Before I dive into my thoughts on the story, I have to praise Joe Madureira (artist) and Peter Steigerwald (colorist). Be it characters merely standing around or they're fighting to the death, the pages are overflowing with explosive energy. It doesn't feel quite as polished as the last issue, but it's still more than praiseworthy. Features can be exaggerated every now and then (Wolverine's mouth in a key moment, for example), but given the context it absolutely works and comes off as amazingly fierce. Joe Mad's definitely one of the go-to people if you want to make Wolverine look "savage" and his take on Kingpin is truly impressive. His professional appearance remains yet his stature is formidable and seeing him in action is downright jaw-dropping. There's even a moment where there's nothing but pure intensity stemming from his eyes -- it's fantastic.
The focus with Wolverine takes a road we've seen countless times before and Elektra feels somewhat cast aside, but the real attention grabber is with Kingpin and how he's handling the last issue's big twist. This allows Zeb Wells to take a more humanizing approach to the big villain, even if it's just for a little while. It's badass seeing Fisk take stabbing attacks like they're nothing and totally lash out, yet it's also filled with so much emotion and topped off with a really nice shocker. I'm not embarrassed to say it even made me gasp.
The "is he a man or animal" approach is all too familiar. Wells' writing of the scene is fine, but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and has a "been there, seen that" feeling to it. What does make it stand out, however, are Mad's illustrations. Also, as I said above, it would have been nice to see Elektra given more focus.
It was a bit disappointing to see Shikaru taken down so easily. I understand the point is to show that Wolverine isn't holding back at all, but given the character's fearsome showing in the last issue, a little more of a struggle would have been awesome to witness and granted Wolverine more time to unleash, too.
While Wolverine's story takes a very familiar path and Elektra doesn't get all that much focus, it's still a thoroughly entertaining finale and puts a surprisingly emotional spotlight on the Kingpin. The visuals may not be quite as crisp as the last issue, but Joe Madureira and Peter Steigerwald still create some astonishing visuals that are loaded with ferocity and make the read a real treat for your eyes. Complaints aside, this was still very satisfying and definitely an arc worth checking out if you're looking for a solid Wolverine or Kingpin story.