Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney & Jason Keith
Jason Aaron’s run thus far on the relaunched Wolverine has been nothing short of what fans of the Marvel Universe’s favorite clawed berserker want. It gives them all the claw popping ultra-violence the character’s solo series have become known for without sacrificing a more fleshed-out approach to Logan’s personality. After all, Wolverine is not a cold-blooded killer so much as a failed samurai, or a man with a noble idea of who he wants to be and yet doesn’t realize he is already that person.
From the stories that began in Aaron’s earlier book, Wolverine: Weapon X, to today’s Wolverine #17, everything has felt streamlined and there has been a great balance between fast-paced, energetic storytelling and deeper exposition.
Having just returned from his isolation following what happened at the hands of the Red Right Hand over the course of the first dozen or so issues, Wolverine finds himself at a crossroad at the beginning of this story. If you’ve kept up with the events in the wider X-Men universe, there was a falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops during the Schism event. Logan, feeling it wasn’t right that Scott expected the children on the X-roster to become warriors, ultimately decided to return to Westchester, New York to restart Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (which, if you haven’t been keeping up, was destroyed during the “Messiah CompleX” crossover a few years ago).
Before he can leave San Francisco, however, Logan has a few loose ends to tie up — like letting his reporter girlfriend know that he’s leaving and ending his masquerade as Chinatown’s kingpin the Black Dragon. Upon visiting Kung Fu Master Po’s dojo, however, he discovers the money he had stashed in a safe there has been stolen by a gang involved in a Chinatown drug war. This is the money Logan planned to rebuild the school with. (Yes, he has that kind of money. He’s been around for like 200 years, you know?)
Needless to say, he’s pissed.
The pace of the issue is rather fast, feeling much shorter than it actually is. It sets up a team-up with Gorilla Man, including some fun back-and-forth banter (not just with Gorilla Man, but with Po, as well), and introduces some elements of Chinese mysticism. Ron Garney and Jason Keith’s art continues to fit the tone of the book well, whether Logan is slicing and dicing his way through a hail of gunfire or having a heart-to-heart with Melita.
That said, I’m not really sure how I feel about mythical elements and Wolverine being together. I’ll be honest and admit it took me a few issues to wrap my head around “Wolverine Goes to Hell” last year. This is only part one of the story arc, and a fun read regardless, so I’m willing to further suspend my disbelief to include those elements for the time being.
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