"Return Of The Native: Part IV"
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Darick Robertson & Jimmy Palmiotti
While coming to grips with Native's shocking revelation from the last issue regarding his past, Wolverine and his companion are met with some unexpected guests. Nearby, Sabretooth discovers something that makes him furious.
This was nothing more than a gore-fest where Robertson gets to take primary control of the issue, with little interference from Rucka. Basically, in this issue, Weapon X comes for Native, are met by Wolverine, and before you know it, bodies begin to fly. Since Issue #5, Robertson has not been allowed "free reign" over Logan and so finally, eleven issues later, we get to see the claws come out and Robertson puts on a spectacular show of violence. Yes, that sounds a little sadistic, but considering Logan's nature and how well Robertson follows every individual confrontation within the battle, it is a worthy and accurate summary of this issue. There is a point at which, once the soldiers of Weapon X initiate the battle, each separate page there on out is dedicated to a different soldier getting trashed in different ways by the clawed one. Robertson deserves tons of credit for making each frame creative and different...indeed, sometimes it feels almost humorous, the way Wolvie piles through these guys with such ease and deliberate point-by-point attacks.
I must say, however, that these action sequences seem a lot less polished and more rugged and raw when Robertson is allowed to do his own inking, something he expressed a deep enjoyment of in a recent interview by SBC. While Palmiotti's inking is not bad, there are some instances in this book where the way Wolverine ends up being drawn looks slightly...odd. I read Jimmy's work regularly in Catwoman, and I must say that what makes his inking stand out from the crowd is how crisp and clean he comes across as. Think back to around Issue #1-#2, when Robertson was able to do his own work. The inks complemented the art and the story by being unbridled and rugged. Therefore, while I like Palmiotti's ink job on Catwoman, I don't think this is the comic he would be suited for.
What little there is to be said about Rucka's work in this is that so far, he has brought up old bones that for quite a while have remained dormant in the X-lore. While it is clear that this book is a Wolverine book, and has as little to do as possible with what is taking place for the rest of everyone's favorite mutants, Wolverine's history is undeniably intertwined with the X-Men. The idea of adding some new twists and turns to the Weapon X tale is a great idea, as it's been a while that we have actually had an arc in a Wolverine book that deals with his past. More or less, he has either been doing jobs for other people, trying to deal with himself, or just being a ruthless detective. This is different, and what's great is that it allows for readers who have absolutely no background in Wolverine, Weapon X, or the X-Men, to enjoy the book and easily understand the significance of the Native to Logan's life and past. The key element is that the narration boxes are absent, and those only exist in many comics just to allow us to see in the mind of the character. Unfortunately this is abused by many writers to throw in tons of history that overwhelms new readers and ultimately drives them from a comic they would have continued to read otherwise--but Rucka knows better and avoids this.
The ending is certainly unexpected, judging from the last 3 issues, and it definitely creates some interesting possibilities for next month, although this sort of pairing has happened in the past. The question is, will the results be the same?
Action, action, action. Rucka still manages to interject a few important points here and there, add an ending that creates for speculation, and he and Robertson continue to develop what is shaping up to be a delightful final arc before they leave this book for Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.
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