Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 9: Wolverine: The End #1
Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Wolverine: The End #1, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 2004. Enjoy!
This comic has no credits. According to the cover, Paul Jenkins writes it, Claudio Castellini draws it, and Paul Mounts colors it. Dave Sharpe might letter it (he’s credited for issue #2), but who knows. I suppose it doesn’t matter who writes it for our purposes, as the only words that appear on the first page are a quote by George Orwell and “Canada.” The Orwell quote (from Animal Farm) is fairly lazy – epigraphs in comics are dangerous things, usually attempting to lend weight to something that, honestly, doesn’t deserve it. But if you’re a reader opening this up, I guess you can figure out that this will be about … Communists? Totalitarianism? Pigs? The epigraph connotes certain things because of the text from which it’s taken, but a reader can’t obviously think a Wolverine comic will be about anything more than Wolverine struggling with his animal nature, which is the basis of … let’s say 75% of Wolverine comics. Jenkins uses a quote from Orwell that has a relatively deep meaning and simplifies it to the point of meaninglessness. Oh well.
The lack of meaningful words isn’t the only reason this is a lousy first page. It’s the very first image we see, and it’s … boring. It’s simply a winter scene where nothing is happening. On the right side, we get a door opening and a sliver of light spilling out into a winter’s night, but that’s not terribly interesting (nor, when we turn the page, does it get any more so: it’s a old man carrying a cardboard box). The only thing that might be of some interest is the gas pump, which is obviously supposed to show that this takes place in the future. Even that’s not that fascinating. Meanwhile, like too many modern comics (which should get off my lawn!), the mixture of actual pencil work and computer-generated effects doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to, making the page look a bit sloppier than it should.
This is a poorly designed first page, which does nothing to entice a reader. The fact that the entire issue is like this might be the reason why this is the only issue of Wolverine: The End that I own. Let’s move on!
Next: Scott Lobdell! Leinil Francis Yu! What could it be?!?!?!?