By Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)
The Story: His soul now trapped in Hell while his possessed body walks the Earth killing those closest to him, Logan is forced to answer for a lifetime of murder by battling his victims before they can break him completely.
The Good: After what I felt was a decent, but rather mediocre first issue, I’m pleased that Aaron has jacked up the intensity and made this issue a much more entertaining read. It never ceases to amaze me that writers continue to find new things to do with Wolverine, especially considering how often he is used and abused in comics, and Aaron stands poised to pull off one of the most audacious Wolverine tales to date. Which is good! I like creators who are willing to sound off like they’ve got a pair and take these well-worn characters and do ridiculous shit with them because, when done right, that makes for the kind of entertainment that will keep me coming back month after month.
The thing that struck me about this issue was how creepy it was. Aaron imbues every page with details that underscore just how out of his league Logan really is. When Logan observes how there’s no passing of time, how he’s not actually breathing, or how his claws are once again bone and his healing factor has been compromised, you realize that he has, for all intent and purpose, been rendered powerless in a very mortal way, and part of the strength of this issue comes in watching Logan fight past his limitations and overcome what can only be described as the most insurmountable odds he has ever faced. This is the foundation of good storytelling. Aaron is fully aware of this, I’m certain of it, and I’m ready to trust him to take this story to the next level. Why, you ask? Well, just go back and look at that splash page of Sabretooth’s fate and tell me that didn’t get under your skin just a little bit. And just when you think you’ve got this story figured out and know what to expect next, Aaron pulls off one of the most ridiculously outrageous (and I really do mean that in a good way) cliffhangers I’ve seen in awhile and reminds you why you need and want to see what he comes up with next.
The Not So Good: Despite some moments of sheer creativity, I’m at that point now where I need this story to come together and go somewhere. I need to know why Wolverine’s in Hell, who sent him there, and for what purpose. In other words, the plot needs to reveal itself, and soon, otherwise my interest in this story will wane and I’ll move on to other comics. Additionally, I find that I am seriously uninterested in the sub-plot concerning Wolverine’s possessed body running around killing his nearest and dearest. Amounting to little more than a game of cat and mouse with Mystique and Logan’s girlfriend, this storyline has so far done little to advance the plot, much less earn my interest.
Random thought: where the hell does this storyline take place in the larger Marvel continuity? I mean, if you stop and think about it, every month Wolverine is either fighting the Ancient One with the Secret Avengers, being turned into a vampire in the pages of X-Men, or fighting his way through hell in his own book. Perhaps it’s my fault for using logic in an industry that actively discourages the practice, but I find that I can’t be that emotionally invested in a story where Logan is trapped in the most wretched, painful, abominable place in all of human understanding when he’s also in two other books the same month, right as rain and acting like nothing’s happened and it’s business as usual. Just sayin’.
Conclusion: For my own tastes, I’m at the point now where I need Aaron to either nut up or shut up (sorry, just finished watching Zombieland for the billionth time…is it just me, or is Emma Stone fucking gorgeous?). Aaron has thus far played his hand close to his sleeve and I get that, but the time has come to bring the story together and get to the point. That said, I’m having enough fun with this relaunch that I really do want to see where he takes this.