Jack Wolverton is the Black Cat, a thief of mystical and occult objects. We join him in the process of removing a Monkey’s Paw from a cargo ship. A storm assails the ship and complicates his robbery. He runs afoul of the crew, and things deteriorate from there.
Wolverton: Thief of Impossible Objects is a comic that aims to capture the spirit of the gentleman thief; Jack Wolverton is a rogue. However, he is also charismatic, stylish, and maintains a good sense of humor. It draws on the personality of Eroll Flynn and the mystical elements of old Sinbad films. In fact, there is a scene wherein Jack fights an animated Hindi statue that feels straight out of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
It succeeds in recreating the feeling of those stories. In fact, it may be a little too good at it. Some of the dialogue gets just a bit too cheesy, it rides clichés pretty hard at times, and Wolverton is just smug enough that you could justifiably rip is tiny moustache off his face.
In fairness, the last of those points is also a positive.
The back-half verges on being an exposition dump at times. Also, and this is a criticism of many stories which take place in the 1880-1910 timeframe, it predicts World War I. I don’t know why every story set in this era behaves like World War I was a commonly known future occurrence, but it often takes me out of the story a bit now.
This comic is actually from some local (for me) creators. Michael Stark and Terrell T. Garrett dwell in the south side of Atlanta, and I first heard of Wolverton from my local comic shop, Heroes Games and Comics in Newnan, Georgia (another Heroes shout out, Randy!).
The Wolverton team actually tried to contact me through e-mail for a review too. Unfortunately, my e-mail is currently a clogged disaster which I’m doing my best to rectify (if you’ve contacted me through e-mail for a review or Kickstarter Spotlight, I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible). Thankfully, Heroes loaned me a physical copy, so I had no excuse not to cover it.
And I’m glad he did. This was a very fun read, and, despite its flaws, it is a very charming experience.
The art is deserving of a lot of praise; it has a grainy and stylized aesthetic fitting of its 1910’s period aesthetic. It’s highly detailed and oozing personality too. The artist, Derek Rodenbeck, is a very talented creator and hopefully has a very bright future ahead of him. It actually reminded me of Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker, and reminding me of Jeff Parker-era Thunderbolts comics is always a good thing. Ellen Belmont’s color work is appropriately gritty and darker to match, and it adds a lot to the reading experience.
The omniscient narrator references Tetris at one point, which is pretty funny. It’s the narrator, so it’s not technically anachronistic. It’s still a little odd.
That’s not a criticism, by the way. I just felt the need to vocalize that observation.
Wolverton: Thief of Impossible Objects #1 is a fun and energetic read. Jack Wolverton is a charming protagonist, the premise is entertaining, and the art is fantastic. I’m not sure how widely available the comic currently is, but, if you can find it, you should definitely support it. I’ll include a link to the website here.
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