Friday, March 27, 2009

WOLVERINE #-1 – July 1997

A Whiff of Sartre’s Madeleine!
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Cary Nord (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Joe Rosas (colors), Comicraft (lettering)

Summary: James Hudson sends Wolverine to Washington, DC to meet Dr. Myron MacLain, the inventor of adamantium. When he arrives, he’s spotted by Hydra agents, who are searching for the former members of Team X. Dr. MacLain examines Wolverine, but can’t explain where his adamantium skeleton came from. Meanwhile, MacLain’s secretary informs a mystery man that Wolverine’s arrived. Soon, Sabretooth barges into the MacLain’s office. He takes Wolverine, who doesn’t recognize him, away. In a back alley, Sabretooth prepares to shoot him in the back of the head, but he’s interrupted by Hydra agents. Wolverine is rescued by Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, who try to fight off Hydra. Russian agent Black Widow finishes off the Hydra agents, claiming that her government doesn’t want Wolverine joining a terrorist group or any government agency. Sabretooth returns and takes aim at Wolverine, but quickly loses the fight. Wolverine takes Sabretooth’s cowboy hat and walks away. Fury decides to ignore his orders and let Wolverine leave.

Continuity Notes: This is a story set in Wolverine’s past that guest stars three-fourths of the Marvel Universe. It has a little bit of continuity. Wolverine is still just “Logan” at this point. The story takes place shortly after the Hudsons discovered him in the woods. Ben Grimm, not yet the Thing, is Wolverine’s pilot to America. He gives him the nickname “Canucklehead”. Sabretooth is still wearing civilian clothes at this time, and claims that he’s working for the government. Nick Fury, who doesn’t have an eye patch at this point, has met Wolverine before and is shocked he doesn’t remember him (due to his memory blocks, of course). He’s been ordered to recruit Wolverine for government work, while Sabretooth claims that his Federal bosses want Wolverine dead. Carol Danvers is a CIA agent and is meeting Wolverine for the first time. Dr. Myron MacLain is working out of the Department of Agriculture, which previous Wolverine issues have established as a front for top-secret operations. Madame Hydra, who is secretly Silver Fox, is watching the events from a distance.

Miscellaneous Note: I did a quick Google search, but didn't see any references to the odd title of this issue. I assume it's a reference to French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Satre, but I don't know what its significance to this story is supposed to be.

I Love the ‘90s: A Bullpen Bulletins article about Marvel’s website ends with this gem: “Now, if only someone would explain to us how we can download those great pictures of Terri Hatcher…!”

Review: Since an early Alpha Flight backup established that the Hudsons discovered Wolverine shortly before the Fantastic Four were created, it was easy for Hama to know where Wolverine was supposed to be during the Flashback period. (Kurt Busiek has joked for years that the “X-guys” screwed up when Wolverine could’ve gotten his adamantium, since it didn’t exist until a Thomas/Buscema issue of Avengers. Well, it was actually John Byrne, who was no longer an X-guy.) Marvel had already produced quite a few stories set during Wolverine’s past by this point, but I don’t know if his early days with the Hudsons had ever been explored. Unfortunately, they’re ditched early on in the story, as Wolverine goes on to have a rather pointless adventure in America. The story is filled with so many needless cameos, I half-expected a teenage Peter Parker to show up on a school field trip (“If Flash Thompson weren’t such a doofus, he’d appreciate the beauty of our nation’s capital! Hey, what’s all that commotion over there? I’d better go hide! Excitement and Peter Benjamin Parker do not mix!”). It is fun as an action story, but the relentless cameos strain credibility so far it’s hard not to view the issue as anything other than a gimmick. I didn’t like Cary Nord’s art the first time I read this issue, but he has a Mignola-esque style that looks pretty interesting today. His interpretation of Sabretooth as a redneck CIA agent is pretty cool.

1 comment:

Isaac said...

The "Madeleine" thing in the title is a reference to Proust, not Sartre. At the beginning of the big novel (Remembrance of Things Past or whatever), it's a taste of a cookie called a madeleine that conjures up Proust's memories of his childhood.

My guess? They're trying to conjure up memory and angst in the same phrase, and to be clever about doing it.

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