Wolverine returns to Japan hoping to help a friend. He walks into a trap instead set up by the Hand, a group of mystical ninjas now led by a mutant named Gorgon. Wolverine is beaten and brainwashed by the ninjas, and later sent to fight their personal war. -summary
Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, The Ultimates, & Superman: Red Son) has been recognized as one of the best writers in comics by many fans, and I will admit there are some stories by him that I would consider to be very good to great even. Unfortunately, I just feel that many people are heavily distracted by certain elements in some of his more noteworthy stories, which leads to over looking what I think to be more crucial portions of the story. Millar stumbles often especially in regards to characterization, and Wolverine: Enemy of the State stands out to me. This event takes place after Avengers: Disassembled, and later plays a small role towards Civil War. This TPB collects Wolverine #20 - 32.
The plot begins when the Hand kills Wolverine in battle then revives him to use him for their own purposes. The leader of the terrorist organization Hydra, Baron Von Strucker, joins forces with the Hand and his plan is to use Wolverine to kill high profile superheroes, with his aim to resurrect them as his own assets. We're talking born leaders the likes of Captain America, Mister Fantastic, and even Iron Man. This will set forth another phase of their plan. In addition, this also creates a sub plot that should Strucker fail, then he will be executed with Gorgon taking over Hydra as well. There are other elements that come into play and they're all wrapped up before the final issue.
The story is amazingly action packed and very violent; I enjoyed damn near all of the action which saw Wolverine stabbing and gutting villains and friends alike. He collides with the Fantastic Four, Elektra, Daredevil, and even with some X-Men. There's enough going on to keep Marvel fans happy, and if that isn't enough, Gorgon is built up as a sizeable threat. He has the mutant ability to kill people with a single stare, plus he's a highly skilled and deadly ninja able to match the best in the business skill wise. His name is based on Greek Mythology, so it really shouldn't be hard to figure out what his mutant power is.
The first half of the book is very well paced, in fact, I will say the pace is break neck, and the second half is probably even better. The battle involving the mutant killing robots called the Sentinels has to be seen to be believed; now I see how they were able to wipe out the mutants in an alternate future. For the most part though, Millar does a good enough job making Wolverine out to be one of the most awesome characters in the Marvel U, and he does a good job with some of the other characters; but he also screws with the characters in a way that left me scratching my head.
In the case of Wolverine, it's mentioned that he is killed and resurrected, and this is the main story element I could never buy into. To me, it's a gigantic plot hole that people choose to ignore because they're hooked to the over the top violence, plus Millar's name is attached to this. How did they kill Wolverine exactly? It's never explained outside of him being stabbed through the stomach and likely slashed again. So how did it happen? We even later see him take a katana through the throat and soon get up like nothing happened, therefore swords can't do it. Later on towards the end Millar dives into his hari kiri kit, there's a one shot that shows Wolverine in 1942 being gunned down with his brains blown out repeatedly and he still survives, there's even mention of a decapitation, take note, this is before the adamantium bonding process which should make it easier to kill him, so it begs my most asked question. And from my knowledge in comics in regards to the Hand, characters must be in fact DEAD before they can revive and brainwash them, which was the case with Elektra and Doctor Octopus to only name a couple. So, did they really kill Wolverine and bring him back? Personally I don't think so, and Millar simply got away with something a writer like Rob Liefeld would have been slammed to death for. I think along with Bendis he recieves quite too many free passes. These errors in characterization hurt the story for me.
At least John Romita Jr.'s artwork was on point for the most part, with some neat lines and good details. The action panels can be mind blowing insane on some occasions. My only gripe as usual, is that some times it can be a bit too cartoony. It doesn't clash with the subjective matter on a grand scale, but it isn't difficult to not notice.
Wolverine: Enemy of the State isn't a bad book. In fact, if it wasn't because I took decades of characterization seriously this one thing wouldn't have bothered me as much. It's a very solid book if action is what you're looking for, and a story featuring a who's who of characters. Recommended if you're a fan of Marvel comics, plus this book is fairly essential to the modern Marvel run.
Wolverine has long been regarded as one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, and this storyline shows why. After he is captured and brainwashed by the Hand, a mysterious Ninja sect, Logan becomes an unstoppable killing machine, butchering his way across the Marvel superhuman community. Nick Fury and Elektra are the only ones who have even the slightest clue on how to stop the unstoppable machine that Logan's become. After the past few Wolverine storylines- … more
The world's deadliest living weapon just fell into the wrong hands. It's Wolverine vs. the Marvel Universe in the best-selling, blockbuster storyline that will have Logan shredding his way through the X-Men, Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D., and more! How does Wolverine end up fighting to destroy everything he holds dear? Collects Wolverine #20-25.