Trouble always seems to come after the X-Men, especially the adamantium-clawed powerhouse Wolverine. After his latest warped adventure through time, Logan saved his mentor Professor Xavier, the future of the Mutant paradise Krakoa, and his own present self, while leaving the timeline in tatters. With the dust of battle settled, all he wants now is to just be alone and get some rest. In his newest adventure, Wolverine #20, written by Benjamin Percy, illustrated by Adam Kubert, with colors by Frank martin and Dijjo Lima and letters by VC's Cory Petit, trouble is close and comes wearing bright red spandex.
Deadpool can't help but be a bit envious of the Mutants and their shiny new paradise. After all, he's been involved in their battles, and he practically founded the X-Force. So now he's dead-set on getting his cut of the deal, and he'll do anything to get it. Luckily for Deadpool, and unluckily for practically everyone else, he's stumbled upon a major government conspiracy that directly endangers all of mutantkind -- with an emphasis on the "danger" part. It's up to Wolverine to save the day and quell the threat, which means teaming up with the Merc with a Mouth.
X Lives of Wolverine, not to mention its concurrent side series X Deaths of Wolverine, was nothing short of intense, with the livelihood of countless mutants and Krakoa at stake and Wolverine being put through the wringer at every turn. Wolverine #20 doesn't appear to let up on the drama anytime soon. However, the intensity is alleviated by the presence of Deadpool, who is poised to be a major player in this upcoming arc. Wolverine and Deadpool pairing up in a buddy comedy is top-notch, with plenty of humor and conflict stemming from these two heroes' very different and conflicting personalities. In the final pages of Wolverine #20, Wolverine and Deadpool embody the classic comedy trope of the straight man and the wise guy, and it works.
Wolverine #20 continues writer Benjamin Percy's run on the X-Men. As always, his sense of character continues to shine, especially here, where he gets to depict Deadpool and his mannerisms in the narration. This is a departure from his approach in X Lives and X Deaths, which, while not devoid of humor, were quite serious, intense, and dramatic. In Wolverine #20, Deadpool's sarcasm, wisecracks, and his constant winking and nudging to the fourth wall add a sense of levity absent from the majority of Marvel entries as of late. While the conflict set up for this arc isn't a breeze by any means, it's a good means for Wolverine to get back into the action and still have it be fun.
This isn't to say that the issue is an easy read. While it's a fun romp in the midst of the rather fraught Krakoa era arc, it can be unfocused. The segments focusing on Deadpool and his narration are comparatively stronger, or at least more engaging, than the scenes with just Wolverine and the X-Men discussing more conflict and drama in Krakoa. As a result, Wolverine #20 can be unfocused and inconsistent, not only in tone but in pacing.
Another welcome change is the presence of artist Adam Kubert. He does an excellent job capturing the style and aesthetic established by artists in previous issues for this era of the X-Men while contributing his own distinct touch. In particular, his backgrounds, environments, sense of scale, and depth give a cinematic edge to this issue. His art blends well with both Frank Martin and Dijjo Lima's colors. Wolverine #20 has a restrained palette, with a bright, almost neon blue dominating most of the pages, making light sources of orange, yellow, purple, and red stand out. At times a more subdued palette appears, used to great effect in the scene of Chesapeake Bay at twilight as it's littered with smashed robot doppelgangers of the X-Men.
While unfocused and self-conscious at times, Wolverine #20 kicks off a promising new arc for Wolverine and Krakoa. Pairing him with Marvel's most beloved mercenary wildcard can only result in total bloody, comedic anarchy -- and that could be just what the X-Men, and readers, need most.