Friday, December 16, 2011

Wolverine: Debt of Death

Marvel, 34 pages, $ 3.99

Writer: David Lapham
Artist: David Aja
Colorist: Bettie Breitweiser
Letterer: Dave Lanphear

There’s an entire subgenre of Wolverine stories in which “an old friend” requires Logan’s help, and Wolverine: Debt of Death is one of those. As in many stories of this particular ilk, the old friend here, too, happens to be from Japan.

The call for help, handily, involves the Yakuza and big evil robots from World War II, as well as Nick Fury—as good a mix as any for a fun Wolverine story.

Mr. Lapham turns in a crisp action thriller here, no more, no less. There are a couple of plot holes: How do the robots know whether Kanaye is alive or dead? And how can a regular guy survive a fall from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier without a parachute? Then again, maybe being a bit harebrained comes with the territory: It’s all about the action.

That’s important, because the selling point here is artist David Aja, of course. And Debt of Blood delivers. Mr. Aja’s artwork doesn’t just look awesome, but draws you into the story in a way that few of his peers manage. His robots look as gorgeous and awe-inspiring as his regular people wearing regular things; his panel-to-panel storytelling skills and the way he stages the action are just a beauty to behold.

The story itself may not be much to write home about, but Lapham deserves credit for giving Aja cool stuff to draw, and that’s the main thing here.

Grade: C+

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