Wolverine and Warpath get the spotlight in this one-shot spinoff from the new ongoing X-Force comic series. The review with spoilers is after the jump.
X-Force: Ain’t No Dog
Writers: Charlie Huston and Jason Aaron
Artists: Jefte Palo and Werther Dell’Edera
What’s Going On:
Ain’t No Dog is a one-shot anthology book that has a solo story about Wolverine and then a solo story about Warpath, each dealing with their roles in the new black ops version of the X-Force team.
Wolverine’s story involves his tracking down a man and saving him from a band of Purifiers that seem bent on destroying them both. Warpath’s has the mutant tracking a bear in the woods while inner monologuing about how his time with the X-Men has changed him and how he views killing.
Lessons Learned Here:
- Edgy comics lose their edge when swearing gets visibly “bleep”ed out.
- Lots of blood, gratuitous violence, and proselytizing about not smoking apparently are acceptable substitutes for good characterization.
- If you see an angry bear with wire wrapped around its leg, merrily approach it and remove the wire. The bear will thank you and be your friend.
How It Ends:
We learn that the man Wolverine has captured has a chip in his brain that made Cerebro pick him up as a newly activated mutant, and he’s using the Purifiers to spring a trap. Wolverine has gone after him on Cyclops’ orders to retrieve the chip. He ends up killing all the Purifiers and slicing the man’s head open to complete his mission.
Warpath finds his bear and battles briefly before realizing the bear has barbed wire wrapped around one leg, making it aggressive toward him out of fear and pain. Warpath frees the bear’s leg and reflects on how the bear’s situation parallels his own.
The two stories really are quite different. We see Wolverine not as primal and berserk but as cold and murderous, while we see Warpath as more cognizant of the moral implications of his involvement with X-Force. I really don’t like this representation of Wolverine. As usual, he’s the best at what he does, but here that appears to be joyfully mutilating scores of people with no compunction. That doesn’t ring true as Wolverine to me, at least not in this era of comics and at this point in his life. I chalk this up to bad characterization, as the dialogue doesn’t sound like Wolverine, either. There are some “bubs” thrown in for good measure, but overall the Wolverine in Ain’t No Dog comes across as much more of an ignorant stump than the gruff little Canadian we know and love.
Wolverine’s line at the end of his story about Kitten coming back places this one-shot sometime after her space banishment in Joss Whedon’s Giant Size Astonishing X-Men, but neither story in Ain’t No Dog really feels like it’s in continuity, and neither is essential to any ongoing stories. This is just a one off book to fill space between X-Force issues, and there’s nothing entirely remarkable about it.