Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artists: Joe Linsner (p & i), Jason Keith (colours)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
There's something about reading a mediocre comic that hurts. Obviously, not every comic in the world can be the next Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns, but when you're faced with a comic which is just impossible to really care about one way or the other, it's difficult to shake the feeling that the paper and ink that went into its production could have been put to far greater use elsewhere. Claws is one of those comics, as whilst it's not a truly awful book per se, it fails to really make its mark on any level bar that of a quick, forgettable five-minute diversion.
Wolverine and the Black Cat are popular, successful and accessible enough characters that you'd think that you could make something of a comic which teams the two anti-heroes up, but the chemistry in Claws is so flat, the rapport between the two characters so forced, that it would actually work better as a solo title for either one of the characters. The plot, such as it is, doesn't exactly help matters, as whilst last issue suggested that the high-concept of trapping the two heroes on a mysterious island and subjecting them to the ultimate hunt - for paying customers - might be the work of a resurrected Kraven the Hunter, this instalment reveals "Kraven" to be a robot (surely that's only one rung beneath revealing him to be a clone?) and the whole thing to be the work of C-list Marvel villain Arcade, who's doing it all just for shits and giggles, apparently.
You can kind of see the thinking behind casting Wolverine as the ultimate prey in the ultimate hunting expedition, but what the Black Cat is doing here is anyone's guess. Her characterisation seems to extend to two words - "Sassy" and "sexy" - and if that sounds to you like a thin and outdatedly cringeworthy attempt to make her a compelling hero, then you'll probably share Wolverine's ever-growing frustration at her very presence. Sure, there's a little bit of shallow fun to be had in seeing the pair evade landmines, automatic weapons, napalm and giant robots, but not much - and certainly not $3.99's worth (what were they thinking?).
This comic sadly falls short even of being so-bad-it's-good, as it's readable if only for Joe Linsner's cartoony but vibrant and old-school feeling art, which is good if you're into that sort of thing (even if his new look for the Black Cat does let on a little too heavily that the writers seem to wish they were writing Catwoman instead). The trouble is, an artist can only serve the story that the writer provides, and Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray singularly fail to justify the very existence of this book for any other reason than to capture sales from followers of two characters who are currently pretty popular.
One to avoid.
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