Showdown in Lowtown!
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Farmer/Green/Townsend/Rubinstei
n (inkers), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Marie Javins (coloring)
In Madripoor, Gambit visits Wolverine to talk to him about Xavier’s decision to take in Sabretooth. On the roof of the Princess Bar, a mystery man kills two Hand ninjas who were tracking Wolverine. Wolverine and Gambit investigate the roof, but can’t find the mysterious figure. While on the roof, Wolverine tells Gambit a story about Sabretooth from their days as CIA agents. After Sabretooth is seriously injured in battle, Maverick wants to kill him in order to keep their codes and extraction sites secret, but Wolverine stops him. Sabretooth regains consciousness and intentionally foils their escape plan so that they’ll need his help to fight against the enemy soldiers. Back in the present, the mystery man begins to attack Gambit and Wolverine. After tracking him down, they realize that his weapons aren’t lethal. Their attacker is revealed to be Maverick. He’s suffering from the Legacy Virus, and is antagonizing Wolverine into giving him a “warrior’s death”. Wolverine tells him that he needs to face his fears and never drop out of life. Maverick leaves, telling Wolverine to take his own advice.
Wolverine’s friend Rose from the “Lady Mandarin” storyline has morphed into another form (she now looks hideously deformed). She tells Wolverine that she’s retired from Landau, Luckman, and Lake and purchased half of the Princess Bar. Zoe Culloden is her replacement at L, L, & L.
This issue throws a few bones towards the long-time fans by resurrecting the Madripoor cast and by reuniting Wolverine with Gambit. Gambit doesn’t serve much of a purpose in this story, outside of setting up a Sabretooth flashback. Hama gives Gambit the heavily exaggerated accent and doesn’t really take advantage of the character, except for a brief scene where he calls Wolverine out for abandoning the team. Maverick makes similar statements about Wolverine “dropping out” at the end of the issue, so it looks like Hama is getting ready to finish the “wounded Wolverine” character arc. Maverick telling Wolverine to take his own advice is my favorite part of the issue, since it emphasizes how far Wolverine has gone over past few issues, without totally altering his character. Unfortunately, the next development for the character is the editorially mandated “feral Wolverine” storyline, which leaves Wolverine as some sort of nose-less animal.
It’s too bad that this is the first issue to get the “deluxe” paper treatment, since it’s the weakest looking Kubert issue yet. The four inkers don’t mesh, and most of the lines just look too thick and bold. All four of these inkers are fine on their own, so I’m not sure what the problem is. I don’t know if switching to the new paper stock had anything to do with the linework or not, but this is really a step down from the look of the previous issue.