Wow, Wolverine sure went to hell after Jason Aaron took over the series… literally. In 2010, it was decided to restart Wolverine’s long-running solo series at issue one, and thankfully the folks at Marvel had the good sense not to retell his origins yet again. The whole Weapon X storyline is convoluted enough as it is. Instead, Logan is given a “this is your life” moment, except from a seat in hell. The Wolverine Goes to Hell five-part series definitely had shock value, and that alone brought in a huge amount of sales, but it was the follow-up story, Wolverine Vs. The X-Men, that proved the new take on Wolvie was fresh and exciting.
I know what you’re thinking. Superhero on superhero violence? And Wolverine fighting his fellow X-Men no less? Normally, I’m the first to decry such gimmicky plotlines, but here, the story’s established in an interesting way. In the previous story, the old switcheroo happened: James Howlett’s soul (or Logan or Wolvie or whatever you want to call him) goes to hell, and meanwhile topside a demon possesses his body. Through some grueling fights, he returns to his own body, but finds demons have officially taken up residence. He then has to fight his inner demons while in the real world the possessed Wolverine is going out of his way to make as big a mess of things as possible.
Thank goodness for friends, right? Not exactly. When the X-Men come to stop Wolverine’s rampage, half of the team tries to save him, while the other half are in charge of killing him if they fail. It’s somehow decided that a woman’s touch is necessary, so all the girls go with Emma Frost into Logan’s mind, while the men stay behind to put plans in place to kill Logan for his own best interest. If his possessed body kills innocents, Cyclops knows Logan would rather be dead than live with that on his conscience.
Issue #7 is the highlight of the Wolverine Vs. X-Men arc. In it, Wolverine, while stuck in his head, teams up with past versions of himself to fight the horde of demons. When they aren’t enough, the girls from X-Men come in, including Rogue and Wolverine’s own girlfriend, dressed in samurai and ninja costumes while wielding swords! In the middle of this intense story, writer Jason Aaron finds time to throw in some comic relief, as each of the women can’t help but pry into the hidden recesses of his mind. The funniest moment comes when Emma impulsively peaks into a room of Logan’s lustful fantasies and sees herself there, along with a few other past teammates. Nightcrawler and Phoenix also make cameos, not in the flesh, but rather as memories Logan can’t distance himself from, like Marion Cotilliard’s character in Inception.
My favorite moment in the series came when the guys of the X-Men decided they couldn’t wait any longer and had to prepare to kill Wolverine. To bypass his healing factor, Fantomex (a mysterious member of X-Force) and Dr. Nemesis (supposedly the first mutant) decide to overload his immune system. This involves shooting him in the head with a bullet containing the bubonic plague. Of course, they don’t end up killing their teammate, but I wonder how long it took Wolvie to shake off Black Death.
Side note: what’s the deal with Marvel’s mythos? Stories like Wolverine Goes to Hell point out a weird incongruity–how many Heavens and Hells are there? The one Wolverine goes to isn’t the same as the one ruled by Mephistopheles that Peter Parker and Mary Jane venture into at the start of Brand New Day. Plus, the characters from Thor‘s canon go to very different places when they die as well. Is this a surreal version of religious tolerance, where every contrasting view of the afterlife is considered equally valid?
Quibbles aside, Wolverine Vs. The X-Men was a solid story with noteworthy artwork provided by penciler Daniel Acuna. His work resembles a stylized cartoon more than it does reality, and that’s exactly what I look for in a comic. It fits the story perfectly as well, considering how far detached it is from real life. To see Daniel Acuna’s art on Comic Art Community, click here.
—-Here’s one of the books I’ve written:
Wolverine Vs. The X-Men is available as a graphic novel. Otherwise, collect issues 6-8 of the 2010 series Wolverine.
If you liked this article on Wolverine Vs. The X-Men, check out my review of the entire 2004-2010 series of New Avengers.