The days start getting shorter, kids go back to school, the baseball season tightens up (My cherished Kansas City Royals are in first place as I write this! What?!?), and even The Unspoken Decade is not immune to the end of the season as we wrap up the MC2 summer today. I know you have had all sorts of fun, folks, but all good things must end, and this one ends with a WILD THING!
Wild Thing you know already because we met her in our J2 write up, part 2 of the MC2 summer, and if you don’t, well I just provided a link for you to check it out via the hyper magic of the internet! When last we saw her, we were informed that she is the daughter of Elektra and Wolverine and that she has psychic claws in lieu of her father’s adamantium ones.
In all honesty, I was sort of dreading this title, as I was worried we would get more of the teen hero trope that permeated almost all of the line except Fantastic Five, where the teen is confused, upset, and uncool despite having nearly limitless power. I liked it in J2 and Spider-Girl, but it was getting tiring by A-Next. Thankfully, though, I was wrong here, as we get something similar, but the trope is warped just enough to keep the teen interaction interesting. Larry Hama does a fantastic job on the title with dialogue and serviceable plots that definitely would have interested folks new to comic books. We even get to start the entire shebang off with that lovable invention of the 90’s, the Zero Issue!
Tom DeFalco wrote this issue, and it is just straightforward action. One should expect nor be given no less, as a cover with Hulk vs. Wolverine vs. Wolverine’s daughter must deliver action. We are also graced with the creature that first brought us Wolverine and first brought Hulk and Wolverine together – WENDIGO!!!!
My brother used to love Wendigo when we were growing up. Our primary exposure to the guy was the X-Men arcade game, where he jumps at your character(s) over and over again, screaming ‘WENDIGO” as though he is utterly frightened that if he stops you or he will forget his name and he will somehow cease to exist. My brother used to love yell “WENDIGO” and follow that up with a much more quietly said “to the bathroom.” He’d then cackle as though he had invented a joke so funny Rosie O’ Donnell was going to discover his humor and offer him a spot on VH-1 Stand-Up Spotlight.
But back to Wild Thing. She shows up here and attacks Hulk for no discernible reason, only to discover he is working with Dr. Strange. Her behavior earns Wolverine the ultimate punishment, a verbal rebuke from Dr. Strange about kids.
I want to address one of my big pet peeves with superheroes here, and that is when they express incredulity in a world of amazement. Wild Thing makes a comparison of the Wendigo to The Blair Witch Project (a very hip and contemporary reference for DeFalco to make. Remember that movie and how big the build-up was?) as though the curse of the Wendigo is somehow a ludicrous assertion. Keep in mind she has no problem believing in Dr. Strange, and keep in mind that her FATHER, Wolverine, is the one who has told her it is real. Why would she doubt this? Why does every hero do this? Why does it bother me so?
The rest of the issue has some fun action, but the last page reminds us this ain’t your Daddy’s Marvel Universe!
Of course, no teen ever believes their parents allow them any fun. MC2’s parents really hammer the belief home and make it seem as true as the fact that Waffle House is beyond delicious. Also, can you get over Dad Wolverine? Because I cannot. The idea of the most savage killer and beloved maverick in Marvel Universe history doling out punishments for things like ignoring instructions is just beyond uproarious. It would be like Kim Kardashian chastising someone for drawing fame from the reality show business. You’d be like, “Really?!”
Larry Hama does the writing on the ongoing series, and he brings a charm that I think DeFalco could not match in his #0 issue. Hama inverts the entire “uncool” teen thing, by having the so-called “cool girl” constantly attempt to make our hero look bad but never succeeding at it. That’s a nice change of pace from what we have seen thus far in J2 and A-Next, and it’s the first original treatment of our teen heroes attempting to fit in since Spider-Girl. First, though, let’s not forget what a badass Wild Thing is supposed to be, and let’s help you remember via a close-up on her psychic claws.
You really hate Cameron until you find out that her father isn’t just a bad father, but he is actually the world’s worst father combined with the worst aspects of all of those 1980’s yuppie villains. He’s not above negotiating anything, so his natural first reaction to his daughter’s kidnapping is to try and get the kidnapper to lower his demands. Shrewd is one way to put it, but I’d probably just call him an asshole. That is, if I was being nice.
The dynamic between Rina (Wild Thing) and Cameron continues in one of my favorite moments of the book. Of course, part of it being one of my favorite moments is the fact that Elektra is going shopping. Not just shopping, mind you, but shopping at the mall. Not just shopping at the mall, mind you, BUT SCHOOL CLOTHES SHOPPING with her DAUGHTER at the mall.
I am sure that during all that groundbreaking work he was doing, Frank Miller was secretly pining for a day when his creation Elektra could finally reach her true potential as a Mom, shopping at the mall with her daughter. I bet he always intended her character to be fulfilled by driving her daughter (who looooooooooooooooves video games) to the mall for some clothes.
You know, I was being facetious, but with what we know about Mr. Miller and his paeans in favor of fascism, maybe that is what he thought. If so, brilliant, sir, brilliant.
Cameron continues her attempts to spoil Rina’s social life faster than a wet tomato in the sun, but they all continue to backfire. I do have to agree with Cameron, though, in that other than for our entertainment, there’s not much of a reason for John and Colin to be so interested in Rina. Her Dad does ride a Harley, though, so her Mom has to up the cool ride quotient, lest Josh and Colin not be down with Rina any longer.
Now is where we stop reading a comic book and Larry Hama and Ron Lim start giving us a plot that would have seemed more at home in a 1980’s movie than a comic book. Elektra has a few errands to run prior to taking Rina school shopping, one of which is just stopping at this MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL and saying hello to an old pal. Then he asks her to help teach his class Sai technique, because why wouldn’t a martial arts school in the mall be teaching deadly weapons to its clientele? Also, why wouldn’t Josh, Colin, and Cameron stumble upon this and find another reason for the two boys to be enamored with Rina?
I have to mention one other moment, where Wolverine and daughter howl at the moon. LITERALLY.
That’s basically the book. Hama does a fantastic job with dialogue on a fun title. This one ain’t gonna change your life or make anyone write one of those articles for the New York Times designed to convince mainstream folks that comics are now high class entertainment. On the other hand, it is a fun romp where we get to see an inversion of the “uncool kid” trope done well along with Ron Lim’s splendid pencils.
I think my only real complaint of this book would be that we don’t get to see Elektra and Wolverine interact. I don’t know if they are divorced, married, together, etc. I would have enjoyed seeing their interaction, if for no other reason than it probably would have inspired at least four more snarky jokes.
The MC2 summer is over, folks! I hope you were able to enjoy a sunbeam or two along with this look back at an innocent imprint for a decidedly non-innocent time. I had a lot of fun looking back at it, and I am sure you did too. All in all, the verdict is positive. Not just positive, but much more positive than I had imagined the verdict to be. When I first picked these up, I was sort of dreading them. I figured they’d be hokey, silly, and awful. While they were hokey, and they could be silly, they were never awful. In fact, I feel like if they had gotten the push to a market for kids like MC2 was intended to do, they’d have taken off.
As it is, they no longer go Unspoken.