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Weapon X #4: Overstuffed with messy art

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In typical fashion for the character, Old Man Logan is on like four different teams. He makes appearances in his own book, various X-Men team books, and this new series; Weapon X. His now deceased predecessor Wolverine kept busy with the Avengers in addition to various X-teams, so for the elder to fill those shoes makes sense.

What doesn’t, is why the team needs certain members and why the art is so lackluster. Written by Greg Pak with art from the historically dreadful Greg Land, inks by Jay Leisten and colors by Frank D’Armata, Weapon X is a bit big for its adamantium britches.

The issue opens with the a team briefing by guest star Amadeus Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk. Cho recruits Logan, Sabretooth, and Domino to infiltrate a Weapon X facility. There, the team plans to free captives Warpath and Lady Deathstrike, capture some nefarious scientists, and obliterate the hordes of adamantium cyborgs.

It sounds like a fun action romp in theory, but in execution Pak and Land rush through the motions. So, let’s break down some unbreakable bones and see what goes awry!

Writing

Old Man Logan is a relatively new addition to the prime Marvel universe, but manages to carve out a place among his fellow mutants. While it stands to reason he’s willing to band together with other ruthless types to take down Weapon X, the program that made him and in general makes life terrible for mutants, some teammates are out of place. Taking on Sabretooth (who was morally inverted to be good, right?) and Deathstrike seems like a leap too far for the character. These are mortal enemies from his past. Maybe that distrust gets covered in prior issues, but in this one, it’s utterly absent.

Still, Pak is a good enough writer that he knows how to use certain characters in fun ways. Domino is a clear standout, mocking Hulk’s overconfidence against 20 cyborgs with a well placed “Cool story, bro.” In addition, Sabretooth’s glee at the violence (still not sure about that moral inversion) and willingness to shoot Hulk in the face to get the rage going is a great moment.

The fights unfold chaotically and with a rushed pace, with a few shoe-horned emotional moments of victims facing down captors. In the end, we meet the villain behind Weapon X, a somehow alive Reverend William Stryker. Perhaps this build up will lead to a more compelling narrative for our heroes. For now, we’ll have to stumble through hoping for improvements.

Art

While Greg Pak delivers in other series, I’ve never quite seen the same from artist Greg Land. Other X-titles contain his trademark porn-star physiques; laughably muscled men and hour-glass women that always have the same three looks on their faces (they are: sexy, surprised, and laughing).

This book is largely no different, except for the sloppiness of every action scene. And given that 90% of the story is action, the rushed quality of the art becomes apparent quickly. Each panel is littered with debris, which makes sense for a team ripping through robots, but the line work is too all over the place for it to work.

Furthermore, there’s the previously mentioned issue of faces. Domino and Deathstrikes are nearly indistinguishable if not for their hair and Dom’s trademark black eye. In the same vein, Old Man Logan and Sabretooth are sagging animalistic pastiches. These characters thrive on their animal instincts, granted, but they look more simian than savage.

In summary,

Weapon X has some of my favorite characters from the various X-titles, so it’s a shame to see them muddied by poor art and a sloppy story. It’s worrisome to see Marvel’s mutants spread so thin in so many books, but that’s often how they get more exposure. If this is going to be the brutal, black ops X-team in the vein of X-Force or the fantastic Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender, I’m all for it. However, a tighter narrative with more compelling art would be the best way to reach those levels.

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Nick Hedge

A longtime comics fan, Nick grew up reading the much derided comics of the 90's (Clone Saga! Liefeld! Pouches & Guns!) and has never looked back. Now an adult with literary prowess of his own, he uses his powers for good; reviewing comics for Pure Fandom and holding the beloved art form to a higher standard for all. Excelsior!

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