Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wolverine: Weapon X- Tomorrow Dies Today by Jason Aaron, Ron Garney, Davide Gianfelice and Esad Ribic

Steve Rogers, the Adventurer and Military man known as Captain America survived being sheathed in ice in World War 2 and put into suspended animation for over 30 years. But after the Civil War that surrounded America and Iron Man endorsing a policy of superhuman registration, in which he lead the fight of the anti-Registration forces, he was struck down and killed by an assassin's bullet wielded by the woman who he had come to love and who loved him in return. Recently returned from the dead, his friend Wolverine, who just happens to be a mutant, are out celebrating his return.

But something strange is happening. A creature known as Deathlok has appeared and is killing off various superheroes, vigilantes and even the parents of heroes and vigilantes yet to be born. And next on their list of people to be exterminated is Captain America, both as Bucky Barnes, the current Captain America and Steve Rogers as well. And it's not just one Deathlock, but multiples of them. Even if one is defeated, more arrive, and pursue their targets with mechanical efficiency and patience.

The Deathloks are from the future, a world where Roxxon controls the world, and has expanded to nearly every industry. But even though most people aren't happy with the company, Roxxon keeps iron control with their mercenary and security forces. There are those who fight against Roxxon, but they are forced to do so from deeply secret bases and installations. The Rebels keep track of the few remaining heroes and try to help them.

So when they become aware that Roxxon is sending their Deathloks into the past to kill heroes there, the resistance has to do the same, and keep this possible future from coming about, but with Roxxons seemingly endless supply of Deathloks, and its ruthless methods of wiping out future heroes, how can Wolverine, Captain America and Steve Rogers ensure that the future Roxxon wants never comes to pass?

Only one person, a woman dressed in white, seems to know the truth behind the invasion. But who is she, and how does she know what she knows? Who is the small boy she is trying to save, and can saving him truly have that much of an effect on the timeline? And what is up with the Deathlok who keeps asking her questions about the nature of sacrifice?

And when Nightcrawler dies, he gives his friend Wolverine one last task, to take a concert grand piano up an inaccessible mountain to a chapel and a community of monks, using only his own power. As Wolverine struggles to fulfill the last wish of his friend, he wonders why it fell to him to do this job in this specific way. Is Kurt trying to teach him something from beyond the grave?

I found this a very interesting graphic novel. which started out with a big question and soon introduced a bigger one. Along the way, the identity of the "General" directing the war against Roxxon and its forces is hinted at, but every answer the reader comes up with turns out to be wrong, from Wolverine to Iron Man, and who it finally ended up to be was a total surprise to me at the end, even if it did fit the story as a whole. But that it was such a surprise just made me very happy with the writing. It's rare that a story manages to not telegraph the ending as you read.

The art was also very good, and the menace of the various Deathloks came across quite well. The nature of their menace is shown early on when one eliminates two people on their first date because in their future, they have a child who becomes a vigilante hero. Later on, another woman is killed in the maternity ward for the same reason. The message is clear- there is no pity and no emotion in these things, and they will go to any lengths to finish their mission, which makes them very menacing, no ifs, and or buts.

My one peeve with the book is that the story seems to say that the future will happen, for good or ill, so even if the heroes were successful in stopping the attacks from the future, the whole point of the exercise seems kinda pointless. All their heroism only postponed what was going to happen, which is rather a bleak outcome to the story, no matter that they changed the future for at least one man. It left me feeling melancholy, which I suppose isn't exactly a bad thing.

So, reading this might be a bit depressing after all is said and done, but it's an absolutely rocking storyline with plenty of ups and downs and a rescue against seemingly all odds. Despite not being a typical superhero story, I would definitely recommend this one simply because it isn't the usual and because of that ambiguous feeling at the end. Well done, and highly recommended.

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