Tavern in the Town
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Dan Green & Matt Ryan (inkers), Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
The Dark Riders break Cyber out of a Scottish prison, abducting him against his will. Meanwhile, Cannonball interrupts Wolverine while he’s stalking a deer. Wolverine gets his motorcycle out of the garage and challenges Cannonball to a race. Inside the mansion, Juggernaut comes to and breaks free of his restraints. Afraid that Onslaught is coming for the X-Men, he runs out of the mansion. Later, Wolverine is buying Cannonball drinks at the Auger Inn to celebrate his victory. Juggernaut busts in, looking for a drink. A drunken Cannonball tries to fight him, but he just bounces off of Juggernaut. Wolverine tells Juggernaut that he senses he doesn’t want a fight. Juggernaut actually agrees and leaves the bar, content that the X-Men will soon die anyway. Two agents of Landau, Luckman, and Lake face Juggernaut outside of the bar. They decide that he “knows too much” and send him to another dimension.
I’ll give this issue an “Onslaught hint” label since Juggernaut presumably “knows too much” about Onslaught (I don’t remember if L, L, & L’s connection to Onslaught is ever explained). I believe Juggernaut is sent to the Malibu superhero universe, since there are ads in this issue promoting the first X-book in the Malibu line, Exiles, which stars Juggernaut. This is a few months after Marvel purchased Malibu Comics and relaunched their entire superhero line (one of the many foolish decisions Marvel made as the industry was collapsing). Also, if you pay attention to this type of thing, the story does point out that Cannonball is underage.
This is a fun issue, even if it’s obviously light on plot. It’s filled with splash pages and double-page spreads, which draw attention to the thin story, but are all skillfully drawn by Adam Kubert. He really does get better with each issue, drawing an iconic version of Wolverine that seems to combine the best aspects of John Byrne, Jim Lee, and Marc Silvestri’s interpretations. I’ve always loved the splash page of Wolverine standing on the bar, still not reaching Juggernaut’s eye level, waving his claws in his face. That really should’ve been a poster or a t-shirt. (Has Marvel come to their senses and gone back to the idea that Wolverine is barely over five feet tall?) The story almost seems like filler, but Hama gets some funny lines in and creates some nice character scenes. I’ll give him credit for having Wolverine acknowledge that he couldn’t actually win a fight with Juggernaut, which implies that someone at Marvel was still showing restraint with what Wolverine could or couldn’t do. I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy this issue as much if another artist drew it, but I liked when it was first released and still think it’s fun.