I’d never thought about how much Dougie Braithwaite’s recent style looks like the style used by Bill Reinhold in the days of First Comics, but seeing Reinhold (with Mike Manley) ink Braithwaite on “Wolverine Origins” #45, I couldn’t help but recall the crazy shenanigans of “Badger.” This issue looks like “Grandson of Badger,” and it’s an appropriate look, because though it’s played straight, this is a goofy superhero romp, filled with bizarre team-ups (Bruce Banner and his space-son, plus the… Silver Samurai?!?!), characters who look like rejects from the old “If They Did It” segment from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (that would be Romulus, who is supposed to be some master puppeteer, but looks like the offspring of Logan and Sabretooth), and Steve Gerber creations.
Yes, the great Steve Gerber’s greatest creation — not Howard the Duck, but Ruby Thursday — appears in this issue as a potential ally of Wolverine, turned into a tentacle-headed enemy by the persuasive powers of Romulus.
It’s silly, and it’s fun, and with its gritty artwork and straight-faced telling, it’s a strange little, yet never boring, comic book story.
Because it turns out that this elaborate plan unveiled by Wolverine, which involved busting Ruby out of prison in the previous issue, is actually not his plan at all. He’s using double reverse un-psychology to baffle Romulus, since Romulus always seems to know Logan’s every move. But this plan is so zany, and makes so little sense, that Romulus won’t be able to figure it out, and that’s because the plan wasn’t even concocted by Wolverine, but by the Answer, a tenth-rate supervillain who Wolverine was using to outwit Romulus.
Yes, that is the actual plot of this issue, and it makes sense within the story. And it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than some of the previous issues of this series, which were based around a plot like this: Something bad happens to Wolverine = Romulus is behind it = Wolverine makes a mad face. Now that Logan has begun to turn the tables on Romulus, the new structure looks more like this: Something bizarre happens = Wolverine playing his own version of Romulus’ game = Wolverine grins like Clint Eastwood.
It’s better that way.