It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that there’s a Wolverine movie coming out soon. As a result, Wolverine comics have been even more omnipresent than usual, positively deluging readers. Alongside this week’s “Wolverine: Noir,” you’ve also got the opportunity to pick up “Rampaging Wolverine,” just ahead of Wednesday’s “Wolverine: The Anniversary,” “Wolverine: First Class,” and “Wolverine Origins.” At least Wolverine fans aren’t spoilt for choice.
The gimmick for “Rampaging Wolverine” is that it’s all done in black and white. The title is presumably an oblique reference to the old “Rampaging Hulk” series, while the format -- black and white anthology -– is also evocative of the old “Shadows and Light” series. Neither of those made much of an impact in general, but I remember them, so perhaps they did make enough of an impression to justify this pseudo-follow-up, at least.
Of course, once you get into the book, it’s a standard anthology and, for the most part, reads like one. There are a couple of good moments (Ted McKeever’s contribution, and an unexpected but welcome text piece by Robin Furth), but there are also plenty of not so good ones -- particularly the lead story where Wolverine decides to kill someone by making them dig a hole in the sand, then burying them and waiting for the sea to come in. It’s all a bit too Garth Ennis’ “Punisher” and single-handedly illustrates one of the main problems with Wolverine’s ubiquity -- with so many interpretations being presented, the character becomes almost too generic a protagonist, to the point where he’s appearing in stories that aren’t really Wolverine stories at all.
As with every other Wolverine one-shot released over the last year, Rampaging Wolverine is otherwise fairly unremarkable. It seems to be aimed at the two extreme ends of the market -- the Wolverine completists at one end, and at the other, those who only want to read a single Wolverine comic a year. It might, at a push, also interest people who are unusually charmed by monochrome art, but to be honest, the rest of us can safely skip it.