Who's in this issue?
Dang, there's some nasty stuff going on in this issue! First impression: this Mauvais character is definitely twisted. Goring out and eating Logan's eyeball? Nasty! (Somewhat off the subject: now let's see Wolverine's healing factor try to heal *that* wound!) I think this title, as of late, has definitely taken a turn to a more bloody path.
So, we're introduced to this new character known as Mauvais, French (I think) for "evil"; a character that even Dr. Strange can feel the evilness eminating from him, an evilness that not even he believes he could stop. To me, Mauvais, whose mystical powers are derived from eating human flesh, seems to be more a living vampire. So far, he appears to be a force to be recken with, but hey, who's to say that the way he handled Wolverine as Wolverine's "executioner" was fair, considering that Logan was bound, his mutant powers held in check by the prison's facilities, never really had a chance to defend himself or go on the offense. Still, if this character doesn't show up in the next Wolverine issue, he may be a character whom Dr. Strange may face, considering the fact that there really isn't a purpose for bringing in Dr. Strange to this issue without a possible future confrontation between Dr. Strange and Mauvais!
Sabretooth's appearance as Wolverine's "rescuer" seems to hint at a possible revisit to the entire Weapon X saga again, especially when one may consider that Barry Windsor-Smith, the original writer for the Weapon X saga in the Marvel Comics Presents books, is making an appearance in the next issue. Sabretooth obviously has no need to rescue Wolverine for no reason, given into consideration his checkered and often violent confrontational past with Logan. Now on the subject of Sabretooth: his "new" costume that was featured in this issue does work well for Sabretooth, as his belt (with those two canine teeth-looking protrusions) and his shoulder guard does fit his persona of being a sabretooth well. Logan's new costume in the X-series? He still looks like a bruiser with no particular identifying mark of him being a Wolverine. Let's just say that I'm glad that this title, Wolverine, rarely features Wolverine in full-costume, so at least the readers of this title is spared that painful image of Wolverine in his "new" costume.
In general, my impression is that although we're not being rushed through this story arc, it does progress along very nicely. Sure, we haven't gone anywhere else other than seeing Logan and Beast in the prison, but at least we're seeing some interesting (and at time often gory) events going on with Wolverine in this story arc. The only thing that was lacking was any other indication of why Wolverine is connected to all the events going on, which I would expect that they would have resolved by the next issue, considering the fact that the next issue is the finale to this story arc. We shall see where this takes us.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"The Hunted: Pt. 4"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Dr. Strange is heard screaming in agony. His associate, Wong, walks in to find Dr. Strange shaken up. Dr. Strange felt the reemergence of "a great evil", one which he doesn't believe he could be able to stop.
At the maximum security penitentiary, Reb shows his partner, Axel, what he had discovered in the past: an ancient man, frozen in some type of torturous pose, which he believed was a magical being, one who would rid them of their mutant disposal problem and be unaffected by the facilities' dampening field which prevented mutants from using their superpowers. Axel wonders how they would be able to wake this being up. He taps the head of the frozen man, who suddenly grabs Axel by the neck.
To "the hole", where Logan was being held after his brawl with the prisoners in the last issue. He recounts what had happened in the last few weeks: his supposed murder of the senator, his encounter with the Shiver Man, then his transformation into Apocalypse's first horseman known as Death ... wondering whether he really was the one who killed the senator, and if so, he felt he deserved to be locked in this prison. Peepers appears with food for Wolverine, along with news that Beast had been stabbed, but not dead yet. Logan tells Peepers to go help Beast because he knew that there were people who were going to try and finish Beast off. Peepers takes off to go check on Beast.
Inside the medical ward, Beast lies bloodied on an operation table. No medical personnels are seen. Two prison guards outside are talking, one expressing his surprise at how the warden ordered no one to operate on Beast and just leave him to die there. He would prefer to have someone just finish the job instead of letting Beast slowly die. As they were speaking, one of Aryan's men walks in, disguised as a nurse. The two guards do nothing, knowing who the person was and knowing what his intentions were: to finish Beast off.
Back to the secret room, where the ancient being asks the Reb and Axel why he had been awoken. After Reb tells him why, the being tells them if he does the job, he would request to be released from the prison as the nature of the spell, as he mentions, required him to be kept in the prison until an agreement had been made to free him from the prison. Reb agrees.
Elsewhere, Nick Fury is seen recruiting the help of the Shiver Man again. This time, he wants the Shiver Man to follow and find out what Special Agent Jackson was up to because he suspected something shady about Jackson.
Back to the prison, as Logan is dropped another note from above. The note isn't revealed to us this time, but it explains everything that was happening: Logan learns it wasn't the doings of Apocalypse, and that these people that was doing this was someone that he was hoping it didn't involve since these people came from his past (perhaps Weapon X?). Wolverine is then drugged by Reb and taken to Mauvais.
In the perimeters of "The Cage", a group of unknown intruders are making their way into the prison. Their mission was to retrieve the "subject", and leave as quickly as possible with minimal lives lost.
Back inside, as Beast, still unconscious on the infirmary table, is about to be killed by one of Aryan's men. From behind, Peepers rams a cart into his back and grabs a hold of the daggar that the man was going to use on Beast. The man, noticing how Peepers was shaking badly, advances on Peepers to take the knife away from him.
To Wolverine, now bounded to a chair. Mauvais begins his blood assault on Wolverine. Utilizing his sharp nails and teeth, he begins to systematically tear away at Wolverine's flesh to the horrors of Reb and Axel, who, from a crack, were watching the ongoings as they set up their rifles to take out Mauvais as soon as he finished his execution of Wolverine.
Back in the med lab, as the man continues his advancement towards Peepers. He makes fun of Peeper's speech deficiency, which leads to Peepers giving him the knife ... into his gut. Peepers continues his violent assault on the man with the knife that he had in his hand, only to be held in check by someone. Beast, in his weakened state, recognizes in surprise the person who was recognizing them.
Wolverine, with his body ripped and bloodied in several places, is complemented by Mauvais about his flesh being so "invigorating". As a final action, Mauvais thrusts one of his nails into Wolverine's left eyeball, gouging it out and swallows it. Recognizing what Rex and Axel had in mind now that his task was completed, he teleports himself from the facility, now free of the spell that had contained him to the jailhouse in the past. Rex and Alex, realizing how much trouble they're now going to be in from the Warden, realizes they're going to have to finish off Wolverine by themselves. Reb takes aim at Wolverine's forehead, only to have himself and Axel be slashed from behind. Wolverine, in poor shape, realizes in confusion and surprise at who his rescuer was: Sabretooth!