Wolverine has been thrown into quite a pickle in X Lives of Wolverine, the new five-issue event series taking over X-Men comics this month. Issue #2 is out this week, which reveals a bit more of the adventures he’s on as he travels back in time to save Xavier’s life. Problem is, can he stop himself from doing things differently now that he’s a better man? That is just one question asked in this exciting second issue.
This second issue hits a groove as it becomes more clear what is going on with Logan as he enters the body of himself in the past. The first issue introduced a taste of it, but here it goes all out. Opening in Northern Canada in 1900, Logan is a bit younger and a bit wilder. Now that we know the Logan of now is inside this more animalistic Wolverine, we know the score. This opening scene also does well to reveal the conundrum Wolverine–a natural-born killer–has when he remembers these moments and wants to kill. In his ear is Jean Grey, who tells him to be careful with the timestream.
Writer Ben Percy smartly jumps around the time stream, disorientating the reader just as much as it must be disorientating Wolverine. In the very next scene, for instance, we see Wolverine naked and making love to his Itsu in Japan. This scene also reminds us Omega Red is also jumping through the timestream and trying to kill Wolverine.
Before we can get our bearings, after an impressive full-page splash of Wolverine embracing Itsu naked and her new Omega Red tendrils whipping out, the story cuts to where we left off at the end of the first issue. The intensity ramps up as the scenes change, making for an exciting action-adventure.
I for one was somewhat confused by what is going on with the time travel, but it’s clear after reading this issue we’re in the process of slowly learning how it all works. We get that through data pages, which give the book a detective feel, as well as a key scene with Omega Red in Moscow. It’s becoming clearer now that the explanation for what is going on is being held back till the end of the arc, which makes the delivery more exciting. It’s holding the carrot just far enough to make you want more.
Cassara draws a wickedly cool issue with a lot of great moments and good attention to detail. A scene with a character’s chest being turned into mini cubes looks unreal and plays with light well with colors by Frank Martin. In another scene, a character gets a shot through the body with an intense “BLAM” resting on the edge of the gory hole. Each bullet casing is rendered in a machine gun moment, or the way blood streaks through the air all add to the intensity of moments.
Speaking of Frank Martin, the color choices for Omega Red’s skin is haunting. The dude is like a zombie, but there are touches of blue in there that add to his evil. You could flip through this book, randomly pick a page, and point and see something exciting and cool in the colorwork.
Letters by Cory Petit are always clean and clear. Even though it’s disorientating to see Wolverine in different locations in smash cuts it’s easy to follow because of the clear distinction in clothing and color palette. Comics are a team sport and you can see every creator bringing their A-game to this issue.
If there’s a weakness in this issue it’s the unclear nature of the mutiny scene. That confusion is purposeful on some level to create mystery, but it’s also easy to miss Wolverine is rushing to this scene with his sled dogs. Add in the mystery and unclear nature of how time travel works or how Omega Red is jumping around and it could add a thin layer of frustration.
X Lives of Wolverine #2 is an even better issue than the first with a fast pace, tons of violence, and intense action. X Lives of Wolverine is a high-flying time travel ride that’ll get your pulse racing and your jaw-dropping. You best hold on, because you’ll be fully committed for more to come.
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