Saturday, August 27, 2011

Comic Review: Wolverine #14

Please Note, the review contains Spoilers.

Wolverine #14

Review by Kandou Erik

Wolverine has had a tough year. His entire life has been hard, all the way from the 1900 to the modern day - his long and storied history has been one of constant violence, done to him, and too often subsequently done against his enemies. He's been tortured, experimented on, had his loved ones killed -- so saying this last year of Wolverine comics have added on a whole new level of pain and suffering to Logan's history is an understatement. This current series began when Wolverine's soul was sent to hell. His body was left possessed by demons, who went on a killing spree, murdering those closest to Logan. Even when Wolverine managed to claw his way back from hell, it still took a valiant struggle against the X-Men to purge his body of the demonic infestation. After that, Wolverine's not unexpected desire for revenge launched into motion to find those responsible. He gutted and killed Mystique, who was the one who initially captured his body. She warned him about the group who did this to him - an organization called the Red Right Hand. This group is a collection of people who have all lost a loved one, either directly or indirectly, to Wolverine's violent centennial history. The group grew in strength and power over the years, as those who sought revenge against Wolverine grew. Their plan wasn't to kill him, but rather to make him suffer like they did. To make him feel the same pain and loss that they had each endured by his hands. Studying the darkest of magics, they engineered a plan to send Logan's soul to hell. Yet hell still wasn't good enough. They also adopted a plan proposed to them by Wolverine's own psychopathic son Daken.

I have to say, this entire run over the last year has been both entertaining, but also very depressing. Logan's trip through hell was vicious and violent, a more stereotypical version of hell - but the grim and gritty detail writer Jason Aarron, and the equally detailed art of Renato Guedes, has been nothing short of incredible. It's been a psychological roller coaster for readers - and this arch was solicited as the culmination of everything, with a shocking revelation that promised to destroy Wolverine. So the revelation had to be good! It certainly did live up to my expectations. It's in fact exactly what I was expecting two issues ago. The logic of the plot, up to that point, made what was revealed the only logical conclusion. Did that make the revelation any less shocking for me? Yes, it did - but don't let me give you the impression that I'm in any way disappointed.

This entire final arch has followed a basic path - Wolverine goes to the Red Right Hand's location, goes in to justifiably murder every single one of them - and is confronted by the gaggle of weird villains, one by one, meanwhile giving us flashbacks of painful history of some of the members of the Red Right Hand. It was all very simply set up, but very effective. The personal stories of loss, caused in someway by Wolverine, where just excellently set up and executed by Jason Aarron. Even if you don't agree with this group, you nonetheless feel for their pain - weather their pain is justified or not. This issue gives us one last tale of a young boy who lost his mother when Wolverine was mind-washed and controlled by enemies. The young boys desire to make the man who took away his mother from him is simple, but effectively written.

One thing quickly became apparently during the battles Wolverine was having during each issue. This group of villains, called the Mongrels, where fighting as best they could against Wolverine - but there was just no way they could be expected to actually win. One by one, Wolverine killed them all - moving from room to room, until he reached the main group. The only logical explanation was that these villains where not meant to win - they where meant to die. It was even repeatedly exposed by the group's elderly leader "everything is going according to plan". So, it became simple math -- they intended to hurt Wolverine, yet where sending ill-equipped amateurs to die by his hand. What did that mean? It meant these amateur super villains must in some way be connected to Wolverine; that their deaths are what are meant to hurt him. And sure enough - I opened this issue and found that exact scenario coming to fruition.

Wolverine murdered his children. He's been alive a long time. He already has a son he knows about (Daken), and Wolverine has, not to be crude or anything - but he's been with a lot of women during his many years. Perhaps only a few women are notable for being the loves of his life - but from 1900 to 2011, a few one night stands isn't unexpected. Daken had gathered all these children of Wolverine's, children he never knew where born or existed, and allowed the Red Right Hand to equip them to fight a battle they where intended to loose.

The issue sort of self like it dropped you at the very end, as the members of the Red Right Hand, in their effort to rob Wolverine of his revenge, all drank poison before he even got to the room. A recording, and files proving the villains he had just killed where indeed his offspring, where left for Wolverine. Wrapped in the fires of hell, the dead members of the group are embraced by their loved ones -- all expect for the young boy which this particular issue focused on. He was left screaming for his mother, and the final page had the grief stricken Wolverine falling to the floor, realizing what he had done. The storyline concludes next month with a two part epilogue, where I think Wolverine is going to go feral and loose himself in the wilderness. So I imagine the repercussions of this tale of Revenge will be squared away then.

This was a good issue. It's a powerful ending to a very compelling, if a bit depressing, story arch this year. I intended to drop this title after the epilogue issues - but that's more for me. Money, and cutting down on comics is a big factor, but the series has, while being very good, has still been depressing - and after seeing this entire epic tale of Revenge run it's course, I feel satisfied and ready to leave the title. Don't let that stop you, though, if you're interested, from jumping onboard. Jason Aaron lived up to his reputation as an excellent storyteller - and the next story arch looks to be fresh start for new readers. I'm simply satisfied with what I've read so far, but would rather put my money elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Erik,

    I'd love to touch base with with you regarding a project.

    ballroomblitz@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete