by Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (pencils), Jose Wilson Magalhaes & Olclair Albert (inks), Matthew Wilson (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: The possessed Wolverine tries to take out Colossus while Logan attempts to start a revolution in Hell by taking on the Devil.

What’s Good: You like great action?  Then this is your comic.   It’s largely composed of two action scenes and they both are really, really good, while also being completely different from one another.  Wolverine’s fight with Colossus, and later, the X-Men, is brutal, close quarters stuff.  It makes the possessed Wolverine come across like a real monster, while also highlighting Logan’s friendship with Colossus and Colossus’ emotional vulnerabilities.  There’s even a great little pisstake on Colossus’ tradition of tossing Wolverine.  It’s gritty, thrilling stuff that’s made all the better by the possessed Wolverine, who Aaron makes sound as evil and demonic as possible.

Then you’ve got Logan’s fight with the Devil.  It’s about as “omg wtf” as it sounds and it comes across as both over the top and epic.  There’s even a scene that reminded me of the movie 300…in hell.  It’s completely ludicrous, particularly in scale, but that’s what makes it so much fun.  Logan’s running narration only serves to enhance, making the fight seem all the more important, while adding emotional touches thanks to his self-loathing.

It’s clear that in writing the scenes in hell, Jason Aaron is clearly in his element.  It’s big stuff, but there’s always a hint of cheesy fantasy/horror and grindhouse to it that should please fans of his run on Ghost Rider.

Aaron also throws in a cliffhanger that’s guaranteed to excite.  He introduces a new/old character that not only comes totally out of left field, but also leaves Aaron with a great deal of significant creative freedom.  With so much having been done with the character, it’s a surprise that so little has been done in the area Aaron is about to approach.  If getting Logan to hell was done solely so Logan could have this encounter, I’m totally fine with that.  That should hint at how big this.

Guedes’ art is really good this month as well.  After all, action scenes are only as good as the artist drawing them and their success is Guedes’ as well.  His demons look great, his hell looks dense and well-imagined, and everything works well while also having a look of its own.

What’s Not So Good: I still feel that Aaron is struggling with the Devil’s voice a bit.  Is he going for a more casual, conversational tone, or a formal one?  It seems weirdly divided between the two.  Then, once in a while, to further complicate matters, Aaron will throw in what feels like the obligatory demonic threats, which feel forced as a result.

What I mean by “demonic threats” are those cheesy, excessively detailed lines that demonic characters throw out to intimidate that feel like the author is trying his/her best to be creatively grotesque.  Either way, it feels somehow artificial and somewhat off given that the Devil’s voice isn’t even quite nailed down.

Conclusion: While I feel that there’s only so high I can grade a book whose greatest strength, and majority of content, is action sequences, this was a really fun ride in an arc I’ve had mixed feelings about thus far.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans

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