Another week with no new comics for me. I had to go back to the 1950’s and 1970’s as I picked up a hardcover collection. a trade paperback collection and a magazine:

  • Shock SuspenStories Volume 2 (EC Archive HC)
  • Thor: The Eternals Saga Volume 1 (TPB)
  • Back Issue Magazine 26
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • “Wolverine: Enemy of the State” by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., and Klaus Janson
  • I haven’t read a Wolverine story in a lot of years. The character doesn’t interest me as he’s a one note bad ass. But flipping through this collection got me a little nostalgic for the X-Men of my youth (I started reading it regularly a couple of issues before John Byrne come on board) and the art looked really nice. Plus the writer has written other stuff I’ve enjoyed.

    Unfortunately this book starts out pretty dumb. Two bad guy organizations: The Hand and Hydra, kidnap Wolverine, brainwash him, and use him against the good guy organization: S.HI.E.L.D. (and anyone else who gets in their way). This is accomplished by killing Wolverine and raising him from the dead. Huh? The Hand can raise people from the dead? Yes they can. And though the ability to raise people from the dead would have profound implications for society and whole books could be written on that subject alone what effect does it have on the Marvel universe? Virtually none except that the Hand can make assassins out of anyone they want. Pretty mundane and stupid application of death’s defeat if you ask me.

    The first third or so of the book is Wolverine leading Hydra/Hand teams to kill and kidnap more super heros to turn them into Hydra/Hand assassins and to steal stuff. It’s all pretty typical and dumb. Wolverine takes on the Fantastic Four and, of course, the only way he could possibly survive that encounter is if the FF don’t fight as a team. So inexplicably they don’t. Dumb dumb dumb. And as always in the Marvel universe fire (in the form of the Human Torch) is a mere nusiense. This has always annoyed me as one breath of superheated air will kill a person (never mind getting burned on your outside getting burned on the inside will kill you quicker) but wrestling with the Human Torch while saying, “Ouch” is all that ever happens in the world of Marvel.

    Wolverine also steals a hard drive with all of Mr. Fantastic’s plans for way out devices that the bad guys want to turn into weapons. Why the world’s smartest man has all those plans in one spot is beyond me. Oh yeah, and Wolverine was the only person in the world who could get around Mr. Fantastic’s security. Why is this? Who knows? It’s not explained. It just is. Dumb dumb dumb.

    Oh, and the Hydra/Hand can teleport Wolverine (or anyone) in and out of anywhere. Why didn’t they just teleport the hard drive out? Who knows? Dumb dumb dumb.

    Fortunately things take a turn for the better when Wolverine inevitably gets free from the Hydra/Hand mind control. Then we get Wolverine in full revenge mode. That’s also when we start getting a lot of moves and counter moves from the good guys and the bad guys. The plot picks up and lots of cool super hero things happen. Good fun stuff.

    The art is really nice on this book. I’ve always found that what John Romita Jr.’s art lacks in subtlety it make up for in power. He’s perfect at these over the top, super dynamic, things flying everywhere super hero books and this is no exception. His double page spreads really have an impact. I also like his mix of illustrative and graphic drawing. Nobody else does that.

    Klaus Janson does an excellent job capturing all of that in the inks too. I’ve seen JR Jr.’s work taken down a peg when the inker can’t keep up with his variety of marks but that doesn’t happen here. Top shelf action stuff.

    The coloring by Paul Mounts is also first rate. With so much bad coloring out there in the world of super hero computer coloring I almost expect it all the time. But no here. Mounts keeps the colors bright when they need to be and dulls them down when he’s supposed to. Clearly a man who knows what he’s doing and can set the mood with color.

    Any just for Randy the lettering is also very nice. No one else cares but Randy does!

    Over all I say that if you can get through the dumb stuff in the beginning of the book there is good stuff waiting after it. And even the dumb stuff is well drawn so if you want to read a Wolvy story check this one out.