Credits: Tom Sniegoski & Christopher Golden (writers), Pat Lee (pencils & colors), Alvin Lee (inker), Angelo Tsang (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)
Summary: In the sewers, Wolverine discovers a holographic message left by a Morlock scientist named Soteira. She tells the story of a girl named Revelation who emits an uncontrollable death aura. After Revelation’s parents died, Soteira tried to help her control her powers. When Soteira grew too sick, she placed Revelation in a cryogenic freeze and created robotic guards to prevent anyone from disturbing her body. Wolverine tracks down the adult Revelation but is nearly killed by her. Using his powers of psychometry, the Punisher reaches the scene and is attacked by Wolverine as he gains consciousness. The Punisher subdues Wolverine by shooting him in the head. Clear-headed, Wolverine agrees to team with the Punisher, as robotic guards suddenly emerge.
Continuity Notes: I’m sure ninety-eight percent of my readers already know this, but the Morlocks are not a hi-tech race of scientists with access to advanced robotic and cybernetic technology. They live like homeless people.
Review: I think this is obviously Not Very Good, but I’ll try to list the few highlights. The concept that Revelation was raised religious and can’t let go of the guilt she feels for accidentally killing her parents has potential. Sniegoski & Golden get some use out of the idea this issue by revealing that she imagined herself in Hell during her years in the cryogenic freeze, which is causing her to hallucinate Wolverine as a demon and motivate her desire to reach the surface, which she now perceives as Heaven. The idea could also work as a parallel to the Punisher’s new status quo, assuming you think the angelic Punisher deserves any attention in the first place.
But…c’mon. It’s rather obvious that the creators behind this comic don’t know what a Morlock is, yet feel oddly compelled to drag them into the story. This extremely vague knowledge of X-continuity, where writers seem to only be aware of a character’s name and perhaps a one-sentence description, will infiltrate the X-books once the Marvel Knights approach dominates Marvel. (I believe Geoff Johns will go on to write a Morlocks miniseries that places them in Chicago, living in a world where Sentinels openly kill mutants on sight.) In my opinion, it’s one of the main reasons why the X-books have collapsed in popularity since the dawn of the new millennium. That ongoing soap opera that continued to build and build and build on the past was gone, replaced by arbitrary characterizations and relentless shock value that only served to alienate even more fans. I’m not saying that someone writing Fantastic Four or Avengers has to be an expert on X-continuity, but if you want the sales bump that comes with Wolverine as a co-headliner, perhaps you should do ten minutes of research before using these characters so casually? (And, yes, I know the next issue has a throwaway rationalization that brings Dark Beast into the mix, but it's not enough to make the idea work.)
Ignoring the continuity complaints, the book still has problems. Any page that describes the Punisher’s angelic psychometric powers just feels wrong, and the obligatory fight scene between Wolverine and Punisher is a poorly executed waste of time. Pat Lee’s goofy interpretation of these characters also doesn’t suit the story, although I see the colorists have worked overtime to distract from the amateurish art.