The Deal: Marvel Comic's infamous clawed mutant/movie star is back in a brand-new, aptly named ongoing series. The title's opening story arc is about Wolverine's soul somehow being yanked into hell (by some mysterious bad guys) while his demon-possessed body roams the earth, killing his friends and family.
The Good: Writer Jason Aaron isn't known for necessarily being the most innovative writer (Wolverine has been possessed and sent on a mission to kill folks before), but he is garnering acclaim for the way he develops characters. In this first issue, Aaron serves up a ton of introspection on Wolverine's part about violence, death, the afterlife, love and more. And, luckily, this thoughtfulness doesn't take away from the title character's badass nature — it just adds more humanity to the guy and that's never a bad thing. Regarding the art, Renato Guedes' pencils in the main feature are attractive enough (though a little too cartoony at times), but the work in the backup story — by Charlotte-based artist Jason Latour — is monumental. Latour's art is highly stylized — playing around with panel configurations, light and heavy shadows — but it's still steeped in the fundamentals. Good stuff.
The Bad: As I stated earlier, this story isn't exactly groundbreaking. How many times is Wolverine going to get possessed? I'm a little over the whole notion. I'm also over the way hell, and the afterlife in general, is presented; it's always shown in such a literal, fire-and-brimstone manner. How dull. Wouldn't it be cool if a creative team portrayed hell as a horrible spot without all the pools of molten lava and horned demons floating around? I'm just not interested. On top of all that, do we really need another Wolverine comic? His whole "family" of titles seems to be a mess these days.
The Verdict: The character beats are strong, but the premise of the opening arc seems like a been-there-done-that kind of tale. If anything, buy it for the backup story.
Scarlet No. 2: The second issue of Brian Michael Bendis' new creator-owned series (featuring art by Alex Maleev) is as entertaining as the first. Bendis and Maleev are using more cool techniques to tell the story — and the end is pretty damned shocking. Buy it.
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