Tag Archives: Ron Garney

Review: Wolverine #304 – Jason Aaron’s Final Issue

Wolverine #304
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Steve Dillon, Ron Garney, Paul Pelletier with Dave Meikis, Mike Perkins, Jefte Palo, Daniel Acuña, Steven Sanders, and Renato Guedes
Color Art:  Matthew Wilson, Matt Milla, Rain Beredo, Andy Troy, and Chris Sotomayor

Jason Aaron goes out with a bang on his final Wolverine solo issue, finding a way to feature just about every character from his run and then some.

As the newly appointed secret assassin lord of the entire eastern hemisphere, Sabretooth takes it upon himself to throw a party featuring a who’s who of Wolverine antagonists.  Among the attendees are Mystique, Daken, Lord and Lady Deathstrike, Silver Samurai, Sauron, Tiger Shark, Blob, Soulstriker, Jade Claw, and the Hellfire Club’s new White Queen.  Dr. Rot is also shown being turned away by security at one point.

Naturally, Wolverine has caught wind of the party.  I guess super villains don’t have these sorts of gatherings without leaking word to whoever it is they want to kill, you know?  Anyhow, Wolverine contacts Maverick, who is in a much lower place than we last saw him, for more information.

This is just the first of several scenes we get that tie up loose ends and plant new plot threads.  While Dr. Rot’s appearance was a tease for an upcoming Wolverine story, several of these cameos could carry over into Wolverine and the X-Men, which Aaron is still writing.  We see Kade Kilgore, the pint-sized Hellfire Club Black King, arriving on a deserted island and shooting Blackwater’s disgraced CEO before hiring two of the three remaining Blackwater “Adamantium Men” as his bodyguards.  The remaining Buzzard Brother is shown eating a freshly-killed wolverine in the Canadian Wilderness, clippings about Wolverine and the Jean Grey School pinned to the walls around him.  Wolverine’s murdered children are shown in Hell with his father, and ex-girlfriend Melita Garner is given a new status quo.  There’s even a joke thrown in about furries for good measure during a scene with Logan’s on-again/off-again ninja girlfriend and his adopted daughter.

Then, there’s the inevitable brawl that happens when Wolverine shows up at Sabretooth’s party.  I hate to feel like I’m spoiling anything (and I may already have done so), but there’s a catch here involving an old Sabretooth tradition.

Aaron ends his acclaimed run the way any long-term gig on a book like this should be wrapped up–tying up loose ends and leaving good openings for future stories, whether they be by incoming writer Cullen Bunn or carried over to Wolverine and the X-Men.

Just about every artist who worked with Aaron during the last few years worked on Wolverine #304, as well.  The result is an issue where every other page has a different style.  It isn’t as jarring as it sounds, but there are moments where the transition pulls you out of the story briefly.

Regardless, this is fun, fast-paced, gritty, and a great jumping-on point for new readers (it even has a checklist for anyone wanting to get caught up on Aaron’s run), as well as a nice cap to the last few years of Wolverine solo stories.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  7/10 (This is due to a couple of jarring transitions.)

 

REVIEW: Wolverine #300, or is that Wolverine #3000? Dude’s EVERYWHERE.

Wolverine #300
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Adam Kubert & Paul Mounts [Chapters 1, 4 & 7], Ron Garney & Jason Keith [Chapters 2 & 5], Steve Sanders & Sotocolors [Chapters 3 & 6]

Wolverine #300 doesn’t just mark the return of the series to its original numbering (assuming that’s how Marvel worked this out), it also marks the beginning of Jason Aaron’s final story arc on the book — Wolverine’s return to Japan.

Last issue (Wolverine #20), the stage was set for a war between the Yakuza and the Hand as a result of the Silver Samurai’s death way back in the “Wolverine Goes to Hell” storyline that began in the first issue of this volume of Wolverine.  Wolverine’s well-known for being an X-Man and an Avenger, but his history as a samurai (he’s like 200 years old, you know?) is something that some fans may not be up to speed on.  This super-sized issue, and the story arc in general, seem to be a great primer on that so far.  It features his Japanese love interest, his adopted Japanese daughter, the aforementioned Japanese mafia and ninjas, and the son of the Silver Samurai.

Oh, and Sabretooth is back from the dead.  How this happened has yet to be explained, but if the teasers for next issue (and 2012 in general) are any indication, there will be answers soon.

Overall, this is exactly the kind of story fans of the Ol’ Canucklehead have come to know and love.  It strikes the right balance of ultra-violence and pulp fun — see the in-flight fight between Wolverine and a plane full of ninjas in the opening pages, or Sabretooth with a jetpack, for example — rounded out with smart dialogue and solid writing.  There are really only two or three spots in the book where the story seems to jump around inexplicably (when the Yakuza approach Sabretooth in the Japanese brothel, and when Wolverine and Sabretooth are suddenly in the Hand temple after being in an underground tunnel), but considering the amount of action condensed into this issue, it’s somewhat forgivable.  Although, I did find myself checking to see if my copy was missing pages like a recent issue of Secret Avengers I purchased…

The art remains solid throughout, as well, which is surprising given the three art teams that worked on this issue.  I didn’t even realize three teams of artists worked on this issue until I looked at the credits again afterwords.  It’s almost that seamless, although the Steve Sanders and Sotocolors chapters are noticeably more polished than the others.

Like the main story, the back-up story — which presumably teases the upcoming “Sabretooth Reborn” story by Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi — also left me wanting to see what happens next.

Overall, a solid 300th issue — if it really is the actual issue 300.

STORY: 8.5/10
ART: 8.5/10 

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Review: Wolverine #19

Wolverine #19
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney, Jason Keith (Colors)

So last issue, Wolverine (who has been moonlighting as the Black Dragon) and Gorilla Man were joined by the Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra in their underground adventure to get Wolverine’s money back.  If you remember way back to two issues ago, they ended up underground after Kung Fu Master Po informed Wolverine of an underground (deep underground) drug smuggling ring, operated by Jade Claw, that was using dragons to traffic opium.

Are you still with me?

It’s a lot to take in, and it’s hard to wrap your head around at times, so maybe you should just leave your head at the door for this one if you didn’t figure out in issue 17 that this arc requires that.

Anyhow, at the end of the last issue, the odd trio were pulling a Trojan Horse move by sneaking their way into the Jade Claw’s underground compound in the bellies of dragons.  Wolverine #19 begins with the trio emerging from beneath the ground in front of a bar, carried by a dragon, with Wolverine’s money.  The rest of the issue is a flashback of the story’s resolution.

To sum it all up, there’s more fun dialogue interplay between Wolverine, Gorilla Man and Fat Cobra, and Wolverine’s journalist girlfriend Melita Garner gets a job at New York’s finest newspaper.  Oh, and one of the D-list villains from last issue (whose name I’ve already forgotten…Soul Striker or something, right?) lets things get out of hand.

This arc was a fun read overall, but I prefer a little less cartoonishness in subject matter with Wolverine.  When things get a little too supernatural/magical, like this arc and last year’s “Wolverine Goes to Hell,” things start to wear on me a little bit — although “Goes to Hell” did have a rewarding payoff.  By comparison, this arc is lighthearted filler.

To be fair, though, Aaron has had a lot on his plate with the stellar X-Men: Schism event book this past summer and the new Wolverine and the X-Men ongoing series launching last month.  This story basically served as a transition to Logan’s return to New York, and the upcoming arc involving Kingpin and the Hand seems promising.

STORY: 7/10
ART:   8/10

Review: Wolverine #18

Wolverine #18
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney
Color Art:  Jason Keith

Wolverine’s impromptu team-up with Gorilla Man last issue ended with the two, along with Wolverine’s kung fu master and some kid who made me think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in a series of caves deep below San Francisco’s Chinatown where the Jade Claw is using dragons to mule drugs.

That’s a lot to wrap your head around.

This issue opens with a battle royale involving the villains Razorfist, Soul Striker, Darkstrider and Rock of the Buddha.  Wait…Who?  I’m not exactly sure who any of these guys are, save for maybe Razorfist, who I seem to remember being killed by Logan in last year’s X-Force: Sex & Violence limited series.  Regardless, it’s mentioned that he was killed by Wolverine before…just not killed well enough.

Anyhow, the dragons eventually become involved, and Wolverine and Gorilla Man end up tied between two of them as Soul Striker (these villain names are killing me) recites a villainous monologue before knocking the old kung fu master into a pit and taking the kid away to serve in Jade Claw’s underground poppy fields.

This leads to another villainous monologue later in the issue where Jade Claw explains to the kid that she plans on ruling the world from below ground by controlling the drug trade above ground.  Jason Aaron does a lot to establish Jade Claw’s villainy, but so much of it is ridiculous and over-the-top that it’s hard to swallow.  (Her least expensive bra costs enough to feed an entire family and she has her feet washed in the still-warm blood of women who fancied themselves more beautiful?  This is b-movie grade cheese.)

As a matter of fact, that combined with the banter between Logan and Gorilla Man (and later Fat Cobra, a sumo-ish guy from the Immortal Weapons who randomly shows up this issue) makes this story arc the comic book equivalent of a comedic kung-fu buddy cop b-movie.

I’m not used to having this much humor in Wolverine, but Aaron pulls it off nicely.  I’d be interested in seeing him write Spider-Man at some point, perhaps in a limited series.  The art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith matches the tone of the story, as well.  It’s somewhat gritty, but bright and stylized.  Overall, this arc has been a fun ride so far and  a nice change of pace from the typical Wolverine fare.

Story:  7.5/10
Art:  8.5/10 

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Wolverine #19 – 3 page preview

Marvel Comics released a three page preview of Wolverine #19.

This is the post-Schism era of Wolverine. What have you like about Jason Aaron’s take on Wolverine?

Someone has Wolverine’s money and he’s determined to get it back in your first look At Wolverine #19! From the fan favorite creative team of Jason Aaron and Ron Garney, X-Men Regenesis continues deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown as Logan finds himself paired up with Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra and Gorilla Man. Except when the three have to go up against the world’s newest and most powerful drug dealer…what’s waiting for them at the gates of his underground stronghold is not at all what they expected. Want to know what Wolverine and crew are up against and if they’ll all make it out alive? Find out this December in Wolverine #19! – Marvel Comics

Follow Matthew Sardo on Twitter! @comicvault

Review: Wolverine #17

Wolverine #17
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney & Jason Keith

Jason Aaron’s run thus far on the relaunched Wolverine has been nothing short of what fans of the Marvel Universe’s favorite clawed berserker want.  It gives them all the claw popping ultra-violence the character’s solo series have become known for without sacrificing a more fleshed-out approach to Logan’s personality.  After all, Wolverine is not a cold-blooded killer so much as a failed samurai, or a man with a noble idea of who he wants to be and yet doesn’t realize he is already that person.

From the stories that began in Aaron’s earlier book, Wolverine: Weapon X, to today’s Wolverine #17, everything has felt streamlined and there has been a great balance between fast-paced, energetic storytelling and deeper exposition.

Having just returned from his isolation following what happened at the hands of the Red Right Hand over the course of the first dozen or so issues, Wolverine finds himself at a crossroad at the beginning of this story.  If you’ve kept up with the events in the wider X-Men universe, there was a falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops during the Schism event.  Logan, feeling it wasn’t right that Scott expected the children on the X-roster to become warriors, ultimately decided to return to Westchester, New York to restart Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (which, if you haven’t been keeping up, was destroyed during the “Messiah CompleX” crossover a few years ago).

Before he can leave San Francisco, however, Logan has a few loose ends to tie up — like letting his reporter girlfriend know that he’s leaving and ending his masquerade as Chinatown’s kingpin the Black Dragon.  Upon visiting Kung Fu Master Po’s dojo, however, he discovers the money he had stashed in a safe there has been stolen by a gang involved in a Chinatown drug war.  This is the money Logan planned to rebuild the school with.  (Yes, he has that kind of money.  He’s been around for like 200 years, you know?)

Needless to say, he’s pissed.

The pace of the issue is rather fast, feeling much shorter than it actually is.  It sets up a team-up with Gorilla Man, including some fun back-and-forth banter (not just with Gorilla Man, but with Po, as well), and introduces some elements of Chinese mysticism.  Ron Garney and Jason Keith’s art continues to fit the tone of the book well, whether Logan is slicing and dicing his way through a hail of gunfire or having a heart-to-heart with Melita.

That said, I’m not really sure how I feel about mythical elements and Wolverine being together.  I’ll be honest and admit it took me a few issues to wrap my head around “Wolverine Goes to Hell” last year.  This is only part one of the story arc, and a fun read regardless, so I’m willing to further suspend my disbelief to include those elements for the time being.

Story:  7/10
Art:  9/10 

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Review: X-Men Schism #5

  X-Men: Schism #5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Adam Kubert

The end has finally arrived!

Jason Aaron you have successfully, hands down and without a doubt written a brawl between Scott and Logan that’s never been recorded in history. Was the merit of the fight a bit childish? Sure! But, did it make for a great story? Why, yes it did.

Going into Schism, I was not quite expecting the story that was delivered. Sure, I was a bit mislead by the mini series “Prelude to Schism”, where it was depicted as if all the X-Men were on Utopia awaiting some coming onslaught, of what is assumed to be sentinels, to reign doom upon their heads and that there was little hope for survival. Which also, I might add, Wolverine and Cyclops were at the height of their friendship by mini series end. But I don’t blame Mr. Aaron for that; I blame Marvel for taking advantage of the hype surrounding Schism as a whole. But, either way, the mini series did contain some great characterization and we got to hear the voice of Professor X, as he’s been oddly absent for months.

Well, lets go back to the fight! Ohh, the fight. With the way Schism number four ended, at the beginning of this brutal battle, I was sure that issue five would conclude with: Cyclops taking Wolverine’s right hand and Logan  cutting out Cyclops’ left eye; thus bringing upon “The Age of Apocalypse”!?! Though that didn’t quite happen, Jason Aaron did not disappoint. I mean, take a look at the so conveniently placed image to your right. And that’s the first panel of page one!

But let it be known that this issue was not just one big brawl, it actually had a lot of character work throughout the X-Men members. And you better bet that Sentinel that was inching it’s way to Utopia surely went down with a bang. Adam Kubert is great at framing action scenes, which built momentum. Though his art this issue seemed a bit rushed. Some panels I could’ve sworn were artist Ron Garney, which has a sketch style where Adam has defined lines. I had high expectations for each artist due to the fact that they only had to contribute one issue. So, I was hoping for the best. But ultimately, Adam Kubert’s art was good and most importantly he caught all the emotional tension on panel.

Now I’d like to nit-pick here, for the reasoning behind this fight hasn’t quite mad sense to me. I’ll be getting a little spoil-ery here, only making reference to what Marvel has already released online, and previous “Schism” issues. First, why does Wolverine want to blow up Utopia? Does he not remember that Emma, Magneto and company are incapacitated within the island? Or, that there is a whole Atlantean civilization beneath the shores suspending Utopia? Apparently he doesn’t much care for the livelihood of those Atlantean kids. Which brings me to how Wolverine finds himself on this moral high ground to open a school for youngsters after all is said and done? Is this not a cold blooded killer of men we are talking about? One who can’t go six issues, within any of his various comics, without falling into some rage or mind control. Sure, he’s had young side kicks in the past, but all he’s ever done is brought them in harms way. So, i guess my question being, why was it that Wolverine was chosen to provoke this “schism”? I feel if it had been Iceman, one of the original X-Men alongside Cyclops, had made the stand instead of Wolverine, then there would have been a large emotional weight and it would’ve just settled better in my stomach.

But nonetheless, Jason Aaron wove a fantastic tale, and even created a re-imagined and memorable incarnation of one of the X-Men’s greatest foes, the Hellfire Club. I’m excited to see how this group further antagonizes our mutants within upcoming title, “Wolverine and the X-Men”. Which will be written by Jason Aaron and I am ecstatic that he will be taking on an X-Men team going into “Re-genesis”.  The future is looking bright for our merry mutants, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Story: 9/10
Art:     8/10

Also, highly recommended this week:

X-23 #15 MARVEL
Animal Man #2 DC COMICS
Swamp Thing #2 DC COMICS – Reviewed by: Mike DeVivo. Check it out@ http://www.chicagocomicvault.com/2011/10/review-swamp-thing-2-animal-man-2/