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

The Story: Wolverine heads to an oil rig to put down Blackguard once and for all.

What’s Good: It’s clear that Aaron has a strong hold on Logan’s voice. Once again, he shows that, with some very strong internal narration this month. The captions come together into a weird mish-mash that sees Logan discussing religious beliefs, philosophy, morality, and his past with Xavier. All of this is done in that pitch-perfect, grizzled tone that we all know.Though this narration only appears in the last third or so of the issue, it feels highly personal and is executed perfectly. It makes the book feel more intimate while also causing its conclusion more grand.

Wolverine’s moralizing provides a stronger sense of closure and his revelation of his only fear was well-done. The reveal was surprisingly, almost lovably, mundane, but the manner in which Aaron spins out from this into Logan’s deeper psychology adds the needed complexity. It also leads to a kill that is particularly brutal in its simplicity.

We also get a couple little reveals that really are rather cool. One of which is perhaps a little expected, but thankfully, Aaron compensates for this by not making the scene a particularly big deal. The latter scene is a bit of a head-scratcher, but not in a bad way.

As far as Garney goes, it’s clear that he was meant to draw this series, giving everything a rather scratchy feel. Colorist Jason Keith helps bring out the best in him, making everything feel bright and really helping to give life to some truly awesome splashes involving landscape and sunsets. Certainly, the action is fast-paced, violent, and enjoyable, with a fair share of impressive explosions, pyrotechnics,… and sharks.

What’s Not So Good: While the reasons are hard to pinpoint, this issue felt a little underwhelming overall. I suppose a good part of this had to do with most of the final action scene seeing Wolverine spending the majority of it in a vehicle. This really subtracted from the visceral savagery that has defined this series. It made the final action scene, while awe-inspiring and huge, less impactful.

The first half of the book was also a bit lacking. Some of it is pointless. Why have Wolverine be apprehended by HAMMER if nothing comes of it and nothing changes? Do we need another scene of Maverick telling Logan that these are impossible odds? None of this is particularly offensive, but it feels like filler.

I also find myself again completely uninterested in the journalist, who mercifully spends this book almost as an afterthought. Aaron hasn’t really given much of a reason for me to care about her, nor enough page space to really develop plot or character-wise. It’s a shame that an entire arc is gone now, and the character is still bland and cliched.

Finally, despite my love for Garney’s take on this book, this isn’t his strongest issue. The quality here can be a little uneven; certain panels see a drop in detail, others become a little too scratchy, losing definition.

Conclusion: Not quite as awesome as I’d hoped, but things do kick up a level when the internal narration starts.

Grade: B-

-Alex Evans