“Wolverines” #4 is a mess of a comic book and, though it’s understandable that producing a weekly comic book means that some shortcuts must be taken and the work may suffer in order to keep the trains running on time, there is a complete lack of anything that makes a comic exciting within these pages. What’s frustrating is that the team behind this book, from the editorial down to the lettering, is capable of so much more than this and have proven it in other places; for instance, writer Ray Fawkes has worked with the editorial team in the past on “Batman Eternal,” an incredibly well-received weekly comic. This book, though, looks and reads like it was made without a second thought.
Fawkes delivers a plot that is straightforward enough: the team recruits Fantomelle and regroups on their secret plane while Sinister schemes on cracking open the thin candy shell surrounding Logan’s body. The dialogue, though, paints each character as one dimensional and bland, distilling them to confusing behaviors. Daken is a sad whiny boy without his powers instead of the scheming, manipulative power broker he has been since his inception. Sinister, the scheming geneticist, is instead here a braying musical villain, nearing his solo at any moment. No one in the book is particularly likable and are only side pieces for Fantomelle, who is technically two characters with the personality of half of one. The idea behind this team-up is interesting but the ball is dropped in this book.
Ariela Kristantina’s artwork looks rushed and inconsistent. The page layouts are confusing, action angles reverse on themselves and character movements do not flow properly. Fantomelle leaps from a window early on, Kristantina using a ghosting of her leap to show her tactical movements in the air, though none of them look like they go together. Characters walk in and out of mostly empty rooms in ways that don’t make any sense. Where were Sabertooth and X-23 going as they left Daken and what motivation do they have to be immediately back in the room right afterwards? Sonia Oback only provides color but does not add anything to the story itself. Cory Petit, a very competent letterer, even blows a couple balloon placements. All of these issues really make the book feel like an afterthought of production, like the team was just trying to get something out the door with almost no time to do it.
The good news is that, from here, there is nowhere to go but up.