Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney
Color Art: Jason Keith
Wolverine’s impromptu team-up with Gorilla Man last issue ended with the two, along with Wolverine’s kung fu master and some kid who made me think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in a series of caves deep below San Francisco’s Chinatown where the Jade Claw is using dragons to mule drugs.
That’s a lot to wrap your head around.
This issue opens with a battle royale involving the villains Razorfist, Soul Striker, Darkstrider and Rock of the Buddha. Wait…Who? I’m not exactly sure who any of these guys are, save for maybe Razorfist, who I seem to remember being killed by Logan in last year’s X-Force: Sex & Violence limited series. Regardless, it’s mentioned that he was killed by Wolverine before…just not killed well enough.
Anyhow, the dragons eventually become involved, and Wolverine and Gorilla Man end up tied between two of them as Soul Striker (these villain names are killing me) recites a villainous monologue before knocking the old kung fu master into a pit and taking the kid away to serve in Jade Claw’s underground poppy fields.
This leads to another villainous monologue later in the issue where Jade Claw explains to the kid that she plans on ruling the world from below ground by controlling the drug trade above ground. Jason Aaron does a lot to establish Jade Claw’s villainy, but so much of it is ridiculous and over-the-top that it’s hard to swallow. (Her least expensive bra costs enough to feed an entire family and she has her feet washed in the still-warm blood of women who fancied themselves more beautiful? This is b-movie grade cheese.)
As a matter of fact, that combined with the banter between Logan and Gorilla Man (and later Fat Cobra, a sumo-ish guy from the Immortal Weapons who randomly shows up this issue) makes this story arc the comic book equivalent of a comedic kung-fu buddy cop b-movie.
I’m not used to having this much humor in Wolverine, but Aaron pulls it off nicely. I’d be interested in seeing him write Spider-Man at some point, perhaps in a limited series. The art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith matches the tone of the story, as well. It’s somewhat gritty, but bright and stylized. Overall, this arc has been a fun ride so far and a nice change of pace from the typical Wolverine fare.
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