I don’t know if it’s the fact that writer Jason Aaron is weighed down writing the big Schism epic for X-Men, but his run on Wolverine is really starting to lose steam. What started out as a near classic Wolverine storyline is dragging on to a point of collapsing under it’s own weight. Originally, the Red Right Hand seemed like a really great way to combine Wolverine’s taste for revenge with his need to the exorcise his demons. Made up of people that Wolverine has killed, the whole point of The Red Right Hand was to see justice, however twisted and disturbed, done for the members' losses. It worked because Wolverine had out and out killed people close to members of The Red Right Hand. In many instances he was justified, but you could still see their reasoning – again, however twisted.
Wolverine #12 hits a brick wall for two reasons. The first is that story seems really thin. Unlike the other members of the Red Right Hand, who Wolverine had an active part in killing, the member focused on, named Roger, has no solid reason for hating him. With his wife in labor, Roger is rushing her to the nearest hospital when a rampaging Hulk forces the two off the road. Their out of control truck accidentally hits Wolverine and, as a result of collision, Roger’s wife and unborn child die. I could understand Roger hating The Hulk, but Wolverine? It just doesn’t come across well and neither does Roger’s breakdown. At one point he pays a homeless man to dress up like Wolverine and then beats him to death. It would’ve been a powerful example of Roger’s hatred if Wolverine really had killed his wife and unborn child, but here it just seems like flashy and violent plot device.
Aaron tries to throw in some weird looking demons to give the story more gravitas but it doesn’t really work. Roger’s entire arc seems like a big waste of time. The second reason Wolverine #12 falls flat is this endless battle Wolverine is involved in. At first it was very cool, a nice nod to the end of Bruce Lee’s Game Of Death, as Wolverine got closer to the Red Right Hand by fighting various hired killers out to stop him. Now the repetitiveness has really set in because Wolverine hasn’t gained any ground or learned anything. When issue #12 ends with Wolverine once again defeating a killer and then just moving on, it gives the entire series a strong “get on with it” vibe. I’m guessing with the big talking snake and demons that there will be a tie in to Wolverine’s trip to hell. Whatever Jason Aaron has up his sleeve, he needs to finish up and move on.
Once again the real star here is Renato Guedes and his incredible pencil work. I love the way Guedes draws Wolverine, especially his nod to the old school with Wolverine’s hair. His ability with human faces, the thin lines that give definition to each face is really what saves the day. As unfulfilling as Roger’s story is, the scene where he loses his wife is absolutely devastating, largely due to Guedes art. I’m not giving up on the Wolverine series, and I still think Jason Aaron does great work, I’d just hate to see something as great as the Red Right Hand fall victim to being dragged out so long that nobody cares.
CRAVEONLINE RATING: 6.5/10