At only just over sixty pages for a premium priced hardcover, Claws is hardly great value on page count alone, but quality is what counts, and when being credited as Joseph Michael Linsner the artist attracted quite the following. Here as Joe Linsner he’s almost schizoid. The sample page features his indecision regarding whether to opt for cartooning or rendering, with a cross-eyed Black Cat pictured next to an overly fussy Wolverine portrait and a stoned-looking Kraven the Hunter.

The plot, such as it is, is pretty well also explained on the sample page, except that’s almost the end of the opening chapter. Before then we’ve seen Black Cat passing the time by play-fighting with Spider-Man and Wolverine attempting to get his adamantium skeleton through airport security. It’s intended to introduce the bad luck Black Cat channels in her favour and to show Wolverine as contrary, and while whimsical charm is all well and good, it’s not at 15 pages worth of appetiser, when it’s just indulgent.

Once the writing team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti jump into the main plot, matters improve. They inventively construct threats to impact on Wolverine, and tone the comedy down slightly, although Linsner still has the characters grinning at the camera viewpoint. The briefly smart aspect is that not everything is what it seems to be, and a revelation just before the end of the second chapter will fool a lot of readers.

Claws is seemingly intended as an equivalent of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, where the impossible follows the improbable at such a pace the laughs keep coming, but it’s nowhere as good as intended, and certainly not worth the price asked for the hardcover edition. Still, enough people disagreed and there’s also a Claws II.