Danger! Danger! Thar be spoilers ahead!
When it comes to the actual story at hand, there unfortunately isn't a whole lot of "the good" going on. Thankfully, Simone Bianchi's art provides lots of eye candy, especially seeing as there's plenty of melees and splash pages to appreciate. Despite illustrating the characters in a rather stocky manner (I know it's his signature style, it's glaring at times for me), the attention to detail immediately caught my eye.
The opening splash page of Romulus and Wolverine going at it is fantastic. The sparks from claws clashing, Logan's fist connecting with his enemy's cheek -- it's just a great piece of work to gaze at. The action is particularly fierce at times, most notably the four panels of Logan slaying with a sword. The distinct contrast of the bright blood among the dark colors is striking.
The story itself will mostly be discussed in "the bad," but I will confess that the ending is a nice moment. We often we see Logan thrown into the meat grinder and forced to suffer tragedy after tragedy, so this was a pleasant change of pace.
Oh man, where do I even begin? The story had one simple premise: Sabretooth is back! How? Well, he has a bunch of clones. It isn't exactly the most original twist, but whatever, it works. But then we once again meet Romulus and his sister and then everything becomes unnecessarily convoluted. Romulus accuses Wolverine of being behind the Weapon X project last issue, and despite being a "master of lies," Wolverine has a terrible feeling that the villain is being truthful. Wolverine's origin is already all over the place, so diving into the complex story again needs to be handled carefully. If you're going to mess around with this kind of continuity, you need to do it properly and hopefully, clear things up. Such isn't the case here. In fact, we get no answers. Jeph Loeb returns us to the unnecessarily messy origin story, makes matters more twisted and complex, then leaves it up to us whether those memories are real or a planted false memory. Certainly some can dispute that's the point -- Wolverine's true origin tale will always remain a mystery -- but I'm not buying it. His existing creation stories are already all over the place and to further confuse the topic feels unrequired to me.
Who cares anyway, right? It's not like we comic fans care about a sense of continuity or a firmly established origin for the characters we obsess over. Oh, wait...
While the action looks great, quite a bit of it had me scratching my head. Wolverine stabs Romulus in the heart and he just shrugs it off? In Loeb's previous story ('Evolution'), destroying/damaging the heart resulted in knocking out Wolverine. I imagine the same should apply to papa Romulus. Also, in 'Evolution,' Wolverine and Sabretooth fought savagely with a ridiculous amount of injuries, rendering a good deal of their skeleton and muscles visible. Here, Romulus stabs Wolverine through the side of the mouth and side of the nose. Not only does this manage to knock him out, but doing that and muttering a phrase refreshes long gone memories in his head. I get why it happened when Sabretooth said it in 'Evolution' -- that was the first time it has been said to him in decades. But here, it just feels like repeat territory and not executed nearly as well.
Personal gripe, but Sabretooth is still an utter moron despite "spending his time away to train and learn." Apparently, his newfound tactical brilliance means he has the brains to have a back-up plan and use an explosive weapon. It's just a shame he didn't compliment the cliche plan by delivering a diabolical "mwhahaha!" before the explosion went off. I get that despite his extensive training, Sabretooth is often written as a character that likes to drool, growl and slash. But if the implication is he's smarter, I'd like to see something to warrant it instead of "in case I lose, I think I'll blow the place up!" Oh well, at least Remender is handling him well over in UNCANNY X-FORCE.
The conclusion of 'Sabretooth: Reborn' looks good, but the story is likely going to really, really, really upset, confuse or annoy long time Wolverine fans.