Review by Frank Plowright
Jason’s Starr’s run on the Wolverine who’s allowed to swear under the Max imprint concludes here with Vegas, beginning with Logan earning some money cage fighting on the city outskirts. His memory still has considerable gaps, but instinctive combat skills are more than enough. As seen in Escape to L.A., Wolverine’s been guided to Las Vegas by a note claiming he’ll find what he needs. That, however, seems to be a trap as he falls under the influence of a hypnotist with her own agenda.
It’s important to realise this isn’t the regular Marvel universe Wolverine, which isn’t exactly underlined until late on here. Much of Starr’s run concerns a conflicted Wolverine unable to trust his own memories. There’s been a history of that, but it’s not what Starr exploits, looking at more recent amnesia, and people taking advantage of that by lying to Wolverine. The confusion is generally well handled without ever seeming to be an obvious convenience to the writer, and it leads to an exceptionally gruesome moment that finally makes use of what’s possible under the Max imprint beyond swearing and naked people. It’s almost stomach-turning, as artist Felix Ruiz spares readers nothing, but it’s also a genuinely surprising piece of plotting that needs to be shown as it is to supply the power.
Ruiz draws most of Vegas, his grainy style well suited to the downbeat, sleazy mood. Guillermo Mogorron pitches in for a sequence matching the look, but Roland Boschi on the penultimate chapter works in a far tighter style. There’s nothing wrong with his pages, which are detailed and tell the story, but Ruiz is king when it comes to the atmosphere.
Ultimately despite the shocking moment halfway through, Vegas disappoints. Answers to everything are supplied, but in what turns out to be a run of the mill noir gangster story, and Starr makes the mistake of trying to disguise that with another shock to end. It’s again explicit, but as the solution to Wolverine’s problems, what’s been built up to throughout three books, it’s plain silly. It seals an overall feeling of the occasional moment promising something more than ordinary, but that raise never being sustained.