Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Omitted material: Wolverine '99 Annual

Absent from Essential Wolverine volume 7 is Wolverine '99 annual. The reason for this one's absence is even less clear, though the lead story has since been reprinted in Deadpool Classic Companion, for which it supplies the cover. Both stories are written by Marc Andreyko with the lead drawn by Walter McDaniel whilst the back-up is drawn by Massimliano Frezzato.

Once again we have an omission of an annual with two stories, one of which features Deadpool and has been since reprinted in Deadpool Classic Companion (which also uses the cover on the book as a whole) whilst the whole issue is available digitally. Again it's a mystery as to why this was left out when there doesn't seem to be a rights barrier to publication.

The first story sees Wolverine investigating an author of were-wolf fiction who seems more acquainted with the subject material than he should be. But Deadpool has been hired to kill the author and to complicate matters further a live were-wolf attacks. The back-up tale sees Wolverine in the middle of a poker game with other heroes when the beer runs out and he has to get some more, only to run into street thieves, ninjas from the Hand and a Dragon in quick succession, all while Nick Fury's flying car is vulnerable.

This annual feels like it was thrown together from inventory material in spite of a reference to an encounter between Kitty Pryde and Deadpool in the latter's series. The first story is standard team-up fare as the leads meet, fight and then find themselves forced to team up against a bigger threat, though throughout there remains a tension as Deadpool may still carry out his contract killing. But otherwise this is a fairly mundane encounter with a forgettable foe and even Deadpool's dialogue is on less than sparkling form. The back-up strip is in a curious grey tone style and it appears to have been prepared for an abandoned black and white special. It's a strange little tale that runs the gauntlet through all the traditional types of Wolverine stories but doesn't get much further than some comedic jokes. As a piece of back-up fluff it's okay for what it is, nothing more.

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