Who's in this issue?
Even though I'm still a bit P-O'ed about paying $3.99 for a book with foil claws printed on a cover page that feels cheap (c'mon, for $3.99, at least give us a durable, harder cover!), I thought that this issue was a good one, and I think many fans will like this book for many reasons. First, there are *tons* of great one-page pin-ups featured throughout this book: a shot of Death (Wolverine) bursting out of the ground, a shot of Apocalypse, a shot of a rampaging Hulk, etc. Second, this book features two highly popular matchups: Wolverine versus an adamantium-nized Sabretooth in a rematch from issue #125, and a rematch of Wolverine against the Hulk (Wolverine as Death in this matchup). Two of the greatest Wolverine matchups in one book? That's a winning combination right there. Furthermore, one of the most popular X-crossovers was the Age of Apocalypse, and this current crossover does hint at, perhaps, another return to the Age of Apocalyse.
The only thing I don't quite understand is what role the Skrulls have in this Age of Apocalpyse thing. If Apocalypse is so bent on survival of the fittest, why the Skrulls? After all, their home planet was destroyed by Galactus, so wouldn't that mean, in Apocalypse's eyes, that they're not fit at all?
One final thing: this book does settle the debate as to whether an adamantiumless Wolverine could beat a fully adamantiumnized Sabretooth. And, as you can see, this was proven to be true: that Logan *could* beat Sabretooth. Furthermore, this issue ties up the issue of a.) Does Wolverine get the adamantium back?, b.) How does he get the adamantium back?, and c.) How did Sabretooth get the adamantium to begin with? Lots of loose ends were filled in this issue, and it will definately make a fine collection to your set, despite the cheap cover material ...
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"On the Edge of Darkness"
IN THIS ISSUE:
A flashback to the past, during the time when the X-Men were returning back from the past on the Skrull world to present-day Earth while under suspended animation (or hibernation). During their journey, without the X-Men's knowledge, their ship was boarded by a few Skrulls. Their intentions was to kidnap Wolverine, while one of their own would morph himself into Wolverine's appearance to infiltrate the X-Men under Wolverine's identity. Then, a few more flashback scenes are shown, mainly discussing the events since their return to Earth: Xavier's suspicion that something wasn't right, to people thinking that Professor Xavier was losing it, to their recent discovery that a new dangerous enemy, known as Death, had killed Wolverine, only to discover that the Wolverine that was killed wasn't the real Wolverine, and instead, was a Skrull, and that Death was the real Wolverine. Shadowcat, who was in charge of putting all the X-Men under their long slumber during the journey home, was placing all the blame on herself while the other X-Men said that there was nothing any of them could have done. Their main concern now was how Wolverine came to be Death.
Elsewhere, Wolverine is summoned by his "master" to destroy the Incredible Hulk, because according to his "master", the Hulk was a "blemish on the higher cause [we] both serve, a mistake born of man's arrogance and infatuation with science." As he runs off to do his master's bidding, he suddenly remembers a flashback to the past: when he was captured and presented by the Skrull to his captor (now, his "master"). Wolverine's senses recognizes this man as "En Sabah Nur", and the man complements on Wolverine's instinct for survival, and how Logan was now going to fulfill his lifelong destiny.
Back to the present, as Death (Wolverine) locates the Incredible Hulk rampaging through a wooden valley. The Hulk, whose one desire was to be left alone, is ambushed and attacked by Death. The two battles it out.
Slipping back to the past, Wolverine, being held captive, is brought into a grand arena where his captor (the "master") was waiting. Proclaiming to Logan that his destiny now awaits, Logan finds himself attacked by Sabretooth (who, as you recall, now has an adamantium skeleton and nail claws). A very nasty battle begins between the two in the arena.
Back to the present, where Hulk and Death was still dueling it out: Hulk with his brute strength and violent attacks, Death with his huge sabre and more skilled attacks. Death says that the Hulk is weak, which, according to Death, the world has no place for the weak with the new order that was coming. Death continues to skillfully attack with his sabre until the Hulk was able to grab the sabre, pull Death close to him, and placed Death in a bone-crushing bear hug.
Flashback to the past, where a very bloody battle was still going on between Sabretooth and Wolverine. During their fight, Sabretooth reveals to Wolverine that Apocalpyse was returning, but his horsemen would ride first, and Sabretooth and Wolverine were to duel it out, the victor to become the horsemen known as Death. At this point, Wolverine snaps, and goes on the offense against Sabretooth. Despite his adamantium skeleton, Sabretooth's guts were still vulnerable to Wolverine's attacks. Wolverine realizes that if Sabretooth ever became Apocalypse's horseman known as Death, Sabretooth would easily succumb to the programming and do whatever Apocalypse wanted Death to do. But, if Wolverine, himself, could defeat Sabretooth, he, at least, would have a better chance to fight the programming that he'd receive if he became the horseman known as Death, and perhaps ultimately prevail over the programming and prevent Death from causing widespread death. Wolverine defeats Sabretooth.
To the present, where Death breaks out of Hulk's bear hug with a head butt to Hulk's head. Hulk suddenly remembers who Death is: as Wolverine, when Wolverine had first attacked him and since then, had always "hounds" Hulk everywhere the Hulk went. Tearing out a huge tree from the ground, with Death on the ground, the Hulk smashes the tree into Death (laying on the ground) with the force of a destructive explosion.
Back to the past: Wolverine and Sabretooth are hooked up onto a machine which was de-adamantium-nizing Sabretoth and rebonding that adamantium to Wolverine's skeleton. Sabretooth protests that he was better and stronger than Wolverine, but all their "master" cared about was who survived the encounter, and thus, that person deserved to have the adamantium more.
To the present, where somehow, Death unsheathes his claws and bursts out of the ground. He injures Hulk, who goes on a rampage and continues to bash Death, who retaliates with the adamantium claws, injuring the Hulk. Hulk suddenly falls to Death's mercy, but somehow, Death hesistates for a second before delivering the final blow to kill the Hulk, thinking twice about doing it. This split second allows Hulk to break lose, smashing Death to the ground, while he makes his getaway. Hulk disappears, and Wolverine is transported back to the temple, where now, it is revealed that Apocalypse lives, and although Death and Hulk fought to a standstill, Apocalypse proclaims that there were still many more fights to be fought as the new age ... the Age of Apocalypse ... was to return.