Wolverine: Bloody Choices
Issue(s): Wolverine: Bloody Choices
I've noted that one of the dichotomies of Tom DeFalco's Editor in Chief era is that at the same time we have a lot of grim and gritty violent characters gaining prominence, DeFalco's own preferences tended towards unrestrained Silver Age nostalgia, and that is reflected in his Thor run and in some other books by the more veteran writer/editors. But DeFalco was clearly aware of the trend towards violence, and obviously encouraged it through his publishing and hiring decisions. A book like Darkhawk (which was developed by DeFalco) is a good example of how that dichotomy played out. Per Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, that book "combined the 'gritty realism' of Ghost Rider with the 'urban vigilante tactics' of Punisher". But if you actually read it, there are a lot of elements that are very much like the early Spider-Man issues, with Chris Powell learning about his abilities and trying to balance his super-hero life with his responsibilities at home. So you might expect Tom DeFalco writing Wolverine to similarly be pulled in those two directions. But that's not actually the case with this story. DeFalco fully embraces the darkness and violence here.
If there was any attempt to rationalize that in his own mind, it probably comes from Ralph Macchio's forward, which says, "What Tom DeFalco has shown us through BLOODY CHOICES is that even if the beast cannot be contained indefinitely, at least he can be thrust in the direction of a deserving victim. In Logan, he presents us with the potential killer - motivated by noble purposes." So basically as long as we make the bad guy bad enough, it's ok. Which in reality just increases the degree to which the book becomes grim and dark, because that means a mobster or something isn't bad enough, and so we have to bring in the topic of child sex slavery.
DeFalco has also caught on to the gimmick of hinting about mysteries in Wolverine's past, and throughout this book we are teased with a character, Shiv, that might be Wolverine's brother.
As the story goes on, we're practically hammered with confirmations that Shiv and Wolverine are brothers.
But in the end we just back away from the idea.
The conflict in the story is really about Wolverine not wanting to let go of the child molesting sex slave ringmaster, even though SHIELD can use him to take down a larger crime organization.
That eventually results in a fight between Wolverine and Fury.
But it could be inferred that Fury's heart wasn't really in the fight (for example, Fury sends all the rest of the SHIELD agents away) after he saw up close what the child molester was about.
And so Wolverine is free to pursue the child molester. He kills the guy's assistant (and would-be replacement), too.
But the death of the molester himself is more personal.
You can see the kind of laughing off of the idea that the person may be legally insane, like in a Punisher comic. That's always a dodge, a way for the villain to escape punishment.
The sequence and the book end with this bloody image (which is also the cover of the 1991 version, but not my copy).
So definitely a violent story. The only real remnant of DeFalco's older sensibilities comes in the form of the scripting, where he tries to affect a pulp detective voice.
The whole thing with Shiv feels very cheap, and i feel like DeFalco goes overboard with Wolverine in the end, ignoring the work that Claremont did with Wolverine to help him contain his killer side and just making the villain such a fat disgusting child molester that Wolverine simply has to kill him. It's not entirely surprising to see Wolverine being written by DeFalco and edited by Ralph Macchio; it's not a new tradition for Editor In Chiefs to give themselves plum assignments. And i don't know if Bob Harras would really have cared at this point, and there wasn't anyone else left to stand up to DeFalco, but i feel like someone closer to the character should have been given a chance to say 'hey, wait a minute'. It's not like Wolverine doesn't ever kill, of course. But the circumstances here don't feel right.
This isn't terrible. Having John Buscema on art is certainly a nice thing, and at least he has a prior history with the character. But overall it feels almost like an over-the-top parody of some of Wolverine's tropes.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: 1993 reprint
This is . . . insane.
At this point, I decided to check how many appearances you've had to shoehorn Wolverine into between the end of the Muir Island Saga and the start of X-Men #1. This is the 17th out of 21.
The rest of the three teams combined (both teams of X-Men plus the three who will go to X-Factor) appear 13 times in that same period (3 of which are because Cyclops is the only other X-character in IG). That's 15 characters, several of whom don't appear at all between the end of the MI Saga and either X-Men #1 or X-Factor #71 (including Gambit and Xavier).
The other characters must have been busy rebuilding the mansion and working as a team while Logan was getting some serious frequent flyer miles.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 21, 2016 12:07 PM
To be fair, Wolverine's skill set isn't to build things up as much as destroy them.
Posted by: clyde | January 21, 2016 12:28 PM
It seemed when Claremont left, every man and his dog at Marvel wanted to contribute to Wolverine's origin.
I thought back then how odd it was that Wolverine's possible brother was called "Shiv", and then Hama reveals Weapon X's "cleaning program" is called Shiva!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 24, 2016 7:20 PM
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