by Jason Aaron (writer), Davide Gianfelice (art), Dave McCaig (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Logan goes on a journey to fulfill Nightcrawler’s last wish.

What’s Good: I remember being pleasantly surprised a few issues back, when Jason Aaron’s Wolverine did a better job of welcoming Steve Rogers back to the Marvel Universe than any Avengers-related title.  Perhaps it’s not as much of a surprise now that with #16, the series’ final issue, Aaron’s Wolverine does a more touching, proper farewell for Nightcrawler than any of the X-books have managed.

Aaron, as he did with Rogers, makes his two characters’ personalities very clear, allowing their natural chemistry to tell the story and deliver the mood and message.  This is about two contrasting personalities more than anything else, and how they remained opposed, yet interlocking, through the years.  Better still, Aaron conveys a real sense of history between the two, but not in a way that requires any real awareness of actual continuity; impact isn’t determined by how many back-issues of Uncanny you’ve got stored in your longboxes.

As expected, much of the book finds itself focused on Logan and Kurt’s opposed religious beliefs.  At first, I was a bit underwhelmed by their dialogue and arguments over this subject due to the simplicity of their stances.  There’s not a lot of nuance to either character’s argument.  As I read on, though, it became obvious that this was rather the point.  Again, the issue isn’t about theology, but who Logan and Kurt are as individuals, and in this sense, their religious beliefs are only meant to represent who they are as people.  Kurt is filled with hope and optimism, while Logan is filled with a sense of doom; thus, this naturally translates to the faithful and the damned.

Similarly effective is Logan’s quest for Kurt, which sees him drag a piano up a mountain to a remote church.  This clear metaphor for the character’s burden, again reflecting on that above difference in stances, is one that’s been used very well in a great many stories, recently in Disney/Pixar’s movie Up, of all things.  There’s a reason for that, which is that it’s an effective one that carries a good deal of resonance, and that’s the case here.

Seeing Davide Gianfelice on art was a welcome surprise, as I’ve never seen him on a superhero title.  He’s a good fit for Wolverine, as the gritty visuals and evocative, sublime landscapes that he perfected on Northlanders are a very good fit here.

What’s Not So Good: While Gianfelice’s style very much suited this issue, I’m not sure that the same can be said for Dave McCaig’s colors.  McCaig applies the same clear, bright style that he seemingly applies to all the superhero titles that he works on.  Yet, this isn’t the best choice for Gianfelice’s style, which is better served by muddier, sandier, or generally grittier colors.  The bizarre thing is that McCaig did exactly this when he colored Gianfelice’s work on Northlanders.  Why McCaig would completely abandon this is inexplicable; it’s as though the man has chosen a style based on publisher rather than artist.

As far as the story goes, its impact will largely depend upon how much of a cynic you are.  If you’re able to put aside the fact that dead more or less never means dead in the revolving door of comics mortality, this is a really good, really touching work.  However, if you’re not able to do this, I can see it ringing hollow.  That said, this isn’t at all Aaron’s fault, so I can’t really penalize the issue for it.

Conclusion: Jason Aaron closes out Weapon X in somber style.

Grade: B+

Alex Evans