With the Wolverine Goes to Hell arc approaching its climax, Jason Aaron takes the opportunity to fill this book with not one, but two action scenes which run in parallel: one on Utopia, where Kitty and Colossus fight Wolverine’s demon-possessed body, and one in Hell, where Logan fights the Devil for his freedom.
It can be difficult to retain an audience’s interest in comics that are almost entirely action scenes, but Aaron, a true master of fight scenes, manages it near effortlessly. Far from being generic trading-of-punches-and-kicks brawls, these fights are brilliantly choreographed (Renato Guedes undoubtedly helping out there) and fantastically inventive. Aaron is to fight scenes as Brian Michael Bendis is to conversation scenes; You know there should be something to break them up, but it’s just so entertaining you don’t care.
In particular, the contrast between the one-on-one fighting on Utopia and the epic legions in Hell means that it never feels like you’re reading one samey action scene. Just as you’re getting used to one conflict, you end up back in the other, refreshed and ready for more. It’ll definitely read better in the trade as the start of the final act, but it’s a huge credit to Aaron’s ability that it already reads well here, on its own.
It’s also good to see Aaron use a wide range of Wolverine’s supporting characters, from his own favorites -- Mystique and Ghost Rider -- to old favorites, like Puck. After the character’s solo series devolved into a succession of ongoing (but disconnected) minis, it’s crucial to re-establish Logan as a man with his own circle of characters, and small appearances like this, while not central to the book, do a lot to help that cause.
Not everything in the book works perfectly. Aaron has spent a lot of time weaving an extended arc examining Wolverine’s position in terms of religious faith, making references to it here and there for a while now. Increasingly, it seems like a central tenet of both Aaron’s take on the character and his plans for him. Although there’s nothing wrong with tackling a long-form arc, it doesn’t feel especially suited to Wolverine as a character.
When all is said and done, though, the final page of this issue can’t help but leave Wolverine fans with a reason to pick this book up, though. Next issue promises a scene we’ve never witnessed before, and with a character who has been around the block as many times as Logan, that’s something to be savoured.