By Jason Aaron (script), Daniel Acuna (art), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: The girls get some much-needed back-up in the battle for Logan’s mind, as Dr. Nemesis and Cyclops get ready to pull the trigger.

The Review: Celebrate!  The interminable possessed Wolverine/hell/demon stuff is over!  That alone made me enthusiastic, as this story has felt endless.  Worse still, by Jason Aaron’s standards, this arc has been “just ok,” particularly when compared to some of the ripping stuff he wrote in Weapon X.  Not only does the arc end, but it ends in a fashion that promises bloodshed and violence, as Wolverine is left very, very pissed and entirely dedicated to revenge.  Now THAT’S a Wolverine story I can get behind!

But back to this issue.  Much like the rest of these demon-related comics, while not spectacular, it’s not bad either.  Indeed, Aaron has some fun with the X-characters he brings in for cameos this month.  In particular, Dr. Nemesis and Fantomex shine with Aaron having a firm grip on both characters.  The good doctor is as much of a dick as ever, while Fantomex is his usual fun self.  It’s clear that Aaron quite likes writing these characters.

However, while humor works well here, in other places, that isn’t the case.  Given how grave this arc is, Aaron’s insertion of some comedy in the girls’ exploring the hidden corners of Logan’s mind (Emma finds his “sexual fantasies”) is jarring and terribly out of place.  Oddly paced, it feels very awkward

Though he never does or says anything earth-shattering, Aaron also does good work with Nightcrawler.  It’s a shame that Aaron’s entered the X-verse at a time where Kurt is dead, because it’s clear that Aaron not only likes the character, but has a good ear for him as well.  Aaron’s Kurt is incredibly likable and, even when he’s only in a comic for fleeting moments, it’s instantly clear why the character has the fanbase that he does.  I truly wish he was a live, if only so that Aaron could use him more.  Kurt’s really been a highlight the past couple of issues, with Aaron using the character very well.  In fact, I just wish this issue was longer so that we could see more of him.  Better still, I love how Aaron continues to suggest that while the other characters in Logan’s mind are parts of Logan, Kurt may very well be the real Kurt, back from the dead.  The ambiguity is excellent.

The Jean Grey/Phoenix cameo (well, Logan’s internalization of her anyway), however, is another manner entirely, falling pretty flat.   It only leads to Aaron retreading some very, very well-worn ground.  In fact, the dialogue with Scott after the encounter feels incredibly familiar.  It’s really old hat and the reason for Jean’s manifestation, that Logan has to get over Jean to fend off the demons, is pretty lame and, honestly, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  In fact, it’s a shame that that’s what this arc had to come down to: a tired conflict/story and a half-hearted, poorly explained Jean Grey moment.

It’s a shame too, because before Jean shows up, Melita Garner says some interesting stuff.  Her recognition of Logan’s life’s ability to turn his significant others into passive and helpless figures is an interesting point, and one I hope is further explored and integrated into Melita’s relationship with Logan.

Daniel Acuna’s art also continues to be a boon for this arc.  It’s more restrained and less flashy this month, but the haunting sadness that Acuna’s art can subtly and quietly convey is well employed here.

Conclusion: Definitely more good than bad, but still something of a mixed bag.

Grade: B –

-Alex Evans