That Beast Has Gone Bad: Reviewing ‘Wolverine’ #31
by Scott Redmond
A whole ton of things that were seeded all the way back in 2019 begin to bear fruit as ‘Wolverine’ #31 begins a major arc pitting Logan and X-Force against their former boss, Beast. A ton of slick action, lives on the line, and far too many Beasts fill these pages breathing some life into the series after a slower few months.
Krakoa has a problem. A Beast-shaped problem that has festered for years but has now reached a critical breaking point. Turns out one Beast was a massive issue that had to be dealt with, but now the island faces a whole team of Beasts who are completely in sync about their desires to “protect” Krakoa, by any and all means necessary.
Long-form stories told within the space of monthly releasing comic books can be a tough situation. There is always the chance that along the way the reader’s attention may be lost or waver, especially if it feels like there might be a deviation or road bump while traveling in the direction of a conclusion to whatever the eventual destination might be. There has been a story being told by Benjamin Percy that has weaved across both Wolverine and X-Force since both titles began all the way back in 2019. It’s a story that was mostly told in X-Force but has dipped into Logan’s title at times, especially in the last handful of issues where the story has dominated.
That story being the utter horrible things that Beast has been doing as the leader of X-Force in the name of protection for the island, no matter whom he has harmed, killed, or used against their will. Just a glance at my previous few reviews will showcase a bit of a roller coaster where at times this title feels like it’s been stalling and spinning in circles, while other times I’m all for it and it has great momentum. This is the latter situation.
Turns out that finally seeing Beast just go full evil and a cathartic moment last issue of Wolverine gutting him was a great hook to get me fully invested back into what is happening. Beast just going supervillain and not even pretending really anymore has been a long time coming and there is hope that once Logan and the rest of X-Force win in the end, fingers crossed, either the character will be shuffled off the board for some resting time or can be reset to a better less genocidal murderous asshole version. (There was a pointed reference in the data pages about how the Avengers-era Beast is still in Krakoa’s resurrection queue cradles…).
Another thing that is somewhat growing on me would be the art for this series from Juan José Ryp. While I still feel that there is something about it that doesn’t fully fit this series and its subject matter, this issue feels a lot more dynamic than some of the previous ones. I think that could be from the fact that there are far fewer flashbacks and mindscape sequences of static style images we’ve seen a ton and far more action and moving pieces. The body horror moments of the issue and the moment that Beast turns X-Force’s headquarters the Pointe into a giant skull-faced shambling robot of sorts made out of Krakoan vegetation are pretty slick and cool looking.
There is still a bit of shiny glossiness to the overall presentation, both in the overall artwork but also the colors that Frank D’Armata provides. I do think they work better here than previously, feeling a growing theme here, as there is a lot more variety and naturalness coming off them. Krakoa feels lush and green and vibrant, the Hatchery has a glowing and powerful feeling, and Beast’s new lair in The Pointe feels shadowy and yellow and ominous. It just all sort of works here and I’m down with that.
There is plenty of emotion, energy, and power showcased within the lettering by Cory Petit, some of it playing very well into the horrific and dark tones of the issue (some of those SFX are quite squishy). I like that Petit uses sentence case here for dialogue as it makes a good normal/base sort of tone or volume for dialogue, which allows for making the louder/quieter moments more clear with a few changes to the font.
I do think that there should have been just a slight difference made to the narration captions of Beast and Logan as they are exactly alike, and it took a moment for my mind to click that we were back to Logan narrating. Just a minor thing really as once you read the words it’s pretty clear who is talking but at the moment it just caused a slight pause.
Starting to think that seeing Beast gutted and knowing that he’ll probably be taken down a bunch of pegs pretty darn soon now that he’s a full-on villain might be a feeling I’m riding high on because I’m feeling very into this book now. Wolverine #31 is now available from Marvel Comics.