COMIC BOOKS: Wolverine Patch

·2 min read

May 20—Thirty-some years ago, Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men were living in hiding, presumed dead.

Marvel decided to use that period to introduce a stand-alone Wolverine title. Instead of featuring the character in his traditional yellow-and-blue or forest-brown X-Men costume and mask, Wolverine adopted the name Patch. He wore an eyepatch and a white suit as he worked and lived undercover.

He hung out in a bar on the fictional Indonesian island of Madripoor, a one-time pirate haven, which is split into a wealthy Hightown and a poor, crime-ridden Lowtown.

The set-up was sort of a Wolverine in "Casablanca" kind of setting, as his base of operations was the bar and he had a rogues gallery of friends as part of the comic book's supporting cast.

Late last year, Marvel revisited this era with "Wolverine: Patch," a five-issue miniseries by writer Larry Hama, artists Andrea Di Vito, penciller, Le Bean Underwood, inker, Sebastian Cheng, colorist.

For long-time Wolverine readers, "Patch" is a return to a long-lost era of the character. It's set in the same time period as the original run. Wolverine speaks and acts like he did in that era — though the violence is more graphically depicted.

Here, Wolverine reluctantly agrees to a recon mission with his pilot buddy, Archie Corrigan, mostly to help Archie make a few bucks. They are soon in the middle of a paramilitary operation involving enhanced mutants. All warring sides think they can take the mysterious Patch. They are wrong. The competing interests must unite to try stopping Patch. Good luck.

A couple of the covers in the original miniseries featured Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D., the original white Fury rather than the Samuel L. Jackson-inspired version from the movies and Marvel Ultimates series, but Fury plays mostly a cameo role here, as aloof as the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier looming overhead throughout this story.

"Wolverine Patch" is an enjoyable read down memory lane for older readers and a solid introduction for younger readers to a past era in Wolverine's life.