Assembling the Team in Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost 1

By Drew Baumgartner

Hunt for Wolverine Weapon Lost 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s something fun about watching a team put itself together. It lends urgency to everyone’s presence, making their utility to the team explicit in a way that isn’t inherently true of pre-existing teams. That is, while Iceman is coming on this X-Men mission whether or not anything needs to be iced, Danny Ocean is only adding someone to the team if their skills are essential to the plan. With so many pre-existing teams in comics, we don’t always get to see purpose-built teams with quite so narrow a focus as the one in Charles Soule and Matteo Buffagni’s Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost, which is exactly what makes its first issue so fun.

Daredevil has been asked to join the Hunt for Wolverine, which he does by putting together an investigative team. Between Daredevil, Frank McGee, and the tie-in to Hunt for Wolverine, it’s easy to think of this as Soule using his favorite toys to tell this corner of his story, but what might feel perfunctory in those early pages is quickly complicated by the addition of a few more team members. The first sequence to really take me aback was Frank’s partially unheard conversation with Misty Knight — the two are both former NYPD cops, and that seems to give them an immediate connection that allows Misty to open up.

Frank and Misty

But as I said, the conversation is partially unheard. It’s a choice that ties us to Daredevil’s perspective, but it also keeps Misty’s emotional stakes a bit mysterious. I’m sure this will come up again, but I’m impressed at how coy the creative team manages to be here — Buffagni obscures the characters’ faces at that point, keeping any hint of what they might be saying a mystery. It quickly gets me as invested in this take on Misty as I am in Soule’s continued work with Daredevil and Frank.

Another unexpected moment comes as Misty recruits a fourth member to the team: Cypher. Only, Cypher is now mainlining the internet, so seems to share the addiction of our time. It makes him a crack digital sleuth, but it might also be loosening his grip on reality. As with Misty’s temporarily (?) postponed retirement, I’m sure Cypher’s internet addiction will play out in future issues, but for now, I’m intrigued enough at the commentary Soule and Buffagni are aiming for to stick around to see what their conclusions might be.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

3 comments on “Assembling the Team in Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost 1

  1. This really should have tied into Infinity Countdown. Because this has become a disaster ever since Logan handed the Space Stone to Natasha (who, despite the little issues I had with the actual story resolution, is a much better example of handling a resurrection).

    Because there really is nothing to this. The Inciting Incident is really poor, lacking urgency or real stakes. Nothing matters, as nothing is on the line. It is just people wandering around the world.

    I think the real problem is the lack of clues. This is a Hunt with no tracks. The whole reason mysteries have clues are to propel the story along. Give direction. Hunt for Wolverine, however, is defined by how aimless it is. Adamantium Agenda has the same problem. Tony has no real idea of what to do, so instead he picks a mission that has no direct connection to anything, merely the chance to stumble over the plot. But this is even worse. They have no clues and no real idea, and are aimlessly googling for information instead. No real lead, just sitting through random garbage.

    What is the story to these books? We just have people wandering around the world on the flimiest reasons, with no stakes nor direction. Why is the Hunt for Wolverine so aimless?

    • Hey Matt. Did you review music? If you do, I would love to hear your opinions of Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ and of course the music video.

  2. Music is not my expertise – one of those things I made a point not to go to deep into because there are too many other mediums that I’m invested in. Especially Hip Hop. But I have seen it, and am impressed. about it.

    In fact, because I was busy, I was only able to watch it for the first time shortly after the news of the mass shooting in Australia, which created an interestingly surreal experience. Australia used to be the example of how gun laws can stop mass shootings, and while it is no longer the case, gun control has worked so well in Australia that it has been over 20 years since something that bad happened, and the shock of it was all over the TV. To see that and process that, and then to watch ‘THis is America’ and how it shows the omnipresence of gun violence in America is an incredible contrast. Two completely different worlds, from a world where mass shootings are rare to where they are omnipresent.

    And while my ability to discuss the video is limited by my lack of knowledge of music, there is so much great elements. Like how Donald Glover dances at the start, inspired by Jim Crow era minstrel shows, in pants inspired by Confederate uniform. In fact, I wonder if the choice to go shirtless represents white people’s obsession with black male physicality. Dehumanising them by focusing on them as purely physical creatures, often using animalistic language to make them seem less than human (describing a black man as bestial being a backhanded way to compliment their physicality in a way that makes them both inhuman and a threat. Key and Peele’s Closet Racist sketch is an amazing demonstration of this phenomenon). And this same physicality is also used as an excuse for killing black people. Where a thirty year old white man will be told that ‘he’s just a boy’, young black kids’ deaths are justified by the fact that they are men. Glover is the version of black people that white people use to kill black people, which is why he is the shooter.

    And that first shot is amazing, with the guitar player transforming instantly into having a bag over his head, killed as an execution. Which speaks powerfully to what many of these deaths by cops actually are. My favourite touch here, even more than the power of the gunshot to overpower everything in the soundtrack, is that the executed man is shown at the end, still playing, with the bag still over his head. It feels like going full circle. Back to the start. It is no one off incident, and what happens next is everything starts again with another murder.

    And, of course, the guns in the video are treated with care and respect, being handled delicately with red cloth, while the corpses are ignored and mistreated. Some have said the red is a reference to the Republican Party, and that is certainly part of it. Though worth noting, according to colour theory, red would be the colour you use even if you weren’t referencing the Republican Party. I honestly think that while the red is an example of an additional layer, the main purpose is to indict America at large. Everyone is too precious about guns and not enough about victims. Until very recently, the idea of meaningful activism was nonexistent (note the word choice meaningful). I think it is also notable that the second shooting is a massive escalation on the first. Not just because of the numbers, but because of the reference. It is referencing what was a white nationalist terrorist attack. The fact that it starts from execution and escalates so rapidly is a stunning indictment. Especially with both shootings being immediately followed by ‘This Is America’. Glover intentionally uses very loaded imagery, because it is the truth. He brings up execution and terrorism because it isn’t just random shootings. It really is that bad.

    The dancing school kids and the phones are an element that has plenty of disagreement about what exactly they mean. I think part of it comes down to whether you think it is a broad look across America or a deep look at Black America’s relationship with gun violence. Neither take is worse than the other. There is nothing wrong with going broad instead of deep, but I personally interpret it as deep. So while I understand the interpretation that the dancing school kids represent the fact that America ignores and distracts itself through entertainment, that’s not my interpretation. Mine is that it represents how all of this violence is part of Black America’s everyday life. That it is so omnipresent that it acts in the background all the time and Black America has to just live it. Which is why the dancing school kids segment is bisected by the Church attack. Firstly is the fact that they are all black kids. While this is part of the fact that every person in the video is black (showing Black America’s essential Americaness by depicting America solely through a Black lens and demonstrating how easy it is to depict America without white people), I think it creates subtext that can’t be ignored. Black people just can’t ignore the police shootings in their communities like others can. It is part of their background radiation. They all grow up getting the Talk about police. I also think the fact that they are dressed as school kids is also important. Both in the way that kids often get targeted (only for us then to be told they were old enough and adult enough for it to be fine) and because school kids are unfortunately a massive target of gun violence. There is a reason School Shooting is such a loaded word. Essentially, there are too many signifiers to the dancers for them to just be ordinary people ignoring the problem, instead of people being forced to live normally (being a music video, dancing is normal) while surrounded by violence.
    With the phones, some interpret it as showing how phones are used to document the brutality. But to me, that ignores one very important element, the camera angle. The camera is positioned below, which creates a power dynamic. They have power over the people on the ground, who are, of course, the schoolkid dancers (more evidence for my interpretation that they represent the way the Black America has had to learn to coexist with the problem). Hell, the actual angle of the camera angle is pretty obtuse. There is a real attempt to emphasize the power. In addition, all the phone users are wearing white facemasks, which make them read as white even though they are performed by black people. To me, it is threatening, they are fetishising the pain. It reminds me of how casually footage of black people being gunned will be shown by the very same people who think the police did nothing wrong. In fact, I am even more reminded of the ‘he’s no angel’ dynamic, where every minor sin is revealed in attempt to justify the crimes. Note, it is harmless dancers that are being recorded. Not the gun violence, or the riots in the background. And, of course, there is GLover’s third shooting, an imaginary one. Which to me reads like one yet to happen. That there are already plans for a new one.

    And then there are the cars. I love the choice to have them all have their hazard lights on, making clear that there is a real problem. THough I will admit that this is a section I am having struggles interpreting. I’ve seen some good analysis, like how being older cars, they represent how America hasn’t moved forward (and I guess I can add to that the fact that the car is such an iconically American thing). And I guess I get this feeling of almost trash from the age. America shown as fallen. Yo know how Post Apocalyptic fiction has people use the ruins of the old, fallen world? It feels like a symbolic version of that. America as a fallen, failed state. Though I feel that I am missing some important part of it.

    But then there is the ending. I’ve seen people mention the SUnken Place, but I feel that is inaccurate. They are very different metaphors. The Sunken Place is representative of cultural brainwashing. Of being defined by the cultural narratives used to oppress you (that is why lots of Sunken Place jokes have been made with respect to Kanye West). The end of This is America is completely different, the exact opposite. It is revelation. Glover running away, afraid. The video has previously used metaphor to greatly explain so much about America and Black America’s relationship with gun violence. But metaphor is distancing. While it is great at conveying information and the facts, it can cloud the emotional aspect. And so, we get that astonishing ending that strips all the emotion away to focus purely on Donald Glover’s face. His fear. The human element in the metaphor, and for me, the bit that really sticks with me.

    What I can say is limited by my lack of expertise in music and music videos, but I do think This Is America is masterful. ANd it is not surprising how big of a success it has been.

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