• Review - Wolverine: First Class #5

    wolverine first class #5Issue: Wolverine: First Class #5
    Writer: Fred Van Lente
    Artist: Clayton Henry
    Date Published: September 2008
    Alpha Appearance: Shaman, Snowbird, Aurora, Mac
    Period in Alpha Flight's history: Main story: before the series, immediately before Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and Northstar's origin in #10; after X-Men: Origins: Wolverine. Framing story: sometime before #1.

    OVERVIEW:Feeling like Charlie Brown, Snowbird plays the team goat. Aurora smells a rat.
    Wolverine shows his softer side, by helping a terrorist - and he almost learns something about his past. The terrorist has taken the Governor General, forcing Wolverine to explain to Americans what that is.

    For non-fans:

    The good news is, I think this issue was written with you in mind. There are little recaps and explanations of powers and enough fill-in info to get a reasonable summary of the team.

    The bad news is, it doesn't always work. I'd say Snowbird turning into a goat (let alone a specific one - luckily for her it was white) is iffy at best.

    Aurora doesn't have her best characterisation here; she randomly speaks French, and has an ongoing feud with Snowbird that Fred Van Lente kept writing, but nobody else knew about.

    Shaman used to be the best surgeon in Canada, and he uses his doctorin' here.

    This story introduces a villain named Citadel, who will be used in the upcoming Alpha Flight series. He's an ex-Canadian military operative, now bonded with adamantium.
    Film at 11.


    The cover's nice, without being special. It doesn't intrigue me, doesn't make me want to read the book. Okay, it wouldn't make me want to read the book if I didn't read everything with such a prominent Alpha Flight cover.
    The only problem is Shaman's suffering a bad case of Youngblood's Disease.

    This is a reasonably good story. It's not badly written, and the framing story - that years ago, Wolverine faced a character with adamantium skin, and now needs to save his life to learn more about himself, is good. The main story is just 'go in, take out the terrorists, catch a movie, bit o' dinner... I mean, just take 'em out. The ending a threat way'; nothing special,
    The actual writing is okay, without being great. There are a couple of bits of exposition that are a bit wolverine first class #5on the nose.
    I submit to you Shaman's line:
    "I'm not sure I'm comfortable with you referring to grandfather's sacred sarcee medicine pouch as "hocus-pocus", Woverine. I simply empty my mind and reach inside and I find anything I need--"
    Mostly, it feels kind of rushed.

    Wolverine does go into an explanation of a Governor General. Maybe you Americans need that? (We have one here in Australia, too.) Again, it's clunky exposition.

    Spoiler after the image:
    Citadel dies at the end. So how will he be the villain in an upcoming issue?
    Yeah, cause death lasts in the Marvel universe...

    Da Juice :

    The Alphans inside are Shaman, Aurora, and Snowbird. They're mostly portrayed well, though without flair.
    Only three things stick out:
    Shaman's costume is kevlar. An interesting retcon, that afaik has never been contradicted. We need to keep this in mind in the future.
    Aurora 'eeks' at mice, like a 50's sitcom. Ugh.
    Snowbird changes into a goat and a mouse. The improbability / unCanadianness was discussed on this forum at the time the issue came out, I believe.

    NB: I find this ad for Avatar: The Last Airbender on the back page completely unappealing to me.
    Watch the show. It's great!
    [TD]On its own:
    [TD]For Alpha-Flightness:
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Thanks. I didn't feel like going through my X-Men to figure that out.
      That'd put it before Alpha Flight #1 (Uncanny #150 has a cover date of 1981).

      - Le Messor
      "I didn't really say everything I said."
      ~ Yogi Berra (attrib)