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Aug 30

Wolverine #36 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #36
“Weapons of Vengeance, part 3: Possessions”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colour artist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editors: Mark Basso & Darren Shaw

WEAPONS OF VENGEANCE. Despite the “Fall of X” branding on the cover, this arc has nothing whatsoever to do with the arc, unless you count some passing mentions of there not being many mutants around these days. This is a four-part crossover with Ghost Rider, also written by Benjamin Percy.

In Ghost Rider / Wolverine: Weapons of Vengeance Alpha #1 (and don’t get me started on “Alpha #1″) and Ghost Rider #17, extended flashbacks show us that “many years ago”, Ada Flores brought a little boy called Bram Straub to the X-Men Mansion to seek help from Professor X. Flores is the only social worker who has stuck with Bram after everyone else quit. But Bram is not a mutant; he’s demonically possessed. After establishing that fact, Professor X declines to take Bram on (though he does offer to try and put Flores in touch with someone more suitable). Wolverine takes an immediate dislike to the kid because he can sense the demon. Back at the orphanage, Bram (or his demon) kill all the kids in his dormitory and assembles their bodies into some kind of spire before returning to the X-Men Mansion on his own to fight Wolverine. Wolverine and Ghost Rider both go after the monster and get into the usual hero-versus-hero fight, during which the demon escapes.

The placement of these events in continuity are… wonky. For the X-Men, various references show that it’s meant to be circa X-Men #139 – Kitty Pryde is around, she’s met Stevie Hunter, and Wolverine hasn’t met her yet. For Ghost Rider, it’s a point when he’s with Roxanne Simpson which… would be nowhere close to that. Let’s handwave something about magical time distortions and leave it at that.

In the present-day sections of those issues, Wolverine and Ghost Rider both learn that there have been more attacks leaving spires of mutilated body parts, and correctly infer that Bram is back; they set out together to track him down. For some reason these attacks are all focussed on mutants (possibly the idea is that Bram is bitter about his rejection by the X-Men). Jeff Bannister shows up to provide some info. At Bram’s old orphanage, they learn that his files were collected a few weeks ago by a man with a federal warrant, who has taken them to Hell’s Backbone, Utah. Part 2 ends by showing that a “Weapon Plus Hellfire Program” has set up there.

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine as Ghost Rider. Which is the end of the issue, so putting it on the cover is an odd call.

PAGES 2-3. John Romita tribute pages.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits, with a bespoke crossover design.

PAGES 5-7. Flashback: Ada helps Bram to keep his demon under control by letting it kill dying people.


PAGES 8-10. Ghost Rider and Wolverine arrive in Hell’s Backbone.

Hell’s Backbone previously appeared in Ghost Rider #5-6 as the site of a magical motorbike race where the winner would get a favour from the Devil. Wolverine is in that arc too.

Father Pike debuted in Ghost Rider #16, which isn’t on Unlimited yet, and I haven’t read it. Apparently, that issue establishes that Pike can take over Ghost Riders, and that he’s associated with Orchis.

PAGES 11-12. Jeff Bannister is demonically possessed while trying to do online research.

The woman who comes to his rescue is Talia Warroad, a supporting character from Percy’s Ghost Rider. She’s your standard unconventional FBI agent who butts heads with her superiors and eventually quits to just hang out with Johnny Blaze. As a proper paranormal specialist who started out in SHIELD before being reassigned to the CIA, she actually does know about the subject and can do some magic of her own.

PAGES 13-15. Wolverine and Johnny break into Weapon Plus and get captured.

The helmets are the ones that Wolverine wore as Weapon X before his escape.

PAGE 16. Jeff and Talia talk.

“A mess Johnny and I left in Savannah.” Ghost Rider #11-12 – it doesn’t have anything to do with this arc.

PAGES 17-18. Pike readies Wolverine for possession.

The suggestion is that Bram has reluctantly indulged Orchis’ desire for him to kill off mutants in exchange for them removing the demon from him in due course. Bram is so gullible that he thinks “There will be no more pain” is a reassuring answer. But hey, he’s desperate.

The demon itself is a new character (whether under its actual name of Bagra-ghul, or the name Wolverine gives it of “the Stitcher”).

PAGES 19-24. Wolverine is possessed by a demon and goes hunting for mutants.

The possessing demon sure looks more like the Spirit of Vengeance than the Stitcher, though, doesn’t it?

PAGE 25. Trailers.


Bring on the comments

  1. Mike Loughlin says:

    I missed Ghost Rider 17, and didn’t have any problem following this comic, which leads me to believe the issue must have been 3 pages long. I miss Ryp’s art, although Geoff Shaw’s is fine. This story is underwhelming. I thought about skipping this crossover before it began, wish I’d listened to myself.

  2. Si says:

    They don’t trouble themselves with subtlety when naming things in Ghost Rider comics, do they?

    Also, was Xavier’s mansion a place regular people would go with mutants at the time? I suppose Xavier was a recognised expert even before he was outed, but still, it seems off.

  3. Michael says:

    @Si-the dialogue makes it clear Flores found out about Xavier from Stevie Hunter, who was a friend of Flores.

  4. The Other Michael says:

    What I learned from this:
    When Logan and Ghost Rider team up, Logan rides b*tch, as they call it…

  5. Mathias X says:

    God I can’t even be bothered to care. I was actually excited by the idea of a Ghost Rider/Wolverine team-up during Fall of X — idiot me thought it would be lit as hell to have Wolverine and the actual Spirit of Vengeance out avenging Krakoa, but of course we get something boring.

  6. […] #36. (Annotations here.) Part 3 of the “Weapons of Vengeance” crossover with Ghost Rider, which has essentially […]

  7. Daibhid C says:

    I’ve mentioned before that I’m mostly following the comics vicariously through these annotations these days. To give an example of just how out of touch I am, I was halfway through reading this before I realised that Johnny Blaze is back; I thought he was just in the flashback, and the present day bit had Logan teaming up with the kid in the Dodge Charger.

  8. Jon R says:

    If you liked hot claws, we’ve got hot claws *and* hot skull.

  9. Loz says:

    I think all three Ghost Riders, Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch and Robbie Reyes are currently active, though Robbie is temporarily off the board following Jason Aarons Avengers run. But it’s like the Inhumans, every time I turn around they’ve reset back to issue one again and there’s general indifference from the comics buying public to the kid-friendly demonology.

    Did Wolverine know Ghost Rider back in the day or is it all continuity implants like this since Marvel brought Blaze back in the noughties?

  10. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    That’s not all the (mordern) Ghost Riders, though, is it? Whatever happened to the woman raised by a cult? Alejandra something? She was a Ghost Rider with her own… ongoing? Is it still an ongoing if it gets axed around issue ten or so?

  11. Michael says:

    @Loz- No. Wolverine didn’t know Ghost Rider back in the day. Aside from crowd scenes where there were dozens of heroes and Wolverine and Ghost Rider were two of the heroes. the first time Wolverine met a Ghost Rider was in Fantastic Four 347-349 and that was Dan Ketch. The first time Wolverine met Johnny was in the 1992 story where Johnny and Dan help the X-Men save Gambit’s family from the Brood and Gambit’s brother-in-law. This is a continuity implant.

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