Review by Ian Keogh
After the shudderingly gruesome horror of Insane in the Brain, this begins more chreeerfully with Wolverine and Captain America touring bars to celebrate the latter’s return from the dead. However, their reminiscing is contrasted by the cyborg Deathlok murdering people on a list. When created in the 1970s Deathlok was a considerable departure for Marvel as his world was a dystopian future, and Jason Aaron’s plot is Deathlok sent back from that future with a list of key targets to kill. The final name is someone revered in the present day, and after that teaser the action switches to the future.
Aaron had to be careful here, what with one of the most admired X-Men stories of all time concerning a grim future and the one final hope being someone sent to the past to prevent it coming about. He has a clever twist on that, not least with multiple Deathloks being sent back to the past, which gives Wolverine a greater challenge.
The result is a satisfying action thriller with some mysteries about it, not least the identity of the person organising the rebellion in the future, all engagingly drawn by Ron Garney in his effortless cinematic style maximising the action scenes. At times the layouts resemble John Romita Jr, which is no bad thing.
What begins small gradually grows to encompass a fair amount of guest stars as the threat is severe enough to warrant their presence, although some might feel Wolverine is reduced to a bit player. We also see what happens to a few of them 22 years into the future, with Spider-Man providing a funny running commentary on the recurring nature of the future being appalling. Aaron’s good with his dialogue, but the interactions with a few others aren’t as polished, and the squabbles Winter Soldier was having with Wolverine at the time don’t read well years later. He also oversells the evil corporation run by soulless husks chasing power and profit, but there’s a clever twist regarding the Deathloks that trumps minor quibbles.
The book closes with a standalone chapter as Wolverine contemplates his friendship with the recently killed Nightcrawler, while carrying out a ridiculously impossible task, almost Aaron’s version of Fitzcarraldo. It might just about have been pulled off with a better artist, but Davide Gianfelice kills any mood with stylised people and lack of backgrounds unless absolutely necessary.
Over three volumes, Aaron has more than proved he writes a good Wolverine, and this is also found in the second volume of Wolverine by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection. Some aspects introduced here haven’t really been greatly explored during this Weapon X series, but he takes those forward into later Wolverine solo material.