writer: Charles Soule / artist: Juan Doe / Marvel Comics
Well this was unexpected.
Wolverines #3 was that segment that takes you so far away from the original storyline that you stop and ask, “what was this about again?” Now, sometimes that tactic is a distracting divergence from an otherwise strong plot, while other times it’s a welcome reprieve that broadens the story. In this case, it’s the latter.
We left issue 2 with Mystique in the war room, briefing the team – for lack of a better word – on the challenges of recovering Wolverine’s corpse from Sinister. His fortress impenetrable at best, and fatal at worst, but they would have an ace up their sleeve to help them recover the body that is the key to saving their lives. That ace’s name is Fantomelle.
How would they get Fantomelle to help them? Why would she risk her life? None of that matters in this issue, as it only serves to answer one question: Who is she? And that turns out to be a fun answer.
Fantomelle is the world’s most unstoppable thief, and the issue begins by showing her work: she stakes out an apartment, breaks in, and begins to steal
diamonds, million-dollar artwork, a source of great power, The Punisher’s shirt, literally off his back. On the list of brazen gangster robberies, this ranks somewhere alongside Omar robbing a poker game of drug dealers on The Wire. I imagine her assignment was like a game of dare that escalated quickly:
Buyer: I bet you wouldn’t steal from The Punisher.
Fantomelle: You don’t know me then. *audience ooohs*
Buyer: Okay, okay – I bet you won’t steal from him in his house!
Fantomelle: I’ll steal the milk straight out his cereal, I don’t care. *audience cheers*
Buyer: Okay, alright – I want his shirt! Yeah, that’s right, I want The Punisher’s shirt!
It probably didn’t happen like that, but still, Fantomelle robs a dude who sleeps with guns under his pillow, and for that she immediately earns my respect. The rest of the issue was a display of Charles Soule craftily introducing readers to our new character, which is done so well that you wonder where its been for the rest of Dr. Cornelius’ creations. We see her questionable relationship, learn a little about her history with stealing, and, my favorite part, we’re privy to her telepathic conversations with her pet sidekick Culpepper.
Where was this exposition with the team of other characters? I know more about Fantomelle from 3 pages than Endo, Skel, Neuro, and Junk combined. Not that I’m complaining, as I find those characters abhorrently dull; if anything, it makes me hope this series adapts to continue to highlight our new thieving heroine, and have the rest of them disappear. Saving those characters lives means killing my interest in this series, so I’m hoping Fantomelle goes with a hard pass and their death timer ticks down to zero.
The issue ends with a fizzle as Fantomelle is attacked by a demon, but at a whole this issue was a great tease of what I want this series to be: a character-driven story that largely ignores the obsession with Wolverine’s dead body.
Score: 7 out of 10