Wolverine: Weapon X #1 - 'The Adamantium Men: Part 1 of 5' - Aaron, Garney and Keith
Story - Snikt! It's Wolverine time! Ahem, anyway, what we have here is the first issue of a new ongoing Wolverine series, and yes, I know we already have 3, and it's just a movie cash-in and yadda-yadda, none of that matters as long as the comic is good, and with Jason Aaron and Ron Garney behind Weapon X, you bet your ass it's good.
We open up in Colombia, where ubiquitous evil Marvel corporation Roxxon is up to no good, killing helpless villagers with the aid of mysterious assassins with glowing Wolverine claws. This opening scene is effective for a few reasons, mainly it is Aaron's Wolverine narration, you know it's Logan from the off, before we even see the character, Aaron has him nailed (of course you should all already know this from 'Get Mystique' and 'Manifest Destiny'). After this opening, we finally get some Wolverine action, in the X-Men's new home city, San Francisco, a young woman is mugged on the Tube, but is saved by Wolverine, this is all standard stuff, but it is presented in a new and interesting way, we all know that Wolverine is the drunk underneath that newspaper, but Aaron waits until the last possible moment before revealing it, in a typically bloodthirsty fashion, and then, just to set this book apart even more, he then shoves a gun up a mugger's backside, not quite as good as what Bullseye does in this week's 'Dark Reign: Hawkeye', but close. I wonder if Aaron is setting this woman who was saved as a supporting character, she is a reporter after all, can she help Logan investigate Weapon X? She seems quite vanilla now, but Aaron is adept at fleshing out characters who at first seem slight, take a look at Scalped, the character focus issues in that book are fantastic, and maybe he will do the same with Melita Garner.
Now the real meat of the story, Wolverine meets up with Maverick, who tells him that Roxxon has revived the Weapon X program where both of them were messed with, and Logan goes to investigate, discovering that he isn't dealing with one problem, but many! These scenes were interesting, I loved the juxtaposition of Wolverine exploring this new Weapon X faciltiy and flashing back to his days there, these single panels were very effective, telling the reader a lot, but not in a ham-fisted way. Plus, we get the return of Maverick! He's always been a favourite 90s guilty pleasure of mine, it's good to see him back, and hope he has more to do in the book than just tell Wolverine stuff.
In addition to the main story, we also get Official Handbook style recaps of both Maverick and Weapon X's histories, which are useful and enlightening, and an preview of Jason Aaron's upcoming Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire mini-series, which looks amazing, so it's a good package, and overall a great book. Yes, there may be a glut of Wolverine titles, but when they are as strong as this and Old Man Logan, does it really matter? Aaron nails the character of Wolverine in a few pages, sets up a few possible supporting players, and a strong central storyline for this opening arc, what is the deal with these new Wolverines? Why do they glow? Are they stronger than our guy? All questions I'm eager to see answered. This was an excellent if a little slight first issue, and I hope it will take Jason Aaron from Vertigo cult favourite to a big hitter.
Art - Ron Garney is a very strong artist, and he's been improving by leaps and bounds lately, I remember his work on JLA a few years ago not being nearly as strong as this, I can see Andy Kubert in there, and John Romita Jnr too, but he still has his own distinct style. As is important for a book which stars a character with knives on his hands, he handles violence and blood very well, the scene where Wolverine chops the mugger's hands off is a good example, he also has enough chops to tell a story without Aaron's words, like when the mugger runs out of the train, or the flashback panels expertly showing history in one shot. I can't really think of a better artist for Wolverine, especially since he's not handline him in the yellow and blue this time, plainclothes and X-Force costume only. I hope we get to see him do a Patch/Madripoor story.
Best Line - It's a toss-up between 'A whole lot of killin' that needs to be done, that's what the hell I'm looking at' and 'If you were me, you'd drink too' Wolverine dialogue is fun!
Forget about the myriad other titles and the movie, and just enjoy a solid Wolverine comic with great art for what it is.