Editor's Note: Wolverine #65 arrives in stores tomorrow, May 14.
Rob Garney pencils and inks Mystique's slender body in the foreground (keeping her oh-so naughty bits in the dark), interposing her against the five other panels on the page. Although Wolverine is interposed at the center, even stepping on a panel of his own gritting face, Mystique takes center stage. She has played many roles in this four-issue arc: the trickster, the femme fatale, and cold-blooded killer.
But Garney's depiction of her on page 15, naked but confident, striding nimble predator around her prey, exemplifies her modus operandi: charm. The ability to shape shift, to look like your enemy or one of his loved ones, is empty without the ability to disarm your target, to swagger them whatever which way you choose. And Mystique has used this ability throughout the arc to escape Wolverine and death, to get a military envoy, and now a cache of weapons to blow the clawed Canadian sky high.
There's a lot to comment upon in this Wolverine story arc, but Garney's incredible storytelling and dynamic layout steals the show this issue. Garney has shown Mystique to be visually alluring and frightening. She looks like a supermodel (Rebecca Romijn? Nah), but her bright yellow eyes impart her sinister intentions. She struts completely nude around Logan on page 15, weaponless against a man who never is without one. Garney focuses on her pouting lips and the curves of her body, but shades the remainder to effectively evoke the sinister quality of her sexuality. Although she uses it to distract Logan at first, on this page she uses it to draw him to her, whereby she'll be close enough to shoot him. You'll have to pick up the issue to see where she's hiding the gun!
Now, on this same page, Garney lays out the panels with a great pacing of character beats (an representative action by a character that impels the larger narrative and character arc forward). The first panel is laid out beneath a column of four panels, which is above a long panel. The figures in panel 1, Mystique and Wolverine, are interposed on the entire page, stepping on panels of themselves. As the interposed Mystique in panel 1 circles her prey (who is ready to stab her), panels 2 and 3 reveal how blind-sighted Wolverine has become after three issues and fifteen pages of building anger. In panel 2, Mystique's eyes are narrow and aloof. In panel 3, Wolverine's eyes are opened wide and his pupils beady, connoting the vitriol spilling over inside him. Panels 4 and 5 reveal Mystique's hidden weapon and Wolverine's guilt over what she is saying to him, respectively. This column of panels juxtaposed to the interposed figures creates a succinct narrative moment where the characters, after issues of chasing each other, finally stand off against each other for the last time, but with enough room left on the page for one figure to fly at the other (panel 6).
Will this be the end for Mystique? We shall see, but it's the end of Jason Aaron and Rob Garney's "Get Mystique" story arc, which has been the best Wolverine solo story I've read so far. I hope the creative team comes back for another beat down.
Final Word: BUY IT!
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