Who's in this issue?
One thing that Frank Tieri did best in my opinion for this particular issue is what he did with Mr. X: he is the most annoying and conceded character that I have ever read in comics in a long time. Mr. X thinks that he's the best there is at what *he* does, and his "I'm-better-than-you" attitude towards Wolverine has been unmatched to any other characters that hs ever appeared in this title. I think this easily makes Mr. X one of the more memorable characters, and Mr. Tieri should definitely get a lot of credit for accomplishing this.
Obviously, this issue (and the preceding two issues) will prove that there are many more potential issues down the line. Two examples: Sabretooth being captured by Mr. X, and the issue with Senator Walsh and the men that he knew being killed. My guess is that these two issues will, hopefully, be resolved during Mr. Tieri's stay. However, let's just hope that Sabretooth doesn't suddenly appear in some other X-issue without this important development resolved.
Other than that, this issue can pretty much be summarized in two plots: first, Mr. X reveals his past, and second, Wolverine fights Mr. X, only to have their fight unresolved and "postponed" for a future issue. But what made this issue interesting was the development of Mr. X into a very formidable and arrogant opponent for Wolverine to have a rematch with in the future. This guy's infactuated with death, and constantly keeps pushing himself to the next level by finding a challenger at that level to face off against.
Just an observation: has anyone else noticed just how much more bloody the last few issues under the creative team of Tieri and Chen have become? There's been a lot more blood, and in this issue, it was very troubling to see what Mr. X had done with the puppy in that one scene (where the dog is literally broiled in the oven), along with the snake eating the rat and when Wolverine gouges himself to break free from the constraints.
Overall, I think although this issue was another one of those issues without a true victor at the end, the fact that there was good character development in this issue (development not of Wolverine, but of one of his new "enemies", Mr. X) made this issue a good issue to read in my opinion, and is one that I think would be a good recommendation, assuming that Mr. X will reappear in a later issue.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"The Best There Is: Pt. 3 of 3"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Wolverine wakes up to the image of what appears to be the devil, only to realize, after his head clears, that it was only a plate of food, and he was sitting at a table, bound, where breakfast was being served. Mr. X, Blok, the platoon Major, A, and T were present as well. After a brief encounter with Wolverine biting A's hand as she was removing a mouth gag from Wolverine (which she had placed), Mr. X dismisses them all, leaving Wolverine, Mr. X, and Mr. X's lawyer, Mr. Postlewaite, alone. Mr. Postlewaite presents Wolverine with documents that outlined Mr. X's offer to Wolverine. What Mr. X wanted from Wolverine was the claim to the title "The Best There Is": a title that Mr. X had heard Wolverine to be referred as, but now that Wolverine had been defeated by Mr. X, he felt that Wolverine doesn't deserve that title anymore and that he alone should be given the title of "The Best There Is". Wolverine is regaged, and Mr. X proceeds to tell Wolverine his life's story.
Mr. X tells of his childhood: how he was born to wealth and his parents gave him everything that his heart desired. His whole outlook on life changed, however, that day when he witnessed the death of a pedestrian in a car accident. He saw in the dying woman's eyes her passing on from this life to the next. He found himself hooked to that feeling, and tried everything he possibly could to reduplicate that feeling. He realized no one could give him that feeling, and only one thing could, which he had to take. One day, while washing a dog that he was given, he noticed that the oven had been left open, and he placed the dog into the oven. With the oven set on broil, he watched as the dog was broiled to death in the oven, and the look in the dog's eyes allowed Mr. X to recapture that feeling that he had been longing for. From that point on, he started his killing spree to recaptive that feeling: first his parents, then people no one would notice, followed by neighbors, old friends, and then people of influence and power. Eventually, he grew tired of hunting the "prey", and began longing to hunt the "hunters".
To start hunting the hunters, he knew he had to train himself to become "...the greatest killing machine this world had ever known." He trained under the best masters, only satisfied until he conquered his masters. He then spent the next part of his life seeking out and destroying men who claimed that they were the best at what they did, while in the process setting a new standard for killing. In the meantime, he had to destroy his past by destroying all records of his life to make it appear as if he had never existed. He was giving Wolverine a choice that he would make to only a selected few: those who shared the same passion to kill as he did. Believing Wolverine to be one of the best, he would be more satisfied to allow Wolverine live and merely have Wolverine accept the fact that Mr. X was superior to him and to join him in his new "murder avant-garde". Wolverine, seeing how twisted Mr. X was, allows his animal side to be unleashed. He unleashes his claws and frees himself from his confinement to attack Mr. X.
Interlude, where Senator Walsh aeds in a newspaper about the death of three of his colleagues: John, Peter, and Michael. He wonders in fear whether he would be next, as he knows those men and has a good idea as to who the killer might be.