Who's in this issue?
Maybe I'm missing something, but there was a reference in the very beginning of this book by Logan about how he had recently "failed t'nab the dirtbag pullin' the strings fer Bloodscream an' Vermin during' that 'Homeless Murder' caper ..." ... when on Earth did this happen? It sure wasn't in any recent Wolverine issues, and for that matter, Vermin has never appeared in any Wolverine issues to date. Kinda makes you wonder who's doing the research for the writer ...
In any case, asides from a brief parody on "Survivor" by the writer of this book (calling it "Staying Alive" instead of "Survivor" and a very brief side story on Omega Red's reappearance, the main agenda that this issue sets is another confrontation between Wolverine and Mauvais, whom as you recall in Wolverine #165 - #166 had left Wolverine quite battered, bloodied, and missing an eye for that matter. Mauvais is supposedly French, and his thirst for power in this issue involves him and his desire to capture Wendigo, eat his heart, and as a result, add Wendigo's power to his own to allow him to overcome the "unknown forces of Canada" to reclaim Canada as French with him as its leader. Hmm ... kinda makes you wonder whether there is an easier way for him to go about this.
Overall, a very straight-forward issue which sets the stage for two stories somewhere down the line: a.) how Wolverine will deal with Wendigo, and then presumably Mauvais, and b.) what Omega Red's presence has in Wolverine's future adventures and how Sabretooth may have influence in this confrontation.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"Stay Alive: Pt. 1 of 3"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Airing on television is a clip of sixteen contestants somewhere in the Canadian arctic, all competing for $1 million dollars to stay alive. Mr. Stone, TV exec for SBS, yells at one of his assistants, Bartlet, about declining ratings for that show due to the public's interest in contestants braving it out in the snow (rather than dressed in "bikinis eating rats and bugs ...", and warns Bartlet to make sure that nothing goes wrong. On screen, a contestant is shown being airlifted for medical attention after being bitten by a seal. As one of the contenstants on the helicopter step out, a medical doctor grabs him by the arm and drains him of his energy, revealing himself to be Mauvais, and takes on the look of the contestant. The two other medical personnel assisting Mauvais reveals themselves to be Bloodscream and Vermin, whom savagely eats up their victim (the guy bitten by the seal).
Meanwhile, somewhere else in Canada, Wolverine is ordering food at a roadside diner where the "Staying Alive" show was on the television. As he watches the show with the waiter, he thought he recognizes one of the contestants as Mauvais, only to have his suspicion confirmed as the contestant transforms into Mauvais after draining the life out of another victim. Logan makes travel plans to head up to Canada to face Mauvais.
In Brooklyn, NY, where Nikolai Vernoff is approached by Omega Red, who kills Nikolai Vernoff for selling drugs in his employer's territory. As he walks away, Sabretooth is seen having a drink at the bar.
Over the Candian Arctic, as Wolverine leaps out of an aircraft into the blizzard, riding a snowmobile towards the location where Mauvais was wrecking his havoc. Mauvais had drained the life out of all the contestants, and was talking out loud to someone called the "Cochons", who was responsible for imprisoning him in that immovable existence, and now he would have his revenge on them. He senses a presence coming, and using his mystical powers, he sees that Wolverine was approaching. He sends a mystical power blast which knocks Wolverine off of his snowmobile. Wolverine finds himself face-to-face with three very angry polar bears, all of whom had been possessed and turned violent by Mauvais' mystical magic. Left with little choice, Logan had to utilize his claws to kill the polar bears before he could escape and continue his pursuit of Mauvais.
Mauvais continues casting his spell to get the attention of something. Wolverine appears, launching his snowmobile into Mauvais' back. However, Wolverine is unable to get in to fight Mauvais, as Mauvais' spell cast a force field around himself. Mauvais declares to Wolverine how Wolverine will bear witness to his reclaimation of Canada, to utilize the creation that the "Gods who Lord of Canada ..." to his advantage ... a creature who's "...attracted to the cannibal acts that spawned him -- a creature whose power will be added to my [Mauvais] own once I've devoured its living heart -- enabling me to lock those infernal Canadian gods out forever". Mauvais finally lowers his force field, and as Logan turns around, he realizes why Mauvais had lowered the force field: Wendigo had appeared.