Thursday, March 13, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #3
For some people, the word “improvise” is inter-changeable with the phrase “apply more duct tape.” And despite what the internet and Mythbusters would have everyone believe, there are some problems that just can’t be fixed with duct tape. Wolverine’s healing factor is one of them. He lost it in the Killable arc. Now his re-launched series has him trying to re-invent himself while still being the best he is at what he does. It hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition. His fancy new uniform and his willingness to use firearms haven’t helped him become a better Wolverine or even the same Wolverine he was before. It is forcing Wolverine to be a different kind of badass and while he has shown in other X-men comics that he can be awesome without his healing factor, he hasn’t really shown it his own series. Hell, he tried to get advice from the Superior fucking Spider-Man. That’s like getting investing tips from Jim Cramer when he’s on crack. But Wolverine #3 is supposed to continue this journey to being a better Wolverine. I’m just hoping he finds better sources of help. The man is friends with Iron Man and Captain America. He has a lot of fucking options.
But for all his options, Wolverine has a way of picking the most shitty he can possibly choose. In the previous issue, that meant trying to get advice from the “Superior” Spider-Man. That advice basically amounted to “I’m a massive dick who doesn’t need a healing factor to be awesome and you have no fucking excuse.” It’s not a very superior statement to say the least, but it is still a valid point. And he even reinforced that point by webbing Wolverine up and having him hang upside down. It’s a humiliation that I’m sure Wolverine isn’t used to. But for a guy who is basically re-learning how to put his pants on one leg at a time again, I think he needed it.
Flash forward to the future and Wolverine is in bed with a beautiful woman complaining about nightmares. And this, by the way, wins the award for least surprising glimpse into the future ever. But that woman in his bed isn’t Storm. She’s the woman who was part of the new team he was working with in the first issue, which happens to be the same team where he started using a gun. Now I’m not going to blame Wolverine for getting into bed with this woman. He’s fucking Wolverine. Even without a healing factor, the man is a walking panty magnet. But we know precisely jack shit about this woman and then there’s the whole issue with him and Storm.
That’s an area of particular confusion because Storm and Wolverine have been shown to be pretty serious in other books, namely Wolverine and the X-men. But they’ve never mentioned at any point that they’re in an open relationship or anything like that. Marvel is owned by Disney last I checked. They’re okay with gay weddings and unapologetic pussy hounds like Tony Stark. But open relationships might be pushing it a bit too far into Cinemax territory. So it’s hard to tell what the fuck is going on here. But Wolverine getting fresh pussy is probably the only part of this scene that makes sense.
Back in the past, Jubilee catches up with Wolverine after he unhumbles himself from Spider-Man’s webs. She’s still a vampire and now she’s the one with the durability, which makes for some interesting exchanges and possibilities. But it’s an exchange that is somewhat overshadowed by a Sentinel attack in the middle of a crowded street. Under normal circumstances, Wolverine would probably find time to get a beer before charging into a battle like this. Hell, it happens so for the X-men that it might as well count as mowing the lawn for them.
But Jubilee didn’t just pick him up in an awesome car to take him to a battle. Like everyone else, she’s concerned about how Wolverine will continue to be the best he is at what he does without his healing factor. Now that she’s a teenage vampire, the tables are officially turned. She’s now the durable one and he’s the guy who could get his ass killed if he tries to cross the street at the wrong time of day. In addition, she’s concerned with the current state of affairs between him and Storm. So while the previous flash forward was still confusing, this does finally touch on it. But it doesn’t do so in a very satisfying way.
Wolverine basically tells Jubilee that it’s complicated. It might as well be the ultimate cop-out. Usually when I tell someone that my issues with my previous girlfriend were complicated, it usually means something like she raided my secret stash of blow or she caught me lying face down naked in the backyard with a tattoo of her sister’s phone number on my ass. It’s bullshit excuse, but at least he tries to make one. We still don’t get much input from Storm’s perspective, but then again it’s not her name that’s on the title of this comic.
After a frustrating conversation with Jubilee, Wolverine gets a call from another woman who he’s much less fond of. Maria Hill is one of those women who finds creative ways to piss people off, especially mutants. But given the rage-boner she’s had for Cyclops since Avengers vs. X-men, I imagine that has created a kinship of sorts with Wolverine. So in that sense it’s fitting that she goes out of her way to recruit him for a special mission. Now Wolverine has been an Avenger long enough to know that a special mission from Maria Hill usually means someone is going to lose a limb or several pints of blood. But it’s a mission that involves Sabretooth so I guess she figures that’s a fair enough price for Wolverine.
She basically tells him that Sabretooth is up to more bullshit than usual. Humiliating Wolverine after the end of Killable just didn’t give him enough satisfaction and he’s too cheap to splurge on some hookers in Tijuana. Now she wants to send him on a mission, with backup no less, to take down Sabretooth. Normally, I’m sure Wolverine would jump at the chance to humiliate Sabretooth, especially after the shit he put him through in Killable. But this time, he gives her the Cyclops treatment and walks away. However, since this takes place in the past, it’s already clear that Wolverine had a change of heart. His hate-boner for Sabretooth will never go away, regardless of his healing factor. And while this mission is lacking on details, it does at least provide a potential explanation as to why he’s on this new team. But as Ryan Leaf can attest, potential only goes so far.
Flash forward to the future/present and Wolverine for some crazy reason decides to take a break from lying in bed with a naked women. He then finds one of his new teammates drinking beer and playing video games. I’m starting to think that this new team of his might somehow be linked to the old Latin study group I had back in high school, which was basically code for having a good reason to get the fuck out of the house. Not much is said, but it is entertaining to see Wolverine not act his age. Playing video games and fooling around aren’t the kind of shit that he usually does, but this is a different kind of Wolverine. Without his healing factor, he’s still figuring out who he is. And if he wants to play video games and drink beer, why the hell not?
Video games are actually a welcome shift compared to what he dealt with recently. Back in the past, Wolverine is still pissed off after his meeting with Maria Hill. I imagine most people feel that way after a meeting with Maria Hill. And in what is probably the most healthy outlet for an X-men, he joins his fellow teammates in slaughtering a hoard of killer robots. That’s basically six months of therapy. And since killer robots are no worse than dandruff for Wolverine, not having his healing factor shouldn’t be a big deal.
That quickly changes when these killer robots prove to be a bit more resourceful than the typical tin cans they deal with. They take on a T-1000 Terminator type feel, assembling together and creating a much less therapeutic killer robot for him and the X-men to deal with. It’s the kind of robot that Wolverine just can’t tear into with his usual bloodlust. Storm even points this out to him. Wolverine may be an X-man, but he’s never been one for teamwork. That was okay when he could heal from having his flesh blown off his bones. Now he doesn’t have that luxury and that means he’s in the kind of trouble that even Maria Hill can’t get him into.
The enhanced killer robot attacks and most of the X-men are still shell-shocked. This is usually where Wolverine would flex his Canadian bravado and dive headfirst into the action. But now that he doesn’t have his healing factor, he does something that nobody would ever expect from Wolverine, outside of hooking up with Northstar at a gay bar. He freezes. That’s right. The ultimate badass of the X-men is standing in front of a typical mutant-hunting robot and he fucking freezes. Granted, Jubilee comes in to save his life, but that doesn’t make the moment any less powerful. The guy who keeps bragging that he’s the best he is at what he does flinched at a moment where he never did before. And this, my friends, isn’t just a bad sign. It might as well be a signal of Wolverine’s personal apocalypse.
It’s by far the most powerful moment Wolverine has dealt with since losing his healing factor. Part of what made the first few issues of this series and the last few issues of Killable so forgettable was how little it changed Wolverine. He was still a grumpy, ill-tempered asshole. He was just a grumpy, ill-tempered asshole who could now be killed. Well this time, he faced the kind of danger that X-men face every other Tuesday and flinched. It’s the kind of shit that would fuck with anyone. It also offers yet another potential explanation for why he decides to hook up with a new team. But again, Ryan Leaf gives us all an important lesson about potential.
With this latest disturbing dose of humiliation, Wolverine effectively ditches the battle and leaves the killer robot to the rest of his teammates. It’s worth pointing out that none of them have healing factors either and they still manage to scrap the robot. So what does that say about him? He sure as hell can’t say he’s the best he is at what he does anymore. As soon as he gets back to the Jean Grey Institute, Kid Omega is nice/douchy enough to inform him that Storm took care of the killer robot in ways that would probably make his scrotum collapse in on itself. It’s definitely one of the worst lows Wolverine has ever endured with his pants on.
But when he gets back, he finds out that someone went out of his way to cheer him up. In his room, he finds a kick-ass new Wolverine costume. It’s the same costume he wore in the first issue that seemed to come from fucking nowhere. But now we know it came courtesy of the Superior Spider-Man. He may not be Tony Stark, but he is a disembodied egotistical douche-bag who never passes up an opportunity to demonstrate how awesome he is. It’s the first complete explanation we’ve gotten in this series. It took three fucking issues, but I guess that’s one of the benefits of reading comics drunk. I often forget how long I wait after I black out.
While Wolverine is hitting a new low, Sabretooth is going in the other direction. As Maria Hill warned him, he has had to find new ways of entertaining himself now that Wolverine is as frail as a sick puppy. He still has friends like the Silver Samurai and fuck buddies like Mystique helping him, but even they’re concerned at how he’s going to live a life that doesn’t revolve around tormenting Wolverine. Now he’s ditched the usual jungle man attire and dresses like an overpaid executive for Goldman Sachs. And then he announces that he plans on becoming a god and remaking the world in his own image, which is also like Goldman Sachs. I guess after spending a lifetime tormenting Wolverine, there’s just nothing else to fill the void. Maybe someone should introduce Sabretooth to Minecraft or something.
It has taken a few issues, but shit is finally starting to make sense in Wolverine’s new solo series. This new team he’s working with is starting to come into focus. His relationship issues with Storm get touched on. We even find out how he got his new kickass suit. But even as an experienced stoner, I still get the feeling that this shit is taking too fucking long. And the constant jumps from the past to the present just make this comic hard to read while high. At the very least, this issue established the threat Wolverine is now dealing with. We now know that Sabretooth has lost whatever was left of his mind. Even his allies and the woman he’s boning realizes it. But Wolverine is still caught up in something that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The only thing that is certain is that he’s still finding time to get laid and he hasn’t had a chance to really touch base with Storm. There are holes, but they’re not quite as big as before. I give Wolverine #3 a 7 out of 10. Even the best fuck up and choke every now and then. Just ask Peyton Manning after the last Superbowl. But Wolverine still has a ways to go before he can be the mutant Joe Montana again. Nuff said!