RSS Feed
Oct 2

Wolverine #16 annotations

Posted on Saturday, October 2, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #16
“Ill-Gotten Gains”
by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert & Espen Grundetjern

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine and Solem fight, with Solem using the Muramasa Blade.

PAGES 2-3. Solem approaches Wolverine in the Green Lagoon.

When we left off last issue, Wolverine had just discovered that his version of the Murasama Blade had been stolen from his room by Solem. Evidently he’s been investigating further since then (i.e., a whole bunch of other stories could have taken place since last issue, which is handy).

Logan’s reflections about Solem’s confusing nature are broadly in line with what we’ve seen so far in this book. The bit about him potentially being a victim largely stems from his origin story as related by Sevyr Blackmore last issue; even on Sevyr’s version of events, Solem was the sole survivor of an attack on his village, who then got taken in and raised by the people who had slaughtered everyone he knew. Solem then bides his time before taking revenge… none of which makes him seem that bad. But he goes on to be an all purpose pirate and rogue himself.

The 1961 Left Bank Bordeaux wines are indeed viewed as extremely good, among those who care about such things.  As best as I can see, it’s not a completely mad thing for the Krakoans to have in stock – we’re talking a few hundred quid for a bottle.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits.

PAGES 5-9. Solem makes his pitch to Wolverine.

Obviously, Solem claims to be giving clear explanations in this scene, but there’s no particular reason why we should believe a word of it, particularly given events later in the issue. That ultimately gives rise to a problem: why should we actually care about any of this? At this stage, honestly, I’m not the slightest interested in Solem. This story clearly wants me to regard him as fascinating and charismatic, but all I’m getting is a trickster trope dialled up to 11 and a writer bellowing “ISN’T HE BRILLIANT” into my ear from a distance of six inches.

Broadly speaking, Solem starts off by assuming that Sevyr offered Wolverine the other Muramasa Blade in exchange for helping to kill Solem (which indeed he did, at the end of the previous issue). Solem insists, in rather cloying terms, that he’s the real victim – which at least roughly accords with Sevyr’s own account of their history. He also insists that it was Sevyr who stole the logic diamonds from the Marauder in “Hellfire Gala”, and that he stole them back and returned them to Krakoa. He then offers his help against Sevyr in order to prove himself.

None of this comes across as sincere, and Wolverine seems to recognise that. But then he decides to play along anyway, because the plot requires it and, apparently, he’s a bit dim.

PAGE 10. Data page on the Muramasa Blades. This is mostly straight recap of the Blades’ origin (and Wolverine’s first encounter with Solem) from issue #5. They were forged by the swordsmith Muramasa in the fires of Hell, initially to be used in some sort of symbolic marriage involving worshippers of the Beast (the demon which is worshipped by the Hand).

Wolverine’s motivation, we’re told, is twofold: keep the Blades secure because they’re powerful, and unite them given that they contain elements of Muramasa’s soul.

PAGES 11-14. Solem betrays Wolverine.

Apparently it’s all a set-up where Solem and Sevyr are working together to capture Wolverine and sell him to someone who’s looking for the Muramasa blades. Alright then. Anyway, Wolverine escapes with one of the two Muramasa Blades (the one that Sevyr had last issue).

PAGE 15. Wolverine hands Sevyr’s boat over to Emma.

Emma indicates that they’re still looking for the logic diamonds. In fact, Solem wasn’t strictly lying – he said they were on Krakoa, and indeed they are, when we see them later in the issue. But again, shouldn’t Wolverine be checking this stuff before trotting off with Solem?

PAGE 16. Wolverine consults with Black Tom Cassidy.

Wolverine’s basic goal here is to find out where Solem has been travelling using the Krakoan gates, but apparently he doesn’t much use them. More notable is that Black Tom is aware of – and explains to Wolverine – the presence of blank spots on Krakoa which he and (apparently) Krakoa can’t detect. He uses the word “no place”, which is the standard term used for Moira MacTaggert’s hideout beneath the island. But there’s more than one, and Wolverine is particularly directed to one on the Arakkon Point – the atoll that appeared and joined with Krakoa way, way back in Hickman’s X-Men #2. It contained a closed portal to Arakko, which apparently now serves as an open portal to Mars.

PAGES 17-19. Wolverine and Emma confront Solem.

Oh god, this doesn’t work at all. You can’t pitch Solem as some sort of unimaginably clever trickster god and then just have him overawed by Emma Frost. No.

PAGE 20. Data page. Emma reports back to Sage on her interrogation of Solem. Basically, she considers him an amoral hedonist.

The “trouble with our Cerebro backups lately” probably refers to the corrupted backups of mutants who died in Otherworld during “X of Swords” and to the deletion of at least some backups during X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation.

Apparently Solem has never faced psychic interrogation before. Don’t they have any psychics on Arakko? It seems an odd gap.

PAGE 21. Wolverine places the two swords together, as he planned.

PAGE 22. The Hell Bride returns.

This is the symbolic Hand bride from the ceremony that Wolverine and Solem interrupted in Hell in issue #6.

PAGE 23. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: PANIC IN THE C.I.A.

Bring on the comments

  1. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Does anybody here read this anymore?

    I feel bad for Paul.

    Taking the adamantium bullet.

  2. Mathias X says:

    I quite like the idea of an opaque, charismatic, manipulative & decadent bisexual Wolverine rival, but we already have Daken. Solem was billed as Wolverine’s Loki, and while I “get” the character, he’s not doing anything particularly interesting or new.

  3. Ben Johnston says:

    I still read it but there wasn’t much to comment on here. Not even entertainingly bad, just dull.

    I’m not at all sure about the wisdom of a weekly Wolverine book written by Percy, but he does have Logan’s voice down. So maybe the format will impose some direction on his stories.

  4. Asteele says:

    To be fair structurally one reason to have a bisexual man as a wolverine rival, would be to tease a “will they or won’t they”, which hopefully you wouldn’t do with his kid.

  5. MasterMahan says:

    Tarn’s a telepath, so Arakko has at least one psychic. It seems odd they’d only have the one, given how common telepathy among Earth-born mutants.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    I fear that Arakko may have made the idea of Omega Level mutants jump the shark.

    If it takes being one to be a part of their ruling council, it must follow that there are enough of them to make occasional renovation possible. Presumably there is also some sort of vetting process that may decide that being an Omega is not enough in itself. At that point Omegas can’t feel very unusual anymore.

    Or alternatively, Arakko has an arrogant belief that being an Omega _is_ enough qualification for leadership after all.

    A third, most realistic and interesting option would be that the X-Men and the Arakki are not talking about the same thing when they speak of Omega Mutants. That would be refreshing and represent the real world difficulties of mutual understanding of different cultures… but I am not expecting such a twist.

Leave a Reply