by Jason Aaron (writer), Yanick Paquette (pencils), Michel Lacombe (inks), Nathan Fairbairn (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: All hell breaks loose in Dunwich as “Insane in the Brain” hits its appropriately messy conclusion.

What’s Good: This issue breaks a lot of the rules that made this arc such a rousing success, as the arc loses the insularity and isolation that really marked it out.  What saves the book is that Aaron still seemed bent on making it as chaotic and over-the-top.  Make no mistake, this is still a very readable comic, but the constant mayhem pushes much of this issue beyond certain limits, giving it a bloody carefree feel.  There’s so much going on, so much violence in particular, that the pages can’t quite contain or portray it all.

Case in point was probably my favourite scene in the book, which sees a character attempt to use his own disemboweled intestines to choke out Logan.  If that isn’t mayhem personified, I’m not sure what is.  Furthermore, kudos to Aaron for getting Marvel to publish material so graphic in a non-MAX title.

Surprisingly, Nightcrawler and Psylocke don’t harm the book.  If the book’s completely cut loose, why not add more characters and make it even more frantic?  Both characters are handled well, and their comparative rationality and outsider position really draw attention to how nuts Wolverine’s current predicament really is.  It also brings a bit of comedy.

I’m also really, really happy that at the end of this arc, we appear to be far from done with Dr. Rot.  Given how experimental this arc was, I was certain this’d be the end of him.  Aaron instead positions Rotwell as a new, lurking nemesis for Logan.  Dr. Rotwell’s discovered some rather nifty things in Logan’s brain related to Weapon X, and it’s given the character legs beyond “Insane in the Brain.”

It also bears being mentioned that this is a truly fantastic outing by Paquette.  The action is savage and Paquette’s creative paneling mirrors this.  He also does some rather interesting things with lighting when entering Rotwell’s darker “backstage” areas.  Furthermore, I absolutely loved his depictions of Nightcrawler and Psylocke.  Psylocke even looked completely and realistically Asian.  There’s also a really hilarious “brain bomb” that Paquette obviously had a lot of fun with.

What’s Not So Good: This issue removes much of what made previous “Insane in the Brain” issues so special.  The lurking horror has been exploded, as has any sense of dread or mystery.  In fact, other than some rather gory action sequences, the horror tone is pretty much gone.  While it’s still fun, it doesn’t quite have that feeling of suffocating atmosphere and hence doesn’t feel as inspired or landmark as the rest of the arc.

Also, given how last month’s issue ended, it’s a shame that Aaron basically makes no real use out of the mobsters.  They become completely faceless and are relegated to backgrounds and montages.  In fact, none of them even utter a single line.  It feels like a missed opportunity and Aaron seems content merely to depict them as a means to an end.

Finally, I’m still not buying the Melita Garner/Logan connection.  It still feels contrived, rushed, and forced.  It’s a story that’s been done a million times with Logan.  Melita just isn’t special enough of a character to merit this, nor has Aaron given enough reason to justify the budding relationship.

Conclusion: A huge shift from previous issues in the arc, but still a lot of fun.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans