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Oct 7

Wolverine #6 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #6
“X of Swords, part 3”
by Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1: Speaks for itself, really.

Unlike the other tie-in books so far, Wolverine gets to keep its logo. If you do an image search, you’ll find some versions of the covers for other chapters that include the regular logo – I think what’s happened here the covers had to be redesigned in order to make room for the Chadwick Boseman tribute banners, and they chose to push the crossover. But in Wolverine‘s case, the logo is incorporated into the artwork and couldn’t easily be removed.

PAGE 2. Wolverine starts to emerge from the fires of Hell.

“I know from firsthand experience, this place is the best there is at punishment.” Wolverine went to hell in, er, “Wolverine Goes To Hell”, a Jason Aaron storyline from 2010-11’s Wolverine vol 4 #1-5.

PAGES 3-4. Wolverine speaks to Krakoa.

“You wanted the External Gate open.” The External Gate was Apocalypse’s portal from Krakoa to Otherworld. In X of Swords: Creation, Krakoa made it very clear that it wanted the gate to remain open. It seems clear that Krakoa knew that the gate could provide a route by which it could be reunited with its lost other half, Arakko. Wolverine infers that Krakoa also anticipated that the Arakkans would invade and start a war, but his evidence for that is more shaky.

Wolverine still seems much less trusting of Krakoa than almost anyone else on the island; everyone else seems almost suspiciously willing to embrace the place as a utopia. But that’s probably a story thread for another day.

“So I’m gonna find the Muramasa blade.” Previously in “X of Swords”: Saturnyne has given both Krakoa and Arakko each a list of ten swords, and cryptic hints about them. Each island is meant to have its ten champions retrieve their swords and then gather for the big fight in Otherworld. “Muramasa” was the only sword to appear on both island’s lists. More about Wolverine’s connection with it later.

PAGES 5-6. Credits and recap. As with the other satellite books, the small print has changed to X-Men‘s “mutants of the world unite.”

PAGE 7. Wolverine reminisces about the Muramasa blade.

“When Polaris started spitting her riddles…” Polaris delivered Saturnyne’s list of ten riddles in X-Factor #4 (the previous chapter of “X of Swords”).

“I lost my wife, Itsu. I thought I lost my son Daken.” This is a very brief summary of a Daniel Way storyline which was shown in flashbacks in Wolverine vol 3 #38 and #40 and Wolverine: Origins #27 and #35. For a fuller discussion, see part 5 of my Wolverine readthrough. Suffice to say that there’s nothing new here. Logan married a woman called Itsu, who was killed while pregnant with his child. (The killer is the Winter Soldier, acting on Romulus’s instructions, but that doesn’t matter for our purposes.) Logan then went off and met Muramasa, who took part of Logan’s soul and used it to make a magical sword. That sword then became a macguffin throughout the Wolverine: Origins series. As Wolverine says later, it was eventually destroyed.

Muramasa. Muramasa is not a Marvel creation – he’s a 15th century swordsmith and there’s a long standing tradition that his blades are supposed to be cursed with bloodlust due to his mental instability.

PAGES 8-10. Wolverine talks to the Silver Samurai.

The Quarry. This is the sparring arena previous seen in Cable #1, where the Silver Samurai officiates.

The Silver Samurai. This is the original Silver Samurai, Keniuchio Harada. He’s a longtime Wolverine villain who’s been resurrected on Krakoa (and he’s at the relatively mild end of villainy, so one of the less contentious inclusions in Krakoan society). His irritation at being passed over for a historically prestigious role is entirely in character.

It’s likely that Wolverine is approaching the Samurai simply because he’s the sort of character who knows about old Japanese swords. Conceivably it could be a reference to Wolverine vol 2 #1-3, which involved Wolverine and the Silver Samurai chasing after a different Muramasa sword, the “Black Blade”. That storyline ended with the Samurai getting the sword and apparently being unaffected by its bloodlust curse, from which he concluded that he must be its fated owner.

PAGES 11-16. Solem is recruited to fight for Arekko.

The Tower of Broken Will is new and, as we’ll see, it’s singularly failed to live up to its billing.

Solem is new, as is all the back story we get here. Most of it is expanded upon in the following data page. The name “Solem” is probably just a pun on “solemn”, though it’s also a Norwegian surname. Solem seems to agree to join the fight simply for his own amusement; the following data page suggests that he wants to get to Krakoa simply for the novelty of it all.

PAGE 17. Data page on Solem’s back story. All new and largely self-explanatory. War’s late husband Bracken is named for the first time.

There’s a redacted word or two in the second-last paragraph. Whichever group it is that Solem wronged, it evidently includes War. Surely “the Horsemen” is far too obvious to bother redacting, though?

PAGE 18. Montage of Wolverine’s investigation.

This is all expanded on in a later data page.

PAGES 19-20. Wolverine climbs to a mountain temple.

Judging from the data page, this is Mount Haku (which is a real mountain in Japan). The ninja shadowing Wolverine are members of the Hand, as we establish later.

PAGE 21. Data page: snippets of what Wolverine’s informants told him.

Kiyoshi Sato is new.

The Beast is the demon that the Hand worship, as introduced in Elektra: Assassin. Depending on how a given writer is feeling, the Hand can be either a fairly straightforward bunch of mercenary assassins, or out-and-out mystical cultists; there are enough schisms in the group to make either interpretation valid, but the cult approach has tended to predominate.

Piss Alley is the nickname of a street in Tokyo which is officially called Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane). Really, it is. From the look of it, these days it’s more of a gastronomic tourist destination and preserved old-town block.

Kemono means “beast” (though more as in “animal”).

Kakemono. A hanging scroll.

Emperor Jimmu is the legendary first Emperor of Japan, who supposedly ruled from 660BC onwards.

Mariko Yashida is a long-time Wolverine supporting character and love interest. She became the Scarlet Samurai in Old Man Logan vol 2 #31-35, which isn’t really something this story wants to get into, but it’s duly acknowledged in passing.

Sencha is a kind of green tea.

“The left hand isn’t talking to the right hand.” Compare the next chapter, where two Hands are indeed apparently being drawn together.

PAGES 22-24. Wolverine meets Muramasa in Hell, intercut with a flashback to him meeting Muramasa in the temple.

Let’s assume that impossible things can just happen in magical dimensions.

PAGE 25. And apropos of nothing, a data page on…. the Crooked Market, the realm of Mad Jim Jaspers.

Mad Jim Jaspers is a reality-warping villain from 1980s Captain Britain stories, and part of the established Otherworld cosmology. His realm is basically a dodgy black market where you should expect to get scammed. What’s of more interest is the explanation that the Crooked Market started as “a small operation” and grew into one of the ten realms of Otherworld, which means that the whole nature of Otherworld remains in a state of flux. So if you’ve seen other stories where Otherworld appeared differently – and boy, you probably have – apparently it’s just that the ten worlds come and go and get replaced.

PAGE 26. The trailer page. The Krakoan just reads NEXT: CHAPTER FOUR.

Bring on the comments

  1. Ben says:

    Had dropped this book, checking back in for the crossover.

    This is a pretty messy bit of rushed table setting for the actual stuff that happens in X-Force.

    I wonder if it was a victim of the expansion of the crossover, or just really dodgy pacing.

    These people from Arakko all speak perfect English and know what Adamantium is, huh?

  2. Paul says:

    Aliens speak English all the time, that’s kind of an inexplicable genre convention. Solem’s knowledge of adamantium is a bit weirder but I’ll come to that in X-Force.

  3. Adam Farrar says:

    I either didn’t know or had blocked out that Mariko had been resurrected. That’s disappointing. As a kid reading Wolverine at the time, her death was shocking. It’s something they shouldn’t have tried to touch.

  4. Ben says:

    Yeah for sure it’s part of the genre, it’s just really sticks out to me in this arc.

    These people have all been stuck in another dimension since before their was an English language.

    It’s all very over the top so far, which isn’t bad per se.

    But they kind of feel like orcs in Lord of the Rings to me right now. Just bad guys without any thought to how they exist outside if brings bad guys.

    The Solem stuff was kind of shocking to me. These people have lived in basically a Hell full of demons for thousands of years, how do they have lutes? Or any society at all?

  5. Brendan says:

    ““Wolverine Goes To Hell”, a Jason Aaron storyline from 2010-11’s Wolverine vol 4 #1-5.” – I was not ready to learn that story is 10 years old already.

  6. K says:

    So far every realm of Otherworld has felt like a shorthand for a stock fantasy world. Part of which is there being “good” worlds and “bad” worlds and you just accept that people live under those precepts.

    Except for the ones we’ve read about so far the good worlds seem bad and the bad worlds seem worse.

  7. Joseph S. says:

    @Ben according to Summoner’s story, they built an advanced society for millenia, with walls unbreached by the horde. The ten towers and all that. Ergo, culture.

  8. Joseph S. says:

    Ahem, well. We have a 22-part event, we have Krakoa, Arakko, ten distinct Otherworld kingdoms (each given a data page), and the Starlight Citadel. But sure let’s spend two issues of Wolverine cliches in Japan and a literal trip to Hell to retrieve the Masamura McGuffin sword.

    Percey spends too much time having Solem tell us how cool he is, feels desperate.

  9. Ben says:

    I guess, I just wish they’d show it.

    Or any of these Otherworld locations.

    Wolverine goes to crazy interdimensional market sounds a lot more fun than what we got.

  10. K says:

    I would actually be happy for this crossover to not turn into 22 straight issues of Excalibur, because all the Otherworld realms sound like 100% setup for the future of that title alone.

    Just like how I presume these couple of chapters are setting up something different for Wolverine solo. Because he totally forgot to get Muramasa out of hell, didn’t he?

  11. Peter Singer says:

    Adam Farrar: “I either didn’t know or had blocked out that Mariko had been resurrected. That’s disappointing. As a kid reading Wolverine at the time, her death was shocking. It’s something they shouldn’t have tried to touch.”

    Funny. I’m the opposite: I didn’t know Mariko had been resurrected, but was disappointed when she was killed off.

  12. Josie says:

    To be fair, I never got why Claremont kept her around. Granted, by breaking off the marriage (brainwashed or otherwise), there was no explicit need to kill her off, but that also meant there was no need to keep bringing her back either.

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Peter Singer
    If you didn’t read the Old Man Logan ongoing, you had no way of knowing – I’m pretty sure this is the first time she’s appeared since that book.

    I read Wolverine and X-Force one after another and it’s already difficult to parse where one part of the story ended and another began. On the one hand – sometimes it’s nice when crossovers have that flow. On the other hand, I also read Marauders and this Percy two-shot is so far the only part of this crossover that has that flow.

    Also, last week I didn’t think we would actually get a ‘one sword quest per one crossover part’ storyline, more or less, but this week it seems unavoidable. And. Well.
    Well, I liked that Marauders issue.

    And I think I might actually grow to like Solem, but I’m basing that more on his portrayal in the X-Force issue than this one.

    So, yeah. This Wolverine issue. It sure sets some stuff up for the next part.

    And yeah, why do we get the sourcebook pages on Otherworld realms if they’re not going to be used in this story? Why is Wolverine visiting a magical forge in freaking Hell instead of going to – oh, I don’t know, the Otherworld realm that is a hell-ish magical forge that gets a data page in one of this weeks books but DOESN’T appear on page?

  14. Luis Dantas says:

    I keep coming back to how fragile the Krakoa setup seems to be. This latests batch of notes puts me thinking of what the fallout from an apparent conflict of goals between the ruling council and Krakoa itself will be.

    It must be really tense for the Krakoans to be reminded that they are living over the surface of a whole island that actually feeds on mutant lifeforces and may well be pissed that the mutants are not cooperating with its goal to rejoin its family.

    On the other hand, Krakoa was sent floating into space by no more than fourteen mutants back in the late 1970s. How would it fare in open conflict with thousands?

    Talk about uncertain prospects for the future.

  15. Paul says:

    Josie: Claremont didn’t exactly end their relationship so much as establish a status quo where they couldn’t be together until Mariko had got rid of Clan Yashida’s Yakuza connections. That basically parked the storyline so that in theory he could come back to it and deliver the happy ending – or at least do more stories about Japan and the Yakuza.

    In practice, the whole thing had tailed off by “Fall of the Mutants”, and Claremont was obviously trying to move on during the Australia period when he introduced Tyger Tiger. But that petered out after he left the book.

  16. Adam Farrar says:

    @Peter Singer:
    I was disappointed when she died too. I was nine. It was my generation’s death of Gwen Stacy. But I don’t think it should have been undone.

  17. neutrino says:

    Shouldn’t Mad Jim Jaspers be a bigger threat than anything?

  18. Luis Dantas says:

    I don’t know about “anything”, but he sure deserves some attention out of sheer danger level alone. On the other hand, he is indeed quite mad, and may well have gone harmless for the time being.

  19. neutrino, there is an (unpublished, of course) Alan Moore epic involving Jim Jaspers in which he is the big cosmic threat you’d expect, but alas, it never happened. I forget why, but I think it was some sort of Marvel US/UK politics.

  20. Chris V says:

    Are you thinking of Claremont’s original plans for Fall of the Mutants?
    Based on what I know, Moore used Jaspers as he wanted and was finished with Captain Britain when he left the title.

    Claremont wanted to use Jaspers in place of the Adversary during X-Men’s “Fall of the Mutants” story-arc.
    Something involving Marvel UK prevented Claremont from using Jaspers.
    So, Claremont decided to complete the Adversary running story-line instead.

  21. […] issue is a direct continuation from Wolverine #6, which shipped on the same day – it even has the same artist. I’m not going to repeat […]

  22. Ben says:

    Krzysiek Ceran-

    “And yeah, why do we get the sourcebook pages on Otherworld realms if they’re not going to be used in this story? Why is Wolverine visiting a magical forge in freaking Hell instead of going to – oh, I don’t know, the Otherworld realm that is a hell-ish magical forge that gets a data page in one of this weeks books but DOESN’T appear on page?”

    Exactly! Thank you!

  23. Chris V, yes, that’s it. I was misremembering whose idea it was. Claremont wanted to do a sequel to Moore’s Jaspers’ Warp story, Moore wasn’t happy, Marvel (US) editorial decided it would be safer to avoid using any Alan Moore content, just in case, and Claremont rejigged it into Fall of the Mutants.

    I heard about all of this a very long time ago, so I was a bit fussy on the details. 🙂

  24. *fuzzy on the details. If I were fussy, I would have got it right first time!

  25. Paul says:

    As I recall, there was an issue around that period about who had the rights to Moore’s Marvel UK work, since he wasn’t an employee and the paperwork was less than ideal. I think this all got sorted out around the time Moore agreed to his Captain Britain run being reprinted.

  26. neutrino says:

    Jaspers was in Alan Moore’s Jaspers Warp storyline, considered by Claremont as one of the most intense superhero arcs. Merlin said about him, “This version of Jaspers. Is too powerful, too dangerous. His counterpart could at least be halted, even if it meant destroying his entire continuum. This one is not so easily containable. And if he cannot be defeated, then the omniverse shall fall into chaos, and a new and hostile god shall play dice with matter.”

    Is the “What are people saying?” function permanently disabled?

  27. alsoMike says:

    One amusing aspect of this issue is that the artist clearly thought Famine was a guy. I was surprised to see exposed bare buff pecs when other artists have depicted Famine with a bandaged up feminine form.
    But hey, their dad’s a shapeshifter so who knows how they present at any given day.

  28. Ybhryhyn says:

    Are you going to annotate X-Force 13?

  29. Paul says:

    I did. It’s in the next post.

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