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Nov 13

Wolverine #7 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #7
“X of Swords, Chapter 16”
by Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1. Symbolic image of Wolverine impales by loads of swords, with images of the Arakki champions arranged in an X behind him.

PAGE 2. An epigraph from Saturnyne, alluding to all the tarot cards we keep seeing.

PAGES 3-6. Magik battles Pogg Ur-Pogg

This involves going through Merlin’s Holy Republic of Fae to Roma’s “Floating Kingdom” – initially shown upside down, as it was in X of Swords: Stasis. As far as I’m aware, the pseudo tarot card has no significance.

Obviously, by choosing the pairings and the contests, Saturnyne can rig the results however she wants, and she’s doing precisely that. Thus far, the swords that everyone spent the first half of the story chasing have turned out to be irrelevant – which was kind of foreshadowed in Stasis, when they were described as more of a key to qualify for the tournament.

PAGES 7-8. Credits and recap.

PAGES 9-14. Wolverine and Summoner fight in Blightspoke.

The tarot card at the start is the same one that Wolverine received in X of Swords: Stasis. There’s a data page in the middle of this, but it’s just a description of the scene itself – a surreal battle sequence where the nature of the world changes from panel to panel (so there’s a cave painting panel, and a chessboard, and so forth).

Wolverine kills Summoner by impaling him through the eye. In X-Men #12, Rockslide identified that Summoner’s mutant power was invulnerability, and that his eyes were his only weak spot. As for how the sword gets out the back of his head… well, let’s assume that’s how his powers work(ed)?

Since we’re now in cosmic WCW, Saturnyne then cheerfully announces that the winning stipulation was to get killed, and declares the late Summoner the winner. Again, it’s perfectly obvious at this point that Saturnyne is simply rigging all the contests to get to the result she wants – which is why Wolverine asks in the next scene what the point of any of these battles even is.

However… let’s not lose sight of the fact that if Wolverine’s vision in Marauders is to be believed, the Arakkii would have simply overrun Earth without Saturnyne’s intervention. And while this “tournament” increasingly looks like arbitrary Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense, a series of swordfights against the hardened Arakkii warriors didn’t exactly look like a promising outcome for the Krakoans either. Even so, you’d think more characters (on both sides) would be pushing back harder about being suckered into this fiasco.

PAGES 15-17. Wolverine and Storm’s drinking contest.

Storm is entirely out of character throughout this scene, which I’d assume was deliberate if it wasn’t for the fact that Wolverine doesn’t seem to query it. Admittedly, he’s too busy querying the whole insane situation.

The Page of Cups isn’t one of the tarot cards we saw in Stasis, and its relevance isn’t immediately obvious – it’s generally associated with emotion, imagination and creativity.

Jaspers leaves during the scene to take delivery of some sort of valuable scarab from Death. The implication seems to be that Death bribes him to poison Wolverine – but that would suggest that this is something separate from Saturnyne’s plan, and she certainly seems aware. Death’s also shown an interest in Storm in Marauders #14, so the other possibility is that this is meant to be the real Storm and his interest lies in whatever Saturnyne has planned for her.

PAGES 18-21. Wolverine is teleported directly into the three-way fight between Solem and War.

We established in the previous issue that War hates Solem for killing her husband ages ago, and that the charming Solem has run rings around her attempt to punish him. Solem teleports Wolverine in to the fight to call up the unspecified favour that Wolverine promised him at the end of the previous issue, which was apparently that he “owes me a fight”. Solem takes that to mean that he can sub in Wolverine for one of his own fights, since he has no particular interest in winning or in the outcome.

The Three of Swords symbolises sorrowful experiences, though it’s obviously just being used here to indicate that it’s a three-way fight.

PAGE 22. Data page simply elaborating on last issue’s promise.

PAGES 23-26. Wolverine defeats War.

Although Saturnyne is supposedly rigging this particular contest to punish Wolverine for trying to kill her in Marauders #14, there are oddities. For one thing, it means Saturnyne must have known in advance that Solem was going to teleport Wolverine in. For another, she selects a stipulation – first person to sever a body part of their opponent – which Wolverine is bound to win because of his adamantium skeleton. Under that rule, War never has a chance.

PAGE 27. Trailers. The Krakoan says NEXT: DEATHBLOW.

Bring on the comments

  1. Jon R says:

    At first read, this and Excalibur really annoyed me out of the randomness. Thinking about them and where they’re going makes them fit a bit more to an actual plot rather than just Chaos, but I’m still not enthused.

    My assumption is that Saturnyne’s rigging things for the Krakoa band, but in a way that looks like she’s favoring their opponents. The scoreboard shows Arakko winning easily, but they’re actually bleeding resources some.

    For the two straight fights, Betsy and Summoner are Gone, but Betsy might return at any time.

    For the weird fights.. Cypher is the weakest link on Krakoa’s side in a straight fight, and now Bei’s promised to fight for him. Maybe that goes both ways — Bei’s oath was pretty direct while Doug’s wasn’t — but it puts Doug at a much stronger position.

    The drink-off is ridiculous, but it establishes the concept of Saturnyne making people on the same side ‘fight’, before she really pulls it out with War and Solem. If Saturnyne could see the future enough to know how that played out, then she knew she’d be putting Wolverine in the position to be humiliated at a drunken fool but maim War, and also force Solem to use up that pesky favor early. If she didn’t know, then she still put Arakko in a position where one of their fighters was going to be delimbed.

    For the arm-wrestling, someone who was built as a major opponent for Arakko now had their moment in a gimmie that didn’t hurt anyone, and Saturnyne doesn’t have to call on him again for a bit if she doesn’t want to. Similarly there’s Betsy’s fight, where Saturnyne threw the person she doesn’t like at the person who’s definitionally going to win anyway.

    Meanwhile the points don’t matter a lot, because we’ve seen Wolverine called to two fights (and dropped in on another, because Wolverine). So there’s no telling how many rounds there are, which means Arrako’s lead doesn’t mean a lot. Krakoa’s side has gotten made a bit of a joke, but that helps hide the favoritism.

    Or I’m overreading and this is just Saturnyne being fae whimsical at which point my head’s going to hit the wall.

  2. Ben says:

    “Cosmic WCW” heh.

    Jon R, you are absolutely correct. Well written.

    But is any of it satisfying to read? Does it fit the preceding dozen issues of portentous seriousness? Is it any fun?

    To me, no.

    It’s a weird bait and switch.

  3. Taibak says:

    So… why is this an X-Men story? Leaving aside all the thematic objections, what part are they actually playing? It seems like this should be Saturnyne’s story and we should be getting all this happening from her point of view, with some understanding of her goals, rather than a random set of vignettes starring whichever fantasy heroes the creative team had on hand.

  4. The Other Michael says:

    10 points to Jon R. for a masterful analysis of the situation. If that’s not the actual case, I’d rather read his version of the storyline because it makes sense on a kooky level.

    As far as this whole mess goes, I wasn’t excited in the first place, I find much of it tiresome (especially the Tini Howard bits) and I think it’s at least twice as long as it needs to be. But at least it’s proving less predictable than ten issues of stabby-fight.

  5. Joseph S. says:

    How has nobody mentioned the art!?! Great issue.

  6. Jon R says:

    Thanks for the responses, I’d been having that in head for a bit and wanted to get it out.

    And agreed about how it still doesn’t actually make a great read. For Wolverine in specific, I think I was good for the first half, and then the drinking contest came up and just lost me with Storm’s characterization. The final fight was better than that, but not enough to recover.

    All my speculation can do if it pays off is to give the two issues a point, not make me feel they were that good.

  7. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    This was quite enjoyable. Cassara going wild with that Blightspoke fight was very fun. I wonder if this is truly the last we’ll see of the Summoner – not that I want to see more of him, he was insufferable while also being boring (quite a feat), but Hickman appeared to be building him up for more than a quick poke in the eye.

    The Solem/War/Wolverine fight was less interesting visually, but it’s the first one that actually had some emotion behind it – I don’t care about Solem killing War’s husband, but at least it’s an understandable motivation (or, really, any motivation at all), and using Summoner’s death to further wind her up actually made me sympathise with her.

    So, nice start, good ending, and in the middle was the drinking contest, which… I don’t know, all it elicits in me is a shrug. It’s either an out of character Storm, which would be bad, or it’s not really Storm but an illusion or whatever, since this is Otherworld and I have no idea how far Saturnyne is willing to screw with everybody. Either way, it’s hard for me to care.

    I like Jon R.’s analysis of the plot. I’m afraid it gives the plot too much credit, but it would be nice to be wrong.

  8. Rob says:

    War also never had a chance in the original duel with Solem, because doesn’t Solem have adamantium skin? How could one of his limbs be severed? If anything, he’s an even more likely winner that Wolverine, since you could always cut through the ligaments at any joint to remove one of his limbs.

  9. Joseph S. says:

    Will be interesting to see what comes from the drinking contest. Obviously the parallel with War and Solem, and more broadly trying to show how the Arakki and Krakoans are branches of the same tree. And Logan and Ororo have always had a somewhat flirtatious friendship, and the friends-with-benefits aspect was made explicit towards the end of Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men, which I know many have criticized for perceived tonal issues. But I found that series to be a breath of fresh air. Given the recent focal issues on Storm, and the dance with Death, and the scarab scene in this issue I suspect we’ll see more soon.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    Hasn’t Marvel been hinting that this issue would revisit the sexual attraction between Storm and Wolverine?

    Not that I care for that, but apparently it did not come across too clearly.

  11. Allan M says:

    Wolverine and Storm are flirting throughout the drinking contest, and the last panel of page 7 is Storm leaning in with her eyes closed and lips puckered to kiss him as he’s teleported away. So I’d say Marvel was accurate on that count.

  12. M says:

    Can someone explain to me the reason why the point for the Wolverine/War duel went to Arakko if Logan managed to sever War’s hand?

  13. Paul says:

    Because Wolverine was fighting on behalf of Solem. Arakko were always guaranteed to get the point from that contest (just as Krakoa were always guaranteed to get the point from the drinking contest).

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