Wolverine: Sabretooth Reborn (Anglais) Relié – 5 février 2013
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COLLECTING: Wolverine (1988) 310-313
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Il y a quelques semaines, Wolverine escaladait le somment d'un building en plantant ses griffes dans la façade, jusqu'au sommet et à l'antenne où il trouve Tyrone Johnson (Cloak), enchaîné au mat. Ce dernier lui apprend qu'il est tombé dans un piège qui a permis à Sabretooth (déclaré mort dans "Evolution") d'enlever Tandy Bowen (Dagger). Logan comprend immédiatement que cet enlèvement avait des objectifs multiples : (1) contraindre Cloak à libérer Romulus (c'est chose faite), et (2) attirer Wolverine dans un piège.Lire la suite ›
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Bonus: Sketchbook, Interview, Variant Cover Art
The issues collected here are the sequel to the "final" battle between Wolverine and Sabertooth (collected in Wolverine: Evolution ). And much like the predecessor collection, this graphic novel holds all the great promise of a page-spanning epic battle between Victor and Logan. This novel largely delivers: Sabertooth's death was, in typical comic book fashion, not really his death. Wolverine and Sabertooth tussle with all the jaw cracking, lung puncturing, flesh burning action that artist Simone Bianchi can skillfully draw. If you don't know Bianchi's art, this novel contains some great panels.
This epic sequel battle is a little muddied by a plot that ties the collection together with some recovered and possible false memories provided by brother and sister Romulus and Remus. The upside of the Romulus/Remus plot is that it afforded writer Jeph Loeb the opportunity to crack wise about Logan's penchant for redheads. Otherwise readers are in for a mostly confused possibly alternate history about Weapon X, Department H, Lupine Mutant Evolution, and a brief Latin lesson. The moral of this plot seems to be something along the lines of "take swimming lessons before trying fight Wolverine". Minus 1 star for this tangential plot.
I subtract a second star for this second-rate hardcover. I am used to the glued binding for the smaller hardcover collections, but the lack of book jacket combines to create an overall impression of a cheap publication. If I had paid full cover price, I might have been disappointed with the book.
The story continues in Wolverine: Covenant
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Simone Bianchi (pencils), Simone Bianchi, Mark Morales (inks), Simon Peruzzi, Jason Keith, Morry Hollowell & Guru EFX (colors), Simone Bianchi & Simon Peruzzi (covers)
Collects: Wolverine #310-313
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! I remember a day and age when anything written by Jeph Loeb was nearly guaranteed to impress and be enjoyable to read. Nowadays, the exact opposite is true. You can almost guarantee his stories to disappoint, frustrate, or bore. This steaming pile of crap is a fine example. (Spoilers Ahead!)
When Jeph came on board this title a couple years ago for a short story arc (Wolverine: Evolution), he introduced a new character, Romulus, who was supposedly the secret mastermind behind all of Wolverine's actions through the years. Both the character and the plot line were very poorly received. The character seemed a bit like an older, larger, and smarter Wolverine/Sabertooth combination. His backstory made little sense, and his current plan for Wolverine even less. Loeb was widely criticized for his poor writing on that story. About the only somewhat cool (or significant) event in that book was the "final" showdown between Wolverine and Sabertooth, in which Wolverine permanently kills Sabertooth by using a mystical sword. It was a cool fight scene and a fitting end to that character.
As is the way in comics, though, we hadn't seen the last of Wolverine's arch-nemesis. Oh no! Wolverine meets Sabertooth in hell in the midst of another poorly-written Wolverine story by Jason Aaron (Wolverine Vol. 1: Wolverine Goes to Hell). Wolverine and Sabertooth duke it out in hell and Sabertooth does his best to antagonize Wolverine as much as possible until Wolverine "climbs" out of hell (Yes, he climbs up and out of hell. I TOLD YOU it was a stupid story!) and returns to his everyday life.
Now, Sabertooth is back, too. Did he "climb" out of hell like Wolverine? Of course not! That would actually require a bit of continuity in this non-sensical universe. Loeb goes down that all-too-familiar road of story-telling and tells us that the Sabertooth killed by Wolverine was a clone of Sabertooth, not the genuine article. Who cloned Sabertooth? Well, the fine folks at the Weapon X program, of course! Oh, you thought that top-secret facility had been decommissioned and destroyed long ago? Well, yes, it was, but it has been rebuilt. By who? No one knows, it seems, as Jeph was too lazy to come up with any sort of explanation for that. Not that it matters, anyway, as the fully-functional but empty facility is burned down by Wolverine by the end of the story arc.
So who was the Sabertooth that Wolverine was talking to in hell, if the Sabertooth he killed was just a clone? No real answers there, either. Sabertooth gives some vague references to "getting smarter" while he was dead, but nothing that makes any sense or follows any in-book continuity. It's complexly amateurish story-telling. No real answers are given, nor will any be given, as the story makes no sense.
Romulus is back, too, after being banished to the Darkforce dimension by Cloak in a previous storyline. Romulus is back to manipulate Wolverine for purposes, unknown and unknowable, and he has a new plan, too. Now, instead of trying to make Wolverine in his own image, he decides to make himself in Wolverine's image, so he gives himself an adamantium skeleton and claws. It's like the frustrated and senile Loeb couldn't take all of the criticism he got from the first story arc, so he tried to un-do everything he did in that book and go in the opposite direction. None of it makes sense, of course, so he gives himself an out through use of the classic re-hashed answer to all of Wolverine's continuity errors: Not all of my memories are true. Some are false and some are partly true and some are true and some have been erased. What a bunch of drivel! Wasn't the whole point of the Wolverine: Origin story to finally get past all of that? To top it off, it turns out that Romulus also has a "twin" sister that looks nothing like him. In fact, she looks an awful lot like Jean Grey and hooks up with Logan, immediately. Her name? Oh, certainly you can guess it: Remus! Why? Because Jeph Loeb has no original ideas.
This book is destined to be one of the absolute worst Wolverine books ever written. It's a shame that Simone Bianchi's fantastic artwork had to be linked to such a terrible storyline. The guy is a great artist. Why won't Marvel put him on something worth his skill? Also, why won't Marvel lock Jeph Loeb out of the building and stop returning his phone calls? This guy might still sell some comics due to name recognition, but he hasn't written anything worth reading in years.
Cool Factor: 2/10
Wrong. (Spoilers follow.) The entire Romulus albatross is trotted right back to the forefront. To make matters worse, Loeb goes for double or broke--he doubles down on the Romulus formula and introduces a new character, his sister Remus! Sabretooth, whose arc this is supposed to be about, is relegated to window dressing.
At least this story resolves the burning question: How? After having beheaded Sabretooth during Wolverine: Evolution, how was the archenemy able to beat death and return? What sort of original, character-driven reason would Loeb put forth to explain this? Simple: Sabretooth never died at all! It was just a clone that Wolverine killed! But if you think that's a bit of a letdown, don't worry. As consolation, at least Sabretooth explains what it was all for and what he's been up to in the meantime. Sabretooth claims that he was "away...training...learning...making [himself] smarter." As far as what that means, or what the practical ramifications of him being "smarter" are supposed to be, we never do learn; he does change tack and uses an explosive to end a fight rather than his claws, but this certainly never poses a serious threat to Wolverine, so...is that meant to be all? In the creator interview section at the back of the collection, in which the interviewer (who obviously hasn't actually read this mess) clumsily asks about how Sabretooth has grown as a character, Bianchi can only answer dodgedly, "It's too early for me to say." When asked about future ramifications, Loeb ducks and covers, answering, "He's going to cause all sorts of headaches in the Marvel Universe." (Your mission there is already accomplished, Jeph.)
I'll cover just a few memorable plot points. Wolverine returns to the Weapon X facility early on, probably for the hundredth time, to find dozens of Sabretooth clones in birthing tanks. When he arrives, the first one to burst forth and attack him proclaims himself to be the real Sabretooth. The reader is supposed to take this at face value, despite the strangeness of the fact of his being side-by-side in a tank, for some reason, alongside a bunch of clones. This is never questioned or addressed. It's as though the pages were already drawn with the intention of them all being clones, but Loeb decided that, rather than plot a separate scene showcasing the return of the real Sabretooth, he decided not to overthink it and to just elect one of the clones as the real one instead.
In an aside, Loeb aborts his entire plot from Wolverine: Evolution--in a single panel. When Wolverine questions Remus about Romulus's claim that certain mutants, such as Romulus and Wolverine, were descended from wolves, Remus replies, "I hope you didn't believe any of that." So the revelations from Wolverine: Evolution, which were clearly intended to be serious additions to the mythos at the time, are brushed aside by the same creator that thought them up in the first place. Small mercies! In the last chapter of this arc (Titled "Revolution"--get it? Sounds kinda like the last arc, "Evolution"! Like the Beatles song!) Loeb manages to drop some all new bombshells about Logan's past, but considering his shoddy track record of mismanagement in that department, at this point who even cares?
Bianchi's art is fine to look at, as always, although it's not always very dynamic. The quality of the story does drag it down. (In the interview, Bianchi notes that he passed up other work to team up with Loeb again on this. I have to express some concern for his mental health and question whether he's well.) John Roshell, credited for book design, deserves some credit too. The format of the book, including the opening title pages, font, and layout of the interview, is quite nice. It's a shame that it's all in the service of showcasing this rancid turd.
Collects “Wolverine” #310-313 (2013)
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Illustrator: Simone Bianchi
I am sure by now everyone has come across Wolverine’s origin story. Whether it is the horrible film adaption, or one of the various comic depictions of the Weapon X program, most have an idea of how Wolverine has obtained his adamantium claws. So when Jeph Loeb decided to take a stab at reintroducing this story, I was interested. Plus he had the talented Simone Bianchi backing him up. In theory, this sounded like it would be a great team up.
Jeph Loeb has my respect. When one creates classics like Batman: Haunted Knight, Dark Victory, Hush etc., it is safe to say that the man is talented. However, there are a few instances where Loeb begins to lose what makes him so special. Wolverine: Sabretooth Reborn is one of these instances. I won’t go as far as saying “This book is destined to be one of the absolute worst Wolverine books ever written” as others have been fond of claiming, but there are a few mishaps along the way.
The largest complaint one will immediately find with the book is the lack of Sabretooth. One might ask, how can a book be subtitled “Sabretooth Reborn” with there being a distinct lack of said character? I honestly do not know. Sabretooth takes a backseat to Wolverine, Cloak, Dagger, Romulus and, finally Remus. It is one thing to play second fiddle to Logan, but it is another thing to be relegated to the most mundane and minor of characters. Sure there is a cool fight scene at the end of the story, but it is brief and Sabretooth does little to add to the combat. At this point, the story would have been better served if Sabretooth were not a part of it. His presence seems tacked on; almost as if Loeb said to himself “Damn, I forgot to add the title character” and then randomly placed him into the beginning and end of the story.
Now, since this is actually a story of Logan’s relationship with Romulus and Remus, I may as well talk about them. Romulus, despite being drawn brilliantly, is the most one-dimensional characters I have come across in a long time. His whole purpose is to replicate the Weapon X program (which was magically rebuilt by some unknown entity) and then destroy Logan. There really is not much more to this character. He grunts a lot and repeats the same damn lines over and over again.
I think Romulus could have been a fantastic character if he had his own book or was depicted better in this book. Romulus and his twin Remus (depicted as a beautiful woman with red hair) are the individuals from Roman mythology. They are said to be the original mutants and have spent hundred of years adapting their abilities and gaining new ones. This in itself is pretty awesome. What are some of their feats? Was Romulus always an antagonist or was he a conflicted protagonist that began to develop hatred of humans somewhere along the line? By answering these types of questions, Loeb would have developed his character into a far more interesting being.
Meanwhile, Remus, who is unfortunately made out to be nothing more than a love interest for Logan, could have been equally as badass. Simone Bianchi clearly loved drawing this character. Each time she appears in a panel she is the dominant presence. Bianchi’s art is absolutely stunning and most of the best panels feature Remus. Again, if she was fleshed out more, perhaps in a standalone story with her brother, I think this character could be marvelous. But until that happens, Remus and Romulus are going to be subjected to “D” class characters.
Unfortunately for fans of the Wolverine and Sabretooth rivalry, this isn’t the best story. It features some fantastic art, but that is not enough to save this tale. If you are heavily into the Wolverine mythos you can pick this one up and enjoy it for what it is. However, if you are merely a casual fan looking for an interesting story, there are far better choices then this one.
Fantastic art, poor characterization, poor plotting, and poor dialogue.
Two Stars (based purely off of Bianchi’s art)