Thursday, May 1, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #5

Some plans need to be exceedingly elaborate to have any chance of success. Watching Oceans 11, it’s basically impossible to see how any plan to rob three casinos from an asshole like Terry Benedict can be done simply or without the charm and wit of George Clooney. But anyone who has tried to make a large scale model of the Playboy Mansion out of Legos knows that elaborate plans are easy to fuck up. That’s one of the many flaws that have played out in Wolverine’s latest solo series. It had enough going for it with Wolverine losing his healing factor and having to deal with ordinary shit like shaving cuts, the flu, and erectile dysfunction. But the first three issues had to be fancy and jump around certain time periods, setting up this elaborate plan for Wolverine to strike back against Sabretooth. It wasn’t until Wolverine #4 that shit finally became coherent enough to make sense of while sober. But I don’t quite have the luxury of reading this book stoned just yet. We’ve seen how Wolverine got involved with this new team of his, run by a Kingpin wannabe named The Offer. Skipping the obligatory masturbation jokes, he’s now in a position to piss off Sabretooth. That’s a beautifully simple plan that has made for plenty of awesome shit for Wolverine over the years. I just hope that Wolverine #5 doesn’t needlessly complicate it.

There’s nothing terribly complicated about this latest brawl Wolverine finds himself in. This time it doesn’t involve ninjas, shape-shifters, or hulks. It involves drug dealers, who I like to think of as the laziest ninjas. But why would Wolverine need drugs? Surely, it isn’t the case that beer is no longer sufficient for him. Well with respect to his liver, this isn’t about getting stoned. It’s about getting the drugs he needs to keep his adamantium skeleton from poisoning him. That’s actually one of the many overdue issues that hasn’t been addressed to this point. Not sure why the black market would be the only source for those drugs. Surely, Wolverine with all his connections could find a disreputable pharmacist. Then again, based on my own experience with drug dealers, they can get their hands on some pretty amazing shit so maybe it’s more logical than it seems.

It turns out Wolverine is hardly the best at what he does when it comes to drug dealers. He must have made a joke about him being in the DEA because they all pull their guns on him. But even without his healing factor, he’s about as nervous as Bill Gates is when the bill comes at a restaurant. He doesn’t even have to pop his claws and start stabbing people this time. The woman he’s currently boning, Pinch, takes care of them in a way that effectively demonstrates that she’s sexy and tough enough to be Wolverine’s fuck buddy. That doesn’t keep Wolverine from making sure she wasn’t too rough with him. He may have ditched the X-men, but he’s not going to turn into a complete asshat.

During this whole scene, we get a nice dose of inner monologue. And this time, it doesn’t come from Wolverine. It actually comes from Pinch. It’s refreshing in more than one way. Not only do we know precisely dick about her other than she’s given Wolverine the key to her panties, but we really have no insight into what makes her tick. Her narrating this scene shows that she is somewhat uncertain about Wolverine, aside from boning him of course. She’s not sure if he’s still a hero and that’s kind of an issue when they’re working for a guy like The Offer. But she also reveals that she appreciates it that he has some level of compassion for drug dealers. It may not be heroic, but it helps show that he’s not a total douche.

Once they ditch the drug dealers with some aspirin and Charlie Sheen’s phone number, they continue on their original mission. But what could it be? Another mission for the Offer? Another clue about Sabretooth’s activities? Fuck no, that might actually move the story forward in a coherent way. This mission involves getting Wolverine a tattoo. Now saying that out loud might sound only slightly less mundane than getting a beer. But this isn’t just any tattoo. Wolverine’s new buddies have taken him to a very special tattoo parlor that’s run by a mutant tattoo artist who has this uncanny power to know the perfect tattoo for someone. Fuck, where was this guy when I got drunk during Spring Break five years ago? That would have saved me a lot of awkward explanations about why there’s a picture of a cheeseburger on my shoulder.

On paper, it sounds like a questionable premise that even fan fiction writers would consider too mundane. But there is at least some kind of meaning behind it. Wolverine had ditched the X-men for this new ragtag gang and tattoos are a common way gangs pretend to be badass. Except in this case, they don’t have to pretend or come out with a rap song. Beyond that, I don’t think the idea of Wolverine getting a tattoo is too outrageous. Let’s face it, it’s not the craziest or the most self-destructive thing he’s ever done.

So what kind of tattoo does Wolverine get? I’m sure many Marvel fans have lost sleep contemplating this very question when they’re not contemplating who can and can’t lift Thor’s hammer. Could it be barb wire? A bottle of whiskey? An image of Jean Grey’s rack? All seem logical, but the mutant tattoo artist comes up with something that he deems perfect for Wolverine and it happens to be a rose.

I’ll give some fans a moment to get the WTFs out of their system. In this case, I don’t think a WTF is warranted. I happen to agree with the talented artist. A rose is actually a perfectly fitting tattoo for Wolverine. A rose is a beautiful sight, but one that often has thorns and can cause some nasty gashes if someone ever falls into one of them after blacking out from a 4th of July party. Most women who touch themselves to Hugh Jackman agree there’s a beauty to Wolverine and his heroism, but there’s also some rough edges as well. That and his first love was a woman named Rose. But I just wanted to show that I can be poetic after enough bong hits.

The tattoo is a nice homage to Wolverine Origins story that has become such a defining story for Wolverine. Since Marvel is planning to kill him off, why not recognize the best parts of his history? But for Pinch and his team, they’re understandably confused. They would probably be less confused if Wolverine just came out and admitted that he was a secret Brony. At the same time, Pinch’s inner monologue seems to suggest that she doesn’t know him quite as well as she thought. Amazingly enough, just sleeping with a guy doesn’t provide a woman with all the necessary insight into a man. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes boning is just that.

Now there’s only one way to celebrate the perfect tattoo and that’s a trip to the bar. Actually, that’s the one way to celebrate damn near anything be it a tattoo, a marriage, a divorce, a promotion, or a pink slip. It’s not like Wolverine has ever needed a reason to go drinking before, but it does help. However, the bar he chooses to go to also happens to be the bar his former Avenger buddy, Thor, goes to when he wants to take a break from smashing shit with his hammer and running around with the Avengers. But Thor isn’t exactly thrilled to see him. In fact, he’s about as thrilled to see him as Gordon Ramsey is to see a rat swimming around in his soup.

By now, it’s not unreasonable to assume that word has spread about Wolverine ditching the X-men. It has been mentioned before that Twitter exists in the Marvel universe and I imagine that shit would start trending, unless it happened on the same day Vladimir Putin gets caught with a male prostitute. And so it’s not too unreasonable to assume that Thor wouldn’t be happy about it. He goes so far as to end his poker game to show Wolverine that he’s pissed off. That or he was bluffing. I think it might be a little of both.

Wolverine attempts to explain himself to Thor. He even shows him his new tattoo, hoping this will somehow get the message across. He might have had better luck playing charades because Thor only gets more pissed. And rather than politely asking Wolverine to fuck off, he throws him out the front door like a bouncer who just saw a guy dry humping his sister. It sounds like the kind of bar fight that would make drunks like me cry tears of joy. But it really falls flat. There’s not much conversation between Wolverine and Thor. Everything is way too fucking vague and Thor comes off as too random to be drunk yet too competent to be sober. Wolverine’s new buddies try to come to his aid, but the battle is still painfully weak and doesn’t really accomplish much other than showing Thor is still the all-time champion when it comes to bar fights. Apocalypse can attest to that. See Uncanny Avengers for proof.

While the tattoo had at least some significance, this really felt like a waste. Wolverine didn’t even get any beer out of it, which as a drunk I find appalling. He claimed he just confronted Thor to demonstrate what it cost him to join this gang. Now maybe I’m a bit too drunk myself, but I don’t see how the fuck this demonstrates that. I know Wolverine isn’t known for being overly articulate when pretty redheads aren’t involved, but this is a shitty way of making his point. What does getting into a bar fight with Thor prove other than Thor is an angry drunk? In fact, Pinch’s monologue hints that it might have even backfired because now she questions whether he really gives a shit about them and is just using them to get to Sabretooth. If this was supposed to be the action that made up for Wolverine spending too much time in a tattoo parlor, it failed miserably.

The only thing that ends up moving the overall plot of the series forward is the end where the Offer finds out where Sabretooth’s forces are headed. And to the surprise of absolutely no one, it’s Madripoor. Because why wouldn’t a degenerate asshole like Sabretooth want to set up shop in a town where crime and vice are the official language and a pair of tits is on the national flag? Moreover, Wolverine getting in a tattoo and into a fight with Thor does absolutely nothing to help with this information. So even though the timeline didn’t shift around like an LSD user relapsing, it still comes off as choppy and incoherent. And if I want that, I’ll blackout at a sushi bar.

There were a number of things about this issue that I enjoyed. First and foremost, this issue didn’t go back and forth with certain time periods. There was no choppy flow of events where I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on or when the hell it was happening. Everything stayed in the same timeframe here. That made this comic much easier to read while high and I always appreciate that. I also appreciate the symbolism. The idea of Wolverine getting a tattoo seems like one of those ideas that only a couple of drunks discuss in a bar during happy hour. But the way he went about it in this issue, along with the added perspective Pinch, added some nice insight into Wolverine while acknowledging some key moments from his past. Beyond that, a little more than dick happened in this issue. Other than roughing up some muggers and clashing with Thor, this issue didn’t add much to Wolverine’s elaborate plan. And maybe that was the point. Shit was getting pretty confusing after four issues. Maybe we just needed an issue that guys like me could read while drunk. That’s all well and good, but it didn’t do much other than set Wolverine up for the next step on his mission to torment Sabretooth. I can only give Wolverine #5 a 6 out of 10. I’m all for a more streamlined story that involves bar fights. I just need more to happen for me to get excited. Nuff said!

1 comment:

  1. I personally thought the first arc wasn't incoherent as you say. once you get the entire arc you can piece together the flashbacks and see how it formed the present stuff. about this issue while I agree it didn't move the plot it was a nice character piece. Logan getting the Rose for the first women he ever loved was amazing. and I liked that the fight with thor seemed to be only to try and tell thor that hes still a hero and even pinch seemed to suspect. which I like because it sets up more for the next arc and the final arc about Logans hidden agenda.