By Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
One of my favorite insights in film criticism is that a shot can only have one subject. The subject can be (and often is) an individual, but the fascinating thing about a two-shot or group shot is that the individuals can’t be the subjects of those shots, so instead, the subject is their relationship. That is, when two characters are occupying a single shot, the subject of the shot isn’t either one of them, but their relationship to one another, whether it’s familial, antagonistic, friendly, or romantic. And I think we might be able to say something similar about ensemble stories. Or, at least, that the subject of an ensemble story can’t be several individuals. The subject can be anything from a character to a relationship to a theme, but there can be only one. So what is the subject if Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost? Is it Daredevil, our narrator (and most recognizable character)? Is it Frank McGee and Misty Knight’s budding romance? Is it the group dynamics of this makeshift team? With issue three, Charles Soule and Matteo Buffagni seem to have settled on an unexpected option as their subject: Cypher.
You’ll notice that I couched that claim with “seem” — it’s not yet clear if Cypher himself is the subject, or if it’s his internet addiction, or some idea related to his internet addiction, but the events of issue 3 are so dependent on Cypher, he’s definitely close to the subject. His grave (but not quite mortal) wounds drive the action at the start of the issue (and his teammates frustration at his wounds point us back to his addiction, which drew him out of the safety of the Skycharger in the first place, he delivers the coup de grâce to Albert, and he discovers their next lead (which is actually one of their dead leads from the previous issue). He’s certainly driving the plot in a way that no other character is.
But does that make him the subject? It might be foolish to attempt to identify that before the end of this miniseries, but it might also be foolish to identify anything other than the central mystery. Mysteries tend to frame either the mystery itself (or its charismatic detective) as the subject, which could still scan for this series (even if we replace “detective” with “team of detectives”), but I still think Cypher is the odd one out here. Does that make him the subject, or just a driving/complicating force of the drama? I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out, but I’m excited to see where Soule and Buffagni are going.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?