‘X Lives Of Wolverine’ adds a few new wrinkles in its penultimate issue but mostly continues to walk in the same circles with very little actually answered about the hows and whys of the plot. It’s a visually gorgeous series that does justice to the character and the premise, moody and horrifying all at the same time.
When it comes to television it’s almost inevitable for most shows to at some point end having a bottle or clip show episode in order to cut costs/save budget for bigger episodes. Those episodes where only a few characters or sets (often just one set) appear for a story, or they sit around and reminisce as old footage is played.
X Lives of Wolverine feels like the bottle clip show of the Krakoan era.
Disclaimer, that’s not saying that it’s bad. Clip shows are often something that the audience pre-judges or groans about, but some shows have used them quite well. This series sits, for me, firmly somewhere in the middle or ‘fine’ placement on the scale. It’s not bad nor is it something special that changes everything (at least so far).
It’s clear that Ben Percy has a love for Logan (he is writing him in his solo and X-Force regularly beyond this series and its sibling X Deaths of Wolverine). We’re getting a clip show of Logan, and Xavier’s, life with the alterations that come from time traveling through those events. When compared to its aforementioned sibling series this one feels almost like the vegetables that had to be eaten in order to get to the wilder richer dessert.
I’m not saying this wasn’t the book that Percy wanted to write, but it feels overly safe in many ways and just fits into that Logan story mould. While the reasons for what is happening (such as why is Omega Red stuck only being able to hunt Xavier’s that are near where Logan is, etc.) still remains unspoken apparently being saved for the finale. Good thing also that apparently despite the utter havoc that is being rendered upon the timeline, Jean will just be able to wipe memories, and all is good. (I guess the old “mess with time it creates a new multiverse branch” rule is still nebulous in whether it exists or not).
All that being said, visually Joshua Cassara and Frank Martin, with Federico Vicentini joining them this issue, are nailing everything that is being asked of this series that has them bouncing through time periods and scenes. It hits all the right rough and almost horror-like vibes that are needed with Omega Red’s body-snatching bloody revenge time jaunt. Each of these periods looks similarly detailed (and brutal when needed) yet different thanks to Martin’s color choices. There are differences in each of the periods to make them stand apart, but there is also an overall old-time sort of color filter put over them to remind us these are moments long past.
This change of tone/energy for the time periods also carries over into Cory Petit’s lettering. It all matches yet also feels different in the moment. We also get more of the ominous uses of black or other colors for the word balloons when it comes to Omega Red’s body-hopping especially. It makes it feel like the darkness/evil is just oozing out of him in these moments.
X Lives of Wolverine #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.