Sunday, June 23, 2013

Things to Come!

Just wanted to break regular programming to announce that the Uncanny X-Periment will be shifting a little bit over the next few months.   There will be a slow down in regular X-Periment up-dates, as I'm still trying to get caught up.


Next month, expect a brand-new twice weekly up-date!  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the X-Men, I will be posting short review/summaries of  the TOP FIFTY X-MEN STORIES EVER!  This will start 7/1.  Be ready!  Be X-CITED!


Be there, true believer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Uncanny X-Periment # 167: The Reckoning

Wolverine Origins # 41 – 46, Dark Wolverine # 85, Wolverine # 47, Dark Wolverine # 86, Wolverine Origins # 48 – 50

Wolverine needs to work out a plan to defeat Romulus.   The problem is, Romulus knows Wolverine so well that every move he makes, Romulus is already going to know.  So Logan meets with “someone” who advises him on a new plan.  Logan goes to Banner to recruit him, only to find that Banner can no longer turn in the Hulk.  Luckily, Banner has his son Skarr, who is big and Hulk-like.  They initially reject Logan’s proposal, but later reconsider it, as Banner is trying to the best he can by his son, same as Logan.  After securing Skarr, Logan makes for Japan and teams up with Silver Samurai.  The Silver Samurai trains Logan who to wield the Muramasa Sword, then they find out that Dagger has been kidnapped by Romulus.  Wolverine and Cloak rescue her and Logan kills Victor Hudson.  Cloak attacks Logan with the Darkforce Dimension, and it’s revealed the Logan fears the future.  Cloak, pushed by Dagger, agrees top help him.  Logan, Skarr, and Cloak break into the Raft to rescue Ruby Thursday, to whom Logan reveals his big plan to to gain her trust.  Unfortunately, the plan goes down the tubes and Ruby gets captured and interrogated by Romulus.  Logan and the gang meet back up with her and eventually sent her back to the Raft, the plan foiled completely.  Logan goes the Answer, who reveals that the plan was always to get Ruby out, because he loved her.  Logan then meets up with Deadpool, who also provided Logan with a plan (I think.  This was really confusing).

After making a confession to Kurt about Mariko’s death, Logan finds Daken, who is back to being a “bad-ass” now that the Dark Avengers are no more.  The two plot to take down Romulus, which involves lots of false plans and fake-outs, but eventually leads to Romulus confronting the pair in Ankara.  Skaar jumps in, and Daken decides to take out his father.  Wolverine’s plan has been to expose Romulus – a major blow, since his greatest asset has been to remain in the shadows.  Eventually, the battle gets outta hand.  Logan has to reel Skarr in, and both Romulus and Daken escape together.  They head to a safehouse, or something, and Romulus talks about how the gods are losing their power and how he was worshipped as a god as a cave man.  Daken attacks him, but Cloak whisks Romulus away.   He is dumped in front of the Howllett mansion, and Wolverine comes to a realization, spurned by the Silver Samurai turning training.  He realizes that when he loses control, when he goes berserk, his balance is lost.  Logan, instead of killing Romulus, banishes him to the Darkforce Dimension.  Logan at last understands that revenge is no longer an option; that all these years of obsessing about vengeance has led him nowhere and he seeks to stop his son from going down the same path.  He engages Daken, and defeats him by not going for the kill.  Logan then removes the parts of the Muramasa Blade that were placed in Daken’s forearms.   He buries them, along with the sword itself.  He lets Daken live, now that he is no longer able to kill his father. 

Logan retreats into the woods to build a cabin and is visited by Nick Fury.  They talk for a while, but the conditioning Logan was put through and, finding out it’s his birth, Logan begins to hallucinate.  He pictures all the women in his life that have been killed and, in the process, nearly kills Nick Fury.  Luckily, Fury has some of Logan’s heal factor or something on hand and uses it to heal himself.  Nick leaves and Logan is forced to the face the future that he feared.  A future without revenge, without vengeance and hate.  Logan let’s go of the past and moves forward.  That’s best at what he does.  Hopefully.

The first part of this was really confusing.  What was Logan’s plan?  Who is Ruby and the Answer?  How did Ruby factor into this?  Why did Logan need Hulk and/or Skarr?  Did he know that Romulus approached Skarr?  What was up with Deadpool having a plan?  All of this was really muddling and confusing.

The second part was better.  Skarr felt unnecessary and the end of Romulus was anti-climatic. 

(Logan.  Buddy.  I don’t care if you’ve given up revenge.  Kill this guy.  It’s okay.  There’s no one that doesn’t want you to.  I promise.  It’s okay.)

What I did like was Logan’s disarming on Daken and then letting him go.  It’s about a “papa spank” as Logan gets and it’s done well.  I think it’s too Daniel Way’s credit that Daken doesn’t have a “moment of clarity” and decides that revenge isn’t worth it.  If there’s one thing that we can from Daken, it’s that.   He is exactly what is.  I like to think this sort of anti-revenge, I’m-gonna-teach-you-a-lesson move serves an excellent transition as to what is come, with “Schism” and “Wolverine and the X-Men” and whatnot.

As for Logan, well, I do like the turn of events where Logan decides to give up REVENGE FOREVER.  It make sense, after all this.

But let’s not kid ourselves.

This isn’t very good.

You see, in preparation for this review, I read all of “Wolverine Origins,” as well as the terrible “Evolution,” throughout the week.  I wouldn’t say its punishment, because it’s not horrible.  But it’s not good. 

To Daniel Way’s credit, I can say with some certainty that he is a decent writer.  He peels away the layers to this story one issue at a time.  Up until “Family Business,” we are slowly shown how these patterns in Logan’s life connect and how these people he’s interacted with all link up.  “Family Business” is where the book goes from being about Logan discovering his past to Logan trying to actively stop Romulus and save his son.  For Daken, it turns into revenge on Logan and taking Romulus’ empire for himself.  By that point, all of the cards are on the table and everything is out and in the open.  From there, Logan and Daken get proactive about their agendas and it all ends like up above – with Romulus removed anti-climatically, Daken being forced from being able to kill Logan, and with Logan swearing off REVENGE FOREVER.

Honestly, therein lies the problem.  Everything about the “Romulus manipulated your life” plot has reeked of inconsistencies, an over-reliance of coincidence, and an overall feeling of “WTF, really?!”  I hate that we have one character that has just made an appearance at the start of the series serve as this grand orchestrator of Logan’s life.  It’s silly.  It’s contrived.  It just doesn’t make sense.

(I actually ranted more about in some previous X-Periments and, btw, many of those questions remain unanswered.  Also, here are the other "Wolverine Origins" entries: Origins and Endings, Evolution, Original Sin, and Dark Reign).

Ultimately, in the most basic sense, this series failed to be what it could have been.  All of this Romulus stuff could have been removed.  I like Daken.  Really.  I think the guy ended pretty well developed, even though there are still lots of questions about there about it. 

In place on this Romulus stuff, I would have rather have seen issues with the Weapon X project and its relationship with the World Plus Program resolved.  I wanted to see the Facility from X-23 explored.  I wanted to see more flashbacks, with more opportunities to explore Logan’s past . . . without showing so much to remove all of the mystery of the character (which this series did anyways).   I wanted revelations and new mysteries.  I wanted redemption and revenge.  I wanted Logan to have to deal with all these aspects of his life – X-Man, Avenger, and working solo – and how they fit into his rediscovered past. 

But no.  We got a weird, convoluted, over-the-top story that doesn’t give us much satisfaction in the end.   I don’t really blame Daniel Way – or even Jeph Loeb.  I liked that Wolverine gave up REVENGE FOREVER and that we now have punk-ass Wolverine Jr.  And that’s pretty much it.

OH!  “Our War” is still great.