If there was an issue to deliver as a follow-up to last week’s “Wolverine” #5.1, it’s this first part of “Wolverine vs. the X-Men.” From the very first scene, this comic is engaging and entertaining, following up on this relaunch’s opening arc where Wolverine found his soul in Hell and demons possessing his body. Now that his soul has returned to his body, the demons are still there and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going anywhere. It’s a Wolverine story that’s been done before, but Logan’s history with possession and mind control informs how Cyclops and the X-Men react to not just him, but also to the supernatural experts of Daimon Hellstrom and the Ghost Riders. Jason Aaron makes sure there’s a ‘Logan isn’t himself again and there are procedures for this sort of thing’ vibe to the issue.
There are two central conflicts explored here: Logan against the demons in his body, and the conflict of everyone else over what to do about Logan. The inner conflict is the least interesting of the two, playing out in a pretty typical fashion. Watching the various characters argue and bicker over what they should do about a possessed Wolverine is much more entertaining and drives the issue. Aaron makes sure to give every character their own position with Cyclops acting as the middle ground between all sides. He wants to let Logan fight his own battle and not simply resort to putting him down like a dog, but he also knows that that has to be an option. Everyone else seems to either fall on the ‘let him be’ or ‘kill him now’ side. Scott is one who tries to find that balance between his emotions and his rationale mind.
From that conflict are some priceless character moments, like Namor mouthing off to the Ghost Riders or Daimon Hellstrom’s usual arrogance while admitting that there’s nothing he can do (how can someone arrogantly state that they’re helpless, really?). Aaron doesn’t just have a strong handle on all of the characters’ voices, he knows how best to have those voices go up against one another for maximum effect. For an issue where a lot of it is characters standing around, discussing the problem, it’s very dramatic and engaging.
Daniel Acuña continues to be one of Marvel’s best pinch artists, moving from project to project for a few issues here, a few issues there, and always delivering stunningly gorgeous pages. His growth as an artist isn’t limited to his line work; his coloring continues to evolve and become better and better, judiciously choosing where to use color line art and where to use black, or the subtle ‘auras’ he’ll give characters are certain times to draw focus. But, what stands out most is his dynamic, expressive art. He’s got a soft touch to his line work, lending itself to characters being easy to read. He makes sure you can see how tortured Cyclops is over the decision he’s going to have to make.
“Wolverine” #6 has been a long time coming with Jason Aaron addressing the idea of a mind controlled/possessed Wolverine and how those around him would react after it keeps happening. This issue is all set up, but it’s entertaining with a rare meeting of the X-Men and supernatural characters like the Ghost Riders and Hellstorm. And, the end of the issue is one hell of a cliffhanger, the sort that ensures that you’ll read the next issue.