Thursday, 10 April 2014

Wolverine #48-#50: Shiva Scenario

Wolverine #48-#50 is a direct and immediate sequel to the Weapon X storyline in Marvel Comics Presents.  It is predominantly set, real or imagined, in two Canadian locations: the Albertan facility that Weapon X was shown to operate in.  He arrives at this in #4, more or less as we were expecting, along with keys left in his Lotus.  He gets flashbacks, both to the actual events of the miniseries and to a strange buddy cop movie about him and Sabretooth, but doesn't investigate too far into the complex.  The flashbacks continue into #49.  Some of them are to a strange buddy cop movie starring him and Sabretooth.

I'm not even really kidding about it being a movie.  In a warehouse in Detroit he finds the sets.  For the buddy cop movie, for the incident with Silver Fox in #10, and for a variety of other locations.   Logan's memories are contradictory.  He remembers Sabretooth killing Silver Fox, he remembers the cabin they had; but he also remembers fighting her many decades later.

We know less about Wolverine at the end of this arc than we did at the beginning.  We can't trust what we thought we did know.  Neither can Logan.  His few fragments have been shattered.  He hopes the cabin was real - his first love was real, but if the evidence is simply not finding the set where it had been faked, ouch.

There's fighting.  In his stealth-free recon Wolverine alerted Hines and the Professor to activate the "Shiva Project", which turns out to be a giant robot pretending to be Shiva the Destroyer.  Not quite sure why that is, but hey.  Shiva has a list of targets to elimate in order: Wolverine, Sabretooth, Fox, Kestrel, Vole, Mastodon and Wildcat.  While that is happening, Silver Fox, who is leader of HYDRA, goes after Hines and the Professor, as revenge for the same thing happening to her.  Eventually Fox kills the Professor, who sets the robot on the next target, Sabretooth.

This is all very puzzling.  Silver Fox really did survive #10, which cheapens it and the Wolverine/Sabretooth feud.  And if all these are false memories of Wolverine, why doesn't he remember them?  What happened to make him break that conditioning in the first place?  To make him leave that "Team X" (name still not yet given) and end up in Canadia working for Department H?  Is there any larger sense to be made here or what?

Monday, 7 April 2014

A Comic by me and Pippa

I've been quite ill for the last week and a half (improving now), so forgot to link to the comic me and Pippa Ashton did for Geeked Magazine.  It didn't quite make it into the magazine itself, which is well worth reading, being about intersectionalinity, innit.  We hope to do more in the future.

Marvel Comics Presents #72-#84: Weapon X

By 1991, Marvel Comics Presents had been headlined by Wolverine Team-Up stories for ages.  The story that starts in #72, by Barry Windsor-Smith (I think he's the first person to auter the X-Men) is a rather different take.  It is the story of How The Wolverine Got His Claws, finally.

Although this is a highly-serialised story (twelve parts), the trade paperback collection I am reading does not indicate the gaps.  Structurally these group into four bits.  There is a prologue, with Logan having been sacked from the Canadian army; he then gets used as a prop in a story in an unethical medical experiment.  About half-way through, Logan escapes.  Rather than the story following him, it becomes a slasher, instead, as our characters (Hines, the Professor, and Doctor Cornelius) are hunted down and killed; Logan then escapes.  And finally, it's revealed that some of that was a simulation.  Logan was loosed rather than escaping, and the trio are alive.

The beats were familiar, but some of the details of this story were surprising to me.  We know that at this stage Wolverine's claws have no bone substrate, but the idea that they just sort of happened because of excess adamantium, and the housings designed to stop him hurting himself (or rather to stop him healing after them popping) is a bit silly.  Given the lack of artifice in creating them, having them be coatings of bone claws make more sense!  Further, the idea that the staff of Weapon X didn't know that Logan was a mutant also is a bit odd. But... presumably the shadowy figure that the Professor reports to does know that?

Much of this story is lies, of course.  Apart from the bits it itself admits to (the escape), we know from later material that very little of this will stand. But that doesn't matter a bit.  It's moody, it's tense, it's pacy, it's violent, it sets the stage for more Wolverine material and a thousand other inferior 1990s imitators.

This is not really Wolverine's origin story.  It's not even pretending to be.  What his birth name is, and what his childhood like isn't Wolverine's origin story, either.  What led him to the state where he doesn't know if he has a mother, that matters.  Why Sabretooth has a grudge against him, that matters.  It'll be a while yet before we get to those, it's telling that those were left till last - it's not because they were least interesting, but because you could tell other stories revealing apparently quite profound bits of Logan's life while still retaining the Man of Mystery element.

But, as I say, that's later.  Much later.  If I ever get to it.  For now, I want to know, what effect is this going to have on the Wolverine of 1991?