Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Dan Green & Matt Ryan (inkers), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas & Malibu’s Hues (colors)
In Egypt, Cyber fights a robot duplicate of Wolverine as Genesis and the Dark Riders watch. In Manhattan, Wolverine wanders the streets as James and Heather Hudson watch from a distance. He’s accosted by a street thug wearing a smiley face t-shirt who calls himself Dirtnap. When Wolverine ignores him, Dirtnap tries to lure a young boy into a dark alley. Wolverine pops his claws and prepares to fight him, but James Hudson stops the fight. After Wolverine punches him away, Heather calms both of them down. They go to a coffee shop to talk, and Wolverine notices the young boy is standing outside, wearing Dirtnap’s shirt. Wolverine attacks him, accusing him of being a body snatcher. A monstrous entity emerges from the boy’s body and grabs Wolverine. Dirtnap briefly possesses Wolverine, but has to reject him because his healing factor is fighting against him. Dirtnap takes the body of a rat and escapes into the sewers, bragging that he still has the boy’s genetic imprint. Wolverine tells the Hudsons that they should’ve trusted him earlier. They offer to take him to Canada, where they’ll help him fight his regression. Wolverine declines, saying that he’s now happy that his wild side is taking over.
A brief subplot scene has Senator Kelly reacting to a newspaper headline announcing Graydon Creed’s run for President. This issue confirms that Kelly’s aide from Uncanny X-Men #299 is the Landau, Luckman, & Lake agent who has been tailing the X-Men. He’s also named Noah for the first time. He receives a phone call from Zoe Culloden, who tells him that “the ‘napper…was sent out too early”, which annoys her because “the regression isn’t far enough along to begin to tempt him”. This ties Dirtnap to L, L, & L, but I don’t remember why they were trying to “tempt” Wolverine, or what Dirtnap had to do with it.
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Dirtnap is clearly shown smoking a joint when he first appears.
And it’s another issue of Wolverine regressing into a nastier state while his friends tell him how worried they are. Taken on its own, it’s a decent one-off story, but this storyline is starting to get tedious. It’s hard not to feel like the book’s treading water when this issue opens with a six-page fight scene with Cyber and a robot that really has nothing to do with the plot. The interaction between Wolverine and the Hudsons is nice, but their conversation doesn’t really go anywhere, and the past few issues have already had plenty of scenes like this. This is the first appearance of Dirtnap, who went on to become a heavily ridiculed character once Hama started using him in Generation X a few years later. I haven’t read most of those issues so I can’t comment on them, but I don’t mind him here. I guess he doesn’t have much of a distinctive personality, but I like Kubert’s rendition of his true form, and actually turning him into a talking rat at the end makes him stand out amongst all of the other villains in the X-books. Kubert does his typical solid work in this issue, providing some cool action scenes and a very nice rendition of the Guardian and Vindicator suits. It’s a good-looking comic with an okay plot, but it seems like the title has lost a lot of the spontaneous feel it used to have, as the story has to wait until issue #100 to actually go somewhere.