Staff members (Main Story)
Staff members (Side Story)
Who's in this issue? (Main Story)
Who's in this issue? (Side Story)
So this book runs about $1.25 more than a normal Wolverine issue. Why? Because this issue contains two stories: one, "...And Got Yourself a Gun", is a carryover from the storyarc that began two issues ago, and "Restraining Order", which is a one-time side story which appears to be a story written so that a contest winner from the comic book industry magazine Wizard has the opportunity to pencil his very own storyline. Which makes me wonder whether this guy gets any of this additional $1.25 cost. :) My guess is probably not; the opportunity to pencil his very own Wolverine issue is good enough, and the additional costs goes to pay the salary of the additional personnel who had to work on this book.
First things first: let's talk about the story "...And Got Yourself a Gun", which is a continuation of a 3-part story (so far) which features Logan as a freelancer helping out a mob boss family, the Pazzo, because he was repaying a debt for a friend to the Pazzo family. I like the retro-style art of Wolverine as a mobster on the front page; it works real well with this ongoing storyline. Second, the introduction of the Roman clan. The clan leader, whom we can only refer to as "Roman" because of what he calls his "Roman forefathers" ties, may act like a nutcase on the outside, but on the inside, he's an extremely powerful and intelligent mob boss. Then again, the fact that his home is decorated with a *lot* of Roman-themed items (and the fact that he named his Siamese cat Cleopatra, and owns three lions (!)) does seem to make you wonder about his sanity. And third: we can definitely see that Logan has put himself smack in the middle of two clans who now sees him as a problem: the Romans see Logan as some kind of freelancer out to destroy them, and the Pazzos, except for the boss leader Freddo, sees Logan as a threat to their own family because Logan had managed to gain Freddo's trust by doing something that his main members Johnny and Tony could not, which was dealing with the Roman's.
We'll see a new character next story, the Sweeper, who, like Logan, is going to be a hired freelancer killer representing the Roman clan and will most likely clash with Logan. Also, I suspect somehow, we'll see some more development of internal conflict between Freddo and his family members. Roman will probably get caught by the FBI, whom already look as if they're doing surveillance on him for shady activities.
Now, about the substory, "Restraining Order". The contest winner, Ryan Bodenheim, looks to be a very talented and promising artist. He's got elements of manga in his artwork, with a hint of Leinil Francis Yu's pencil styling as well. I expect to see his name pop up again in the future in some comic book. As for the story, I don't expect to see much development here. This story seems to be an epilogue carryover from Wolverine #173 - #176 when Lady Deathstrike and others had teamed up and harmed Logan by getting at his adopted family members in Japan: Amiko, and Yukio. Nothing really major here though: Logan gives chase, takes down Lady Deathstrike, both duel it out like true samurai warriors (by swords rather than through the aid of their physical mutant abilities), and Logan triumphs. The only significant thing we learn here is that Lady Deathstrike doesn't appear that she'll ever have the will to kill Logan, for it is her desire to kill Logan that keeps her going more than anything else, so if Logan dies, she really wouldn't have any more purpose.
And on a final note, which we'll refer back to the main story with Logan and the two mob families. Another piece of the puzzle might have been brought in regarding just how old Wolverine is. The evidence? When Logan defeats the Roman crew inside the restaurant, his final comments to the old man was this "Lou Gehrig was the best first baseman who ever lived. Anybody who actually saw the man play would know that". Granted, he was practically repeating what the old man had stated, but the "twinkle in his eyes" seemed to hint that Logan was there, back in 1939, to see Gehrig play baseball and would agree that Gehrig was the best first baseman who had ever lived. If this is indeed the case (that he was present back then to see Gehrig play), then right off the bat, doing the math, you know Logan's at least 63 years old, which in some respect will allow the Origin story arc to comply with this story. HOWEVER, the only problem with this that I see is that Logan shouldn't have this ability to recall events from back then, for remember: Logan had lost his past memories ever since the Weapon X project, or as more recent stories seem to hint that Logan's own healing factor "healed" over unwanted memories, which meant most, if not all, of his past memories should not be recalled by Logan! See (Wolverine #173 - #176)
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"...And Got Yourself a Gun"
IN THIS ISSUE:
The scene opens at a small restaurant called the Sons of Italy, a place favored by the Roman mob family to hang out at. Inside, two older gentleman are arguing with a young man about who was the greatest first baseman that the New York Yankees had ever had. The young kid is arguing in favor for Jason Giambi as being the greatest first baseman ever, whereas his seniors argue that Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman ever for the Yankees. Suddenly, one of the patrons notices Logan sitting in the corner at a table. Unresponsive to their inquiry about how he got in, one guy grabs Logan by the jacket just as he was about to drink his coffee, spilling it. Logan extends one of his middle claws through the man's hand. A fight breaks out inside the restaurant. Just a few feet away at the outside of the restaurant, the Punisher was reading a newspaper. Gunfire rings out and a patron flies out the window, landing at the Punisher's feet. The Punisher folds his newspaper, comments "I hate half days", and leaves the scene. Back inside, Logan had disposed of all but one of the patrons inside, an old man. Logan walks over to him (note the old man is in terror), takes a drink out of the old man's coffee club, comments how if anyone had seen Gehrig play baseball would agree today that Gehrig *was* the greatest Yankee first baseman ever, and leaves.
From across the street inside a car, Johnny and Tony, two of the Pazzo mob members, were following Logan's every move inside the restaurant, watching how he disposed of the Roman mob members inside the restaurant. Tony had nothing but praises for Logan disposing the 4th Roman mob crew in less than a week. Johnny, however, still had his reservations about Logan, seeing how Logan was so swift and casual about his actions, and started to question scenarios in which Logan may one day turn against them, perhaps by altering the deal he had made with Freddo (their mob boss, their "Don"), and whether maybe one day, they themselves will become the target.
On another part of town, two law enforcement agents (presumably FBI agents) are following a man dressed up in a Roman toga and armed with a wooden sword and was wrecking havoc at a fruit stand. As they follow this man to a house, one agent had doubts as to whether their suspicion was not true and that this guy really was crazy. His partner, holding the video camera, replies that the act of being crazy was the genius part of it: that way, by acting crazy, he would be able to stay away from jail since they couldn't sentence someone who would be mentally insane.
Inside the house, the Roman rids himself of his soiled toga clothing and dresses up in a clean white suit. His house was decorated on the inside with Roman arches and a number of classic Roman statues. As he takes his seat at his desk with his siamese cat Cleopatra by his side, one of his men, Bruno, bursts in, exclaiming that the "freakin' sawed off clown with the claws" had hit them again. Roman interrupts Bruno, saying that Bruno had broken the rules of the house again for talking about the family business, not knowing who might be listening to them. For his third violation of the rule, Roman punishes Bruno by opening up a trap door underneath Bruno. Inside this den were three lions. Bruno tries to grab onto the trap door for his life, but ultimately falls into the hungry lions' den after Cleopatra (Roman's siamese cat) digs her claws into Bruno's hand, causing him to release his grip.
Later on, back outside, Roman (dressed in his toga with another one of his men, Vincente, at his side) discuss business, wondering whom this "freelancer" who was disposing of his men were. He notices the SUV across the street with dark windows and, suspecting that they were law enforcement conducting surveillance on him, proceeds to act like a nutcase again, this time attacking a hot dog stand. Seeing how the Pazzo's had enlisted the help of someone to stop his crew, Pazzo follows suit and hires in a freelancer of his own, the one known as the Sweeper, a man who "...cleaners call when they need cleaning...", one who leaves almost nothing behind when he's through with his victims.
At the Pazzo's house, where Freddo Pazzo greets Logan with open arms, praising Logan for almost ridding them of their problem with the Roman mob family. Seeing how good Logan was and the potential of having Logan aid Freddo into becoming the top mob boss in New York, he starts to hint at making Logan a more permanent deal by making Logan one of his "right-hand man". Logan replies that he didn't have a price, and that he could never be bought. As he heads out, Johnny and Tony voice their concern about Freddo's desire to make Logan a more permanent fixture in their family. Freddo tells them to shut up "...before I do us all a favor and ask Mr. Logan to put you two ... out of your misery." Logan leaves the compound, and is followed behind in the shadows by the Sweeper.
Kobe, Japan, where Logan, on his motorcycle, gives chase after three motorcyclist. Logan manages to disable two motorcyclist and catch up to the third one to get information as to where Lady Deathstrike. The last motorcyclist gives in after Logan steps on his hand, telling Logan the location.
At the USA Cantina (where the biker had told Logan where Lady Deathstrike could be found), Lady Deathstrike was having a heated argument with her employer, Nicopetti. Nicopetti had hired her to do away with his enemies, but was willing to pay her off right now instead of aiding her in killing Wolverine. Nicopetti comments on how he didn't want to be involved with something that didn't involve him in the first place: how Lady Deathstrike had harmed Logan's family (Amiko and Yukio). He blasts Lady Deathstrike for being irrationally, like a "... jilted lover ... you say you hate him, but you change your body ... forfeited your humanity so you could be just like him!" Nicopetti points out the fact that no one could kill Logan, and he had no choice but to turn his back on her. After being threatened by Lady Deathstrike, Nicopetti dares her to kill him because she should know how he dealt with his enemies.
Outside, Logan had arrived and was about to use his claws to get past the two guards at the door to the place when Nicopetti, his face slashed, falls out from the second story window. Lady Deathstrike jumps out, and Wolverine gives chase after her on his motorcycle. His pursuit lasts several miles to a golf driving range, where Logan catches up to Lady Deathstrike. Instead of using his claws to kill her, he grabs two katana swords he had been carrying, and forces Lady Deathstrike to fight him with the katana sword ... to finish the fight with honor and not like animals. The two battle against each other, no one gaining a true upper hand. Finally, Lady Deathstrike runs the sword through Logan's stomach, but was unable to rip his heart out because of Logan's adamantium-laced ribs protecting him from having that happen. Logan dares Lady Deathstrike to kill him. Even with the sword at his throat, Lady Deathstrike could not do it, and in Logan's words, was "afraid to kill the only person that means anything to [her] ... can't picture a life without purpose." Lady Deathstrike, enraged, raises her sword for the final blow, but she just could not do it. Logan tosses her aside, and with his katana wounds her badly. With her down, Logan had the opportunity to kill her, but wouldn't do it, saying that she was sick, she needed help, and if she had wanted to die, to find someone else to do it. He leaves, leaving Nicopetti and his men, who had followed, to face Lady Deathstrike and face their impending doom.