Artist: Leandro Fernandez
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 second review from it.
After finding nineteen dead immigrants in a back of a van, Wolverine decides to find who's responsible, taking a trip to El Paso, Texas, as well as Mexico, and is surprised with what he finds. Cassie Lathrop also continues to try and find Wolverine, following him to El Paso.
This was a good story, and a fun read, but wasn't quite as good as Brotherhood, and felt a bit lacking. Greg Rucka is a brilliant writer, having done amazing work in the past, and although his work on Wolverine isn't anywhere near his best, for the better part it was still good, but this story was easily the worst. Although it had much more excitement, and action than Brotherhood, it didn't have as much depth, or drive, and although it had a relatively deep story, with conflicting emotions, the overall pacing felt a little awkward, and uneven. There was however still good points about this story, as it was exciting, and emotional, and although the pacing was a little over the pace, the message that Rucka was portraying in this story was brilliant, showing how life is, and how little certain people thing of others. I've also been really enjoying that Rucka's been making crime stories out of Wolverine, as although I'd still rather have a knock out, slasher story were Wolverine is best at what he is any day, this was still an interesting take, and although we've seen crime style stories come out of Wolverine in the past, not any that's quite as crime driven, or as unique as Rucka's have been.
The art from Leandro Fernandez in this story was brilliant, but not quite as good as the art Darick Robertson produced in Brotherhood. Don't get me wrong, Fernandez' art was brilliant, and really suited Wolverine, but I personally felt that Robertson's grittier style suited it even more. The detail in Fernandez' art was however amazing, as everything was near perfect. I did however find the way Fernandez drew hair, and certain character's a little disappointing, as Wolverine's hair looked unrealistic at times, appearing like one huge piece of hair, and character's like Nestor Garcia looked a bit weird, but overall the way Fernandez drew the character's was alright. I also felt that unlike with Robertson'ss artwork in Brotherhood, that that the colouring from Studio F didn't suit Fernandez' artwork, as although I liked it at certain points, stuff like water coming off Wolverine looked unrealistic. Fernandez did however do a phenomenal job with the action in this story, as although it's still not as good as Robertson's, it's still better than a lot of other artists work on Wolverine in the past, and was still very good. I also loved how Fernandez handled the character's facial emotions, and especially Wolverine's, as you could really see what he was feeling, whether anger, pity, compassion, or conflict, which was really nice. The covers from Fernandez were also fantastic, and although I preferred Esad Ribic's throughout Brotherhood, Fernandez' were still outstanding.
This story would focus on human trafficking, as Wolverine would find nineteen dead immigrants in the back of a van. The fact that Rucka has taken Wolverine, using more controversial stories has been brilliant, as it gives a very gritty, and realistic take on life, whilst also showing the reality of how desperate people want to leave their country. The fact that Rucka didn't hold back, making this very close to the edge was also brilliant, as I've seen stories that use controversial styles, but they try and keep it friendly, which lands up giving an unrealistic story, and I think if you're going to do something controversial you should do it right, and realistic, like Rucka has done with this.
The ATF agent named Cassie Lathrop continued to be infatuated by Wolverine, trying to find him, which included asking Wolverine's friend, Sycamore Blaine, and following a police report to El Paso. The introduction of Cassie in Brotherhood was brilliant, and I'm happy that Rucka continued to use her in his run. What I probably liked most about Cassie in this story is that she doesn't quite know why she's infatuated with Wolverine, besides the fact he saved her. I also think that she's the perfect companion for Wolverine, as whether they'd get into a relationship or not, she's a very strong minded individual, and although she'd probably be a little uneasy with the things he does, she'd probably live with it, seeing it as the greater good, as well as enjoying the thrill.
This story would also see another couple of Wolverine's estranged friends introduced in the form of Nestor Garcia and his employee Ángel. I found Nestor, and Ángel interesting, as Nestor was the perfect person for Wolverine to get information from, and Nestor needed a henchman style worker, and Ángel was perfect for that. Another thing I liked about Nestor, and Ángel was that although they seemed to be not the most innocent of people, they still seemed to e friendly, and kind hearted people. Their morales also seemed to be similar to Wolverine, and the only main characteristic difference they had were their personalities, as they were a lot more fun than Wolverine, who's always brooding.
The person behind the human trafficking was named Rojas. Now I won't go into too much detail about Rojas as a character, as they only appeared near the end of the story, and I wouldn't like to give away spoilers, but I will say that some of the things that were revealed about Rojas was really shocking, and interesting, making for something very unique. Rojas as a character however seemed to be inconsiderate, seeing the deaths of these immigrants as an inconvenience, feeling that the drugs that were being smuggled inside them was worth more than their lives. I found this real interesting, and along with the surprise it gave Wolverine a dilemma, which again added more drama, and suspense.
As I said this story had much more action in it than Brotherhood, as Wolverine took his newly shown detective skills, and combined them with what he does best, killing. Although this was the polar opposite with the action, having plenty of action, and not a steady development, the action was amazing, and really exciting, also adding drama to the story. I also loved how Wolverine was very aggressive, making for more violence, as well as excitement, and although it wasn't quite as violent as the small bit of action in Brotherhood, it was still very entertaining. It was also nice to see small bits of humour in between the fighting, something we don't entirely see from Wolverine, and although some may see this as uncharacteristic, I saw this as something unique, and interesting.
This wasn't a brilliant story, and easily the worst during Rucka's run on Wolverine, but at the same time it was far from being the worst Wolverine story I've ever read. The story itself was full of action, and excitement, but the development, and pacing was all over the place, making for a exciting story that didn't have quite as much depth as it could have. I'd still however recommend this story, as it's worth the read, but would also recommend leaving it till one of the later Wolverine stories you buy, as there's a lot better out there.
The next Wolverine book I'll be reviewing will be Wolverine: Return of the Native.