Monday, January 24, 2005

Wolverine #21-23
writer: Mark Millar
artist: John Romita Jr
published by Marvel Knights

Millar's "Enemy of the State" storyline is going to have some wide-ranging afteraffects on the Marvel Universe. Well, it should...but the current policy of eschewing continuity for short, free-standing story arcs might negate that.
Wolverine's been kidnapped and killed by an alliance of the Hand, Hydra and a Japanese mutant group called the Dawn of the White Light. He's being sent to terrorize the US, and also to kill select superheroes so that they might be similarly brought back as terrorists by the Hand.
Wolverine is dealing out the death in major amounts, bombing power plants, causing chaos and tearing through SHIELD soldiers like they were paper cutouts. And all the while, he's a prisoner in his own mind, struggling against the conditioning that's making him into a weapon again.
Millar's a smart writer. I enjoy his stuff immensely. And this is one of his better efforts. The brilliance of the plan, to use superheroes as a weapon against their own kind, is the kind of mean-spirited thing that a superscience superspy supervillain like Baron Strucker would do.
The focus on SHIELD and Elektra is refreshing, too. Dammit, Millar could write a kick ass Nick Fury book...or a great Elektra book, if he didn't get bored and pissy. Hell, I'd pay good money to read a Fantastic Four book by Millar. In this story arc, the FF gets a visit from Wolvie...and they hand him his ass. They're not just four of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe, they're the smartest. And they show it. Damn, do they show it.
As it is, I'm thankful for this absolutely kick ass storyline, and can't wait to see how it turns out. Hell, I can't wait to see what happens in part 5! Part 4 ends on a terrific cliffhanger that has to be giving Brian Michael Bendis an ulcer.
John Romita Jr has always been a favorite of mine, but his style shift over the last few years has made him simply amazing. The dense, panel-packing nature of his art as well as his slightly sparse design creates a unique look that few in the industry can top his stunning visuals and gorgeous splash pages. He doesn't so much draw a book as unleashes it on your eyes. And with a top notch artist like Klaus Janson inking his pencils, Romita's work becomes the comic equivalent of high art.

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