In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Tiger Shark as he tries to rescue Roughhouse.
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Breakdown Artist: John Byrne
Finishing Artist: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Tiger Shark drags Wolverine underwater, lodging Wolverine's claws into the coral shelf, trapping him there and leaving him to drown. Meanwhile, La Bandera leads an attack on the Tierra Verde Medical center, but discovers the political prisoners she'd hoped to rescue gone, the whole thing a trap set by Geist. Tiger Shark appears and tries to kill her, but she escapes. Upstairs, Caridad delivers his wife, Sister Salvation, to Roughhouse, who has agreed to use her powers on him in exchange for seeing her son. Below, Tiger Shark hunts for La Bandera, but Wolverine intervenes before he can kill the girl, having fought his way free of the coral. He manages to defeat Tiger Shark but tells La Bandera he needs her help, as he's lost his hearing.
Together, they head upstairs, where Sister Salvation has cured Roughhouse of the madness inflicted by the tainted cocaine.Wolverine and La Bandera fight through the guards, taking Caridad hostage. They bring him, Sister Salvation and Roughhouse onto the roof, where a helicopter is waiting for Caridad. Geist attempts to use the prisoners to barter Caridad's freedom, but the prisoners fight back, and Wolverine, La Bandera and Roughhouse board the copter, along with a protesting Sister Salvation, leaving Caridad behind. As the copter turns out over the ocean, Tiger Shark leaps from the water, dragging it down towards the water, but Wolverine knocks him off, leaving him for the sharks swarming in the water, drawn by the blood from his injuries. As the group leaves the city behind, Wolverine's hearing returns as Sister Salvation's power starts to return Roughhouse to normal.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue wraps up Wolverine's contribution to "Acts of Vengeance", and though it's no more connected to the larger storyline than last issue, Tiger Shark does reference it.
A Work in Progress
Wolverine notes how odd it is to hear someone speaking underwater as Tiger Shark taunts him.
The Best There is at What He Does
Dragged underwater by Tiger Shark, Wolverine wonders how long he has before his lungs burst, and later ponders how his healing factor will deal with him drowning, thinking it'll simply prolong his agony rather than keeping him alive.
This issue wraps up the series two-part foray into "Acts of Vengeance", as well as the next phase of the larger Geist/Caridad/weird cocaine storyline. It's an interesting approach to take to story structure, with the overall narrative broken up into two part chunks (issues #17 & 18 introduce the plot, and are centered around Madripoor, issues #19 & 20 move the action to Tierra Verde and introduce La Bandera), creating smaller arcs within the larger arcs. Which, of course, is plenty common in comics, but two issue arcs within a larger story is fairly unique and here, at least, fairly effective, keeping things from getting too stale.
This issue also teams Wolverine up with La Bandera more directly, and oddly enough (given that Archie Goodwin and not Claremont is writing this story), the same kind of mentor/mentee vibe from the Wolverine/Kitty and Wolverine/Jubilee pairings is present, with Wolverine both imparting martial wisdom (Kitty) while needing Bandera's help (Jubilee). It could just be me reading that into their interactions because of my familiarity with the trope, or a sheer coincidence, but the end result is a nice bit of characterization consistency, intentional or not.
Next week, the Lady Mandarin arc concludes in Uncanny X-Men #258, Rob Liefeld arrives in New Mutants #86, and X-Factor returns home in X-Factor #51.