Chain Reactions | <i>Wolverine</i> #1

This week was marked by the debut of a new Wolverine series -- it's at least the seventh, by Douglas Wolk's reckoning -- in which the hirsute mutant goes, quite literally, to hell. Or at least his soul does. His body, meanwhile, is on Earth, possessed by demons who have nefarious plans for the fleshy vessel.

The premise undoubtedly leads more than a few readers to cringe, at least until they consider the creators behind the storyline: writer Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X) -- it's based in part on an idea he pitched for Hellblazer -- and artist Renato Guedes (Superman, Supergirl).

"It's my 'Heroic Age' story of sending Wolverine to hell and watching him grapple with this sense of hope and faith and what's really more scary to him: more of the same old dark, pessimistic Logan he's always been, or him actually thinking that there is a chance things can get better and wonder where he fits into that," Aaron tells USA Today.

But the first issue also includes a Silver Samurai back-up feature by Aaron, artist Jason Latour and colorist Rico Renzi, which, judging from the reviews, may have stolen the lead story's thunder.

Here's just a sampling of what people are saying about Wolverine #1:

Jacob Dodd, Comics Con Queso: "I think that for the longest time most people didn’t know what made a decent solo Wolverine story. They simply tried to ape the parts of stories that they themselves liked when the first became enamored with the character and it never quite worked. Aaron is able to create something that builds off of Wolverine’s over-arching history while at the same time feeling fresh and modern."

Rob Siebert, Primary Ignition: "The concept of Wolverine in hell is a little cheesy. But I think it can work. Especially if Logan is confronted by some (if not all) of the countless people he’s killed over the years. What’s really interesting to me is the idea Wolverine’s hope and faith being tested. Considering he’s likely one of the most cynical characters in American comics, it’ll be interesting to see how Jason Aaron plays with that idea, especially with Logan in the fiery depths."

Dan Phillips, IGN.com: "Even with its high concept, the book simply feels like more of the same superhero stuff, and Aaron's unique voice, style and brand of character work too rarely spring out from under the plot machinations. The main instance where Aaron's voice does come alive, besides the opening Wraith/Logan conversation, is a wonderfully demented monologue delivered by a demon towards the end of the issue. More than anything else, this final scene made me eager to see Aaron literally put Logan through hell."

Zack Freeman, Comic Vine: "Aaron's got a unique ear for dialog and it was refreshing to have this story hook you at the beginning with an arresting talk between Logan and Wraith as opposed to, say, a flashy fight. While Guedes does some solid work, it's the combo of Latour and Renzi in the back-up feature that's really turned me my head. I've never seen anything as arresting as their style in a long time."

David Pepose, Newsarama: "... I like having some shadows with my figures, and Renato Guedes has more of a flat, let-the-colorist-handle-the-shadows look that isn't particularly attractive (at least to me). When you have characters like Wolverine, you have to finesse it a bit, or else the character is just pointed hair and endless lines across his face, which is pretty much what you see here. Other things, however, feel a little more objective -- there is some shaky design in here, ranging from the possessed Wolverine to his demon captors, with over-drawn cloth wrinkles or spikes and muscles jutting everywhere. [...] But let's talk for a minute about the second feature, 'The Last Stand of the Silver Samurai.' Holy. Cow. To be 100% honest? This is better than the main feature. Marvel, whatever you do, give Jason Latour and Rico Renzi more work."

Jordan Cappy, Forgot My Toothbrush: "[The backup story] pretty much steals the show as soon as you see the first page. Art-wise it's fantastic, and the colours highlight everything so well. From the blood to the bright pink cherry blossoms and the sharp cuts reflecting the sword strikes; I just looks fantastic from start to end. It’s a poetic piece and I’m not really sure what the point of it is just yet. Is it meant to enhance the main story? Cause it kinda overshadows it a bit."

What did you think about Wolverine #1?

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