Wolverine (Vol. 3) #42

Background

While filming an episode for their reality TV show, the New Warriors discovered the hideout of a small group of escaped villains (Coldheart, Speedfreek, Cobalt Man, and Nitro) in Stamford, CT. During the fight, Nitro detonated himself near a school yard and killed hundreds of citizens, many of which were children.

Outraged by the New Warriors' recklessness, many people are calling for some type of hero reform. The general attitude toward them has turned sour. The Human Torch was hospitalized after he was attacked at a night club.

Currently the country is buzzing with talk of mandatory registration of the superheroes to prevent this from happening again. In essence, the heroes will be required to disclose their identity to the U.S. Government and become licensed operatives much like law enforcement officials. The hero community becomes divided over this issue. Some are willing to comply with the wishes of their government; others feel that they will ultimately put their families in jeopardy or be turned into a superhuman police force.

Story Details

  Wolverine (Vol. 3) #42
Summary: Spider-Man cameo, Wolverine begins his search for Nitro
Arc: Part 1 of 'Vendetta' (1)
Editor: Axel Alonso
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Carlos Cuevas
Lettering: Randy Gentile
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

Wolverine attempts to stop the Crusader from stealing a C-130 full of U.S. currency. Instead of getting away with it, he (the Crusader) causes it to crash in a cornfield. The explosion kills everyone, except Wolverine of course. Three hours later once his healing factor has finished, he wakes up in time to prevent an F.A.A. official from putting him in a body bag. In exchange for the story of the century, Wolverine gets his coat and directions to the nearest bar.

Before he can get his first beer, his Avengers pager goes off. When he checks the news, he learns of the Stamford tragedy. He calls for a pickup and makes his way to Stamford to rendezvous with the New Avengers and the X-Men teams to assist in the cleanup. The fact that the Federal government has authorized human-driven Sentinels to "observe" them during the cleanup doesn't sit well with Logan. He thinks that mutants will soon be the scapegoat for this tragedy.

Days later Logan is asked to leave his favorite Japanese restaurant when the other patrons complain about his association with the hero community. (The X-Men were "outed" in (New) X-Men #122). When accosted by drunken gang members, he pops his claws to chase them away without a fight.

Later on, at the Baxter Building the heroes gather to discuss the current situation. Falcon and Yellowjacket get into an argument over the proposed mandatory registration. Falcon is vehemently opposed to it; Yellowjacket is in favor of it. Hank claims that they should be accountable to someone for their actions. Logan reminds Hank that despite his best intentions the world isn't as simple as he makes it out to be. Thing seconds that statement by reminding them of Johnny's attack at the nightclub.

In a private conversation, Iron Man tells Logan that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't going to spare the manpower to look for Nitro and encourages him to just "let it go". Logan refuses to let the issue alone.

Luke Cage finds him soon after Iron Man leaves and asks him to elaborate on his statement to Yellowjacket. Logan states bluntly that this new registration won't solve the larger issue. They take opposing sides of the issue, Cage with the Pro, Logan against. Logan tells Luke of his German Jewish friends who were killed during World War II as a result of "registration". He reminds Cage that a Sentinel has been posted on the front lawn of the Xavier Institute. After some harsh words are exchanged, Logan goes in search of a beer.

The next day at Xavier's, Logan packs up his gear and leaves to find Nitro, despite the protests of Emma Frost and Cyclops.

Logan makes a quick trip to the Raft, where Nitro was imprisoned, to get his scent. He returns to ground zero in Stamford and calmly filters out any additional smells and locks onto Nitro and begins to track him.

General Comments

Very strong opening to the arc. Guggenheim's style fits in quite well with the Wolverine title. Ramos' art is a bit quirky at times, but he gets the job done.

At times like this I really miss editorial footnotes. I'm not exactly sure when the Sentinels began their stay at Camp Xavier. No reference point was given for this, e.g. "after I was mind-controlled" or "since the Stamford incident". In any event, casual fans are aware of the mutant-hunting robots and what they represent for the X-group.

Overall Rating

4 webs. This issue repeats topics covered in Civil War #1 without taking up too much space and spins Logan off in his own direction. Logan clearly wants Nitro to be brought to justice since nobody else does.