Weapon X

Author: Marc Cerasini
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 1 4165 1159 8
Available 07 November 2005

Logan's ability to heal himself has made him a loner. Living longer than he can remember; his personal isolation precludes personal relationships. A once valued member of Canada's Special Forces, he has now turned to drink to blot out his past. But Logan's past is about to be eradicated in a way he could not have envisioned. Deep underground, in a place only known as The Hive, wheels are put in motion to capture Logan and through a violent and disturbing process turn him into the ultimate living weapon: Weapon X...

Weapon X was originally published in comic book form in April 1994. Drawn and written by Barry Windsor-Smith it attempted to fill in the back story of Wolverine, one of the most popular members of the X-Men. Even in its original form it was a bloody and disquieting affair which pushed the boundaries of good taste. Marc Cerasini's book is an expansion of the original comic.

I did have a crisis of conscious about this book; originally I was going to write a very damming review, its imagery is powerful and grotesque. The characters are almost universally unpleasant people who all seem to have a vacuum where their morals should be. Cerasini attempts to explain how The Professor, Cornelius and Hines are able to indulge in such monstrous violations of Logan's body in order to create Weapon X by giving them their own back stories. The back stories are universally unpleasant; a child who witnesses his mother's raped and murdered body with her breasts cut off, a survivor of rape and pregnancy by her own father and a man who appears to have killed his own family. It was this endless stream of unpleasant scenes, including the wanton carnage by Logan, that gave me nightmares the night I finished the book.

So, there I was ranting away to my other half about the novel when she rightly pointed out that, given that I read so much and am affected by so little, that the writing must have been very powerful. Of course after I calmed down I had to agree with her. Any book that can have such a powerful affect is by default well written.

Much of the plot that deals with the events in The Hive already existed in the comic and much of the dialogue has been lifted straight from the original source. However, what Cerasini has done is fashion a modern day Frankenstein and created a truly scary book. I guess that I'm so jaded with so called horror novels and films that are not the least bit scary, that it came as a bit of a shock to be so affected with what you would have assumed was a straight forward comic book adaptation.

In a way the Hive succeeds with Weapon X, but the ending of the book may force you to re-evaluate the character of Wolverine, his actions at the end are not justified in the name of revenge. Reduced to little more than a psychopathic killing machine, Logan becomes a character that everyone should avoid.

So, a brilliantly written book that I'm not sure I could recommend to anyone under fifteen, the descriptions are just too violent. However, if you want to read a great horror novel then this may be the one for you.

Charles Packer

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