Posted October 24, 2012 by Stephen Hardman in Comics

Comic Of The Week 24/10/2012 – Wolverine Max #1

Copyright Marvel Comics

WRITTEN BY: Jason Starr
ART BY: Roland Boschi, Connor Willumsen
COLORS BY: Dan Brown
LETTERS BY: VC – Cory Petit
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics

Die-hard fans of Wolverine have been waiting for this book for a long time. Marvel’s MAX series of comics has already seen reinventions and alternative histories and back-stories for characters such as Punisher and Deadpool. The MAX comics are aimed at a more adult audience and the creators can play around with the characters in a way they wouldn’t be able to if they were writing stories in the main Marvel Universe.

I’m a big fan of the character and was really looking forward to seeing what would happen to Wolverine in the MAX universe. The other thing that drew me to this title when it was announced is the writer Jason Starr. I’ve enjoyed reading Starr’s crime fiction titles and also his work on the Vertigo graphic novel The Chill. Starr’s move from prose fiction to comic books has been really interesting to watch – together with The Chill and his work on Punisher MAX his writing translates really well into comics.

Starr’s early crime fiction is noir-tinged and hard-boiled. And given his most recent books have been supernatural thrillers focusing on urban werewolves, it seems that Starr is perfectly placed to take on the character of old man Logan.

Given Wolverine’s violent characteristics and the often extreme storylines he has featured in you would be forgiven for wondering what Starr could possibly bring to the character that hasn’t already been done.

Is this just going to be a typical Wolverine story with a lot of swearing?

After reading issue #1 of this series the answer is no. Well okay, Logan does say f**k in this comic. A lot. But it’s much more than Wolverine with swearing.

The opening sequence of this first issue is suitably bombastic. Wolverine is stranded in the middle of an ocean, the only survivor of a plane crash. He has lost both his legs but still manages to slice a shark in half. This happens within the first five pages.

Wolverine Max #1 interior page – Copyright Marvel Comics

It appears that Wolverine has lost his memory and believes that his name is John Grant. He tells the investigators that he doesn’t remember anything. He is confused and alone.

His legs grow back while he is in hospital in Tokyo and his survival instincts kick in. He escapes from the hospital and soon goes from miracle survivor to terrorism suspect. He tries to hide away in a hotel but is sold out by one of the hotel staff. The final page shows a more than a dozen armed police officers outside his hotel door, ready to strike.

The art duties in this issue are shared between Roland Boschi and Connor Willumsen. When comic books are illustrated by two different artists, especially ones with such differing styles, it can sometimes be jarring and take away from the flow of the story. In the case of Wolverine MAX #1 it really works. Boschi, who worked on Brian Wood’s Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega, takes control of the present day action, and he brings a dynamic, clean style to the action sequences and his night scenes in Tokyo look fantastic. Willumsen’s sequences take the reader back in to Logan’s memories, showing him through different historical eras, his violent ways revealed to be ingrained for centuries.

Willumsen’s sequences also introduce Wolverine’s ‘soul mate’, who introduces himself as Victor. In a recent interview with CBR Starr revealed that Sabretooth will play an important part in this series, and the way he introduces himself here I think it will be interesting to see how Starr deals with their relationship.

As first issues go Starr has delivered a solid introduction with plenty of action and intrigue, great pacing and cracking dialogue. The art compliments Starr’s writing perfectly and the issue as a whole is a success. I’m definitely along for the ride.

Born in the North West of England and now living in North Somerset his interest in comics started at an early age by reading the cartoons in weekend newspapers – a particular favourite being Calvin & Hobbes. His interest grew when he discovered the only comic shop in his home-town, which led him to Vertigo, the early incarnation of Image, as well as Batman, a character which remains a favourite to this day. He also loves crime and noir fiction, film and TV of all kinds, and music of all types. Writing and blogging takes up much of his spare time and he hopes to one day publish his long-gestating crime novel.