After thwarting a bank robbery, Spidey and Wolverine found themselves far-flung into the past. Against Spider-man’s advice, Wolverine lead a tribe of ape-men there and altered the timeline. Upon time-jumping again, they’ve become separated, each dropped into each other’s past.
Somewhere back in history, a team of Knights of the Templar on horseback in the snow come across a couple curious characters: the man in the shadows last issue with the diamond-encrusted bat, who calls himself Czar, and his troll-like companion named Big Murder. Czar sends all the Knights into the future, and he and Big Murder step into a portal themselves—ending up on an asteroid, “somewhere around the end of time”. Czar and Big Murder run into versions of themselves at the party from another timeline.
Back in New York, time-displaced Wolverine is walking around town with a teenage Peter Parker, whom he’s just wrestled with. Wolvie spots the bank where he and Spider-man stopped the bank robbery, and thinks if he can find the diamonds he can put the timeline right. He informs Peter that he plans to rob the bank, and Peter being pre-great power, great responsibility, says it’s not up to him to stop bank robbers. Wolverine goes in, slices open the vault, only to find Czar and Big Murder there, who whack him unconscious with the timestick.
Spider-man is back in Wolverine’s past, covered in meat and being stalked by Wolvie and some wolves. Spidey banters with the stoic, savage young Wolverine, until they’re fired upon with a double-barreled shotgun by Wolverine’s brother, Dog (aka Sabretooth). Dog lets off a stick of dynamite, sending Spider-man tumbling down an abandoned mine. Czar and Big Murder await him below, and knock him around with the timestick.
Another flash-forward: Spidey and Wolverine are being burned on the stake in Salem. Wolverine states that they’re being toyed with—that whoever is doing this to them is probably watching them right now. The last few pages reveal the twisted director of the whole scheme—at a bank of monitors and camera feeds watching the heroes and all the different realities, is a laughing Mojo.
It didn’t occur to me, but who else but Mojo could’ve orchestrated something like this? His cohorts, Czar and Big Murder, aren’t fleshed-out much this issue, but based on the cover tease for the next issue, it seems as if they will be.
Though time-travel stuff gives me a headache after awhile, putting both Spidey and Wolverine into each other’s pasts gives Adam Kubert the chance to draw some really splendid set pieces, and Jason Aaron’s voicing of the characters is as reliable as ever. Perhaps inevitably, this issue doesn’t quite pack the wallop or awe that the first three issues did, though.
Top notch scripting and artwork, as usual (is it too late to install Jason Aaron as the head writer on Amazing Spider-man instead?). This entry suffers a bit from middle-of-the-miniseries syndrome, as the action slows a bit and details are teased out, but as a stand alone issue it still manages to be extremely enjoyable.