As time goes on, it becomes harder and harder to create interesting villains for any long-standing superhero. Add to that one who has been around since the 1800s and it gets even harder. Wolverine has a laundry list of badass villains to choose from but writer Jason Aaron makes a bold move in Wolverine #10 by introducing new villains who are still part of Wolverine’s past. Aaron also manages to open a new chapter in Wolverine’s life, something that’s fairly difficult in the post House Of M world.
Wolverine #10 opens with Logan on the road looking for revenge after killing Mystique for selling him out to the Red Right Hand. I love these kinds of Wolverine stories because it removes the man from the hero. Aaron’s work on this reboot of Wolverine is the closest thing to the original Frank Miller/Chris Claremont four issue series I’ve ever read. Aaron spends his time getting inside the head of Logan, figuring out what drives the beast. By the end of the Wolverine-in-Hell, it was clear that Aaron was going farther into Wolverine’s psyche than anyone else had. When you accomplish something like that, your next step is crucial.
Aaron executes that move perfectly by continuing Wolverine’s quest for revenge in a personal way, even down to him remaining in street clothes. Often when Logan goes on a rampage, he suits up in his X-Men togs. Not here, it’s as if Aaron is saying, “This is a story about Logan, not Wolverine”. The rest of Wolverine #10 plays out as a combination between righteous violence and back-story. We finally come to understand who the Red Right Hand is and why they hate Logan so much. It’s another notch in how good Aaron is because he makes these villains sympathetic. They’re not good people, but they’re reason for hating Logan is sound. This is the kind of layered storytelling all comics should be going for.
Renato Guedes once again steps up to the plate with his pencil work. His use of larger panels per page is a nice change; it gives more room for the action to unfold. He also keeps the backgrounds sparse, forcing us to center on the people and the action within the frame. It’s difficult to walk that line, often when artists lack backgrounds their work is boring. Guedes instead fills the forefront so the backgrounds became more or less the canvas. I also love the way he draws Wolverine, it’s a modern style with a nice nod to the old school.
Jason Aaron continues to prove that he’s cut from a different cloth and in no place more so than Wolverine. He’s dug new things out of an iconic and aged character and made us remember why we all love Logan in the first place. Wolverine #10 is another step in Aaron’s push to show that behind the costume, the berserker rage and the claws is a complex man with an honor code and life view all his own. Aaron welcomes us into that world but never, ever, sugar coats it.