The Hamster Run
Credits: Fabian Nicieza & Steve Skroce (story & art), Andy Owens (inker), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Comicraft’s Troy Peteri (letters)
Summary: Gambit and Daredevil pursue Constrictor, who’s stolen a synthetic organ from a hospital. Gambit needs Constrictor’s adamantium so that New Son can save Sabretooth, while Constrictor and Daredevil are fighting over the organ. Constrictor stole the organ for mob boss Salvatore Donato, who’s holding Constrictor’s childhood girlfriend, and Donato’s daughter, hostage. Daredevil wants the organ for Judge Harris Beuchler, who was next on the transfer list. After Constrictor is chased to the mobster’s home, Daredevil learns that Beuchler bought his way up the list ahead of Donato. Gambit devises a mutual solution: Constrictor gives Gambit his adamantium coils, the judge gets the organ, and Gambit uses his powers to dissolve the shards of glass that damaged Donato’s stomach when he was poisoned in prison.
· Fontanelle scrapes the memories of Mr. Sinister, witnessing him reading a story about the “Black Womb Killer” in 1891.
· Sabretooth is near-death following the removal of his adamantium. New Son claims he can save Sabretooth if he has more. I don’t know if we were ever told where exactly this adamantium was implanted in his body, but the idea of him having an adamantium skeleton was dropped after this story.
Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership has average sales for the year at 96,359 with the most recent issue selling 64,240 copies.
Review: This issue barely ties into the ongoing New Son plot, and obviously isn’t very Gambit-centric, but it’s still strong. Daredevil the true star of the story, as he risks his life to retrieve an organ one of his mentors needs to survive, only to discover that the judge subverted the law to extend his life. In order for this to work, though, you have to assume that a convicted mobster would receive higher priority than a respected judge in the first place, which might be a stretch. (I don’t know if past criminal convictions are considered in any way when making the organ transplant list, but I wonder if a judge would have to resort to outright bribery in order to rank higher than a mobster). Regardless, the premise isn’t so implausible that it ruins the story.
Nicieza’s done a great job creating a series of conflicting motivations and unexpected twists. As the story points out on the final page, Constrictor is actually the character with the noblest actions, since he fought to save the only true innocent in the conflict. Gambit doesn’t even want to save Sabretooth, and Daredevil’s hero turns out not to be so righteous (although, I can’t really blame him for wanting to outlive a convicted drug dealer and racketeer). The sarcastic third-person narrative captions also add a lot of life to the story, particularly the running series of jokes about Constrictor’s face and all of the horrible things that are happening to it. This easily could’ve been time-killer, but instead it’s one of the better standalone stories from the era.