Review: Wolverine: The Lost Trail

OK, so back at the Wolverine audio dramas for another commission.

I was pretty meh on Wolverine: The Long Night. Some nice atmosphere did not make for a gripping drama. The big issue was it was too long in getting to a conclusion we were already certain of. Not exciting, sorry. So now I’m taking on the sequel. And we’ve got the same length, a number of returning cast and crew, and the same writer, current Wolverine scribe Benjamin Percy who at least has bonafides in writing Logan. What are the odds this will be any better?

The story is simple. Logan is on the hunt for his lost love who helped him escape from Weapon X, which is still pursuing him to the ends of the earth. His hunt leads him to a mysterious mutant community in Louisiana led by the telepathic Jason Wyngarde who has seemingly crafted paradise. But of course nothing is simple with Wyngarde possessing ties to Weapon X and look it’s set in the New Orleans area so you know Gambit is here. It’s going to be one long journey.

This is so much better than The Long Night it’s shocking. While I found that bloated and dull, this moves so fast it’s almost breathless. And it’s interesting to look at the many reasons why.

Let’s start with the big one. Our POV is Logan rather than two anonymous agents. You come for Wolverine and you get Wolverine. Richard Armitage continues to nail the Canadian X-Man better than anyone save Jackman or Blum. Wolverine is a great character to follow in a story like this and it works so hard.

You also have a much more interesting supporting cast. Wolverine is joined in his hunt by Marcus, a nonmutant seeking his mutant mother. They have a great rapport that’s just fun to listen to. Then there’s Wyngarde, played mellifluously by the legendary Bill Irwin. You can’t love the Dark Phoenix Saga and not love this character. Then there’s the mutant hating Bonnie Roach, a just wretched villain played to the hilt by Blair Brown whose presence thrilled my Fringe loving heart. And of course Gambit must be here and Bill Heck is superb in the role.

I also am just a sucker for the world. I’m from Arkansas so I don’t strain to picture this area. There’s clear, lived in pictures in my head and this evokes them at once. Sonically, you feel like you’re there. What a work of craftsmanship.

But really what helps is that this isn’t a mystery. We aren’t waiting for the obvious reveal a character we know isn’t a killer of innocents isn’t a killer of innocents. We’re just moving along quickly to a single destination and that’s exciting. A quest structure is a great structure. It keeps every character active.

So yeah, this is a dramatic improvement and unlike its predecessor, it is a radio drama of the upper tier. Highly recommended.

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