REVIEW: ‘iWolverine’, Issue #1 (of 2)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

iWolverine

iWolverine #1 is a comic published by Marvel. Written by Larry Hama with art by Roland Boschi. The colorist is Andres Mossa and the letterer is VC’s Joe Sabino. iWolverine is a tie-in connected to the Iron Man 2020 event. The plot of the event regards a rebellion staged by the world’s A.I., formed by a robotic legion named the Artificial Life Army. Arno Stark, the adopted brother of the much more famous Tony, seeks to unite all of the world’s artificial intelligence, but under his command and stripped of free will. iWolverine follows Albert, a cybernetic doppelganger of Logan created by Logan Pierce within the Wolverine series in the 90s (available to read through our Comixology affiliate link). Earlier in this crossover, Albert became part of the A.I. army.

Within this issue, Albert travels to Madripoor in search of Elsie-Dee, an android in the form of a little girl. With all A.I.’s vulnerable to Arno and others seeking to do harm, Albert tries to find his partner. Upon arrival on the island, there is more than just his friend for the robot to discover, as Pierce has taken up residence.

The plot is interesting, with a pace that keeps the comic moving forward while also allowing each scene enough time to be explored fully. Much of the plot feels like a classic Wolverine comic, as the hero tears his way across the city. The structure is straightforward, with the protagonist locating his charge. There isn’t a surprising twist or reveal, but Albert’s quest does get harder when he confronts Pierce. 

Albert is brilliantly written by Hama. It’s bizarre seeing him in this comic, as so much of what he does is essentially a Wolverine copy. His dialogue is witty at times, partly because it feels like he mimics the gruff Canadian he was created to be like. There are times when the banter and lines he uses before he starts slicing and dicing are reminiscent to those of the Terminator or Robocop, dry and humorless that therefore become funny. When there isn’t humor, it is fascinating to read Albert’s relationship with his own independence.

Beyond the first few pages of iWolverine #1, Logan isn’t mentioned and it becomes Albert’s story. One of the recurring themes throughout the Iron Man 2020 crossover is the robots breaking free from the shackles of the humans, and Albert appears to be at the peak of that. 

His desire to get his friend Elsie-Dee safe is very heartwarming. When speaking to Tyger Tiger in the first act of the comic, Albert states that he doesn’t care about the robot rebellion or his hatred for Pierce, he simply wants to make sure his partner is safe. I felt this was very important as it shows the character to be fully independent, even from his electronic brethren.

There are other characters that make appearances within iWolverine #1 that require mentioning. Logan Pierce is great as a villain, serving as Albert’s primary adversary. He is aided by his army of Reapers, soldiers who have been massively replaced with mechanical parts and technology. Pierce has an arrogance and fury that make him dangerous within this tie-in. Joining Pierce in this comic, but very much not in league with him, is Tyger. Her appearance is brief but she is used by Hama for exposition purposes. It is her that coaxes Albert’s backstory and intentions out of him. She is also given an awesome moment in a fight and some powerful lines, giving her presence within the comic more strength.

Boschi’s art is perfect for not just detailing Madripoor, it is also perfect for Albert. So much of the hero looks like the real Wolverine, but Boschi does put emphasis on the robotic parts of his body. While the metal plates and cybernetic eye are prominent, they blend perfectly into the fleshy parts around them. When Albert is shirtless, the split between organic and inorganic is neatly combined. This is partly due to Boschi’s fantastic lines, but Mossa’s colors. The blues of his mechanical features and the pink of his flesh is blended really well, especially when Albert is a smaller figure in the panel.

Boschi also shows the gory action fantastically. The layouts and the choreography of the fight gave me intense flashbacks to Barry Windsor Smith’s Weapon X storyline. The sense of movement around Albert’s claws is fun to see, as the reader is often gifted with the damage that has been done once the weapons have left the body. This creates the illusion of speed, elevating the send of danger the android’s enemies are in.

Mossa’s use of color in the background and inside the buildings of Madripoor is exceptional. Each individual room has its own color scheme, with a hue over the entire panel. This creates the effect of suggesting the atmosphere that the room exudes. Tyger’s bar is coated in red and orange. This indicates potential danger while being welcoming at the same time. In contrast, Pierce’s lab is tinted with sickly green, creating an alien and unpleasant connotation. And when outside, an aura is painted by the city’s lights illuminating the darkness only in small but warm circles.

The lettering by Sabino is pretty good. His “SNIKT” sound effects look hand-drawn, making the scenes look even more brutal. The potential drawback may be within the word balloons, but it isn’t the fault of the letterer. Two characters within the book have affectations in their dialogue which may grow frustrating for the readers. Albert’s lines are often bookended with a “bzt” within the balloons. This makes sense, considering his origin.

But another robotic character is written in a way that some of their words have w’s in them to insinuate a speech impediment. An example of how it is used can be seen in the phrase “Cwazy cwunching.” This potentially annoying addition is a decision by the writer, and Sabino actually does well making these affectations look good sometimes within the pages themselves. However, the w’s will get more irritating in the second half of the tie-in series.

iWolverine #1 is a great action-filled tie-in featuring a little known but fantastic character. Albert is intelligently written throughout the issue, crafted by Hama to be his own, individual hero while also channeling the physical and tonal spirit of the character he represents. The art team is a great fit for this book and fill Madripoor and the robots with soul. People unfamiliar with the character, and you would not be chastised at all if you were, would definitely benefit from reading Albert’s involvement in the event so far. His own backstory may also be unknown, but that is summarised effectively in the opening pages. This comic does stand up on its own without the plot of Iron Man 2020 excessively impeding it, but it also wouldn’t exist with it. I am intrigued by how the second issue concludes the story and whether Albert is involved with the event going forward.

iWolverine #1 is available where comics are sold, including at our affiliate link.


'iWolverine', Issue #1 (of 2)
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TL;DR

iWolverine #1 is a great action-filled tie-in featuring a little known but fantastic character. Albert is intelligently written throughout the issue, crafted by Hama to be his own, individual hero while also channeling the physical and tonal spirit of the character he represents. The art team is a great fit for this book and fill Madripoor and the robots with soul. People unfamiliar with the character, and you would not be chastised at all if you were, would definitely benefit from reading Albert’s involvement in the event so far. His own backstory may also be unknown, but that is summarised effectively in the opening pages. This comic does stand up on its own without the plot of Iron Man 2020 excessively impeding it, but it also wouldn’t exist with it. I am intrigued by how the second issue concludes the story and whether Albert is involved with the event going forward.