Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wolverine #4-#8: What Immortal Hand or Eye

Wolverine #4-#6 continues immediately from that first arc for Jessica Drew and Lindsay McCabe, but Wolverine's chronology at the MCP places Uncanny #232 though to #243 - including all of Inferno between the issues. Apparently they've just been hanging around there for weeks waiting for Patch to get back? There's a long rationale for it, which brings in non X-Men books, so I don't care, I'm doing it now.

The story opens with the by-now familiar trope of an old friend of Logan's, who we've never heard of before, and is generally either dead already or is killed in the first few pages. Teebore identifies it here as starting with Asano in the Claremont/Miller miniseries. There's a structural reason it has become so commonplace in the Claremont/Buscema run already, and that's the tension between the attractive idea of Wolverine's backstory being explored by meeting old friends, and the narrative's need to keep his identity quiet. If the X-Men hadn't have been in hiding and presumed dead when Wolverine's solo title launched, there'd be no need for all these people to die. And then he'd be able to actually use the name "Wolverine" in a series called that.

Our old friend this time is Chancellor Ranjamaryam, an advisor to the prince, who is killed because he is sympathetic to Tiger Tyger's burgeoning new crime empire. When this comes to Wolverine's attention he decides to look into the matter himself. He'd had dinner that night with a person with a smell he's sure he recognised: Karma.

Karma hasn't been seen since New Mutants #54; where she'd left to look for her brother and sister. Logan confronts her alone without letting on who he is. She misses the opportunity to explain what had motivated her to work for her crimelord uncle again. (Logan would surely have added it to his TODO list). Nyugen Ngoc Coy is planning on making a play to be Kingpin of Madripoor (after having been ejected from San Francisco), with the connivance of the prince now that Ranj has been removed and a couple of new entries for Wolverine's rogues gallery: Roughouse and and Bloodscream.

Logan is still not exactly an enthusiastic supporter of Tyger Tiger, but she's cracked right down on the slavery and the drugs, whereas Nyugen has no such compunctions. Logan takes a typically direct approach, by going to the appropriate section of the Golden Triangle (real), and destroying a very large amount of Nguyen's heroin, with the help of Archie Corrigan (a potential traitor), which will put him out of action for a bit.

Meanwhile, an injured Tyger Tiger (she survives an attack by Nyugen's minions thanks to sabotage from Karma) and the Drew/McCabe team seek refuge at Landau, Luckman & Lake, and the mysterious Mr. Chang. This bit is very curious: it appears Chang is acting as a supplier for the X-Men, as he is able to supply a metal battlesuit like the sort we've seen Psylocke wear, being held for Logan. And they notice a tintype (misspelled tinytype here) photograph of Logan with Mr. Chang, which they date to the 19th century, implying a Logan who is as old - if not older - as the one ultimately revealed by Origin. The inquisition is cut short, though, by some fighting, which kills Mr. Chang and leaves the building in rubble.

Issue #6 is a massive fight scene between the parties (the captured three, Patch, Karma, and Nyugen's henchman). This is stopped by the Prince, who had (a) wanted a quick coup, none of this messiness, and (b) turns out to be a Lindsay McCabe fanboy. A compromise is reached. This is very sudden and I detect an editorial hand behind the pages. We then progress, for #7-#8 into a fairly throwaway story with Mr. Fixit (aka the Hulk: at this point he is grey, intelligent, and only comes out at the night), who has been sent to assist? Nyugen but ends up being suckered by Patch into destroying his operation.


  1. And then he'd be able to actually use the name "Wolverine" in a series called that.

    I know Claremont was never a big proponent of Wolverine getting his own series, and that it launched more or less over his objections (despite his involvement), but man, how much more pissed off do you think he was that when it did launch, it totally effed with his whole "the world thinks the X-Men are dead" plot, something he'd been trying to get right for years?

    Is Claremont done writing the book as of issue #8? Or does he stick around through #10?

    1. He writes one more issue, and it's an important one.