Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Reads You Review - MARVEL MUST HAVES: Wolverine #20-22


WRITERS: Mark Millar
PENCILS: John Romita, Jr.
INKS: Klaus Janson
COLORS: Paul Mounts
LETTERS: VC’s Rus Wooton
ADDITIONAL ART: John Romita, Jr. and Richard Isanove
COVER: John Romita, Jr. with Paul Mounts
80pp, Color, $3.99 U.S., $5.75 CAN

Rated: PSR+

I was going through a stack of comic books that I found in the comics graveyard that part of my house has become. I came across Marvel Must Haves: Wolverine #20-22. I remember reading it or at least some of it some time ago. I do remember why I bought this comic book: it collected a hot story arc.

Mark Millar started writing Wolverine (Vol. 3) around 2004. His first story arc was “Enemy of the State” (Wolverine #20-25), which was drawn by John Romita, Jr., with inks by Klaus Janson and colors by Paul Monts. Because the early issues of “Enemy of the State” were selling out, Marvel Comics collected the first three issues in a “Marvel Must Haves” edition. For a time, Marvel re-offered portions of hot story arcs for readers who wanted to catch up on those stories without having to wait for a trade collection in “Marvel Must Have” comic books.

I can only remember reading part of “Enemy of the State,” but I do remember really liking what I read. I can say, after having recently read the entirety of Marvel Must Haves: Wolverine #20-22, “I gots to read da rest!”

In Wolverine #20, our hero, Wolverine/Logan, arrives in Japan to help an old acquaintance recover his kidnapped son. Instead, Logan finds himself battling ninja, before falling into the clutches of Gorgon, some kind of mutant, ninja-master. This is all part of plot involving three groups: Gorgon’s Dawn of the White Light, The Hand (a ninja outfit), and Hydra. Guest-stars include Nick Fury and Elektra Natchios.

In Wolverine #21, Logan infiltrates a S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier in the South Atlantic Ocean, where he takes on Elektra. Guest-stars include Kitty Pryde and Storm of the X-Men. In Wolverine #22, Logan infiltrates the Baxter Building for a battle royale with the Fantastic Four. Dr. Henry Pym and Tony Stark also guest-star.

I think that Mark Millar is one of the best superhero comic book writers to emerge in the last two decades. I’d place him in a group just behind Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Who else is in that group with Millar? Later for that is what I’ll say for now. Millar has a knack for creating these rousing stories with great action and suspense set pieces that turn his comic books into potboilers. He can do it without developing character relationships in a meaningful way or offering emotional resonance; his work is action movie comics.

I think this is one of those stories in which Millar’s script is more than just a guide for the artists. His writing dominates, and just about any comic book artist with strong storytelling skills could have done a good job with “Enemy of the State.” Janson’s inking streamlines Romita’s chunky compositions, and Mounts coloring makes the art pop off the page. Still, this is Millar’s show, and it’s a good show.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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