In this final issue before “Wolverine” becomes “Dark Wolverine,” the two stories from issue 73 conclude solidly. The tactic of doing two 11-page stories split over two issues instead of two self-contained issues featuring complete stories is an interesting one, but it highlights that writers have been so trained in doing 22-page stories that changing it up leads to problems in at least one of these stories.
The weaker of the two, “One-Percenter” by Daniel Way, has Wolverine helping out an old friend, Horrorshow, who is one of the lords of a biker gang. It appears that his son is responsible for killing a gang member and several others. When Logan investigates, things are more complicated, but in a very mundane way. The resolution to this story comes quickly and feels rushed. Maybe when read with the first part, presented as a stand-alone issue, it would come across better.
On the plus side, Way clearly has Logan’s voice and motivations down after writing him extensively in “Wolverine Origins.” Without the confinement of Logan obsessing over his past, Way’s writing is a little more loose and it makes me wonder what he’d do with the character if given a shot at an ongoing that’s not so steeped in continuity.
There’s not much that needs saying about Tommy Lee Edwards’ art except that it’s gorgeous, fantastic work. He handles all aspects of the art and it shows with the colors working perfectly in sync with the line work. He uses a lot of close-ups, which gives the story a claustrophobic feeling, which matches the story and how characters are penned in, forced to act a certain way as a result of others.
The preview pages offer a lot at both Edwards’ work and Adam Kubert’s in the second story where the former “Wolverine” artist is paired with Jason Aaron for a decidedly different story. Firstly, seeing Kubert handling Logan again is a joy since it was his work on the character that made him ‘”Wizard top ten artist Adam Kubert.” Secondly, his work here is strong, very cartoony, which matches the writing’s tone. In spots, it’s a little too rough or rushed, but, for the most part, Kubert delivers some strong work.
Aaron’s story addresses something that fans love to harp on, but is never discussed in the comics: how is it that Wolverine can be in so many places each month at once? After last issue showcased his hectic schedule, this issue delves into the reasons as Spider-Man pays Logan a visit at a local bar for a little heart-to-heart. It does not go well until some armed robbers show up and break the tension.
The explanation here makes sense for now, but doesn’t really explain anything from ten or more years ago, but good on Aaron for trying. His Logan is what you’d expect from him if you’ve read his other work on the character, but the surprise is how well he nails that right mix of annoying banter and genuine compassion in Spider-Man.
Both of these stories are perfectly fine Wolverine stories, not too good, not too bad, pretty entertaining. Tapping Way and Aaron, and pairing them up with artists of Edwards and Kubert’s caliber is the perfect way to conclude this series before it morphs into “Dark Wolverine” and shifts focus next month.