(Quite Possibly) The Best X There Is

Wolverine Weapon X #5?
The Adamantium Men 5 of 5
Written by Jason Aaron?
Illustrated by Ron Garney?
Published by Marvel Comics

There are two camps of people when it comes to Wolverine. There are those that are fanatical about him. He’s seen in the same vein as Venom. By that I mean the over-the-top fans. People love him, some even get tattoos or dress up for conventions. Then there are those that think he’s cool but see him as any other character. I’m not saying either is right or wrong or better than the other. I’m just not in the former category.

I’ve always thought that Wolverine was a solid character with a great background story. I mean we’re talking about the Weapon X program here. It’s a treasure trove of stories. But Wolverine is very much overused, sometimes in five books a month depending on what event or movie is out. Like many others I like the character but have never been a fan of the continuity and I had trouble getting into his comics. It’s always been all action and fluff with little story pushing anything forward. Yeah we know he’s the best there is at what he does. Give me more. So how is it then I’ve been reading Weapon X and come to claim it’s one of the best “X” books out there?

It’s a more street-level out-of-continuity book focused on one thing and one thing only: a good story. This isn’t about Wolverine and his origin or anything in his past. This is about modern day and all the crap our mutant with claws gets into. Or more to the point shoved into. What Jason Aaron has done with this book is something few have done in the past. It’s gotten me interested in a Wolverine comic to the point I’m reading it monthly and looking forward to what’s come. We’re now on December solicits and it just keeps getting better.

I can’t even say if you liked the movie you’ll like this comic because it’s nothing like the movie. It’s better.

This issue is the last part of a five-issue story involving a company called Blackguard that are making new “Wolverines” with laser claws. Twelve of them, in fact. At the end of our last issue Logan killed one of them but it took everything he had. It taxed him to the point of almost death. Because of it he let down his defenses and was captured by H.A.M.M.E.R. (the new S.H.I.E.L.D.) except the woman that caught him is a double agent in a sense. It’s that gray area of murky noir.

That’s where we begin. Wolverine is in an interrogation room looking like a mix between Casino Royale and The Dark Knight. You know the scenes I’m talking about. This is the moment right before she turns him into Norman Osborn (Marvel’s new Nick Fury). He’s stirred up a storm and with a bill about to be passed on Capitol Hill involving Blackguard’s future in the weapons industry. Normy isn’t too happy. But Wolverine says he won’t stop. He just promises he’ll finish what he started and that he does. Weapon X at its heart is a comic about espionage and political intrigue fused with that of Marvel’s toughest mutant. The stakes are high. So high in fact, that when he says he’ll finish it what that means is taking out the other 11 agents as well as the CEO of the corporation and anyone else protecting him. Nobody will survive. Considering it only took one of these laser-clawed agents to almost kill him that’s pretty damn high.

Every so often a writer comes along on a book that has seen everything and adds his own little twist we haven’t seen. It’s such an obvious element and is all but screaming at you but you never see it. Between all the action we get Logan talking about his own personal fears. He fears nothing. No man. No God. No Nothing. Except for one thing essential to all life.

Aaron knows his noir. He knows that just because you’re writing a big book doesn’t mean that the villain has to be taken down through some means just as big. Sometimes it’s the little things that work the best. It’s also the little things that make you cringe. You can’t help but get chills. It’s so subtle, so peaceful, and yet so full of absolute violence. Because he knows his noir he also knows that just because we get an ending, or in this case a series of wrap-ups, doesn’t mean they’re all happy. It doesn’t mean that the boy gets the girl or that the viewpoint you have of right or wrong will be the justice given out at the end. All there is at the end is the proper actions divvied out to the people that deserve it. Or the one that just get screwed.

I’m biased when it comes to the X-Family of books. I grew up on them more than any other comic. Right when Jim Lee took over X-Men #1. I was buying all four of the main titles every month for years. Back when there was only four. I even interned at the X-Men office at Marvel years ago. So I’ve seen my fair share of good and bad of them. Weapon X is one of the best X reads to come out in a very long time. I can’t say it is THE best because it’s the only X title I read these days, but it’s got me interested and that means something. Especially considering it’s Wolverine.

If only his movie was this good. If only they didn’t try to pack so much in and just concentrated on a good story. Hollywood should let Jason Aaron write the sequel.

Anthony Schiavino can be found talking comics, movies, television and all things pulp at his website PulpTone.com, Facebook, and Twitter


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