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

The Story: “I know you’re the bastards who sent me to hell!  I’m here to return the favor!”

The Review: With Wolverine on the warpath, Jason Aaron continues to right the ship on this title.  While this issue isn’t mind-blowing, “best of the year” type stuff, it’s the kind of comic where if I can get this level of quality month in and month out, the series will wind up being among the best that Marvel has to offer.

Fans of Jason Aaron’s run on Ghost Rider will enjoy this issue.  That’s not so much due to any ties in continuity or what have you, but rather because, in this issue’s major action scene, Aaron displays the gruesome, twisted imagination that made his work with the Spirit of Vengeance so memorable.  It’s that over-the-top, wince-inducing, yet oddly comical and ridiculous grindhouse frame of mind that Aaron has.   I’m mostly referencing the baddie Wolverine squares off with this month, a furry guy named Cannonfoot whose power or ability is both simple and ludicrous.  Honestly, only Aaron could have come with a character like this.  It’s just bonkers, but it also leads to a fight’s a lot of fun, particularly with how it ends.

But this issue of Wolverine doesn’t just show Aaron’s ability at the more visceral level.  There’s also a very heavily written and well-narrated flashback tale detailing the leader of the Red Right Hand.  It’s during these portions that Guedes and Wilson also do their best work, giving the book a feel that resonates with old-timey, dated flavor.  Aaron’s story here is filled with emotion, mostly negative ones, and it’s strong character-work.  It also draws an interesting parallel between this leader character and Wolverine himself, with both being driven on bloody quests for vengeance, albeit against one another.  Frankly, the ease with which Aaron switches between this eloquent tale of obsession and revenge, and Wolverine’s present-day, action-heavy portion is quite impressive, particularly in how little it jars.

That said, it isn’t necessarily an A-grade comic.  There’s not quite enough characterization done on Logan himself and Aaron, during the present-day portions, cuts to the Red Right Hand observing the action a little too often.  The result is that while what Cannonfoot we get is awesome, we don’t get anywhere near enough that we could’ve gotten.  As a result, the flashback portions feel a little bit closer to “A-grade” than the present day portions, and honestly, these present-day bits, action scenes included, serve to add simplicity to the comic.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it puts a limit on how high I can score a book like this.

Conclusion: A rock solid experience that both Wolverine and Jason Aaron fans will enjoy.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans