By David Lapham (Writer), Johnny Timmons (Pencils and Inks), and Jose Villarrubia (Colors), Stefano Guadiano (Illustrator), Matt Milla (Colors), Kelly Goodine (Pencils), Paul Neary (Inks), and Ian Hannin (Colors)
Wow…to be honest, I am not even sure where to begin with this one. Wolverine: The Amazing Immortal Man & Other Bloody Tales is a collection of three, increasingly bizarre, Wolverine stories written by David Lapham. The stories, while solid, vary in quality and the same can be said for the artwork, as each story features a unique art team that tries to capture the “feel” of each tale being told. Taken as a whole, however, this one-shot proves to be quite entertaining if you are looking for something that exists quite a bit outside of the current Wolverine story lines.
Now let me give a quick rundown of each tale before giving my final grade.
The headlining story, The Amazing Immortal Man, is told from the perspective of a thief traveling with a circus freak show that found, employed, and, eventually, betrayed Wolverine. This story serves to show both Wolverine’s humanity, in caring for a fellow circus employee, and how Wolverine’s healing factor appears to the average spectator or, in this case, a traveling ringmaster. The artwork, and even the lettering, gives the story a very retro feel and helps to elevate a fairly basic story quite a bit. It honestly felt as though the book should be tattered and worn on the pages where this story is told – it’s that effective.
The second tale, The Animal Man, is told from the perspective of a man who was saved by Wolverine and, as a result, becomes increasingly convinced that something changed in him after being saved. This is the story of a delusional man obsessed with his savior and David Lapham does an admirable job creating a convincing, if pathetic, vigilante. The artwork, while a bit sloppy, has a gritty feel that fits the dark, violent tone of the story quite well. A nice second story that takes the idea of how being a witness to Wolverine can change someone’s entire life.
The third and final story, Coney Island Baby, is by far the most bizarre and honestly felt like a weird X-Files and Wolverine crossover or something. In this tale, told mostly through Wolverine’s inner monologue, Wolverine is, at first, on the trail of a gangster who killed some innocent people. He quickly discovers that he is actually chasing something much more disturbing and as a result, the three stories are able to come full circle. This story is not for the squeamish as there is a lot of gore and brutality on display. That said, I really enjoyed the dynamic action and character work by the artists. A solid conclusion that helped bring the stories together.
Overall I recommend this one-shot for any Wolverine fan looking for a quick fix. The stories are all solid, the different art styles keep things fresh, and David Lapham shows that he has a nice grasp on both Wolverine and the effect he has on people. (Grade: B)