The Heart Of Danger: Reviewing ‘Wolverine’ #23
by Scott Redmond
‘Wolverine’ #23 ends the Deadpool team-up story arc in a surprisingly emotional and strong space, eschewing the cliche sort of conclusion that one might have expected to tackle something with more weight to it. We’re left in a spot where the three main characters on a collision course are left in far better positions once all is said and done.
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Poignant and important words that have resonated with humanity for generations. Sometimes though, the destination actually does matter more than the journey. For example, the current Deadpool-heavy arc of Wolverine.
As noted in the previous reviews for this arc, it has fit very much into a zone where it’s had its peaks and its lows. Not too great, and not too bad. That Goldilocks zone of just about right. Some of Wade’s antics have been a bit much, and some of the storyline has felt pretty standard basic for stories that have to do with these two odd couple characters.
Wolverine #23 brings it all to an end, and actually, it’s a pretty surprising and effective ending. All that middle stuff had its moments, but this ending is where it’s all at. Because it’s where we actually get to see Logan, Wade, and even Danger make choices and get what they actually truly deserve in some cases. It could have been a story that went very cliché and had them take Danger down as some cackling villain, but instead, Danger and Wade both were able to have someone they cared about saved/protected and able to go about life.
One of my critiques of the books that Ben Percy writes for the X-Line is that often some of the plotlines have been long long stretched out over the years as part of a very long form sort of storytelling. This series though right now bucks that trend because we saw resolutions here, and we saw growth. While Logan masked it through the series, Wade struck a nerve in this one that got him to realize that despite the man being a massive clown he means well and cares about others. How that will work going forward in X-Force, we shall see indeed.
Hitting those character voices is something that Percy can do well. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the version of Wade we’ve mostly seen here, the wall-breaking super quipster, but in this issue, we got glimpses of the Wade that is much more my speed. That is the Wade that sure is a clown and quips, but he has a good heart and is going through stuff and trying to mask it at times. This is the Deadpool that was so well received from 2012 to 2018ish with Gerry Duggan behind the pages.
As with each of the previous issues, Adam Kubert and Frank Martin remain the perfect choices for this story and this series/these characters as a whole. Kubert and Wolverine are like peanut butter and jelly, there is such dynamic energy that fills the pages no matter if there is action or just folks talking. Also again, the paneling choices that he’s making in these issues with the framing in many of the first pages just is gorgeous and so different and I love it.
Darkness goes hand in hand with these characters but so do bright flashy colors (I mean just look at their costumes) and Martin mixes those so well. That mix is done with a really sort of washed-out Earthy toned-down filter that makes the colors pop but also grounds the whole world, as much as one can ground stories that feature two dudes that heal from everything and slash robots/ninjas/monsters/etc.
There are a number of letterers that can be found handling a giant chunk of books on the shelves, Cory Petit being one of them, and their work speaks to the reason why. These characters in question come with special energy and tons of personality, and Petit makes that all resonate in any words they speak. Part of that is the colored bubbles or bits of SFX that fit with the characters/world, but it’s just about infusing the dialogue with that energy which is a hard thing to really quantify. It’s just something that you can feel when reading, the ability to ‘hear’ those characters with each word.
Reviewing comics monthly is a tough thing to do because you have to take pieces of the story before it’s complete and put them under the microscope. That being said, those pieces must be able to stand independently without the other pieces. That’s the nature of the beast when it comes to sticking with this monthly (or close to monthly currently with the world situation) format. I do plan to go back and read this whole arc together as a whole, and it’s quite possible that it changes my mind about a great many things, and some of those thoughts will stay the same.
In the end, though, the arc stuck the landing and brought some much-needed closure and a good feeling about the whole situation. That’s worth quite a bit.
Wolverine #23 is now available from Marvel.