Friends -- No More!
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Mike Grell (pencils), Nelson & Hennessy (inks), Veronica Gandini (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)
Summary: Wolverine’s clone interrupts the meeting between Silver Samurai and Matsuo, and after he kills their guards he quickly turns his attention towards Shadowcat and ‘Ro. Shadowcat uses her powers to escape, taking ‘Ro to a bullet train. Wolverine tracks them but is pushed out of the train with Lockheed’s help. Shadowcat and ‘Ro are arrested when the train stops and later bailed out by Mariko. They soon learn, however, that Mariko is now the leader of the Consortium, and by extension, SHIELD. Gambit and Jean Grey suddenly arrive to rescue their teammates, but during their fight, Mariko sneaks away with ‘Ro. Via satellite, Matsuo offers a partnership to Perfect Storm, who’s persuaded when she discovers the Consortium now has ‘Ro. Meanwhile in Genosha, Ghost Panther meets with Dr. Strange.
- The recap page claims that the cloned Wolverine wants his adamantium claw “back” from Shadowcat. I don’t recall this as his stated motivation in the previous issues, but he does mention it in the actual story this time.
- Ziggy Trask blames the X-Men for the death of her mother…but wasn’t her mother watching over her in the hospital just a few issues ago? Apparently, this was a misdirection. Amelia, not Ziggy, was actually the female in the hospital bed and Mariko was the mystery woman watching over her.
- The Consortium have a power neutralizer that they use against the X-Men during their fight this issue. How long it’s supposed to last isn’t established.
Review: Yeah, I think the Wolverine clone has overstayed his welcome by now. I can understand why Claremont would use him just to tease the idea that perhaps Wolverine isn’t dead, but that cliffhanger was several issues ago (and wasn’t very convincing anyway), so why is he still around? His previous motivation was that as a dark copy of Wolverine he desired to kill anyone close to Logan, which is fine, but now he’s babbling about taking back that adamantium claw from Kitty's body -- how could he even do that, and what would he do with the claw even if he retrieved it? The only real conflict he introduces into the story is Kitty’s angst over whether or not she can bring herself to kill the clone, assuming she's physically able in the first place, and that idea is barely touched upon during the issue. I didn’t mind the diversion with Clonverine in the previous issue, but it’s clear now that the book has much more pressing issues to attend to.
As for the Yashida Clan/Hand/Consortium alliance…where is this coming from? The idea actually does have promise, in the sense that it is fun when Claremont pulls from the various corners of X-canon, but the execution has been far too rushed to give the development any impact. Getting the characters to this point so quickly requires the reader to ignore anything we know about Mariko, who was last seen pledging to break her family’s ties to organized crime and prove herself worthy to Wolverine. In the space of a few pages, her family has sealed an alliance with the Hand, and apparently joined the Consortium on the same day, all based on her jealousy over Wolverine and Jean’s affair. An affair that only consisted of one kiss on the beach, by the way, a kiss Mariko couldn’t reasonably know about. (Also, Wolverine was more than friends with Tyger Tiger during the early issues of his solo series -- was Claremont plotting a jilted lover story with Mariko all the way back then?) This isn’t the only problem with the plot development; how does joining the Consortium automatically give Mariko authority over Ziggy Trask? Why is Ziggy already having inner monologues about her desire to overthrow Mariko? Isn’t this something she would’ve had a say in before it happened? How exactly is Mariko going to be taking over SHIELD? Even if Claremont’s new interpretation of Mariko is an intentional feint, like “Evil Storm” from the earlier issues, that wouldn’t address all of the wonky plotting this issue. After a run of entertaining issues that read smoothly and stayed true to the premise of the book, we’re now back to some of that rushed, muddled storytelling that marred the earlier issues of the title.