As a huge Jason Aaron fan, I'll be the first to admit that the first issue of his new Wolverine series, appropriately titled "Wolverine," didn't grab me. It was mostly set up, it didn't have the same kind of tone his "Weapon X" series had, and the art from Renato Guedes (an artist I enjoyed quite a bit on "Superman") seemed odd and distended. So I skipped the second issue the week it came out, chalking it up to $3.99 fatigue. A few weeks later it was a light Wednesday so I picked it up out of curiosity and Aaron-Loyalty. I'm very glad I did. Guedes' art was tighter, for starters, but more importantly, Aaron ramped up the pulp and continuity craziness by bringing back Puck and both Ghost Riders from his work on that title. I was officially on board.
This third issue continues to widen the playing field and shed more light on what exactly is going on (something that had been a bit more of a frustrating rather than intriguing mystery). Also, let it never be said that Wolverine the character isn't a firmly integrated part of the Marvel Universe, but "Wolverine" the solo title always seemed to be in its own little world. It's great to see Aaron integrate his unique version of Wolverine into not only the characters he worked on in Ghost Rider but classics like Puck and, in the closing moments of the issue, the current roster of the X-Men.
I mentioned that Guedes' work improved in the second issue, and it's still just as great here. Matt Wilson's coloring adds a nice level of depth to his even-tempered linework; but his style, somewhere between Leinil Yu and Dan Hipp, does a great job on its own selling both detail and dimensionality.
The backup story, with typically great art from Michael Gaydos, sheds a bit more light on who may or may not be behind what's going on with Wolverine's soul being stuck in hell. So far all three issues have had backup stories that actually connect well with the main story and maintain the same level of quality as the main story. It makes the price tag a bit easier to swallow when that sort of thing happens.
Overall, Aaron's "Wolverine" is turning out to be a surprisingly fun and engaging story. Once might have expected Wolverine getting stuck in Hell to involve lots of arch symbolism or possibly even terrible poetry. Instead we get Puck, Ghost Riders, and Colossus about to punch out the possessed body of Wolverine.