Thursday, June 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #9

Ninjas are like bacon bits for comic books. There are very few things that they can't make more awesome. I've always found ninjas to have greater personality than killer robots or blood-thirsty aliens. They're not as inept as faceless henchmen and they're more menacing than some alien with a complexion that looks like whale shit and Ron Jeremy's foreskin. Let's not lie to ourselves. Ninjas are basically just meat bags that fuel the action in most comics, but like the shit that fertilizes my pot garden, they're necessary. Ninjas have become Wolverine's main obstacle on his path to being the lasted high-profile character Marvel wants to kill to give the finger to Fox and boost sales. The end is drawing near as he gets help from friends like Iron Fist and Shang Chi to come to terms with the fact that he's going to take a dirt nap like everyone else and he'll do it without having banged Jean Grey. It's a story that has been inconsistent since it began, but I'm trying not to stay too sober as the end draws near. Wolverine #9 is supposed to be another stage in the acceptance process, but I'm not convinced that Wolverine is done being pissed off. At least with an army of ninjas, he has someone he can take it out on.

Even if he isn't done being pissed off, he's still Wolverine. That means he's going to be fucked up in many other ways. He already came face-to-face with death herself in the previous issues. And at the risk of pissing off feminazis more than they already are after reading Hillary Clinton's new book, I'll just say that's fitting in its own twisted way. Wolverine, still trying to get through the acceptance process, is going along with Death's morbid tour of his impending doom. Part of that tour involves copping a feel and stealing a kiss.

No, I'm not exaggerating or stoned (for the most part). This is actually how Death gets the ball rolling with Wolverine's little death tour. He's so sexy, even Death in a woman's form can't resist her. I imagine the same thing will happen when Hugh Jackman dies one day. Now this could still be just an illusion or a sign that someone spiked Wolverine's whiskey, but at the very least it reveals that Wolverine is becoming intimately more familiar with his death. How intimate, though, is a matter of one's obscenely perverse imagination.

It also wouldn't be a very comprehensive process for Wolverine if Sabretooth wasn't somehow involved in an effort to fuck it all up. He's in a very good position to do so, more so than usual. He already has Pinch and the Offer, two people Wolverine has screwed over and quite literally in some cases. Plus, Sabretooth has Pinch's daughter. Between her motherly instincts and her utter disgust at having let Wolverine lied her way into her panties, she has a lot of reasons to get back at him. And she also is capable of wielding that fancy alien orb that Sabretooth believes will allow him to fuck Wolverine over in the most efficient way possible. That doesn't stop him from taunting Pinch or making him easier to hate. I get the sense he's just making it so it'll be all the more satisfying when Wolverine eventually kicks his ass.

If Wolverine is to get that point, he's going to need some coaching and who better than Death herself? This actually involves more than a Rocky Balboa style mantra and shitty 80s music. She actually takes the time to break down some of Wolverine's recent actions, going all the way back to earlier in the series when he froze in the face of a Sentinel attack. She claims he was chasing her the same way he chases married redheaded women with big tits. She even claims that he hates being afraid of her and that's not at all unreasonable. He's never had to be afraid of her until recently. Hell, this is a guy who once had his entire fucking flesh blown off and he still survived. He used to be as afraid of death as most people are afraid of wounded kittens. Now those kittens have turned into blood-thirsty tigers on crystal meth.

It's actually a nice breakdown of what Wolverine has become since he has been rendered killable. It sort of feels like long overdue therapy and since even an army of Dr. Phils couldn't give Wolverine the pep talk he needs, he has to hear this from death herself. That's a fucked up extreme, but that doesn't make it any less effective. She gets in deep, going back to when he joined the X-men and what drove him to become the big time superhero that helped make Hugh Jackman famous. Yet no matter what he did, he was never as heroic as he wanted to be. She even proved that by tricking him into drinking some wine made up of the blood of his victims. It's a fucked up way to get her point across, but I imagine it's way more effective than hypnotherapy or yoga.

With all this therapy and personal exploration, I imagine some are getting anxious like me when I've had to go without whiskey for more than three days. This comic was supposed to promise therapy that involved killing ninjas and Wolverine hasn't even stabbed one yet. Well, the ninjas are there. They're still outside the temple and both Shang-Chi and Iron Fist have been handling them. It's not quite as epic as some might hope, but it really shouldn't be. The point of Wolverine's visit to this island was to come to terms with his killable form, not fight ninjas. Hell, fighting ninjas are essentially a bonus he encounters in pretty much every endeavor. I imagine his idea of a good date involves killing ninjas. We only get a few reminders that this battle is going on. There is some slight insight with Shang-Chi, but it really just acts as a reminder that they're doing more than acting as glorified ninja janitors, just not that much more.

Seeing two kung fu masters fight ninjas might not be as entertaining as it sounds, but it acts as a nice interlude before Sabretooth gets around to finalize his plans for tormenting more people. He's still not making himself any less an asshole in the eyes of Pinch, the Offer, and Lost Boy. He makes it clear that Pinch begging for her life and the safety of her friends gives him a massive boner. It's still not completely one-sided. Pinch shows that she does know how to negotiate. I think any woman willing to fuck Wolverine needs something like that, otherwise shit can get really kinky in the bedroom really fast. She doesn't have much leverage, but she does have plenty of incentive to help Sabretooth fuck over Wolverine. I think Sabretooth insists there be some sort of poetic justice in Wolverine meeting his end through the help of a woman he boned. It's like a reverse OJ Simpson, but with no expensive lawyers.

By the same token, the beautiful women that Wolverine has crossed paths with should also play a role in getting him through this battle. And that leads to what might be the best act of fan service that didn't involve Brittney Spears showing her tits at a concert. Just a few issues ago, Wolverine got a tattoo that referenced Rose, the proto-Jean Grey he met as a kid that revealed his penis really has a thing for pretty redheads. Well as part of his therapy, Death has Rose pay him a visit from the afterlife. It creates an epic moment that couldn't be matched by an entire army of ninjas.

At first, Rose is understandably hostile. Wolverine did fucking kill her after all. But Wolverine is given a chance to earn her forgiveness and as vindictive as some women can be, he makes a good case. He comes off as very heartfelt and sincere, highlighting her death and her life as a critical moment for him. And in many ways, it was. What happened to her was really the beginning of all things Wolverine. Since he's about to die, it couldn't be more fitting for him to reach out to Rose and lay these feelings to rest. It would be like Captain Kirk earning the forgiveness of every hot alien chick he ever boned. It's a beautiful moment, even if ninjas do show up to cut it short.

Yes, there are still ninjas that haven't been stabbed. Yes, it's impossible for Wolverine to have any kind of therapy that doesn't involve him stabbing someone. Absolutely none of that should surprise anyone, regardless of how unsober they may be. But Death makes sure that the battle with the ninjas doesn't get too messy. She likes to keep shit clean when she's fucking with prospective souls. And just like the Sentinel battle several issues back, Wolverine still hesitates during the battle. And he knows that if he hesitates when a fucking ninja attacks, then he's in deep shit. It's one thing to flinch around a killer robot, but a ninja? That's like Hugh Hefner not being able to get it up in a hot tub full of blondes.

But in addition to the ninjas, Wolverine gets an unexpected visit from the dead. And for once, it's not someone he killed or boned. It's Fuel, who Sabretooth kindly slaughtered during Wolverine's latest visit to Madripoor. He manages to slip out of the afterlife briefly and warn him that Sabretooth has Pinch and the rest of the team. That's probably something he neglected since he basically betrayed them. Having confronted Rose and committing to be less an asshole during his final days, he takes it upon himself to save them. He needs to at least earn the forgiveness of one woman he's screwed over, both literally and figuratively, while she's still alive.

Armed with this information and the new sense of self-awareness that Death helps him realizes, he leaves with her blessing. I'm sure if Death had panties, they would be very wet right now because she probably knows what he's in for. But Wolverine doesn't know and probably doesn't give as much a shit as most people who almost got killed by a ninja. He meets up with Iron Fist and Shang-Chi, who still contributed about as much as Ringo Starr in this story. Shang-Chi still does some musing, but only to the extent that it makes him and Iron Fist slightly less forgettable. Wolverine claims he's ready to start anew with a different outlook. Granted, it'll last about as long as the last Charlie's Angels reboot, but that doesn't make it less meaningful.

Now Wolverine has the mindset he needs to take on Sabretooth, probably for the last time. He even does a little Richard Sherman type trash talking, dumping a whole heap of dead ninjas on his front doorstep. Sabretooth isn't all that worried though. Hell, this kind of shit is to him what bacon on Jenna Jameson's tits is for me. With the Offer now his ally and Pinch's continued cooperation, he has all the right assets in place to confront Wolverine one last time. And naturally, he plans on doing so in New York City while armed with a fancy alien tech orb. I'm pretty sure Marvel made a movie with this same setup once. It involved Robert Downy Jr., Scarlett Johannsen, and Samuel L. Jackson I think. The name escapes me. But this is where Sabretooth wants to send Wolverine back to Death, preferably in pieces. I won't say it's fitting. I'll just say that Sabretooth could have picked a worse movie to rip off.

This issue accomplished two things that put a smile on my face and a boner in my pants. First, it highlighted some genuine personal development with Wolverine as he learns to accept the fact that he's now killable and has to fear death every time he drives down the Jersey Turnpike during rush hour like the rest of us. That's an important development in the scope of the story. Second, it provided awesome fan service by bringing Rose into the picture rather than just making her one of those passing references that anyone who hasn't read ever Wolverine comic since the first Bush administration would recognize. Rose's appearance really sold the weight of the story, so much so that the ninjas were a secondary concern. I can't remember the last time a book that involved fighting ninjas made the ninjas this much of an afterthought, but I'm not complaining. It's not like Marvel will ever have a shortage of evil ninjas to randomly throw into any conflict. The focus on Wolverine and his accepting of his fear of death marked a powerful moment that made it feel as though this comic was the final step towards Wolverine eventually bunking with the Grim Reaper. Now he just has to make sure Sabretooth suffers the agony of a trillion Justin Bieber concerts before that time comes. I give Wolverine #9 an 8 out of 10. We get ninjas, pretty redheads, and Wolverine brooding. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate his upcoming death without an Olympic sized swimming pool full of whiskey. Nuff said!

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