Who's in this issue?
Ohhhhhhhhh .... so Mr. X is a telepath, eh? Sheesh, why didn't we see that one coming? (Throw Mr. X against the X-squad, he's got no chance with Prof. X and Jean Grey around, but against Wolverine, a non-telepath, he's got a fighting chance.) So that's his little "secret" that enables him to win almost all of his fights: knowing what the opponent's plan of attack as the opponent is planning it. This makes him more vulnerable, obviously, as Wolverine now knows that the only way to beat him is to unleash his berserker side, which even himself doesn't know what his own next move would be.
This issue basically highlighted the showdown between Wolverine and Mr. X. You would think that the next issue (pt. 3 of 3) would be the one to do this, but it is revealed that Wolverine's old sensei, Ogun, who never seens to be permanently dead, has resurfaced after his last sighted appearance in Wolverine #114 when he had taken over Lady Deathstrike's body. (Of course, whatever happened with that storyline blows my mind because it was another unresolved issue that had never been taken care of by all the Wolverine writers since that issue). By bringing back Ogun, this diverts the last part of this storyline to the inevitable rematch between Ogun and Wolverine.
Blok's become a somewhat interesting character to me. Why does he keep risking his life to protect Mr. X, even willing to sacrifice his body by stepping in front of Mr. X as Wolverine was just about to unleash his final blow against Mr. X. And related to this ... if Wolverine had been in a genuine berserker rage, he would've have hesistated to kill Mr. X, even if Blok stepped in front. Sheesh ... some things just don't add up once in awhile.
As I was reading this issue, the more and more the Bloodsport matches presented themselves, the more it reminded me of a WWF match. Electrical cage? What about the one in the previous issue to climb all the way up to the top of the cage? Or as in the match between Mr. X and Wolverine: whomever finds the corner with the belt wins the match? There was some lack of originality here as to these matches. It works, but some original thinking wouldn't have hurt.
Bringing back the point of Ogun resurfacing: on page 7, when presumably Ogun's spirit transfers itself from Blok to Mr. X, some interesting questions surfaces. Just how long had Ogun been in Blok's body? Last he was seen, he had inhabited Lady Deathstrike. Would that mean Blok might have been Lady Deathstrike? After all, Lady Deathstrike was a cyborg, and it had been shown she could change the way her body's appearance at will, and Blok does have those funky markings all over himself like Lady Deathstrike had had. Then comes the issue of when Ogun inhabits Mr. X's body: so when Logan fought Mr. X in their match, was that really Mr. X fighting, or was that just Ogun fighting Logan using Mr. X's body? These were just some of the strange questions that I had asked myself but did not get answered in this issue.
Finally, what's the deal with N'Sync bandmembers Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick making an appearance in this issue? Was it just another shameless plug by Marvel to boost sales of this issue, especially towards N'Sync fans, just to put in two N'Sync band members? I've learned from people peddling this book that the reason the two members of N'Sync was in this issue was because they were friends with the artist of this book, and what's sad is that people are willing to pay 3x's the cover price of this uninspiring book (in my opionion) just to get a one-panel appearance of N'Sync in here.
Summary: it was nice to see Wolverine using his head to figure out why Mr. X had been winning all his matches against some of the best fighters in the world, including himself, but once that was revealed, Mr. X just doesn't sound like that great of a fighter anymore. Sure, he definitely does know a few tricks, but take off his telepathic abilities (or limited telepathic abilities, as Wolverine refers to it as), and he's not as deadly anymore. Ogun's resurface has been a disappointment to me again simply because he was brought back without resolving a past issue (ala his last appearance where he had ran off with Lady Deathstrike's body). Hopefully, the next issue should be better, but right now, with Mr. X seemingly disappeared, I honestly don't know how interesting fighting Ogun will be because the last few times he's appeared, their matchup has not particularly been interesting.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"Bloodsport: Pt. 2 of 3"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Among many onlookers of the match (which includes two band members of N'Sync, Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick), the curtain arises from the cage that the previous match had taken place in, and Mr. X presents himself to the public as the victor of that match. Backstage, as Mr. X meets with Viper, Wolverine bursts in and demands to find out from Mr. X why he was the mysterious "friend" that had been assisting him during his and Beast's capture in the high-security prison (last story arc). Mr. X's reasoning for interceding was, in his word, to prevent Wolverine from getting "credit for a crime you [Logan] did not commit" and that "it isn't in good taste for artistes such as ourselves [Logan and Mr. X] to have our 'stats' [kills] padded for us." Mr. X revealed that he had had connections also in the government that had revealed Weapon X had targeted Wolverine, but that to himself, Mr. X believed Wolverine was his to deal with and himself alone.
Logan takes off to prepare himself for the match against Mr. X. As he walked off, Mr. X asks Blok whether he was okay as Blok looked phased for a minute. At that moment, some kind of smoke transfers itself from Blok to Mr. X. Mr. X continues his conversation with Viper, and warns her of bigger concerns than her worries about Logan.
Back inside the ring, Wolverine faces off against Puma inside an electrified cage. Jae Lo gives Logan a bottle of water to drink before the fight begins. As the fight begins between Logan and Puma, Logan suddenly feels woozy, and realized that he had been drugged. With Puma fighting hard, Logan had no choice but to go on the defense as his healing factor was working overtime to rid his body of the drug that was slowing him down. Puma tries to take advantage of the situation by leaping towards Logan, but Logan dodges, and Puma flies into the electrified fence, knocking him unconscious. With the match over, Logan grabs Jae Lo and demands to know from him who had drugged his water. He says a "major player" had given him some poison to affect Logan. Logan looks around and his eyes meets Viper, realizing that Viper had been the one who drugged the water. She blows a kiss towards Wolverine.
Mr. X was up next, and his fight was against the Taskmaster. The object of their fight was that whomever gets out of the cage first wins. Taskmaster tries everything in his power to beat Mr. X, but Mr. X had somehow anticipated all of his moves, and quickly beats Taskmaster out of the cage. Mr. X throws the defeated Taskmaster to the floor of the cage, and Mr. X was declared the winner. Mr. X was not satisfied that he did not get his kill, and he kills the ringside official instead for stopping the fight.
The main event, as Logan faces off against Mr. X in a match of whomever finds the corner with the belt wins the match. Once again, Mr. X had an answer to every single one of Wolverine's moves, which baffles Wolverine. Underneath the ring, Taskmaster fires an arrow from under the ring in an attempt to kill Mr. X. Unfortunately, both Logan and Mr. X dodges the arrow. A ring of fire bursts in the center of the ring. Logan thinks to himself how Mr. X would have been able to know the arrow was going to come out of the ring, and then it hits him: Logan realizes that Mr. must be a telepath. As he thinks about it more ... how in Mr. X's story that the first time he became obsessed with Death was when he looked at the life draining out of a lady's eyes, and how that was very similar to Jean Grey and when her telepathic abilities had been activated after a little girl died in her arms. But without a Professor X to guide him, Mr. X had went nuts with his powers. Logan realizes that the only chance he had to beat Mr. X was to let his Berserker side get the best of him as the last time it happened, he had almost beat Mr. X, and even himself could not anticipate his own moves. He unleashes his berserker side, and proceeds to hack away at Mr. X. Mr. X falls into the corner with the belt, and realizes that he had defeated Logan once again. Logan approaches Mr. X with one set of his claws extended, and was just about to stab it through Mr. X's skull before Blok intercedes. At that moment, the floor on the ring collapses from the fire. When Logan gets back up, Mr. X and Blok were both long gone.
Later that day, as Logan packs his stuff to prepare to catch the flight back to the States, Viper walks in to tell Logan in a desparate voice that Ogun was back.