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Nov 25

Wolverine #18 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #18
“Auction of Secrets”
by Benjamin Percy, Paco Diaz, Java Tartaglia & Dijjo Lima

PAGE 1: Generic shot of Wolverine still standing after gunfire. Nice lighting and integration of the logo, though. (Remember the days when characters still standing after this sort of damage was something that only happened in Lobo?)

PAGE 2. Jeff Bannister and Maverick at the hotel.

This continues directly from the end of the previous issue, when Maverick picked up the quarter that Bannister had dropped and returned it to him. Percy writes Maverick throughout this arc as if he’s mainly motivated by money, which isn’t really the traditional take on him – he’s a lifelong mercenary but he was hardly an antihero in his 90s solo title.

The final panel is probably meant to light Maverick so that the shadows on his face reflect the design on his mask, but it winds up looking a bit odd.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-12. Wolverine helps Bannister and Maverick escape the mercs.

Bannister’s recap of the plot makes clear something that didn’t come across to me at all last issue: the bug in the diner wasn’t planted to spy on Delores at her regular meets. It was a bug that had been used to record conversations on Krakoa, and then left in the diner for Delores to collect. That’s not spelled out very prominently in the previous issue, but Jeff does say it at one point (“I think I intercepted a bug at a drop point”), so fair enough. It also explains why the bug was formatted in a way that was readable by CIA computers.

Anyway, Maverick and the Mercs show up to kill Jeff, and action ensues as we get a truck chase with the truck escaping to Krakoa. Scenes like this are notoriously tricky to do in comics, and I think this one works pretty well. Particularly considering it’s an issue of fill-in art.

Wolverine accuses Maverick of “betraying your own kind”, presumably on the basis that he was bugging Krakoa and (Wolverine assumes) is now trying to cover the trail by killing the witnesses. As in earlier issues, Maverick simply rejects the notion that he feels any kinship with other mutants, which is a huge no-no in the Krakoan era. Although the “there’s only one Maverick” line is undercut by giving him a bunch of identikit nobodies as sidekicks – and I don’t think that’s intended.

The Druid Hill Park Archway is a real Baltimore landmark; it seems to be another case of the Krakoans rather obnoxiously plonking one of their gates in the middle of a main road.

PAGE 13. Forge examines the bug.

Self-explanatory. You know, shouldn’t Forge have an organic tech leg by this point?

PAGE 14. Data page – Forge’s notes on reviewing the surveillance device.

Forge correctly inferring that Maverick planted the bug in order to spy for Delores and the X-Desk. The “daily E.M.P. blast” is a security device introduced after Professor X’s assassination in X-Force #1, and intended to eliminate non-Krakoan technology (let’s assume that things like the Cerebro helmets are shielded in some way). So Maverick needs to steal a Krakoan bug for use there.

The final bit about Forge’s exercise regime is a running joke from data pages in X-Force.

PAGE 15. Wolverine and Jeff discuss Maverick.

Wolverine is defending Maverick in view of their history of supporting one another against Team X brainwashing. Although Wolverine says Maverick’s “not a friend”, he absolutely is, which is why Wolverine’s bending over backwards to rationalise him. As previously noted, Percy’s take on the character is unusually mercenary (or, if you prefer, more realistic about what being a mercenary always implied about him).

PAGES 16-17. Jeff meets with Delores.

Wolverine is sitting at the counter, on page 17 panel 1.

Jeff accuses Delores of betraying her country (by having his colleagues killed last issue), which parallels Wolverine’s accusation to Maverick earlier in the issue. Although Percy generally writes Delores as an antagonist, she’s was presented in a much more positive light in Marauders, and both books essentially agree that she’s at the very least not corrupt.

PAGES 18-22. Wolverine pursues the sniper and Maverick confronts Jeff.

Maverick really is very out of character in this scene. He’s a mercenary, not a sadist. Anyway, that’s the same quarter that Jeff gave him at the start of the issue.

The sniper is from Legacy House, the black market superhero/villain memorabilia auction house that we saw in issues #9-10. The Merchant runs the thing. In the earlier issues, the Merchant was trying to sell a brainwashed Maverick. Wolverine and Maverick both destroyed the Merchant’s warehouse, but the next scene indicates that Maverick has blamed the whole thing on Wolverine, and that the Merchant has fallen for it.

PAGE 23. Data page. A drunken Black Tom Cassidy laments his character design to his long time partner Juggernaut. Aside from the fact that it’s a conversation recorded from the surveillance device, I really don’t know what this is doing in Wolverine rather than X-Force, which is Black Tom’s home book. Also, Juggernaut isn’t allowed on Krakoa; that was a plot point in the last Juggernaut miniseries.

PAGES 24-26. Maverick and the Merchant find out that they’ve been tricked.

Basically, Wolverine and Jeff had already recorded a bunch of junk on the bug in expectation of it being stolen back by Maverick. The implication is that they’ve recorded a karaoke session at the Green Lagoon, which Wolverine refused to take part in last issue – but presumably he was willing to do it to annoy Maverick. True,  the conversation Maverick recorded last issue was also recorded during a karaoke night… but okay, maybe this time they hooked it up directly to the microphone. The song is meant to be Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” (originally a Nine Inch Nails song).

The memorabilia in the Merchant’s room: along the left wall are one of the Vulture’s flying harnesses, one of Hercules’ outfits, one of Wonder Man’s jackets, and the top half of an Iron Fist costume. In front of them are a pair of Cyclops’s ruby quartz glasses and a display case with three illegible documents – one has a SHIELD logo on it, and another has HYDRA’s. Three of the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs are sitting on a table. I’ve no idea what the rocket hanging from the ceiling is. The orange thing hanging next to it might be Rocket Racer’s skateboard.

On the mantelpiece are two tiki mugs, one of which has Apocalypse’s face on it – presumably Maverick liberated these from the Green Lagoon. On the right of the room is an X-logo harness which I think might have been part of Cyclops’ costume at one point; a charred playing card that presumably belonged to Gambit; and a motorbike that I don’t recognise.

PAGE 27. The Krakoan reads NEXT: OLD MUTANT AND THE SEA.

Bring on the comments

  1. Matt says:

    I have a tough time accepting wolverine as being all in on the mutant racial solidarity party line. Loyalty to the x-men and professor x, sure. But that’s an earned, personal relationship and respect.

  2. Chris V says:

    To be fair, Wolverine has questioned it in the past during this era.
    He has said before that humans and mutants are the same.
    He also criticized Quire for “spouting Magneto’s ideology” during an issue of X-Force.

    I get the idea that Logan is there out of loyalty to Xavier, but the whole set-up is such a jumbled mess at this point as (apparently) different writers have been vying for their vision of what Krakoa represents and how much it is truly utopian.

  3. The Other Michael says:

    And of course “Hurt” by Johnny Cash played in the trailers for Logan…

  4. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    The Black Tom/Dracula joke is a reference – early in the Krakoan era there was a promo art for X-Force with Black Tom that some comics site or other published speculating on Dracula’s involvement with X-Force, if I recall correctly.

  5. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    You know it’s funny that Krakoa is all anti-human tech but Cerebro (the thing that the entire operation hinges on) is made from human/alien technology.

    Has that been brought up anywhere before in the actual books.

  6. Si says:

    How does one even stand up with all of the muscles, tendons and nerves of one thigh missing?

    The plant tech also makes no sense, of course. Plants capable of taking on the qualities of metals, quartz, lithium batteries, and who knows what else? Plant microchips. Plant radios. Is Krakoa in fact Gilligan’s Island? Never mind those trees growing in the vacuum of space in Sword. And how does Forge even engineer that stuff? Is he connecting different plant components or are the devices growing wholesale? I suppose his power would allow him to design things and then get Krakoa to grow them, but it’s a bit of a stretch for his power set. But yeah, depending on the artist, a prosthetic leg made of vines could look cool, but maybe we can assume he doesn’t literally build the plant tech and he likes to keep a functional storage of parts in case he’s lost on an unpopulated world with Storm like he was that one time.

  7. Chris V says:

    I would love to see Krakoans making phone calls on their coconut phones and watching television on their coconut TVs…

  8. Ceries says:

    The daily EMP blast is hilarious because that hasn’t been followed up on in any other X-book. I guess all that tech is EMP-hardened, which seems like it would defeat the point of the EMP blast-if all you’re doing is disabling people’s hearing aids and laptops, are you really making things secure, or just engaging in security theatre?

  9. Robert says:

    “PAGE 23. Data page. A drunken Black Tom Cassidy laments his character design to his long time partner Juggernaut. Aside from the fact that it’s a conversation recorded from the surveillance device, I really don’t know what this is doing in Wolverine rather than X-Force, which is Black Tom’s home book. Also, Juggernaut isn’t allowed on Krakoa; that was a plot point in the last Juggernaut miniseries.”

    Paul, I’m always surprised/annoyed/amused by how patient you are with the X-Books missteps. You give them every benefit of the doubt when they offer no assurances in return. Kudos.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    Someone here in these comments sections once said that the current Wolverine series is informally a companion book of sorts to the current volume of X-Force.

    That is probably a valid, workable perspective; IIRC it even had a scene (perhaps an imaginary one) of Wolverine killing X-Force members in the first issue, which works as a subtle affirmation that this series treats X-Force as its most significant team participation.

    That may not seem like much; objectively it isn’t much; but it certainly helps set a tone, no automatic accomplishment for a character such as Wolverine that is at this point in the top tier of exposition and has a particularly broad (some, such as me, would rather call it inconsistent and unconvincing) range of characterization, contexts and agency. This is Wolverine as mainly a dark figure dutifully performing black ops and attempting to find and build silver linings, as opposed to (say) a mentor to Shadowcat or Jubilee, a teacher of younger mutants, a liaison and ambassador to the Avengers and the general Marvel Universe, a challenger of authority figures such as Cyclops, a lost soul attempting to make sense of his goals and relationships with little to work with, a feral being attempting to reclaim his humanity, or a perpetual outsider trying to achieve integration and acceptance with Mariko, the X-Men as a cohesive team, Alpha Flight, or even the white wilderness.

    Wolverine has been eagerly used in all those roles and is very likely to resume most of them at some point or another. I call it a bug, most seem to think of it as a feature… but there is sense in establishing the background for an ongoing series, and I think that this run was more successful there than most.

  11. Mathias X says:

    >> Juggernaut isn’t allowed on Krakoa; that was a plot point in the last Juggernaut miniseries.

    Certainly a little worrisome someone writing Black Tom regularly wouldn’t be keenly studying on all of Juggernaut’s current goings-on. For what it’s worth, Jugs will be on Spurrier’s Legionaries book next year — perhaps this conversation occurred while Juggernaut was in town under-the-radar for his job interview with David and Kurt.

  12. Karl_H says:

    Putting a gate across a highway isn’t just obnoxious; it blocks visibility, and the next page shows there’s clearly conservation of momentum when going through a gate, and a high rocky hillside on the Krakoa side. My first thought was that this could be a problem for, say, an undiscovered mutant kid in the back seat of his parents’ car driving down the highway, suddenly flung through to Krakoa at 60 MPH while his family proceeds on. But wait, the truck went through? So then little Billy and the car go to Krakoa and the family gets chucked down the pavement? I know Wolverine got special handling from Saga on this one, but what happens otherwise?

    I think the answer is, it looks cool to put the gates in cool places, but really, meh.

  13. ASV says:

    Also, have gates previously been shown to be big enough to drive a truck through?

  14. Daniel says:


    Nope, just the plot holes

  15. Adam Farrar says:

    “Three of the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs are sitting on a table. I’ve no idea what the rocket hanging from the ceiling is.”
    I think that’s Green Goblin’s Flying Broomstick from his first appearance.

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