Wolverine 173 - 176, Origin # 1 - 6, Weapon X: The Draft.
My Connections and Creators
I know, I know. I usually don't cover Wolverine anymore. However I do either power skim the issues or read recaps. This time around, it seemed like a really good story so I buckled down and read it. Since I found a few good arcs in a row, I decided to cover it.
Also, I'm going to try something a little different today. For some of the blogs, I am going to reference UncannyXmen.net instead of writing my own synopsis, as they have done an incredibly good job and I would rather focus on analysis.
Wolverine # 173: Loved Ones
Writer - Frank Tieri
Pencils - Sean Chen
If you've been following me from the beginning, you know that I'm mostly interested in stories that have a bigger impact on the larger narrative. I was skimming this and immediately started paying deeper attention because so many interesting characters were involved.
First we get Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red working together. Lady Deathstrike has always been written pretty well and was even given a bit of a redemption arc in X-Men Annual 2000. She's not written as an anti-hero here, but I have a deeper affinity for her now. Omega Red has never been the most well written character, but I have a soft spot for him since he was a big deal in the Jim Lee era, which was right in the middle of my childhood comic collecting explosion. Seeing these two partner was quite intriguing.
Then we see them going after Wolverine's most cherished friends. They go straight for his best friend, Nightcrawler, which I love. Then they went after Mac and Heather (who's pregnant). Finally they go after Yuko and his adopted daughter, Amiko. It's funny because I started to think to myself who else he cares about and Wolverine does it for me by asking Cyclops to check in on Kitty, Jubilee, and Carol Danvers. That's right on!
Wolverine sees Shaman (another fun cameo) to see if he can figure out what's up with a recent prophecy (a plot from a story I didn't cover).
At the Weapon X facility, the secretive (and shadowed) Director has Leech inside of a mutant power cannon (MPC) which he uses to shoot Wolverine across a great distance to sap him of his powers. This immediately pushes his adamantium poisoning to kick in and he is vulnerable to attack. We also learn that Sabretooth is behind everything.
Wolverine # 174: Gritty Battles
Writer - Frank Tieri
Pencils - Sean Chen
Wolverine flies to Japan to check on his loved ones, and of course starts with a visit to Mariko's grave. I love that he is shown to pay his respects to her yearly. He then visits Yukio where he learns that she was stabbed through and may be crippled. There is a fun exchange where she tells him not to waste his time making a hero speech promising to get revenge because she already knows he will. So fun!
Yukio makes a strong argument to Wolverine to put her out of her misery. This was an incredibly well written scene (and illustration) as you can tell Wolverine is truly struggling with this. Ultimately he decides to walk away since it's not confirmed that she's crippled. I'm sure she'll end up not being crippled so we won't need to actually see that decision. This was a nice homage to Mariko (speaking of the devil) as he was the one to kill her to put her out of her misery.
The main action of this comic takes place with at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, of all places. (I love Vegas, so this was another fun thing to me). Wolverine may not have his super senses (which really fucks with him), but he still has sharp claws and the skills of a raged out samurai. He hopes that's good enough to best Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red. He's wearing Mac Hudson's Guardian Suit to help out a little, but really he gets his ass kicked and realizes he needs to escape. He certainly tries, but then he's stabbed in the foot. Between losing a lot of blood and Omega Red's death spores, he can't go on and is brought before Sabretooth, who has Amiko.
At the Weapon X facility, Kane (who seems like a real asshole nowadays) discovers that it was Sabretooth who took over the MPC and zapped W of his powers. This was the primary reason why he partnered with Lady Deathstrike.
Wolverine # 175: Resolution
Writer - Frank Tieri
Pencils - Sean Chen
We start by addressing the exact questions I was wondering, why would Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike work with Sabretooth. Neither of them are the "play nice" kind of villains. (FYI, I love when writers can understand what readers want to know and hook you up with some good intel). Omega Red needs money to take over as a Russian Crime boss again. Lady Deathstrike wants to open up her own Body Shoppe, this time without the help of Spiral.
Sabertooth, predictably, double crosses Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red and teleports himself, Wolverine, and Amiko away. This is pretty great because Omega Red was just bitching about how Sabretooth better not betray them since that would be the obvious thing to do, and then he does it anyway! Ha! This arc was definitely worth reading. Very entertaining. Maybe I'll give Frank Tieri an extended look. (Nevermind, it looks like Tieri is off the comic after this arc. Too bad. He does spin off a separate Weapon X comic but Idk if I want to bother reading it...).
Back to the comic. So Sabretooth claims that he has the answers to Wolverine's past on a good old floppy disk. They have their final showdown in the original Weapon X facility where Logan was given his adamantium skeleton. Sabertooth claims that what’s in the Logan files is simply that Weapon X did not take Wolverine memories, wolverines healing factor healed over his bad memories and that’s why they’re not there anymore. So he did it to himself. Interesting.
Sabertooth, stabs wolverine through the chest, and now he is dying. Weapon X (Kane), who just showed up at the facility, fires the MPC cannon at Sabertooth. Wolverine stabs Sabertooth through the chin, which certainly seems like a killing blow since Sabertooth doesn’t have his powers. Sabertooth teleports away. Supposedly wolverine dies.
Wolverine # 176: Afterlife
Writer - Frank Tieri
Pencils - Sean Chen
A character who looks like Jean meets Wolverine in an afterlife. Together, they recount his whole life. Jean challenges him about facing his true emotions. She especially makes a good point that while he’s had plenty of one night stands. He’s refused to have another serious relationship since Mariko died. Jean confirms this idea that Wolverine has all of his memories, but his healing factor has just healed them away.
A shit load of dead villains show up, such as Cyber, Ogun, the original director, Stryfe, Cameron Hodge, Stonewall, Mastermind, Pyro, and others. However, Colossus shows up to help as well. After helping, Peter says to tell everyone that he’s with his little snowflake and his whole family and that he’s happy.
Prior to returning back to life, Wolverine misses out on the chance to learn all his secrets (of course) and he wonders who the woman was talking to him because she admits that she’s not Jean. (Plot twist!) When he awakes, Amiko is waiting for him at the mansion. She had been returned by Weapon X as a sign of good faith.
Plot - Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada
Script - Paul Jenkins
Pencils - Andy Kubert
(For this section, I will be sharing brief issue synopsis courtesy of Uncanny X-Men.Net
"The Howletts live in a huge castle. John Howlett, the master of the house, treats his servants very well, though his father thinks he is too soft. John’s wife Elizabeth has been in psychiatric care after one of their children died, and spends most of her time in her room, speaking with noone. One day the Howletts take in the orphaned girl Rose to become the companion of the other boy James, who is allergic and almost constantly sick. They befriend Dog, the son of Mr. Logan, who works as the grounds keeper, and often beats up his son."
"Some years have passed at the Howlett estate. James has gotten weaker, Dog creepier and the mood darker. One day, Rose interrupts Mrs. Howlett dressing and sees large scars on her body. Later Dog tries to force herself on her, but Rose gets away. Still James reports the incident to his father and finally Mr. Howlett throws Thomas Logan and his son out. They return at night and break into the house to take Rose and Elisabeth with them. As John Howlett interrupts, a fight starts and Logan shoots him. Young James gets very upset and finally a set of short claws pop on each hand, which he rams into Thomas Logan’s chest."
"Both Thomas Logan and John Howlett lie dead, and James has popped the claws. Elizabeth Howlett is in shock, she saw similar claws once before. Trying to deny James‘ real heritage she slaps him in the face and orders him to leave the house, and Rose runs after him. Elizabeth comforts the dead body of her true love, Thomas, and then commits suicide. Dog, Logan‘s son, later testifies that Rose was responsible for all the murders. James apparently suffers some form of amnesia, and Rose hides with him in a barn, as her relatives want nothing to do with her. Later they are found by the Old Mr. Howlett, who helps them leave the city, if they promise to never return. By train they travel to a mining town in northern Canada. When asked their names, Rose comes up with nothing better than Logan."
"Living in a mining camp in Alberta, James or Logan as he now prefers to be called, is making new friends and enemies. The cook Malone picks on him, and Logan is reluctant to fight or stand his ground. Months pass and both he and Rose grow up. Logan develops good hunting skills, but whenever Rose wants to talk about the events at the Howletts estate, he shuts her out. When egtting beaten by Malone again, ogan runs away into the forest where he is met by a pack of wolves."
"Smitty visits Rose and Logan on a regular basis and brings them books to read. He offers Logan a new job and trains him the art of setting explosives to open up new seems. Soon Logan becomes a respected man in the community though at night he runs through the woods with his pack of wolves and hones his hunting skills. The miners start to see what kind of man Cookie Malone is, and he blames Logan for his fall from grace. One night he cuts the fuses short on some dynamite, and soon Logan and few others gets buried in a cave in. Yet Logan miracolously survives. Inspired by a book about japanese Samurais, Logan seeks out Cookie, beats him up and tells him to never cross him again. Proud of himself, Logan returns to Rose, but finds her in Smitty’s arms, fully in love with each other. Logan runs away into the woods and in his anger battles the alpha wolf for leadership of the pack. Of course he wins. Back at the Howlett estate the old Mr. Howlett is very ill and sees the error of his ways. He asks Dog, too fully grown up and his face scarred, to track down his grandson James, aka Logan."
"Logan takes it pretty hard that Rose wants to marry Smitty and leave the town with him. They have an arguement and he walks out. Later when he sees Smitty at a bar signing up for a cage match to win the needed money for their train fare, Logan signs up too. During the match both of them defeat all their opponents and the final round has Smitty versus Logan. At first it seems that Logan is winning, but shortly before the end, he lets himself get defeated, so that Smitty and Rose will get a chance at a happy life in the city. Right after the match, Logan gets attacked by Dog who has finally found him after all these years. He taunts him about the events at the Howlett estate and slowly Logan’s memory returns. Rose runs in, trying to stop Logan from killing Dog, but she topples and accidently gets skewered by Logan’s claws and dies. Logan completely withdraws and joins his pack of wolves in the woods. Smitty is a broken man, and Cookie Malone goes through Logan’s and Rose’s belongings looking for valuables. He finds Roses diary and casually throws in onto the fire. A small note addressed to James slips out and escapes death in the flames."
This was definitely a good story that I enjoyed, however there a few things that disappointed me. For starters, up until this point I had assumed in my head cannon that Wolverine was hundreds, if not thousands of years old. I was sure he was a knight at one point, maybe even around during the time of cavemen. While this story still establishes that he is very old, it's not quite as old as I thought it might be.
Even though it was made very clear this wasn't the case, I still hoped that Sabretooth was his dad. This put the nail in that coffin. That's ok though. Sabretooth being his dad would have been too easy and it's better writing to not go that way.
Weapon X: The Draft - Wild Child #1 8/7/2002 Matt Nixon Ethan Van Sciver
Wild Child rescues Aurora from a (Weapon X) mental asylum
He is heart broken her she, her former lover, scorns him
Weapon X: The Draft - Sauron #1 8/7/2002 Buddy Scalera Karl Kerschi
Soren is center recruiter telepath and first gets rejected by Emma Frost
He then goes to kidnap a different telepath named Jack
He gets pissed at Jack and breaks him into pieces, but he still alive
Weapon considers Sauron expendable and throws him in jail
Jack reads the Directors mind and is terrified over his plans
Weapon X: The Draft - Marrow #1 8/21/2002 Christina Z Brandon Bordeaux
Marrow goes to Weapon X to fix her bone problem, but in exchange she needs to kill one of her former Gene Nation colleagues
She goes out and has a one night stand
It turns out Junichi, her one stand, was Mesmero
Marrow kills her old friend, D’Gard
Reports for duty
Weapon X: The Draft - Kane #1 8/14/2002 R.A. Jones Pablo Raimondi
Kane tries to recruit Rapture, but she resists
Weapon X: The Draft - Agent Zero #1 8/28/2002 Frank Tieri Killian Plunkett
A friend of Wolverine is near death and chosen for the Weapon X program. Weapon 0 has concussive blasts and he can’t be heard, smelled, or seen.
He is sent to kill W but can’t bring himself to do it.
My Rating- 9/10
Some very strong Wolverine stories!