By Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Jose Wilson Magalhaes & Oclair Albert (inkers), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: Wolverine’s still in Hell. Still fighting the Devil. Still crying about all the pain and suffering he’s inflicted over the years. Meanwhile, his body is still on Earth. Still possessed by a demon. Still running around killing all of Logan’s friends and loved ones. But hey, at least Puck’s to fuck shit up.

The Good: After last month’s issue, I knew this month would ultimately define my appreciation of Aaron’s inaugural storyline. There were some good moments this month, such as Logan’s homage to “300“ during his climatic fight with the Devil, Puck leading his army of the damned in revolt, or the revelation of Puck’s mysterious accomplice. I’m glad that, after four months, all Hell is, literally, breaking loose, even if it seems to have come a tad bit late since next month’s issue will (mercifully) end this story. I continue to enjoy Guedes’s art and the surreal style he brings to Logan’s jaunt through Hell, but I question how well his style will carry over to more traditional superhero stories.

The Not So Good: What started out as an incredibly promising story has since devolved into an exercise in mediocrity by an incredibly talented writer. Seriously, we’ve been at this story for four months now, and beyond this endless, uninteresting battle between Logan and the Devil, what’s actually happened!? Practically nothing, in my opinion. Every issue has followed this formula of Wolverine melodramatically crying about how he deserves damnation for the atrocities he committed in Life, the Devil torturing Logan and trying to break his spirit, and his demon-possessed body walking the Earth killing Logan’s friends.

I have no doubt Aaron’s original pitch for this story was probably an entertaining read, but the final product is leaving much to be desired. Here we have a story that takes place in Hell, a setting that should have given Aaron and Guedes that rare, creative opportunity to build and define their vision of the Underworld from the ground up, but for some inexplicable reason they instead chose to keep Logan and the Devil locked in this non-descript, poorly colored cave. To me, that’s about as interesting as reading a copy of Dante’s Inferno that never got out of the first circle of Hell. I’ve been disappointed with this story’s lack of ambition and vision; every time I wanted Aaron to push the envelope and truly disturb me with visions of Marvel’s most fearsome killer being tortured in the heart of Hell, he simply gave me more of the same melodrama and blandness that turned me off the character and the book years ago.

With this issue, I realized that Guedes’s art is only as good as the quality of his inkers. Personally, I believe his art looks best when the inks are light, allowing the linework and colors to take center stage. To appreciate this stark contrast, take a look at that beautiful, double-page of Wolverine’s “I believe in Hell” fight with the Devil and then compare that to the final pages of Sabretooth defying the Devil and Puck leading his revolt before conferring with Logan’s acquaintance and you’ll see the difference. Which style of inks you prefer is, of course, at your discretion, but to see both within the same comic was a disappointing and distracting experience for me

Conclusion: This storyline hasn’t quite entertained me and it hasn’t quite given me new insight into Wolverine’s character and measure as a man. So far, it’s been a very routine and unspectacular story, and that’s incredibly disappointing to say about an otherwise solid creative team. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ll be buying this comic for much longer. Something needs to change, and soon.

Grade: D

-Tony Rakittke

For our  first review, click here.

 

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