by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Jason Aaron, Art by Ron Garney
Published: December 2011
When a comic opens up with a line like “is it true that kung fu related deaths are already up 200% over last year?”, I feel like I know pretty much what I can expect to get out of the following pages. Turns out, the ensuing story of Wolverine dealing with a gang war in Chinatown as the mysterious ‘black dragon’, all while trying to get to Westchester to rebuild Xavier’s school for mutants, is mostly played straight, albeit with some humour thrown in along the way. You know, before Gorilla-Man shows up, after which it’s sort of impossible not to crack a few jokes at the guy’s expense.
Despite it all, this one worked for me. Wolverine is characteristically brooding and tough, and this whole Chinatown peacekeeper gig suits him. There are enough cool elements in play to keep the story interesting: the background of the schism storyline, the Chinatown motifs, the freaking dragons, the drug war, Wolverine’s role as the Black Dragon, etc. It’s a fun diversion from larger things.
Art-wise, it’s a solid-looking book. I’ve got a bit of a thing for sketchy art where you can see the lines and imagine the artist drawing them with a flick of the wrist, and although it’s certainly not unpolished, it does feel a bit less Standard Comic Book Art than usual. The colouring is understated but effective, and the whole thing has a bleak visual tone that I think works.
Character-wise, though, the expressions don’t do much for me. There are some moments, especially during conversations between two characters, where the dialogue doesn’t totally gel with the action or facial expressions. Still, it looks good overall.
I liked this one. It seems to be gearing up for a fun adventure.