6.20.2010

Review of Wolverine Noir by Stuart Moore and C.P. Smith

I picked up the premier hardcover of Wolverine Noir a few weeks late as I was having a hard time finding it at a few local shops. I was expecting the compact, roughly 5 x 7 trade paperback like the other Marvel Noir books I'd purchased (i.e. Spider-Man, Daredevil, and X-Men) but for some reason Marvel decided to release this noir book in a standard (larger) comic book size hardcover. I'm not sure why.

Regardless of that bit of format discussion, the treasure is what lay inside. A tale of a lowly P.I. -- one Jim Logan. Inspired heavily by the Wolverine Origins book from 2000, this noir retelling focuses on many of the characters from that book, Dog, Rose, and James Logan of course, with a sprinkling of some of Wolverine's other regular cast: Victor Creed, a gangster in the Bowery section of New York City, and the Asian women of Logan's past: Mariko, the femme fatale, and Yuriko, training ninjas as thugs.

It is an interesting mix, and Logan slipped easily into the role of a hard drinking, down on his luck PI, who works with his half-stupefied partner, Dog, as a result of a long ago incident that takes the entire book to play out. I might have expected a fee more cameos, but this cast if characters kept the story tight and moving along.

Smith's artwork, purposefully sloppy, worked well for the series, as only in flashbacks is James presented like a clean cut kid, who is not sure if he's more human or animal -- the perpetual question of his life. Stuart Moore, recreates the noir sensibility quite well, in 1930s New York, and the build up to World War II. It's in the newspaper headlines, it's evident in the business of arms dealing on the black market...its all right there.

I'd give this a 'very good' and definite solid addition to the Marvel collection of noir books. Also of note is the inclusion of a sketchbook and sample of the issue #1 script in the back, for a detailed look into the creative process. 

All I missed were more villain cameos from Wolverine's illustrious past, as there is so much material to draw from. That, and the fact that I thought the smaller size trades that the other books were released in really lent itself to the "pulp fiction" feel of the stories.
 

Overall, a fine book by a talented creative team.

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