Who's in this issue?
WOW!! Where did this bombshell drop from?? I am sure no Wolverine fan out there could have even imagined what Chris Claremont was going to bring to Wolverine during his temporary stinch back to the title, but to now reveal that Logan has a wife must be one of the biggest shockers to have occured in Wolverine since issue #75 when his claws were revealed to be bone!!
I have mixed feelings about this book. First, I think that this book might be one that is almost a "must get" because this is a landmark issue where Logan is revealed to have a wife. Carrying on a current Marvel trend to drop bombshells when you least expect them (such as the first 12 issues of Thunderbolts), this issue was definately not disappointing in that aspect. Claremont did a masterful job with setting the stage for this bombshell and used a very good strategy to tell a story of how Viper would lure Logan back to her. Leinil Yu obviously spent a lot of time working on this issue, and unlike some pencillers who seem to rely on two common facial and figure structure (one for female character, one for male character), almost all of his characters have a distinct look between them which enables us to separate one from the other. The cover colors probably could have worked better with a March issue (or something released around St. Patrick's Day, with all the green that was used), but in general, the entire creative team of Claremont, Yu, Tadeo, Alanguilan, Wright, and Starkings could be complemented for their excellent job on this issue.
But, there were many bothersome aspects of this issue which should not have been made in the first place, as pointed out by someone who had sent me an email directing me to his webpage which points out about 42 errors with this issue. Although there were many errors that can be explained (like disappearing irises: this has been a long-going comic trend where the irises are not drawn into their characters, and blood being black, which is part of some comic industries' choices to make the book more toned down in terms of violence by using black instead of red blood), there are some other disturbing aspects of the book in terms of technicality. The most disturbing mistake I saw was on the 4th to last page of the book, where Jubilee and Shadowcat are having a conversation which begins off as "He's beyond hearing, beyond rational thought." ... "Ain't that a cryin' shame." If you look *real* closely, you'll notice that they've got Shadowcat saying Jubilee's words, and Jubilee saying Shadowcat's words! I'm *really* surprised that the editors didn't catch this big mistake: one that should have easily been caught.
As for the readability of this book, I have to admit that this was one of the most hardest books to follow if you read it just once: I was so clueless as to what was going on in the beginning, on how these X-Women came to become enemies, on what was real from what was a dream that I had to ask Leinil as to when Jubilee's dream ended and when the real events began. Only after rereading this issue for the third time was when I finally understood what was going on. As a result, I don't think that in terms of reading this comic for the storyline that kids under 16 would have a easy time trying to follow the progress of the story. This story definately was geared for a more experienced group of readers, and it even gave me a difficult time following it. I won't start asking how these six women were able to be manipulated by Viper (being that Psylocke and Jean are psychics, shouldn't they have been able to sense something wrong in the first place?), nor how Gateway got caught up in this storyline, *nor* how Jean would come to repossess the power of the Phoenix again, but I don't think these issues will ever be resolved.
Overall, a difficult issue to follow, requiring the reader to read it a few times to understand the chronological events of the book, with some disturbing errors on the part of the editors not catching some mistakes that should have been caught before the book went into production, but a landmarking issue, nevertheless, as we learn that Logan was actually married to a character which never appeared in Wolverine before.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
IN THIS ISSUE:
Jubilee is having a nightmare in which she is dreaming when her parents had just died, and she is being chased by someone in a car. Suddenly, a Phoenix appears, and destroys the car. Next thing she knows, a "crucifixed" Wolverine appears, then Gateway shows up as she is rescuing Logan. Jean Grey (in the Phoenix form) shows up with many other women, who claims they "have been gathered for a purpose ... you [Jubilee] will join us in this enterprise". Jubilee rejects their offer, and drags Logan out of there, only to fall into a room where Psylocke, Tyger Tiger, and Jessica Drew, all dressed in green, was waiting for Jubilee and Logan. Jubilee tries to sneak her and Logan out over the rafters, but a drop of Logan's blood drops down, alerting their presence to the three waiting women. Jubilee unleashes her plasmoids, stunning the three women, only to escape to another room where Rogue and Yukio were waiting for them. Yukio appears to have killed Jubilee with three blades through her chest, until Jubilee suddenly begins to fade through the wall.
Suddenly, Jubilee finds herself falling down from the air with the person who had "rescued" her from her dream. After falling into and out of the ground, Jubilee attacks the woman, who said that she wasn't Jubilee's enemy, but had come to save her and to need Jubilee's help. Dressed in green too, this woman is revealed to be Shadowcat, with her pet dragon Lockheed. Shadowcat tells Jubilee that the dreams Jubilee was having wasn't her doing, but that now she and Jubilee were on the run from an opposition, which Shadowcat reveals to be a terrorist named Viper, who had gotten her "poison" fangs into six women (members of the X-Men) and people they knew. Shadowcat, though clad in green, said she was able to escape and came to rescue Jubilee, who was bound to face the same fate. Jubilee asks what Viper was after, and after thinking a bit, she realizes their common bond was Wolverine. Shadowcat tells her that Viper planned to use people that Logan loved against him to defeat him, and that Logan had to be warned and Viper had to be stopped. Just when Jean Grey (in Phoenix form) and Rogue shows up to capture them, Gateway teleports them away.
Next thing they know, Shadowcat, Lockheed, and Jubilee finds themselves in Australia in a town where Jubilee had saved Logan from the Reavers in the past, where Jubilee had clothing stashed. Jubilee and Shadowcat changes clothing, and, with Gateway's help, is teleported to the Mt. Logan in the Yukons in Canada. Shadowcat reveals to Jubilee a little history about the town and why it was special to Logan: about a man Logan met "who couldn't be killed" who "took from him [Logan] someone he loved". Noticing a fresh cigar and a damp glass of whiskey, they realized that they had just missed him. Next thing they know, Rogue appears to capture Jubilee. Jubilee's plasmoid burst stuns Rogue, while Shadowcat phases her hand through Rogue's neck, disrupting Rogue's nervous system and knocks her out. Unfortunately, from behind, Tiger Tyger was able to capture Jubilee. Shadowcat phases through Jubilee and manages to tackle Tiger Tyger, only to be hit with a "fixative" type-resin deployed from her gun which hardens over Shadowcat, trapping her. Just when Tyger Tiger was about to do the same to Jubilee, Lockheed rescues Jubilee and Shadowcat, while Gateway again appears and teleports the three away to another place.
Jubilee, Shadowcat, and Lockheed appear in Agarashima, Japan, ancestral seat of Clan Yashida, where Logan, who wasn't expecting company, appears. Jubilee warns Logan of someone named Viper who was out to get him, only to be attacked now by Yukio. Logan tells Jubilee to tend to Shadowcat while Logan takes care of Yukio. Logan manages to take down Yukio without hurting her severely, only to be attacked from behind by Psylocke and her psychic knife, which renders Logan unconscious.
Logan is found in a pit surrounded by serpents. Hallucinations causes Logan to see one of the serpents appear as Jean. As more poison is given to Logan, some old memories returns, one about him and Silver Fox and them being attacked by Sabretooth who had killed Silver Fox. The images then changes, as the scene where Mariko Yashida asks Logan to spare her the agony of a slow death from blowfish toxin, and again, like in the past, Logan fulfills her wishes. Only after this scene was when the beast inside Logan was unleashed again, and he begins to fight off the serpents with the lust for blood. Jubilee seemingly appears before him, trying to snap him out of it, but Logan realizes that it was too perfect, and that the person before her was just an illusion, and the person was really Viper. The dream shatters, and they appear in the Princess Bar in Madripoor, where the six women chasing down Logan, Jubilee, and Shadowcat brings the three captives to Viper. We see that Viper was using Jean to manipulate Logan's memories to cause him pain, but Logan was fighting it, according to Shadowcat (who has been narrating the story for most of this book) who said that after Psylocke had nailed Logan with her psychic knife, it had establish some kind of empathic link with her. From behind, Viper is captured by someone who at the same time frees Jubilee, who creates a distraction by freeing Shadowcat from her resin shell. This new player into the scene, Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow), takes out Phoenix first, then Psylocke, and nails Viper with a posion dar of her own. Logan takes out Rogue (unintentionally; he was actually leaping towards Viper), only to have Rogue kiss him to drain Logan of his powers and his memories. Shadowcat, though, from behind once again touches Rogue, phases her through Logan's body, and using Rogue as a shield, dodges Psylocke's psychic knife which hits Rogue instead. Black Widow is still holding a fight of her own, but Logan gives chase for Viper, who had hurt Logan too deeply. Shadowcat was about to give chase until Jean had regained conscious, and with a psychic burts, knocks everyone unconscious.
Viper makes it into the cellar, where Logan meets her face to face. Viper tries to reason with Logan by revealing that she had meant to do him no harm, but had used his friends to bring him to her because she knew that Logan wouldn't hurt them. She tries to get Logan to remember where she had taken him now, and to remind him of a "vow" that he had made. Nothing helped, as Logan was too deep in his berserker rage. Jubilee and Shadowcat phases through the floor and drops into their fight, where Shadowcat keeps saying how she had to stop the fight, but Jubilee was unwilling to. Next thing they know, Jean (in Phoenix form) appears to attack. Shadowcat attempts to stop Jean, but as she phases into her, they merge for an instant, but Jean's mental defenses kicks in, and both are knocked virtually unconscious. Jubilee leaps into the fight to stop Logan from what he was about to do, knocking some sense into him about the sense of honor, about how a man has honor but a beast has instincts, and asks Logan which one he is. Logan finally retracts his claws, and as the dust settles, Jubilee asks Logan why this woman, Viper, was so bent on getting him back. Logan drops a *big* bombshell as he reveals that Viper is his wife, surprising everyone in the room.