When Wolverine teamed up with the Black Cat in the first Claws, I’m sure a lot of people went “R’uh?” accompanied by their best Scooby-Doo face. I must admit that I would have ignored the whole exercise if not for the presence of Jimmy Palmiotti and Joseph Michael Linsner.
I’m a Palmiotti fan. Generally speaking, when he writes, we’re in synch. I’ll usually look at his latest, and I’ll say, “Oh, I see what he’s doing. That’s very clever and cool.” I’ve also always felt that Joseph Michael Linsner is one helluva an artist, and I longed to see a story from him. Linsner is known mostly for his Dawn art, and even then, he rarely involves his often purely artistic figure in an actual narrative.
The first Claws was pure fun. Yes, it made absolutely no sense that Black Cat should team-up with Wolverine, and I’m sure a lot of diehard Black Cat/Spidey shippers were even more confused than most, but once you slip in Arcade as the antagonist, the rationale for the team-up doesn’t need to make sense. Arcade picked Black Cat and Wolverine as his playmates for the newest version of Murderworld. He has a grudge with Wolverine. Who knows why he chose Black Cat? He’s nuts. Go with it.
Claws II, electric boogaloo, is more of the same. Just to throw the reader an opening curve, Palmiotti and Linsner begin the story soon after the first Claws ended. So, Black Cat and Wolverine attend a swanky restaurant while Arcade and his henchwench Thumper run from savages in — where else? — the Savage Land. There Arcade bumps into an alien spacecraft, Wolverine and Black Cat find their dinner and dessert, literally and figuratively, interrupted.
Palmiotti and Linsner next turn the volume up to eleven and unleash a time travel twist, and because of the nature of the threat in the future, you expect only one group of heroes to show up to greet Wolverine and Black Cat. Naturally they do.
Anything can happen in Claws, and anything will happen. It’s that simple. Palmiotti and Linsner rise above the weirdness of the pairing. They somehow characterize the two protagonists — Black Cat isn’t exactly a hero — as themselves. Still, they make the duet natural sounding and evolve an organic partnership of which you really want to see more, especially when swathed in Franken-Castle‘s Dan Brown’s and Nick Filardi’s water color shades. Recommended for people looking for a good time comic book. Cynics need not apply.
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.