If the thought of a Terminator being a good idea in an X-Men comic ever occurred to you, you’ll probably love X Deaths of Wolverine. The five-issue series gets its second chapter this week and gives us a lot more of the black-techno Wolverine who says little but pushes forward no matter what. He’s on a mission, but what that mission remains to be seen. It’s evident from the start, however, that Moira is in a lot of danger.
X Deaths of Wolverine #2 opens with Moira at a gas station getting supplies: caffeine pills, energy drinks, and a burner phone. You know, the kind of things you get because you can’t stop or else a shapeshifting mutant will find you and kill you. As we also learned in the preview, she’s got lung cancer that’s of a different kind and likely from Krakoa. If Moira didn’t hate mutants and Krakoa before, she sure must hate them now.
This issue is a quick read, progressing the plot slowly and preferring to focus more on the impending dread of a Terminator-like Wolverine from another time stopping at nothing to hunt. The issue is very tense, jumping from Moira in a dingy hotel room to Wolverine stealing a fishing boat and eventually turning up at her location. A quick scene with Forge and a few other X-Men give readers just enough detail about the egg Wolverine arrived in to get the imagination going.
As a quicker-paced book, Federico Vicentini’s lines and Dijjo Lima’s colors do a lot of the heavy lifting in the entertainment department. Seeing Wolverine step into a fire, a skeleton burning adds a lot of atmosphere and unease. The artists will make you believe Moira can pull off major surgery and not die, for instance, and every hit taken is felt. Wolverine looks cool no matter the panel and they’ve done an excellent job making him come off as scary and unbeatable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hasbro make it into a Marvel Legends figure, and it rightly deserves it.
As far as the story, however, there just isn’t a lot here. This is decompressed storytelling 101 with the issue playing out over two scenes with some short cut-aways. Data pages give hints at what or who this Wolverine is, but not enough to feel satisfying. The breakneck speed of the first issue is reduced because of the lack of scene changes, further cementing the fact that this will be read best collected.
Adding to the lack of content is the continued unexplored nature of Moira’s role in things. It’s hard to know what to feel about her since she did very much slight Mystique, but she was also already punished by losing her powers. Does she deserve to be on the run like this? Given there’s a Terminator-Wolverine chasing her, one could surmise she needs to be wiped out for good, but we’re not given the motivation of Wolverine to know or care. It reduces the series to a chase sequence that holds its cards too close to the vest.
X Deaths of Wolverine #2 is a short chapter in an ongoing chase sequence with a few tantalizing mysteries. If you dig chase sequences and good art you’ll like this book, but it might be worth waiting for the next issue to get a satisfying result.
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