Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Death of Wolverine #2

Everybody has a way in which they hope to leave this world. Personally, my ideal death involves a tub full of whiskey, a naked Jessica Alba, and several large bacon and extra cheese pizzas. I’m not sure exactly how each of those things would be utilized. But I’m confident that if they’re all present at the time of my death, then I’ll be able to say I died happy. In that sense, the only similarity Wolverine and I probably share in our ideal passing is a tub of whiskey. But for the moment, that’s a secondary death wish because he’s entering what will likely be his last struggle, at least until sales dip low enough to warrant a retcon. He’s gotten a shitty prognosis from Reed Richards. He just found out that Viper has put a price on his head the size of a Powerball jackpot. Not having his healing factor is finally set to kick his ass for one last time. The countdown to him finally dry-humping the grim reaper continues in Death of Wolverine #2. I just hope at some point somebody close to him prepares the whiskey and the tub.

If indeed Wolverine’s ticket to unlimited nap time is about to get punched, then it makes sense that he take advantage of what time he has left. Naturally, that attracts him to Madripoor. It’s like Las Vegas, the way people wish it were where cops still bust hookers and harass potheads. In other words, it’s the closest thing Wolverine is probably going to get to heaven. So as he starts searching for Viper, the asshole that put the price on his head that Nuke tried to collect in the previous issue, he finds a way to squeeze in a trip to Madripoor. It’s not just a great place to do the kind of shady business that involves hitmen and ninjas. It’s a great place for cheap beer and reasonably priced prostitutes. In that sense I guess Wolverine and I have similar concepts of heaven.

Now in a ridiculous disguise that makes him look like Tom Cruise on a cocaine bender, he makes contact with Koro, one of Viper’s many male bitches. He must not have seen Mission Impossible because he doesn’t see through Wolverine’s disguise. He just sees a guy with a goofy beard getting cute with a pretty blond and a pretty redhead. I guess by Madripoor standards, Wolverine is blending in perfectly. The fact that it’s probably the same thing he would do on a Thursday night is just a bonus.

He claims he has something of value worth selling to Viper and he’s been jumping through all the necessary hoops to see her. I imagine it’s like trying to get an interview with one of the Koch brothers, but that only gives him more time for booze and hookers. Again, it’s a nice bonus. It also keeps Wolverine in character. To say that he’s not a convincing arms dealer would be like saying Kristen Stewart’s acting is a little flat. He’s not Tony fucking Stark. He’s Wolverine. But being in Madripoor, it sets up an environment where this sort of deal isn’t as fucked up as it sounds.

So what could Wolverine possibly be selling that could get him a meeting with Viper? The man does have connections. He could have Captain America’s shield, Nick Fury’s eye-patch, or Emma Frost’s panties. While I’m sure Emma’s panties would get quite a premium, he has something that’s just slightly more pragmatic in one of Iron Man’s old helmets. Koro, being a responsible underling, tests it to make sure it’s not a fake. I’m sure there are just as many fake knock-offs of Iron Man helmets as there are fake knock-offs Emma Frost panties. But it proves legit, giving Wolverine the leverage he needs. I still say that Emma Frost’s panties would have been just as useful.

Koro takes him to Viper, hoping that maybe she’ll let him cop a feel for getting quality merchandise. Unfortunately for him and his penis, Viper is not a dumbass because she sees right through Wolverine’s bullshit disguise. To be fair, Viper knows Wolverine a lot better in that she actually married the guy at some point, but only in the weakest Las Vegas style sense of the word. Koro can basically kiss his ass and his balls goodbye at this point, but he did his part.

Like any ordinary bitter ex-wife, Viper releases an army of armed underlings to attack Wolverine. I’m sure many bitter ex-wives wish they could do the same. However, it works about as well as a restraining order on a stalker. Wolverine takes care of these guys with so much ease I’m pretty sure he yawned at some point. I’m sure Viper did too because after he’s done maiming them, she just rolls her eyes and decides to be reasonable. And all it cost her was the lives of several underlings. Compared to the body count Wolverine usually leaves, I’d say that’s a bargain.

The talk is only partially productive in that Wolverine doesn’t find what he’s looking for. It turns out Viper isn’t the one who put a fuckton of money on his rotting corpse. He’s just a middleman with an awesome rack. She subcontracted the hit that Nuke tried to collect. She didn’t say much about who hired her other than he’s a real asshole who is really ambitious when it comes to being an asshole. Wolverine wants to know more. He should know by now that getting anything useful out of an ex-wife usually means going through an army of lawyers. But for him, that means going through Sabretooth, who Viper just so happens to have captured and poisoned so that she could keep him as a pet. I still say dealing with the lawyers would be far worse.

What follows is yet another horribly generic clash between Wolverine and Sabretooth. This comes after we had just such a clash in Wolverine #12, which was more underwhelming than Tony Romo’s last three seasons combined. This one isn’t quite as disappointing because it doesn’t waste 12 issues building it up. It’s just Wolverine and Sabretooth attacking one another. Unlike their last bullshit battle, Sabretooth actually gets a few hits on him, taking out one of Wolverine’s eyes. It’s not quite as satisfying as it sounds, but it’s far more visceral than any previous clash.

Now I get why Wolverine and Sabretooth keep clashing. Wolverine is dying and Sabretooth wants to be the first one to piss on his corpse. I also get why they don’t outright maim each other. Their battles are like rivalry games in college football. They’re a guilty pleasure that we all enjoy to some extent, but they rare turn out as epic as we hope. Not every game can be last year’s match between Alabama and Auburn. This is another case where Wolverine and Sabretooth just fight for the sake of adding a little extra blood. It’s not terribly epic, nor is it intended to be. But it’s understandable why it’s added.

This time, however, the clash doesn’t end with some bullshit kick to the balls or punch in the jaw. This time, Wolverine gets an assist before he loses another eye and it comes from Lady Deathstrike of all people. This is a woman who would probably pleasure herself to the sight of Wolverine and Sabretooth maiming each other. But she must have misplaced her vibrator because she takes down the chained and handicapped Sabretooth with ease. Now this is definitely more satisfying than seeing Wolverine and Sabretooth play out another one of their classic slap fights. Plus, it’s refreshing to see Sabretooth defeated by something more forceful than a fucking punch in the jaw.

The only thing that takes away from this satisfaction is that they let Sabretooth go. Now that doesn’t surprise me with Wolverine. He has a long history of just letting Sabretooth walk away, knowing he’s probably going to strangle a few puppies until they get to fight again. But Deathstrike surprises me and not just because she’s supposed to be the kind of vindictive woman who would rip out a man’s spine through his scrotum. She says his weakness saves him. I get that she has this crazy concept of honor and all, but even vindictive women aren’t that crazy.

Sabretooth’s undeserved mercy aside, Lady Deathstrike does actually have a reason for being there and it’s not just to pleasure herself while Wolverine suffers. Apparently, the same asshole who put a price on Wolverine’s head put one on her head as well. That keeps her from trying to crush Wolverine’s neck with her vagina while castrating him with her claws. For once, it seems like they’ll have to work together to save their own asses. It might even mean Wolverine can make peace with Lady Deathstrike before he cashes his chips in. It would be so fitting, which is exactly why it doesn’t happen.

As soon as Lady Deathstrike notices that Wolverine isn’t healing, she goes back to being Lady Deathstrike. But instead of slowly torturing him to death in ways that give her multiple orgasms, she intends to take his life and use it as leverage to take the hit off hers. It’s incredibly devious, but one that’s perfectly consistent with her history of being a vindictive bitch. Given her history with Wolverine, it’s fitting that she demonstrates this once more before he dies. Still doesn’t make up for her bullshit excuse for letting Sabretooth go.

But Lady Deathstrike doesn’t get a chance to be this devious. In a ridiculously random yet incredibly satisfying turn of events, Kitty Pryde shows up and phases right through Lady Deathstrike’s chest. It’s as contrived as it sounds, but not in a bad way. Kitty Pryde is another one of those characters who has a long history with Wolverine. And remarkably, she doesn’t want to kill him. It makes total sense for her to show up before he dies. It just doesn’t happen as naturally as it should. Even so, I’ll still find a way to enjoy Kitty Pryde pissing off Lady Deathstrike and I don’t even need weed, although it still helps.

At this point, I’m sure Wolverine misses his healing factor more than I miss college frat parties. The damage is really starting to pile up. Between his bones poisoning him to death and brawls with Sabretooth, he’s like a football player taking one too many concussions. It won’t be much longer before he’s a mindless drooling vegetable. Maybe that’s why he’s in such a hurry to get himself killed and bang as many Madripoor hookers as he can along the way. Whatever his reasons, his journey to dry hump the grim reaper had a nice sense of progression with this issue. Even though not much happened in the grand scheme of things and all the bloody fights ended on technicalities, it still moved the story forward in a meaningful way, just not by much. That’s really all that can say about this issue. It’s not the climactic battle, but it’s bloody as hell and Kitty Pryde shows up. That gives it some merit. I give Death of Wolverine #2 a 6 out of 10. It’s not terribly compelling, but it is entertaining. Even as he nears death, Wolverine finds a way to beat up Sabretooth and hook up with a couple of hot girls. All I can say to that is damn, I’m going to miss him for however long Marvel keeps him dead. I’m sure all the hookers and bartenders in Madripoor are going to miss him even more. Nuff said!


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