Overview

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #6

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Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #6

Credits

  • Words: Jason Aaron
  • Art: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Mark Roslan
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: $3.99
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Release Date: May 25, 2011

Spider-Man and Wolverine have been on a time traveling adventure culminating with Wolverine using a Phoenix Gun to destroy a planet-sized Dr. Doom, which has subsequently transformed Wolverine into the Dark Phoenix. Seeing Marvel's number one mutant as the Dark Phoenix makes for undeniable fan service, but Aaron spends a surprisingly short time wrapping up that conflict and focuses on a heartfelt dénouement in the spirit of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Throughout this six-issue storyline, Spider-Man fought robots, dinosaurs, and even Wolverine to stay alive. He's had to utilize his genius intellect with nothing more than sticks, rocks, and plants for science equipment. He's been through a lot. Likewise, Wolverine has been killed, reanimated, driven back to his wild side, and forced to wrestle Spider-Man. When Peter and Logan are trapped in the Old West following the Phoenix incident, instead of more turmoil, Aaron allows the pair to live an easy-going, normal, fulfilling life in a simpler time without super-villain plots to deal with or sprawling cities to defend. A well-deserved fate for these tirelessly working heroes.

Peter has saddled up with a beautiful girl and earns a living as an apothecary, fights ruffians with web-spraying six shooters, and spends his days in the world's first solar-powered log cabin. Logan has become chief of an Indian tribe and wears a large feathered headdress that humorously echoes his signature cowl. In the light of a campfire surrounded by friends and family, Logan slices through his gloved hand and across Peter's palm to make them blood brothers. Life is good for Peter and Logan.

Kubert finishes this arc in top form, nailing frenzied action sequences where the many-armed robotic time policemen jump out of dazzling blue-green portals, as well as capturing the grand scale of the desert as the heroes have a quiet talk atop a barren plateau under a starry night sky. Only one artistic decision raises an eyebrow: Wolverine’s Dark Phoenix costume looks completely underwhelming. It lacks the ambiance of fierce power and deadly fire that made the Jean Grey version an iconic visual delight. Wolverine’s has the same color scheme, but the bland design and dainty Phoenix symbol on his chest lack menace and hardly emphasize the power within.

When Peter and Logan are suddenly forced back to the present, gone are the happy years they spent together; Kubert’s skill for showing emotions through body language shines in a wordless exchange of looks between the two heroes that speaks volumes about the excruciating loss they have both suffered. Marvel’s House of M event showed Spider-Man and Wolverine getting their heart’s desire. Peter marrying the girl of his dreams and never becoming Spider-Man hit the target, but Wolverine becoming an elite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent did not feel true to his character. Aaron gets it right: as Wolverine sits alone at a bar knocking back beer after beer, he stares down at his gloved hand, remembering the night he became blood brothers with his best friend.

Easter Egg: Writer Jason Aaron, in all his bearded glory, makes a cameo as Wolverine’s bartender.

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Comments

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs May 27, 2011 at 6:41am

    So did you like the series in general?

  • Joshua Yehl

    Joshua Yehl May 27, 2011 at 1:29pm

    I really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun seeing Peter and Logan go through all of those crazy encounters with little care of continuity. Aaron created fun new villains and put a new spin on old ones. He forged a relationship between two characters I never saw that much chemistry from before, but that just goes to show you the bonds that can be formed when thrust into a dire situation with someone you don't get along with. The ending of this arc completely shook me with the way it ended; going for the heart instead of for spectacle was a genius move by Aaron and it paid off well.

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