Quick Rating: Good
Title: Return of the Native Part Three
As Wolverine and the Native canoodle in the woods, Sabertooth tries to hunt her down.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Darick Robertson
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti & Tom Palmer
Colors: Studio F
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Axel Alonso & Warren Simons
Cover Art: Darick Robertson
Publisher: Marvel Knights
It took Greg Rucka’s writing to get me to read Wolverine, and as much as I’ve enjoyed this series overall, this last story arc isn’t quite grabbing me the way the first few have. Wolverine has hunted down a woman called simply “The Native,” who he finds he has a lot in common with, and I don’t just mean the sleeping skins they share in her cave. After the canoodling is over, Wolverine remembers that Sabertooth is out there looking for this girl, and he’s got to get her out somehow.
I think the part of this story I’m having trouble with is the idea that there’s a “native” woman running around with the same claws as Wolverine – it’s a pretty unique mutation, at least in the form he has it, and the fact that this girl has the same claws is a little farfetched to me. Plus, the story seems to hinge on the old Weapon X storyline, which isn’t a period of Marvel Comics history that really holds any interest for me. Still, that’s my problem, not a problem with the writing, so don’t take off too many points for that complaint.
Darick Robertson is the perfect penciller for this title. He draws the best out-of-costume Wolverine I’ve ever seen. He makes him look gruff and grizzled, without losing the compact size that makes him stand out amongst other superheroes.
It’s too bad that Rucka will be leaving the book at the end of this storyline, because he’s really made Wolverine an entertaining character to me. Very few people have done that, and this issue particularly ends in a fashion that leaves me completely flabbergasted, because I simply have no idea where he’s going to take the storyline. How many comic books can you say that about these days?
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The King of Hell’s Kitchen Part Five
Daredevil and his crew make a final stand to clean up Hell’s Kitchen.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Cory Petit
Editor: Joe Quesada
Cover Art: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Knights
This storyline has been mostly about establishing a new status quo after the tumultuous events of Daredevil #50. This issue, Bendis seems to have finally settled things down, and the book is ready to move on to a grand new level. To cement his hold as the new kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil has rounded up his buddies Spider-Man, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to wipe out the Yakuza.
The book starts off with a great fight scene. We already know Bendis can write a great Spider-Man, but this issue he shows he can do a pretty good team dynamic as well. Daredevil gets the lion’s share of the attention, of course, but it’s clear that none of the heroes are slouches.
Some of the best scenes in the issue come after the fight, though, as Matt Murdock goes home to face not only his wife, but his own demons as well. The last few pages wrap up this storyline and give you a feeling that things have settled into a new life for Daredevil, even if it’s not a happy one. It’s the one he’s chosen, and he’s got to live with it.
Alex Maleev’s artwork continues to impress. He does a great gritty crime saga (I’d love to see him do an arc of Gotham Central, and he proves that he can do a great big superhero battle as well. He has striking poses and a great action dynamic, and an early two-page spread of our four heroes charging into battle is one of the best such shots I’ve ever seen.
Now that this issue has established the new milieu of the title, it’s time to sit down and start telling stories there. There’s a lot of room to play in this new world, and it’ll be great to see where Bendis takes it next.
Quick Rating: Average
Title: The Bucky Issue
Captain America reflects on life with his old partner, Bucky.
Writer: Robert Morales
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend & Al Vey
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: Randy Gentile
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover Art: Dave Johnson
Publisher: Marvel Knights
When a potential plane crash reminds Captain America of the demise of his old partner, he steps up to save the aircraft, remembering Bucky’s life on the way down. I’ve been a fan of Captain America for about as long as I’ve been reading comic books, so this issue was more than a little repetitive. It’s an okay done-in-one issue, and probably a good character study for someone who isn’t really familiar with Captain America, but for anyone who’s read the series for any length of time, there’s really nothing in here that we haven’t seen a thousand times before. Bucky was brave. Bucky was tough. Bucky was a great kid. But Bucky’s been dead for 60 years. Why are we reflecting on his death again?
Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that there’s anything bad in this issue, there’s just nothing new. It feels very much like a filler, and what’s worse, it’s a filler we’ve seen hundreds of times since Cap got thawed out.
Chris Bachalo’s art did impress me, however. He’s got a very good take on Captain America, detailing the chain mail of his uniform, the bulky stature that makes him stand heads and shoulders above most superheroes, and the plane crash in the issue looks great as well.
Dave Johnson’s cover is fine as well, but it suffers from Marvel cover-itis – in other words, it’s a generic pin up with absolutely no relevance or connection to the issue.
With this title shifting back to the regular Marvel line when the Avengers reboot happens, I hope it manages to find a new identity. The Marvel Knights relaunch started out great, but lost its place the minute John Ney Rieber left the book, and it hasn’t been able to reclaim it since. The title is more or less marking time until the new creative team comes on. Hopefully they’ll find something a bit more original to do with one of Marvel’s greatest heroes.
(2010 note: There’s some serious irony in this review, when you look at what’s gone on in Captain America for the past six years, isn’t there?)