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

The Story: The story is revealed behind another of the Red Right Hand, as is the demonic source of their power.  Meanwhile, Wolverine finds himself in a two-on-one fight to the death.

What’s Good: Did you like Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider?  If you did, you’re going to absolutely love this issue, because that’s the Jason Aaron we get this month, in force.

Between the insane violence, the gruesome satanic rituals, the hooded cultists, the animal parts, and the creepy possessed kids, this is Aaron heading back to the world of grindhouse horror.  That’s a very good thing, because it’s something he does very well and it’s very distinctly his own.  It makes for a Wolverine comic that’s far from the norm.  It’s creepy, gruesome, and has a grimy, over-the-top, low budget feel.

Going along with this is Aaron’s twisted humour.  The two villains we get this month are, as usual, demented in concept and brilliant and comedic in dialogue.  There’s also a gag in this issue relating to how one of the Red Right Hand’s members seeks catharsis that is…well…it’s hilarious and it feels like something Garth Ennis would come up with.  The visual image we get from this sequence is, in itself, unbelievable.

Much like the last two months, Aaron also gives us a flashback to recount the history of one of the Red Right Hand’s faithful.  Thankfully, he does deviate from the formula a bit here.  The flashback is a single prologue an isn’t spread throughout the issue, and it’s also much more contemporary.  It’s also very different insofar as what Wolverine is guilty of.  This month, Logan’s wrong is entirely accidental and unbeknownst to him.  While he’s looked like a monster over the last couple of months, here, he’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Yet, that only enhances the tragedy of what occurs.  We get a gut-wrenching and miserable scene of tragedy and death that verges on being hard to read.  More than previous months, Aaron writes a trauma that is so visceral, that it’s clear that this Wolverine-victim isn’t just crying out for revenge, but that he has also lost his sanity.

As you probably got from the first paragraph, I love Aaron’s decision to bring in the supernatural, the infernal specifically.  It gives the book a creepy horror feel and makes everything grittier and more unique.  It also makes the Red Right Hand a much bigger threat, leaving really ominous feelings about just who really is pulling the strings.

It also allows for Renato Guedes to shine.  The two bad guys are cool, of course, but it’s the demonic stuff that really got my attention.  The demon itself looks great and there’s a human sacrifice scene that is all kinds of unsettling, so much so that it pushes the limit of what can be done in a non-MAX comic.

What’s Not So Good: While Aaron does tinker with the formula a bit, it’s clear that there is still a formula in place, what with the flashbacks and such.  I think next month, it may be time for Aaron to put the focus back onto Logan and his revenge.

Conclusion: Jason Aaron doing his thing, basically.  A great example of why this book, when at its best, isn’t just Wolverine; it’s Jason Aaron’s Wolverine.

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans

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