Review: Wolverine by Chris Claremont

WolverineWolverine by Paul Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


KILL BILL!

Kill Bill

Or at least that is what I think of when I read this story since both main characters (Wolverine and the Bride) had to go to Japan to fight off their rivals.


Brief Introduction:

When I was looking through the comic book boards and I wanted to know what the best “Wolverine” story was, many fans declared that “Wolverine” which was written by Chris Claremont along with artwork by Frank Miller was considered the best “Wolverine” story out there. So, I went out and got this graphic novel and I have to agree with the fans that this was indeed one of the best “Wolverine” stories out there! This also features the first four issues in Wolverine’s new solo series during the 1980s which I was so impressed at seeing for the first time! Never have I have seen so much drama, romance and action contained into one graphic novel and because of that, “Wolverine” has remained to be one of my all time favorite “X-Men” stories about Wolverine!


What is the story?

Wolverine heads off to Japan to find the love of his life, Mariko Yashida, who is the daughter of Lord Shingen who is the Lord of the Clan Yashida, but discovers that his lover has married someone else, which breaks his heart. Along the way, Wolverine meets up with a mysterious assassin named Yukio who seems to know about Lord Shingen’s plans to take over all of the major crime gangs in Japan. Wolverine must put a stop to Lord Shingen’s evil plans to rule as the ultimate crime lord of Japan before it is too late!


What I loved about this comic:

The premise and Chris Claremont’s writing: I will admit that when I heard about this graphic novel, I did not know what to expect from another book about Wolverine and I actually thought that we would get another “Wolverine” book that is all about the fighting and Wolverine acting tough. However, in this graphic novel, what we got was an extremely thought-provoking and heartwarming tale about Wolverine’s romance with Mariko and his inner struggles with dealing with his “animal” side. I loved the way that Chris Claremont has shown us a more sensitive side to Wolverine as he struggles to get the love of his life back while dealing with the customs of her family, which the importance of honor and pride plays a huge role in his story. I also loved the intense kung-fu atmosphere of this story as it gave this story a more creative approach to Wolverine’s time in Japan and made the story exciting to read through. Chris Claremont has done an excellent job at writing this story from Wolverine’s point of view on the situation as we are able to see how Wolverine reacts to the situations he gets involved in Japan whether he is confessing his love for Mariko or fighting ninjas out to get him. It was also interesting seeing how Wolverine viewed himself and Chris Claremont does a brilliant job at portraying Wolverine’s insecurity about being seen as an animal as he usually uses violence to solve his problems. I really enjoyed the tone shift that Chris Claremont had provided when he introduced the other X-Men (Colossus, Storm, Cyclops, Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler) in the second story that was apart of “Uncanny X-Men” as Wolverine’s solo series was dark, while the “Uncanny X-Men” storyline was a bit light toned.

Frank Miller and Paul Smith’s artwork: When I heard that Frank Miller was doing the artwork for this graphic novel, I was actually blown away by this information because before I read this graphic novel, I was reading “Batman: Year One” which was a graphic novel that Frank Miller wrote himself and I was surprised that Frank Miller has actually done some artwork during his time at the comic book industry. Frank Miller’s artwork was fantastic as they greatly captured the fight scenes in this story. I loved the colorings that were done whenever the characters were in shadows as there are dark colorings shadowed on the characters’ faces which really gives off a foreboding feel to the situation. I also loved Frank Miller’s artwork on the fight scenes, especially the scenes where Wolverine is fighting a group of ninjas and the scene where Wolverine is punching the ninjas is effectively done. In the “Uncanny X-Men” issues of this graphic novel, Paul Smith did a brilliant job at detailing the fight scenes and the characters’ facial expressions and I loved the way that the colorings are much brighter in these issues than in Frank Miller’s artwork in the “Wolverine” issues.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

The only problem that some readers might find with this graphic novel is that there is some violence in the fight scenes. The violence usually has Wolverine cutting into another character and you can see some blood squirt out of the wounds. Now, the violence is actually pretty low-key here as sometimes the blood is not as realistically shown as it usually is in current comics, but the scenes of Wolverine cutting into people might upset some readers.

Wolverine


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Wolverine” is definitely one of the best stories dealing with Wolverine and anyone who is a fan of Wolverine or the X-Men in particular; I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this graphic novel to any comic book fan!

Rating?

5 pows

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Review: X-Women No. 1 by Chris Claremont, Milo Manara (artist)

X-Women No. 1 (One Shot)X-Women No. 1 by Chris Claremont

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Who let this shit slide through?!

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Go on a high-flying, death-defying, globetrotting adventure with your favorite X-Ladies. Storm, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Marvel Girl and Rogue save the world and look great doing it.

When I read the ‘and look great doing it’ part of the blurb, I thought this might be a little campy, but I never thought it would be downright insulting. After all, this was written in 2010. How bad could it be?

Well, bad enough that by the end of this, I looked a bit green…

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I’m not sure I can adequately explain the rage monster, so I’ll let the pictures help me tell the story.

The X-Gals go on vacation together for a little Girl Time.
Poor Kitty didn’t have a bathing suit, so she just used dental floss to cover her ass.

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After a night of drinking, Rachel gets kidnapped. As per usual.
But the X-Babes roll in to save her in the sexiest way possible.
Except she can’t leave, because they’ve got Emma Frost locked up, too!

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Oh no! They’ve lost their powers!
But Storm still has the power to get her ass in Rachel’s face.
Tee-Hee!

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Well at least something good came out of them losing their powers.
I mean, at least now Rogue can…touch the other women.

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Oh, and they can all lounge around in their panties making pouty lips.
Bonus!

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More unrealistic things happen, and all the ladies end up as extras in a soft-core cable porn movie.
Hapless Prisoners on the Island!
Isn’t the bamboo gag a nice touch?
My Rage Monster thought so, too!

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The smarmy guy with the goggles on his head is the leader of this island, and he take a shine to our fair Storm. He’s married to an equally over-sexualized woman who makes lots of angry/jealous faces while her husband paws at Ororo.

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She resists him at first, but eventually offers to stop struggling if he will free her friends.
But, no. He says he likes the struggle…

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Don’t worry! With the help of their new island buddy, Mr. McRapey, they take out the bad guys and rescue their friends.
Oh, look! That darn McRapey just can’t seem to leave Storm alone, can he?
*giggle*

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I’m so angry. So, so angry.
Even though I’ve always thought his dialogue was dry, crunchy, and stuck in the 80’s, I still used to have a modicum of respect of Chris Claremont.
He’s Mr. X-man, and his stories were responsible for changing things in the mutant universe. And he’s The Guy who changed a lot of things about the way comics were made, as well.
But you know what?
That shit will only carry you so far in my book. He pretty much has one more chance to redeem himself, before I totally write him off as an author. I get that he wasn’t responsible for the artwork, but that whole storyline with Storm was unacceptable.
Unacceptable! Do you hear me?!

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As for the artist, Milo Manara?
Well, this isn’t the first time he’s managed to Porn-up a female superhero.
He may have talent, but he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a mainstream comic book. His artwork is laughably erotic. And to be honest, I was laughing while I was reading this shit.
Well, right up till my daughter asked me what was so funny.
Shockingly, I didn’t find it nearly as funny anymore.
The thought that my daughters could read this, and perhaps even think that this degrading, offensive, and hypersexualized version of women was something to aspire to?

I. Don’t. Think. So.

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Review: X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix SagaX-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Flashback:

To be honest, I actually first heard of the famous “The Dark Phoenix Saga” through an episode of the 90s “X-Men” cartoon series and that was probably my favorite episode of the entire series! Now, I had the opportunity to read this story in its original comic form and I was totally blown away! Chris Claremont had a huge reputation of being the best “X-Men” writer in history and after reading this saga, I am starting to believe that and John Byrne’s illustrations clearly define the true art of this exciting saga that defined “X-Men” history!


What is the story?

After the X-Men defeated Proteus, they head back to New York to their secret headquarters and they are surprised to see Professor Xavier back at the headquarters. However, the X-Men will soon realize that a secret and powerful organization known as the Hellfire Club is watching their every move and they have plans for Jean Grey and her phoenix powers! Can the X-Men defeat this powerful organization of mutants? Read this comic to find out!


What I liked about this book:


Chris Claremont’s writing:
Oh my goodness! After I heard that Chris Claremont was known as the author who started the popularity of the X-Men, I just had to check out the “Dark Phoenix Saga” for myself and I was astonished at what I read! I loved the way that Chris Claremont provided a detailed plot about how Jean Grey has to cope with a terrible power inside of her and how the X-Men have to come to terms of possibly destroying her to save the universe. I also loved how much emotion Chris Claremont put into this volume as the other X-Men obviously did not want to kill her and it was great seeing the close relationship that Cyclops and Jean Grey share with each other. I also loved how Chris Claremont gives the audience enough information regarding the last few issues to help us understand the story much better and I will admit that the first time I have read this comic; I was a bit frustrated with all the words on one page. But then I realized that the deep and detailed plot of the story on each page actually became more interesting as the comic goes on and it really helped me understand the characters even better. I also loved the new roster of the X-Men which included Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Beast and it was even more exciting seeing the introduction of a young Kitty Pryde and Dazzler!


John Byrne’s illustrations:
I just loved John Byrne’s illustrations in this comic book! John Byrne gives us an old school styled look to the original X-Men (Wolverine’s signature yellow and blue outfit, Nightcrawler’s black and white outfit and Colossus’ red and yellow outfit) and it just reverts me back to the good old days when most comic books were illustrated in that old school way! There were so many memorable images in this comic such as Jean Grey reverting to the Dark Phoenix and you can see that she is truly beauty, but always has a frightening expression on her face as she destroys everything in her path. The image that truly stood out the most for me was the image of Wolverine being stuck in the sewers and he states:


“Okay, suckers—you’ve taken yer best shot! NOW IT’S MY TURN!!”

This image was so memorable and brilliantly done to me because it truly showed Wolverine looking so menacing when the Hellfire Club tried to kill him and this image was a inspiration for Joss Whedon’s run of “Astonishing X-Men” when the same thing was done to Kitty Pryde. John Byrne does an excellent job at making the characters extremely detailed from making the rivers have ripples to presenting shocked looks on the characters’ faces especially the X-Men’s shock at discovering the Dark Phoenix.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this comic:

Probably the only problem with this comic is that since it was written around the late 70s to early 80s, there tends to be too much dialogue and explanations of the previous issues filling up the page and many readers who are new to the X-Men franchise might be frustrated with reading all this extra information about the situation, just like I was the first time. Sometimes it slows the story down than necessary, but at the same time, it gives the audience enough information about the situation at hand.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” is the saga that truly defined the true storytelling of the “X-Men” franchise and is currently on my top favorite “X-Men” storylines list along with Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” run and hopefully, the current “X-Men” would have the same drama and wonderful storytelling that “The Dark Phoenix Saga” had.

My Rating?

5 pows