Characters Appearing: Wolverine
Marvel Comics Presents #38-47 (Wolverine)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #38, Marvel Comics Presents #39, Marvel Comics Presents #40, Marvel Comics Presents #41, Marvel Comics Presents #42, Marvel Comics Presents #43, Marvel Comics Presents #44, Marvel Comics Presents #45, Marvel Comics Presents #46, Marvel Comics Presents #47 (Wolverine story only)
The stories also become increasingly generic and irrelevant, with no other recurring characters and no impact on Wolverine's solo series or anything else. This story does have John Buscema art, and that's no small thing, especially since he has a connection to the character since he drew the inaugural Marvel Comics Presents story as well as the first 16 issues of Wolverine's ongoing series. But i would have never guessed that Marv Wolfman's return to Marvel in the post Jim Shooter days would start with a Wolverine story. And Wolfman either doesn't want to play in Wolverine's complicated continuity or just doesn't know what to do with Wolverine generally, so it's just an isolated story.
I really think this sort of thing was worse than the increasing number of Wolverine guest stars. As equally crass as those are, at least they put Wolverine in a scenario where he's interacting with other characters, giving him something fresh to do. Here he's just off in the backwoods doing random stuff. I remember buying issue #41, which has the awesomely silly image of Wolverine riding a shark on the cover, in isolation in realtime and wondering what the hell was the point of what i had just read. Putting it all together doesn't really help.
For this review i seriously considered writing "Wolverine goes to Hong Kong to investigate the death of a (hitherto unknown) old friend and winds up caught in the middle of a battle between the spirits called Black Shadow and White Shadow." and leaving that as the entire entry, but i'm too obsessive-compulsive to leave it at that. So here we go.
I have to say that moving Wolverine from Madripoor to Hong Kong, at least to this American reader, is about as meaningful as making a big deal about having Sub-Mariner go from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific. For basic setting purposes, it's the exact same thing; a seedy Asian port city.
Wolverine tries to investigate the vaporized street but gets caught up in a battle between looters and the police, and then he's pulled aside by a woman named Mai who invites him to join her and her friend Hsiao in dealing with the Black Shadow.
Mai says that the Black Shadow "must be stopped where he began" but when it's said that the Shadow has surfaced, Wolverine goes to fight him.
Wolverine gets knocked out and then White Shadow shows up.
The Shadows look more like Sal Buscema than John Buscema creations. I bet they weren't hard to draw, anyway.
While Wolverine is knocked out the second time, we find out about the friend, Linn Chow, whose death Wolverine was here to investigate.
So it is the Shadows that Wolverine is after. Having failed to defeat them, Wolverine listens to Mai and goes with her and Hsiao and a guy named Ch'un to mainland China. And why not fight a shark on the way there?
And once we get there, why not some awesome rodeo stunts?
But we did have a plot, right? So they stumble upon Black Shadow again.
Hsiao decides to sacrifice himself by jumping into Black Shadow and detonating a bag of grenades.
It accomplishes nothing, but then White Shadow shows up again.
The battle ends with both Shadows disappearing, and the investigation continuing. Mai and Ch'un slip away from Wolverine to investigate alone, but they end up getting captured by White Shadow, who we learn can talk.
White Shadow says he doesn't want to kill Wolverine, and then Wolverine gets knocked away, where he meets Black Shadow.
Wolvie still has no way to defeat him.
Then he sees a big fat comatose guy.
When Wolverine goes to investigate, Black Shadow emerges from his chest.
After more fruitless fighting, White Shadow shows up again and tries to get Wolverine to leave, which he won't do without Mai and Ch'un. But White Shadow says that they have to die. He also reveals that both Shadows and the fat guy are all a single mutant entity...
...that suffers from "schizophrenia".
White Shadow tries to kill "himself" (i.e., his fat body), and the mutant responds by generating multiple smaller Black Shadows.
Wolverine eventually stabs the guy.
And basically that's it. We can go home now. Although it does take a full minute for the guy to fully die.
Ch'un was killed during all the fighting, but Wolverine brings Mai back to Hong Kong. Wolverine then takes Linn Chow's kids away from her abusive husband and brings them to their grandparents in Madripoor.
Hey remember when Wolverine was just a member of a team called the X-Men, and not a franchise unto himself? Those days were pretty cool, right?
Hardly together anymore!
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place this in the same gap as Meltdown and Jungle Adventure and a few other random things.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Black Shadow, visually at least, seems very much like a late '80s DC villain.
Posted by: Robert | March 4, 2015 5:28 PM
The standard Marvel tolerance-advocacy rarely seemed to apply to fat people, who were either fat because they're evil or evil because they're fat.
Posted by: cullen | March 4, 2015 7:20 PM
FNORD - would you say that this was a true "Jump The Shark" moment for this book?;)
Posted by: clyde | March 4, 2015 9:03 PM
The Black Shadow looks very much like the Shadow Monster Buscema drew in Conan the Barbarian around 1976.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 5, 2015 11:09 AM
According to Sam Kieth in Comics Interview #84, Wolverine was made the permanent lead feature in MCP because sales were dropping off beforehand.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 24, 2015 11:03 AM
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