Thursday, 10 March 2011

New Beginnings - 5 Ronin Wolverine

Throughout March, Marvel is giving us a 5 part weekly mini-series. Starting with Woverine, I present 5 Ronin.

At first glance this could be another Wolverine title, it has a pouncing clawed cover shot and it is filled with fighting and mystery, all set to a Japanese backdrop. There is a lone man travelling and following his own path. After all, a master-less Samurai is exactly that, the Ronin element that suits Logan to a tee. However, there is a twist...

Not knowing much about Peter Milligan, I did some research and found that Milligan has written before with Marvel in X-Force, as well as currently for Radical and Vertigo - plus he is committed to being the writer for next year’s Red Lantern Corp for DC. Most exciting! With such heavy ties to DC, both directly and indirectly, I am left wondering why Milligan was chosen. That is not to say his work is bad, but the situation is intriguing.

Basing the story in the year 1600, in Japan, around the time of the battle of Sekigahara has given rise to his unique plot. The opening of the issue establishes a lot of relevant information and sets the scene quickly and proficiently in a matter of pages, moving quickly into the story. A lot of this is narrative but this is perfect for the feel of the issue and suits Wolverine well. We follow the one-shot style story through getting the odd glimpse of Deadpool (although I could be wrong on this one too) and closely track the path of Wolverine as he uncovers this versions truth of his being.

As I said, this could easily just be another Wolverine title but now we see the twist. I’ve read the story twice, scanned a third time and flicked through a forth and I cannot see the trademark mutation of Wolverine anywhere! Milligan has created something that is about our heroes personality and not his traits or special skills, a lovely turn of events, and done in a subtle and unassuming way too.

The supporting artwork by Tomm Coker has me torn. On one hand I find it loose and rough with a lot of the detail being provided by what you cannot see or the use of shadow, a style I’m really not a fan of at all. It is supported by Daniel Freedman’s colouring which is simply what it is, a match to the artwork style, so once again I am left without specifically feeling one way or another. On the other hand I do find it has a style that fits fantastically to the feel and substance of the story, leaving me disliking the look but loving the idea.

The miniseries is a curious one. The following issues are Hulk, The Punisher, Psylocke and Deadpool, which now intrigue me to see how they are portrayed and explored. Again this will be more about who they are than what they are as I hope the non-powered route is still followed. I will be getting them as I want to know where they are taken, not necessarily for the story and most likely not for the artwork (although I have to say the variant covers do look lovely). I would say that these comics would be for the more open minded fan more than anyone as an interest piece as they don’t hold a longer story. An interesting approach which could have been done in a variety of ways but all the same this is not just another title.

Matt Puddy is not the only one excited about a Red Lantern Corps series

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