“Ever felt like a rat? In a trap? Or. . . whaddaya call those things? Pinwheels or somethin’? Like you’re runnin’ for your life. . . but you’re gettin’ nowhere. . . “
The hamster wheel is the perfect motif for Barry Windsor-Smith’s masterful Wolverine: Weapon X, a book whose layouts and dialogue lead the reader in circles around the page as the story begins it’s descent. By taking charge of both the writing and art, Windsor-Smith has full control over our access into this deeply disturbing world, and he has no intent of letting us get comfortable. This book will mess with your head and your heart. This is not your ordinary superhero fare. You’ll find no spandex, no “I’m the best there is at what I do”, no capes or supervillains or rooftop gymnastics. This is psychological horror, and the perfect introduction (or interlude) to anyone’s understanding of Logan. Even if you don’t care for Wolverine, this chapter of his mythos is perfectly terrifying as a standalone installment.
For me, this book stands out because it is an amazing execution of something Logan and others had been hinting at throughout his story up until this point. In 1991, Marvel fans finally got a taste of the ‘Ol Canuckle-head’s turning point in Marvel Comics Presents, the very title that kicked off Wolverine’s solo series three years earlier. Undoubtedly everyone had their own expectations as to what this chapter would look like, and I have no doubt they were all surprised. The story comes together almost seamlessly in it’s collected edition, further immersing us. It explores the same themes as the rest of Wolverine’s stories: dehumanization, retribution and human greatness. All of these themes are given a twist to make them right at home in this story.
It would have been easy to make this a story that all the fans bought regardless because it explained everything they were missing. Instead, Barry-Windsor Smith goes above and beyond in what I would argue is the best Wolverine story ever (and I’ve read a lot of them). Marvel fan or not, everyone who enjoys comics should give it a read.
Book of the Month is going to be my monthly recommendation column for comics I have read recently. This one is coming late but I’ll try to post them on the second week of the month from here. Enjoy!