In the fourth part of “Wolverine’s Revenge,” we see the story of a former Hand ninja whose family has suffered – repeatedly – at Logan’s hand, as well as Logan’s encounter with the minor supervillain Gunhawk.
The theory behind “Wolverine’s Revenge” is a sound one. Take a moment to focus on the normally-faceless minions Wolverine typically slices his way through, flesh them out as characters, then show us how they were affected by their encounter, however brief it was, with the man himself. Nothing wrong with that, as a story.
In practice, though, it’s left us reading the same kind of story for four issues in a row now. One or two would have gotten the point across. Three is getting repetitive. Four is overkill. Although the last page suggests that the final issue will be a format-breaking climax, it’s hard not to wonder how Aaron intends to pay this off. It’s not beyond Aaron’s abilities to tie every issue into the final part in a satisfying way,s but it does seem like a monumental task, and one ripe with potential for disappointment if the execution fails.
Repetition aside, there’s some value in this issue in explaining exactly who’s behind those faceless Hand uniforms. Ninjas in the Marvel Universe – particularly in Wolverine’s titles – have become ineffectual to the point of satire, and readers might justifiably ask why. There’s a story to be told there, and in this case it’s about an eager, inexperienced ninja facing Wolverine to try and prove a point, and finding themselves instantly outmatched. Taken alone, that’s a good idea, so it’s a bit of a shame that its execution is undercut somewhat by being woven into the fabric of the Red Right Hand.
Still, it’s enjoyable, if imperfect, not least because of Guedes’ excellent work. Unlike his overly moody work on “Thunderbolts,” there’s a clean look to much of this issue, except for the intentionally shadowy flashbacks. The moody technique works much better when employed sparingly, and it’s a definite improvement over Guedes’ recent work on other titles.
In general, then, this is a good issue, weakened largely by its similarity to those around it. There are certainly worse criticisms you can level at a comic, but it does beg the question of how well this’ll work as an arc. It feels, thus far, like the weakest of Aaron’s Wolverine stories in some time. That still means it’s good, but it’s not quite all it could have been. Hopefully the final issue will provide the extra missing ingredient.