With Wolverine having escaped from Hell and been freed from any demonic possession, Aaron finally gets to tell some stories which involve Wolverine interacting with his own cast and world. And by “interacting,” I mean “cutting and slicing.” And by “world,” I mean “Mystique.”
Mystique has been one of Wolverine’s more prominent villainous foils ever since Aaron’s “Get Mystique” arc some years ago. It certainly helps that like Logan, she has complex motivations and morals. Sometimes a hero and ally, sometimes a villain and foe. In this issue, she falls between the two, although maybe the readers get a better sense of that than Wolverine does.
As well as Mystique, Aaron also introduces “Lord Deathstrike.” Despite conjuring up images of the weirdest society ball ever (I’m imagining a butler introducing “Lord and Lady Deathstrike” to a room full of aristocrats), it’s not clear why he’s taken on the mantle of Wolverine’s most famous villainess. It’s hard to believe it’s a coincidence. Name aside, the villain is otherwise original and amusing, with his modus operandi of long-range, trans-continental assassinations at once hilarious and surprisingly chilling.
Although there’s a fairly major twist towards the end of the issue, the final pages are what make that development great. There’s a plodding inevitability to the deaths of most major characters, and by opting not to string the mystery out, Aaron has made a wise decision. Whether the idea of Wolverine fighting more ninjas is enough to interesting you or not is another matter, but under Aaron’s pen it’s hard to believe it’ll be anything we’ve seen before.
Acuna’s artwork is, as ever, fantastic, although perhaps not necessarily suited for a story such as this. Acuna’s art looks best when its more ethereal nature is allowed free rein. While this story looks great, one can’t help but feel as though Acuna’s playing against type in such a way that we’re not seeing its full potential. Even so, he frames every panel like a master director would a movie, giving the story a cinematic look without the need to resort to “widescreen” panels on every page.
Jason Aaron’s “Wolverine” has been consistently enjoyable ever since he picked up the character, and while “Wolverine goes to Hell” was a diversion that maybe felt a little outside of Wolverine’s usual comfort zone, he’s firmly back in it with this one, and the quality of the read shows that. Enjoyable on every level.