Wolverine: The Long Night #2 // Review

A pair of government agents continue to investigate leads on a string of murders being committed in the small town of Burns, Alaska. They’re clearly not animal attacks, but could they have been instigated by six adamantium claws wielded by a wandering mutant? The mystery continues in the second issue of Wolverine: The Long Night. Writer Benjamin Percy continues to develop a somewhat satisfying comic book adaptation of his full-cast audio drama podcast alongside artist Marcio Takara and colorist Matt Milla.

Agents Pierce and Marshall slink their way through the cold wilderness of Alaska as they search for a killer. Their search involves an interview with a woman regarding a murder in which a door had been torn off a car. The investigation leads to the evidently abandoned cabin of the fugitive mutant Logan. In the search, the agents find themselves attacked by a group of local kids who just might have some sort of connection to him.

The shadowy pacing of Percy’s mystery continues in the cold solitude of a story that feels just a bit less unique when pulled out of the radio drama format. Wolverine is right at home brooding and skulking along comics panels, but something is missing. This second issue of the adaptation begins to feel a bit too encumbered by the story’s focus on drama over action and aggression. The panels turn the intimacy of audio drama into something that feels a bit claustrophobic. While the comic adaptation of the drama is not without its appeal, the story makes a stronger impression in audio than it does in panels.

Takara brings a chilly horror to the page, casting a clever skew on the visual reality of the story. It works better in realism than it does in less earthbound attempts to render the story. A looming image of the mysterious Logan appearing larger than life in a mountain near the end of the issue comes across a bit silly. Anger aggression, and investigation all feel very solidly carved into Percy’s story. The branches and leaves and rugged terrain assert themselves in silhouette against stern gazes in the foreground. Milla’s hazy, earthy grays fit Takara’s visuals perfectly, though heavy inking tends to drive out more sophisticated detailing on the color. There’s a beautiful moment near the middle of the issue where Milla casts the light of the sun behind the stern-looking darkness of Wolverine in a flashback.

Even if the story doesn’t feel like it’s fitting the format of a comic book perfectly, the Percy and Takara are doing a good job of bringing it to the page. The X-Files-meets-Wolverine in Alaska moodiness of the series feels well-matched with the bitter winter in which it’s being released, but it’s beginning to appear as though the mini-series may feel a bit like a strange footnote to an audio drama that Marvel produced last year.