NOTE: This review is just for the Wolverine issues (#33-35).
Writer: Daniel Way
Artists: Javier Saltares & Mark Texeira
I've been trying to get through as many of my graphic novels, and comics series as I can, reviewing them along the way, whilst also reading the Marvel events that fall in between. I also plan on reading the series at the same time, reading each story that falls in line (e.g. a Spider-Man story followed by an Avengers, followed by something else, then back to Spider-Man). I've finally come to start re-reading my Wolverine collection, with this being my fifth review from it.
In a world where humans are the oppressed minority, and mutants rule Wolverine work's for S.H.I.E.L.D. who's commanded by Director Sebastian Shaw. After Wolverine disappeared after a mission Director Shaw questions Wolverine's partner, Mystique about the events, and what caused Wolverine to go AWOL.
This was both a good, and poor story, and to be honest I wasn't sure if overall it was good or bad. Daniel Way did a decent job of the writing, and in many ways it was good, but like usual with Way there's always something about his work that lets it down. That's the thing that disappoints me with Way's writing, as he did good stories whilst working on Wolverine: Origins, Daken: Dark Wolverine, and Deadpool, but they were all surrounded by poor stories as well, and stories that had promise, but overall didn't quite work, like this story. Now don't get me wrong, as I said this wasn't a terrible story, as the way it ties in with House of M, and the whole mutants ruling the world interested me, especially with Shaw ruining S.H.I.E.L.D. and Wolverine working for Shaw, but the problem was that there wasn't enough Wolverine throughout. Another thing I liked was how the story was told through Shaw questioning Mystique, as this was quite interesting, and unique, but again the lack of Wolverine spoiled this, and overall it didn't really matter how good this story was, the fact that Wolverine didn't appear as much as he could have just spoiled it completely.
The art in this story was amazing, and although it's not startling, or phenomenal, it was still brilliant, and perfect for a Wolverine story, and Javier Saltares, and Mark Texeira did a good job, with Saltares doing the layout/breakdowns, and Texeira doing the finishing art. Now I've never fully understood who's done the main bit of art when it comes to this, abut I believe that the layout/breakdown artist draws the rough image, and the finishing artist does all the detailed art. Either way it was brilliant artwork, and although as I said it isn't anywhere near the quality of the very best artists, it's still far above the worse artists. What I really liked was that the art was very gritty, which really suits Wolverine, but at the same time it was also looks very smooth, and realistic, which is nice. The layout of the art was brilliant, and if I'm correct in thinking how the art is distributed Saltares' has done an excellent job, and it really adds drama, and depth to the story, which really needs it. I also loved how all the characters were drawn, and especially Mystique, and Wolverine himself, as the looked perfect. I also loved these new S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms, and whoever designed them did a fantastic job, as they look very unique, and different from the normal S.H.I.E.L.D. attire, whilst also looking very sleek, smart, and dynamic.
It's bee a while since I actually read House of M, and I've only read it once at that, so I can't remember everything that happened in the main story besides the basics, but from that I can say that how these changes have affected Wolverine is interesting. Now this story could have also really been done in a side, mini-series, and would probably work better like that, but I liked how it came into the main series, as it makes everything feel like it's in unison, and continuity. Besides that the changes themselves were brilliant, and very interesting, and to be honest I'm surprised that they didn't do this before, the whole House M thing that is, as mutants ruling the world, with humans being the oppressed is just brilliant.
With Wolverine working for S.H.I.E.L.D., which is now run by mutants (naturally), he's partnered up with Mystique, also appearing to have a romantic relationship with her. Now the history between Wolverine, and Mystique is very long, and complicated, with them being friends in the past, as well as enemies, so it was natural for a world ruled by mutants to have them together, as to be fair the changes a mutant ruled world would cause to their lifestyles would also change their personalities to a certain extent. Besides that their relationship was very interesting, and the chemistry between the two was magical, and Way really did a good job of this, even if the story itself was slightly disappointing.
As I said S.H.I.E.L.D. is now in the hands of mutants, and on top of that it's run by Sebastian Shaw. Like Mystique, and Wolverine working together, Shaw is the perfect mutant to run S.H.I.E.L.D., as although he's evil like all X-Men villains, he's probably the most professional out of them, and with him also having lead the Hellfire Club in the past, he's the perfect leader candidate. The way he lead his mutant agents was also very interesting, and overall this felt exactly like it should have been, a slightly different S.H.I.E.L.D., and yet again Way did a good job with this, which made the fact that the story didn't live up to potential even more disappointing.
With the mutants running the world, and S.H.I.E.L.D. there needs to be some form of human involvement in this story, and that's were former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury steps in. Fury appears to have been the one that caused the attack in Mexico, which caused Wolverine to go AWOL, but Shaw was sceptical about this. I won't go into any more detail about Fury's involvement as to avoid spoilers, but I will say how I felt about it. The fact Fury was involved really gave more depth to this story, and the flashbacks of his time training the Red Guard's was really entertaining, and interesting, giving more drama, and variety to the story. The way Fury's involvement would shape this story was also very interesting, and this along with the other good points is what made this story a good read, even though it didn't live to it's potential.
Overall this wasn't a terrible story, and it did have it's moments, it's just that it had so much more potential, and although the story was unique, and interesting, the fact that Wolverine didn't feature as frequently as often was a let down. It did however also have the odd bit of action, as well as suspense, and drama, but unfortunately that was overshadowed by the negatives. I would probably recommend this, especially if you get it at a decent price, as it's worth the read, especially if you have House of M (although it's not essential), as it was worth the read, but at the same time if you're new to Wolverine I'd recommend trying some of the better, or more well known stories first.
The next Wolverine book I'll be reviewing will be Wolverine: Origins & Endings.