Who's in this issue?
Hmm ... this issue wasn't what I expected. I thought the previous issue was just something of a one-shot ordeal, but I was wrong. Somehow, Wolverine manages to entangle himself with a mob family, and pits himself right smack in between another rival mob family. All of this is over a debt that he is willing to repay for the man whose daughter had been captured in the previous issue. Honestly speaking, though, I don't remember Wolverine ever being considered to be a "hired hand" to do away with someone for the sake of repaying a debt, which is what this story arc is implying Wolverine as doing. It does make you wonder whether Logan's turned a page in the way he conducts himself and the crowd he'll associate with.
Nothing particularly fancy in this issue overall. The only thing that did catch my eye, like last issue, is the fact that this issue has a feel of better concrete writing to this book, which is helped by the artwork team of Sean Chen, Tom Palmer, and Edgar Tadeo. When they talk about "a picture is worth a thousand word", page 6 to me exemplifies this statement. Just watching Johnny walk down this corridor past old photographs of the Pazzo crime family in itself tells the story about this family's history of "greatness" among crime families, and the solumn look on Johnny's wrinkled face as he walks past these photographs tells us of the suffering that the family is going thanks in part to a rival crime family, the Romans.
Obviously, we can tell that the family, in general, doesn't hold much high regards for the young, inexperienced Freddo as the family boss, though Sal, the former family boss, did make his son Freddo the new boss upon passing away because of a promise Sal had made to Freddo's mother. Johnny was the more experienced one who would've managed the "family business" better, but the promise Sal made forced Sal to make Johnny Freddo's "underboss".
Overall, I like the way the story is going, despite the story being a big departure from a typical Wolverine story of supervillians vs. Wolverine. Granted, it's slower in action then a typical Wolverine fan would like, but the fact that this story is written so much better than other stories in this comic book series as of late makes me feel relieved that this title hasn't sacrificed strong stories over mindless fight sequences. This allows the writers to write better stories and artists to showcase their true art talent (again, back to the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words".)
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"Three Funerals and a Wedding"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Johnny, the underboss of the Pazzo crime family, reads the headlines of the morning's newspaper. On the front page was of a scene of one of their own, "Joe Bats", who had been murdered at his niece's wedding, a victim of an escalating war between two rival mob families. He crumbles the newspaper and throws it away in disgust. Tony, another member of the Pazzo family, walks in to tell Johnny that Freddo, the crime family's boss, wanted to see him. As Johnny walks out, Tony comments on how Johnny should just "do away" with Freddo, considering how bad the "family business" was going and how they were losing territorial grounds to a rival family (the Romans) and that everyone around Freddo believed that Sal, the family's deceased boss, should have made Johnny their boss upon passing away. Johnny grabs Tony, tells him that regardless of what everyone thought, Freddo was their boss and should be treated with respect, whether they liked it or not.
As Johnny walks down the hallway to Freddo's office, past old photographs of famous crime bosses of the past, he pauses in front of one picture, reflecting on how things once were and how things are now. He thinks back to the past, when he approached Sal at his deathbed, expecting that he was going to become the new boss of the crime family. But, Sal told Johnny that he was going to make his son Freddo the family boss and Johnny the underboss because he (Sal) was bound by a promise he had made to Freddo's mother on her deathbed to make "something outta Freddo ..."
Back to the present, where Freddo is watching an old mobster movie and religiously taking notes of the lines that some of the actors spoke. Johnny walks in, and after Freddo makes him kiss his ring hand (respect for the boss), Freddo asks whether Johnny made any progress on finding out who had killed three of their toughest men at the Chez Bippy bar, leaving one without a hand. Johnny comments on how he had a bad feeling about all of this, how he didn't approve of the kidnapping of the little girl, and how back in his days, the family would've only harassed the person owing them money and not bring in the rest of his family. Freddo tells Johnny to get "...with the program, old man", and that the day wasn't Johnny's anymore, but his own, and the only reason he kept Johnny as his underboss was out of respect for his father.
At that very instant, Tony bursts in with news to Freddo that there was a guy who had just showed up, saying that he knew who had killed their three men at Chez Bippy, and this guy had brought some proof with him. Logan walks through the doorway with a bowtied box in his left hand and three of the mob family's men behind him. He hands the box to Johnny for inspection. Freddo asks who had killed their three men. Logan points to his left at an image of himself. Johnny opens the box and finds the missing hand of one of their victims from the bar. Instantly, Logan is surrounded by guns aimed directly at his head. All Logan does his stand there, grinning. Johnny suspects something was amiss, asking Logan what he knew that they didn't know. Logan's reply? "What's gonna happen if those five guns don't get outta my mug". Within a split second, before Freddo had the opportunity to finish the word "cooperation", Logan had extended his claws and slashed through the air around him. The gunmen wonder what had just happened. Logan blows some air on their gun, and the five guns that had been pointed at him falls to the ground in pieces. Tony stares at his gun in disbelief, wondering how Logan had did it. Logan pops out a set of his claws in front of Tony's face. Johnny asks what Logan wanted from them. Logan tells Johnny that the three deceased men went overboard in collecting their debt at the bar, and Johnny was to forget that debt. Logan goes on to say that he was going to repay that debt for the Pazzo family by proposing that they let him take care of the Roman family in exchange for the repayment of the debt owed to the Pazzo family by his friend and his daughter. Freddo thinks about it, and agrees to it.
As Logan is escorted out, Johnny tells Freddo that he thinks it's a mistake that they're letting Logan walk out with that deal. Freddo blames Johnny for not seeing the whole picture, to "keep your friends close ... but your enemies closer". As Freddo walks away, leaving Johnny at the doorstep, Johnny thinks to himself how he had that bad feeling again, that they were making a mistake.