I never read the X-Men. I’m just not interested in them – not sure there is a way I can explain my dislike for the group – I have tried to get into reading the exploits of the mutants before but to no avail. I did see that The Amazing X-Men was set to do World War Wendigo and it piqued my interest. I noticed that it spotlit a whole slew of Wendigos and immediately had flashbacks of the horrible Loeb arc where the Wendigo curse just “somehow” miraculously evolved to be able to be spread through bites and scratches. In Loeb’s version it made no sense and, even worse, the Wendigos went to Las Vegas and encountered Mr. Fixit and then the Green Hulk… and then the Wendi-Hulk. Ugh… So, how did this story line end up? Read on!
Amazing X-Men #8-12
The funny thing is that McGuinness actually escaped having to draw the horrid excuse for a storyline that was Loeb’s Wendigo rampage – but he is in top form here drawing this series. The story begins with a man, in a rage, killing a co-worker and then grinds him up in the beef that gets sent out to the masses for consumption. It’s the best way to start a comic story line, maybe ever. And with Wolverine back in Canada searching for an old friend you think “This is going to be real good!” And the first issue is really good! It sets up everything really well and catches anyone who might not have been following the series thus far up pretty quickly.
I liked the idea that Wolverine was without his healing powers. Not sure how or when he lost them – but at some point his healing factor was just out of control – he could survive just about anything. That’s not a hero that’s all that interesting to read to me – I’d like to think there is a chance (no matter how small) that the hero could be hurt – and maybe even lose a battle! So, Wolvie without the chance to heal is actually an interesting idea to delve into. Storm is also worried at the idea of Logan in danger without his healing factor – and for good reason – because the whole team runs into a pack of Wendigos.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the Hulk villain is that there could only be one – and that it was a mystical curse for an atrocious action toward your own kind. If you don’t know what I mean – you ate someone in the Canadian wilderness and you are cursed to be the Wendigo. For the curse to be altered (like in this case) or the curse to evolve (a curse evolves? Ugh – stupid Loeb) makes for an interesting idea – but it doesn’t really have the same charm or devastating sadness that the character does when his origin is in place. A man trapped inside of a beast for a crime that he was driven to out of desperation or pure enraged emotion is a great base line! People being scratched or bitten and turned into the same creature doesn’t have the same weight.
Anyways, the curse, at first only held in the Canadian land – so as soon as they stepped over the US border they transformed back. That is until the curse was expanded and then the population turned once more – this time in the United States – where the Avengers were trying to contain the outbreak. Things went pretty solidly from bad to worse as the series continued. Wolverine is discovered to have been turned himself – and he’s quite the handful of Wendigo to contain – and children looking for their parents tries to pull at your heart strings. All in all though, this isn’t anything new.
We’ve seen all these plot devices before – even a Wendigo breakout has been done before – albeit not well done, but still. The bang of the first issue is quickly stifled with the rest of the story being a retread of former situations we’ve seen heroes in before – right down to the ending where the big bad is beaten and the slew of Wendigos are reverted, leaving a group of confused and naked humans roaming around trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
I will give the series this: I made it through the whole thing without getting bored. So that’s something. I thought a more original take would have been seeing the X-Men have to handle a town full of Wendigos who were turned because of that initial murder where the man was ground up and then sent out for people to eat. Battling those monsters but knowing that they’re innocent people so they would try not to hurt them at the same time as trying to find someone to reverse the curse. That would have been a better direction – in my opinion. The Wendigo is a fierce opponent to battle on his own – there is no need to add in an infectious element as well. Overall, it’s not a huge recommendation – but if you like the X-Men and you like Wendigo it might be worth looking into. Grade: C+