I bought these comics on eBay a month or so ago because they are written by Jason ‘Scalped’ Aaron. ‘Road to Hell’ and Wolverine 1 to 5 contain the ‘Wolverine Goes to Hell’ storyline and #6 contains the first part of ‘Wolverine vs. the X-Men’, which is pretty much a continuation of ‘Wolverine Goes to Hell’ but with a new artist and a different story title. I wasn’t expecting too much from these comics, I don’t think, but I thought they might be fun, at least. In the end, though, I didn’t really enjoy them at all. Part of this was probably down to my fundamental dislike of the Wolverine character, who always seems like a bit of a prick to me, and part of this was probably down to my lack of familiarity with what is going on in the X-Men titles these days – I started to lose interest in the X-Men the day Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s run on the title ended in the early 1980s, finally stopped buying the Uncanny X-Men in about 1988, and have read very few X-Men comics since then – but mainly I didn’t enjoy these because they were pretty bad comics.
In ‘Wolverine Goes to Hell’, Wolverine’s soul is literally sent to Hell while his body, possessed by a demon, wanders around the Earth killing lots of people. The bits of the story set on Earth, where two Ghost Riders, the Son of Satan and Mystique fight the possessed Wolverine and try and exorcise the demon controlling his body, were okay, I suppose (although if I hadn’t read Rol’s recent review of the Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron Omnibus, I wouldn’t even know that there was more than one Ghost Rider and would have been even more confused, plus it didn’t really make sense that Mystique was helping them when it turned out that she had helped send Wolverine to hell in the first place), but the bits set in hell were laughably bad. Basically, the Hell portrayed in this comic is just one more death trap for Wolverine to escape from and not particularly scary, either. Worst of all, the Devil is an unimaginative idiot and I have no idea how he ever became so successful / feared by religious types, particularly with Hell so easy to escape from. In these comics, Wolverine literally beats up the Devil, and most of his old enemies / murder victims, with the help of Puck (yes, that midget from Alpha Flight), and then climbs out of hell (apparently, there is an exit, so if you have been a bad boy or girl, you may want to pick up a copy of Wolverine #5 and plan your escape from Hell now)!
I spent quite a lot of the time I was reading these comics wondering if I had missed something, as we never got to find out who had sent Wolverine to Hell, or why, until Wolverine #5, and I thought maybe that part of the story had happened in another comic – which is the sort of thing that happens in Marvel comics these days – but I don’t think that was the case. I still don’t know who the organisation that sent Wolverine to Hell are, although I have a feeling that they will be troubling this title for many months / years to come, but the revelation that the whole plan had been orchestrated by Wolverine’s dead dad was just the icing on the shit cake. Wolverine’s dad was the first person he ever killed (you know you are a prick when you are able to refer to someone as the first person you ever killed), was apparently not a very nice man, and he brought Wolverine to hell not to punish him, but to tell him how proud he was of the (bad) way he had turned out and to propose that the pair of them took over Hell and ran it together as a family business, which has got to be one of the stupidest plans any villain has ever cooked up. I mean, did Wolverine’s dad really think that his son would be grateful to him for dragging him to hell and giving all his old enemies a chance to fight him again?
The art here, by Renato Guedes and Jose Wilson Magalhaes, wasn’t that great either. It was okay in places and not completely terrible but there was something a bit amateurish about it, the women all had massive tits, and some of Mystique’s poses, in particular, looked like they had been copied from an issue of Playboy, even when she was riding a bike! (Note: the Jae Lee covers were all lovely!)
The art in Wolverine #6, by Daniel Acuña, was a lot nicer and the story marginally better, as at least Wolverine was no longer in Hell, but as I said earlier, it’s really just a continuation of the Hell story. Wolverine was back in his body, but the demon that had possessed him hadn’t quite left yet, so Wolverine spent most of the issue fighting the X-Men. I am mildly interested in finding out what happens next – although I doubt the X-Men will make the world a safer place and put Wolverine to sleep once and for all, which is what I really want to see happen – but not enough to spend money on any more Wolverine comics, particularly as this story will probably drag on and on and on. I am slightly more interested in catching up with what is going on in the X-Men titles at the moment, as I had no idea that Namor was now an X-Man until I read this comic and would like to see what Matt Fraction is doing with the characters, now that they are based in San Francisco, but I doubt I’ll ever do that, either, as there are probably too many damn comics for me to catch up with, I can’t afford to buy them all, and I would probably find them too confusing to follow even if I could afford them. (Note to Marvel: publish fewer damn comics and make them less confusing for me, please!)
Cost: These comics have a cover price of $3.99 each but I got them on eBay for £5.95, which wasn’t that bad at all for seven very recent comics (Wolverine #6 is the April 2011 issue), and hopefully I will be able to flog them on eBay for at least that and buy something a bit better instead.