Wolverine #72

you want some a THIS? Wolverine #72

Mark Millar Steve McNiven

Some kind of delay, or publishing schedule over-lap or something like that, has caused this to be the last chapter of this story which will appear in the regular Wolverine title. I think they are shuffling it off to a double sized special edition in order to get this book back in line with main continuity. This issue sees Old Man Logan coming to the end of his long, messed up journey. And, of course, things are still getting worse and worse. What worked. The art. Normally I am a big "story first" kind of reader, but McNiven's pages are just so beautiful. You could look at these panels in any order and they would be breathtaking. And when they tell a good story (and they do!) it is even better. If you pulled a Bruce Banner and separated McNiven into two different artists, one who could do his dramatic framing, pacing, and acting, and one who could do his amazing detail and shading....they would BOTH be top-notch artists. Mark Millar is also at the top of his game here. This whole arc has been like a big, relaxing, sigh of relief after the continuity twisting, mega-cross-over, Civil War. It is like after undertaking such a huge event, they just wanted to cut loose and play around. And they really, really, do. This story has been an awesome romp across a twisted-up nightmare America. The whole thing has been a running back-and-forth between what-is-the-craziest-shit-we-can-think-of and what-is -the-worst-thing-that-could-happen. While showing us Logan and Clint's journey across the messed-up US, this arc has also given us glimpses (via flashback) into how the world got that way and just what led Logan to swearing off violence. So now all of those journeys come to their conclusion. We have seen what pushed Logan to that point, and now we get to see what pushes him PAST that point. Whatever DOES happen next issue, as a result of this issue's gruesome conclusion, it'll be big. The big violent conclusion to a long, hard, crazy, journey.

What did not work. I don't know. you are asking the wrong guy, here. I think this was basically flawless. Even a two-page spread near the end with nothing but one huge sound effect managed to work.

Ultimate Nightmare #3

AAAAAAHHHHH! Ultimate Nightmare #3 Warren Ellis Steve Epting

I took a random grab into the back issues and came out with Ultimate Nightmare number 3. This series was the first part of Warren Ellis's big Ultimate Universe event. It was followed by Ultimate Secret and Ultimate Extinction, which became known as The Ultimate Galactus Trilogy.

What worked: This book clearly in the meaty second ac of a story. A story about nightmares. Two sets of characters, a group of X-Men and a group of Ultimates, Plunge deeper and deeper in to a dark subterranean maze. And, as appropriate for the second act of a story about nightmares, it gets darker, stranger, and more horrible at each turn. Some pretty simple details really have some pretty powerful effects. In one scene, Cap and Nick Fury smell something which turns out to be, in Cap's words, "droppings". The cumulative result is not a gross-out, but more like a building sense of dread of "what on earth happened here?". The art is dark and largely monochromatic, but still clear. It suits the mood very well.

What did not work: Some of the action seems a bit off. There is a moments where Sam Wilson takes some decisive action against a levitating freak and I am still not 100% sure what it is that he did. Some of the dialogue doesn't quite ring true either. Most notably the big closing line where Colossus is fighting some mostrous brute and tells him, mid brawl, "....YOU WON'T SURVIVE THE FALL!" They fall, through a few panels of wreckage and we turn the page to see the issue ending splash where Colossus again faces his opponent and says....remember this is to close the issue and bring you running back to the next issue...."and neither might we." It is in a slightly different font which implies that it might be in Russian, or at least spoken with an accent. So, maybe it is daringly clever to have foreign language dialogue seem to be clumsily translated. That could be a cool device, but it is pretty clumsy way to end a chapter.275

Uncanny X-Men #508

ex-women Uncanny X-Men #508 Matt Fraction Greg Land

The Fraction/Brubaker run on Marvel's flagship X-title continues. Messiah Complex and Manifest Destiny have left the X-Men with a strange new status-quo, but strange has always been the status quo for them.

What worked: Fraction's fast paced story telling is wonderful. Even in very talky moments, the story just clips along. He introduces each character with a quick intro caption that tell sthe name, the powers, and gives and adjective or two to describe them. No, I don't know every character from the X-Men's checkered history who shows up in the book, but thanks to these captions I know enough to get what is going on in the scene. Sure, I still have some questions, but I trust that anything I NEED to know will be told when the time comes for me to know it. In the past, Greg Land's artwork has looked a little too static, too posed. Simply, the drawings looked a little too much like the photos they were referencing. I don't know what changed, but that quality is gone. Now all we have a lush, elegant, detailed renderings that look as vibrant as any comic on the stands today.

What did not work: Though there were some great reveals in this chapter of the story, it feels like it might be moving just a tad too slowly. Or, maybe it is just that I don't quite know enough about what is going on to sink the hook in. Also, there is a scene where a seemingly shocking revelation is made to s certain character, but the next time we see him, he has not reacted to it at all, and seems to be busy on an unrelated errand. Nothing terribly unrealistic, but it does take some of the weight from the conflict when even the characters it is affecting don't really let it interrupt their schedules.