Thursday, January 21, 2010

1989 – Goodwin and Byrne's Wolverine

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artists: John Byrne/Klaus Janson

With waaay too many comic books in my basement, I started the laborious process of culling my back issue stock. Coming across the Wolverine box, I thought that parting ways with the old Goodwin-Byrne storyline might be easily done. However, as I read these issues, I was quite impressed by the story telling. Wonderful and spot-on characterization of Wolverine and an action-adventure story that would make James Bond proud contributed to me putting this run back into the box. And more than that, it convinced me to write about it.

The story drags Wolverine from Madripoor to South America where he inadvertently becomes part of a revolt against a military dictatorship. This dictator has hired Geist a robotic scientist to create a super soldier for him. While the run might have been trimmed by an issue, it was a solid effort and ranks among some of my favorite Wolverine moments.

The wrap-up of the storyline is want impressed me the most. It played me wonderfully, pulling me in on direction and pleasantly surprising me.

Also of note was that this run was during the Acts of Vengeance cross-over. And of course, Wolverine had to be pulled into this event. However, the unlikely battles between Wolverine and Tiger Shark proved to be entertaining. Not to mention the fact that Wolverine could actually die underwater made their battle that much more interesting.

Byrne did the breakdowns on these issues with a bit too much of Janson’s style coming through. His inking work tends to be naturally heavy, so with him doing the finishes, more of heavy cross-stitching of the inks are apparent and distracted my eye. It might just be that their styles crossed as I genuinely like Janson’s work, especially on Miller’s DD.

This run can probably be found rather easily in the dollar bins these days or you could pick up the Essential Wolverine #1 which reprints issues #1-23. While the letter page in issue #22 suggests that Byrne would pencil a few more issues of Wolverine, it didn’t happen. Byrne would move on to writer and pencil the relaunch of the Sub-Mariner’s 1990s title.


  1. i agree, i was also surprised by how clever and enjoyable this run was. and bryne + janson = not a good combo.

  2. I remember really enjoying this storyline, although I have not read them since the issues were originally published. I, too, was not a fan Janson's inks over Byrne's pencils. I grew to be a fan of Janson's work, but at the time, I did not appreciate his style. Also, I was bummed to read that Byrne would be drawing more issues of Wolverine, but we never got them....

  3. I love these issues as well, along with the rest of Wolverine's solo series up to #30. All those early issues had a great sense of fun and pulp adventure. Madripoor was a nice getway from the rest of the Marvel superheroic goings on. There are lovely self contained stories by Bill Sienkiewicz and Gene Colan that help flesh out Wolverine's past without being hit over the head with a hammer. And the longer stories by Byrne and especially John Buscema are the best solo Wolverine comics done (along with the Miller limited). After issue #30 the book becomes just another 90's X-book and since then no one's really been able to find a voice for the character that compliments him.

    Also check out John Buscema's BLOODY CHOICES, cocaine, pedophile sex slave running, Nick Fury and Hawaii. One of my favorite Wolverine stories. What was it with cocaine in these comics?!

    Great blog btw!

  4. I liked Janson’s inks over Byrne’s pencils, and was disappointed that the last issue or two of Byrne’s run did not have Janson’s inks.

  5. The previous run, "The Gehena Stone Affair" by David/Buscema/Sienkiewicz is worth a read, too !



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