|Wolverine (2nd series) # 43|| || |
Issue Date: Early August 1991
Story Title: Under the Skin
Staff: Larry Hama (script), Marc Silvestri (breakdowns), Dan Green (finishes), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Steve Buccellato (coloring), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter, Wolverine informs Nick Fury that he wants to be let out. He is eventually dropped off in Times Square, over the protestations of Jubilee and Forge. Trying to lose himself in the city, Wolverine eventually finds himself running through Central Park, where he hears the sounds of some animals in pain. Wolverine follows the sounds to the zoo where he finds Gulo Luscus Mustelidae… a wolverine. He notices that the animal has been stabbed and turns around to find the deranged person responsible, Linus, who has a thing for torturing animals. Wolverine is able to knock him backwards with little effort and also discovers that he killed the original zoo cleaner. Instead of killing Linus himself, Wolverine unleashes the wolverine on him. Elsewhere, in the Morlock tunnels, Masque and two of his followers are surveying the damage from the explosion. They are met by Albert who is carrying the head of Elsie-Dee. Albert informs Masque that he needs supplies and takes out his followers when he initially declines. Seeing the damage that Albert can do, Masque tells him that he can have anything he wants. Meanwhile, on a bridge over the East River, Lady Deathstrike has arrived in New York to find Wolverine. She wonders where he is, and suddenly devises a way to pull him out from a newspaper article, describing a beast that is appearing in Atlantic City. Once she discovers this, she tosses the paper out of the window. By happenstance, it lands in the water on top of the man known as Sabretooth, who is just emerging from the river. As he surfaces, he says that hate is what keeps him going and, as long as he can stand on two feet, his son Logan had better watch out.
What a night. I’ve been shot, slashed, blown up, half drowned and plane crashed an’ it ain’t even four o’clock in the A.M. yet.
Inside the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter, Wolverine tells Nick Fury that he wants out and points him over to where he wants to be put down. Fury responds that this isn’t an air-taxi, it’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. rescue helicopter and they can’t set it down just anywhere he pleases in midtown Manhattan. Wolverine replies that he didn’t ask him to land the helicopter, he just wants him to hover it over that rooftop and he’ll jump the rest of the way.
Jubilee begs Colonel Fury not to let Wolverine go, for he needs to rest up and chill out. Forge agrees and tells Logan that Jubilee is right – he ought to come back up to the X-Mansion and hit the rack for a few thousand zees. Wolverine tells Forge thanks but no thanks, but he has to go listen to himself think. Cable says that the man said he wants out and recommends they take this crate down and let him go. Besides, it’s starting to smell like a wet sheepdog in the chopper. Wolverine informs Cable that he always had a lot of class.
He then asks if anybody has a shirt or jacket that he can borrow. One of the corpsmen responds and gives Wolverine his white jacket. Wolverine thanks him and heads over to Fury. Once there, he takes the stogie out of his mouth since the good Colonel has been so kind as to get it started real good. He then asks Fury if he will tell him how Sabretooth thinks he’s his dad. Fury responds that that is classified top-secret. Wolverine angrily says that may be true but so is a lot of stuff that gets bandied about kind of loosely. That’s why he has to take a little run through the jungle ‘cause the jungle is the place where the only secret a critter holds is where he’s gonna crawl off to when he’s fixin’ to die.
With that, he leaps out of the copter and lands near a billboard. In the chopper, one of the corpsman asks what jungle – they just dropped him off at Times Square! Jubilee replies that there’s jungle, and there’s jungle!
Down in New York on 46th street, a lady of the night notices that where she is at is deadville on a stick and that business sure ain’t droppin’ out of the sky – that’s for sure. No sooner does she utter those words, as does Wolverine land on the street next to her. When he does, he tells her to hold the light from the lighter she is holding. The lady is in shock but lights his cigar anyway. As she does, she asks Wolverine how did he do that, just fall out of the sky. She asks if he is an alien or something. Wolverine replies that he’s not an alien, just a mutant. The lady replies that nobody is just anything. Wolverine chuckles to himself and tells her that she’s beautiful and that she has restored his faith. Upon hearing that, the lady asks Wolverine if he has twenty bucks. He tells her that she should have quit while she was ahead. As he walks away, a large billboard is advertising that a large wolf-like creature will be appearing at Parvenue Casino in Atlantic City.
Deep below the city, in the storm drains, Masque and two of his Morlock lieges are surveying the damage. Masque informs them that the wreckage they see before them is what remains of gate 23, where they diverted all the floodwater that would have drowned Morlock alley. One of his followers respond that water not do this, ‘splosion. Masque confirms that it was an explosion – plastic explosives. He can still smell the lingering odor of “dead rubber.” He adds that it must have been pounds of the stuff and that it must have been the mass of a medium sized dead dog or a small child. One of his followers hears the word child and points out to Masque a pink item on the wrecked gears. When Masque picks it up, he is shocked to find a piece of pink taffeta.
Just then, one of Masque’s followers points down the corridor and tells him that sumthin is comin’ outta tha East River. Masque adds that it smells like dead rubber. He realizes that he’s back; whoever skragged his beautiful machines has returned. Out of the darkness, Albert appears carrying Elsie-Dee’s head. Albert calls out power, he needs *bzt* power. Masque replies that so do they and that they crave it. They also kill for it. Masque orders his followers to break the intruder and to make him dead. As the Morlock followers of Masque attack Albert, he takes them out quickly with claw slashes to their stomachs. He informs Masque that anything he can *bzt* break, he can *bzt* fix. Also that he can’t make him *bzt* dead, because he’s not really *bzt* alive.
Once he finishes with the attacking Morlocks, he makes his way up to Masque and holds his claws under his chin. He tells him that he needs *bzt* power, electrical. He also needs a *bzt* junction box. He could also use a *bzt* electronics lab, a *bzt* machine shop, hydraulic *bzt* tubing, and access to a *bzt* mainframe. He also needs to *bzt* patch in an external power source to *bzt* Elsie-Dee or her *bzt* memory will crash. Masque tells him that he can have anything he wants and asks if the power he wants should be 190 or 210. Elsie-Dee tells him that they need both, you disgusting widdle cweature. She adds that he better get cwacking, Albert promised to build her a new body. Albert assures her that he will and that it’s going to be *bzt* really nice – just you *bzt* wait and see.
It gets my blood pumping again. Just runnin’ through the bush in the dark o’ night. ‘Course, it ain’t no wilderness like Buffalo Woods National Park up in Canada. It’s just a bit o’ greenery in the middle o’ the city but Central Park is a jungle in its own way. Folks with a keen survival instinct stay away from it at night. They’re afraid o’ the things that go runnin’ through the underbrush and howl at the moon. They don’t understand the need to run free.
Suddenly, Wolverine stops in his tracks and realizes that something else is up and about in the early mornin’. Something out there, howlin’ back at him. Something in torment. Something in need of help. Wolverine follows the sound to the zoo. When he enters, it is quiet. As he passes the animals in the cages, he notices that the critters just don’t have that edge to them anymore. Too much soft living, no anxiety ‘bout trackin’ down and killin’ dinner. He then smells blood, freshly spilled. As he runs through the zoo, he notices that now the critters are up and jumpin’. They know that a predator is loose among ‘em.
Just then, Wolverine discovers where the blood scent, at least part of it, is coming from. It is at the cage of Gulo Luscus Mustelide – Wolverine. He notices that there’s another scent too. Not fear, as this guy doesn’t fear all too much in this world. He’s a hunter, a fighter. He’s the best at what he does. When Wolverine walks up close to the cage, the wolverine lunges towards the bars and growls at him. Wolverine, unfazed mentions to the animal that he’s still some scrapper, even though they have him locked up in a cage. Even though they give him dead meat with no warm blood pumpin’ through it while snot-nosed little brats throw peanuts at him all day, he still hasn’t given up. Even though he’s bleedin’ an’… bleedin’?
Wolverine turns around to find someone standing behind him. That is where the rest of the blood scent resides. Wolverine proceeds to ask the boy if he has a problem. Behind him, a man stands holding a knife up. He tells Wolverine that Linus ain’t no boy. Linus a full-grown man. He got his size, he’s no runt like him. He is interrupted by the wolverine animal that growls at him. Wolverine says to Linus that he’s no man. Only a sick twisted lil’ boy would get his jollies torturin’ defenseless animals. He then asks him s’matter, did pullin’ the wings off flies get too tame or did the pet store stop sellin’ him gerbils to strangle?
Angrily, Linus charges Wolverine with his knife and yells to him that it was hamsters. He then proceeds to drive the knife down through Wolverine’s hand. Ignoring the impaling blade, Wolverine pops his claws and says to him that he got himself a night job cleanin’ up at the zoo just so he could get his freaky kicks. He adds that he doesn’t suppose they come any lower on the food chain than he does. Linus is in shock but pulls a gun out of his coat and tells Wolverine that he’s got some mouth on him. He adds that he’s fixin’ ta give him another one, a big new nasty red mouth – dead smack in the middle o’ his chest. As Linus pulls the trigger, Wolverine charges with his claws. However, when the gun goes off, it knocks Linus back, which in turn knocks over the rolling trashcan that Linus was toting.
Wolverine informs Linus that he should never fire a gun if the barrel is blocked with solid adamantium. All of those expanding cases got nowhere to go ‘cept back at him. He then looks down at the ground to see a dead body that fell out of the trashcan. He asks Linus if that is the real zoo cleaner. He then informs Linus that he really messed up. Here he is, graduatin’ to stickin’ real live humans and the second guy he stick turns out to have a mutant healin’ factor an’ adamantium-laced bones. As he pulls the knife out of his hand, he tells him that they should have stamped “loser” on his forehead when he was born.
Wolverine pops his claws and raises his hand over his head. As he does, Linus tells him that he’s sick and that he can’t help himself. He’s not responsible, them head-shrinkers up at the program said so. He tells Wolverine that he can’t… He is cut off by the sound of Wolverine’s claws busting the lock off of the wolverine cage. As the wolverine growls and starts to come out of his cage Linus yells out, “Nooooo!” He tells Wolverine to keep that thing away from him. Wolverine replies that he can’t rightly do that as the lil’ feller’s got a mind o’ his own. As the wolverine chases Linus into the tree line, Wolverine tells Linus that he better not slow down, wolverines ain’t nothin’ if they ain’t persistent.
On a bridge over the East River, a limo is traveling down the street. Inside the limo, the driver asks the madam in the back if she had a nice flight. The lady replies that it was dreadful. The driver then asks the madam where she wishes to go in Manhattan. The lady in the back replies that she will make up her mind by the time they cross the bridge. She adds that she’s not a madam, she is a lady – Lady Yuriko Oyama. She then instructs the driver to leave her alone.
As she reads the paper, she notices an article about a stealth bomber that was stolen from the Northrup plant and that witnesses claims that the hijacker had claws and that there was an aerial dog-fight over the East River. She thinks aloud that all of the obvious indicators are there, recording of his passing. She wonders where the clue is that will lead her to where he is going to be. What would interest him, draw him out? Then, she finds it, an ad for the beast that will be in Atlantic City. She informs the driver that she has a destination. The office of Ronald Parvenue. With that, she tosses the paper out the window of the limo.
On the wind, the paper floats down to the East River below. Where it lands, Sabretooth’s head raises out of the water. On the paper, he smells the faintest trace of lotus blossom, eucalyptus, and that acrid stench of hate. He adds that hate is a right pretty smell. It keeps him going. As long as he keeps hating, he ain’t down for the count. And as long as ol’ Sabretooth can stand on his own two feet, that son of his Logan had better watch out.
Jubilee, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Various agents and physicians of S.H.I.E.L.D. (all unnamed)
Masque (leader of the Morlocks)
Various Morlocks (all unnamed)
Lady Yuriko Oyama (Lady Deathstrike)
Various residents of New York (all unnamed)
For the record, a wolverine’s scientific name is:
Subspecies: luscus (New World)
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential Wolverine Vol. 2 (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)