Mid December 1989
In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Tiger Shark in Tierra Verde.
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Layouts: John Byrne
Finishes: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Wolverine arrives in Puerto Verde, the capital city of Tierra Verde, in the midst of a battle between Tiger Shark and freedom fighter La Bandera. He intervenes when Tiger Shark gains the upper hand, and helps drives him off. Urging the young La Bandera to go home, Wolverine meets with a CIA contact as Caridad expresses his anger at Kingpin for sending Tiger Shark to his country without permission. Caridad and Geist then meet with Caridad's top scientists, who have located the specific field from which the altered cocaine that enhances physical abilities hails.
Afterwards, Wolverine sneaks into Caridad's estate and ambushes Geist demanding to see Roughhouse, while Caridad urges his wife to use her healing abilities on Roughhouse, threatening their son if she doesn't. Just then, La Bandera attacks the complex as Geist leads Wolverine to the medical center. Inside the center, Wolverine is attacked by Tiger Shark, who knocks him into one of the pipes exchanging seawater for the complex's filtration system. Wolverine manages to escape out into the ocean, but as he swims for the surface, he's grabbed by Tiger Shark.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue and the next comprise Wolverine's contribution to "Acts of Vengeance", as Wolverine battles Tiger Shark, principally a Sub-Mariner villain who's also battled the Avengers on occasion (he was part of the iteration of the Masters of Evil which sacked Avengers Mansion), though his role in this story has nothing to do with the larger "Acts", as he was simply hired by the Kingpin to kill La Bandera, who had caused some trouble with Kingpin's Miami operations before fleeing to Tierra Verde.
La Bandera, then, appears for the first time in this issue. A young mutant with the ability to amplify the emotions of people around her (usually their sense of patriotism) and then channel that emotional energy through her staff, this storyline is pretty much the only notable appearance of the character (I think she pops up in a later issue of Captain America, but that's it).
We meet another old friend of Wolverine's in this issue, one whom we've never heard of before nor will ever hear from again after this story, CIA agent Jack Bascomb.
The Prime Movers do appear in this issue, via a silent panel as Kingpin talks with Caridad.
The Chronology Corner
Between last issue and this one, Wolverine appeared in Uncanny X-Men #246 (when he tells Storm he needs some time off, just before their battle with Master Mold). This issue establishes that Gateway delivered Wolverine to Puerto Verde.
A Work in Progress
Geist's past role as Hitler's right-hand man is revealed this issue.
It's impressive how seamlessly Goodwin & Byrne work an "Acts of Vengeance" tie-in into their ongoing story. Revealing a connection between Caridad and Kingpin makes sense even without "Acts" (given the drug connection and the Daredevil references in the previous two chapters, Kingpin showing up at some point was probably inevitable anyway), and Tiger Shark is a clever choice to use as a foil for Wolverine. Not because the villain is terribly notable or cleverly designed, but because his connection to water makes him a slightly more formidably foe for Wolverine than the usual antagonists, given that drowning is one of the few ways Wolverine could actually die. Not that the star of any comic book series is ever in any legitimate danger of dying, but having Wolverine fight a villain who actually could kill him injects a bit more suspense than usual into the storyline. It's a smart way to use a larger crossover narrative to the series' advantage (though of course, this has nothing to do with the larger "Acts" storyline and anyone checking out this issue because of it was probably confused as they landed smack dab in the middle of an ongoing storyline, but hey, that's "Acts" problem and not Wolverine's).
Next week, Uncanny X-Men #257, New Mutants #85 and X-Factor #50.