Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wolverine: Weapon X (2009)

Author + Illustrator: Barry Windsor-Smith | Page Count: 152

When all the secrets are exposed an’ all the runnin’ ends.  Hell… Hell is comin’.”

The story of how Logan got his adamantium skeleton.  You've maybe read or seen that same event elsewhere in comics or film, but in 'Weapon X' Barry Windsor-Smith, an auteur of the comic world, does it his way.  He scripted, sketched, inked and coloured the work; the only thing he didn't do was the lettering.

It uses the format’s strengths in every way.  Sure, you could adapt it into a film but you’d lose most of what makes it special because it’s not just the story that makes it memorable.  In fact, it’s hardly the story at all, it's the structure.

Often in comics when a page is broken up into patterns the positioning of dialogue is what helps us keep track of which panel to go to next.  That applies here too but it’s more complicated because the text boxes are arranged in a stylistic, unconventional manner and sometimes there's more than one voice speaking simultaneously.  A large portion of it is what I’d call background chatter that’s functional but hardly revelatory, and it’s repetitious, so why is it there?  It has a second function: it’s arranged in a circular pattern upon the page and in order to advance the story you sometimes have to read widdershins.  It’s like a clock face that requires you to read it backwards—it’s a timer counting down and we know what’s going to happen when that timer reaches zero.

It's structurally complex but easy to follow in practice.  There were only two or three occasions when I was unsure of which panel to go to next.

The book collects together Marvel Comics Presents issues 72 – 84.  The story is also included in The Best of Wolverine, Volume 1 (2004).

4 bestial needs out of 5

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