|Wolverine (2nd series) # 27|| || |
Issue Date: Late July 1990
Story Title: The Lazarus Project Part One: Predators and Prey!
Staff: Jo Duffy (writer), John Buscema & Dan Green (artists), Ken Bruzenak (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (chief), Jim Lee (cover)
As Wolverine, in his Madripoor disguise of Patch, and Tyger Tiger make their way to the Princess Bar, they are met by a group of street thugs. However, the two are able to take them out quite easily, thanks to the “secret” assistance of Karma. When they reach the bar, they meet up with Lindsay McCabe and Jessica Drew. Jessica asks Patch why he chooses to stick with Tyger before going to her job as the bodyguard for Prince Baran. Meanwhile, in the village of Rumika, two soldiers ask for the assistance of the village’s elders to take care of a very important item – the Master Form. Back on the island of Madripoor, a man by the name of the Broker shows General Coy a picture of the same item, as they continue to discuss their plans. Later, over at the palace, Prince Baran and Jessica meet up with the Broker and General Coy. When Baran, the Broker and Coy go off for a private meeting, Jessica takes that time to snoop around the palace. After time, she finds a room where Doctor Page and Merrick are discussing the invasion of a village. Before she is able to hear anything more, she is discovered and taken out by a gigantic robot that goes by the name of Pinocchio. She is eventually found by Patch and informs him of what she found out. The next morning, Patch puts Lindsay and Jessica on a plane so they will be safe and goes to the palace to figure out what is going on. There, he meets up with Pinocchio and is handled pretty easily by him. Eventually, Doctor Page douses him with a yellowish liquid that staggers Wolverine severely. Somehow, Wolverine is able to stagger out of the lab and he makes his way to the water and safety.
As far as the outer world knows, he is a dead man. Here, in this tiny island kingdom of Madripoor, this den of thieves which is half a romantic fantasy and half an inferno he hides one of his eyes and goes by the nickname of “Patch.” In truth, he is Wolverine. I am told he is the best there is at what he does.
In an alley, Wolverine, in his Madripoor disguise of Patch, has company in the form of Tyger Tiger. They are making their way to a bar until they are stopped by a gang of thugs. The leader of the gang indicates to his brothers that this is a very easy task. Another pipes in adding that all they had to do was block off the alley that leads to the rich man’s bar and the pickings will fall into their hands. Another adds that they are all like the rich – fat and stupid. After they are done talking, Patch asks them if they are sure that they want to do this.
I…I should not get involved. “Patch” and his lady might not need my aid and in helping them, I could arouse the ire of one whose ill I cannot afford.
When one of the gang members charges Patch, he is taken down with one solid punch. After punching the thug out, Patch asks him if wants to repeat that part about “fat and stupid.” The leader of the gang, not amused, orders the rest of the gang to get them. Within minutes, all of the thugs are taken out. On the ground, one of the thugs pulls out a gun and goes to shoot Patch and Tyger.
From behind a building, Karma realizes that she cannot let that happen. Even though her poor gifts are not equal to Wolverine’s, she must use them now as best as she can. And use them she does to take control of one of the thugs that is wielding a crowbar. She makes him to take out the gun-wielding thug and then himself. Upon seeing the goings on, Patch is quite perplexed. At the same time, Karma wonders if he has detected her.
Two of the thugs make their way behind Tyger Tiger and inform her that they want her money and a kiss and maybe she won’t get hurt. Tyger asks if she heard that right – that she should kiss them? She then asks if that’s truly what they want. Patch views the events and pops his claws, just in case. He won’t need to, as Tyger Tiger stands and reveals to the thugs who she is behind her long cape. The thugs are in shock and beg for her forgiveness before they take off running.
Once they have left, Patch indicates to Tyger that he thought for a second he was going to have to use his hardware on them. Tyger asks if he would have exposed his secret for her – how gallant of him. Patch replies that it’s not like there would have been anyone left around to talk about it. Except that is for Karma. He then adds that he hopes he can trust her discretion and that he likes the new perfume she is wearing. He then thanks her for her help, even though he didn’t need it.
Karma is shocked by Wolverine’s remarks and makes her way down the street. It is true what they say that his senses are as keen as an animal’s. As she walks away, she thinks to herself that he trusts her not to reveal his secret and she must trust him to keep hers. That she just used her powers to save the life of a crime-lord, a woman who is rival to the man she hates but must serve with unswerving devotion.
In America, in a happier time, she knew Wolverine. He is a mutant, like herself. His natural powers augmented by adamantium steel weapons and reinforced bones. Now, in the world that believes him to be dead, he helps Tyger Tiger rule her part of Madripoor and gets to play the game of being Patch. Back in America, she was part of a team of young mutant heroes (New Mutants) and was fighting for all that they believed in and knew was right until her brother and sister, Leong and Nga, were kidnapped from their home and she could find no trace of them. From that point on, she has been forced to turn to her uncle, who is wealthy and has friends all over the globe. He is helping her in her search – in return for her soul.
When Patch and Tyger arrive at their destination, the Princess Bar, they witness a fight occurring. Patch comments to Tyger that this isn’t the place for someone of her class to be drinking. Tyger replies that in Madripoor all places are her places and besides, the owner of the bar is in her camp. That and she likes the touch of danger. Were she afraid of such, as the two men fighting and if she were unable to handle them even without Patch’s help, she couldn’t hold very long what she has won there. Patch responds that it will be her funeral when that day comes. To which Tyger replies that it will be his first.
As Patch and Tyger enter the bar, Jessica Drew informs Lindsay McCabe to set up the drinks and to look at who just strolled through the door. Lindsay responds that she seems them and that she will be right with them. Jessica then makes the comment that they have a nice set-up. Patch helps keep Tyger in control of what she’s got and acts as her conscience. He keeps her out of “dirty crimes” like drugs and the slave trade. She then adds that she thinks it will last until the first time Tyger has to choose between Patch’s ethics and her profits.
Over at the table where Tyger is sitting, Lindsay goes over to her and offers her a thousand gracious greetings and calls her “Felineness.” She adds that Tyger’s presence does her poor establishment honor by deciding to drink there. She then asks Tyger what she will have. Tyger replies that she would like less satire. Patch adds that he will help himself and heads on over to the bar. There, he meets up with Jessica. He mentions to her that her partner is really pushing it, mouthing off to Tyger like that. This isn’t the States and it wouldn’t be hard for a crime lord to forget the favor she owes them and makes Lindsay disappear. Jessica sarcastically asks that that is what old friendships among them professional consciences are for, isn’t it. She then adds that at one time she was a super-hero too. She could cling to walls and fight well and she could take care of Lindsay and her both.
She then asks Patch if he is that afraid of Tyger’s temper, why does he hang out with her. Patch replies that unlike her (Jessica), he doesn’t have any friends there that his enemies could use as hostages. If Tyger gets out of line, he will handle her but he doesn’t need any out of their league Americans stirring up trouble with smart cracks. As Jessica finishes off her drink she adds that the serene and extremely corrupt Prince Baran doesn’t think that she is out of her league here or he wouldn’t have engaged her to be his bodyguard. She then adds that Madripoor is quite a town. Tyger has half the racket and Patch while Coy has the other half and Karma. She looks out for the man who holds both their reins and keeps the balance. With that, she leaves, as she is late for work.
In the peaceful village of Rumika, a soldier is informing one of the town’s elders about the egg shaped stone that he has placed on the table. He informs him of high stakes that are involved and that this thing could spell the end of all they hold dear. The elder indicates that he understands and that his people do not assume this risk lightly. They know that what they are asking could cost all of them their lives. He then asks the two soldiers what made them come to them.
The soldier answers that they were hoping that choosing such an out-of-the-way hiding place may throw the enemy off their trail. That, and for generations the people of Rumika have been renowned for their honor and ferocity as fighters. He adds that they hope that it won’t ever come to a fight, but if the secret leaks out and anyone betrays them the people of Rumika may be the last hope that the world has. The elder responds that small and forgotten, they fight for the world and if they must, to protect the secret, their people will die to the last man, woman, and child. However deadly its secrets, the Master Form will be safe with them.
In General Coy’s quarters, a man is showing Coy a picture of what is called the Master Form. He asks him if he thinks it is beautiful. He then assures Coy that it is the key to the entire Lazarus project. As long as the people in the village they’ve selected keep their oath to guard the Master Form at all costs, the project is secure. Coy responds to the man known as the Broker that he likes this project he’s designed for him. That he likes all the work his “Andover Enterprises” has done for him, the commodities he’s acquired…
The Broker adds also that the plans they’ve outlined for his future. Coy responds that is precisely true. However, the matter of Leong and Nga takes absolutely top priority. The Broker replies that he understands and that his older niece must be frantic with worry about them. Coy replies that the Broker understands completely and that Karma’s concerns are his as well. At that exact moment, Karma enters the room and asks her uncle for his forgiveness as she was delayed in the streets. Coy replies that because she is family, he can overlook these little shortcomings…so long as they don’t recur.
At the palace of Prince Baran, Jessica Drew arrives. As she walks up the steps, she mutters to herself, “Another day, another southeast Asian dollar.” She then wonders about all of the things that she puts up with to stay in this town. When she goes to enter the palace, one of the guards informs her that she is late, to which Jessica ignores him. Inside the palace, Prince Baran asks her if this is how she obeys his commands. Jessica asks for his forgiveness and informs him that Lindsay needed her help on a matter. Baran tells her that is enough and that it is his will that his servants render any aid she requires unto the beauteous Lindsay McCabe. He then informs Jessica that her apology has been accepted. After hearing that she is forgiven, Jessica thanks him but thinks to herself that he is a jerk.
Later that day at the palace, Baran and Jessica meet up with Coy and the Broker/Mr. Andover. Baran asks them what they have to report about the Lazarus project. Coy hands him a paper that the Prince takes a look at. He finds what he is reading that it is most satisfactory. Coy then offers for the Prince to examine the reports on the follow-up to phase one in private.
Once the three of them enter the meeting room, Jessica scales up the wall so she can crawl around to a few other parts of the palace to see if anything nasty is up there. As she crawls across the ceiling of the palace, she thinks to herself that her and McCabe are keeping Madripoor’s monarch as honest as they keep him secure. Eventually, Jessica reaches a door that is open. Inside of it, she hears a woman asking Merrick when they plan on hitting the village.
Merrick replies that it won’t be for at least another week or two and that there’s too much at stake to risk being found out. The woman indicates that as long as their little toy is safe, they’ve got all the time in the world. She reminds him that his part of the project is no more than a means of gathering the materials she needs for her work. She’ll only work with the best. Merrick asks her if he has ever let her down. The lady indicates that he is an evil man and she thinks he likes his work. Merrick replies to the woman, Doctor Page, that she is the sickest customer she’s ever met and that he knows she loves hers.
Just then, Doctor Page notices Jessica on the ceiling and calls out that an intruder has entered. She calls out for Pinocchio to be activated. Jessica shuts her up with a kick to the jaw, knocking her out. As she lands on the ground, Jessica wonders who or what is Pinocchio. She doesn’t have to wait long for her answer, as a giant robot appears out of the shadows.
Later, Jessica is stumbling around the streets of Madripoor. Eventually, she wanders her way on a group of thugs. They are excited by the fact that she is weak… hurt… helpless… theirs… Just then, Patch shows up and informs them that they are wrong; she is his. He then adds that he’s only going to tell them once and informs them to go. The thugs listen and take off in the night. Once the thugs have left, Patch leans down to see how Jessica is doing. Weakly, Jessica replies that at the palace she heard plans about attacking a village and that she doesn’t know if the prince knows. Patch replies that he will find out. When Jessica then adds that a big, big thing will come after her, Patch assures her that they won’t get her.
The next morning, Jessica is being loaded onto Archie Corrigan’s plane for transport. As she is, Patch talks with Lindsay and informs her that the only place they are going to be safe now is Stateside. Jessica will last until they get there and the pilot can be trusted. Lindsay comments, “That poor Jess.” Patch replies that poor Jess is lucky to be alive with the games she’s playing. Madripoor isn’t safe and it’s no picnic. All this town has in it are predators and prey. You don’t want to be one and you’re going to end up as the other. As he finishes his thought, Lindsay boards the plane. As she does she asks Patch what that makes him. She then slams the door to the plane much to the surprise of Patch.
Later that day, Patch, dressed in his brown and tan Wolverine costume, arrives at the palace. When he arrives, he is met by a guard, who orders him to halt. Wolverine proceeds to ignore him and instead punches him out. All the while, he curses his secret. He adds that Jessica Drew may be a royal pain in the butt, but whoever’s hurt her is going to have to answer to him. Inside the palace, Doctor Page is one the phone and asks aloud what they mean he got past the guards and that he’s coming there. She then indicates that she understands – she will activate Pinocchio at once.
On the screen, there is a map of Madripoor. Right next to it, the island of Rumika. At that very instance, Wolverine enters the lab and asks which of the suckers is Pinocchio. Doctor Page yells out to Pinocchio that there is an intruder and for him to kill, destroy and protect. Pinocchio fires up and approaches Wolverine. Upon seeing the giant robot, Wolverine hopes that he’s not made of adamantium. Before he can have another thought, Wolverine barely ducks a punch from Pinocchio. He isn’t so lucky on the next punch that connects with him, knocking him back.
Pinocchio then grabs him by the neck and proceeds to pound him unmercifully. Eventually, Wolverine is finally able to connect with a kick to Pinocchio’s face to stun him. Before he can get another shot in, Pinocchio connects again and knocks him into some machinery. When he gets up, Wolverine realizes that it’s going to take everything he has to beat him and pops his claws. He then proceeds to jam his claws into Pinocchio’s chest to no avail!! Wolverine is shocked. His claws can cut through anything except adamantium and he’s not…what is he??
Doctor Page joins the fray and informs Wolverine that he is something the like of which the world has ever known. He is her creation. Just like this flask full of a yellow liquid which she tosses onto Wolverine. She asks him how it is to which Wolverine responds with primal screams. Stunned, Wolverine staggers as Doctor Page orders Pinocchio to take him alive, that she wants to learn more about him. Somehow, Wolverine is able to make his way over to the window that he leaps out of. When he lands, he staggers down the pier until he jumps into the water – safe.
Wolverine (in his Madripoor disguise of Patch)
The Broker/Mr. Andover
Two soldiers (both unnamed)
Elders of Rumika (unnamed)
Prince Baran’s guard (unnamed)
Various Madripoor street thugs (unnamed)
Various residents of Madripoor (unnamed)
Various patrons of the Princess Bar (unnamed)
Various residents of the village of Rumika (unnamed)
In Karma’s memories:
Cannonball, Sunspot, Dani Moonstar, Rahne (all New Mutants)
Leong and Nga (Karma’s brother and sister)
In the New Testament of the Bible, Lazarus was the name of a man that Jesus raises from the dead. In more modern times, the name "Lazarus" is popular in fiction to name anything relating to reviving the dead or prolonging human life.
Karma’s siblings were kidnapped by an unknown force (Shinobi Shaw) in New Mutants (1st series) #46.
“The Adventures of Pinocchio” was a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi. It is about the mischievous adventures of Pinocchio, an animated marionette and his poor father, a woodcarver named Geppetto.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential Wolverine Vol. 2 (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)