In the year 2018, you had to know Marvel Comics would publish a big story with “Infinity” in the title. Jonathan Hickman kind of jumped the gun in 2013 with the singular use of the word, and “Infinity War” was already taken, so … Infinity Wars, then?
So if the name wasn’t wholly original, at least we got a different take and a new architect behind this one. Gerry Duggan, the man who made Deadpool a top seller before test footage of Ryan Reynolds’ potty mouth ever leaked, did his best to make an equally crazy, unexpected story around the Infinity Gems/Stones — to, let’s say, mixed reviews. Okay, it was a mishmash of emotionless reveals where things happened with no build-up and a lot more “huhs” than “WOWS!”
But — BUT! — there was still hope. One more crazy idea. Remember when Wolverine came back to life? And he was walking around EVERY Marvel comic with the space stone? What if he had ALL the stones? And he was the new Infinity Watch, all by himself!
That’s what the promotional material for Wolverine: Infinity Watch made it seem like was happening, anyway. In reality (get it?!), Logan is just tracking down the time stone. You see, at the end of Infinity Wars, Adam Warlock had the bright idea to give each stone sentience, which will somehow keep them from being abused. Most of them ran like hell from this burning rock of a planet, but the time stone stuck around, and here ends up with a death row inmate.
Or, I guess, in a death row inmate? The nature of these “new” Infinity Stones is still somewhat unrevealed, and when the Fraternity of Raptors pick the guy up, they can’t seem to find it inside him. Wolverine and a ghost dog to the rescue, thanks to Loki and a space boat!
Yes, Wolverine: Infinity Watch is f**king crazy — in a much more satisfying and coherent way than the preceding Infinity Wars. But there are still similar, glaring plot holes, like why they needed the godd**n boat in the first place when we see later on that Loki can just teleport people from Earth.
The continuity seems a little tighter, too, and we finally find out why there’s a discrepancy between Wolverine’s two “returns” — though THAT one is less satisfying and feels more like a canon No-Prize. Through Infinity Watch and Infinity Wars, Duggan likes to tie in other people’s current or future stories, but if you’re not already following them, you’ll likely be clueless. It’s cool to see Jason Aaron’s Old King Thor and Phoenix Wolverine, but if you’re not up on that book, God help you trying to make sense out of this one. An editor’s note or a couple lines of dialogue to help pin things down would do wonders.
Andy MacDonald’s scratchy pencils are, a little counterintuitively, well-suited for this story. His faces are surprisingly expressive, and there’s plenty of action when Wolverine cuts loose. Jordie Bellaire’s colors really shine, though, subdued through most of the story but splashy when need be.
Wolverine: Infinity Watch is a step up from last year’s main event, though it still hasn’t worked all the bugs out. The marketing for this one was really deceptive, so make sure you know what you’re getting, going in. The book does end on a cliffhanger that seems like it will be followed up on, but other than that, it’s a wacky romp with mismatched partners without much significance. Maybe that’s your thing, maybe it isn’t.