Worst Day Ever
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I am not a 10-year-old boy.
Yes, you knew this and I knew this. I mean, I do find delight in a lot of things aimed at children and pre-adolescents, but regardless, I am not a 10-year-old boy.
So maybe that’s why Barry Lyga’s Wolverine: Worst Day Ever missed its mark for me.
I liked Lyga’s The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, even if I had a few reservations about it. I could relate to the main character’s broken-hearted desperation to prove how awesome he was to the world and that his hero (in this case, Brian Michael Bendis) would recognize his greatness. Lyga captured the invisible kids living in the suburbs in this very heartfelt way.
Worst Day Ever, however, comes off feeling a little preachy. Told in a “blog” format (I think most modern epistolary novels don’t really work for me), our narrator is Eric, a young mutant attending Xavier’s School for Gifted Students. Eric’s mutant power is that no one realizes he’s around when he is — he’s not invisible, it’s just no one sees him. However, due to his heightened senses, Wolverine knows when he’s around.
Mostly, Eric is pretty whiny with a lot of “poor me” sorts of stuff. He’s not a character I particularly care about. The idea of being socially invisible could be resonant, but I don’t think I’d particularly want to hang out with Eric. While Eric eventually (and perhaps, predictably) realizes how to deal with his “power” and his own strength, he still basically annoyed me most of the time.
Lyga handles Wolverine pretty well — he understands this is a character who does have a tendency to become something of a father figure to younger mutants — and the action is fun. Sadly, there’s not enough of that, and while I know that this is a book for kids, Eric has a tendency to write around some of the more graphic parts of the story by saying it’s too “gross” to share gets annoying. It doesn’t feel like something an actual 13-year-old would do.
I like the design of the book — there are panels pulled from comics to illustrate the story, but I don’t buy that these are Eric’s “drawings.” (You mean, there’s a 13-year-old who can draw like John Cassady? Seriously?) I could believe these were Eric’s photos, but not drawings.
Included are three issues (out of four) of Wolverine & Power Pack by Marc Sumerak and Gurihiru, which I liked better than the rest of the book. They’re an odd bonus — other than Wolverine, there’s no connection to the story in terms of tone or content (they’re aimed at younger readers than the rest of the book) — but I was happy to have them there.
I still have hope for Lyga and I’d like to see him write more comic-related stories. But Wolverine: Worst Day Ever was a disappointment. Maybe if you’re a 10-year-old boy, you’d get something out of this, but even that I question.