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Friday, April 1, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #46

"Home is the Hunter..."
Late September 1991

In a Nutshell
The four way fight between Wolverine, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Hunter in Darkness concludes.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inks: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Hunter in Darkness interrupts the Wolverine/Sabretooth/Lady Deathstrike fight, and, recognizing Wolverine, joins in on his side, giving him a breather during which Jubilee attends to him. In the Morlock Tunnels, Albert continues to work on the power unit for Elsie-Dee. Wolverine rejoins the fight just as the sniper targeting the Hunter comes closer, and Wolverine realizes she's the daughter of RCMP Sergeant Doolin. She shoots both Wolverine and Sabretooth, and her poisoned bullets cause them to hallucinate events from their past. However, when Doolin targets Jubilee, Wolverine comes to his senses and knocks her out. But both Sabretooth and the Hunter have disappeared, while Lady Deathstrike is retrieved by Parvenue. Meanwhile, Albert nears the completion of his work on Elsie-Dee, just as the Hunter finds a new home for himself in the tunnels.

Firsts and Other Notables
In a brief shared flashback between Wolverine and Sabretooth, it's revealed that the pair used to be partners of some sort in the past; in the process, Sabretooth realizes that his belief that Wolverine was his son was fabricated (by what we'll later come to know as the Weapon X project), bringing to an end his recent insistence on calling Wolverine some variation of "Sonny Boy" all the time.

That flashback also seems to reference details from "Weapon X", making this the first Wolverine story to reference it, albeit indirectly, and features a landscape studded with spikes; this spiky landscape becomes a sort of visual shorthand for events taking place in flashbacks/altered memories moving forward, as the series begins a deep dive into exploring Wolverine's past, and issue #63 will reveal that the spikes are visually symbolic, implanted in Wolverine's (and others) mind to help cement memory implants.

This is the last chronological appearance of Sabretooth wearing his original costume; his next appearance in X-Men (vol. 2) will feature his new, Jim Lee-designed look that has mostly stuck with the character since.

This issue reveals that the mysterious sniper from the previous issue is Emmy Doolin, the daughter of the Mountie who encountered Hunter in Darkness in its first appearance, and then died as a result of that encounter.

Albert mentions a surprise to Elsie-Dee; its nature will be revealed in issue #51, which marks the next appearance of the pair (following appearances in every issue since their first appearance save #44, they take a little break after this).

This issue concludes with a one-panel preview of X-Men (vol. 2) #1, and a one-page preview of Rahne of Terra, the next upcoming Wolverine one-shot.

Teebore's Take
Most of this issue is just more of the same from last issue: more of Albert soaking up power for Elsie-Dee, more claw-centric fighting from Wolverine, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and the Hunter in Darkness. The one wrinkle that gets thrown into the story is when Wolverine and Sabretooth start hallucinating their shared past during the middle of the fight - much as with the whole "Sabretooth is Wolverine's father/no he's not" plot in issues #41-42, this is another tease meant to indicate that the series is, for better and worse, about to delve pretty deep into Wolverine's past (and stay there, off-and-on, for awhile), beginning in earnest in the next story arc (after next issue's fill-in). Other than that, this issue is pretty much more of the same from the series during this stretch - fun stories with good art that flow well from one issue to the next, but which don't really standout much in terms of individual issues.

Next Issue
Next week: a new beginning in Uncanny X-Men #281, Juggernaut fights X-Force in X-Force #3, and a new team debuts in X-Factor #71.

Collected Editions


  1. As you noted, there is great narrative momentum at this point in Hama's storytelling, with threads flowing from issue to issue.

    Sadly, I think it ends here. I remember being utterly disappointed when all the "claw" characters suddenly vanished in the next issue, and then suddenly it became all about Weapon X and memory implants. Blegh.

    Hama would do this occasionally, and it was frustrating. (The halt in momentum from 64 to 65 was so bad, I suit reading. I'll be curious to see people's opinions when you get to those issues on this blog.)

  2. "Look, dust me off a little and push me back in the direction o' the fracas--" :D

    But why on earth don't the morons at CERN have a hyper-cyrogenic electromagnet in middle of theirs, then? Does it count as a crossover if I imagine Sheldon reading this one, to his consternation?


  3. // This is the last chronological appearance of Sabretooth wearing his original costume //

    Huh. I just looked it up — I’ve seen it before but not often enough (and it’s not different enough) to have stuck with me. Nor is it an improvement.

  4. I don't mind Hama exploring Weapon X and memory implants. At the time, we still hadn't seen a lot of Wolverine's back story and history, so it was all rather exciting and refreshing, even if it was a bit convoluted.

    Of course, it did get out of control as we went on, but that was due to too many other writers making things even more convoluted by adding and adding and adding so much backstory, even if it was contradictory to what we had already seen. Of course, once could argue that Wolverine didn't need to have the Weapon X part of his backstory expanded on at all, that what we got already was fine on it's own. But at the time, as I said, it was all still new and fresh, so I didn't mind it, or if it broke up the long form narrative we were already getting.

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  6. Thank goodness this issue was the last of Sabretooth's original costume. That thing was hideous and the Jim Lee version is a vast improvement. Early Sabretooth sucks so bad... from dialogue to visuals to him seemingly dying over and over.


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