Pick of the Week

07.30.2008 – Wolverine #67

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iFanboy
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520
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Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 39.3%
 
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Size: pages
Price: 2.99

I, for one, did not expect this.

Over and over, for seemingly weeks, Mark Millar has been playing up to my expectations of him.  He’s a guy who has incredible ideas and high concept pitches, but ultimately writes books that come off to me as a bit shallow.  Many, many people enjoy his work, and for the life of me, I just can’t get on board.  I usually like his work at the level of “Eh, it’s OK,” but feel like I’m supposed to be feel more like, “OH MY GOD THAT WAS THRILLING!”  The latter rarely happens.  But then, I’m a guy who likes quiet character moments, and comics that are more subtle, rather than flashy.

When Millar’s first issue came out last month, I thought, “Eh, it was OK.”  My problem with it was that it was just a rehash of Unforgiven, starring Logan instead of William Munny.  There was really nothing other than that, and I love Unforgiven to the exclusion of almost all other films not involving giant, mechanical sharks, so if you’re going to do an homage to the film, it had better be damned good (like Ennis’ Saint of Killers).  And once again, it was a case of everyone else absolutely loving this book, and me, once again, scratching my head, wondering what part of my brain is so disconnected from the zeitgeist.

As a matter of fact, I’m not sure why I read this issue.  So imagine my surprise when I found my reticence being chipped away as I read through it.  It was not unlike the time when I first watched Notting Hill with Lindsay before we were married.  I was there, with eyes pre-rolled; snotty air of superiority at the ready, when I found myself caring and enjoying myself before I could do a thing about it.

In this one, that happened with an arrow through the head.  It is perhaps not the greatest secret that if you want me to like a Marvel comic book, there are worse things you could do than include Clint Barton.  I am, as many of you know, a Hawkeye fan.  Most of the time, I am a fan of creators, but there are certain characters to whom I gravitate, and Hawkeye is my guy.  So when our intrepid travelers are accosted by members of the mutant gang from The Dark Knight Returns, who are dressed like Ghost Rider, and all seems lost, I chortled out loud when Clint put an arrow through that bastard’s face.

What worked for me in this issue was that Millar deviated from the roadmap of Unforgiven.  Previously, I had felt like I knew what was going to happen, and now, I don’t.  More importantly, it seems that I want to know, much to my own surprise.  In fact, I’m thinking about a long road trip through this post-apocalyptic world with Wolverine and Hawkeye, where all bets are off, and arrows can be shot through heads, and I find myself wanting that.  I could go for that.  I’d sign up for that newsletter.  I’d check the “yes” box if it sent me a note in class asking if like liked it.  And if Mark Millar is the guy to write that, then so be it.

Lest Clint get all the blame, I was also interested in Logan’s story in this one.  I think it was the fact that he didn’t fight back, and didn’t even seem like he was going to.  I realize that the crescendo of this story will be when he actually does pop his claws, but imagine for a second a story where that just doesn’t happen.  If they’re smart, they hold off on that as long as possible, building tensions and expectations, and continually turning off at the last second.  May I suggest more arrows, for example?

Do you know what really makes it easy to like this book?  Why that would be Steve McNiven!  Here’s a guy who, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to do his best work on Civil War.  Yet prior to that series, there was hardly a guy out there doing better work in mainstream comics.  I feel with this work, he is redeemed.  It’s gorgeous.  His layouts in particular are extremely impressive, adding an extra bit of oomph to the story, and making the whole thing seem just a bit more special.  It’s moody and dirty, and textured, and it’s sexy when it needs to be.  The page with Thor’s hammer on the ground, for example, is dramatic and exciting, and says so much about what that world is like, and it does it without a word.  McNiven’s figures almost come off as stiff at times, which can happen with guys who draw lines like he does, but the art always falls on the side of better than worse.  Basically, he’s one of the best guys doing superheroes, and he’s in top form on this book.

There, my soul is cleansed.  I can enjoy fun stories about a future Logan, so I can’t be all that bad right?  Next week, maybe I’ll be in the mood for Swamp Thing whining about flora and fauna based existentialism, but for now, I wait for those claws to pop.

Josh Flanagan
…and why are there no good Hawkeye action figures?
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. I, too tend to feel like most of Millar’s stuff falls a bit flat, but I love this story.  Of course, I thought Age of Apocalypse was the cat’s pajama’s, so this is my kind of stuff.

  2. while i really really really like this book this week, I wouldve picked it third behind the JSA Annual and GL. But that just shows how great this week was for me.

  3. You know Josh, this makes you the most Wolverine pickingest member of the iFanboy staff. You’re really shattering your indie-cred here! 😉

    I’m with you on the Unforgiven love.  I love Unforgiven to the exclusion of almost all other films not involving 10 minute long Omaha Beach landing scenes. I’m often heard muttering "It’s a hell of a thing killing a man" and you know what, this run’s kind of, sort of capturing the magic of that Eatwood masterpiece

     

  4. By the way, how in the world do you guys pump out a whole page of review like this on a regular basis?  I’m a pretty good writer and the above comment was all I could muster.

  5. @Andrew – We’ve been doing it for eight years.

  6. I can write 800 words about anything.

  7. Wait a minute….the POTW was a Wolverine title?…..Plus it was Josh’s pick?….and it was a Mark Millar book?…..

    *head explodes Scanners style*

    Man, I was not expecting this at all. But man, this was such a good F’n issue! More praise for McNiven everyone! I never would’ve thought I’d enjoy a Millar book either, but man he got’s the characterizations down to a T. Although the Ghost Rider gang is very silly….it fits with this book somehow. Although if I see a ‘Herald of Galactus’ gang then I will give up lol.

    Although this week’s Green Lantern could’ve easily been my POTW, this was a very close call as this was just as good. I have a feeling Conor and Ron will be flabbergasted for this podcast.

  8. Whaddya mean no good Hawkeye figures?  The Marvel Legends one was great! Classic costume, ant-man on an arrow…

  9. Josh, mate, I feel like someone has to sit you down and brake to bad news to you.

    You like Marvel comics. It’s not your fault, you like Marvel comics

  10. My POW was Black Panther. If you did’t read that one, pick it up. It was great.

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I quit!

  12. @edward – I love Marvel comics.  Always have.  I just don’t like bad Marvel comics, of which there are many.   Never said otherwise.  I don’t really like the X-Men, and I don’t really like Mark Millar.  This is why this is interesting to me.

    Also, I’ve picked Wolverine a lot.  When he’s written well, he’s the best he is at what he does.

    @Paul – HOW MANY TIMES TO I HAVE TO SAY SORRY!?! 

  13. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @josh – You can say it a trillion times.  I only need you to mean it once.  

  14. This book obviously has magic powers.  It’s the only explanation.  I was so ready to declare my unwavering distaste for everything written by Millar, and was half-convinced that no one (with the possible exception of Jason Aaron) could write a good Wolverine story anymore, and then all of a sudden this came along and took me completely by surprise.

    I’m just glad I’m not alone.

  15. Has anyone read the Fall of Cthulhu series? I got the second trade today, without having read the first, and I really dug it. I am partial Lovecraft style horror to begin with, so it isn’t a far stretch that I would like this comic. Each issue is a done in one story that also feeds into a larger epic. If you’re a horror fan, you’ve probably heard of this series already and maybe even read an issue or two of it. However if you haven’t read Fall of Cthulhu, and horror is something you jones for, definitely check this out.

  16. I normally hate Wolverine.  The only people who have got me to like him are Millar on UXM, Bendis in NA and UXM Vaughn on UXM and Whedon on Astonishing.  Anyone else usually makes me hate him and think he’s boring.  Although I wasn’t super satisfied with the first issue, I’m really glad to see that the second one is the POW.  I just loved it.  Blind hawkeye, Thor’s memorial, the last page.  Wow, what a great last page.  That just blew me away.

     

    Did anyone else realize that Hawkeye shacking up with the youngest Parker child most certainly makes him a cradle robber?

  17. I think why I like this Wolverine title, like anyone else is, is that it’s kinda fresh. Sure a post apocalyptic world isnt new; but for Wolverine it seems kinda original.

    You know the only other great story involving Wolverine with a premise like that?: that’s right ‘Days of Future Past’. It seems like this setting works for a character who is so boring now since he’s in like 20 titles for Marvel. Also, like Ron said about the first part, it’s Marvel porn here! So many references, so much tounge in-cheek jokes…it’ll make any Marvel fan explode Scanners style after just seeing that map from the first issue.

    Although Millar has a trend of cooling off in any series he’s done, this could work if they keep the tension up…..Also I know there was a ‘Wolverine: The End’ comic about an older Logan; but the day I mention that as a good series is the day I jam needles into my eyes.

  18. Has anyone else noticed Josh’s predilection toward comic book archers?

  19. @DAn – Yes, his therapist has.

  20. words fail me

  21. @Connor: Did his therapist mention anything about phallic connotations?

  22. the first issue of this was pretty but not mindblowing but this issue knocked me out it was so good.  And how gorgeous is Hawkeye’s daughter?  I loved the dialouge, the storyline taking all these unexpected turns, and that panel where it shows all the baddies tackling Logan and him just saying ‘they broke me.’  Good pick sir.

  23. This book was one of only a few good books I read this week, amidst a pile of average.  Can’t argue with the pick, because no other book stood out and surpassed Wolverine. 

    I will say that Black Panther was, to me, a huge disappointment– the first really bad book I can remember from Aaron, one of my favorite writers.  The way he maneuvured both sides into a Braveheart-style conflict bereft of technological weapons seemed all too convenient.  The "Kill Them All, Let God Sort Them Out" line was wince-inducingly bad.  Then there was the moment on the battlefield which was seemingly directly pulled from the movie 300 (the big tall guy vs. the King).  Until about halfway through, I thought the book would be good; then it nosedived into Derivative Land.

    But I still love Jason Aaron.

  24. I am not normally into superheroe comics, but this story is great, looking forward to the continuation.

  25. So I haven’t actually read any books this week and I’m not sure when I’ll get to them — but I wanted to comment I really enjoyed this review.  You do a great job of talking about the book and  letting us know not just that you enjoyed it but why.  I always appreciate that in reading reviews, and it’s one of the things I love about the site.

  26. Although this would not have been my POW (I preferred Black Panther), I am certainly sympathetic to your pick, Josh. The review was strong, as always.

    However, I wish you had kvelled a little bit more over McNiven’s art. Pictures like this are what makes comic books a special medium for storytelling.

  27. A crowd of the filthy, the downtrodden, the hopeless, reaching out for salvation to an enormous hammer embedded in the foreground.

    I love you, Steve McNiven (he said sheepishly, digging his toe in the dirt).  That splash page alone would have made this issue my POW.

     

  28. A surprising pick to be sure, but I’m pretty stoked to pick up my books later this week (darn fiance and her internship 4 states away).  My only hope is that my stack is as good as everyone is leading me to believe it will be.

  29. Josh is a closet Marvel Zombie–the "indie guy" thing is all an act

  30. This review is an excellent example to show the non comic reading public, that comic fans are not all fat, unintelligent slobs who still live with their parents. No offense to Connor or Ron, but this review was one of the most articulate and thought provoking reviews I have ever read. (and yes I have read more than a few) Great job Josh!!  Oh…and Wolverine was a pretty good read too!!

  31. @Josh- Could’nt agree more with this pick.  Though JSA and Green Lantern were standouts the part where Hawkeye killed the Ghost Riders made me go ‘ooh’ and seeing the people pray to Thor’s hammer just flat out ruled, pardon the excessive fanboy expressions.

  32. So Josh likes fun now ? who knew

    This book is my POW as well. The panel with younger Wolverine in trouble was moving for me. The last panel as well was breathtaking.

  33. Miller is a great setup writer. Anything after 2 issues tends to fall apart. Civil War had Gold all over it until #3 showed up with Clor. I hope this new series of his will prove me wrong. I’m saving the bucks for a collection if this does pan out well.

  34. I was hoping for a (first ever?) Black Panther POW this week but I can’t hardly complain about Wolverine. It was awesome. And it’s good to see a credible Panther story. Aaron in his wheelhouse is what it felt like. Too bad it splis back into obscurity when’s done.

  35. As my tastes tend to run in line with Josh’s, and this seems like a cool story that doesn’t require getting too into the X-verse, I may pick this up in trade when it’s ready.

  36. Not to be a B*tch, cause I LOVED this issue (so yeah, good pick), but a couple of things bugged me, namely Sabretooth being in the image of Wolverine being "broken", that and the mention of Cap.

    Now before you all explode at me saying "it’s out of continuity" or "stop being such a maroon" (which I actually sort of hope you do say, it’s so old timey)…I know I know.  It just sort of bugged me and took me out of the story cause, you know, Sabretooth is dead, and has Bucky Cap reached a point where he’s garners the same kind of respect (or more respect) than Hawkeye?

    Granted I read Cap in Omnibi so I don’t rightly know about Bucky Cap yet, but I suffered through the death of Sabretooth storyline, that one should stick.

    THat said, it sure is purdy to look at.

  37. Cap’s an icon, and we don’t know what happens to Bucky.  I understand thing that sometimes things, for whatever reason, knock you to the side, but what can you do, you know?

    And I don’t know nothing about Sabretooth, other than, do you really think he’ll stay dead?

  38. Yeah I don’t really, but I thought I read somewhere that, according to the X-Men panel, in order to make the Murasmo Blade (or whatever it’s called) a viable threat to Wolverine Sabretooth had to stay dead, and the plan was for him to stay that way.

    And you know, I wonder, unlike other characters (who, you know, have a little more depth) is there really a bunch of new Sabretooth stories to be told?  Maybe he will stay dead.

    But I hear you, it was just one of those things, luckily I have the mutant power of being able to move on, and it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the book.

  39. the only way I enjoy modern comics is by disregarding continuity except for the parts that pertain to the particular story I’m reading at that time.  Perhaps it should be named the Geoff Johns Method of Modern Comics Appreciation. 

  40. #66 was one of those books where I was looking through it at the shop, went home and realized I should have bought it, then picked it up the following the week. This story is going to be so much fun.

  41. I haven’t read all my books yet, but this was a sweet issue & will be hard to beat. The thing that baffles me, is that people are throwin’ out words like "fun" & "entertaining" about this book like they are dirty words, or some guilty pleasure. Arn’t comics meant to be fun & entertaining? Personally, I don’t read comics for any deep spiritual enlightenment. If a comic is fun & entertaining, that’s one of the best things it can be — and this run so far is both!

  42. I don’t think they’re dirty words, but I think that far too often, comics are written without a lot of thought, and then when that’s questioned, people say, "they’re just supposed to be fun!"

    It’s possible for something to be fun and entertaining, and still not insult my intelligence.  I demand more dammit, and pretty pictures and lame stories aren’t enough for me.

  43. Ahhhh, just got home and found a variant of issue 66 in my bag instead of this month issue, DAMN YOU EDINBURGH FORBIDDEN PLANET!!!!! (why do I continue to shop there?!!!). I just picked up the issue of Wolverine that was in the ‘This Months Comics’ section, the cover was different to my second printing of 66 and I just assumed it was 67, D’oh!

  44. I was waiting to pick this up in trade when it’s over. Should I, or is this better to read in issues? I thought it would be a good companion to Wolverine Origin.

  45. @ScottB- Don’t wait mate, pick it up now and then get the trade/hardcover. It’s fantastic (admittedly I’ve only read #66!)

  46. @ScottB  I tend to think of the stuff you *have to* read in issues as being books that are going to affect other things that happen.  Which this isn’t — and thinking of it as a bookend with ‘Origin’ is a really cool idea.

    That said, I went and bought the issue myself.  (Josh has a way of writing picks that make me really want to read the issues).  I have to say, I never would have guessed Millar wrote this — and the story wasn’t bad, but it was really the art that made it enjoyable, though.  Actually seeing the city sink into the ground (or the arrows go through the guys’ heads!) was really memorable.

    I’m not sure this would be my pick because I haven’t gotten to everything yet, but definitely a quality issue.   

  47. GL would be my pick, but this looks cool. I love Millar, but is is just me, or does it seem like he’s late on Kick-Ass?

    @Josh – 800 words on what’s up with that? 😉

  48. @Josh – You said: "It’s possible for something to be fun and entertaining, and still not insult my intelligence."

    Dude, I agree, that was my whole point.

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