Marvel Comics launches their new weekly Infinite series this week with Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted, but can the Infinite style of digital comic sustain itself in a weekly model or is it just a flashy novelty?
Clearly designed to tie in with the new movie, Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted sees Logan in Japan fighting the Hand in a book which echoes the classic Claremont/Miller mini series but with all the bells and whistles of 21st century digital comics. Along the way he encounters Sabertooth and Silver Samurai before a cliffhanger ending that justifies the title and sets up the story for following weeks.
Following in the footstep of Avengers vs X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s digital comic output is now cooking on all cylinders. The pacing and balance of action and story telling is exemplary, getting the perfect balance and making the most of the digital transitions without sacrificing the story to achieve it. With text and panels appearing in sequence, images layering on top of each and characters coming in and out of focus or the camera panning across to reveal more detail makes this a supremely exciting read and is the kind of top notch digital comics you would expect from the worlds biggest comic company. They even have time to fit in some innovation with a clever use of blacked out scenes which create a sense of tension from one scene to the next and do a brilliant job of slowing down the pace of the book at times.
Writers Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have a punchy, straight forward script that tells a strong story and gives Logan the chance to do what he does best – kill ninjas! While artist Paco Diaz does a great job of mixing the technicolor backdrops of Tokyo with the grim darkness of the Japanese underworld. However, as always, the unsung hero of these books is Yves Bigerel, the layout artist who plans and crafts the slick transitions, dolly zooms and whip pans that make the book work so well. At 79 screens this feels much more like the length of a proper comic and it has a £1.99/$2.99 price tag to match, but it is so slick and so well presented that you cannot fail to call this value for money.
“Packed full of strong story telling, slick artwork and smart layout, Marvels Infinite Comics have come of age with this new series and become more than just a novelty. If they can maintain the quality of this first outing every week then this will be one of the best digital comics of the year.”