Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Adam Kubert, Frank Martin, Neeraj Menon, VC’s Cory Petit, Jay Bowen, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 15th, 2022
WOLVERINE tracked down a lead following a briefcase involving the C.I.A.’s X-Desk only to discover an island of robot X-MEN replicas and known other than DEADPOOL! It turns out, that DEADPOOL was merely there to use this briefcase as an opportunity to get invited to Krakoa and eventually attempt to rejoin the X-FORCE. However, DEADPOOL’S escape plan caused WOLVERINE and everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth to get transported directly to a Las Vegas cell held captive by Maverick and Weasel. Well, what’s in the briefcase that’s so important to everyone? And how will WOLVERINE and DEADPOOL get out of this one? Let’s dive into WOLVERINE #22 by Benjamin Percy and find out!
The humorous shtick continues to become weary as WOLVERINE #22 kicks off with Logan and DEADPOOL trapped behind bars. I think it’s just Percy’s continued attempt at zany DEADPOOL dialogue and absurd, ridiculous behavior that just doesn’t jive with WOLVERINE or the book well that has made this arc just too tiring and oftentimes corny. It’s not that I don’t think Percy can write DEADPOOL. It’s that Percy’s WOLVERINE run so far has been gritty, intense, bloody violent, and sometimes dark. That sense of raw, realism has been struck down with this twisted comedic partnership of DEADPOOL and this almost slapstick writing style and tone. Percy could do all of this well and could most certainly write a fun DEADPOOL comic. However, I think it needs to be separate from this title as well as WOLVERINE in general.
Without spoiling too much, there is this continued joke throughout the entire issue of WOLVERINE #22 where Logan uses DEADPOOL’s help all over the place… just only parts of his body. And this is the prime example of the depleted development and comedic overlay that just doesn’t fit with the character of WOLVERINE while attempting to provide a humorous shtick that falls flat while also simultaneously being too far-fetched and necessary.
Furthermore, after WOLVERINE escapes and this ridiculous chase begins to get the item in the briefcase, the escapades quickly wrap with not much of a story at all sending our new “not-so-dynamic duo” to an undisclosed place along with a group of undisclosed people. Percy just slides these new people into the story with a Memo page that’s used to catch fans up on where WOLVERINE and DEADPOOL are instead of gradually revealing the players throughout the story. And frankly, the X-MEN titles have been prone to that rather procedure frequently as of late. In an attempt to jam more information into a smaller package, the creative X-teams use these Memo pages to get readers up to speed in a rather dull and stale manner.
However, these pages as of late do more harm than good by stealing page count from the artists and becoming a crutch for the writers. In the case of WOLVERINE #22, it attempts to bridge the gap between chasing down a briefcase, a secret hideout of off-the-grid “rebels”, and Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. And readers, that progression happens within 4 pages which propels the story to leaps and bounds without much guidance at the cost of the natural progression of the narrative. We could have had less silly banter, fewer chase scene panels, and slightly more direction on the pages before to connect the pieces of the story together while providing a much stronger foundation.
Adam Kubert continues to do phenomenal when given the appropriate amount of space to showcase his talented artistic chops. The half-page spread of WOLVERINE and DEADPOOL’S torso in jail, the facial impaling of one Wade Wilson, WOLVERINE’S epic thrust from a crashed car, and even the full-page spread of an overgrown Xavier’s School are only a few of the spectacular illustrations Kubert is capable of when given proper page count and space. Yet the small panel fight progressions cluttering pages to showcase action scenes took away from the story and caused Kubert to provide less detail and definition. As of this arc, it’s been the same stifling orchestration that’s handcuffed the book. My hope is that Kubert can be left to shine in WOLVERINE #23.
WOLVERINE #22 continues the DEADPOOL team-up narrative which consists of a silly buddy cop story that’s frankly too ridiculous for words. The “villains” built up in the story disappear fast, the story skips rapidly towards a new destination decoupled from the X-Desk, and the art team wastes a ton of space with small panel progressions that rob the story from the true potential of this art team. The comedy is stale, WOLVERINE seems a bit out of character, and even the item in the briefcase comes across as a bit too outrageous. It’s almost as if Percy is creating a tale that would make teenagers chuckle in delight at the expense of the diehard WOLVERINE fan.
Readers, there is a place for a story like this… just not in Percy’s WOLVERINE title that’s been so hard-nosed, raw, and oftentimes dynamic and dark as he’s tangled with Vampires, fought in X OF SWORDS, tracked down Black Market buyers of his own hand, helped chase Krakoan medicines for a little girl dying of cancer, and tangled with the likes Omega Red. And now, he’s teaming up with DEADPOOL chasing down baby Android Danger Room/ Cerebro hybrids (at least that’s what it looks like now)… really? The biggest positive is that Percy propels this story forward which means it should be wrapping up soon. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!