Monday, November 10, 2008

Weapon X: First Class #1

"Don't Look Back in Anger"

Writer: Marc Sumerak
Artist: Mark Robinson
Inker: Robert Campanella
Colourist: J Brown
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Mark Paniccia

"The Recruit"

Writer: Marc Sumerak
Artist: Tim Seeley
Colourist: Katie Desouza
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Mark Paniccia

Let's be honest, Weapon X: First Class sounds like it must be some sort of joke. The First Class books are all-ages titles. Weapon X was a vaguely experimental Barry Windsor-Smith story, light on plot, heavy on torture. It's hard to imagine an area of X-Men continuity less suited for the First Class treatment.

In fact, it doesn't read as weirdly as I'd expected. But that's mainly because it doesn't read like a First Class book. It's a flashback story with Wolverine asking Xavier to help explore his memories, all leading to a recap of "Weapon X" which starts at the end of the issue. Sure, it's got more of an eighties tone than today's Wolverine comics, but it doesn't feel like a kid book. It's more of a continuity primer, really.

Unfortunately, that continuity is all a bit murky. The framing device of Xavier exploring Wolverine's memories is all very well in theory, but sits uneasily (to say the least) with the current "Original Sin" crossover. And since this seems to be mainly a recap book, it's a bit of a problem that it doesn't seem to be on the same page as the current version of continuity.

Leave that aside, though, and you've got... a story recapping Wolverine's past. You probably know all this already, and it's not going to tell you anything new. There's nothing particularly wrong with the writing, it just doesn't bring anything new to the territory. The art's quite good, though - not too showy, but it's got some energy to it, and the subtleties of the body language are done well.

There's a back-up strip as well, an odd little thing which seems to be suggesting that Xavier thought about recruiting Sabretooth and thought better of it. Not subtle, but it adds a bit of intrigue for longer-term readers.

And in fairness, let's note that this book does offer reasonable value of money. It's four dollars, but for that, you get a total of 32 story pages - and that's acceptable, I think.

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