Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Adam Kubert, Espen Grundetjern, Frank Martin, VC’s Cory Petit, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jean François Beaulieu, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 29th, 2021
Somehow, Solem found a way to steal logic diamonds from the MARAUDER. Ok, so what’s the big hairy deal? Who cares? Well, that’s a great question. You see, Krakoan resurrection runs on logic diamonds making these a rather hot commodity. So in the process of hunting down the would-be thief, WOLVERINE bumped into Sevvy Blackmore and received a backstory on Solem whom Logan has grown rather acquainted with during recent months. Nevertheless, WOLVERINE finds himself forced to work with the dirty pirate Blackmore to save the Muramasa blade in which is being held hostage by Sevvy Blackmore. With deals being struck around multiple dastardly scoundrels, WOLVERINE discovers himself stuck between a sword and an adamantium hard place. Let’s dive into WOLVERINE #16 by Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert to see if he’s any closer to locating Solem, the logic diamonds, and can wiggle out of this crooked situation.
After the last issue’s history lesson on Solem, readers dive right into the concluding chapter with WOLVERINE instantly face to face with Solem. However, Percy manages to play the narrative pretty true to form with predictable expectations. This reviewer couldn’t help but anticipate each swerve before it happened, which was rather uncharacteristic of Percy’s run to date. Furthermore, the story beat surrounding Solem just didn’t feel like the Solem introduced to us in X OF SWORDS. That Solem seemed like a ruthless, bloodthirsty, killer with abilities almost unmatched. However, ever since he’s been reintroduced by Percy, this Solem seems crafty, sneaky, sniveling, and unwilling to fight anyone… ever.
Moreover, WOLVERINE has a rather quick showdown with Blackmore that almost appeared uneventful to quickly get us to discover where Solem’s been hiding this entire time. It’s as if Percy was racing through the story to wrap things up quickly in order to move on to his next arc. This issue could have easily been separated into two more issues while providing more detail, merit, and weight to the narrative. Sadly, WOLVERINE fans get loose ends tied up instantly while Percy interjects aspects into the story that were never there before. Characters who weren’t involved in the anecdote before end up jumping in to save the day taking away from the facets that drive fans towards a WOLVERINE comic in the first place.
The stylistic choice of Kubert and his team this week just didn’t hit the mark. There were too many small panels that were extremely dark making the issue less detailed and hard to decipher. Furthermore, these smaller panels made the layout of each page a bit more confusing and uneven. Moreover, WOLVERINE was missing eyes or squinting most of the time. Why? After looking into each panel more, it’s almost as if Kubert doesn’t like to draw eyes at all unless they have no pupils or happen to be glowing. AND on top of that, there was even a scene where Logan was dressed in swashbuckling pirate garb for what emerged to be no apparent reason. Overall, the issue seemed out of character for Kubert with the smaller panels almost hindering what he’s truly capable of.
For an arc incorporating the Arakii mutants Sevvy Blackmore and Solem, I was expecting to see more of the fierce, hot-tempered, intensity that fuels WOLVERINE. Solem not only recently stole the logic gems, but also stole the Muramasa Blade, forced WOLVERINE to face off against War, and continues to trick Logan every step of the way with his clever charm. So, where is the anger or berserker rage that fuels everyone’s favorite brawny Canada? Alas, that’s not all that seemed off in this week’s WOLVERINE. Solem seemed too easy-going, less cunning and crafty, as well as less formidable compared to the individual said to have killed Bracken. Where is this violently brutal warrior whose been imprisoned for over 100 years? To quote Solem himself, where is this “killing machine”? Has anyone “really” ever seen him fight? At this point, it’s beginning to feel like hype.
Ultimately, WOLVERINE #14 gave us one image of Solem other than the cover. WOLVERINE #15 provided fans with a backstory on Solem where Sevvy Blackmore appeared to torture him showcasing little fighting prowess from this so-called dangerous Arakii mutant. And alas, WOLVERINE #16 quickly wraps up an arc jammed packed with more ideas promoting him as a sneaky thief with adamantium skin more so than a formidable fighter. Was this Hickman and Larraz’s intent as they envisioned the character back in X OF SWORDS? Truthfully, I don’t think. However, this is the direction Percy has taken the character while also pushing aside some of the attributes that make WOLVERINE… WOLVERINE. Overall, the issue, and frankly the arc, seemed too rushed and fell a bit flat. It just didn’t have the same excitement as the Vampire/ Omega Red arc or the Maverick issues. However, I’m excited to see where this cliffhanger takes us as the next arc unfolds. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!