Election Day, a Wolverine novel written by comic book veteran Peter David, is set mere weeks before an American presidential election. When a boy is abducted by terrorists to try to change the outcome of the election, all resources are used to find the boy. But who’s better suited to find a person than Wolverine, the ultimate hunter, unrestrained by regulations? Soon he has his first leads, but something just doesn’t seem right.
Election Day is a very good novel. It tells a compelling story while still maintaining everything that is appealing about the Logan/Wolverine character. The best you can say about a tie-in novel, in my opinion, is if you could still say it’s a good novel even if you strip it of anything that is unique to the property it ties in to – and that’s certainly true for Election Day. Okay, some scenes and sequences only work in a superhero world, but the core of the novel could have just as easily worked as an original political thriller, and while the more comic/mutant-specific scenes and plot points supplement the core story fittingly they aren’t really integral to the novel’s success in making the readers care.
Leaving the mutant stuff aside, to me most of the political actions and reactions by the characters in the book appear pretty realistic, and I could actually see at least some of them happening in real life in a similar situation. Given that many of Peter David’s detractors often criticise how over the top and unrealistic his writing style is, I urge them to give this novel a try, since here he certainly shows that he’s capable of more than they think.
If there’s one real weakness about the novel, than it is the characterisation of minor characters, or better said: the lack thereof. The main players are characterised well to very well, but supporting characters like General Doyle or Agent Craig remain somewhat bland and aren’t fleshed out anymore than necessary to fulfil their roles in the novel. But on the grander scale, that’s really only a minor issue. Wolverine is exactly how I expect him to be – a snarky, foul-mouthed bastard with the heart in the right place; Westlake actually makes a good partner for him and the bad guys are much more than just moustache-twirling villains. Even the relative lack of background on the main villain actually kind of adds to the novel’s success. There’s one rather gory scene/sequence in the novel that some might say is over the top, but even that one stays true to the Wolverine character in my opinion.
Overall not only a very strong Wolverine novel, but simply a very strong novel, period. It has the best of both worlds: everything you await in a Wolverine novel mixed with an interesting, thoughtful “real life” plot. Based on the three Marvel Universe novels I’ve read so far, I’m a bit surprised that the line wasn’t able to survive despite such strong novels as Down These Mean Streets and this one.
Election Day (by Peter David) was released by Pocket Star in August 2008.