Review: ‘Wolverine’ #14 Is A Noir Gem

by Tony Thornley

Free to cut loose and tell its own story, Wolverine #14 is a great example of not just what the character can do well, but also its creative team.

This is an extremely fun issue, even if it isn’t the most surprising. In this case, though, that’s totally okay. It comes from Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit.

Someone has stolen from the Hellfire Trading Company and left every clue in Madripoor. Naturally, that means Logan is headed into the belly of the beast to find the culprit. And it may just lead him to an encounter with the last mutant he’d ever want to see again.

Look, this story isn’t the most groundbreaking or surprising, but it is a great example of how good a relatively simple, but well told story can be. This issue plays to Percy’s strengths, even echoing some of the plot points and beats of his extremely good Wolverine podcast, “The Long Night.” The familiarity of the noir beats, tone, and so on allows the reader to get immersed in what’s happening while serving as a springboard to where the story goes nuts.

And goes nuts it does; because after the Raymond Chandler heavy opening, the issue introduces a modern day Isle of Tortuga by the name of Truant’s Bay, and it’s amazing. This back half of the issue is the perfect synthesis of the creative team. Percy comes up with the story beats and Kubert brings them to life. Martin’s colors make the splatterpunk pirates feel moody (and slightly ethereal), and Petit makes sure that the dialogue drives the story forward.

Now, that’s not to say they weren’t doing all these great things before the issue reaches this point by any means. Kubert’s pacing in the layouts is impeccable, drawing noir tropes in while playing with them a bit (though his characters — particularly Emma Frost — are heavily off-model). Martin makes the colors a little washed out, which creates the feel of a slight fog over everything that’s happening. Petit also does a fantastic job throughout, juggling a caption and dialogue heavy issue, and adding some very fun sound effects throughout.

It’s frustrating to have this perfect synthesis of the creative team happen so far into the book, but I still love it. This is the sort of Wolverine story I was hoping for when the creative team was announced, and we’ve come close to a story this good a couple times (particularly in the Maverick arc). It’s great to see potential realized, and I hope that we continue to get it moving forward.

Wolverine #14 is available now from Marvel Comics.

Overview

This issue is a fantastic encapsulation of what the creative team can do, as well as the potential of the series. A noir pastiche transforms into a pirate romp and it’s just one hell of a ride.

Overall
8/10
8/10
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