Daddy issues rise up in the fifth issue of the series, and when they do they’re wearing a tatty shirt-safari hat combo type thing. Ugh, Logan, you inherited a lot of things from daddy but at least you never developed his taste for shifty hats. It’s Wolverine Goes to Hell #5!
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Renato Guedes, Jose Wilson Magalhaes, Oclair Albert
Colours: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
The final (spoiler!) part of Wolverine’s trip into hell starts with Wolverine looking shocked at his father’s sudden appearance. In that surprise, he starts listing all the horrors he’s experienced in Hell, off panel, and sums up the main problem with this series as a whole: we’re not getting any of the good hell-stuff. Everything happens off-panel – we don’t get to see Wolverine get boiled alive, dropped into ice caverns, or beaten up by Ogun or White Ghost…
Hey, wait a second, isn’t White Ghost a DC character? He’s one of the blokes who works for Ra’s Al Ghul, if I remember correctly. So now it turns out that we’re even missing out on idiosyncratic crossover storylines! I bet Wolverine had a ruddy great time fighting ninjas, that’s one of his faves. Anyway, I digress, because Logan also mentions “men who put maggots inside you” and “women who give birth to rabid dogs”, so perhaps sometimes it 100% is better to be told rather than shown these things.
I do have to object to the idea of “child kennels” being a particularly scary place, though. The kennel is a thoroughly appropriate place to keep children, and I should just take this moment to reassure you all that I don’t have any children myself and Shelfdust is purely a satirical site, etc etc. Children belong in kennels though.
After listing all the horrors of Hell, we see Logan standing next to his da, and reeling at the one thing he’d forgotten was probably going to happen when he went to Hell. It reluctantly has to be mentioned that daddy is wearing that stupid little hat thing he first had when he got killed, and is just a neck-draped camera away from looking like he’s just come back from a tiring day exploring Disneyland. He also seems to have pinkeye, which is an illness only North Americans get.
Dad reminisces about getting gutted by Wolverine back in the day – you’re still holding a grudge over that? It’s been centuries, probably! – and says that all he ever wanted was for Wolverine to not be a fat turd. This is… not quite the epic Dante-esque nightmare universe that Logan was expecting from his trip into hell. It appears that over time dad has become pleased of how unturdlike Wolverine has become over the years – and tells his son that he’s proud of him.
Back on Earth, a Ghost Rider of some sort is dragging Dlogan to a nearby church using a hook on a chain. It’s all going great until Dlogan manages to shift round, plant his claws in the ground, and then pull back and sweep the bike to the ground. Mystique is up first, because she has far better cardio than an agent of the supernatural, and she fires a can of holy water straight into the demon’s face before Ghost Rider #1 punches said face a few times. Dlogan recovers, though, and seems to cut off the Ghost Rider’s head? He then, wonderfully, throws it at Mystique’s face.
He next stabs Mystique in the kidney, and advances for the kill. Mystique, however, was just using herself as a distraction – and Ghost Rider #B grabs Dlogan by the leg and drags him the rest of the way into the church. Daimon is waiting for him, surrounded by about a hundred candles which must’ve taken him absolutely ages to carefully light, one at a time. Exorcism time!
First though, the comic cuts straight back to Wolverine and pops, who reiterates that Wolverine’s lifetime o’ murdering has made him an A+ Son in his father’s eyes. Wolverine literally stands there and says “I don’t know what to say”, before getting called to the battle by Puck. He actually stands there, in a comic book, and has no response to a twist piece of dialogue. That’s a ballsy thing to write, Jason Aaron.
Turns out that Sabretooth is now in charge of the soul sword thingy that lets you control Hell, and he demands that everybody kneels before him, all Zodlike. Wolverine challenges that, of course, and what follows is a nine-page silent fight sequence which is the most bloodless, tame scene in the entire comic. This really feels like it got toned down, because it’s a mix of slapping, hand-slapping, and ear-biting which doesn’t seem anything like a fight scene – and absolutely tame in comparison to Paul Smith’s legendary fight between Wolverine and the Silver Samurai from the classic age, which seems to be the evocation that Guedes has in mind. It’s tame.
Wolverine wins, and uses the sword to cut off Sabretooth’s head again. Womp-womp.
Now he has the sword, apparently that makes Logan the new Lord of Hell, and daddy walks on up to show more of his admiration for how far his son has come. He does the Darth Vader thing of “at last we will rule them all together”, which goes a lot worse for him than it did for Skywalker Sr – Wolverine throws the sword straight back into the mad rabble.
Meanwhile Hellstrom starts doing the whole exorcism spell for Dlogan, who is bound together by double Ghost Rider chains. He does some commanding, slings a bit of latin, overdoes it to heroic levels, and all the while Melita is watching this like “I really didn’t sign up for this”. You’re doing this for WOLVERINE, Melita! If it were for someone hot like Gambit then maybe I’d understand – but this is an awful lot to go through just to have your apartment smell like stale hay 24/7.
Dad starts getting in Logan’s face, and as a result gets stabbed in the face shortly thereafter. This part of the story really hasn’t gone anywhere. To emphasis that, Wolverine just walks off and ignores his dad’s “you’ll be back!” yells, without making any kind of point to sound triumphant or independent or any of that. He just walks off. Bah.
He does get the barb-wire whip from a few issues ago and rescue Puck using it, at which point he finally asks what Puck’s great escape plan is. And after five issues of waiting to hear it, Puck finally reveals. The plan to escape Hell is…
…to climb out.
Underwhelming. Also underwhelming is a final meeting between Logan and Mariko, as he asks her to leave Hell with him. Good thing Melita can’t see this. She refuses, though, which is next-level bonkers. She thinks that she’s where she belongs, and that she needs to redeem herself – not sure how she thinks she’s going to do that by being in Hell, but that’s her choice I guess. Wolverine leaves her in her prison cell, again without really acting too upset about anything. There’s a real surface-level feel to this final issue, and the Hell trip in general, which has left the story lacking a real sense of bite.
Puck and Wolverine start climbing the walls, only for a hand to grab Puck and fling him back down into the pit. Wolverine keeps climbing though, and does so through another montage in which we see the exorcism continue; Sabretooth’s head lie on the ground, fuming; Puck become the new leader of hell, Wolverine’s dad walking off a cliff; and the Purple Devil swearing revenge. After a surprisingly short time, Logan reaches a bright light at the top, just as Dlogan seems to finally be exorcised once and for all.
Back on Earth, Wolverine’s body smokes, and Melita approaches cautiously. SOmething’s happened, but we can’t be sure what exactly – and as Logan runs off and out the church, we’ll have to wait and see a little while longer, I guess. Mystique and the Ghost Riders give chase, only to find that Wolverine has run straight into…. The A-Listers. Magneto, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Namor are waiting for them.
And on a TV screen, the Red Right Hand (as we are to call the old dudes who set Logan up to begin with) watch and laugh. Wolverine’s heading off for a fight with the X-Men!
How It Started
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jason Latour
Colours: Rico Renzi
Letters: Cory Petit
The back-up for this issue shows how Logan got sent into Hell, to begin with, and really acts mostly as an exercise in tying up loose ends. We find out that Mystique dressed up as Melita and pretended to get kidnapped, in the process tricking Logan into walking straight into a pentagram – and the Red Right Hand have him from that point onwards.
Just before Wolverine is sent to Hell, he sees Mystique reveal herself, in what seems like a strange choice for her. Once Logan is gone, you see, she says “Hell will not hold him” – so why would you let him know that you were involved if you expect him to come back, Raven?
Anyway, the main point of the backup is this: the Red Right Hand knew that Hell was just the first step of their plan. They’ve actually got worse things lined up for him down the line. What will they be? We’ll have to find out if and when Shelfdust gets round to the next two Wolverine trades, I guess! Ooh, what a tease this whole hell thing has been.