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Wolverine: Weapon X #11

Posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
By: Paul Brian McCoy

Jason Aaron
Ron Garney (p), Jason Keith (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Wolverine: Weapon X #11 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 3.

"Tomorrow Dies Today, Part 1"

Now this is more like it. I appreciate what Aaron's been doing with this title since Day One, but there were times at the beginning where I just felt like this had all been done before. But that's starting to change.

The previous storyline with Wolverine in an asylum was pretty interesting and had a pretty twisted sensibility to it. The exploration of Logan's romantic life was pretty solid from start to finish, and was the first time, I think, where we really got to see what Aaron was wanting to do with this title.

And if this issue is any indication, Aaron's gotten his footing and is ready to start running.

This is the best issue of the book so far, no questions asked.

And it's not just because Aaron brings Deathlok into play. Although I have to admit, it made me a little giddy just seeing those beautiful Ron Garney pencils.

Longtime readers probably already know this, but for you fresh-faced, shiny new readers, Deathlok is my favorite Marvel character of all time. I spend quite a bit of time pontificating about the uses (and more often than not, the misuses) of the character throughout Marvel history. I've written a long, boring, overly-detailed straightening-out of the original Deathlok's narrative (see: F.O.O.M. (Flashbacks of Ol' Marvel) #3). I've bitched about Bendis' offensive misuse of that same character, Luther Manning. I've kvetched a little about the new Marvel Knights mini, but it's actually shaping up into something interesting (and lovely to look at).

I've even got a shelf dedicated to Deathlok toys and sculptures. There aren't a lot of them, but I think I've got all but one of them (that Bowen statue is fantastic, but I'm too poor at the moment to track one down).

All of this is to say, that when it comes to Deathlok appearances, I am both obsessive and extremely picky about just how the character is worked into the story.

At the end of one of the best comics of last year, Dark Reign: The List Wolverine, Jason Aaron teased me with the appearance of scattered papers mentioning a "Deathlok Project" that was apparently in the works by HAMMER (and no, I will not make that an anagram until someone comes up with what it means). My already thrilled little heart skipped a beat, and I hoped it wasn't just an Easter Egg for attentive readers.

It wasn't.

Because now Deathlok is back, and while this isn't the original Luther Manning version, it's a version that, in this first issue, seems to respect and value the character's long history. This is the Deathlok that was originally intended by his creators: the unstoppable, programmable killing-machine. Aaron has taken that concept and fleshed it out, letting us see just how effective and dangerous an idea it really is.

Not only has Aaron brought Deathlok into the contemporary Marvel Universe, he's also paying tribute to the first time the character was worked into the Marvel Mainstream, in Captain America. Those old Cap issues established the concept that Deathlok was essentially a twisted version of the dream of Captain America. A super-soldier for a broken world that ultimately found redemption.

You know, before other writers turned him into a time-traveling psychopath who ended his days living in the sewers until Bendis ignored it and turned him into a walking blunt instrument.

I know. Insulting, right?

Anyway, this issue opens with Logan and Steve Rogers going on a globe-trotting pub-crawl, to celebrate the return of Captain America. Not only does it provide entertaining banter between the two, as they try to keep their alcohol intake higher than their respective healing factors and super-soldier formulas can resist.

At the same time, however, a mysterious cyborg killer has appeared and begun murdering people who appear to have some influence on future events. Future super-heroes, to be specific. If you've been watching the solicitations then it should come as no surprise that there isn't just one Deathlok in this story; there's what appears to be a small, clone army of them (which again, is a nice nod to the original concepts established all those years ago).

And once their secondary mission is complete, the elimination of possible future super-human threats to whomever or whatever sent them, they download their primary mission: to kill Captain America.

Seeing as how it was Cap's influence that led to the original defeat of Deathlok's original Big Bad, this has me wondering if this story isn't some sort of sequel to both the original run of Deathlok stories and his return in the pages of Captain America (all of which are soon to be collected in a Marvel Masterworks collection sometime soon).

And did I mention how gorgeous Garney's art is? I think I did, but let me just reiterate. There aren't inks here. Just Garney's pencils and Jason Keith's colors, and it works wonderfully. There are subtleties here, in the shading and texturing that tend to be lost in the inking process, and I can't praise the quality of these pages enough. This is one of the best-looking and most promising start to a Wolverine: Weapon X story so far.

What are you waiting for? Go get it! Well, wait till the Shops open at least. Then go get it!

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