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Aug 21

Wolverine #4 annotations

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

WOLVERINE vol 7 #4
“The Red Tavern”
by Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1. Omega Red tries to drown Wolverine.

PAGES 2-3. Wolverine winds up the Quiet Council.

Generally, Wolverine is taking an anti-authority stance here which is a bit of a throwback to his early (publication) years – from the late 80s onwards, he came to be written as an elder statesman of the X-Men and as being an authority figure himself. It’s interesting to see Wolverine baiting the (very dodgy) government of the X-Men’s supposed utopia. As Professor X points out, this is very unhelpful behaviour.

“Suppose you’ll be wanting this back.” Wolverine stole Magneto’s helmet in a flashback in the previous issue, to use it as psychic shielding.

“You once tore the adamantium off my skeleton.” In X-Men vol 2 #25.

“In the future, we would prefer to work cooperatively.” This is a weird comment, unless Professor X is being sarcastic. After all, Wolverine is a member of X-Force, and the Quiet Council know about X-Force.

“Put a stop to the Marauders being hijacked… Took out the pollen lab…” All in the previous three issues.

PAGE 4. Recap page. The bit about Omega Red and Dracula refers to the back-up strip in issue #1. In that story, Dracula gave Omega Red the “carbonadium synthesizer” that Omega Red needs in order to stay alive without draining other people’s life force. However, the C-synth contains a bomb, which is Dracula’s leverage to make sure Omega Red stays in line and keeps the mutants out of his way. So Omega Red is a reluctant ally of Dracula, which isn’t really spelt out here.

PAGE 5. Credits.

PAGE 6. Data page. Another piece signed off with the Russian word for “chronicler” or “scribe”, which we’ve also seen in several issues of X-Force. The last issue of X-Force suggests that the chronicler is some sort of mutant writer who has been forced into service to the Russian state.

The chronicler doesn’t directly name the person he’s writing about, so I suppose technically it might be misdirection, but we’re obviously meant to infer that it’s Wolverine. The bit about all his relationships ending in grief or betrayal is basically accurate (thanks in part to the dreaded Romulus retcon).

Paris featured in the back-up strip in issue #1; the catacombs are indeed said to hold more than six million bodies.

PAGES 7-12. Wolverine arrives at the Red Tavern.

All pretty standard in continuity terms; Logan is leaving Krakoa to go and wear his normal clothes and hang out in a dodgy bar, as he so often does.

“Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” (sic) by Hank Williams Jr was a country number 1 in Canada in 1979. It’s very suitable for what Logan’s doing here, but you can imagine it not being to everyone’s taste in 2020.

“We met before? My memory – it’s got holes in it.” It’s not meant to – Wolverine got all his memories back at the end of House of M. He’s been rebooted since then, though, and we’ve also been told before that his healing factor tends to smooth over overly painful memories.

PAGE 13. Data page on the Mutant Trauma Support Group, who are the people in the bar. They’re new. It’s a similar idea to the Red Right Hand except as a self-help group parody, and not specifically focussed on Wolverine.

PAGES 14-15. Wolverine finds Fred dead, and recognises his tattoo.

“Oregon. Years ago. The Brotherhood militia.” The Brothers of the New World, a survivalist cult from the “Brotherhood” arc by Greg Rucka and Darick Robertson (Wolverine vol 3 #1-5). The tattoo is indeed their symbol. It’s deeply obscure stuff – but all you really need to know is that this guy is a minor footsoldier who fought Wolverine once in 2003 and has evidently been brooding about it ever since.

PAGES 16-18. The rest of the support group decide what to do with Wolverine.

Dunwich Sanitorium. From the arc “Insane in the Brain” by Jason Aaron and Yanick Paquette (Wolverine: Weapon X #6-9). It was a corrupt mental hospital which was secretly engaged in producing henchmen, only to wind up being taken over by the insane Dr Rot and turned into an outright horror show. There were a lot of seemingly innocent inmates in the Sanitorium, and this guy might well be one of them – but he looks like he might be “the Biter”, who wore a mask to stop him attacking other inmates. It’s less obvious why an inmate from Dunwich Sanatorium would want revenge on Wolverine, who was really a fellow victim in that arc. But maybe he doesn’t remember it that way, or he’s convinced himself that somehow it was all the mutant’s fault.

PAGES 19-25. The support group take Wolverine out onto the ice, and realise their mistake.

Madripoor. Standard setting for Wolverine settings from the late 80s onwards. I’m assuming this bartender is just a generic Madripoor-style character, rather than a reference to anything more specific.

Gorgon. The old woman is claiming to be the mother of Gorgon, currently one of the Great Captains of Krakoa. Gorgon’s supposed interest in older women presumably refers to his affair with Elsbeth von Strucker in Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s “Enemy of the State” arc. But Gorgon’s previously claimed that he killed both of his parents (in Wolverine vol 3 #26), so either he was lying, or she escaped somehow, or she’s a fantasist. Or, of course, everyone just overlooked that line.

The creatures accompanying Omega Red are vampires, and the hovering guy is Dracula. Logan made a point of calling this area “sun-starved” on page 7, so perhaps we’re getting the 30 Days of Night gimmick where vampires take advantage of the lack of sunlight in the far north.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: BLEEDING HEARTS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Kelvin Green says:

    I assume Dunwich Sanatorium is a reference to Arkham Asylum, as both Arkham and Dunwich are towns in HP Lovecraft stories.

    (Or it’s a reference to Batman’s Arkham, which is itself a reference to Lovecraft.)

  2. Paul says:

    Yes, that’s probably what Jason Aaron had in mind. Though Dunwich isn’t particularly Arkham-like. It’s a really, really weird storyline – if you’re looking for it on Unlimited, it IS there, but you have to look under Wolverine Weapon X without the colon.

  3. Chris V says:

    It doesn’t seem to have any relevance to the Lovecraft story, which featured an invisible monster.
    So, it’s apparently just Aaron being cute.

  4. Si says:

    The X-Men are secretly the bad guys now, right? Xavier didn’t change his dream, he adopted Magneto’s. They openly state that they plan to take over the world. Wolverine’s just putting the spotlight on what I assume is a deliberate part of the plot.

  5. Andrew says:

    The Greg Rucka run on Wolverine was a really weird one. I remember there was a lot of hype for it ahead of its mid-2003 launch and it just like of flopped. Nobody particularly seemed to like it, even in comparison to the Frank Tieri run which proceeded it.

    Then they got dropped from the book after what, 18 months? and replaced ultimately by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s crazy Enemy of the State/Agent of Shield year-long story.

  6. Chris V says:

    I liked the Rucka run well enough. It wasn’t anything special, but was definitely better than Tieri.
    Kind of just solid Wolverine solo stories. I remember really enjoying a stand-alone issue with Nightcrawler.
    Tieri’s run was terrible. I dropped the book sometime during the Tieri run, but read the Rucka issues.
    The Millar run was a much bigger deal though, yeah.

  7. Joseph S. says:

    Something very deja vu about this story, maybe intentional give Logan heading off to a rural bar to blow off steam is meant to be typical behavior. But wasn’t there an Old Man Logan arc very similar to this not terribly long ago? Except Reavers or whoever killed the locals. Anyway at least Omega Red showed up in this story, unlike the other book whose cover he appeared on this month. Maybe that account for the shift on X-Force plans?

    Wolverine’s characterization here feels off compared with what we’ve seen in other books, though he is an appropriate character to push back against the Quiet Council and general moral ambiguity of the Krakoan era.

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I wonder if the title of the story is a nod to the French movie The Red Inn (L’auberge rouge) – the murderous innkeepers plot is similar, even if nothing else about the story is.

  9. Daniel says:

    When did Wolverine get rebooted / lose memories after House of M?

    In the long run, I think false memories were as bad an idea as Doombots. Anything a writer doesn’t like can just be written off as fake.

  10. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Arguably after he was resurrected by Persephone – at first he didn’t have his memories. He didn’t actually get them back in the Return of Wolverine miniseries – definitely not all of them.

    His next appearance was, I believe, in the Rosenberg run on Uncanny where he was definitely himself but there is space to argue that he again is missing at least some parta of his history.

    At least in my opinion that was Soule’s intention in Return of Wolverine.

    Then again #hotclaws were supposed to be important, too, so who the heck knows.

  11. Andrew says:


    He got his memory back in House of M 8 and that led into the Daniel Way storyline which began in the Wolverine title before getting spun off into Wolverine Origins.

    Issue 36 I think was the first one (the one with the Joe Quesada cover which was a play on his own Origin 1 cover from 2001)

    Chris V.

    The Tieri one is something I’ve got a weird soft spot for in parts. It’s a run where he was clearly very interested in the whole Weapon X thing and any of his storylines which didn’t involve that were clearly filler.

    And then there’s that weird final storyline of his which is all about referencing The Sopranos for some reason. And that awful Punisher issue.

  12. Fett says:

    There was a story line post House of M, written by Cullen Bunn in 2012, where Dr. Rott was performing lobotomy’s on Wolverine. That story line ended with Wolverine having holes in his memories, evidenced by him not having any memories of the Agent he was working with at the time and various students at the school.

    This was a plot point that I don’t think was ever followed up on. This could be the source of the holes he references in this issue.

  13. Si says:

    Wolverine having no memories to make his past mysterious: an effective storytelling device. Wolverine having no memories when we know all about him: kind of pointless.

  14. Will Cooling says:

    On Rucka’s run. Two issues. First he went exclusive with DC just as it launched (he had already written all 18 issues) which meant that people knew it wasn’t going to “matter” because the writer had already left and so wouldn’t be continuing the story or linking it to other Marvel titles. Secondly this was at the height of writing for the Trade, so each six-issue story had a languid pace that didn’t suit the writer or character. Good art though.

  15. Luis Dantas says:

    Do we have any indication of the extent to which the past of the X-Men may have been retroactively changed by the reconstruction that happened in 2015 as a result of Secret Wars?

    It is conceivable that Wolverine’s past as revealed in Wolverine: Origin and various other flashbacks may no longer apply in Earth Prime (gosh, I hate that name) as they did in Earth-616. That might also explain why Jean Grey values him so much now, when IMO past stories did not show nearly enough indications in that general direction to justify her attitude since X-Men: Red.

    That would however wreck havoc in Paul’s Incomplete Wolverine series, as well as keep us guessing and arguing for years as DC fans have learned to do…

  16. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    There is wiggle room to posit something like that. Counterpoint being that as has been shown on-page so far, the Secret Wars reconstruction didn’t change anything at all except Miles Morales’s dimensional address and the building blocks of some primal dimensional materia of interest only to abstract concepts and Al Ewing.

  17. Karl_H says:

    Hey, I’m interested in the building blocks of primal dimensional materia too, and I’m not an abstract concept and/or Al Ewing!

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