By Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu (writers), Stephen Segovia (artist), Jay Leisten & Cam Smith (inkers), Marte Garcia (colorist)

The Story: Emmy Doolin!  Cutthroat!  The Inquisitor!  Moses Magnum!  Marvel’s latest fantastic foursome is on the run from Norman Osborn, but they won’t go down without a fight.  Hiding out in an abandoned warehouse, the team devises a cunning plan to barter for their freedom with the same man who wants to apprehend them.  Wait, this is a Wolverine comic!?  Uh oh…

The Good: To his credit, Segovia has turned in some impressive art for what was surely a lackluster script.  Although I’m still not his biggest fan on this book, Segovia deserves credit nonetheless for stepping up his game and delivering art that attempts to engage the reader.  His opening scene and battle between Daken and the D-Listers was a refreshing change of pace and made me wish I could see more of that kind and quality of action in this comic more often.

The Not So Good: I’m really concerned to see that it actually takes two writers to churn out such increasingly uninteresting stories.  The sole strength of this title thus far lies in its ability to portray Daken manipulating his way through Norm Osborn’s evil empire.  It’s a great angle to take, but only succeeds when the writer can deliver it.  I did not get that from this issue, and I think the reason why is that Way and Liu are clearly pacing their plot for its inevitable graphic novel release.  As far as I can tell, they are either wholly ignorant of or knowingly disregarding the fact that for you and me, the people paying three bucks a month to read their stories, the experience of reading a monthly comic is vastly different from that of a six-issue graphic novel.  The single monthly comic used to be (and to an extent should still be, I would argue) a complete and dynamic experience unto itself.  This issue by contrast felt like a very unspectacular chapter in a larger story.  Daken only showed up for half of his own comic this month, and when his presence is the only thing keeping this comic alive, that’s really not a good thing, graphic novel release be damned.

Conclusion: Dark Wolverine is a comic that’s going nowhere fast.  While its labyrinthine plots might make sense after they’ve been collected in trade, they fail to entertain as monthly comics.  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be collecting this.

Grade:  D

-Tony Rakittke