Wolverine #14 is shocking. Not in the way writer Jason Aaron wants it to be, but rather because of how sloppy and awful it is. After Logan escaped the clutches of Hell, I became very excited by the Red Right Hand, a group of people who lost loved ones to Wolverine and banded together to kill him. It was so simple, so perfect, and Jason Aaron has completely ruined it with two powerful bullets. The first, dragging the story out for way too long. The second bullet is the atrocious ending of the long-winded story. Aaron has always had problems ending his arcs (see Astonishing Wolverine & Spider-Man) but between Wolverine and X-Men: Schism, the beginning and middle aren’t much to write home about either.
Wolverine #14 is supposed to be the big reveal, the final confrontation between the members of the Red Right Hand and Wolverine. It’s what we’ve been waiting for, it’s what we suffered through this long, dry story for. Jason Aaron decides not to give it to us, instead opting for what I’m assuming he felt was an idea infinitely more clever. Is anybody else getting tired of comics ceasing to be entertaining because the writers have all decided it’s better to be clever? After fighting a series of highly trained assassins, Wolverine kicks in the door to where the Red Right Hand is to find…
More on that in a second
First I have to ask: What the hell is Jason Aaron’s problem with kids? In Schism, the entire bad guy dynamic is focused on four psychopathic little kids with who are as smart as they are violent and sadistic. In this issue of Wolverine, the final story of the Red Right Hand members is a little kid, whose mother was accidentally killed by Wolverine, and afterwards was adopted by the Red Right Hand’s old man leader. This kid’s heart has grown cold after the death of his mother and now all he lives for is to see Wolverine suffer and die. Why all the evil kids running around? When did Marvel become a day care center for Manson Family offspring? The worst part is that “scary” kids are boring and cliché, an easy writer’s trick to try and “shock” people.
Okay, back to the Red Right Hand. So Wolverine knocks down the door to find… all the members of the Red Right Hand have poisoned themselves in order to not give Wolverine the joy of killing them. What? Even the weirdo little kid waits until Wolverine discovers the big reveal, the actual ultra plan of the Red Right Hand, before offing himself. It’s probably the biggest let down and cheapest “check it out I went for clever instead of good” ending in recent memory. I was particularly shocked at the final scene of the Red Right Hand in Hell and the little kid is calling for his mommy as flames encircle him. I wasn’t shocked because it was shocking, but more because it was a cheap horror movie way to inspire a reaction from the audience.
The final insult is the big Red Right Hand plot reveal. Apparently it wasn’t enough to send Wolverine to Hell, they wanted him to suffer, too. I know I haven’t read the Bible in a long time, but isn’t Hell about as bad as it gets? Not for these folks, nope, this bunch of wackadoos apparently found Wolverine’s children and trained them to be the assassins we’ve watched Wolverine battle on his way to the Red Right Hand. When the discovery is made it drives Wolverine loony and, starting in the next issue, he’ll have reverted back to his animal-like state and run off to live in the mountains. That’s Aaron’s whole story, that’s what we waited for. I can’t begin to describe the problems here.
There has been no real mention of a Wolverine Brady Bunch, but now not only are they around, they’re all dead at the hands of their father? Aaron does throw a brief meeting between the Red Right Hand and Daken to try and set up how all these kids were found but it fails to satisfy. So all these kids Wolverine had, were raised to be assassins and attack their dad, and he never knew. The man who can smell a fart in a snowstorm couldn’t sense his own children’s scent? Oh, and now that Wolverine is all feral how exactly does that apply to Schism and the entire new Wolverine And The X-Men series that starts soon? Hmmm, a cool idea with a crappy ending and ideas that screw the continuity of other Marvel books. I guess Aaron got some help from Andy Diggle and Matt Fraction on this one. Even the wonderful art from Renato Guedes can’t save Wolverine #14.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 3/10 (and that’s only out of respect for Guedes)