With this review, I’ve finally caught up on the Civil War reviews. This is easily one of the best of the bunch, too.

General Information

Title: Wolverine #42-48

Author: Marc Guggenheim

Illustrator(s): Humberto Ramos on pencils, Carlos Cuevas on inks and Edgar Dalgado on colours.

Original Publication Date: These issues are cover dated from July 2006 to January 2007.

Cover Price: All issues cover priced at $2.99 US. The first three are priced at $4.25 Canadian, and the last four at $3.75 Canadian.

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

The first six issues are the traditional crossover. Wolverine takes it upon himself to track down Nitro, who is the one that actually caused the deaths in Stamford that kicked off Marvel’s Civil War. The last issue is an epilogue exploring Wolverine’s flirtations with the afterlife that take place when his body takes more damage than a living being without his healing factor can handle.

High Point

Guggenheim’s grasp of Wolverine’s personality and internal dialogues. This is the personality that suits him best. Ignore the politics and grandstanding, assess the situation with a certain emotional detachment, and then do what needs to be done, regardless of how unpleasant that may be. Add in some extremely dark and sarcastic humour, and we’ve got the character nailed.

Low Point

Ramos’ art. I didn’t like it on Spectacular Spider-Man because I felt it lacks the tone needed for a serious story, though it could be well suited to comedy. I have the same problem here, in that it just makes things look perpetually goofy. This is not a goofy story. Yes, there are amusing moments, but that’s not the main focus. This is about cold, hard retribution and primitive justice. The perpetually off-model work Ramos delivers just isn’t well suited to this type of tale, or even to humour this dark. If I were in charge of, say, a Power Pack revival, he’d be at the top of the list to recruit, but he doesn’t belong on this title.

The Scores

This is one of the more original cross-overs with the Civil War. It’s actually closely related to the war, it’s a story worth telling, and it won’t necessarily be missed in the original title if it’s not mentioned again. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork, as mentioned above, isn’t really bad, though it is remarkably inappropriate. This is a dark and viceral story, with graphic depictions of eyes, hands, and other body parts being removed from their bodies by adamantium claws. An artistic style that would feel at home on a Saturday morning cartoon aimed at ages 5-8 just doesn’t belong here. I give it 2 out of 6.

The story is very well written. It’s logical, interesting, and well worth telling, wrapping up a major end that was left loose in the main Civil War title. In spite of that, it’s still a complete story, which can be read without following the main title. Early in the arc, we get enough of a recap of the main title to fill in any gaps unfamiliar readers may have. There’s enough of Wolverine’s internal commentary to interest those who are following the main title, so the recap doesn’t get boring, either. I give it 6 out of 6.

The characterization is surprisingly effective. Wolverine’s psyche is not terribly complex, but surprisingly few writers seem to nail it this perfectly. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response to the words is interesting. The art style sometimes clashes with the writing style, but not enough to prevent some emotional investment. The humour is also quite funny when it comes, and it’s generally well timed to lighten an intense moment in a very natural way. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is quite good, as well. Ramos’ style may be in the wrong tone for this story, but his instincts as a visual storyteller are excellent, keeping things moving very rapidly. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, the writing is strong enough to make pushing past the art worthwhile. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Wolverine #42-48 receives 33 out of 42.

Civil War Review Checklist