Review: Wolverine #19

Jason Aaron is getting back to kicking ass on the Canucklehead after some serious bumps in the road.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Wolverine #19

I’m not 100% sure where the solo Wolverine series is headed. In the last several months Logan has gone to Hell, killed his own kids, fought Cyclops, split the X-Men and taken his sect back to the Xavier institute where he’s running the show. The entire Regenesis story idea features Logan prominently so how a solo book of his adventures will work is a mystery to me. I’m guessing the book will just fold into the Regenesis story line, which would be too bad.

Regardless of what happens, the current story arc is pretty kick ass. Wolverine has returned to Chinatown to take out the Jade Claw, a ruthless female drug lord who operates from beneath the surface. Along with him are Kung Fu Master Po, Gorilla-Man and Fat Cobra. In this final issue of the arc, the three heroes are riding inside the stomach of actual dragons in order to surprise the Jade Claw.  After being vomited up by the dragons, the battle goes down and it’s an awesome climax to a great story.

What makes the whole thing work is that Aaron has relaxed on his need to both reinvent a hero and make some statement. His last Wolverine run was boring, badly paced and convoluted. The same overreaching style combined with a lack of a cohesive ending also spoiled Aaron’s run with Schism.  Perhaps he’s best with simple stories, one where the consequences aren’t too great. I get the idea that Aaron feels the need to take what he does to a new level when he’s involved in a bigger project. It’s an admirable trait but often it can allow a writer to throw the baby out with the bath water. Aaron seems to get ahead of himself and often the storyline suffers.

Wolverine #19 is a good old-fashioned violence soaked adventure tale and Aaron nails it perfectly. From the dialog between Gorilla-Man and Wolverine to the nods towards old Kung Fu movies, everything clicks into place perfectly. For a man who has a problem ending his story arcs, Aaron knocks this one out of the park. The preview for next month’s story, featuring the Kingpin, says it begins the biggest arc in Wolverine’s history. Bold words. I don’t know if this arc will fold into the Regenesis stuff or if it will exist outside that continuity. I’m hoping for the latter because those tales seem to play more towards Aaron’s strengths.

The art from Ron Garney is one of the bright spots of Wolverine #19. An issue so centered on action demands an artist who can deliver non-stop motion. Garney’s slight penciling style doesn’t present bold images but they are crisp and they do move. All of the battle kicks alive off the page; even the smallest motions are noticeable. A few of the panels are so well done that you can feel the pain as Fat Cobra or Wolverine pummel someone into hamburger. It’s a great combination of story and artwork. What the future holds for Wolverine is unclear, but for now Jason Aaron has done a great job with a solid story arc.