By Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (art), Jason Keith (colors)
A little rant before I begin. Wolverine has to be a Skrull. He’s in Europe in Uncanny X-Men, Afghanistan in his own book, New York in New Avengers, Running around X-Force in their book, and off in space in Astonishing X-Men. There’s no way he can be in that many places!
Because of his overexposure for more than two decades, let it be known that I’ve not bought a Wolverine comic off the stands since Wolverine #1 back in 1987. So what motivated me to pick up this issue? Three words: Aaron and Garney. If you’re not reading Jason Aaron’s Scalped, you’re missing out on one of the best Vertigo titles being published today. And Ron Garney? Well, I’ve been a fan of his since his Captain America days. I like his work so much that I also own a piece of his original art from his Amazing Spider-Man run. As you can see, picking this book up was very much a no-brainer to me.
But is it any good?
Our new creative team begins a story arc exploring Wolverine and Mystique’s past and present relationship. Now, I’m not good on mutant continuity as I used to be, but I had no idea these two knew each other since 1921! Is this something new or is this common knowledge?
In the present, Wolverine’s in Afghanistan looking for Mystique after the events of Messiah Complex and he’s determined to get his payback. He chases her across Africa and into Asia, and every time he gets close, she slips away. What I don’t understand is why Wolverine is running around in his X-Men uniform to all these places. I mean, doesn’t he want to at least try to blend in with the locals and get the jump on her? Because of logic problems like this, this first chapter ends on a disappointing note. Wolverine is not stupid, and yet he’s portrayed as a complete idiot. I really expected more from Jason Aaron, and so should Wolverine.
Garney’s art does not disappoint. But as good as it is, it lacks the refinement that Bill Reinhold gave it when they were together on Amazing Spider-Man. His Wolverine and Mystique, however, are excellent. Jason Aaron brings his trademark “natives speaking in languages we don’t understand” routine. He does this a lot in Scalped and he does it here, too. We get the gist of what the Mexicans and Afghanis are saying, but it’s never fully translated. As I said, his script is lazy and there are logic problems, but I have hopes that he’ll find his footing and turn things around. (Grade: D-)
– J. Montes