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Friday, May 5, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #66

"Prophecy"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine searches for information about Terry Adams.

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Mark Texeira
Art Assist: Steve Birsi
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Steve Buccelato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Canada, Wolverine enters a bar called Prophecy, looking for information about Terry Adams. At the X-Mansion, the X-Men are concerned about Wolverine's bedroom, which he appears to have destroyed himself, and Professor X admits he tampered with Wolverine's mind after Wolverine asked him to remove the blocks in his memory. In Canada, haunted by figures from the Sixties, as well as an angel and Janice Hollenbach, Wolverine discovers a cache of government IDs and guns, then rushes off. Storm tries to enlist the aid of Wraith in finding Wolverine, but he is less than helpful. Eventually, the X-Men track Wolverine to Kazakh, in the former Soviet Union. There, Wolverine is shot and left for dead by a pair of Russian soldiers, who make off with all his belongings, save for his yellow-and-blue costume.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue begins a story in which Wolverine attempts to learn the truth about "Terry Adams", first mentioned by Wraith last issue, when he thanked Wolverine for his help with that mission (a mission Wolverine doesn't remember). This will be Mark Texeira's last story as the series' artist.

The bar Prophecy first appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #72, during the "Weapon X" story (it's the bar outside of which Wolverine is first abducted in that story).

In order to learn more about Terry Adams, Wolverine asks Professor X to help unlock his memories, something Xavier has said Wolverine has never asked him to do before. In the process, Xavier ends up on the "painscape" of Wolverine's mind which is tied to his false memory implants.


A Work in Progress
Upon discovering his destroyed bedroom, Professor X says it looks like Wolverine was trying to obliterate his present.


Wolverine is haunted by Janice, the scientist who worked on Omega Red and was rescued (and then subsequently killed) by Sabretooth, Wolverine & Maverick back in the '60s (as seen in X-Men #4-7).


The Reference Section 
Wolverine spends much of this issue thinking it's 1967, and as a result, it's peppered with references to history and pop culture from that era, such as the assassination of JFK, the fact that the Mets hadn't won a World Series yet (they would in 1969), Star Trek, Howdie Doodie, and the Beatles (who appear in the background of the opening splash page).


The Best There Is At What He Does 
Wolverine hallucinates Elvis, Fidel Casto, Neil Armstrong and John & Jackie Kennedy telling him he's the best there is at what he does.


Austin's Analysis
Larry Hama's apparent "keep the reader off-balance and slightly confused" approach to recent stories continues; after last issue's "epilogue to a story that never actually ended", this one opens in media res, with Wolverine (and readers) once again unsure what is real and if what is happening is happening inside Wolverine's head, as he finds himself thinking its 1967 as he stumbles through some old Canadian stomping grounds while trying to learn the truth behind "Terry Adams" (it reads a bit like the X-Men version of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" which is, frankly, the best thing about it). Eventually, it's revealed that Wolverine addled condition is the result of a botched attempt by Professor X to unlock his memories, but the end result is the same: another issue of general confusion, cryptic hints, and unexplained events. Perhaps this is intentional on Hama's part, a way to make the reader feel like Wolverine, slightly lost in the narrative and not entirely sure what's going on. Intentional or not, it's getting a bit wearying at this point.

Next Issue
Next week: X-Men #17, X-Force #19 and Excalibur #62.

8 comments:

  1. Prophecy is not bar I think, but some kind of housing for "fallen Christians" as per WEAPON X. "Apocalypse" got name-dropped some back then, and it's surely not an accident that this time around there's a stained glass window behind the clerk desk with some people on horses, and the centermost among them with a scythe. Funny when you consider the stint Logan has as a Horseman.

    Psalm 23, according to which his old room was numbered, is the classic "valley of the shadow of death" one (which the angel erupts to sing in Auger Inn), cue to the title of the following issue.

    Technically it's early '68 I guess, if the TET offensive is going on. Timeline gets wonky as zombie Janice claims that Berlin hadn't happened yet.

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    1. And if my Elvis ken doesn't fail me, the iconic black leather jacket look here specifically came from the popular '68 Comeback Special (in June so too late, but it's close enough and accurate in others way to allow the anachronism a pass).

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    2. And that's not Neil Armstrong (of 1969 fame), but Yuri Gagarin in his trademark orange spacesuit. Armstrong would be wearing his signature white with the prominent American flag. This is his second appearance in an X-book; Arcade used his likeness to brainwash Colossus into the Proletarian in UNCANNY #123.

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    3. And that's a really summer '67 appropriate Beatles in their attire from the Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band that came out right then.

      I'm sorry guys, I seem to have gotten overtly excited about a 90's WOLVERINE issue. It's just that we got all the rest of the Dreams of Gore stuff back then, but they skipped this final Terry Adams bit for us. There was the damned radiator haunting in most of Logan's hallucinations to which I never got the explicit closure for (except for that Silver Fox was very unfortunately handcuffed to one in #49 in the Windsor scenario), and now I finally learn it's the damn radiator from Logan's room in Prophecy and you actually can see it in WEAPON X too, now there's just no other furniture in the room here, and what a massive anticlimax it really turns out to be. Wasn't about Silver Fox and Sabretooth's doings then, which is good obviously.

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    4. Actually... to correct myself, there was no Gagarin in #123. The person whose likeness Arcade used was Colonel Vazhin of KGB, "a national hero, like cosmonaut Gagarin" like Colossus tells us in #124. I went by the memory from our translation where I think it went like "he showed national hero Gagarin", which you could understand to have happened off-panel. I seem to have gotten totes different stories because of our editorializing XD.

      The WEAPON X is pretty damn confusing in places though. I think it's meant to be read as those 8 pages installments that show glimpses of the Experiment X, rather than free-flowing comic story (at least in the early bits). The prologue in MCP #72 shows plaid-shirted Logan driving when a snowstorm starts, and in a bar, in #73 he steps out of the rural bar to a snowy yard in front of it and gets kidnapped by the three spooks. The Prophecy house is in urban Ottawa (so a different place), and it's altogether a different (also chronologically) scene in #72 where we see Logan there in fearful anticipation of terrible thing to come and seeing very vivid (portentous?) dreams of the Experiment X, thinking of running away to Yukon.

      Cornelius later on talks of Logan's fear of mutantism (hinted as "morbid preoccupation with current mutant scare" on Logan's file in #72), and the Professor saying it's Logan's "destiny" to become the beast-like Weapon X of his plans, so the "prophecy" seems to be very appropriate place and state of mind for the pre-Experiment Logan, who apparently was already having active problems with the man vs. mindless beast thing courtesy of his natural mutation at the time, and obviously not helped by the Professor intentionally seeking to drive him to the beast end of things.

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  2. I believe that at this point Wolverine comic can no longer easily fit in the other X-comics continuity, right? I find hard to believe that Wolverine and the X-Men were helping Excalibur in England, fighting Stryfe in X-Cutioner's Song and going around on Weapon X business.

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    1. If I remember correctly, the X-Men pick up Wolverine in #68 on their way to X-Men 17's Russian shenanigans.

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  3. That was… pretty dang weird. Not much else to say but to correct the spellings of “Howdy Doody” and Texeira’s art-assiter Biasi (vs. Birsi, although that’s how I read the hand-lettered credits in this issue too). Quite reminiscent of Sienkiewicz during the period he was just pushing past the Adams influence to more stylized rendering.

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