What do you get when you combine Wolverine with Dexter and throw in a little Iron Chef? You get Wolverine In The Flesh, a one-shot comic by reality star and celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, with art by Dalibor Talajik.
But who is this Chris Cosentino guy? Well, he’s not Gordon Ramsay, as if that’s anything to be proud of. He won Top Chef season 4 and he’s an assistant coach for a university ice hockey team in New York, surely that makes him qualified to write a Marvel comic about the oft-overused Wolverine, right?
Not so much.
So I guess the question on everyone’s tongue, is this any good? After all, Cosentino isn’t a comic writer, or a writer of any kind, he’s a chef, although honestly, I’d never heard of him before. This story, where Cosentino teams up with Wolverine to catch a culinary-based killer in San Francisco, strikes me immediately of more Mary Sue than anything else. For those not in the know, a Mary Sue story is one where the writer inserts themselves, either directly or by proxy, into a story with their favorite characters so they can live the dream vicariously. Believe it or not, these stories are almost universally awful and this one-shot is no exception. This thing is horrible on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start.
First off, it’s absurdly clear that Cosentino has no idea how to write Wolverine, he hasn’t got a clue about the character, he casts him as a San Francisco liberal, helping the police solve murders. In fact, it’s not bad enough that the police call Logan in on crimes, he shows up in the park and almost forces himself on responding officers, he’s going to help whether they want him to or not! It seems that a mad butcher has started harvesting body parts and organs from random passers-by and the police are stumped. Logan decides that the crimes are done by someone with a culinary background so he recruits his bestest friend in the whole wide world, Chris Cosentino, to come down to the morgue and check out the bodies. The morgue doesn’t allow random visitors, but since he’s with Wolverine, a random visitor without any credible reason to be there, it’s apparently okay. After a prolonged puke in a nearby trashcan, Chris looks at the bodies, but we’ve already got continuity errors. See, Wolverine told him that the killer cut off their legs and took their internal organs, but clearly, the killer took the legs from one victim, one leg and one arm from the other, and there’s no incisions that we see in the torso of either victim. So how did they get the internal organs out? He mentions something about the back being sliced open, but that’s a ridiculous way to access the chest cavity to take the heart. Chris confirms that the killings were done by a trained butcher or chef, yet he then says the knife he used was dull and there were plenty of scrape marks on the bones, both of which are sure signs that it wasn’t a trained killer!
It doesn’t end there though, this time a young woman gets the knife treatment and we get to see the killer, a bald man who apparently has no luck with the ladies. He explains that his hair fell out, his fingerprints fell off (how exactly does that happen anyhow?) and he has no body odor. That comes completely out of left field! The dynamic duo find the body and Detective Logan determines that because there were wax papers used in wrapping food found at the scene, he should check out the food trucks in the area and get a bite to eat as well. That’s okay, Cosentino wants to investigate at a hot new food truck that’s getting great publicity and reviews and is conveniently driven by the killer. Wolverine, unable to smell the driver, decides to follow him and gets dropped off at the killer’s secret lair, but Chris begs off because he’s not a hero. Wolverine gets instantly captured and strapped to a table where the killer says he no longer has to kidnap people off the street because Wolverine regenerates forever. He then decides to sample Logan cannibal style. Of course, our Mary Sue can’t quit that easily, he realizes that he has to rescue Wolverine and heads back, managing to release Logan just in time to get slashed with an axe. Logan gets up and saves the day and the police haul off the bad guy. Back in Cosentino’s restaurant kitchen, Logan is slicing veggies with his claws because Chris’ injuries keep him on the sidelines.
This is inarguably one of the worst comics I have ever had the displeasure of reading in my life, bar none. I’m thinking Cosentino must have kidnapped one of Joe Quesada’s kids or something, that’s the only way to explain why he was allowed to write something this awful and get it published. That, or he has compromising pictures of Axel Alonso somewhere.
I don’t think there’s a single page here that didn’t have me shaking my head. It doesn’t matter if it’s Logan, connoisseur and friend of the world’s food trucks or the ridiculous verbal assault on the vegetarian coroner, or the fact that the first two victims were said to be entrants in the annual “urban outlaw cyclo-cross cross-dress bike race”. Yes, really. Or the absurdly self-serving Wolverine line, “I’m the best at what I do, he’s the best at what he does.” I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
So is there nothing worthwhile in this comic? It comes mighty close, but to be honest, there is one thing that I liked and that’s some of Dalibor Talajik’s art. It’s not great by any means, but I think Cosentino has to have something on him too because every image of Cosentino in the comic makes him look like a smug, self-important git.
This mess gets a 1, only for the slightly humorous art angle and the fact that there was some effort put into this debacle. My recommendation is to avoid this comic at all costs. Save your time. Save your money. Save your sanity. And to Chris Cosentino, don’t quit your day job, I hope you’re more talented there than you are at writing comics or you’re in serious trouble.