Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Wolverine Part 1 Review

Wolverine! (Also a little bit of 'whose wedding is it anyway?)

Wolverine #1 – I’m Wolverine
Wolverine #2 – Debts and Obligations
Wolverine #3 – Loss
Wolverine #4 – Honor

This particular mini-series shows us what Logan has been up to since he left the X-Men. It starts off with Logan tracking an illegal hunter in Canada and eventually traveling to Japan to see Mariko after she refuses to speak with him or return any of his attempts to contact him. It turns out that the reason why she has cut off all contact with him is because when Mariko’s father Lord Shingen returns and basically forces Mariko into an arranged marriage with Noburu-Hideki. Logan doesn’t take it too well when he finds out that Mariko is physically abused by her husband but Logan doesn’t have much time to deal with it because he is quickly attacked by members of The Hand – it turns out that they are working for Shingen who has gotten the Clan Yashida involved with the Yakuza because he is heavily involved in illegal activity. After being rejected by Mariko Logan meets up with Yukio (her first appearance at all) who is basically the female version of himself. However all is not as it seems, it turns out that Yukio is working with Lord Shingen to kill Logan – unfortunately for her she has fallen in love with him. Once Logan learns that Shingen is behind the attacks from The Hand he confronts him and on their second duel he ends up killing Shingen in front of Mariko – who felt honor bound to kill her father herself if Logan hadn’t. So in the end Mariko ends up leaving her abusive husband and she and Logan become engaged leaving the series to end with the X-Men getting an invitation to Logan and Mariko’s wedding, and Yukio roaming around Japan a woman scorned. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting a lot going into this mini-series. Wolverine isn’t really the type of character that can carry off a plot that doesn’t revolve around nothing but fights but this was a nice mixture of plot and action so it felt very even. There were a few things that didn’t really make any sense Logan mentions that he knows who his father is which is odd considering he isn’t supposed to have any memories of his life prior to working as a secret agent for the Canadian government. When the X-Men get the wedding invitation Scott is present – yet in The Uncanny X-Men he is currently in Alaska becoming involved with Madelyne Pryor. There’s all this turmoil with the Clan Yashida yet Shiro (Sunfire) is no where to be seen and he is Mariko’s cousin.

Marvel Team-Up Annual #6 – The Hunters and the Hunted!

Well now we have Spider-Man who is trying to track down Cloak and Dagger and help them bring the people who killed a bunch of teens to justice. Through a random series of events Cannonball, Psyche, Sunspot and Wolfsbane all become involved which results in Roberto and Rahne getting kidnapped by the drug dealers who are trying to use their drugs on mutants to create a counter part that will help protect them from Cloak and Dagger. There really isn’t much to say about this particular story it was good but I would much rather have had the writer switch out Dani with Xi’an. It would have been a perfect way to play up her history that surrounded around child exploitation and they could have had Spider-Man or cannonball pull her back from going over the edge once Rahne and Roberto where augmented and turned into mindless beasts by the drug dealers.

The New Mutants #5 – Heroes
The New Mutants #6 – Road Warriors!

Well the New Mutants go to the local Fair as a reward for everything that they had been through recently and they encounter Team America – a group of stunt riders that Roberto looks at as heroes; so much so that he even creates a fictional sister just so he can get Team America’s autographs for ‘her.’ The fair is quickly crashed by The Silver Samurai (first time he appears in an X-book) and Viper (I’m pretty sure that this also her first appearance in an X-book) who plan on using Team America to steal a crystal from AIM’s ‘Project Matrix’ unfortunately Dani gets kidnapped by the evil dup and Viper adjusts her plan telling everyone that unless they bring her the crystal she will kill Dani. Charles and Lilandra work with Team America to obtain the crystal while Xi’an, Sam, Rahne and Roberto try to locate Dani. Charles looses contact with everyone when he is struck down with a telepathic blow (that also effects Lilandra and Karma) so he has no idea what’s going on with Xi’an’s team. Unfortunately she has taken the team to meet with her uncle to try to get him to give her information that will help her locate Dani. Finding herself unable to kill her uncle she ends up agreeing to a deal – if he reveals the location of Viper’s headquarters she will work for him no questions asked for a year. Ultimately Charles is able to regain telepathic contact with The New Mutants and shortly after that Xi’an is tormented by a voice only she can hear unfortunately before anyone can do anything about it The Silver Samurai sets off a series of bombs that blow up the island. My only problem with this is that given the current storyline it feels odd that suddenly Charles and Lilandra are in Japan for Logan and Mariko's wedding and that Storm knows the outcome of this particular battle yet there's a whole other storyline that continues in the next issue of the New Mutants that goes on for a few issues actually but the start of it happens just before the rest of this particular overall plot line (Logan and Mariko's wedding) so you could almost read like the first 2-3 pages of the next issue of New Mutants and then jump back to this story and finish it up. It's an odd little thing and it doesn't bug me much which is surprising but oh well.

The Uncanny X-Men #172 – Scarlet in Glory
The Uncanny X-Men #173 – To Have and Have Not

The X-Men (including their newest member Rogue) arrive in Japan for Logan and Mariko’s wedding. Unknown to Logan Yukio is still ‘looking out for’ Logan and encounters The Silver Samurai who has returned to Japan after his recent battle with The New Mutants in an attempt to stop the wedding and take back control of the Clan Yashida (since he is Mariko’s half brother.) Viper manages to poison all of the X-Men except for Rogue, Logan and Storm which causes Logan to try to get revenge on Viper and Keniuchio with Rogue’s help. He doesn’t want anything to do with Rogue at first but she more than proves herself when she risks her life to save Mariko. Storm continues to struggle with her sense of self and lose control of her powers – thankfully she meets up with Yukio and sort of models this new way she’s thinking and behaving after Yukio’s train of thought ‘you only die once.’ Speaking of only dying once… after a heated battle where Ororo loses control of her powers and is flung into the water to keep from burning herself to death she sees a giant flaming Phoenix rising out of the sky. Ororo continues her metamorphosis and ends up shaving her head leaving only a mohawk and donning a brand new all leather outfit. Meanwhile before traveling to Japan with Alex, Lorna, Corsair and Madelyne; Alex catches Scott going through the records of their grandparents business specifically looking at Madelyne’s file because he believes her to be the reincarnation of Phoenix. In Japan though Madelyne’s presence doesn’t go over too well at first, Lilandra tries to kill her, everyone else is shocked to see her and Kitty (possibly on purpose) scares her by making her watch Lockheed. At the wedding Mariko refuses to marry Logan stating that he isn’t, and never will be worthy of him and as she walks away we see a cropped image of Mastermind. Obviously he had gone after her and used his powers, but it remains to be seen how he dug his way out of his mind from his past encounter with Phoenix, why he targeted Mystique, and if he has any thing to do with the recent attack Charles suffered or if he had anything to do with the voices Karma heard before she died (oh yeah, there’s a little error here and it is revealed that Storm knows that Xi’an did in the explosion – there’s a bit of a timeline error her since the next main story Nova Roma takes place after Logan and Mariko’s non-wedding yet Xi’an’s death isn’t revealed until that story, and Charles and Lilandra are still dealing with the New Mutants with Ororo’s help in New Mutants #7 yet they’re over in Japan now – it’s a minor error that I can over look so it’s not too bad) or the giant Phoenix that Ororo and Yukio saw. There is one little change – a cosmetic one that isn’t really explained (but it doesn’t need to be either, I just find it odd) up until this point Rogue has had her white streaks on the side of her head and now it’s suddenly just one streak in the front. You know it’s a pretty good story if all I can nitpick about is someone’s hair.

What If? #43 – What If… Wolverine Had Married Mariko?

Okay much like with almost every single What If… that I’ve read so far this story teaches us that no matter what is different everyone dies and I’m kind of sick of it really, there’s a way to have an alternate reality story that doesn’t involve killing most of the characters involved. In this particular story Logan does indeed marry Mariko and the two of them stay in Japan (which is a major cause of disappointment for Kitty) to regain the honor of Clan Yoshida and dissolve any and all involvement with the Yakuza. Eventually Mariko’s half brother The Silver Samurai betrays the person he is working for claiming he wants to regain his own personal honor and become a member of Clan Yoshida once again. Logan learns that the leader of the Yakuza is none other than Wilson Fisk… the Kingpin. After a series of battles Logan and Mariko almost die but are saved by her cousin Shiro (Sunfire) and he joins up in the battle as well. Logan agrees to a duel to the death with Kingpin and manages to defeat Kingpin and then it is revealed that Silver Samurai has been working as a double agent for Fisk and kills Mariko. Logan goes crazy and ends up killing The Silver Samurai by extending his claws into the man’s head. Fisk takes off vowing that he will one day seize control of the Clan Yoshida, Logan refuses to stay in Japan and returns to the X-Men after turning over Clan Yoshida to Mariko’s cousin Shiro. Like I said before, I don’t like the idea of alternate realities where one thing is different and it leads to many deaths. There is a way to do an alternate story that doesn’t kill most people off and I’d rather see stories like that instead of the usual – one thing different, everyone dies, this teaches us that if something different happens everyone dies….

Wolverine #1 – I’m Wolverine: B
Wolverine #2 – Debts and Obligations: B
Wolverine #3 – Loss: A
Wolverine #4 – Honor: A
Marvel Team-Up Annual #6 – The Hunters and the Hunted!: B
The New Mutants #5 – Heroes: A
The New Mutants #6 – Road Warriors!: A
The Uncanny X-Men #172 – Scarlet in Glory: A
The Uncanny X-Men #173 – To Have and Have Not: A
What If? #43 – What If… Wolverine Had Married Mariko?: C

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