Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Juan Cabal
Colors by: Antonio Fabela
Over the past year, whenever I make that initial realization that a book is a weekly, I’ve become extremely infuriated. For one, that just makes the hobby of reading comics that much more expensive. Two, it clogs up space on my pull-list and takes up a slot where I might have read something else that week. Three, typically the book quality has been marginal. When I added Wolverines to my regular ongoing pull-list, I didn’t realize that it was a weekly. Now I do. And, yeah, I have the same concerns. The alternate week writer, Ray Fawkes, was part of the writing staff on Batman Eternal. I don’t consider that a plus with regards to my outlook for this series long term.
In the short-term, maybe it’s no biggie. While this week’s episode of Wolverines is not as strong as last week’s, it is not as horrifically mangled as some of those issues of Batman Eternal were. This week continues the team’s battle against Mr Sinister. While the Wolverines proper and their more seasoned X-Men cast-off adjuncts fight toe-to-toe with Sinister and his minions on Arcadia, Mystique dukes it out on her own on a nearby shuttle. These two venues keep the story tight and the action moving, so plus one for pacing here. That is where the praise comes to a halt.
The story is pretty even. There are not a lot of highs here. There are also not a lot of lows. I guess a couple of takeaways are that Sinister is painted like a very tropeish villain. All “I am your god”, “You dare to touch me?!”, and “I’m world’s beyond you”. The guy only has a few lines in the entire book, and every single one is a high-and-mighty-horrible-villain kind of a line. The other muddled part of the story is that there are three characters who are former Wolverines members who have turned on their team and are helping Sinister fight the Wolverines-X-Men-Brotherhood of Evil Mutants mash-up. One of them is a complete munch, so that tracks. But the other two are a bit scategorical. They clearly have an issue with what Sinister is doing, but as soon as Shogun gets near them, they immediately join in on the attack. So it’s just not really clear what they are in it for; they’re clearly not mind controlled, but they don’t agree with it, but they clearly act based on the Sinister alliance. And it’s not addressed at any point.
The art is probably the big detractor in this issue. Juan Cabal just does not help this issue climb out of the doldrums of the mediocre, and actually does a good deal to drag it down below even that. I’m not sure what is up with his rendition, or Ario Anindito’s (the book’s alternate issue artist) of fat Mystique. She goes back and forth between looking positively chunky to looking indiscriminately waifish. That is not saying anything about female character body-types. I like them all. Just be consistent about it. The other characters are also mildly inconsistent, ranging from something akin to a Marvel house-style to something on the edge of cartoony. It was enough to disctract me while I was trying to get through the story and that is the one cardinal sin for me in comic book art. If it’s not good, ok, but if it is so inconsistent that it takes me out of the story, then the book is in a bad place.
I’m keeping this on my pull-list for now. I’m hoping that the Charles Soule issues are better, and that the series gels a bit better over time. I really hope we’re not heading down a Batman Eternal route where the issues are horrifically inconsistent in terms of quality from week-to-week. Wolverines #17 is a solidly average issue, with some quirky inconsistencies that create a level of distraction from just reading the story. Let’s hope things pick back up on the quality front next week.