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May 30

Wolverine #50 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2024 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #50
“Sabretooth War, part 10: Coup de Grace”
Writers: Benjamin Percy & Victor LaValle
Pencillers: Geoff Shaw & Cory Smith
Inkers: Geoff Shaw & Oren Junior
Colour artist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Armoured Wolverine fights Sabretooth.

PAGES 2-6. Graydon Creed’s final showdown with Wolverine is cut short when Sabretooth kills him.

Basically, Graydon turns out to have been a red herring – after reanimating the battered Stark Sentinels to keep X-Force occupied, he tries to give his speech about following the footsteps of his father’s urge for destruction, only to get summarily killed by Sabretooth, who doesn’t seem to care about him in the slightest. Even Wolverine is surprised by that.

The gauge in page 6 panel 1 is a progress bar as the armour restores Wolverine’s powers, as revealed later in the issue.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits. We’re told here that the Muramasa Blade that Wolverine is carrying is capable of causing wounds that Sabretooth’s healing factor can’t heal. This was a heavily emphasised feature of the Muramasa Blade which appeared extensively in Wolverine: Origins, but the one Wolverine is carrying here seems to be one of the blades that were made by Muramasa for “X of Swords”. I’m not sure these swords have previously been established as having the same properties, but they were shown to be able to cut through adamantium in X-Force #13.

PAGES 8-9. X-Force and the Exiles fight the Sentinels.

Oya correctly identifies that the much-hyped Death Seed was another red herring – as we saw last issue, it was Cypher’s attempt to shock Sabretooth into empathy, and achieved nothing at all. Third Eye, who normally serves as the Exiles’ voice of wisdom, spells out that Sabretooth is simply irredeemable and that expecting him to conform to normal behaviour is a misreading of his character. Or indeed normal plot points. I think the intended effect of the Death Seed and Graydon Creed is that the plot is trying to force Sabretooth towards a moment of realisation and change, but the character simply won’t co-operate with these conventions.

PAGES 10-11. Sabretooth lures Wolverine away

The gauge appears again in page 10 panel 1.

Sabretooth lures Wolverine first to the abandoned Green Lagoon bar, a setting that Benjamin Percy used quite extensively before the fall of Krakoa.

Wolverine draws our attention to the fact that the tunnel out of the Green Lagoon is new to him, but it’s not clear what the significance of that is supposed to be. It leads to the Quiet Council chamber, as we see in the next scene, rather than to anywhere hidden. Percy’s stories tended to show the Krakoan landscape as ever-changing, something that wasn’t picked up by other writers.

PAGES 12-13. Sabretooth drags Wolverine into the Pit.

“The Quiet Council. Where it all began for me.” Sabretooth was dragged from this room into the Pit in House of X #6, in essentially the same way that happens at the end of the scene.

“I got real close with the island. With one part of it anyway.” Sabretooth’s domination of the Pit is covered in the Sabretooth miniseries. Apparently, he retains a psychic link with the local part of Krakoa (which is currently dormant), to the point where he can get it to drag others into the Pit.

The gauge appears again on page 13.

PAGE 14. X-Force smash up a Sentinel.


PAGES 15-17. Sabretooth tries to torture Wolverine in the Pit.

Somehow, Krakoa’s tendrils are able to just remove the armour in parts. You’d think that would be trickier.

Sabretooth falls back on the old standard of sending beloved figures from Wolverine’s past against him – Marvel Girl, Daken and Silver Fox. Curiously, Silver Fox is shown in her Hydra uniform, rather than in a way that calls to mind her apparent death at Sabretooth’s hands. There’s no apparent reason for this, so I wonder if it’s just a case of using the wrong reference.

PAGES 18-19. X-Force and the Exiles bring Sabretooth and Wolverine back to the surface.

Phoebe says that she psychically persuaded Krakoa to bring them back. This is a little awkward, since nobody mentions the fact that Krakoa’s meant to be dormant at the moment, and moreover, telepaths weren’t able to communicate with Krakoa. That’s why Cypher was so important. However, Sabretooth did say that he was communing with the part of Krakoa that was responsible for the Pit, and Cypher did set up that part of Krakoa to be responsive to Sabretooth in some ways, so… let’s assume that the particular bit of Krakoa that deals with the Pit is capable of some level of communication with telepaths.

PAGES 20-25. Wolverine kills Sabretooth.

Since he’s got a sword that can cut through adamantium and makes unhealable wounds, Wolverine really has little trouble winning this fight once Sabretooth is in range.

Wolverine reveals that the armour was designed by Forge to restore his mutant powers. The idea that Forge could build such a device is perfectly fine: he did it before for Storm. You might well ask why he thought it was worth including in the armour. But then presumably he was figuring that by definition Wolverine would only be resorting to this armour if something was up with his powers. A footnote points us to X-Force #25, but the relevant scene in that book just mentions that Wolverine has an outstanding request with Forge for something unspecified.

Sabretooth tries to insist that Wolverine doesn’t “even exist without me”, and asks ‘Who would you even be without this hurt” – basically, he’s trying to position himself as the formative figure in Wolverine’s life. The story’s basic answer is that Wolverine, unlike Sabretooth, isn’t defined solely by pain. In fact, Wolverine has been getting by just fine throughout the Krakoan era with no Sabretooth around; Sabretooth is much more defined by Wolverine than vice versa.

On page 24, the blood on the Muramasa blade shows reflections of various people who have been killed by Sabretooth. Daken, Kid Omega, Bad Seed and Feral are all recognisable (and since Feral died long ago, others could include all manner of background generics).

PAGE 26. Kid Omega says goodbye to Phoebe.

Their romance subplot ends – for now at least – with Quentin allowing Phoebe to switch off the lantern that’s keeping his severed head alive. Quentin may have been among the last batch of resurrectees in Rise of the Powers of X, of course.

The Exiles are apparently supposed to take from this story the fact that they’re part of the mutant family after all, even though they choose to go their own way. It’s a bit of a stretch, given their role.

PAGES 27-28. Wolverine and X-Force leave Krakoa.

Wolverine takes the opportunity to reflect that Krakoa has given him the opportunity to be happy for a time, and that taking that opportunity is what separates him from Creed.

PAGE 29. Contents page for the back-up stories.

PAGES 30-39. This is a ten-page story by Larry Hama and Daniel Picciotto with Wolverine and Jubilee, apparently set somewhere during Hama’s early 90s run. They meet a local kid with a very minor mutation who has accidentally salvaged a Sentinel in the mistaken belief that it might make a good tourist attraction. Simple as that.

PAGES 40-46. This is an eight-page story (one of them’s a double page spread) by Benjamin Percy and Javi Fernandez, serving as a coda to Percy’s run. It basically features Wolverine reflecting on his career, accepting Krakoa as the latest phase, and readying himself for what comes next. Most of it is just narration over a montage of flashbacks.

On page 40, we have images of Logan as a youth (from Origin), a regular soldier, a member of Team X, Weapon X, Wolverine (his first costume), Patch, Wolverine (first X-Force costume), out-of-costume Logan, and Wolverine (modern costume).

Page 41 expands on those, with a photo for each era:

  • Origin Logan fights someone I don’t recognise.
  • Wartime Logan fights alongside Captain America in World War II.
  • Team X Wolverine in a generic action shot.
  • Weapon X fights a Wendigo, which Wolverine says he doesn’t remember. This comes from a story by Gerry Duggan and Adam Kubert in Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1.
  • Early Wolverine fights the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #181.
  • Madripoor seems to be represented by a postcard and a photo of the Silver Samurai (who’s not from Madripoor).
  • X-Force Wolverine is shown fighting Archangel during the Rick Remender run.
  • Out-of-costume Logan is fighting someone who looks like Roughouse.
  • Modern-day Wolverine seems to be seeing Ghost Rider, possibly a nod to Hellverine.

On page 42, largely a montage of characters who have featured in Percy’s run:

  • Wolverine fights Omega Red, then sits around the table with him as X-Force teammates.
  • Logan enjoys a joke with Beast, then remembers Beast killing him in preparation to enslave him (in issue #26).
  • Logan is irritated by Solem.
  • Logan drinks with Maverick.
  • Wolverine fighting alongside Deadpool.

On page 43, what seem to be generic images of Wolverine fighting Magneto, a Sentinel and something unspecified. Magneto seems to be removing Wolverine’s adamantium, but the background is entirely wrong for it to be a literal flashback to X-Men #25.

On page 44, a montage of Wolverine returning from the dead: a Krakoan resurrection, a standard healing, and Wolverine making it into Hell during “X of Swords”. The final panel shows the futuristic Wolverine from X Deaths of Wolverine.

On page 45, Wolverine with his “family” – beginning with an image of him killing Jean in New X-Men #148, but also with him, Jean and Scott living together in the Summers House, and Wolverine with Daken, Laura, Cyclops, Kitty and Kid Omega in the Green Lagoon. We get an image of the X-Men Mansion alongside Krakoa, as Krakoa recedes into being just more history.

PAGE 47. Farewell message from Benjamin Percy.

PAGES 48-49. Trailers. Unlike the other tail-end “Fall of X” books, this doesn’t trail the final Krakoan issues, but instead plugs all the Wolverine projects that are due out before Wolverine vol 8 #1 in September. Hellverine, in particular, is a Benjamin Percy book which serves as a sequel to the Ghost Rider crossover from issue #36, and also follows up on Daken’s death in “Sabretooth War”. So in practice it’s a final arc of Benjamn Percy’s run, but for some reason nothing is done here to flag that fact.

PAGES 50-54. Unlettered art preview of Wolverine vol 8 #1.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    Krakoa made Wolverine happy? I seem to recall him moping around saying the island is making everyone soft.

  2. Michael says:

    Now we know why it was ambjguous as to whether Daken was among the last batch of resurectees in Rise of the Powers of X/ X-Men Forever. Obviously no one wanted to spoil the surprise in Hellverine.
    I do think Quentin WAS among the last batch of resurectees- hence the “There will be other lives” line. Presumably they didn’t want to spoil the ending of Sabretooth War by revealing he was resurrected. Of course, if that’s the case, it would have been nice if they’d actually shown Quentin among the living in Rise of the Powers of X 5 instead of just showing Warren and Pixie flying around doing nothing.

  3. Midnighter says:

    “Origin Logan fights someone I don’t recognise.”

    I think he could be Nathaniel Essex, from Origin II.

  4. Rob says:

    >>>On page 43, what seem to be generic images of Wolverine fighting Magneto, a Sentinel and something unspecified.

    I think that’s Nitro blowing up Wolverine during Civil War.

  5. Mathias X says:

    Some credit to Percy, Wolverine commissioning a piece of armor that restores his powers, knowing that if he ever has to wear armor it’s because he needs his power restored, is a completely intelligent contingency after Death of Wolverine.

  6. Si says:

    Who’s lost their powers more often, Wolverine or Thing?

  7. I really wish that that progress bar / power gauge had been subtly shown on the armor in previous issues. Really would have made the re-powering feel less like a deus ex machina. I went back for a quick look and I couldn’t find any sign of it.

  8. Tristan says:

    Killing Sabertooth with a Muramasa blade so you can sell it as REALlY FOR REAL THIS TIME YOU GUYS WOW for the second time feels like a weirdly explicit admission that none of this shit matters

  9. Diana says:

    So… if Cypher’s attempt at redeeming Sabretooth was always going to fail, doesn’t that essentially make the case that putting him in the Pit was the right thing to do after all? Seems to run counter to LaValle’s criticism of that concept, but o-kay…

  10. Col_Fury says:

    Am I the only one who was actually hoping that the surprise resolution was going to be the return of Birdy to calm Sabretooth down? Oh, well…

  11. Michael says:

    @Diana- I think LaValle was trying to make a measured criticism of the concept of prisons in the real world. Yes, a lot of people in prison don’t deserve to be there (like the Exiles) but at the same time some criminals are violent and can’t- or won’t- change.

  12. […] #50. (Annotations here.) Hmm. “Sabretooth War” certainly turned the ship around from the first couple of […]

  13. Loz says:

    While I generally begrudge the time, money and braincells I have wasted on this incredibly unnecessary story I am content that for once they have an utterly irredeemable character and don’t do the ‘You can’t kill him, you’ll be just as bad as him’/’that’s not what heroes should do’/’you’re not an animal’ bullshit and chop him into pieces. Sure, Sabretooth will be back to life in no time and who knows, maybe it will be another really dumb story where Logan cries and apologises for killing Sabretooth, but for right now? Actually really satisfying.

  14. Dave says:

    What was up with Omega Red in (or not in) this story? Was he out of action and I forgot already? He’s with the team at the end, but seemed to be missing in all the earlier parts.

  15. Lo says:

    @Michael I think LaValle has spoken how the theme of his first Sabretooth mini was to challenge the idea of anyone deserving inhumane conditions even if they where the worse of the worst.

    It sounded like there where hopes for a third mini series that never came to be. Maybe that would have dealt with it but instead it was dropped when the story was subsumed into this event.

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