Thursday, May 15, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #6
There are certain places and certain environments from which no good decisions can ever come. Anywhere in Las Vegas after two in the morning is one. Anywhere in Tijuana or Bangkok after eight in evening is another. But in the Marvel Universe, Madripoor is the alpha and omega of places where good decisions and sound judgment go to die. If it were a real place, it would be the ultimate vacation destination for college students with too much money and too few limits. That makes it a perfect place for any self-respecting deviant to set up a base. Not only is it free from annoyances like law and decency, but it has easy access to hookers and heroin. It might as well be a criminal Disneyland. And this is where Wolverine has to go to take on Sabretooth in his killable form. He has spent the first five issues of his solo series working his way into a new team, ditching the X-men in the process, all so he can get a shot at tormenting Sabretooth. And in Wolverine #6, he tries to get one step closer. Even if he fails, at least he's still in a place where he can still get drunk and bang a hooker.
Wolverine and his team arrive on Madripoor in the only safe way he could possibly land in a place being run by ninjas and Sabretooth, namely by jumping out of a plane. Yes, it’s needlessly elaborate and impractical, but it’s still pretty badass. When Wolverine needs to go somewhere, he doesn’t take the easy route. That’s for pussies, hippies, and communists. And to his team’s credit, they follow him. But to be fair, one of them, Pinch, is sleeping with him. It’s rare to find a beautiful woman that’s willing to jump out of a plane with a guy. But it’s not like Pinch does it out of love. She basically uses it as a way of showing off. I guess having a nice ass and wearing skin-tight pants just isn’t enough for some women. I’m not saying I oppose. I’m just saying it’s not as romantic as it sounds.
Once they land and Pinch finishes showing off, they find themselves in the heart of Madripoor. Wolverine assumes that since a squad of ninjas or an army of Hydra drones weren’t waiting for them, their arrival wasn’t detected. That was the other reason for jumping out of a plane. Any regular flight or boat would have raised plenty of red flags and with Sabretooth running the show in Madripoor, as revealed in an earlier issue, he would have been on them like a hooker on Warren Buffet. That still doesn’t make it any less badass.
With no ninjas or Hydra in sight just yet, Wolverine puts on a new disguise and it’s actually a nice homage to his past with Madripoor. Years ago before he dedicated 90 percent of his energy to hating Cyclops, he ran a bar at Madripoor under the alias, Patch. He hasn’t taken that persona in a long time, but he’s willing to bust out the old eye-patch and shitty suite that went out of date in the 70s. He can’t just track down Sabretooth when he’s vulnerable and without his healing factor. He needs to be smarter about screwing him over. I’m all for it, but that suit still looks goofy as fuck.
Now dressed as Patch, Wolverine takes his team to a bar that seems way too nice to be in a place like Madripoor. But just because their on a mission doesn’t mean they shouldn’t put themselves in a position to get drunk. While there, Wolverine runs into an old man who recognizes him as Patch. He may just be drunk, but in Madripoor it’s probably hard to tell. He tells Wolverine that there has been some strange activity on Madripoor and for once it doesn’t involve pirates, rum, hookers, or gambling. Apparently some fancy ET-like object fell from the sky and some lucky pirate stole it. Sabretooth can’t have that so he has the Hand and anyone else who watched Goodfellas too many times looking for it. He’s light on specifics, but he still paints a situation that provides Wolverine with a new opportunity to piss Wolverine off.
It’s still a little vague, some crazy shit falling from the sky and a random pirate getting a hand on it. For a series that has been really confusing and more all over the place than drunk who just had his GPS navigator hacked, it doesn’t overly complicate the plot. If anything, it just makes the mission more complex than just finding Sabretooth and trying to rough him up without a healing factor. That’s all well and good, but it’s still way too fucking vague.
Naturally, it doesn’t take long for this friendly conversation to become violent. A couple of Hand ninjas just randomly stroll in the bar and attack Wolverine. A nice, flashy battle breaks out. His team is unable to stop them, but luck for them they’re not there to kill Wolverine. That would be getting ahead of themselves before Marvel can exploit the fuck out of the gimmick. Instead, they just abduct him. They even reveal that they had someone spying on them disguised as a fat guy in a suit, probably in town to hit up every massage parlor he can. But that fat guy later reveals that it wasn’t the Hand that abducted Wolverine. It’s MI-13, basically the Marvel equivalent of James Bond wannabes. It’s also somewhat random, but it’s a nice twist compared to just another ninja attack. Those probably happen every Tuesday in Madripoor.
When Wolverine wakes up, he’s tied up in ways he probably only enjoys when he dreams about Jean Grey and Storm. We then find out that the two Hand ninjas that abducted him were actually Pete Wisdom and Dane Whitman. They’re not exactly enemies, but they’re not exactly allies either. Allies don’t tie other allies up, unless they’ve got big tits and a weekend in Amsterdam to kill. They don’t explain why Wolverine needs to be tied up, but they do explain that they’re also after the ET object that crashed on Madripoor and they want Wolverine to help them find it. To do that, they get their Q knock-off, who is actually called O, to implant a chip in his chest that will enhance his senses to help him find the object. Because anytime someone has tried to put a chip in Wolverine, it has just turned out so well, hasn’t it? I’m pretty sure James Bond would be banging his head against the table if he saw this shit, assuming he’s not banging a beautiful woman at the moment.
Once the chip is in, Wolverine is ready to start searching. At that moment, Pinch and his team come to his rescue. But MI-13 manage to put on their Hand act again and pretend they’ve been discovered. It helps explain why they had to keep Wolverine tied up. It also explains why only two ninjas were able to abduct Wolverine when he has made a living slaughtering them by the hundreds. Wolverine actually planned for this to happen. He planned for his team to come to his rescue, but not until he had a chance to coordinate with MI-13. I’m not sure this qualifies as cunning or a dick move, but it does add confusion to a series that has already had plenty.
I get that Wolverine is not exactly telling the truth to this new team of his. Even the woman he’s boning, Pinch, suspected he wasn’t being entirely forward with them in the previous issue. But creating this elaborate ploy to meet up with MI-13 and get some chip to help him find some vaguely defined relic only makes the story more convoluted than it needs to be. And for a story that was convoluted enough to begin with, that’s like putting a blindfold on a stoner when they’re in the middle of running through a maze. I had hoped that this story would at least stay coherent now that it seems to have exhausted the flashbacks. Turns out I was wrong. Guess I owe the guy at my comic book store twenty bucks and a bottle of vodka.
Armed with this chip and the knowledge that he’s lying his ass off to this new team and the woman he’s boning, they start tracking down this strange ET-like object. It takes them down the less friendly parts of Madripoor, which is a lot like traveling down the less clean parts of an ass crack. They pass by typical Madripoor businesses, like arms dealers who probably deal crystal meth on the side. It’s not a friendly place, but it’s the perfect place for some dangerous object to be hiding. And it doesn’t take long for Wolverine to pick up the trail of the random pirate who has it. Anyone expecting another twist or crazy revelation will be disappointed. He’s basically the anti-Johnny Depp. So in another dick move, Wolverine leaves his team behind to go after him. Not that I care much for this fucked up new team of his, but that doesn’t excuse being an ass to them. Then again, this is Wolverine. If he’s not being an ass on some levels, he’s not in character.
Either way, the team is now an afterthought. This gets much more personal for Wolverine. He’s now back to his lone-wolf hunter that he should be, tracking down this Captain Hook wannabe for no other reason than it will lead him to Sabretooth. This is where some added refinement is given to the chase. It would’ve been too easy to just show Wolverine on the prowl, looking for some creepy guy who looks like he probably hides in the women’s bathroom and jerks off. But this adds another touch, throwing in some monologue and some nice flashbacks to Killable. Yes, I just used the phrase “nice flashback” in the context of this series. I’m as shocked as everyone else, but it works here. It reminds everybody of the personal stake Wolverine has in this. Sure, he’s hates Sabretooth. But after Killable, he has even more reason to hate him.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the final brawl or even some overdue trash talk. Wolverine does eventually find Sabretooth, who beats him to the creepy guy who took the relic. He doesn’t even acknowledge Wolverine’s presence. It feels too abrupt for an ending, knowing how much incentive Wolverine has to horribly maim Sabretooth. It makes the needless complications that were used earlier in the story all the more frustrating. Did he really need to do shit like this to find Sabretooth? Maybe Wolverine’s plan is just too smart for me to understand or I’m too stoned to get it. I didn’t expect there to be some epic Wolverine/Sabretooth clash in this issue, but I would have liked for the shit that led to that clash be at least somewhat compelling.
In the end, a story that really didn’t need to become more convoluted than it already was found a way to become more convoluted. However, it’s a matter of degree. This didn’t go to M. Night Shamalyan levels to mix things up. It merely added yet another complication to an already complicated plot that has had Wolverine ditch the X-men, team up with a fat crime lord not named Wilson Fisk, and start banging some new girl he barely knows. At the very least, this issue finally put him on a collision course with Sabretooth. Their paths finally crossed and it couldn’t have happened on a more appropriate place in Madripoor. Beats the hell out of cock fighting and bum fights. It was also a nice touch having Wolverine adopt his Patch persona again, something die-hard Wolverine fans should appreciate. But the shit with the relic and the tracking chip threw the ship off course a few times. But I’m okay with that. A drunk sailor who still makes it back to port is still considered mildly competent. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this issue. It was poorly organized, but it didn’t suck entirely. It only sucked enough to make me impatient for the next issue. So I give Wolverine #6 a 5 out of 10. All Wolverine fans need to know is that Wolverine is pissed off at Sabretooth and has gone to really fucked up lengths to get back at him. It has taken way too fucking long, but the payoff feels that much closer. If only Wonder Woman fans clamoring for a movie could be this patient. Nuff said!