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Jan 29

Wolverine #9 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #9
“Bidding War”
by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert & Frank Martin

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine’s hand is auctioned off. Which rather spoils the reveal in the issue itself, but okay – it’s not the main reveal, after all. Some other superhero memorabilia can be seen on the other tables.

PAGES 2-4. Flashback: a Team X mission.

These flashbacks follow the same visual pattern as other flashback pages in the issue – a 16-panel grid with the key information picked up in a diagonal row of panels shown in different colours. It’s quite effective.

The basic thrust is that Logan and Maverick are trying to be professionals who do the job and get out of there, but Creed is (as usual) taking the opportunity to kill people for his own enjoyment. Logan and Maverick see this as unprofessional slaughter; Creed sees that as hypocrisy, because they’re all just killers.

The guy with the cowboy hat piloting the helicopter, who we only see from behind, is John Wraith, a teleporter who regularly served an extraction role for Team X in Larry Hama’s Wolverine stories back in the 90s.

PAGE 5. Data page. An extract from The Secret History of Wolverine, a book from an unknown author. Conceivably this might be the book that Melita Garner was working on when Wolverine died (as seen in Wolverine & The X-Men vol 2 #10-11) – it was going to be called The Complete History of the Wolverine, but presumably if it ever came out, it didn’t include a full account of this sort of thing.

“Professor Thornton” is a misprint – the character’s usual name is Professor Thorton. He’s the middle-management evil scientist in charge of the adamantium-bonding process in Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” storyline from Marvel Comics Presents, who returned as a villain in Hama’s Wolverine run. His involvement in Team X’s mindwipes dates back to Hama’s Wolverine run.

Team X mindwipes. The account given here is that the Team X mindwipes were only partially effective, and Wolverine and Maverick were able to retain some sense of identity by using mnemonics to at least remind themselves that their memories had been altered. Events later in the issue seem to confirm this. It sits uneasily with Daniel Way’s Wolverine: Origins run, in which Wolverine only seems to become aware of what’s happening right at the very end of his time there, when one of the mindwipes goes wrong, and Maverick seemed completely oblivious to anything being odd with Team X, right to the end. But you can square them with a bit of squinting, if you accept that a particularly effective mindwipe had happened only shortly before the scenes we saw.

The Book of Five Rings. The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi is a 17th century text about swordsmanship and the martial arts, though its philosophical aspects are often seen as relevant to conflict in general. The full quote is usually given as “Today is a victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” The implication is that by retaining their sense of self now, they will eventually get their victory over the people who are manipulating them.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits. The listed members of Team X are all as per the Hama run. Kestrel is John Wraith. Mastodon is a minor character who was introduced and killed off by Hama. Silver Fox is the same Silver Fox who features into Wolverine’s back story with Sabretooth, and quite how she came to be alive and in Team X remains deeply unclear. (Hama may have originally intended to suggest that her fridging at the hands of Sabretooth was a memory implant, but if so, it didn’t take.)

PAGES 7-8. Wolverine gets past the guards.

These guys are surprisingly unaware of Patch, considering that he’s using a very well established Madripoor identity. Even if they don’t know he’s Wolverine, they should still recognise him as significant.

“The Merchant” is a new character.

PAGES 9-10. Wolverine enters the auction room.

Most of the attendees seem to be generics, but among them are:

  • Several members of the Order of X, wearing the hoods and X-gowns. They worship mutants, and they’re simply here to buy some mutant memorabilia as an end in itself, it would seem.
  • Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.
  • Next to the Order of X guys and with his back to us is a guy with a white jacket and a mask on. We get a clearer look at this guy on the next page, and he seems to be the Man with the Peacock Tattoo, the leader of XENO from X-Force.
  • The four children and adult women gathered by the bar are Homines Verendi from Marauders: Kade Kilgore, Wilhelmina Kensington, Max von Frankenstein, Manuel Enduque and Chen Zhao.
  • I feel sure I’m meant to recognise the redhead cyborg at the bar, but I don’t.
  • The woman in a wheelchair in page 10 panel 6 is Delores Ramirez from the X-desk, presumably here undercover. Logan appears to register her presence and move on. We see on page 12 that she’s wearing special glasses that identify Wolverine for her (so, again, how bad exactly is the security at this event?).

PAGES 11-13. The Merchant begins his sale.

Most of this junk is relatively innocent superhero memorabilia (assuming it’s genuine).

  • Jigsaw is a Punisher villain, and you’d have to be really keen on your super-types memorabilia to give a toss about his prison paintings – within the logic of the Marvel Universe, he’s just a regular criminal with a nickname.
  • The gravestone of Spider-Man comes from the Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline, where he was buried alive by Kraven.
  • Magnetic Man was a one-off villain from Amazing Spider-Man #662.

It’s not immediately clear where this severed hand of Wolverine came from, but he’s been killed so many times in the Krakoan era that there must be quite a few lying around. What’s less obvious is how it got severed, since it has adamantium claws, yet apparently a clean cut through the forearm has been achieved. Of course, it could be a fake.

Wolverine’s reaction to this hand is noted by both Delores (who definitely recognises him) and the Kingpin (who probably does too, given his wry smile when Wolverine reveals himself to the room on page 17).

PAGES 14-18. The Merchant tries to auction Maverick, and Wolverine intervenes.

Truly heroic efforts being made here to put over Maverick as an A-lister. In fairness, the Merchant’s key point isn’t that people are that bothered at getting hold of yet another black ops guy – it’s that Maverick could be used to get access to Krakoa. Of course, logically you could do that with any old brainwashed refugee mutant, but okay, let’s run with it. If you can control him, I guess Maverick’s more than averagely useful once he’s inside.

PAGES 19-20. Flashback: Maverick helps Wolverine to recover his sense of self during the Team X days.

I really like the way the page layouts convey the confusion of this without actually being confusing. Anyhow, this is an example of what we saw discussed on the earlier data page.

PAGES 21-22. Wolverine breaks Maverick’s conditioning.

By repeating the same thing in reverse. Maverick still has no idea what’s going on, but knows to trust to Wolverine.

PAGE 23. A quote from Wolverine about how awesome Maverick is, though he doesn’t entirely trust the guy. In fact, Maverick’s generally been written as fairly trustworthy, despite the way Wolverine presents him here.

PAGE 24. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: OUTRUN YOUR PAST.

Bring on the comments

  1. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    If we’re looking for a hand a Wolverine lost on page, it might be Old Man Logan’s – he was maimed in Brisson’s run, which was why in the final stretch he had bone claws in one hand, once it regenerated.

    Also the Peacock Man picking up the bloody handkerchief seems to be important – at the very least, if he was after Logan’s DNA, he won’t have to pay for the severed hand.
    Though, logically, and to paraphrase the Batman Beyond epilogue, acquiring Logan’s DNA should be easy, he leaves it all over the world.

  2. Joseph S. says:

    Wolverine and Quentin were both severed by a portal in X-Force #4-5. He seemed to hold onto both arms on that occasion, but it’s possible he had an arm severed. H

  3. SanityOrMadness says:

    Yeah, Old Man Logan’s hand was the first thing that leapt to mind for me too.

    @Joseph: We see he kept both arms on that occasion

  4. brian says:

    Not much happens here does it? It is good fun though.

  5. Luke says:

    Thanks to Al’s Twitter I know that Adam Kubert is now in his 60s(!), and I’ve been enjoying his work here more than at any point since his run on Wolverine 75-90 back in the early 90s.
    It’s a shame that it’s on stories that are so middling, but they are all good fun.

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