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Claws for Excitement!

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Let’s face it, Wolverine doesn’t need another series. Looking through the last two months of Marvel Previews, the character has appeared in one form or another in at least 32 different books. He already has three ongoing series to his name, and appears in at least three ongoing team books. And this doesn’t take into account all the different trade paperbacks, toys and posters featuring our favorite Canadian.

So, it would only be natural if the idea of yet another ongoing series starring Wolverine would be met with more than a fair share of distain. The only time you see things this overexposed is when someone lets too much light in at a film developer’s darkroom.

It would be understandable if these disgruntled fans would choose to ignore this new ongoing, Wolverine: Weapon X. Understandable, yet a major mistake. Because there is a really great reason for picking it up. And that reason is Jason Aaron.

We here at Guiding Lines are a big fan of Jason Aaron. For the last several years, we have been trying valiantly to get more people to read his truly spectacular Scalped, which I think is the best book being published by DC, let alone Vertigo.

Aaron broke on the scene with The Other Side, the 2006 miniseries which offered a parallel look at both sides of the Vietnam War. The series made its way onto many top ten lists and established Aaron as a writer to look out for.

Scalped started the next year, and it was marketed as The Sopranos on a Native American reservation. But really, that description doesn’t do it justice. On the surface it is a densely packed crime drama, but underneath it is a vivid character study. Each member of the cast is multidimensional—you find things to admire about the villain and find things that disgust you about the hero, and even the minor characters are thought-out and realistic. It is bravura writing in its purest form, and I really can’t say enough good things about it.

From there, Aaron moved over to Marvel and did some fill-in issues and storylines before taking over the reigns on Ghost Rider. His work on that title garnered him even more acclaim as he turned the series into a “Grindhouse” style mix of humor and horror. 

Some of the fill-in work he did was on Wolverine. His work on Wolverine #56 was a character study on one of the nameless lackeys you see in comics. While Wolvie was essentially a supporting character in the story, Aaron was able to instill Logan with character moments that showed he had a great understanding of the character.

This understanding was on display on his next two Wolverine projects. He wrote the “Get Mystique” arc in issues #62-65 of the main series and also the recently completed the Wolverine: Manifest Destiny miniseries, two of the best interpretations of Wolverine in recent years.

Aaron’s take on Wolverine stays true to the “I’m the best at what I do and what I do isn’t nice” maxim of the character. His Logan is a man who makes hard choices and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his goals are met. But he is also a man who is not unaware of the cost of his actions either. Aaron’s Wolverine is a complex and captivating individual, much like every other character Aaron writes.

So, if you Wolvie fans were thinking of taking a pass on Wolverine: Weapon X, maybe you should rethink that stance. You’ll be missing out on seeing your favorite character being written by one of the best writers in comics today. What’s more, it’s an author that has a thorough understanding of the character. If you pass up this, you might just be passing up a classic in the making!

Also out this week:

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1:

Fans of the recently cancelled She-Hulk series might be angry to see their beloved Jen Walters replaced with a gamma irradiated version of that 70s cast-off character Thundra.  Well, don’t be so hasty. The star of this series is not a green-skinned Thundra, it’s the green-skinned, genetically cloned daughter of Thundra and the Hulk, first introduced in Hulk: Raging Thunder series.

She comes from the far-flung future on a dangerous mission of vital importance. It’s a mission important to the survival of the dystopian society she comes from. But will her quest make her out to be a hero in the present—or a villain? And would she care either way? And what does her second cousin Jennifer Walters think about all of this?

Fred Van Lente (W), Peter Vale (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Green Lantern #39:

The events leading to “The Blackest Night” pick up speed, as a new color of Lantern is introduced. The color is orange and the ringbearers are motivated by one thing—avarice!

The Vega System has been off limits to Green Lanterns for years, but there has never been any explanation as to why. Well, there is now. The Guardians made an ancient pact with a wretched hive of scum and villainy that lives in the sector—they’d control the sector, and the Guardians would keep their Lanterns away. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with the police force that is the Green Lanterns.

There is bound to be a confrontation, and, as usual, Hal Jordan is in the thick of it. How will he react when faced with the nefarious Orange Lanterns?

Geoff Johns (W), Phillip Tan (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

The Mice Templar Sketchbook #1:

When the  Mice Templar series was announced, critics pointed out its resemblance to David Petersen’s Mouse Guard, namely, the fact that both titles featured sword-wielding mice and had a sword and sorcery theme. But when the former hit stands, fans understood that it was different, yet it was just as good, as the latter.

Now, we get an insight into the creative development of the property by Michael Avon Oeming and see exactly how the series evolved and in what ways it has always been different than Mouse Guard. And, if that isn’t enough, we get a special story that gaps between volumes one and two of the series. So if you are a long time fan or new to The Mice Templar, this book is for you. 

Bryan J.L. Glass (W), Michael Avon Oeming (A), Image Comics, $2.99. One-Shot.

Timestorm: 2009-2099 #1:

We’ve all heard the expression about “history repeating itself,” but what about the future? Can the future repeat itself? I’m not sure, but Marvel seems determined to keep revisiting it.

In 1992, Marvel gave us a look 107 years into its own future. The Marvel 2099 line showed us what the future Spider-Man, X-Men and Hulk would look like after the present’s heroes had been long gone. The line lasted only seven years but the concept was revisited numerous times by Marvel—notably in Exiles, Captain Marvel, and, in name only, in the 2004 series of one-shots by Marvel Knights.

Now, Marvel goes back to the future once again with this miniseries. The latest events of the present day Marvel Universe has had a sweeping effect on the year 2099. The Civil War, World War Hulk and Secret Invasion have changed what we know of the future. Has it made it better—or worse?

Brian Reed (W), Eric Battle (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Batman Confidential #28:

The 1966 Batman TV show was a chance for a whole generation of fans to see their favorite hero and his most famous villains appear live on their TV screens. But the campy series also created their fair share of new Bat-villains as well, such as Louie the Lilac, Shame, Egghead, and, of course, King Tut.

This issue ends DC’s bringing that last character, who was portrayed by Victor Buono in the TV series, into the world of comics. Of course, the character isn't quite as comedic in Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilipis’s comic story, but it was still a bit lighter than normal Batman fare. It will be interesting to see if any other original bad guys from the TV show make it to comics—and if we’ll ever see King Tut again.

Christina Weir &Nunzio DiFilipis (W), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Daredevil Noir #1:

Marvel’s noir experiment hits us with its second wave, with a character that’s a natural fit to the genre.

Daredevil is a character right at home in noir. Frank Miller’s two runs on the main title had a definite noir feel to them, and you can argue that both the Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev and Ed Brubaker/Michael Lark runs are gritty, modern-day versions of noir.

Therefore, it seems only a matter of semantics to transfer Matt Murdock and his cohorts beck several decades and write them as if they are in a prohibition-era noir tale. It would be hard to screw this up, so it might be another successful entry in Marvel’s popular new offshoot.

Alexander Irvine (W), Tom Coker (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Salem's Daughter #0:

Having spent some time in Salem, Massachusetts for a friend’s wedding, I can say the history of the town can provide fodder for a litany of stories. The notorious Salem Witch Trials in 1692 where 19 people were falsely accused of being witches and sent to their deaths is a dark blight in American history. That event alone can spawn a thousand tales.

Zenescope is taking a different take on the matter, keeping the area the same but bumping the era up about two centuries. Anna Williams is a woman who is beginning to develop strange powers. Is she descended from real Salem witches? Is she a symbol of revenge for the falsely accused? Or were the Puritans 200 years off in their witchhunts?

Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco (W), Ciao (A), Zenescope Entertainment, Inc., $2.99. Ongoing Series.

The Warlord #1:

The saying goes something like: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But it doesn’t say you can’t learn something from each of your unsuccessful attempts.

Three years ago, DC tried to bring back Warlord with a new reboot done by Bruce Jones and Bart Sears. This one was essentially starting back at zero, with a brand new continuity and past continuity being ignored. It wasn’t all that successful, and as a result only lasted 10 issues.

DC is trying it again with the Warlord, and is once again going back to the beginning. Only this time the “beginning” in question is the man who created the character—Mike Grell. Whether this new series will follow the aborted one of 2006 or the classic one Grell created decades earlier remains to be seen.

Mike Grell (W), Joe Prado (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Exiles #1:

I am a sucker for stories set in alternate realities. I like seeing what it might be like if my favorite comic creators made different choices in what they wrote. Would Peter Parker be any different if Uncle Ben didn’t die? What would happen if Bruce Banner didn’t get Rick Jones to safety in time?

I guess I am not alone in this as Marvel continues to explore their alternate realities on a regular basis. One of the titles they do this in is Exiles. It is a tour of any and all possibilities outside of the mainstream Marvel universe. And after a sidetrack into a quasi-revamp by Chris Claremont, the original concept is back, and being written by Jeff Parker. Parker is a great writer who can bring the most out of the concept. If you like stories that ask “What If?” then this series is for you.

Jeff Parker (W), Salvador Espin (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

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William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY and is expecting his first child with his wife Jennifer. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com

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