Review by Ian Keogh
This second selection of Jason Aaron’s work on Wolverine improves on the first by virtue of there being no filler present. Some of what’s here is stomach-turning, but the foundation throughout is interesting ideas and a commitment to exploring different facets of Wolverine’s personality.
For starters Aaron’s extremely well served on art. Anyone familiar with his later Thor work with Esad Ribic will marvel at the admirable action pages here, while Ron Garney seems Aaron’s artistic collaborator of choice. He’s under-rated, with a great action style that takes in character as well. An example? The faces of the Deathloks on the sample art are all different. Detail signifies Yanick Paquette’s pages, which crawl with it both with regard to the haunted people and their surroundings. His is a disturbing horror story very well sold. C.P. Smith concentrates more on single images than storytelling, but it works out okay as Aaron runs through Wolverine’s love life. Unfortunately David Gianfelice’s stylised figures-only art sinks the recollections about Nightcrawler.
Of the shorter material the best is a teaming with Fantomex and a constantly ridiculed and so outraged Noh-Varr. It’s a conceptually dense package of a type not usually associated with Aaron, and Ribic’s art is great. Jock on a sort of sequel to the Mystique story in Vol. 1 uses too many lines, which distort his figures, and there’s little Wolverine in a meeting between Mystique and Norman Osborn.
The two longer stories originally appeared in paperback as Insane in the Brain and Tomorrow Dies Today, and they’re poles apart. It’s the first featuring the stomach-turning material, drawn so graphically by Paquette it earns the collection an adult rating. It’s a clever character piece of Wolverine lacking his memory in an asylum where the lunatics have taken over. He, and everyone else, is being tortured by sadistic insane genius Doctor Rotwell, and there’s a logical explanation for Wolverine’s timidity, but the shockingly gruesome nature is only for the strong of stomach. Unfortunately the logic isn’t quite sustained until the end, in which the gore takes over.
Multiple Deathloks sent back from the future to eliminate people in 2010 escalates into a guest star fest in which Wolverine becomes a little lost in places, but it’s well plotted, action-packed and twists around well.
Despite the horrific aspects, this is a better collection than the first, and Vol. 3 continues the upward quality curve.