Ok, so here’s the deal. With my commute and work schedule, it just isn’t feasible for me to keep with the 5 day a week update schedule. Instead, I pose this: Monday and Tuesdays will get Spider-Man Challenges, the rest of the week will be potpourri (i.e. whatever I feel like tossing up).

So lately, Barnes & Noble’s been having these INSANE comics clearances (Mostly Marvel and Dark Horse stuff, but it’s all between $2 and $6 a book, which is just mind blowing considering the books usually just have a fold or a scuffed corner). I’m going to do a few reviews as I burn my way through ’em.

The first trade I read was Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine trade:

Wolverine inna ball of ninjas. That's all the incentive you need.

The trade collects the 4 issue Wolverine series, plus the follow up story that Claremont wrote over in Uncanny X-Men. The pairing of these two stories is…interesting, but I’ll get into that in a minute.

The main attraction is the mini-series and, let me tell you, it’s a great comic. I hadn’t read it before I bought the trade (along with the Windsor-Smith Weapon X collection), but it’s easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time. The story is this: Wolverine travels to Japan to fight for the love of Mariko, the daughter of a Yakuza boss and that goes as well as you’d expect. As a collaboration, Miller is really responsible for about 80% of what’s great about this comic. Don’t get me wrong, Claremont puts in good work here (His wordiness works here, for the most part), but Miller just draws the shit out of this book. His Tokyo is claustrophobic and alien, which just works beautifully with Wolverine’s adversarial relationship with Japanese culture. There are a number of elements, specifically the character of Yukio, where you can start to see where Miller’s little fetishes began to develop (Mariko, Wolverine’s lover/thrill-junkie/assassin/future Lady Deathstrike), but they don’t overwhelm the story too much. This is really just a classic and pretty instrumental in making Wolverine a viable solo character.

The second half of the trade reprints Uncanny X-Men #172-173 and deals with the immediate aftermath. It’s a weird pairing, because on one hand, this story is literally a follow up and pretty important in the overall story. But at the same time, the cliffhanger ending completely ruins the sense of closure the Wolverine mini gives the reader. Storytelling and art-wise, this is not nearly as strong a story. There are some great story points though: Wolverine’s reluctance to team up with new X-man and former foe Rogue and, maybe most importantly, the first appearance of Storm’s mohawk:

Bad. Ass.

Should You Buy it? Even though it’s not a perfect “collection”,  it’s definitely a great read. If you like Wolverine/X-Men/Frank Miller or it’s cheap, you don’t have any excuse.

Where Do I Get It?

Amazon’s got it for $12 , B & N has back to $14 and some change