Wolverine #300, the giant-sized anniversary issue of everyone’s favorite claw wielding mutant, is an interesting blend of what writer Jason Aaron could be doing and what he is doing. Thankfully, issue 300 isn’t a collection of several stories with different writers and artists, since those never seem to work out well. Instead, Jason Aaron expands his latest story arc, one he claims will be a milestone in the history of Wolverine. It involves multiple story lines and that’s where Jason Aaron runs into trouble.
Let’s start with the positive. The opening to this issue is one of the best of the last few years. Logan is on a plane to Japan to try and figure out who might be attempting to incite a war between the Hand and the Yakuza. In mid-flight, a cranky Wolverine hits the restroom because he smells a problem. It turns out every passenger is a ninja looking to slice and dice our hero. The final shot of Wolverine covered in blood walking away while behind him dead bodies litter the plane is the stuff that makes Wolverine great. When Aaron hits, he hits hard. The problem is he can’t seem to get out of his own way.
All the elements of issue 300 are solid, but there are too many of them. It’s not to say multiple storylines are bad or that complex plots have no place in comic books, but they need to be controlled. The problem here is everything falls apart by the end. The main story is trying to find out who the offspring of the recently deceased Silver Samurai is. Getting to that point, we’re thrown a paralyzed friend of Wolverine’s under attack from the Yakuza, a sister team of hi-tech thieves, a man trying to enlist an old samurai and then a final battle. There’s also the lamest part of this entire storyline, the return of Sabretooth.
The Sabretooth problem has a lot in common with what’s happening on Aaron’s current run of The Incredible Hulk. Sabretooth’s return, much like the Banner/Hulk split, has happened out of the blue. There’s no rhyme or reason for it and Aaron’s story isn’t compelling enough to ignore that gaping hole. To put it another way, only two issues in and the who, what, where and why of Sabretooth’s return is overshadowing whatever it is Aaron is trying to do here. Combine that with the scattered storylines and the solid elements of issue #300 devolve into a mess. I might say that Aaron will work it all out by the end of the arc but his track record with endings is not the best.
The multiple pencilers involved, mainly because the art is so up and down doesn’t help Wolverine #300. Adam Kubert, Ron Garney, and Steve Sanders are part of an all star team laying down the visuals for the story. The work from all the artists is solid but some outshines others. With the work so close together, the difference in quality can be jarring and tends to take you right out of the story. It’s hard enough to follow what’s going on with Wolverine #300 without the scenes switching so drastically.
While not the travesty that The Incredible Hulk is, Wolverine #300 isn’t really a fitting anniversary issue for the iconic character.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 7/10 (3 Story, 4 Art)