug tells Logan to wake up and give them his money. The thug pokes Logan with his gun. The thug then comments that he just dropped his gun. The thug pulls back his arm and we see that Logan has sliced off the thug’s hand. The thug passes out.

Logan then tells the other thug to leave the woman alone or Logan is going to shove his claws up the thug’s ass. We see the subway train arriving at the next station. The doors open and the second thug goes running out and screaming and holding his butt where Logan must have stabbed him.

Logan and the reporter exit the subway train. The woman is stunned at what Logan did to the two thugs. The woman recognizes Logan as Wolverine. The woman introduces herself as Melita Garner and that she is a reporter for The Post. Logan could care less and blows the woman off and walks away. The reporter gets an angry and determined look on her face.

We shift to Logan meeting Maverick down at the docks. Maverick asks Logan if he has ever heard of Blackguard. Logan says no. Maverick explains that Blackguard is a private military contractor and that they are a subsidiary of Roxxon. Evidently, Blackguard recently obtained old files from Weapon X. The same blueprints the government kept when they were tinkering on Logan and Maverick. That Blackguard has everything including information on how to synthesize adamantium. Maverick says that Blackguard has already put the files to use.

Maverick says that he is just passing on the information to Logan. Maverick says that since he lost his powers he has retired from wetworks. Maverick asks Logan if Logan has ever thought of hanging up his costume and letting someone else deal with crap like this. Logan answers that he has tried that before and it never seems to take. Logan walks off and Maverick says “Give ’em one for me, old man.”

We zip over to a Blackguard research facility in Washington near the Canadian border. Logan says that he can never seem to escape Weapon X. Logan thinks how people have been trying to make super soldiers ever since Captain America first picked up his shield. Logan thinks that he and Maverick were a part of that legacy. Logan thinks how it seems like every couple of months someone opens a lab to try and make the perfect killing machine. Logan continues that he then usually shows up and reminds them that they already did.

Logan breaks into the Blackguard lab. Logan sees a pit full of dead dogs. Logan flashes back to when he was at Weapon X when he was placed in a pit full of wild dogs to battle. Logan says that the smell of the place takes him back to his days at Weapon X. Logan thinks how just being here makes his bones ache.

Logan then comes across a chamber full of water just like the one Logan was placed in when they fused the adamantium to his skeleton. Logan thinks about how incredibly painful that process was. We then pan back as Logan looks around him and we see that the entire room is full of these adamantium chambers. An entire army of Weapon X soldiers is being created.

Logan wonders “So what the hell am I looking at here? A whole lot of killin’ that needs to be done. That’s what the hell I’m looking at.” End of issue.

Commentary

The Good: Wolverine: Weapon X #1 was a solid debut issue. Aaron serves up a nicely paced read that treats the reader to a fair balance of drama and action. This issue is well plotted. Aaron unfolds the story in a steady and methodical fashion. Aaron wastes no time at all in getting this story arc in place and moving along with a clear direction and purpose in mind.

Most debut issues are slow and give massive amounts of set-up and background information. Aaron avoids this pitfall by realizing that most readers know the most basic elements of Wolverine’s character. Therefore, Aaron gives the reader just enough background information in order to enjoy this story arc, but does not overburden us with Wolverine’s continuity details.

Aaron does not appear to be interested in getting bogged down in Logan’s convoluted continuity as a result of Wolverine: Origins. And it appears that Aaron is going to keep this title relatively free of the X-Men’s byzantine continuity as well.

And that is probably the biggest strength of Wolverine: Weapon X #1. Aaron has made sure to make this title extremely new reader friendly. Aaron delivers an extremely brief rundown of the Weapon X program and how it ties back to the original Super Soldier program that created Captain America. And then Aaron quickly informs the reader how Logan and Maverick were parts of Weapon X. After that, Aaron does not bother the reader anymore with Wolverine’s complex continuity and simply focuses on the story at hand.

Aaron clearly sets out the mission statement for this title. At no point does Aaron try and confuse the reader or hide the ball. Wolverine: Weapon X is going to be a simple and straight forward action adventure tale. Don’t expect to get some deep story with the characters delivering pages of dialogue pontificating on the intricacies of the universe and reality. What you should expect is plenty of kick-ass action.

Wolverine: Weapon X #1 gets kicked off with an exciting opening scene in Columbia. I dig the inclusion of Roxxon into the story. Roxxon is a classic Marvel concept. And Roxxon is a great change of pace from the usual Wolverine bad guys that we normally get. Corporations are public enemy number one in America as the recession gets worse. So, it is understandable that Aaron would go the route of an evil and greedy corporation when selecting the evil force that Wolverine will be going up against in this story arc.

I liked the scene on the subway train. This scene succeeded in pulling off three goals. The first was to provide a little bit of mindless action to entertain the reader. The second was for Aaron effectively establishes Logan’s violent and gruff nature for newer readers. I love that Aaron understands that Logan is the type of character who will without hesitation slice and dice a thug and then nonchalantly walk away as if nothing happened at all.

The third goal of this scene was to introduce Melita Garner to the reader. I would imagine that Melita is going to be a reoccurring character given the determined look on her face after Logan blows her off.

Aaron does a good job writing Logan’s character in this issue. This was a nice standard issue Wolverine.  Aaron writes Logan the way he is supposed to be written.  Aaron does not try and re-invent the wheel or do anything unusual or different with Logan’s character.

Logan has his proper external voice that is gruff, short and to the point. There was no need for any fancy exposition in this issue. To me Logan is a classic Eastwoodian character. And the more Logan is written like Eastwood’s Man with No Name the better.

Aaron ends Wolverine: Weapon X #1 with a good hook ending as we see that Blackguard is creating an entire army of Weapon X soldiers. There is no doubt that Aaron is setting the stage for massive amounts of slicing and dicing for the next issue. Action junkies should be drooling over what Aaron should have in store for us with the next issue.

Ron Garney does a serviceable job with the artwork. Personally, I prefer it when someone else inks Ron Garney’s pencils. The combination of Garney’s pencils with Bill Reinhold’s inks over on Amazing Spider-Man looked better than what we got in this issue. Some of the panels looked a little rough and sloppy. However, Garney’s art is easy to follow and he gets the job done.

The Bad: Wolverine: Weapon X #1 is not for everyone. There are going to be plenty of readers who are suffering from Wolverine fatigue considering that before Wolverine: Weapon X, Logan already had three solo titles and also stars in three team titles. I also question the need for yet another Wolverine comic book. However, what I would suggest is that readers pass on reading Wolverine: Origins and avoid the next story arc in Wolverine by Daniel Way that focuses on “Dark Wolverine” and instead pick up Wolverine: Weapon X to satisfy their Wolverine itch.

I am not sure that Wolverine: Weapon X #1 is going to appeal to readers who demand strong character work, intricate plotlines, well crafted dialogue and a deep story. Wolverine: Weapon X #1 is a fairly thin and basic story. There is not much depth in what Aaron gives us in this debut issue.

Even though, in general, I liked the plotline involving Roxxon and Blackguard I am getting a bit tired of all the various Wolverine knock-off characters that we continually get in the 616 universe. So, I cannot say that I am entirely psyched to see an army full of imitation Wolverines. Each time Marvel creates another Wolverine derivative character it makes Logan that much less cool.

Overall: Wolverine: Weapon X #1 was a solid and very straight forward action adventure story.  There is no subtext and not much depth.  What you see is what you get.  Readers that like a traditional Wolverine doing what he does best without getting bogged down in endless and ridiculous continuity should definitely enjoy this issue.  Wolverine: Weapon X appears to be a title created for readers who like a no-frills action story starring a classic version of Wolverine.

I know that once Millar’s story arc ends on Wolverine that I will drop that title. I already have dropped Wolverine: Origins. So, Aaron’s Wolverine: Weapon X will have to serve as my Wolverine fix. I would certainly recommend Wolverine: Weapon X to action fans. I would also recommend Wolverine: Weapon X to Wolverine fans that dislike Wolverine: Origins.

4 Comments

  1. “Just tell ’em it was the fella with the claws. They’ll know who you mean.”

    Classic!

    BTW, yours is the best comics review site there is. I appreciate the very detailed reviews you do; I wish you could do more of them, but I realize there’s no way you could have a normal life if you did.

  2. honestly, i think that we may be in for a suprise over the coming months as far as depth of story goes on this title. Yes, Aaron knows the golden rule on how to write wolverine: keep it simple. However, I remember reading that Aaron wanted to be like warren ellis on Punisher. Just give very high quality self contained stories. I think that we may be selling Aaron a little short when it comes to the depth of story department.

  3. Great art and a very decent writer.

    But there’s one big flaw to this book: namely, that the cliffhanger that’s meant to make you want to buy the second issue is… the tease given to us in interviews/previews/ad lines to make us want to buy the first issue.

    Do they really think I feel like buying a whole issue just to learn what they promised me if I’d buy the series?

  4. It’s Colombia.

    Columbia is a university in New York City.

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