Friday, March 21, 2008

WOLVERINE #79 – March 1994

Cyber! Cyber! Burning Bright!
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Mark Farmer & Mike Sellers (inkers), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Steve Buccellato (coloring)

At a Scottish bank, the Special Air Service attempts to arrest Wolverine. His identity has been assumed by Cyber, who has already robbed the bank. Landau, Luckman, and Lake agent Zoe Culloden prevents the authorities from arresting him. At Edinburgh University, Cyber demands to see a skeleton called the “William Burke relic”. Meanwhile, Zoe Culloden takes Wolverine upstairs where she suddenly attacks him. Culloden thinks that Wolverine killed her mentor, Mr. Chang, in Madripoor. Chang’s real murderer is Bloodscream, whose blood is still on Wolverine’s sword. He tells Culloden to examine the blood on his sword to vindicate him. Cyber suddenly appears, attacking Wolverine. In the course of the fight, Wolverine slashes Cyber’s face, and Cyber breaks the claws on Wolverine’s right hand. Wolverine is saved by Culloden when she drops a filing cabinet on Cyber. The two escape to Muir Island.

Miscellaneous Notes
Zoe Culloden says she was named after an “empress and a battle”. Zoe was the empress of the Byzantine Empire in the early 1000s. The Battle of Culloden occurred in Scotland in 1746.

William Burke was a serial killer in 19th century Scotland who murdered people and sold their bodies to scientific research.

The title of this issue, I guess only because it rhymes with “Cyber”, is a reference to William Blake’s poem “The Tyger”.

When Wolverine’s bone claws were first introduced, one of the first questions asked by fans (after, “how could he possibly have bone claws?”) was “what happens if they break?” Hama gets the obvious out of the way and does that story just four issues later. Marvel’s obviously married to the idea of Wolverine having claws, so it’s not long before they grow back. Cyber is introduced into this series after several appearances in Marvel Comics Presents. There’s no background given on the character, which is a problem for anyone who didn’t read his initial appearances (like me). From what I can gather, he has metal arms and is crazy. I’m sure his MCP appearances had more depth than this, but that’s all we see in this issue.

There’s not a lot going for this issue outside of the fight between Wolverine and Cyber. Kubert experiments with quite a few page layouts that keep the fight interesting, and Hama gives Wolverine a few good lines. Zoe Culloden is given a pretty big introduction, but I don’t remember much coming from it. There’s a confusing sequence where Cyber demands to see a skeleton archived by a university. In Cyber’s fantasy, the skeleton is made of adamantium and wearing Wolverine’s costume. The skeleton only appears in one panel outside of Cyber’s delusion, and the art doesn’t make it clear if it’s supposed to be metal or not. I vaguely remember another storyline about Wolverine’s skeleton involving Elsie Dee and Albert, so this might be a tie-in to that. This scene, combined with Cyber’s nonexistent introduction, made me one confused kid.


Matt said...

"Zoe Culloden is given a pretty big introduction, but I don’t remember much coming from it."

Maybe not in WOLVERINE, but she was a major character in about the first 25 or so issues of DEADPOOL!

Fnord Serious said...

Cyber's introduction in Marvel Comics Presents was memorable to me for the creative team, Peter David and Sam Keith. The character himself was always rather forgettable and yet another adamantium reinforced villain with a mysterious past that was plaguing Wolverine in the 90's.

Kerry said...

Zoe Culloden was indeed a major player in Joe Kelly's Deadpool (the only Deadpool series/issues I care to acknowledge), as were Landau, Luckman, & Lake, even though to this day I have no idea what an "interdimensional holding company" is--not that they've been used since.

I always felt Cyber was a pretty crappy villain, and was glad when he was memorably killed off a few years later. Daniel Way brought him back in a recent issue of Wolverine: Origins; I believe it had something to do with his wandering consciousness taking over the body of some musclebound idiot-manchild (yeah, it wasn't good).

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