In ‘Amazing X-Men’ #8, we saw Wolverine fly up to Canada to help out some friends only to quickly find out that the great north has been run over by Wendigo! Yes, the first story arc of ‘World War Wendigo’ had begun and it quickly became clear that the curse that turned cannibals into Wendigo has changed. No longer must human flesh be consumed, now it transfers simply by being cut by one of those who were transformed already, just as many old school werewolf stories were like, only without a full moon and with the transformation happening much quicker.
Reading through any issue that has Wolverine in a starring role these days feels lackluster. For once it isn’t from over saturation of the character (which still exists), but is completely due from to his upcoming death. I feel that we know he can’t die until that fateful upcoming issue of ‘Wolveirne’ and that makes him as a lead feel almost like a waste of story telling. That being said, anytime that Yost is involved we do still get some great dialogue as he knows how to write the voices of our heroes, even if this time he put them in quite a dull situation.
Maybe that was my problem with this issue. The dialogue was great and the mutants felt true to character but the elment of being in danger was missing. There is an army of Wendigo on the loose and I felt that they never felt to be truly overwhelming in the issue.
I can’t even blame it on the art. With Carlo Barberi taking over for Ed McGuinness, I think the quality has gone up. That is saying a lot as McGuinness always earns high praises for drawing the mutants in my book. What action there is feels unrealistic as we see the Blackbird and a military jet torn out of the air by a Wendigo jumping on each and tearing them apart. Beautifully illustrated, great reaction from the human pilot, and how the X-Men reacted was the high point of the issue.
Speaking of why we’re up North in the first place, we don’t get much of the ex-Alpha Flight members on page either and when we do, they barely seem to be more than having been slipped in to even acknowledge that we’re in Canada. Oh, we also see a guest appearance of The Avengers on a couple of panels that really didn’t feel needed or help move the story forward, so unless that is addressed next issue, it was a waste of space. In retrospect. it felt confusing to be in there at all. There is a cliffhanger moment at the end right as the day is almost saved with magic and is suddenly stopped in its tracks. Which again points to what I’ve said about Wolverine. I just can’t seem to get invested in this story line.
What is a strong concept in the title alone, “World War Wendigo’ falls flat when it reaches the page. A lack of actual character interaction, barely touching on the army of Wendigo, and placing a character we know can’t be seriously hurt here as one of the leads, causes the story to suffer. Good art and great dialogue on only a couple of pages can’t make up for the bad pacing that I’m shocked to see Yost give to us, as usually his arcs are much better put together.
AMAZING X-MEN #9
Writer: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Artist: Carlo Barberi