This issue feels too short. It's very good, and it returns Wolverine to a more superhero-centric approach, but this premiere issue seemed to end too quickly. I was left wanting more, and that's good for Marvel, I suppose -- what with the whole, trying to get readers to keep buying comics thing.
What's so good about this comic?
First of all, we get Jason Aaron taking on an extended run on the character that first launched his comic book career. He may not have gotten any work for a couple of years after his contest-winning Wolverine story appeared in "Wolverine" #175 back in 2002, but that was the beginning of the Jason-Aaron-as-a-comic-book-writer era. And since that time, Aaron has done a handful of Wolverine stories (his collaboration with Howard Chaykin was particularly memorable), but, more importantly, he's created one of the best comics of the decade in Vertigo's "Scalped" and turned a humdrum "Ghost Rider" series into a must-read monthly.
Aaron has a talent for strong, terse dialogue and vivid characterization, and unleashing him on this new core Wolverine title is the best idea Marvel has had since handing "Uncanny X-Men" over to Matt Fraction. This will no doubt be a bloody, emotionally-charged series, if the first issue is any indication (and it certainly is).
Second, Ron Garney provides excellent, Kubert-style pencils and inks here. Garney has done good work in the past -- his art on Mark Waid's "Captain America" was a highlight, and he illustrated Aaron's "Get Mystique" arc from a year or so back -- but he's at his very best when he inks himself, and his work in "Wolverine Weapon X" may be the best stuff he's ever done. His backgrounds are detailed, his character work is exemplary, and his use of shadows and light creates the right kind of ominous atmosphere.
This may be a Wolverine superhero comic, but it's a dark one.
In this issue, we get the return of Maverick, Wolverine's old Weapon X colleague, and a growing mystery involving the Blackguard group and the introduction of some mysterious laser-claw wielding killers. Aaron is building some new mythology for Logan, not by telling stories from the past, but by using the legacy of the past to drive the story forward. Like most of Aaron's protagonists, Wolverine's fate is bound to into his history, but he has no choice but to boldly push forward and make amends for who he is and what he's done.
Marvel seems to be positioning this series as the central title in the world of Wolverine -- much like "Invincible Iron Man" took the reigns from the fading "Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. series -- and that's a good thing for readers. With Jason Aaron and Ron Garney telling stories about the X-Men's most popular character we'll get a whole lot more than an expensive movie tie-in from "Wolverine: Weapon X." We'll get good stories, well told. And this is just the beginning.