Wolverine #62–65 by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
Scalped is one of the best comics being published at the moment (I obviously love it), which means I feel duty-bound to try out other comics written by Aaron. This was another Gosh! sale pack (£3 for four issues), and the combo of Aaron and Garney on a Wolverine story seemed like an intriguing mix.
This uses the classic Wolverine story device of going back into his past and having someone playing a role in his life that was never revealed before but that has an effect on his present. In this case, it reveals how he and Mystique met in 1921 (is Mystique really that old?) and the hijinx that ensued in Kansas; in the present, Logan is going after Mystique because she sold the X-Men out in whatever storyline just happened, but now it’s personal.
The thing that’s really good about this story is the handle Aaron has on Wolverine: he conveys that grimness. The description in issue 63 about what it’s like to get shot by everyone and all the different sorts of guns is just perfect, and the scene in issue 64 where he blows himself up to get to Mystique is another great demonstration of how he gets the character: ‘It hurts like hell being me.’ He also provides a good story and setting to allow Wolverine to be Wolverine, something that all the guest appearances and memberships of other teams has diluted; quite impressive.
Garney does a good job on art: he gets the messy, brutal, raw and ugly side to Wolverine and his art reflects that reality but without losing the atmosphere necessary for superheroic action to work – Garney can also draw spandex well, so he can draw both Logan and Mystique in both situations. He is also a good storyteller, so the plot is easy to follow even though it jumps back and forth between the past and present.
The story is enjoyable and the way it’s told is a blast, but the ending seems to wimp out. I know that Marvel won’t kill Mystique, but it feels like losing out when the build-up has been so strong. I’m also not quite sure why Mystique has to fight Logan while she is naked in the final issue (Garney does well, but it’s not as if a mainstream book can really do nudity), and I find it hard to believe that Mystique is firstly that old and secondly that she can hold her own against Wolverine and his claws. But these are small niggles compared with the good job Aaron does with such an important Marvel property.