Every month when new solicits are announced for comics, something always makes me go, “Woah! I WANT THAT!” Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection” is one of those items. A killer line up of writers and artists on 35 of the most memorable Wolverine issues of all-time makes for a desirable oversized slipcase HC.

But holy fucking shit, Marvel Disney — TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!? Seriously! Has the cover price of a graphic novel ever been that high in the history of mankind? Not even sexy IDW Artist’s Editions are that suggested retail price. What the hell.

wolverine1

This is not the actual cover of the “Adamantium Collection.” It hasn’t been revealed yet, although this issue is in it. It should also be in your collection.

WOLVERINE: THE ADAMANTIUM COLLECTION HC

  • Written by PAUL JENKINS, BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH, CHRIS CLAREMONT, LARRY HAMA, WARREN ELLIS, MARK MILLAR & JASON AARON
  • Penciled by ANDY KUBERT, BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH, DAVE COCKRUM, FRANK MILLER, JIM LEE, ADAM KUBERT, LIENIL YU, KAARE ANDREWS & CHRIS BACHALO
  • Cover by BILLY TAN
  • Slipcase by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO

It’s the best and brightest moments from Wolverine’s long and storied history — presented together in a gorgeous, oversized slipcased hardcover and packed with dozens of extras, just in time for Logan’s triumphant return to the big screen! Witness the transformation of sickly James Howlett into the battle-hardened Logan, and then into the metal-clawed super hero called Wolverine! Experience Logan’s struggles to learn the ways of honor, control his bestial nature, and deal with a litany of friends and foes from his checkered past! Thrill to his near-fatal encounter with Magneto! And be there as Wolverine takes on the responsibility of mentoring the next generation — and opens a school! Collecting ORIGIN #1-6; material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #72-84; UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #162, #205 and #268; WOLVERINE (1982) #1-4; WOLVERINE (1988) #75 and #119-122; WOLVERINE (2003) #32; and WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1-3.

  • 720 PGS./Parental Advisory …$200
  • ISBN: 978-0-7851-6789-1
  • Trim size: Oversized slipcase edition (11-1/2 x 15-1/2)

And the real kick in the pants is not the price, but it should be 36 issues — “Incredible Hulk” #181 isn’t included. In the “Adamantium Collection.”

Godamnit. I’m still going to buy it at some point.

I’m involved in the webseries “Super Power Beat Down” with Bat in the Sun Productions. It’s a show which takes two super powered legends from across geek culture and makes them battle in live action fights.

My role with the show is to play co-host and master debater with my pals Damian Beurer, Marisha Ray, Jennifer Wenger and other geek experts on who would win each fight. Our roles are merely supplementary to the kick ass live action battles, but it’s a lot of fun to put together. My character comes off as a misogynistic wiener at times — I promise you I’m not like that in real life!

Our most recent episode went live recently and features two video game personas going head to head — Nathan Drake vs. Lara Croft, a.k.a. Tomb Raider.

Check it out:

Super Power Beat Down #4: Lara Croft vs. Nathan Drake

Catch all three past episodes here:

Episode #3: Wolverine vs. Batman

Episode #2: Gandalf vs. Darth Vader

Episode #1: 1960s Batmobile vs. 1980s Batmobile

If you want to vote for the winner of the next fight visit SuperPowerBeatDown.com — it’s Gambit vs. Nightwing! And now for some more behind the scenes photos:

Now that the X-Men Power Rankings are completed, I’m sure you’ve noticed a few characters were omitted from the list. Characters who in current Marvel 616 continuity are either dead, in comic book limbo since the Messiah Complex event began, or have only recently reappeared in comics after the Power Rankings had already begun.

So, here we are with the appendices- a place to briefly discuss these characters who didn’t make the list and where they would have been placed if they had. Lets keep rolling with our fourth Appendix!

darkwolverine76varDaken: Akihiro is the son of Wolverine and the Japanese woman, Itsu. Yes, Wolverine has a son… crazy, right? To be blunt Daken is one bad ass mo fo. He’s every bit as savage as his father with a little more tact than Logan had at his age (whatever that may be). He has a poor relationship with Logan as he’s pissed that his father never played a role in his life and never made an effort to contact him (in Wolverine’s defense he had no idea Daken even existed). Currently Daken has donned the alias of ‘Wolverine,’ and the costume to go with it, as a member of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers while simultaneously serving as a leading member of the Dark X-Men. Apparently he follows in his father’s footsteps in more ways than one.

Powers: Like Logan, Daken’s power set is a long laundry list that includes: a regenerative healing factor, enhanced sight, smell and hearing, superhuman reflexes and stamina, pheromone control, telepathic immunity, and he’s a master martial artist. He has three retractable bone claws and while they may not be fused with adamantium, two of them (that protrude from his wrists) are laced with shards of the Muramasa Blade; the only known weapon that can kill Wolverine. Daken was vetoed from the Rankings because he isn’t an X-Man, but he would have made it to the low 20’s.

First Appearance: Wolverine Origins #10, 2007.

250px-Avalanche_XCorpsAvalanche: Dominikos Ioannis Petrakis used to be one of those laughable X-villains, almost always being on the receiving end of a can o’whoop ass from the X-Men. However, since M-Day Avalanche has changed his tune, straying from a life of crime and going legit; he’s now the owner of the mutant-friendly bar, Nick’s, in San Francisco. Most recently in the Utopia story line Dominikos took on two heavy hitters in Ares, who choked him out, and then Daken, who nearly hacked him in half. Presently he is a prisoner of Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men. Although Avalanche has yet to show his true power potential he can be very destructive when using his abilities. He wasn’t ranked because while he may no longer be a villain, he’s not an X-Man either. Had Dominikos made the list he would have been placed somewhere in the low 50’s.

Powers: Avalanche can generate powerful waves of vibrations from his hands that can completely destroy inorganic objects. When his powers are directed towards larger structures, such as tall buildings, the effects are very similar to that of an earthquake or avalanche. Unless they are somehow reflected back at him, Avalanche is immune to the effects of his own powers. While the full extent of his abilities are unknown, he has yet to prove that he is capable of destroying something as large as an entire city.

First Appearance: X-Men #141, 1981.

686169-quick_largeQuicksilver: Pietro Maximoff, the son of Magneto and brother to the Scarlet Witch and Polaris, was omitted from the Power Rankings because he’s not only an X-team but his appearances since Messiah Complex concluded have been very limited. In 2008 there was the one-shot, X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead where Pietro regained his powers and rescued an innocent person; an action that sparked the desire to be a hero once more. Later he showed up in Mighty Avengers where he was proven innocent of his former crimes. He would have been ranked between #24 and #22.

Powers: Quicksilver’s primary ability is super speed; he can at least reach Mach 4 (3,080 mph) and in all likelihood can go even faster. While running he is immune to the effects of friction, requires a reduced level of oxygen, and is not affected by impacts upon his body. Pietro has enhanced strength (being able to lift 1,000 lbs and can press 1 ton with his legs) and is invisible to precognition. Despite his impulsiveness and mental instability, Quicksilver is intellectually talented and able to think at incredibly fast speeds. He’s also a skilled hand to hand combatant.

First Appearance: X-Men #4, 1964.

Come back to MintConditionPublishing.com for more Appendices!

Here we are, chipping away at the Top 10! Wow. It seems like only yesterday we started counting down from number 75. I honestly feel that the following 10 mutants who close out these power rankings are the most powerful and bad ass that the X-Men have to offer. So brace yourself. Things are about to get intense!

So what are power rankings? Mostly used to rank sports teams on how well they are playing now, my power rankings are a list of X-Men based on what their power set is in current continuity (or most recent appearance). Other factors that determined a character’s ranking are: what their power potential is, what they’ve already proven they can do (so long as it is still relevant in current continuity), and their over all level of badassness. If you disagree with me that’s totally cool- please leave a civilized comment explaining why. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and while I believe this list to be very solid in it’s numbering, I want to hear your thoughts! After seeing these next two, I’m expecting some angry comments:

darwin#8. Darwin: This one is probably going to shock a lot of people, and understandably so because unless you’re reading X-Factor or have read X-Men: Deadly Genesis by Ed Brubaker (who created him) you have no clue who the hell Armando Munoz is. All I’ll say is this: Read his power set below and tell me how you could rank him any lower than #8. I’m all ears.

Powers: Darwin is an Omega-Level Mutant whose ability is defined as Instantaneous Adaptation. This means that he has the power to adapt to any harmful situation by continually evolving, letting his powers subconsciously (and involuntarily) protect him. His power is reactive, adjusting his capabilities to his environment. So if he were to be trapped underwater, he would grow gills; if he were to be in total darkness, he’d develop night vision; if he were gassed, his lungs would adapt to the poisoned air, etc. The only thing preventing Darwin from ranking even higher on this list is that when it comes to combat, he isn’t the best fighter. As time goes on, I’m sure that this will change.

First Appearance: X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2, 2006.

wolverine36b#7. Wolverine: Wolverine is spotlighted in a bunch of stuff right now in the Marvel Universe; he’s leading X-Force, hunting Romulus (the guy who has apparently been controlling him his entire life), is a member of the New Avengers, and can be found spending time with the Astonishing and Uncanny X-Men. How he does all of this at one time is beyond me, but despite statements that he’s getting old from his leader Cyclops (Astonishing X-Men), his clone X-23 (X-Force), and his son Daken (Wolverine), without a doubt Wolvie is one tough bad ass. I’m sure lots of people will be up in arms that he isn’t ranked higher, but to be blunt, all of the mutants that follow him on our list could take him. Just wait and see.

Powers: Let the laundry list begin: Wolverine has a regenerative healing factor which allows him to replace lost tissue, muscle, and limbs within a matter of minutes. This power also works in healing psychological wounds from violent acts, often resulting in amnesia. Logan’s healing factor also grants him superhuman stamina, a slow aging process (he’s well over 100 years old), and considerable immunity to elemental extremes. He’s immune to diseases and toxins (hence the reason why he can drink so much beer), and has incredibly acute senses allowing him to track virtually anyone (or anything) with just one whiff of their scent. He can see at great distances with clarity, has night vision, and can lift up to around 2 tons. Wolvie can run up to 30 mph and has enhanced agility and reflexes. His trademark is probably the three bone claws located underneath the skin and muscle of both forearms. These claws are laced with adamantium (as is his skeleton) making them (and his body) virtually indestructible. The claws can hack through anything, and whenever he pops them they cut open the skin in his hands which is quickly healed via his healing factor. Considering multiple telepaths have tried to access his mind and failed, it’s obvious that he is very resistant to telepathic attacks. Wolverine is also a master tactician, highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and a variety of weapons, a covert ops expert, a skilled mechanic, and one helluva ladies man. Like he says, “I’m the best at what I do.” No argument here Logan. No argument here.

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk #180, 1974.

xmen1The very first X-Men comic to be published by Marvel was X-Men #1. It was released in September of 1963, and the team consisted of Professor X, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, and Angel. The X-Men’s most popular character, Wolverine, didn’t join the team until 12 years later in 1975 when he appeared in Giant Size X-Men #1!

A Fastball Special is the term that was originally coined for when the steel-bodied Colossus tossed a feral Wolverine at an opponent. Over the years though, many different characters have performed the move, but it has only been perfected by the Russian and Canadian mutants.

Meanwhile, over at D.C. Comics, there have been four different characters who have taken up the Robin mantle at Batman’s side. In order of duty they have been: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Tim Drake again. Dick Grayson later grew up to become the blue and black clad Nightwing. Jason Todd brutally died at the hands of The 101113-48969-fastball-special1Joker only to return years later as the vigilante Red Hood. Now Todd has become something of an anti-hero, taunting his former comrades by donning their costumes and delivering a harsher form of justice. Tim Drake is still in high cover-largeschool and could easily be compared to Marvel’s Peter Parker during his younger years. Before she was Robin, Stephanie Brown patrolled the streets of Gotham City as the purple robed Spoiler. Batman took her under his wing when Tim went on an hiatus as Robin, giving Stephanie the role of Batman’s right hand… woman. She was seemingly killed by the villain Black Mask, only to come back a few years later. She has returned to her role as Spoiler.

Similarly, the Batgirl cowl has been taken up by two different women: Police Commissioner James Gordon’s daughter, Barbara Gordon, and the act first/ask questions later, Cassandra Cain. Barbara Gordon was Batgirl until The Joker crippled her by busting up her legs in “The Killing Joke” story arc. She is now consigned to a wheel chair and goes by the name of Oracle. Oracle is a computer hack, essentially taking the role of ‘mission control’ when it comes to the Bat-Family. Ironically, Cassandra Cain (who currently dons the Batgirl title) was trained by Barbara and is a total bad ass.

-Air #2

by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker, Vertigo Comics

When I reviewed Air #1 in my video blog, I commented that while entertaining, the story is also confusing and convoluted. Unfortunately, not much changes in the second issue. I like the book, but I still don’t have a sense of where it’s going as more questions pop up instead of answers. Like what’s the deal with Zayne and who the heck does he work for?

M.K. Perker does a good job with the art. The main character, Blythe, looks far hotter than she did in issue #1, and the continuity with her bruised eye didn’t go unnoticed. My favorite aspect of G. Willow WIlson’s writing is the developing love story between Blythe and Zayne. It’s very ‘love at first sight’ and I can run with that. …What, I like love stories.

In this issue we get a better look at the supporting cast, which includes an obnoxious punk rocker and a sagacious old woman. And while I still have no idea what the McGuffin is yet, at least I now know who the bad guys are. Hopefully come issue #3 the plot will become clearer and the air more breathable.

“The Highest Emotion is not love. It is longing.” – Mrs. Battacharya

3/5 stars

-Fables #76

by Bill Willingham & Michael Allred, Vertigo Comics

I knew we were in for an overload of exposition following the climactic events of issue #75, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be so lame. Essentially Fables #76 focuses on Geppetto adapting to life in Fabletown and the residents’ reaction to his presence there. It gets tiresome seeing Fables from the Homelands voice their anger at Geppetto for being granted amnesty throughout the entire issue. We also get the exhilerating priveledge of seeing him experience modern day technology for the first time. Make no doubt about it, there is nothing exciting about watching Geppetto learn what a car is.

I didn’t like Michael Allred’s depiction of Pinnochio. He looked too childlike, which is drastically different from what we’re used to, and it was jarring. I also wasn’t a fan of how the major character who died in issue #75 wasn’t even mentioned.

Fables tops my list of titles currently being published, but this issue was flat out boring and did not appeal to me. Don’t let this deter you from getting into the series, however, as this issue was uncharacteristically bad. Plus, now would be a great jumping on point for new readers.

2/5 stars

-Resurrection #6

by Marc Guggenheim & David Dumeer, Oni Press

This title needs a pulse before it dies a slow, disappointing death. Complete in black and white, Resurrection is essentially The Walking Dead except with aliens instead of zombies. The story is about a handful of humans who have survived an eight year occupation of Earth from the alien ‘bugs’. Yes, it sounds cool but this issue was the final in the opening story arc, and it lacked anything that could be considered climactic. I mean, when in the hell are we going to see aliens do some evil stuff? And who is this dude in a cape compete with his own Batcave!?

Ignoring the fact that Resurrection is never released on time, Oni publishes the book on a ‘bi-monthly’ basis, which is a total momentum killer. It’s too easy for the reader to lose interest and forget what exactly is going on… and it allows for more time wondering when we’ll get to see aliens kill stuff!

On the whole Resurrection has been a decent read, despite issue #6. Stick with the title as it is expected to make the shift to color, hopefully making a mass resurrection of readers unnecessary.

2/5 stars

-X-Force #7

by Craig Kyle/Christopher Yost & Mike Choi, Marvel Comics

Let’s end this One Hitter on a good note.

X-Force is wasting no time in becoming one of the best X-Books currently being published. The combined talent of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost make for an engaging story, containing unexpected twists and turns that don’t come off as gimmicky. The dialogue sets the mood for this team of X-Men who need to get their hands dirty in order to preserve the future of the human race. To quote Cyclops:

“We’re entering new territory, and it’s dark. But we’re still the good guys.”

New territory indeed, as Cyclops makes it clear that killing is no longer an option that the X-Men can overlook.

New comer to the title, Mike Choi, provides for some awesome art. He uses a unique blurring effect to put the focus on the primary action of a panel. It is highly effective and comes off in a very cinematic way. To boot, Choi’s characters look their age and he draws his women beautifully, especially their faces.

So what else makes X-Force #7 kick ass? Well, let me run down the list for you: Archangel and Wolfsbane freak out, a handful of former ‘New X-Men’ join the team, someone comes back from the dead, and a villain that first appeared way back in Uncanny X-Men #2 resurfaces for the first time in years. To quote Wolverine:

“Come again?”

Come again indeed. Pick up this series, it’s bad ass.

5/5 stars

As the first multiple issue story line of Wolverine: First Class comes to a close, I walk away looking forward to the next issue, which is both a good and bad thing. As previously stated, I enjoy the premise of the First Class genre, and Part II of the Wundagore story line was a fun read, but disappointing at times.

Now onto the good stuff.

A breief synopsis:

Prosimia, a lemur ‘Manimal’, has turned Shadowcat into one as well, and The High Evolutionary, by stripping him of his animalistic tendencies, has turned Wolverine into a wussy. The issue begins with a two page splash complete with rabid New Men Manimals ready to take out our dynamic duo and their friends. When Wolverine tucks tail and runs away, Kitty is left all by her lonesome to defend against the crazed New Men army of the Man-Beast. She dons a set of armor, is granted the mystical powers of myth and legend, and prepares to save the day!

All of the main characters are mentioned above, and the cast is nearly the same from the previous issue, minus Thor.

Some thoughts on the issue:

-Again, the writing is satisfactory. Even so, Fred Van Lente bordered on getting too deep with Wolverine. After Logan fled from the battle, he contemplated abandoning his life as an X-Man in order to live a life of peace out in the woods. Granted he was under the influence of The High Evolutionary, so his mind may have been a bit clouded, but the scene felt odd. Overall though, Lente captures the essence of his main character well.

-The art by Salva Espin was consistent from the previous issue and looks great in that First Class style. Expressions are one of Espin’s strong points. Still, I would have liked more variety and action in the show down between Man-Beast and The High Evolutionary. It felt flat as six panels were dedicated only to the faces and glowing eyes of the characters.

-Not to come off as harsh, but I felt cheated out of the New Men vs. the Mutated New Men battle. It seemed very anti-climactic after a full page spread depicted Kitty leading a charge into the fray, not to mention the awesome battle the issue’s cover promotes. Speaking of Kitty, it was nice to see her finally get a moment to shine in this series as she becomes the legend, Lady Shadra of the Cat People.

-Some one liners:

“I had no choice, Bova! Not when our creator left us only myths and legends with which to defend ourselves!” – Prosimia

“Is there not some way you can be content just to live?” – The High Evolutionary

“For the new generation always tears the present from the gnarled hands of the old… To drag it screaming and kicking into the future.” – Man-Beast

-A death in the issue added to the drama. Although, I must admit, the character was growing on me.

The final word:

While overall a great series, this issue of Wolverine: First Class felt rushed. The point of this story arc seemed to be giving Kitty a chance take the spotlight away from Wolverine and strut her stuff. Unfortunately, at the most pivotal moment for this to happen, the camera cuts away from the action and when it returns, the battle is nearly finished. Luckily though, we can look forward to issue #5!

2/5 stars

Wolverine First Class #4

Wolverine: First Class could also be called ‘The Untold Adventures of Wolverine and Shadowcat,’ as it takes the reader back to when Kitty Pryde first joined the X-Men and Logan took her under his wing. While the action unfolds during the X-Men’s history, it is written and drawn with modern day lingo and technology.

Even though it is difficult to deny that Wolverine: First Class is riding the coat-tails of its predecessor, X-Men: First Class, thus far it has proved to be an entertaining series.

A brief synopsis:

The book begins with a short, stylized telling of the history of a tall, steely being in a purple tunic called, the High Evolutionary. He comes off as an honorable ‘man’, and has created his own small town of humanoid animals. Time passes and the X-Men’s first dynamic duo find themselves smack in the middle of this town in search of one of their arch-nemesis. Since the appearance of a strange light high on a nearby mountain peak, the towns new men have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Are the two related? Wolverine and Shadowcat take it upon themselves to investigate.

Other characters in this issue include a town full of ‘Manimals’ (as dubbed by Kitty), a classic villain who’s first appearance was in 1966, and even Thor!

This issue was Part 1 of the Wundagore story arc, and while not action packed due to the delivery of exposition, it was a fun read.

Some thoughts on the issue:

-Fans will appreciate how writer Fred Van Lente doesn’t neglect Logan’s old personality traits. ‘Bub’ comes up appropriately, and at one point Wolverine nearly goes into a berserker rage, which Shadowcat calls him out on. Van Lente also succeeds in capturing the youth, spunk, and naivete of a young Kitty Pryde.

-While Salva Espin’s art is cartoony in comparison to the other X-Titles, this should not be viewed as a negative. Espin’s work runs in congruity with the art of Roger Cruz (X-Men First Class Vol. 2). While seemingly a minor detail, I appreciate it for it serves as bookends to the First Class genre. Only one awkward panel comes to mind, and it is of Wolverine performing multiple acrobatic moves in lighter shades, with the final pose being a darker color. It seemed a bit out of place, as this style is typically found in Nightwing or Robin, and was an odd way to represent Wolverine’s early stage of a berserker rage.

-The splash page appears at the end of the book, which I am not a fan of. Still, the final shot informs us why we shouldn’t ever trust a lemur.

This issue had a couple of good one liners: “Don’t let the goofy getups fool you- Me an’ the girl know how to take care of ourselves.” -Wolverine

“Bessie.” -The name Wolverine purposely (and incorrectly) calls a cow Manimal multiple times. As he does so, she constantly corrects him in a nonchalant way by simply saying her real name, ‘Bova.’ It’s funny to see Logan being a jerk.

-The High Evolutionary seems like a guy who has the potential to do some serious damage. In this issue, however, he doesn’t see too much action.

-It’s totally awesome seeing Wolvie in his browns and yellows.

The final word:

While easily done, this book should not be shrugged off as a kids title. While cartoony at a glance, Wolverine: First Class stays true to the past traits of its characters, and succeeds in delivering the stories in a modern setting. X-Men and Wolverine fans alike will enjoy this title, but Kitty Pryde fans should relish it. After all, until she figures out how to get out of a giant bullet, this is all the Shadowcat you’re going to get!

3/5 stars

Wolverine: First Class #3