Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Declan Shalvey, VC’s Joe Sabino, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 30th, 2022
When A.I.M. organizes a secret infiltration of S.W.O.R.D. abducting three mutants, it’s up to WOLVERINE to bring them home. From the emptiness of outer space to the mainframe of a diabolical supercomputer, Logan won’t quit until his friends are safe. Let’s dive deep into X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Declan Shalvey as these two masterminds bring to print the first four chapters of the hit MARVEL INFINITY COMIC!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read X-Men Unlimited: Latitude #1 Review.
Readers, it’s a comic book… so I can suspend my disbelief for a bit. However, the opening pages showcase WOLVERINE following through open space without a suit, clawing into an A.I.M. spacecraft jettisoning a dozen henchmen, and closing an airlock to safety. Again, comics are all about suspending disbelief. But normally, it’s done in a fashion that fits the character. To my knowledge, there is nothing about WOLVERINE that fits him diving through space in this manner. Where’s a Krakoan space suit? That’s really all these panels needed to fit the criteria of this era a bit more and thus making the opening pages a bit more… believable.
Speaking of believable, the second phase of X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1 also attributed WOLVERINE in outer space as A.I.M. escapes from the vessel Logan infiltrated. So again, Logan finds himself in free space. However, this aspect proves why the first one makes little sense because now this creative team emphasizes how WOLVERINE maneuvers to the next stop by using his claws and healing factor. Again, even in a comic book, believability in the realm and context of the character is necessary.
Next up, as WOLVERINE continues to find his friends, Hickman and Shalvey search to add some subtle humor through Logan’s interrogation of an A.I.M. henchmen encompassing 24 small panels in a row which amount to roughly a page and a half of space. The problem with this is the repetitive nature, the wasted page count, and the unnecessary style in which the creative team aims to get the point across. And in the end, it really wasn’t that humorous. Follow that up with three and a half pages of WOLVERINE leaping down an elevator while drinking a beer, and this just piles on even more seedy pages and narrative developments for atmosphere and artistry.
Eventually, the story picks up a bit as WOLVERINE successfully finds a friend to help him on his mission. However, the creative team continues to add silly obstacles into X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1 simply to show the longer panels. For example, WOLVERINE steps back off the side of a building just to show him fall. Again, this is something solely to show the long panels since I can’t imagine WOLVERINE doing this naturally.
Sure, there is some witty back and forth between the A.I.M. henchmen and WOLVERINE, that’s pretty funny at times. Additionally, I enjoyed the frivolous nature of WOLVERINE’S healing ability being tossed around so freely. It was actually refreshing considering it’s what used to make Logan special as a mutant. And now with the resurrection protocols, everyone can basically have that ability as well. The carefree nature of life has left mutantkind. However, Logan has always had the bell to ring that others didn’t and this creative team humorously dings that bell multiple times throughout X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1.
I get the elongated panels and theme of the story. I can see the connection and the inference. However, it reminds me of a stylistic choice reasonably similar to NIGHTWING #83 in that it’s a different way to tell a story. Declan Shalvey purposely implants specific scenes and panels to emphasize the artistic style and tone he’s going for, which is quite unique and deserves the credit. Yet, what does it really add to the story other than page count?
Does it really tell the story in a better light? Sure, an elongated panel or two helps specific scenes but does it really advance the narrative to do it as frequently as was accomplished in X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1? Plus, many of the panels and layout were arranged to just take up space and don’t contribute to the storytelling whatsoever, which is where I became frustrated with the overall price for the comic based solely on its thickness. I appreciate the attempt and understand the technique but don’t get its intent towards the narrative, especially in forced moments where it was completely unnecessary.
X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1 was fun enough and reasonably entertaining. Yet it’s the price that bothers me. $5.99 is expensive in times that are still rough for so many. Granted, some would argue the page count of the issue and say about 50 pages long is substantial and worth the price. True, but I would argue it’s more like 30ish after you take out the semi-ridiculous “latitudinal” panel layouts that really didn’t add much to the story. And thus, making the actual story and substance, not only lacking but feel like we get more when we really don’t.
Readers, it’s almost the price of two comics without fans really knowing any exact details, relying on ambiguity and stretched panels to tell jokes, as well as its continual purpose. Remember, this is deemed as being in continuity. So, where are the meat and potatoes to keep me invested? And of course, I know many will say, “it’s the first issue what did you expect?” This is also true. However, X-MEN UNLIMITED: LATITUDE #1 is the first issue of two. So, the story is halfway complete leaving us with what exactly?
Fans, this is merely a story to showcase WOLVERINE, which I remind you we just had 10 weeks of… so I think we’re good. And ultimately for the price, I’d have to suggest just passing. Yet if you have MARVEL UNLIMITED, this very well would be worth the read since it’s included and has been online for quite some time. Readers, it’s the price and timing of this WOLVERINE display that makes it silly to buy especially since MARVEL UNLIMITED is $9.99 a month with the first month free. If you want this story that bad, just buy the subscription for a month and get 29,000 more comics to read as well as its conclusion right now!!! So, in terms of a paper comic story, I have to pass which is how I’m choosing to review the issue. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!