Comic Book Review

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A lyrical team-up lavishly written and illustrated

By Arnold T. Blumberg     December 14, 2001

Greg Rucka and Yoshitaka Amano stage their own Marvel Team-Up in ELEKTRA & WOLVERINE: THE REDEEMER #1.
© 2001 Marvel Characters Inc.
We passed this one by when it came out a week or two ago, but it's too important a release to let slip away. As we reported on these pages some time ago, the folks at Marvel were quite excited about the prospects for this new project an historic teaming of two creative talents as well as two of Marvel's most spectacular superstars. The creative ones are novelist Greg Rucka and painter Yoshitaka Amano, and the stars are Elektra and Wolverine. But Marvelites be warned: this is no old-fashioned MARVEL TEAM-UP extravaganza. Following on the heels of Amano's success with celebrated scribe Neil Gaiman on the prestige one-shot, THE SANDMAN: THE DREAM HUNTERS, THE REDEEMER is an illustrated prose adventure that brings together two of fandom's favorite anti-heroes even as it forges a new path for comic book storytelling.

Elektra has a job to do: take out a wealthy scientist and call it a night. She gets eight million for this hit, but the scientist's daughter complicates what would have been a simple affair when she stumbles on the scene. Elektra faces a greater challenge from within when she recognizes herself in the little girl, but she knows the girl must die. And there's one more wrinkle the girl now has a protector by the name of Wolverine. This ain't no routine hit no more, bub. Snikt.

Rather than succumb to the usual clichés inherent in past Marvel match-ups, Rucka has written a story that devotes its energies to in-depth character exploration and emotion rather than splash page fisticuffs and primary colors. Amano's paintings are revelatory to say the least, and simply exquisite to behold. Rather than advance the story in a strictly linear way, they capture the characters in portraits and expressive poses that communicate a sense of movement, of passion, of feeling. They are not necessarily structured as narrative, but as illuminating supplements to Rucka's sharply scripted story.

Marvel has made it very clear that they hope this format will take hold outside of traditional comic book fandom and thereby broaden the mainstream public's perception of comics as a viable and infinitely adaptable medium for storytelling. As for those traditional fans, there are some who may indeed balk at seeing their favorite heroes in quite this fashion. This is not the Wolverine and Elektra most of us are familiar with, although Rucka captures much of their personalities while shedding new light on their innermost thoughts. Amano's paintings are new and fascinating interpretations of these characters, and it's about time that these icons were re-imagined in less continuity-laden ways for readers to rediscover and enjoy. While not comic book literature as we have come to know it, ELEKTRA & WOLVERINE is a welcome divergence that takes the best of prose fiction and comic books and blends them into an ethereal new hybrid. And just think there are two more issues to go.


Grade: A

Issue: No. 1 (of 3)

Author(s): Greg Rucka, Yoshitaka Amano

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $5.95



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