by Jason Aaron (writing), Goran Sudzuka (art), Matthew Wilson (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Logan finds new and interesting ways of beating himself up after last month’s shocking finale.

The Review: Once in a while, our standard review format doesn’t quite work, particularly when a book’s positives and negatives are deeply intertwined.  This is one of those times.

Reading this issue, there’s no mistaking the fact that Jason Aaron is a very, very good writer with an excellent handle of his craft.  His script is filled with deep, heavy emotion and he shows a complete mastery of Logan’s unique voice that I can only wish more Marvel writers had in their own backpockets.  This is an emotionally affecting, gut-wrenching book that bleeds depression like an unrelenting funeral doom album.  After last month’s revelation, it’s the aftermath you’d expect and more.  That Aaron isn’t content to dump a major reveal and move on is admirable, as is his willingness to explore the emotional ramifications more than anything else.

But here’s the problem: as good as the script is on a technical level and as evocative and Aaron’s prose is, he goes too far in his depiction of Wolverine’s self-flagellation.  It’s a narrow line to walk and, for me anyway, Aaron ends up  going too over the top, winding up in unintentional comedy country.  Wolverine’s self-imposed penance is, in a word, ridiculous.

Having him jump off a mountain again and again?  Having him drag coffins all around he country?  It’s too much.  Excluding the fact that this all comes dangerously close to depressing for depression’s sake, Logan’s actions wind up being unbelievable.  I mean…the man jumps off a cliff again and again like a certain Warner Brothers coyote.  When tragedy turns into morbid slapstick, it’s clear something has gone terribly wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with depressing comics, but this book is a downer without much of a purpose beyond, well, being a downer, as though Aaron sat down with the sole express purpose of writing the most depressing Wolverine comic of all time.  This also leads to situations that beggar belief.  For instance, in one scene, I found myself particularly incredulous at the idea that an average Joe on the street would be willing to cut another man’s throat without a second thought.  Again, I may be coming off like a broken record here, but it’s just too much.

It also doesn’t help that art-wise, this isn’t really a stunner.  It’s forgettable, bland stuff that, while not doing anything wrong, also manages to be completely unimpressive.  There’s not a lot of detail and nowhere near enough stylistic flair to make up for that lack of horsepower.  Granted, the dull, lifeless color palette doesn’t help.

Conclusion: While Jason Aaron’s talent is apparent, it’s ultimately pretty misdirected here.  If you’re not a completionist, this is pretty skippable.

Grade: C-

-Alex Evans