I’m a Cullen Bunn fan, but I must admit that’s partly because he seems like such a nice guy in real life! He’s active on Twitter and seems to be nice to everyone, so I’m always inclined to grade his stuff on a curve. (Hey, if I can ignore all of Howard Chaykin’s work cause he’s a jerk, I can seek out Bunn’s because he’s nice!)
Taking over for Jason Aaron has got to be pretty tough. While Aaron didn’t wrap up his Wolverine run with a tremendous bang, it was still an interesting story that had some nice developments for Logan. Bunn goes back to the well to bring us a sequel to the Weapon X storyline featuring Doctor Rot. It’s a good choice; Bunn’s penchant for ultra-violence is well served using Rot. This is NOT a kid-friendly comic. Page 2 has three corpses with the tops of their heads cut off!
Doctor Rot has a mental back door that allows him to control Wolverine, and he’s using this to set up greater control over the X-Man. Logan tracks Rot down, giving the reader a nice tour of the sicko childhood that Rot left behind. Bunn keeps the story grounded by keeping the X-Men on the fringes of the story, but giving us a normal point of view from Logan’s girlfriend Melita and a team of FBI agents. Rot is a lot bigger threat to them than Shadowcat or Phoenix.
I’m actually more intrigued by the fallout from this story than the actual presentation here. Rot succeeds in ripping out portions of Logan’s brain, and when the flesh regenerates, Logan’s memories are gone. Bunn has cleverly brought back a classic element of Wolverine’s long-standing characterization: the mysterious past. Only now the reader sometimes knows things that Wolverine doesn’t! Neat idea.
The artwork is a great fit with the story, from one of my favorites, Paul Pelletier. This is an unbelievably gory story, featuring maniacs with chainsaw hands, scarred nurses, and brain monsters. I think there are two characters in the whole story that don’t end up being eviscerated or at least slashed up (I might be exaggerating).
I do wish Pelletier could have had a bit more of a chance to draw Wolverine in costume. The juxtaposition of the bright super-suit against the violent, Texas Chainsaw Massacre type villains is a neat visual.
This trade proves that comics are GOOD!