Wolverine #1-5 – Wolverine Goes to Hell
Jason Aaron is back helming the title book of a character he does very well. I’ve mentioned before that I adored his work on the Get Mystique arc years ago, so I was looking forward to this with anticipation as well as anxiety. Wolverine is a very saturated character, let’s face it, and the books that revolve solely around him have been struggling as of late. I was hoping that Aaron would be able to set the record straight and put Wolverine back on a good path where he belongs.
The Hell arc begins with a soul-searching conversation between Wolverine and his old buddy Kestral, from Weapon X. It’s a bit stretched out and preachy, but fitting of course since Wolverine is about to lose the very thing he is searching for. Skip ahead to days later and there is a murder, and it doesn’t take long for Kestral to discover it’s Logan, only in demon form. Meanwhile, Logan’s girlfriend is attacked in her office by a rag-tag looking group of mysterious killers later dubbed The Red Right Hand. She is saved by Mystique, who then more or less spills the beans on what the heck is going on concerning Logan’s soul and body.
It’s quite an opening issue for certain, having this entire calamity going on, but at the end of the day we are given the problem: Logan is now in hell, and the would-be saviours are his girlfriend and Mystique, so far; the second issue introduces three more people who are interested in liberating Logan’s soul and let’s just say they are more commonly suited to the task than that of Mystique (hint: it’s not Doctor Strange).
From issue 2 forward, the comic really becomes more of the same: Wolverine being tortured in hell paralleled alongside his ruminations about salvation and redemption and how he does or doesn’t deserve it. Throughout the arc there are classic appearances from Wolverine’s past, all used in an effort to ‘break’ him (which we know will never happen), and some of these characters are used very well. But eventually it just begins to border on excessive melodrama.
When the blood dries and the spiritual dust settles, Logan emerges from Hell alive and with his soul. That’s not a spoiler, you knew that would happen. What we don’t find out is who exactly the Red Right Hand is, and really, we don’t even discover how they played a part in all of this or why. Apparently everything seems to be going according to their plan, though, because they are still around at the climax and will seemingly have a part to play in the next arc: Wolverine vs. The X-Men.
Overall the arc wasn’t nearly as good as some of the stuff Aaron has done with Wolverine before, but it was a worthwhile read if you enjoy the character and his mythos. It felt like a self-contained story that didn’t seem to set up much other than the Red Right Hand, but perhaps we will get to see this organization in a better light in the coming arc.