Wolverine's back in Madripoor for an underworld criminal auction specializing in superhero artifacts that will surface more than just bad memories for the mutant formerly known as WEAPON X!
Percy takes us back for more Team X history as an opener to issue nine with a pivotal moment and shift in the dynamic between Wolverine, Maverick, and Sabretooth that emphasizes the difference between Sabretooth and his fellow Team X members…it’s an important moment because it sets up everything to come later in the issue including the use of a mnemonic MacGuffin to set up the cliffhanger finish. Percy is very conscious of the past and previously dangling plot threads (there’s one very specific panel with a certain sleeve in it, that you can miss if you not paying attention) and he pulls in elements from a lot of past issues including things like the cult of mutant worshippers and Xeno and few other familiar faces readers will recognize at the auction.
The flashbacks are additive to Wolverine’s history with Maverick without being overly expansive so no one is painted into a box which I like. Percy’s Patch is smooth and James Bondesque to begin with getting him in where he needs to be but of course that only lasts so long before it all hits the fan and the claws come out. The relationship with North (Maverick) gets a new shade and extra depth but Percy also reminds us that Logan has a memory like Swiss cheese and that there are still chunks missing…nothing like seeing one of your arms show up at an auction to remind you of that…I’m not gonna over-analyze that but it’s as a good device as any to point (haha) to Logan’s spotty memory. I like the idea Percy uses of two men trying to hold on to their humanity through each other despite the unspeakable violence they bring into the world.
Now it’s time to talk about the real hero of this issue and that’s Adam Kubert. This comic has nineteen pages of drawn art (I’m counting the double-page splash as one page) and of those 19 pages no less than 5 are 16-panel grid pages and in those pages, Kubert and colorist Frank Martin thread the important narrative thread through four of those panels diagonally and maybe an additional panel in a corner against a backdrop all colored in orange-red filled with Wolverines violent past, from the missions Team X was on, to Creed’s violence on those missions to showing the connection between Logan and Maverick. In fact, this issue is quite possibly one of the best examples of an artist using paneling as part of the storytelling process beyond bordering images that I have read recently. Add in Kubert’s incredible skill as an artist and what we have here is a comic that if we took all the words out could still very clearly tell you the story it needs to tell you and that’s a powerful thing. Everyone else from colorist to letterer is on point and the art really lifts the issue to the next level.
Wolverine #9 is a solidly written issue by Percy that expands on the history of the main character in Team X, moves the current story forward a few steps that's elevated to a much higher level by absolutely masterclass art, paneling, and coloring by the creative team.
WOLVERINE #9 : Pieces of You(r) Past and Present
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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