“Wolverine” #307 opens with the sometimes-berserker Canadian mutant in the clutches of Dr. Rot and the entire issue does its level best to keep him there.
As I was reading this issue it occurred to me that Rot, who I admit knowing nothing about prior to “Wolverine” #305, is being shoe-horned into becoming a Joker to Wolverine’s Batman. Cullen Bunn seems convinced that Wolverine would be best served to have a deranged foe in his collection of enemies and has identified Rot as the best candidate. Sure, there are differences in the character and the setting, but Rot just comes across as a second-rate wannabe who is only marginally threatening on an even field. He defeats Wolverine in the only way Logan can truly be beaten and anyone reading this has to see the eventual beatdown/evisceration coming from a mile away.
I like that Bunn’s trying to build the world around Wolverine up, and the Agent Coulson-like F.B.I. Agent Wells is a fun if somewhat transparent addition. Adding the cast surrounding Rot shifts the collection of Wolverine’s baddies over to the creepy side quite a bit, but most of those characters are rather flat and one-note, like slimmer versions of the Marauders and less of a range of powers. Much of this issue feels like a remix of concepts and ideas we’ve seen before with Logan, but little enthusiasm or innovation to freshen up that blend.
Paul Pelletier’s art is as detailed as ever, with gore and guts and gray matter flying all over the page. Wolverine doing what he does best has a cartoony vibe under Pelletier’s pencil, but it works to keep the story lively and upright. Given the amount of damage Wolverine inflicts in this issue, it helps to have Pelletier’s artful decision making regarding the beheadings and other stabby moments. The artist delivers such a wide range of body types and expressions to the faces on those bodies that helps “Wolverine” transcend the medical morass of Rot’s lair to resist becoming a horror comic.
“Wolverine” #307 is a decent enough penultimate issue of the Dr. Rot adventure, but it doesn’t find enough new ground to surpass “decent.” Unfortunately decent is only slightly above forgettable. I’m going to finish this arc out largely due to Pelletier’s art, but I am curious to see if this book finds a different direction and motivation following the upcoming “Sabretooth Reborn” story.