Thursday, October 2, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Death of Wolverine #3
After a joint and a few drinks, I’ve often thought about how I would like to exit this world. And I’m not just talking about the moment I go. I still want to go by drowning in a tub of whiskey right after a three-way with Jessica Alba and Megan Fox. But in terms of my funeral, I’ve had my share of ideas. First and foremost, I want to make sure that all my ex-girlfriends, high school teachers, guidance counselors, parole officers, and traffic cops are invited. Second, I want to make sure I’m buried face down so they can all kiss my ass. I don’t think that’s too reasonable. I imagine Wolverine didn’t give much thought to his own funeral before he lost his healing. Now I imagine he’s already planning to have every redheaded and Asian hooker in Madripoor attend his funeral wearing nothing but a thong and covered in whiskey. But even if he has been planning it, he’s still fighting to survive. That hasn’t been easy now that somebody has put a price on his head and that of every other Weapon X reject. That bounty has sent him on a one-way trip to the Grim Reapers toilet bowl. With Death of Wolverine #3, he’s one step closer to that final flush. I just hope the hookers are paid off and the beer is still cold.
Lady Deathstrike should also hope that her insurance is paid off because just when it looked like she would bathe in Wolverine’s blood while pleasuring herself to the sounds of his screams, Kitty Pryde showed up. She then made sure that Lady Deathstrike got a quick physics lesson as to why phasing powers kick much more ass than overgrown nails. Even for guys like me who slept through physics class, it’s pretty enlightening. It’s also fitting, having Kitty show up in Madripoor to help Wolverine when she’s had so few chances to interact with them. To be fair, she’s the one that ditched him in favor of the New Xavier School. But that doesn’t mean she’ll pass up an opportunity to kick Lady Deathstrike’s ass. Some opportunities just can’t and shouldn’t be squandered.
While Kitty Pryde succeeds in taking advantage of that opportunity, Wolverine certainly wishes she had done it sooner because Lady Deathstrike still had plenty of time to rough his ass up. She even took out one of his eyes. It’s the kind of injury that would even send the toughest badass to the emergency room in search of some morphine or at least some prescription weed. But Kitty Pryde came prepared, knowing Wolverine has a talent for letting himself get fucked up. She brought with her something called regen serum, which sounds like a cheap item from World of Warcraft. But it works. It helps Wolverine heal, eye and all. It works so well that it feels like the biggest cop out since the Sopranos finale.
Now I understand why this was done. Wolverine still needs to stay alive just long enough to kick the ass of whoever put the bounty on his head. And unlike some people, he can’t expect Roger Goddell to come down on some petty bit of justice. So now the Marvel universe apparently has this regen serum shit. We don’t know where it came from, who made it, or if it has the kind of side-effects that include rectal swelling. It’s just thrown in to keep Wolverine going. Yes, it’s more contrived than a Tyler Perry movie, but it does serve a purpose here and it’s not more egregious than it needs to be.
Once he’s healed up, he and Kitty Pryde head off to Japan so they can catch up. Let’s face it, Madirpoor is for people who want to party in a place that’s less conservative than Tijuana. It’s not known for peace and quiet. Japan, ignoring all the anime porn and crazy game shows, is much more inviting. It makes for a nice moment where Wolverine fills Kitty in on his investigation, all the way up to what Lady Deathstrike revealed in the previous issue. I’m sure there was a conversation about her working with the O5 X-men and whether Cyclops is keeping his hands off O5 Jean, but it’s not the most pressing issue.
What makes the conversation more meaningful than a glorified synopsis is how Wolverine gets a little emo at one point. He starts wondering if this bounty on his head is just the beginning for how he’ll spend the rest of his painfully mortal life. He even contemplates saving them the trouble and making sure nobody gets that bounty. It’s the first time since James Mangold’s shitty movie where he’s been downright suicidal. Kitty Pryde scolds him for it, but it works in that it shows how willing Wolverine is to accept his mortality. In a mini called “Death of Wolverine,” that sort of thing should be a given.
It quickly stops getting emo and gets way more creepy when Kitty Pryde stops being supportive and tries to jump his bone. It’s actually not quite as creepy as it sounds, even though I know it’s probably the subject of at least a dozen pieces of smut fan fiction. Actually, it’s not Kitty trying to jump his bone. It’s Ogun, the disembodied spirit that Lady Deathstrike warned him about in the previous issue. He’s somehow found a way to possess Kitty Pryde and now he wants to use her to kill and maybe hump Wolverine. Okay, maybe that’s actually a lot creepier.
Whatever the perversions, it leads to a nicely detailed fight. In the process Ogun actually reveals that Kitty originally came to Japan looking for him and that’s when he possessed her. So was in control even when she showed up to beat up Lady Deathstrike. I’m pretty sure getting possessed by Ogun is right up there with being mugged by a transvestite hooker in terms of ways to fuck up a trip. And while Wolverine is usually pretty reluctant to hurt his students, he does make exceptions for assholes like Ogun.
The battle eventually takes them into a shrine where Wolverine channels his inner Akira Kurasowa fan. Again, it just wouldn’t be an epic Wolverine story if he didn’t get to play Samurai at one point. It allows him and Ogun to clash with swords in ways that should make certain anime fans very horny. The action isn’t quite as visceral as his previous battle with Lady Deathstrike. Nobody gets an eye taken out or any brutal shit like that. Part of that is because Kitty Pryde doesn’t really like being controlled by a disembodied spirit and Wolverine notices this. He’s not going to get her to cut out Wolverine’s other eye because he apparently doesn’t know that tough, stubborn women can’t be controlled. Some people are just really slow learners I guess.
Eventually, Kitty Pryde is able to force him out, but he ends up jumping into another body. That means he doesn’t have time to treat her to some noodles and a Japanese spa. But before he goes after him, Kitty drops some new info for Wolverine that really hurls the shit towards the fan. While Ogun was controlling her and presumably jerking off whenever she had to go to the bathroom, she picked up on a familiar name, Abraham Cornelius. It’s a name that is to Wolverine what environmental regulations are to oil companies.
It’s also a name that changes the undertones of the story itself. It’s one thing for Wolverine to just run around and clash with old enemies like Sabretooth, Viper, and Lady Deathstrike. But Abraham Cornelius is a different kind of enemy. He’s the one who opened the many holes through which Wolverine has been fucked throughout his life. He helped make Wolverine who he is and not just by giving him metal bones. Him being a part of this makes it far more emotional than any battle with Sabretooth can ever be.
But before he can get to Cornelius, Wolverine has to deal with Ogun first. He tracks him down to some dirty chemical factory because so many stories about death and tragedy have to take place in a dirty factory of some kind. When he finds him, Ogun has already killed Cyber and is now possessing some guy in a suit with a devil mask. He could almost be mistaken for a tobacco lobbyist. But instead of daring him to go skinny dipping in a tank of acid, Ogun reveals what Cornelius has been up to. He’s the one who put out the bounty and he’s become somewhat of a hoarder for all things Weapon X related. It makes me wish that some people would stick to hoarding toe nails, paper clips, and cats.
Ogun actually ends up being both useful and cunning in a very asshole kind of way. First, he gives Wolverine the location of Cornelius’ facility, thereby saving him the trouble of slaughtering everyone in the Pacific Rim to get to him. Then, he orders that Wolverine skip the part where he tries to beat his spirit out of some stranger and just leave. If he doesn’t, he’ll just kill the innocent guy he’s possessed and shrug it off the same way Chuck Norris shrugs off stubbed toe.
It’s not just to fuck with Wolverine either. It’s purely survival. Ogun admits that possessing Kitty Pryde took it out of him. Let’s face it, dealing with difficult young women will take it out of anybody, disembodied or otherwise. If Wolverine just leaves, he’ll survive to fight another day. He’s a real pussy, but he’s smart enough to not pick fights he can’t win. Wolverine accepts, even rejecting the offer of more regen serums to sweeten the deal. Apparently, he doesn’t want to take on Cornelius without shedding a little blood. It just wouldn’t be badass enough, even if it might save his life.
Now Wolverine has Cornelius’ location and Ogun can go back to possessing cute school girls when they’re taking a shower. It makes for one really creepy final shot of Cornelius and in a comic that already had Kitty Pryde trying to hump Wolverine, that’s saying something. Cornelius has to know that putting a bounty on Wolverine’s head means he’s going to have to face him at some point. Unless he has a death wish, he’s going to prepare for it. So the guy who gave Wolverine his metal bones is now set to be the guy who takes him down. I don’t know if that counts as karma, but it’s as fitting as it is creepy.
So the stage is now set for Wolverine’s final battle and shockingly enough, the guy he’s up against isn’t Sabretooth. That’s a major relief because the recent onslaught of Wolverine/Sabretooth fights has flooded the market to Justin Bieber-level proportions. And like the last five Adam Sandler movies, they’ve all been very disappointing. This fight promises to be different. This fight promises to pit Wolverine against the asshole most responsible for creating him, Abraham Cornelius. It feels fitting because in many ways, this guy did way more to shape Wolverine’s life than a dozen Sabretooths, but they’ve never had a chance to resolve their differences in that classic, brutal, Wolverine-type way. He’s had to go through ex-wives, old rivals, and former students to get to this fight. Now it’s almost upon us and this issue at the very least made it feel like it might not suck. Death of Wolverine #3 gets an 7 out of 10. I’ve got the beer in the cooler. I’ve got the cute red-headed hookers paid for and ready. Wolverine, my friend, your arrangements are complete. Now go kick this old geezers ass and go out in the most awesome way possible. Nuff said!