by Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (art), Jason Keith (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Logan seeks out the new Blackguard Weapon X commandos as, he heads to Columbia. Meanwhile, reporter Melita Garner decides to try to figure out who exactly Wolverine is.

The Good: Jason Aaron really has a knack for Wolverine’s character. Not only does he write a great Wolverine, but it’s clear that he has a lot of affection for the character as well (“little hairy dude who likes to skewer bad guys”). Aaron writes a great Logan. The textboxes are fantastic, and Wolverine sounds like Wolverine, with a good use of Logan’s trademark, gruff slang that doesn’t become so dominant as to render Logan an unintelligent “badittude” hillbilly. Logan’s voice suits the character with its affable nature, but also sounds as if it’s clearly coming from a smart character.

The massive action scene at the end with Wolverine fighting a pair of “Adamantium Men” was high-paced and thoroughly enjoyable. Much as Aaron has a clear grasp of the Wolverine character, he’s also showing a real talent for plotting out action.  The blow-by-blow, move-by-move frame sequencing is incredibly fluid, and natural.  It’s clearly well thought-out and logical, while also thrilling and indisputably “superheroic.” One frame led very naturally to another despite the speed. It’s good work.

Aaron also infuses the comic with a little humor. Logan’s booze-riddled existence is as much a laugh in this issue as it was last month. However, the real highlight is during the big brawl at the end. Wolverine does his trademark roar, looking to rush into combat; yet only to end in a hilarious frame of him scampering off into the distance, running right by his opponents, who are as stunned as the reader.

Art-wise, this is a solid comic, which, for better or for worse, has that sleak “Marvel comic” look.  Nothing distinct or stand-out, but nothing to complain about either.  That said, when the script calls for it, Garney can draw one helluva scary-looking Wolverine. Somehow, Logan’s small stature has been highlighted by Garney, and yet that only leads to him looking more bestial and frightening.

The Not-so-Good: There’s only one big downfall in this issue.  Despite occupying half the issue, the Adamantium Men just aren’t very compelling right now.  I know Wolverine despises anything Weapon X, but I still wish we could see a little more personality or character from these commandos. Right now, they’re simply lame.

Even the art design of these guys is just not that interesting. In an effort to alleviate their blandness as adversaries, Garney tries to make them look more “inhuman” as they have glowing neon-green eyes and similarly colored “energy claws.” Unfortunately, to me, it just ends up looking a little unnecessary.  Shiny eyes don’t make for menacing, compelling villains.  Somehow, it just looks silly and contrived.

That said, for all my whining, I’m sure this will soon be a non-issue.  The commandos mention having a mysterious “boss,” who will probably end up being the real adversary of this arc.

Conclusion: Right now, this is probably the best Wolverine comic on the stands, and at issue #2, the most accessible. With tThat said, fans of Aaron’s breakthrough “Scalped” will also find a lot to love.  In Logan’s rough demeanor and alcohol-swilling ways, the ties are quite clear and it’s more obvious than ever that Jason Aaron was the right man for this job.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans