Editor's Note: Wolverine #62 arrives in stores tomorrow, February 13.
Plot: Somebody betrayed the X-Men into the hands of their enemies during "Messiah Complex" and boy, are they gonna get it. Even if Wolverine has to track them across the world.
Commentary: I was both hopeful and apprehensive at the same time about picking up this issue. I donít think Wolverine has been handled well at all at Marvel post Origin. To me, that was the "Last Good Wolverine Story." It was soon followed up by the same writer in "Wolverine: The End." The first of a long line of really god-awful Wolverine tales culminating last year with Jeph Loeb's travesty regarding the supposed origin of all feral mutants and the horribly executed death of Sabretooth. I stopped picking up Wolverine's solo book long ago and dropped Wolverine: Origins after the first three issues. It seemed no one really wanted to write a good Wolverine story but only to chug out tons of product with Wolverine's name on it because since his inception he's been a cash cow. Frankly, I became disgusted with the character. Things got wilder and wilder in regards to how much he could actually take, what could really kill him and how much he could really heal from. This has gone on to the point of making a mockery of the character.
So, with all those feelings about the current status quo of Wolverine I picked up "Messiah Complex" which I really enjoyed. What I liked most about it was how Brubaker, Carey, David, Kyle and Yost gave the X-Men characters their personalities back after having been warped to the point of being unrecognizable over the last decade or so. They've caught on to everything long time fans have loved about the X-Men and set them up for the future without drastic physical or mental changes to the characters just for the sake of change. The X-Men's world has changed, and Wolverine is free to do what he does best: protect, hunt and execute. Cyclops is probably the character that "Messiah Complex" changed the most but still those changes seem very organic and logical considering the state of mutants in the world now. With this issue and X-Force it has been established that Wolverine and Cyclops will protect the future of mutant-kind no matter what it takes. Both feel that includes being proactive and eliminating your enemies before they eliminate you. It's a dog eat dog, kill or be killed mutant world now.
Their first target is a major betrayer from the "Messiah Complex" storyline who opened the door to Sinister and his Marauders and made possible much of the destruction that ensued all to that person's own ends. I wonít reveal which character it is, but Aaron and Garney make good use of said character and said character acts as a great foil to contrast Wolverine and his motives. This character is just willing to go that much further into darkness than Wolverine to reach their goals. There are a couple of "I canít believe they did that!" scenes, but they show the ruthlessness of Wolverine's quarry perfectly. The person he pursues has been written with restraint and just wrong for a long time. "Messiah Complex" and this story are returning the character to the terrorist devoid of conscience that they used to be. There are some great feints and cat and mouse action going on in this opening chapter as Wolverine pursues his target to the the Middle East and is outwitted at every turn. As far as I know Aaron is new to the X-Men world but not to gritty, hard-bolied action. He handles these characters deftly, as if he has known them for awhile. The Middle East is a great location for these confrontations as it presents a background of violence and lawlessness where the two combatants need not show restraint.
I must admit I am slightly concerned that we get yet another flashback to Logan's past (this time to 1920s Mexico) in this issue trying to connect him more tightly to the one he's pursuing. Must Marvel constantly do this? It seems most of Logan's antagonists are at least as old as he is these days. If you'll excuse the expression, it's a bit old now! Garney is a hit or miss artist for me. Thankfully here he's inking his own pencils, and I have to say he does a darn good job telling this story from the stark sands of Mexico to the starker sands of the Middle East. The violence and action are also depicted well. Garney's art here reminds me of his run on Captain America from about 10 years ago. I think that's the last time I appreciated what he was doing. I hope Marvel keeps him on this book until the story's end. He's started out strong and a switch in artists would be distracting and disappointing at this point.
Final Word: Add Jason Aaron to the list of X-writers returning these characters to what they do best as individuals and ensembles. Garney's artwork serves the story well depicting world hopping action and stark violence in clean story-telling style.
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