Criticize the paper-plot as you will, but Wolverine MAX #8 is the closest thing you’ll get to Wolverine having his own Grindhouse movie. From Starr’s soliloquy-style, voiceover narration to Ruiz’s panels that build to a crescendo to Brown’s vibrant colours, Wolverine MAX feels straight out of the 70s. While I wouldn’t want it to be my only Wolverine book, I’m glad that it exists as it’s own continuity-free, grungy tale.
Wolverine continues his quest to find the woman that betrayed him, and seeks answers as to who’s pulling her strings. While on paper this may seem similar to the class Claremont/Miller tale, Candice’s only redeeming quality is that to others, she has no redeeming qualities, just as our titular hero, who seeks answers traveling the world in this series.
I was hoping for there to be more to Candice’s back-story, besides being a sex slave, and possibly build her up as a Vesper-style Casino Royale villain. But instead, she’s just a damsel with attitude. While a little more depth would be nice, this is the kind of thing that should be expected of Wolverine MAX. High-octane action and a simple revenge plot. If it were a movie, it’d be the kind that you’d watch with your buddies while sharing some brews. That experience might not translate so well to comics.
Watching Wolverine kick doors open with guns doesn’t get old in this comic. It’s just so cool, and Ruiz makes it so seamless to the eyes that you forget Wolverine doesn’t typically use guns. The striking pose of Wolverine walking down the road is so perfect for the tone of the series, that I can hear the guitar riff come in as my eyes turn to it. Ruiz uses a great pop-out effect for Wolverine launching at the helicopter, as well as when he has the gun, to create excellent fluid motion between panels.
Wolverine MAX #8 isn’t Hugh Jackman, but it’s the kind of true grit and edge that you won’t find in any other Wolverine series. While you may not feel the need to go to it monthly, give an arc of this series a shot. And if Robert Rodriguez movies are up your alley, this is a good destination.