Who's in this issue?
I'm a sucker for good storylines, and most of the time, one-issue storylines usually just do not work for me. This issue, though, was an exception. Although it didn't feature any "major" villians like Sabretooth or Viper, it, instead, brings back the problem family who owned the home near the X-Mansion. Mr. Nicieza was able to write, in my honest opinion, a very good story which centers around the death of Linda Higgins and the surprising culprit. What I found most impressive was his ability to bring four nearly separate storylines (the police investigation, the fleeing of Mr. Higgins and his son, Jane in the hospital, and Logan's investigation), whose only link was the death of Mrs. Higgins, and bring it to a dramatic climax where everyone finds out at the same time that Mr. Higgins wasn't the one who kills her, but rather, his son, who swung the shovel which hits her in the back, causing her to fall on Jane and break her neck on the porch stairs. Usually, you see this kind of action sequence in TV shows or movies, but Mr. Nicieza was able to do this same sequence in a comic book. This is what I call *real* story writing for comic books that features one-issue story-arcs. Also, I must congratulate Mr. Yu for a fine job penciling this book. Why? Because in many panels within this book, the use of facial expression dominated your emotions. As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words", and believe me, this issue has several scenes where this is the case. Not many artists can use pictures to dominate your emotion and thinking, but Yu was able to do it.
Also, this issue appears to be the very last issue featuring Leinil Francis Yu as the regular Wolverine artist. His 15-issue run with Wolverine helped establish him as one of the most popular Wolverine pencilers around, and with him going over to pencil for Uncanny X-Men, he will definately get more recognition and fame among the X-Fans. Jeff Matsuda, whose most recent works were mainly on the manga-like title known as Ka-Boom! and whom most X-Fans would probably remember best for his work on X-Factor, will be taking over as the regular Wolverine penciler, and Erik Larsen, who's best known for his work on many successful titles including Savage Dragon, Aquaman, and his upcoming work on Nova, will (hopefully) become the permanent writer for Wolverine. It's about time that Wolverine finally get a more stable cast and crew working on the title, since the last year or two, we've been seeing Marvel play musical chairs with the writers. It will be interesting to see what the two can bring to the title, with Mr. Larsen planning to bring back more traditional Wolverine story arcs where Logan fights "real" villians, while Mr. Matsuda bringing a more cartoon, "manga-ish" look to Wolverine, a title which, traditionally, has not had a "manga-ish" look. Only time will tell whether Wolverine fans will like this new look Wolverine title.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"A Rage in the Cage"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Officer Cowaher, Officer Dunleavy, and the police coroner are examining the body of Linda Higgins (refer to Wolverine #91 for information on who she and her family are), who died apparently of a broken neck suffered from a fall against some porch steps. They were examining a welt in the back of Linda Higgins' back, wondering what had caused it.
At a local hospital, John and Michelle Kole, Michelle being Linda's sister, were at a hospital where they received the bad news that Jane, Linda's daughter, was in critical condition due to internal swelling around the brain.
Out on the road, Logan was on the trail looking for Mr. Higgins. He had overheard the two officers and the coroner talking about the death of Linda Higgins, and he remembered how Mr. Higgins was known to beat up his wife on several occasion, including that night where he almost killed Mr. Higgins for beating her in Wolverine #91, and how Mr. Higgins also tried to run him over in Wolverine #92. Logan believed that Mr. Higgins killed Linda, hurt Jane, his own daughter, and took his son, all while drunk (since Logan was encountering several beer cans along the road).
At a roadside motel, Mr. Higgins and his son, Richard, had rented a room for the night. His son was sobbing uncontrollably while doodling with a red crayon on paper. Mr. Higgins, still drunk, tells his son that what happened happened, and nothing could be done to change what's done. He tells his son to get some sleep since they were leaving from Albany Airport the next morning. Logan, still on the trail, passes the motel without suspecting that the two had taken shelter there for the night.
Meanwhile, Cowaher and Dunleavy continues to investigate the death of Linda Higgins. Showing the head coroner photos of the injuries that Linda had sustained, they learn that the lump on Linda Higgins was the sign that she broke her neck, and when she fell, she fell on her daughter, who banged her head against the porch stairs. They also learn that Linda had been hit with a blunt object, possibly metal in the back. Radioing two officers who were staked out at the Higgins household, they find a shovel in the front yard, and bring it in to the police station to dust it for fingerprints.
In the meantime, Logan starts backtracking because he realizes he didn't see any more beer cans along the road, and being that it was 4AM, had to backtrack to check every motel along the route to see where Mr. Higgins and his son might have been staying.
At the motel where Mr. Higgins and his son was staying, the two prepares to leave. Richard asks for a bathroom break before they left, which lasts much longer than anticipated. Mr. Higgins investigates, the bathroom to make sure Richard hadn't left any messages behind, and visually finding everything in order, departs for the airport with his son.
Three hours later, Logan reaches the motel where Mr. Higgins and his son were staying. He finds out which room the two had stayed in from the maid who was cleaning the room. He finds some empty beercans, the red crayon drawings of Richard, but no other physical evidence to point him in the right direction ... until he discovers, behind the bathroom door, a heavy scent of crayon wax. He finds a message on the door, left behind by Richard, telling whomever discovers it that he and his dad were departing from Albany Airport at 9:00. Logan immediately leaves for the airport.
Back at the police station, Cowaher and Dunleavy finds small finger prints on the shovel. Looking into Mr. Higgins' lengthy prior arrest record, which includes beating up Linda Higgins, they discover that the finger prints that they had obtained from the shovel handle didn't match. Cowaher decides to run a match on the prints to Mr. Higgin's son.
At the hospital, Jane finally wakes up. Her condition was slowly improving. She asks her aunt where her mom was.
Logan arrives at the airport with 15 minutes to spare. He reasons that Mr. Higgins and his son must be trying to get to Canada since Albany airport was so close to Canada. He finds the two in the terminal where he and his son were about to board a flight to Canada. Logan threatens to kill Mr. Higgins, who tells his son to back away. At the same time, at the hospital, Jane asks where her daddy and Richie were. Her uncle tells her her dad took Richie away. She asks if it was because Richie hurt her mom. Back at the airport, Richie screams out to Logan, telling him not to hurt his dad because he wasn't the one who had killed his mom, but rather, he had killed her. At the same time, Cowaher and Dunleavy discovers the fingerprints on the shovel handle matched Richie Higgins.
Mr. Higgins tells Logan what had happened: he comes home late, drunk. His food was cold. He hits Linda Higgins for not keeping his food warm. She grabs a gun from the car, a gun which he used to protect himself from Logan, and threatens to shoot Mr. Higgins. Mr. Higgins tells her to do it, or he'd killer her. From behind, Richie tells her mom not to do it, and swings a shovel into her back. Mrs. Higgins falls forward, falling on Jane, both landing on the porch step, Jane knocked unconscious by the fall, Mrs. Higgins breaking her neck on the porch step. The airport police hauls both Mr. Higgins and Richie away, but not before Logan gets in the final word that maybe Richie had pushed her, but he sure didn't kill her, and that no matter what Mr. Higgins said, his kids would always know the truth.