It Fell to Earth
Credits: Todd Dezago (plot), Brian K. Vaughn (script), Cary Nord (penciler), Scott Hanna w/Rob Hunter (inkers), Kevin Tinsley (colorist), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Viper tells Wolverine that Madripoor is threatened by the outbreak of a new virus. Wolverine searches the Himalayas for the missing Hydra agents she allegedly ordered to find a virus sample for an antidote. Wolverine finds one surviving Hydra agent, who tells him that Viper staged the outbreak in Madripoor in order to trick him into searching for this particular virus. The “virus” turns out to be an alien spider, which Wolverine eventually kills. He destroys the spider’s remains and tells the Hydra agent to go into hiding.
Miscellaneous Note: According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for the year were 184,335 copies, with the most recent issue selling 170,500.
Production Note: This is the infamous “kike” issue. The story goes that Vaughn’s script described Sabretooth as an “assassin” in a flashback scene, which a hand-written editorial note changed to “killer”. The Comicraft employee who lettered this issue saw the correction and misread it as “kike”, unaware that it was a slur against Jews. Marvel asked retailers to return copies in exchange for a corrected version, which many comic shops didn’t bother doing, making it a brief collector’s item on eBay.
Review: More filler. I suppose this issue has the distinction of being an early job by Brian K. Vaughn, whose script is competent enough, but nothing here really stands out. The plot is tolerable as far as time-killers go, but I’m not sure why exactly Viper is now commanding Hydra agents again (they just kidnapped and tried to brainwash her a few issues ago). Cary Nord’s art helps to give the story a unique look, which is always appreciated in a fill-in. I probably would’ve enjoyed this more if it hadn’t followed such a long series of filler.