Monday, 24 March 2014

Wolverine Vol. 1: Hunting Season (Marvel NOW!) Review


Wolverine Vol. 1: Hunting Season (Marvel NOW!)

Quick, Logan, catch that runaway logo!
Writer: Paul Cornell

Artists: Alan Davis and Mirco Pierfedrici

Collects: Wolverine #1-6

Background Information:

Seriously, you don’t know who Wolverine is? Well, you should know he’s the comic industry’s equivalent of a shoe with a hole in it. His problems have nothing to do with the quality of the character, rather, years of overuse have worn him out as someone that you’re likely to care about. Every Marvel series since the character’s debut in X-Men have seen him as a cameo. He has two ongoings currently and his flagship title has been renumbered to fit with the All-New Marvel NOW He’s on at least two teams of Avengers, leads a group of X-men and has appeared in every X-book that’s currently in print.

And because there has been so much Wolverine over the past few years, following the character has become difficult to say the least. His origin story for example, goes back many, many years and in its various iterations has seen him take part in every historical battle since the 1700s. I’m writing this to say, in the simplest terms that I can, that as a character, Wolverine’s a bit of a mess.

Review:

The fact that Wolverine’s character is so overused doesn’t change the fact that Wolveirne oozes awesomeness. He’s fun to watch in action and has a commanding presence on the page. Because of this, I really wanted to love Hunting Season. Unfortunately, though all the elements of an interesting story are there, Hunting Season lacks the impact of other Marvel NOW! titles.

No... not 90s weapons... my... one...
weakness!
Here, Wolverine is hunting down a race of microbes that are making people become obsessed with being assimilated by these tiny little borg. The microbes take the minds of all kinds of people- from small children (which actually forms the best part of the book) to members of SHIELD. Wolverine finds himself getting torn between his desire to go all stabby-stabby on bad guys and his desire to protect innocents. It’s a moment of character development that writer Paul Cornell could and should have taken advantage of, but instead, it just gets left hanging. Wolverine doesn’t seem particularly challenged by these competing desires, and as such, the story feels fairly hollow.

There’s some interesting status quo here, though. Wolverine apparently does his solo-work by gathering information from a group of quasi-experts. These aren’t professors or SHIELD agents, though. Wolverine’s informants are oddsmakers, profilers, and even a comic writer. It’s a fun little team and it’s nice to see this very ordinary team become very useful to a superhero. Unfortunately, Cornell again doesn’t utilise them nearly enough. The group gets an introduction and one moment where they actually do something.

The Emperor's New Superhero Costume
But the major problem with Cornell’s book is the structure of the story. Firstly, the best parts of the book occur right at the beginning, so reading the rest of the story feels pretty vanilla by comparison. But an even bigger problem is how intent Cornell seems to be on dragging what should have been a three-issue story arc out into six. Hunting Season is a quick read because there’s too little in it. Characters don’t develop, tension never really mounts and what makes it worse is that Cornell seems to jump ahead without actually giving us any backfill to the story he’s making.

Despite all of this though, it’s hard for me to say that this book is bad. When I was studying, my screenwriting professor told us that it was really hard to write a bad movie. What it was really easy to do was write one that was instantly forgettable. I think, if anything, Hunting Season proves that you can apply that thinking to comics. Hunting Season isn’t bad; it just leaves you feeling like you’ve read nothing. It gets a two and a half out of five stabby-stabbies.

+ Story is great early on

+ Good supporting cast

- Once the “early on” stage is over, story is pretty average

- A lot of missed opportunities.

Alternate Option: Any other Marvel book

Wolverine appears in so many other books, that you’re bound to see him sometime or another.