“All We Want Is The World And Everything In It” by Jason Aaron (Writer), Esad Ribic (Pencils), Tom Palmer (Inks), and Matthew Wilson (Colors)

“A Good Man” by Jason Aaron (Writer) and Udon Studios (Art)

Some Thoughts Before The Review: Jason Aaron is easily the best Wolverine writer at the moment, so any comic that features two stories by the guy is an automatic purchase in my book

The Story: The first part of The List – Wolverine is, essentially, a Marvel Boy and Wolverine team-up story that quickly turns into a Marvel Boy and Fantomex team-up story. Both duos try to shut down a sentient facility known as The World before Norman Osborn is able to gain control of it. The second part of The List – Wolverine is a character piece that explores if or how Logan is a “good man” despite his past.

What’s Good: I’m a fan of the buddy comedy. Especially if the buddy comedy I’m enjoying happens to have a healthy dose of action in it as well (…and doesn’t involve Brett Ratner in any way). I mention that because Jason Aaron absolutely nails the action-packed buddy comedy vibe with his first The List – Wolverine story “All We Want Is The World And Everything In It.” It goes a long way towards making up for the fact that the story is really a Wolverine story only in the sense that it features Weapon X/World stuff that Grant Morrison established quite some time ago.

Now normally, I’d be quite disappointed that Wolverine plays second fiddle to a couple of lesser known characters in his own book, I’m not, however, because Jason Aaron’s character work is so damned strong. The banter between Noh-Varr and Fantomex takes advantage of each character’s personality (the arrogant alien and the shady, yet slick weapon) and it makes the odd pairing work far better than you might expect. Add some great Wolverine dialogue, toss in a few scenes featuring a seething, power-hungry Norman Osborn and you’ve got a strange story about a sentient building/emotional brain that is a whole hell of a lot of fun to read.

Esad Ribic’s pencil work is fluid, loaded with emotion, and quite distinct. Ribic handles all the action exceptionally well and adds an extra bit of humor to the script thanks to his knack for drawing just the right expression for the situation. While I was initially disappointed that Ribic’s work wasn’t painted like it was for the cover or the excellent Marvel Knights mini-series Sub-Mariner: The Depths, the pencil work quickly grew on me.

Jason Aaron’s second story, “A Good Man,” isn’t nearly as fun as the first, but it certainly makes an impact thanks to a few nice touches I’d rather not spoil. By having Wolverine stop to help someone in need while trying to stay ahead of a group that’s chasing him, Aaron effectively softens a character that you know is going to have to get his hands bloody before it’s all said and done. In addition, by having a religious theme, “A Good Man” serves as a nice compliment to the ending of the first story, even though it is totally unrelated.

What’s Not So Good: While I can’t consider it to be a negative since it went with the story and the characters, I have to mention that some people are probably going to be a bit sensitive to the pro-atheism dialogue that’s written into “All We Want Is The World And Everything In It.” Also, I have to mention that the religious stuff throughout the book isn’t exactly subtle. The topic of religion tends to be a touchy subject all around and when it’s handled in a heavy-handed way as it is in both stories (“A Good Man” also touches upon religion quite a bit), the audience is bound to be divided by it.

Speaking of “A Good Man,” I’m still trying to figure out why someone thought it’d be a good idea to have Udon Studios handle the artwork for the story. While I like Udon’s work quite a bit, the studio’s style just simply doesn’t fit Jason Aaron’s fairly subdued character study. Disconnect between story and artwork can bring down any comic.

The only other negative left to mention is that Esad Ribic’s work is occasionally a bit too exaggerated. The exaggeration fits the tone of the story in a way, but Ribic goes a little overboard here and there. While the level of emotion on display is impressive at fitting and impressive most of the time, a few panels just look silly.

Conclusion: Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine is worth picking up as long as you don’t mind that Wolverine takes a back seat to others for most of the comic.

Grade: B

-Kyle Posluszny