If you ask me, we’re in for a treat with January’s X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine thanks to Ben Percy understanding Logan’s big heart. He even made Wolverine surfing make sense in X-Force last week. This week, the story surrounding Wolverine’s friend Jeff Bannister continues. Who killed his people in the C.I.A., and who wants him and his kiddo killed? The answer might be Maverick, as we find out in Wolverine #18.
This issue does two things well, starting with good action pieces. Seeing Wolverine fight on top of a Mack truck is fun as hell, and the progression of the action is entertaining and easy to follow. There’s also a sniper attack that works well too, while also reminding us Wolverine is as brutal as they come.
The second thing done well is showing how Wolverine has all types of friends. He’s got Bannister who is a human, but also somebody Wolverine would bend over backward for. Then you have Maverick, who isn’t really a friend, but he’s also not an enemy. There’s a bro vibe in this issue that Percy captures well. Hell, even Forge feels like a kind of friend to Wolverine in a scene showing the two bickering.
Something this issue and the last can’t shake is how the story is a big tangent from anything else going on in Krakoa and in Wolverine’s life. C.I.A. Agent Bannister has popped up before and on some level, it seems like he’s getting some page time since other books like Inferno are moving the needle. It doesn’t help the issue ends in a vague way, not really saying if we’ll find out more or if the story ends here. Given there’s no “to be continued” you can imagine this closes the door on a few story elements Percy was playing around with over the last year.
The art by Paco Diaz can feel a bit stiff at times, too. The blocking of scenes is competent and keeps things moving, but Wolverine and Maverick can seem pasted in at times and not quite part of the scene. Details of Wolverine’s face and mask look great, though, and the superhero costumes all look accurate and cool. There’s one page that exemplifies the good and the bad: Wolverine kicks at a window which looks great, but then he dives through the glass (even though he kicked it first), which looks awkward. That leads to Wolverine doing a weird crouch in a silhouette that looks a bit silly and stiff.
Wolverine #18 ends a story arc that’s fine, but also uninteresting and seems a bit pointless. It never makes a case for it being about Wolverine’s friendships, but it’s sort of there on the page. The action is entertaining, though with a story lacking a purpose it’s hard to care about any of it.
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