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Friday, November 13, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #36

"...It Tolls For Thee!"
February 1991

In a Nutshell 
Lady Deathstrike stalks Wolverine during the Spanish Civil War. 

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker:Dan Green
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Mark Chiarello
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Heading for the partisan rebels hiding in the hills outside the city, Wolverine, Puck, Ernesto and Inez race through the streets of Guernica, with Wolverine single-handedly talking out a machine gun nest along the way. Meanwhile, Lady Deathstrike is hung by the Nazi's which captured her, but easily breaks the rope then introduces herself to them, not hiding the fact that she's from the future. In Australia, in the present, the Reavers experience a sudden time vortex, and Pierce realizes that Gateway has sent Deathstrike and Wolverine into the past, and that she could be threatening their existences. In the past, in Spain, Wolverine and his friends reach the partisan camp, while Lady Deathstrike promises the Nazi captain that if they can bring Wolverine's adamantium skeleton to her father, a pilot cadet in Japan, he can create an army of super-soldiers for Germany.


Hearing reports of a machine gun crew that seems to have been mauled by an animal, Lady Deathstrike recognizes Wolverine's handiwork. Up in the hills, the partisan camp is attacked by an airstrike, during which Puck is injured. In need of a proper hospital on the other side of the mountains, the partisans attempt to bring Puck through one of the remaining open passes. As Lady Deathstrike and the Nazis draw closer, Wolverine senses their presence, and sends the group on ahead, determined to hold the pass himself. He makes short work of the troops, but then Lady Deathstrike enters the fray, telling Wolverine to come forth and face her.

Firsts and Other Notables
The Reavers encounter a time vortex, caused by Lady Deathstrike's trip into the past, which threatens to disrupt them if Lady Deathstrike changes the past too much (though, going by the butterfly effect, the very presence of her and Wolverine has already likely changed history in numerous ways).


A Work in Progress
It's noted that while Puck has returned to his 1930s form, both Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike remain the same. 


Teebore's Take
A standard middle chapter, this furthers the world of the story while putting Wolverine on a collision course with Lady Deathstrike for the finale next issue. And...that's about it. A little bit of lip service is paid to the quandary of Puck regaining his 1930s form while Wolverine & Lady Deathstrike remain the same, and there's a fun one page sequence featuring the Reavers back in the present, dealing with the possible ramifications of Deathstrike and company wreaking havoc on history (the kind of thing you don't often see in a time travel story - the effect of reality warping around the people left behind by the time travelers - where the focus is usually more on the characters who did the time traveling). Other than that, this issue is almost just pure machismo, as both Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike carve their way through both sides of the Spanish Civil War. It certainly fits with the overall tone of the series, and Silvestri & Green's art becomes even more pleasantly Mignola-esque as it goes along. All of which is fine, but also not terribly discussion-worthy.

Next Issue
Next week: Uncanny X-Men #274, New Mutants #99, X-Factor #64.

Collected Editions

9 comments:

  1. I so love the apparent willing ignorance of the research: The planes do have the correct insignia for the Legion Condor irrefutably showing that they have had some done, but then instead of putting the German "volunteers" into Spanish uniforms they dress even the Spaniards into German uniforms. But at least they address my language worries from the last issue with immaculate and fun noting of the usage of everyone's own language. "Er ist tot!" "Si. Muerto..."

    I love Schlachter's super-quick jumping to conclusions of people's alignments everytime when someone he could have killed pops up, Deathstrike in last issue and Jaime the kid now.

    Deathstrike is a bitch, telling Schachter how the armies of the Third Reich will lay waste from Cherbourg to Stalingrad and then just leaves it there and no one has the wits to ask "and then what?".

    They got any amount of Wolverines loose in back-then, btw, there's then-Wolverine there somewhere obviously, and modern-day Wolverine in 1937 in this issue, and X-Men: True Friends will have a Wolverine in 1936 who has adamantium claws but doesn't recognize Kitty (or is a really convincing actor).

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    1. Yeah, I kinda love what Deathstrike leaves hanging there and what Schlachter lets go unasked. "Then...things go bad for Germany. Let's not talk about that."

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    2. They really travel badly in time. Like, really really badly. Lady D here is bad enough, but none worse than Kitty Pryde, who in X-Men: True Friends will drop dates and all of how WWII will go to the baddies.

      Like, maybe von Strucker, henceforth an avid nazi believer, starts making contingency plans exactly there and then and after seeing some of the dates confirmed will whisk away an amount of Reichgold the location of which they will torture into the subconsciousness of Gabrielle Haller, and Kitty's time travel antics are direct cause of 1) the existence of Hydra, 2) Magneto getting a huge load of gold to finance his villainous career and 3) Age of Apocalypse, among other things. My loved UXM #200 opens to me in completely another way now, with the younger von Struckers and Gaby Haller and Magneto and the whole "would you kill Hitler" business. No wonder Jim Jaspers was content to look it from the sidelines; he ain't got nothing on Kitty in fuffing up the reality real bad.

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    3. Actually, Roger Stern did something similar before 1999, when he established Strucker ran into a time-traveling Doctor Doom.

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    4. I didn't know! Thanks, Anonymous. I looked up a bit of what that was about, and on a sidenote it's curious to notice that Dr. Doom also has issues with Hitler and nazis due to his gypsy blood. Makes one actually wonder a bit if Byrne didn't like Magneto's holocaust survivor reveal back history for the particular reason that his cool villain has a time machine at his disposal and could maybe some day do something about it (like Nick Fury later will on his watch), but Clare-Magneto's reveal kind of stole the wind for that ever happening. Again I return to the classic all-Doom FF #258 and young "Cristoph" harshly being told that his Magneto ain't rivalling to anyone.

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  2. One notable thing about this issue's letters page- one reader writes in wanting to know why Wolvie can suddenly be photographed- and the letters page admits that the spell making the X-Men invisible is no longer in effect. It's pretty pathetic that this revelation has to come on the letters page instead of, you know, an actual story. But even worse, the letters page isn't really able to explain it- they're like, um, we guess it wore off.

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    1. Aw, I wish my scan of this issue had the letters page (or that I'd dug out my physical copy to check it). That's definitely the first "official" acknowledgement that the plot point has been dropped.

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  3. “I’m writing a three-parter where Logan travels back to the Spanish Civil War and mixes it up with Ernest Hemingway.”
    (Sigh) Larry… We’re trying to make the title a little more commercial.”
    “Here’s the cover to #36.”
    “Okay then!”

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    1. Hah, and a little bit earlier: "Claremont's been bringing his every book down with his endless time-line jaunting and over-complicated Reavers stuff, let's get something else for Wolverine at least. I've heard the G.I.Joe guy is free."

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