Wolverine, for all his seeming “Best There Is At What I Do” one-dimensionality, is one of the more diverse characters in the Marvel Universe. Hero, samurai, killer, crimelord. He’s complicated. Most of the time, however, the many facets of Logan are simply spread out among his different appearances. There’s rarely a trace of the “X-Force” killer in “New Avengers,” to name just one example. In these two stories, however, Daniel Way and Jason Aaron attempt to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the character, and find the person behind all the different roles he plays.
The first story in this two-story issue is by Aaron and Kubert; a day-to-day look at Wolverine’s many roles. New Avenger, X-Force member, X-Man, and avid drinker. The two do a fantastic job at creating a time-skipping rhythm, lingering on any given day for only a panel at a time. It’s a fun story until it takes the time to pause and Yukio wonders aloud exactly why Logan does this to himself. The question remains unanswered for now, but it’s an intriguing one. Aaron is particularly well suited to the character and his complications. His work on “Scalped” and “Ghost Rider” shows an affinity towards the more extravagant excesses of pulp and noir, but with a keen sense of the character traits that drive those kinds of stories. Wolverine seems like a perfect bridge for those two branches of storytelling. Adam Kubert also does a great job on the story, going from MODOK to a Siberian tavern in the span of one panel. His versatility sells the lightness of the beginning of the piece as well as the grit and pathos of its conclusion.
The second half of the book is a much more straightforward story by Daniel Way and Tommy Lee Edwards about Logan’s relationship with the head of a biker gang, who is having problems of his own with his son. The situation is intended to parallel Logan’s problems with his own son, Daken. It’s not at all overt, though, and that makes it one of the most convincing interpretations of this new development in Wolverine’s life to date. The story’s main focus is on this biker and the war his son has waged on his gang, the trouble that gets him in, and the guilt he feels. It’s a compelling story and the frankly pretty ridiculous situation between Wolverine and his son only serves as a subtle mirror to it. If every Daken-related story takes the form of a completely unrelated look at one of the many people Logan knows in his life, I just might warm to the character’s introduction someday.
Bumping the close of Old Man Logan to make room for this low-key exploration of Wolverine’s character might not have been a bombastic move on Marvel’s part. These stories don’t have the kind of action or relentless cadre of guest-star heroes that the movie did, but those who found themselves interested in the concept of Wolverine as seen in the movies might be pleasantly surprised at such an adept, complicated, and compelling look at the character behind it.