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Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted (Review/Retrospective)

This May, to celebrate the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, we’re taking a look at some classic and modern X-Men (and X-Men-related) comics. Check back daily for the latest review.

The only way to read Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted is on a personal tablet.

Part of Marvel’s “Infinite Comics” initiative, Japan’s Most Wanted is a comic specifically tailored to the digital experience. Although a print version of the comic is available, it can’t help but seem inferior to the way the comic was meant to be experienced. Demonstrating that digital is not just a new format for comic books, but also a new medium, the work done by Yves Bigerel storyboarding the thirteen-part adventure is nothing short of astounding. It’s a fantastic experience.

A slice of the action...

A slice of the action…

The story Japan’s Most Wanted is fairly light. This makes sense. Japan’s Most Wanted isn’t intended to push Marvel’s continuity forward or to build off a lot of what has come before. Launched in the lead-up to the release of The Wolverine, Japan’s Most Wanted is a rather transparent attempt to appeal to those interested in Wolverine’s second solo trip to the big screen – playing more as a collection of imagery and iconography than a story in its own right.

The adventure is set in Japan and pits our hero against legions of ninja, playing up to Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s iconic Wolverine miniseries. However, it also features action set pieces on a bullet train and in an abandoned village, two of the more notable action sequences showcased in the trailer for James Mangold’s The Wolverine. The story wrapped around these sequences is almost incidental, perhaps the most basic of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine stories, as scripted by collaborator Jason LaTour.

Run and jump...

Run and jump…

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Non-Review Review: Ninja Assassin

I want to like Ninja Assassin. I want a nice, pulpy, old-school hyper-violent throw-back like the title suggested. The two words thrown together don’t necessarily evoke the imagery of classic cinema, but they at least promise a reasonably diverting action thriller. However, it seems that nobody told the writer and director this. Despite it’s surprisingly direct title, the movie is just one big bloated mess, which seems to aspire to a complexity that nobody expects of it, and fails miserably. There seem to be occasional moments where the film grabs the potential of the concept, acknowledging a sort of Tarantino-light nostalgic approach to pop culture trash, but most of the film takes itself far too seriously, but without the skill necessary to succeed as the film it seems to want to be.

All fired up...

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