Monday, September 22, 2014

Wolverine: Killable TPB

I must admit to being a bit disappointed in this storyline. I generally like Paul Cornell’s stories. I adore Alan Davis’ artwork. But this Killable arc never really rises much higher than “OK.” I’m not sure if that is because of the dialogue, the boring villains, or the fact that the story seems better in idea than execution.

Wolverine without his healing factor is "Killable," and everyoen knows it. Friends and enemies are lining up to get a moment with Wolverine while he's down and out. Unfortunately, the villains behind Wolvie's weakened state never seem worthy of the "important" story arc we're getting. The side moments with existing Marvel characters are more compelling than the core plot. 

As the story rolls on, Wolverine teams up with Storm, Shadowcat, and Black Panther. That’s a pretty stellar group of guest-stars. Even better, Cornell does a wonderful job with Black Panther in particular. T’Challa is smart, reasonable, and totally a hero throughout a pretty rough situation in Wakanda.

SHIELD plays a pretty big part too, mainly through the eyes of Maria Hill, but I wasn’t totally invested in those sequences. I really like Director Hill, but I need some new Howling Commandos to root for too. It was great to see Dum Dum Duggan, Jimmy Woo, Jasper Sitwell, and Gabe Jones back in the day. If those guys aren’t options now, we need more named agents. The new Nick Fury is fine too; I like the idea of a super-agent Fury as the lead field op rather than the boss. But still… I need some more people to care about.

The main villains in the arc, well, the story-motivating villain, is the sentient mind-control sickness from the opening arc. They aren’t tremendously interesting to me. The lack of a clear visual for the infected along with the lack of any sort of “leader” makes it hard to get angry at them with focus. I was more annoyed that this faceless villain is going to get the credit for taking Wolverine down.

Sabretooth, Mystique, Silver Samurai, and Batroc(!) fare better. They are nice, visual threats that Wolverine and his friends can throw down with. I’m less clear on the powers of The Host, the illness controlling villainess who eventually takes out the sentient illness. I guess the non-visual, non-simple powers are confusing me once again. Just like mind powers, I just can’t wrap my head around the powers of someone who talks to illnesses.

Alan Davis’ artwork is wonderful, as always. His costumed heroes and villains look awesome (look at that Black Panther above!) The sets are usually nicely set up for action sequences, and I love the way his bystanders and innocents always have varieties of body types and facial features. Davis’ worlds are populated with “real” looking folks, it is a nice change. Plus, no one does big action better.

Unfortunately, the spectacular art can’t make up for the lackluster story. This is only an AVERAGE for me. 

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