Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol 1 by Johnston & Tortosa Manga Review

Title:  Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol 1

Story by:  Anthony Johnston

Art by: Wilson Tortosa 

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN:  9780345505163

May Contain Spoilers

Ugh.  Where to begin.  Just because an iconic franchise can be reimagined in a “manga” style, doesn’t mean that it should be.  I’m not even sure what that means, because all comics, regards of place of origin, have different styles and storytelling methods.  That’s part of the fun.  They aren’t supposed to be cookie cutter replicas of each other,and for me, that’s part of the problem with superhero comics.  I started off reading X-Men comics, and was a huge collector/fan of all of the different iterations of the Marvel wunderkinds.  Then I got bored chasing after variant covers, cross-overs, and the temporary death of this character or rebirth of that one.  When Tokyopop started releasing trim little books like Peach Girl and Mars, superhero comics fell to the wayside.  All of the busty women with tiny little waists and curvy hips started getting on my nerves, as did the constant brawling.  Ironic that I now find a certain sense of enjoyment from Kurohime and other shounen beat’em ups.

I didn’t think too highly of this book, and here are some reasons why.  First of all, what the hell happened to Logan?  The Logan I know and love is stoic, tough, yet has a firm sense of fairness.  He doesn’t always do the right thing, and he relies a little too much on his fists to get his point across, but he doesn’t wander the mountainside bemoaning his existence.  “Woe is me” isn’t part of his personality.  This Logan is a whinny brat, and it doesn’t have anything to do with him being a hormonal teenager.  Maybe his skin hasn’t toughened up yet, but he’s too busy feeling sorry for himself and complaining about how hard his life is to garner much sympathy. 

Logan was found on the doorstep of a martial arts school in the middle of winter,  with a wolverine crouching protectively over him.  He doesn’t remember anything about his past, and he feels angry and resentful because he thinks his parents abandoned him in the middle of forest. Elliot runs the school, and his pretty daughter is one of Logan’s only friends.  When Logan chafes at being a prisoner of the school, Elliot makes a deal with him – if he can pass a challenge, he’ll take him to New York for the weekend.  This sets up all kinds of trouble for Logan to overcome, and opens a path for him to discover the secret of his mysterious past.

The pacing is swift and frenzied, with a ton of fighting.  The pages whiz by with all of the conflict, which also yield zero character development.  About the only constant for Wolverine is his unfailing ability to piss people off.  Within minutes of meeting them.   I, sadly, did not find that an interesting plot point.  About the only positive aspect of the book is the art, which very effectively moved Logan from one perilous situation to the next.  His hair is a tad overdone, and looked like a beaver dam, but you’d never catch him carrying a brush, let alone using one.

I was disappointed in Wolverine: Prodigal Son.  I didn’t care enough about the characters to get drawn into the action, but the art did keep me reading to the end.

Grade:  D

Review copy provided by Del Rey

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