Wolverine: Wizard Masterpiece Edition

Wolverine: Wizard Masterpiece Edition

By various

(Marvel/Panini UK)  ISBN 1-905239-42-4


Here is a great big book of mutant mayhem to introduce new readers to the world of Wolverine. Although not what I’d call masterpieces, and certainly not a section of the choicest cuts, this volume has good, solid action, lots of great art and many big name creators on board. If you are new to the X-scene this is a handy package to bring you up to speed without breaking the bank.

The first tale comes from Uncanny X-Men #139 and 140 (1980), with Chris Claremont and John Byrne at their creative peak, telling a gripping story of a reconciliation with Wolvie’s previous team, Alpha Flight that turns into a hunt for a carnivorous monster called Wendigo. This is followed by Shattered Vows (Uncanny X-Men #172-173, 1983), as the diminutive mutant prepares to marry a Japanese princess but runs afoul of prejudice, evil mutants, and the Yakuza. The excellent Paul Smith deftly underplays the art to superb effect and Claremont once again supplies the script.

Vicious Circle by Peter David and Todd McFarlane, comes from Hulk #340 (1988), and is fondly regarded by fans as one of the few times both characters truly lived up to their savage reputations, and this is followed by Ann Nocenti and John Bolton’s Hunter and Prey, originally published as a back-up strip in Classic X-Men #25 in 1988. It highlights the primitive side of Logan in a primal triangle involving a bear, an obsessive hunter, and our hero, in an arctic wilderness.

Next up is a classic tale from Uncanny X-Men #268 (1990), Madripoor Knights, a contemporary tale which also flashes back to World War II. Here a pre-claws and adamantium skeleton-ed Logan teams with Captain America and the Black Widow (sort of), whilst beating the stuffings out of arch-Nazi Baron Strucker and the ever insidious ninja gang, The Hand. Claremont’s story is illustrated by the then rising star Jim Lee.

The longest story in the book is taken from Wolverine’s own comic (vol. 1. issues # 150-153, published in 2000) as writer/artist Steve Skroce constructs an epic confrontation against insurmountable ninja odds when Wolverine has to rescue his adopted daughter from the clutches of a Yakuza gang-lord or become the unwilling weapon in a battle for underworld supremacy of Japan. Blood Debt is seventy-seven action-packed, gore filled pages that nevertheless manages to maintain enough decorum to keep an all-ages rating, something of a mutant miracle in itself.

Accompanying these tales are featurettes and commentary culled from the pages of the fan magazine Wizard, covering such diverse topics as Wolverines Greatest Foes, blueprints for his skeleton, the best and worst costumes of the last thirty years, and even “what if Wolverine had been a woman?”

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