Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wolverine: Weapon X #4 Review

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Ron Garney

If you hate Wolverine or can't fathom why he's as popular as he is, Wolverine: Weapon X is for you. It captures every single thing that makes Wolverine the best there is at what he does and combines it into a 22 page seat of your pants, action adventure story that just doesn't let you go. Add Ron Garney's pencils to the mix and you've got a detailed, cinematic style that elevates it beyond a simple action story to something to so much more.

As the story goes, a reporter, Alita Gardner, has made discoveries about Blackguard's past. Blackguard is the company that created these new Weapon X 'wannabe Wolverines' and is trying to sell them to the government. Wolverine and Marverick, former Weapon X members, didn't take kindly to this and are trying to put an end to them permanently. With their dirty secrets being uncovered, Blackguard is purging any upper management that could lead things back to the head honchos and Logan and Maverick are hot on their tale.

The issue picks up with both Maverick and Logan following different trails to get to the same spot - the location of the CEO and the new Weapon X super soldiers, who were laying low with all the heat on them until the government signs off on their weapons contract. I really enjoyed Marverick's section here as he interacts with a HAMMER agent. It showed that not all HAMMER personnel are evil people and many are just doing their jobs. I loved the comparison that Norman Osborn wasn't that much different from Tony Stark or Nick Fury or any other directors for behind the scenes dealings and trust worthiness. Most paint these HAMMER soldiers as bad guys with badges. Nice to see the another perspective.

With the location of the big bad found, both heroes meet up and plan to take them down. My only problem here was that the plan was rather, well, dumb. Logan gets on a motorcycle and drives at the armoured limo on the freeway which he then proceeds to dive through the windshield of claws first. It causes the limo to crash, but no one dies. It was an oddly reckless move that he should have known wouldn't yield results. On top of that, it left Maverick unable to get a clear shot at the target, too.

However, dumb planning aside (next time call Cyclops or something), it led to one of the most enjoyable action sequences I've ever seen between Wolverine and the leader of the new Weapon X group of super soldiers. They battle across the freeway, on top of trains, in the middle of the street and eventually grind to a hault when both see a bus full of school kids watching their fight. I'm not sure why, but it felt oddly appropriate that both retract their claws and move to a new location before fighting again. The brief reprieve also gave us some background on the super soldier that added to the final sequence of their fight, which ended with both combatants down, although Wolverine was the victor. The HAMMER troops from earlier come on the scene to clean up the mess.

While many will read this and just think it's a standard fight scene, you must see Ron Garney's layouts and pencils to do the sequence any real justice. It was just breath taking and, much like that jungle fight with two other wannabe Wolverines in previous issues, this felt like I was watching a movie in comic book form with how fluid and dynamic it was. Just top notch stuff.

On the Maverick side of things, he got stuck with chasing down the fleeing CEO, who was guarded by a single super soldier. Mav, thinking he has the upper hand, holds both at range with his guns, but is quickly taken out by the super soldier due to the shocking realization that their claws can actually be fired off like a projectile. While I felt bad for how quickly Maverick was taken out (he's definitely not dead), I thought this was ingenious and, like Maverick, never saw it coming.

Verdict - Must Read. Few comics are just plain fun from start to finish like this one was. It really does capture the essence of what makes Wolverine a great character and I'm not even someone that particularly cares for him in the first place. Garney deserves some kind of award for his work on these last few issues, too. Just stellar stuff.

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