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For those uninitiated, Marvel’s MAX line publishes uncensored, no-holds-barred comics. The ‘R’ rated comics, if you will. This is probably the best place for a Wolverine comic. For a nigh indestructable beast-man with knives in his hands, he seems to often regulate himself to cutting up guns and generic slasher-y.
So what happens when you let this character stretch his, uh, claws? Let’s find out.
In the last seven issues of Wolverine MAX, we’ve spanned hundreds of years, been all over Japan, and fought everyone from Yakuza to Sabertooth. The story has played with some deep themes like redemption, love, and fate. It also brutally kills just… just a ton of dudes.
Last issue, Logan has moved to sunny Hollywood, California where he walks the beaches and plays with his dog, Dog. It all goes south when he meets a beautiful British model who seems too good to be true. HEY, MARVEL FANS, SPOILER ALERT: turns out to be way too good to be true and the whole things ends with double cross by Candy (who turns out to be a failed model turned porn actress) that leaves Logan and Dog dead.
Now healed and ready to super-murder anything that has a heartbeat, Logan sets out to siege a crooked porn magnate’s mini fortress.
It’s true that the uncensored nature lends itself to the story. Wolverine seems actually dangerous here. For years he’s talked about how down and dirty he gets, how much bloodshed he’s seen, how more carnage he’s waded through, but we never really saw anything like that. Here we get that feeling. Wolverine’s down in the filth gutting the scum and paying for it with his soul, the one thing that can’t regenerate.
Jason Starr’s writes a good Wolverine. He’s dark, he’s violent, but he’s still aware of good and evil. He hates what he has to do, knows how twisted and wretched it is, but knows too that it has to be done.
The stories so far have been much deeper than the visceral gore fest this comic could have been. Wolverine isn’t just cutting through droves of faceless meat bags, he’s actually facing real characters whose deaths have weight and stakes. The only real strike against it would be that sometimes it tends to overly dark and melodramatic. Using MAX to your advantage is one thing, but going out of your way to make everything the edgiest, the darkest only hurts the story.
I like the art here, or rather, I don’t dislike it. Much like the art in Bedlam, the sketchy, rough-ish art lends to the grimy, violent feel of the book. However, it does seem a bit… off. I’m not exactly sure what it is. For the most part, Felix Ruiz does a great job on pencils, especially drawing Candy. In past there’s been some instances of characters looking like the offspring of Sloth from The Goonies and Wolverine looking like a victim of some kind of terrible birth defect, but there wasn’t anything like that in this issue.
My biggest problem with the art is that there doesn’t seem be a lot of consistency. Wolverine looks different throughout the issue, sometimes panel to panel. The length and position of his claws change all the time. I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen in other books, but it happens enough in this book that it took me out of the story a little bit.
His claws would have to be like three feet long there
This is a soft recommend. It’s a good book if you’re interested in this kind of gritty (but like real grit), violent kind of stories. The MAX comics haven’t been too disappointing, and this is no different. However, you’re not missing out on a mind-blowing experience if you decide to pass on this.
Oh, and if you’re into dudes getting cut to pieces, yes, get this book. This is the all-you-can-eat buffet of dudes getting cut to pieces.