“Coyote Crossing: Part 5”
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Wolverine returns to Nestor's bar, cradling Rojas child. Cassie Lathrop is waiting for him, and soon it becomes evident what happened at Rojas. Bigger problems come when Logan has to decide what to do with Rojas newborn baby...
In veering away from the drug-smuggling/illegal immigrant trading storyline that began "Coyote Crossing", Greg Rucka has moved the story into a far more mature and less run-of-the-mill arena than the tale initially promised. The consequences of Logan's attack on the pregnant drug baron's house become significant this issue - we see a flashback to Rojas' tortuous labour without a living henchman left to help her - and the problem of her newborn child is brought to the forefront. This gives Rucka the chance to depict some admirably against-type reactions of Nestor and Cassie to the immediate concerns of caring for a child. Adding her exchange with Wolverine to the mix - in which she stands up to his relentless self-pitying guilt complex - this issue uses subtle character cues and gives her a tough, realistic approach to matters which ironically marks her out as one of the more masculine characters in the book.
There is a real maturity to be found in the handling of sophisticated subject-matter which concerns the gender roles and the sexual undertones between the lead characters. This deftness, coupled with the mature attitude to death that pervades the issue, provides a tone that would sit more easily in a Marvel Knights imprint title that one which aims at the broad fanbase attracted by Wolverine. Fortunately, the art is up to the task of matching these subtleties. Whilst defiantly cartoonish, a real sense of reality can be found, particularly in the pages which introduce Rojas' baby and which depict the conversation between Cassie and Logan and the flashback to Rojas' death.
Whilst the conclusion to "Coyote Crossing" is somewhat brief and a little neat, it is pleasing to see a sidestepping of a more obvious solution involving Cassie, opting instead for an epilogue which examines the moral issues surrounding Rojas and her family. Logan's exit is not too pat or convenient, continuing the theme of Logan as a troubled soul trying against the odds to be a man. It is rare that a comic aimed at such a broad audience manages to handle complex story issues with such aplomb whilst still providing enough action and "cool" moments to keep more undemanding fans interested - and for that, Rucka's Wolverine deserves much credit.
A pleasingly unpredictable and sophisticated issue which caps a fine story arc for Wolverine. Fans of the tortured, lonesome interpretation of Logan will find much to like here, and the recent addition of Cassie's character to the book has only served to strengthen the more adult strands upon which Wolverine manages to focus. Hopefully the next arc will live up to the high standards maintained since the book rebooted.
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