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Thursday, March 10, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #43

"Under the Skin"
Early August 1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights a serial killer in the Central Park Zoo.

Writer: Larry Hama
Breakdowns: Marc Silvestri
Finishes: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Feeling pent up, and angry with Nick Fury for being secretive about Sabretooth, Wolverine leaps from the SHIELD helicopter, landing back down in the city. Meanwhile, Albert and Elsie-Dee's head emerge from the river in the Morlock Tunnels, and Albert strong-arms Masque into helping him find a power source. Wolverine prowls Central Park, getting in touch with his animal side, when he's drawn to the zoo. Inside, he finds the wolverine injured, and is attacked by the zoo's apparent night janitor, Linus, who has been torturing the animals, including the wolverine. Wolverine easily overpowers Linus, learning he's killed the actual janitor, then releases the wolverine, who runs after Linus. Elsewhere, Lady Deathstrike, having arrived in the city in search of Wolverine, orders her driver to take her to Ronald Parvenue, believing he'll help her locate him, while Sabretooth emerges from the river, catches Lady Deathstrike's scent, and declares that Wolverine had better watch out.

Firsts and Other Notables
This is the first appearance of Linus Dorfman (just called Linus in this issue), a serial killer who is torturing animals at the Central Park Zoo. This is his only appearance, but he does feature behind the scenes of issues #89-90.

The Hunter in Darkness, the abominable snowman/bigfoot-type creature from issue #34, appears in this issue via a poster and newspaper ad; the creature will feature in the next story arc, beginning in issue #45.

Lady Deathstrike arrives in New York this issue, while Sabretooth is shown having survived his fall from the helicopter and Elsie-Dee's attack last issue, more setup for the next story.

This issue includes a pin-up by Silvestri & Green.

The Chronology Corner
Lady Deathstrike appears here following her recent appearances in the series, prior to Uncanny X-Men #281. Though it's unclear why she presumably flew commercial to New York instead of having Gateway teleport her there.

The Best There is at What He Does
Wolverine meets an actual wolverine at the Central Park zoo, declaring that his animal namesake is also the best at what he does.

Teebore's Take
At its core, this issue is about Wolverine getting back in touch with nature via Central Park, then foiling an animal-abusing serial killer at the Central Park Zoo. As a result, it read very much like a fill-in story, even though its done by the regular creative team. Thankfully, the stuff on either side of the "main" plot help salvage the issue, from the wrap-up of the previous story arc (including one more brief Cable appearance) to the setup of the next one (including both the return of Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth's continued appearance, and the teasing of the Hunter in Darkness throughout). The central plot may be superfluous, but as a transition point between two larger story arcs, this works fine.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Wolverine takes a cruise in Wolverine #44. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #280 and X-Force #2.

Collected Editions


  1. "while Sabretooth emerges from the river, catches Lady Deathstrike's scent, and declares that Wolverine had better watch out"

    Which...does he know LD? I don't think at this point they've been established as knowing each other.

    "The central plot may be superfluous, but as a transition point between two larger story arcs, this works fine"

    I think this sums the issue perfectly. It's almost like a "quiet" issue in-between bigger story lines.

    1. It's not terribly clear if he recognizes the scent as Deathstrike's scent - the caption makes it clear he's smelling Deathstrike, but not whether he's like "that's Lady Deathstrike; also, watch out Wolverine!" or just "I just smelled some things; watch out Wolverine!"

      Basically, we know he's smelling Deathstrike; we just don't know if HE knows he's that's who he's smelling.

    2. With his nose he knows it's a woman, covered in Japanese (I'd gather expensive) scents, mixed with mean cybernetics, and if the boy could smell that Jean liked his kiss I would guess Sabretooth can pick up the hate too... He probably is at least dimly aware of Logan's years spent in Japan and can make an educated guess of what it all adds up to, what with what's the name on the cover and all.

      My read was though that he just picks up the sweet sweet smell of hate, but it's him invigorated by it who Logan should really be worried about.


  2. I’m pretty sure this is the first time the vertically stretched version of the logo has popped up here. For me it’s one of the telltale signs of the ‘90s. And every time I see it, without fail, I’m struck by how colossally it messes with a great design.

    1. Uggh, I was going to mention that stretched logo too. They did this periodically throughout the early to mid-nineties and I don't understand what it's supposed to accomplish. It's hideous! They did the same thing on adjectiveless X-MEN once or twice, too.

    2. Yeah. And that logo had already been given a slightly different pitch and perspective than the Uncanny (and pre-Uncanny) X-Men version that made it less appealing.

    3. Oh gosh. The US logos have, for obvious reasons, mainly been an un-issue to me, though I remember my indignation when they ruined the logo for our domestic "Ryhmä-X" for a stint in the late 80's. It's guite a surprise to me that the UNCANNY logo was kept essentially the same through all the Claremont years, and only now do I get the editorial fuzz over Cyclops beaming it up on the cover for #176.

      I say mainly, because I did notice the supermeaningful Mighty Thor logo change into the classic Simonson one on the cover of #338 after Beta Bill had broken the old one on the previous issue (Simonson's first). One of those perfect comic book things happening again right there.

  3. This is the first time, yeah. I loved it on this cover ... it looked like the rain is causing the logo to run. But it's weird that that it became a recurring thing.


  4. // like the rain is causing the logo to run //

    I never though of it that way but that does make it slightly easier to look at. 8^)


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