Saturday, June 06, 2009

Wolverine: Origins #33-36

"Weapon XI"
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Doug Braithwaite
Inkers: Bill Reinhold, Cam Smith, Paul Neary, Klaus Janson, Jesse Delperdang, Andrew Hennessy, Kris Justice
Colourist: Andy Troy, Art Lyon
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: John Barber

Wow, that's an awful lot of inkers.

Officially, this arc is a Dark Reign tie-in. But Wolverine: Origins is a book that exists to tell a single huge conspiracy story. It isn't a book that does tie-ins. So, despite the banner, Way ploughs on with his story. The first two issues can broadly be justified as tie-ins. The second two can't, but they've got the banner anyway.

Here's the story. Daken wants to get hold of the Muramasa Blade (the magic sword made from Wolverine's blood or some such thing) so that he can have it melted down and grafted to his claws. Then, he'll have awesome metal claws too. So he lures the X-Men into coming after him, steals a bit of the Muramasa Blade (which, by happy coincidence, they decided to bring with them for the first time ever), and goes off to get two of his claws covered in metal by the Tinkerer. Wolverine goes after him, Romulus is hanging around, and... yeah, that's about it.

This isn't a Dark Reign story, but Way duly acknowledges Daken's inclusion in the cast of Dark Avengers. The problem is that he has to tack it on to the first act of his story, where it feels like it's been nailed on at the last minute.

More fundamentally, though, the story singularly omits to tell us why Daken wants to have part of this metal sword attached to his claws. All we're told is that Romulus wants it to happen, because this will make Daken the next generation Weapon X - somebody who can kill Wolverine. So far so good... but that doesn't explain why Daken, who is suposed to hate Romulus, would be willing to play ball. And when we get to issue #36, it turns out that these metal claws are crap, fragile, and have to be used with enormous caution. Which begs the question of why even Romulus would think this was worthwhile.

Perhaps there's an explanation in an earlier storyline that I've forgotten. If so, it would still have been nice - no, essential - to reiterate it in this arc, because it's the antagonist's motivation! And it's not as if the recap page is much help. Issue #36, for example, provides no explanation of Daken's plot (dismissing it as "mysterious" even though it was fully explained in issue #33), and offers no reason why Romulus' henchman is wandering around, all of which is essential information to understand the plot.

You could go on. What exactly does Daken do to lure the X-Men to New York? Nothing, really, but the story just asserts that he lured them. Why does Cyclops bring the Muramasa blade, which he doesn't normally carry around? It's essential to the plot, of course, but that's not a good enough reason, and none is offered.

The problem with Wolverine: Origins used to be that it was slower than treacle. It's sorted that out now; the pacing is fine. The problem now is that we've got a story stubbornly trudging from point A to point B without much obvious internal logic along the way, and characters acting irrationally because the plot demands it. The more you think about it, the less sense it makes. It's good enough on a scene-by-scene basis, but the big picture - and this book is all about the big picture - is confused at best.

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