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Wolverine by Greg Rucka Ultimate Collection Paperback – January 4, 2012
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I don't think the artwork was the same illustrator throughout the entire series, but I wasn't real crazy about some of it. It's not that is was bad, it was excellent really, it's just not how I care to see super-heroes portrayed -Wolverine actually looks so much like a unclean bump, that you can almost smell him. And I get that these stories, like the original Wolverine series in Madripoor, is supposed to be a take-away from Logan's yellow and blue tights and more a noir-ish look at his life. Still I think a most folks would have realized who Logan was, instead of them being all like "Who is this mysterious grumpy stranger?"
Despite all that. I still really did enjoy these tales because if nothing else, I guess I like Wolverine as in not so uber-powerful and the gritty kinda hero he was intended to be. (less)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Darick Robertson, Leandro Fernandez (pencils), Tom Palmer, Jimmy Palmiotti, Nelson Decastro (inks), Studio F (colors), Esad Ribic, Leandro Fernandez, Darick Robertson (covers)
Collects: Wolverine #1-19
When the stories collected in this volume were originally published (eight years ago), I was not reading a lot of Marvel books aside from their Ultimate universe stuff. As a result, this Wolverine re-launch by Rucka went by completely under my radar. Looking at the covers (reprinted from the original series covers) in this book, I can, faintly, remember those issues on newsstands, but I never read a single one of the 19 issues collected in this book. In a way, that was to my benefit. I had no expectations or preconceptions of what the book would be like, other than a fair amount of respect for the writer, having read his material in other comic books. Wolverine stories are pretty hit-or-miss for me. Different writers take him all over the world on all sorts of different adventures and into conflict with all sorts of adversaries. Personally, I've always enjoyed his more down-to-earth stories the best, and most of the stories of this book place him in just those sets of circumstances. As a result, I found myself really enjoying this book.
There are basically three story arcs contained in this book, though all have some common threads and characters running through them to tie them together. Without giving too much away, I'll say that the stories involved militia/cult activity, drug trafficking, and the Weapon X program. All of the stories are excellent, with the first among them being my favorite. Wolverine characterized as a lone wanderer and reluctant hero is and always will be my favorite treatment of the character, and that's what Rucka delivers. Wolverine has got to be the most over-used character in all of comics, and he finds himself as a part of so many team books, he rarely gets his chance to shine. It's in stories such as the ones in this book that the character of the man can really be brought forth, closely examined, and respected.
Artwork on the book is pretty good. I have to admit that I'm not usually a big fan of Darick Robertson, but the work he put into this book is the best that I've seen from him. This was a very pleasant surprise. The way Robertson depicts Wolverine is really spot-on: short, powerfully built, hairy, grim, and - at times - almost more beast than man. As I've already said, this perfectly illustrates the character, and the fact that he is presented, here, in 19 issues wearing nothing but street clothes just seemed to make him that much more threatening in appearance.
Leandro Fernandez' drawings aren't as spot-on or dark as Robertson's, but his artwork is decent and definitely satisfactory. No complaints about his art. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that the included covers illustrated by Esad Ribic are some of the best illustrations of Wolverine I've ever seen. The painted covers remind me of works by Boris Vallejo, and that's a true compliment!
Overall, I found this book to be quite good, and I'm glad I happened upon it at my library. I didn't know Rucka's Wolverine work was this good, or that Darick Robertson had illustrated anything this well. I don't know that there is any hard cover edition of this book available or in the works, but the soft cover serves just fine as a reading copy. (I often prefer HC editions for my own library of books, but am fine with soft covers for my reading/lending copies.) The price tag is a bit high on this book, and I have to score the book a bit lower on that basis. It's really the only thing keeping me from giving this book a five-star rating. If you're a Wolverine fan and happened to miss these stories along the way (as I did), this TPB collection is an excellent way to catch up on some good Wolvie yarns. I prefer these Wolverine stories to anything that's come out in recent years, in fact.
Cool Factor: 8/10
Wolverine is like Spider-Man - a great character who so deserves a story arc as iconic and important as "Batman: Year One" or an "All-Star Superman" but who instead just gets year after year of the same old crap.
This isn't his "Year One" but it is a great story, and one of the best looks at his struggle with the animal aspects of himself that I've seen. The sabertooth/Native b-story in this collection is less essential, but still quite fun.
Greg Rucka is a solid writer. For years I thought of him in the same class as Ed Brubaker, but while Brubaker is almost never short of amazing (his run on Daredevil is THE Daredevil as far as I'm concerned) - Rucka sometimes turns in more workman-like stories. This is one of them. It's strong, fun, and has a good sense of the character. But it doesn't devastate the way Rucka's Queen and Country did. It is more in line with the quality of his Batwoman Elegy story.
Robertson's art is hit and miss for me. It freaks me out a bit, but is so closely connected with Transmetropolitan for me that I find myself feeling affection toward his insanely weird looking people anyway. He draws wolvie as a weird, hairy run of a man, which I really appreciated.
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Greg set Wolverine up nicely.Read more