|Wolverine (2nd series) #306|| || |
Issue Date: July 2012
Story Title: Rot: Part 2
Staff: Cullen Bunn (writer), Paul Pelletier (penciler), David Meikis with Cam Smith (inkers), Rain Beredo (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Chris Samnee & Javier Rodriguez (cover art)
In New York, after leaving the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Special Agent Dennis Wells and Detectives Granger and Hicks question Melita Garner on Logan’s whereabouts. At first, Melita is stand-offish but, once she hears about the nature of the crimes, she tells them the name Dr. Rot. Somewhere in a small town in suburban America, Logan heads to Dr. Rot’s (Bentley Newton) childhood home. There he finds Rot’s father on the verge of death. Upon learning of Rot’s location, Logan heads to the compound. Before he can infiltrate, he is attacked by Charlie Chainsaws, Baylee Ann, and Tater. After being burned by a flamethrower, stabbed in the back repeatedly with knives and taking a chainsaw to his side, Logan survives and kills Tater. Before he dies, Tater utters the phrase “dream a dream of pretty prey, and blood as red as rage” and Logan is suddenly in a trance state, unable to move. He is subsequently brought into Rot’s compound where he sees Rot and the rest of Rot’s twisted, distorted family. Rot then proceeds to tell Logan that he will remind him who he is. After all, he’s part of his family now or he soon will be.
In Westchester, New York, at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Kitty Pryde offers to show Agent Dennis Wells around the school. But she can assure him that Wolverine, Logan, isn’t there. He’s a very busy man, as she’s sure he knows. Wells replies yes, he’s a member of the X-Men and the Avengers, the Headmaster of this school, and he’s involved in a number of… private ventures. He has no desire to waste anyone’s time. But maybe she could give him a clue as to where he might be right now.
Smiling, Kitty answers that obviously, they’d like to assist in any way they can. Mentally, Kitty reaches out to Rachel for assistance. She tells her that they need to buy themselves a little time to figure this out. They need alibis. Rachel asks leading a rebellion in outer space, being held prisoner by the Hand in Madripoor, judging a Wolverine cosplay contest in Japan? Turning to Wells, Kitty asks him if he’s ever heard of the Microverse. Holding up his hand, Wells stops her and states that he knows she wants to protect her friend. He can appreciate that. He can also appreciate that she could probably manipulate his thoughts in such a way that he’d believe whatever she’s telling him but she’s chosen not to do so. Try to understand what he’s dealing with there. Detectives Granger and Hicks have uncovered evidence that might connect their school’s Headmaster to multiple murders. And if he is involved, he could be a danger to everyone around him including them and their students.
Rachel replies that Logan would never hurt the kids. Wells says he hopes she’s right. But he doesn’t have to be a mind reader to see that they’re not so sure themselves. If they think of anything that might help, if they hear from Logan, he’d like them to give him a call. As Wells, Granger, and Hicks all depart the school grounds, Rachel asks Kitty this is bad, isn’t it. Kitty replies it’s bad and asks Rachel where he, Wolverine, is.
Standing in front of a dilapidated house, Logan remarks that, enhanced senses aside, he’s one hell of a tracker. One of the best in the business. And it ain’t always about putting an ear to the ground or looking for snapped twigs in the brush. Sometimes, it’s about going back to the beginning – back to where it all started. This is where Dr. Rot was born. Only, according to the files he snagged at Dunwich, his birth name isn’t Rottwell. He was born Bentley Newton, and he grew up right there in the heart of suburban America. This might have been a nice neighborhood once upon a time, the kind of place families go to flourish away from the hustle and bustle. Now, it stinks of mildew and decay. He’d be willing to bet the houses play home to as many squatters as people struggling to make their mortgage payments.
As he enters the house, Logan states that this place isn’t dead yet, but it’s getting there. Live long enough with an overactive sense of smell and you’re gonna encounter some horrible odors. In a memory clogged with Morlock cities, Reaver flesh factories, and Brood backsides, the stink of this place ranks among the worst. It smells like…
Just then, Logan happens upon an old man sitting in a chair. Weakly, the man asks Logan “you… you’re looking… looking for him… looking for my son… aren’t you? Please… please tell me… tell me you’re here to find him. Tell me you want to kill him.” Looking around, Logan asks the man where he is. The old man says “He… he was my flesh… my blood… but he was never my child. He had a sickness inside him. He couldn’t shake his Rottwell heritage… He had too much of his mother in him. He was the creature… he had always been… He couldn’t… couldn’t be anything else. He… changed his name… became… one of them… After… I signed the papers… and put him away… I thought I would never see him again. But he came back… came back for me… and left me here for you.”
In shock, Logan notices the back of the old man’s head had been sliced off, his brain removed and wires leading to one of Rot’s little toys – a brain machine. Logan realizes this is a setup, just like Dunwich. Dr. Rot is leaving a message for him, leading him along, chumming the waters. After Logan asks the man where he can find Rot, the old man tells him “I’ll tell… you… but promise me… promise you won’t let me… won’t let me like this.” Logan again asks where and then the familiar sound “snikt” is heard.
In New York City, Agent Dennis Wells, flanked by Detectives Granger and Hicks, thanks Melita Garner for meeting with them on such short notice. Melita replies that she didn’t realize she had much of a choice. Of course, she might be a little happier to be there if she knew what this was all about. Wells tells her he’s sure she can respect why they can’t give her many details. This case isn’t something they want the media exploiting just yet. And he’s sure she wouldn’t want her boyfriend… Melita cuts him off and tells him ex-boyfriend. Hicks proceeds to ask if they aren’t seeing each other, they she shouldn’t have a problem dropping a dime on him, right? Unless, of course, the two of them are still doing the booty-call thing.
Peering at him, Melita asks what the hell’s is wrong with you people. If they think she’d be willing to help, even if she did know anything, they’re sorely mistaken. Stepping up, Hicks asks Melita to try to ignore her partner and to take a look at this drawing. Showing it to her, Hicks states that it was drawn by a child, a child who witnessed a murder. Looking at the crayon drawing of Wolverine, Melita sighs and tells them that it’s not that she doesn’t want to help them. If she knew where Logan was, she’d tell them… maybe. But she barely knew where to find him when they were dating.
Making his way over close to Melita, Wells quietly tells her this is strictly off the record. In recent weeks, they have been investigating a series of particularly brutal murders, murders involving the extraction of the brain. Similar murders occurred a few months ago, in San Francisco, while Wolverine was living in the area. Now, these killings seem to be starting up again, only on a nationwide scale, and Wolverine may be their primary suspect. He’d like to make this as easy on him and the people he cares about as possible. But if she doesn’t know anything that might help them, they’ll be on their way. Just then Melita tells them to wait and says the name – Dr. Rot.
Outside a large mansion that is falling apart, with barbed wire surrounding the grounds and a number of abandoned vehicles littering the front lawn, Wolverine hides in the trees nearby. As he does, he remarks that this is where Dr. Rot scurried off to after he gutted him. Home sweet ancestral home. He’s been holed up there, biding his time, dreaming up new nightmares. A normal person might’ve been put off by evisceration, might’ve looked into another line of work. But having his insides spilled only seems to have made Dr. Rot worse. He should’ve hunted him down, finished the job, when he had the chance. He’s there now, though. He’ll correct his mistake. He’ll slip down there and kill every…
Just then, Wolverine hears a voice coming from a young attractive woman who says “well, would you look at this. Looks like they found them a trespasser, cousin.” Flanked by a shorter skinny bald man and Charlie Chainsaws, the young man says ain’t he a funny-looking little thing. All snarls and growls and pokey little pig-stickers. He’d reckon he means to cut them to chunks, Baylee Ann. Baylee Ann then asks if she can she keep him. Leaping into battle, Wolverine remarks that he recognizes one of them – Charlie Chainsaws, one of Dr. Rot’s creations. The other two are unknown quantities, but he’ll sort all that out after he’s cut them down. Once Wolverine turns his attention to Baylee Ann, she blasts him in the face with a flame-ball. Excitedly, the bald man exclaims oooooo-eee Baylee Ann. She sure didn’t do his good looks no favors. On all fours on the ground, Wolverine thinks to himself that the severe pain and loss of his right eye is threatening to push him over the edge. He can’t let that happen. He’s there to stay in control, not lose it.
Just then, the bald man leaps on Wolverine’s back and continuously stabs him with his knives. Baylee Ann tells Tater no fair, she tagged him. She should get first slice. Tater tells her don’t you worry none now. Didn’t she hear what Algernon said about this ‘ol boy? They can cut him again and again and he’ll just keep coming back for more. Leaning down, Tater asks Wolverine ain’t that r…
Before he can finish his thought, Wolverine slams his head back, breaking Tater’s nose. As Wolverine begins to fight back, he thinks to himself that they’re playing games with him. Dr. Rot is playing games with him. He should’ve heard them sneaking up behind him, should’ve smelled them. They’ve masked their presence somehow. They think they can trap him, kill him. They’re wrong. After knocking Tater and Baylee Ann to the ground, Wolverine assesses his situation. He’s blind in one eye. Agony is overwhelming reason. He needs his healin’ factor to kick in. He needs to get his bearings. Just then, Charlie Chainsaws comes up behind him and jams his chainsaws into Wolverine’s side. Lashing out in pain, Wolverine breaks one of Charlie’s chainsaws and rushes off deeper into the forest. Watching him, Tater screams to his teammates not to let him get away.
Running through the woods, Wolverine notices that his eye is growing back but his stomach is turned inside-out. He needs to get clear and heal. He needs to run, give them something to hunt. Following Wolverine into the woods, Tater tells Baylee Ann and Charlie to go around and try to head him off. That ol’ boy ain’t gonna get far and they can make a bit of sport outta him once he drives him their way, quite a bit of sport indeed.
Following the tracks of Wolverine’s blood, Tater follows it to the base of a tree where he finds his knives laying there. Up in the tree, Wolverine thinks to himself that like he said, tracking, hunting, isn’t always about putting your ear to the ground or looking for broken twigs or matted underbrush. Those things can lead you right into a snare if your prey is cunning. With that, Wolverine descends on Tater from above and begins to rip him to shreds with his claws. Perched over Tater’s bloody body, Wolverine remarks that some people deserve to die. But some deserve to live, too. Because the longer they live, the longer they can be made to suffer.
Coughing up blood, Tater begins to quietly speak. When Wolverine moves his head closer, Tater utters “dream a dream of pretty prey, and blood red as rage.” Once he does, Wolverine freezes in his tracks. Eventually, Baylee Ann and Charlie make their way over to Tater. Upon seeing Tater’s bloody body lying on the ground, Baylee drops to her knees, covers her mouth and says look what he’s done to you. With tears streaming down her eyes, Baylee looks menacingly at Wolverine and says to him “look what you’ve done.” But Tater spoke those magic words before he gasped his last, didn’t he? He’s quiet as one of her dolls. Not so tough at all.
Sometime later, Wolverine awakens to find himself strapped to a chair and Dr. Rot calling him Logan, James, Wolverine and Weapon X. Rot calls him a poor creature and says he has no idea who or what he is, does he. But don’t fret; he’s going to help him. He’s going to remind him who he is. After all, he’s part of his family now. Or he soon will be. Shall they begin? As Rot speaks, various members of his distorted family – Baylee Ann, Charlie Chainsaws, Tater, Nurse Fester, Atremus Nicodemus Rottwell, Mrs. Rotwell, and a number of his brain machines.
Dr. Rottwell (Bentley Newton)
Baylee Ann, Charlie Chainsaws, and Tater (associates of Dr. Rot)
Mr. Newton (Dr. Rot’s father)
Atremus Nicodemus Rottwell and Mrs. Rottwell (members of Dr. Rot’s family)
Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers (faculty at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning)
Anole, Doop, Genesis, Lockheed, and various other students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning
Detectives Granger and Hicks
Special Agent Dennis Wells
Wolverine spent time at the Dunwich Sanatorium and battled Dr. Rot back in Wolverine: Weapon X #6-9.
Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)