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Friday, July 29, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #52

"Citadel at the End of Time"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
Spiral takes Wolverine & Mystique to the end of time.

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

Spiral, Mystique & Wolverine are attacked by a plasma wraith sent after Spiral. After they defeat it, Spiral casts a cloaking spell that hides them, just as Albert, Elsie-Dee & Hunter in Darkness fly overhead on their way to Canada. Spiral explains that time travelers from across realities are being drawn to the Crunch, the Big Bang's opposite at the end of time. When an uncertainty nullifer beam tries to blast them from the TV, Spiral declares they're not safe in the past, and opens a vortex that sucks in the room's furnishings and Wolverine's motorcycle, as well as the three individuals. Jubilee, just arriving outside the room, avoids the vortex, and goes inside to discover Mojo, wanting to know where Spiral is. Wolverine, Mystique & Spiral end up at the Crunch, battling and defeating another wraith, after which Spiral declares that Mojo is threatening all existence. Back at the motel, Mojo captures Jubilee and heads to the Crunch, while in Canada, Hunter in Darkness leads Albert and Elsie-Dee to a native burial ground, where they find an adamantium skeleton with claws amongst the remains.

Firsts and Other Notables
Mojo, who, between this and X-Men #6, is having himself a month, appears in this issue, though the full extent of his involvement remains unknown.

He is accompanied by a teleporter named Abcissa, who in the next issue will turn out to be an alternate future Jubilee, then never be seen again.

Amongst the various alternate Spirals is a woman meant to represent Ricochet Rita; the upcoming X-Factor Annual #7 will establish that Rita and Spiral are the same person.

Gateway is shown amongst the people being affected by the Crunch, the first time we've seen him since Uncanny #281.

A Work in Progress
Spiral describes the end of all existence as "the crunch", the counterpart to the Big Bang.

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Jubilee makes a crack about global warming, which is hilariously of-its-time because we didn't at all politicize this very important issue endangering our very existence as a species and instead, in the time between when this comic saw print and today, agreed the problem existed, buckled down as a unified group and took some serious steps to improve the situation and make it less dire.


Austin's Analysis
Well, that went off the rails fast. Last issue was, at best, a slow burn examination of Wolverine's new wilder side, setting up a noir-ish kind of tale with Mystique on the run from Spiral (less charitably, it was a lot of re-hasing of the same idea over and over until the end). But that all gets tossed out the window this issue: Spiral no longer seems terribly concerned with Mystique, the noir vibe gets replaced with plasma wraiths, Mojo, and fantastic trips to the end of time, and it's terribly unclear what Wolverine (or even Mystique, really) is even doing here. Not every story needs to be a searing examination of Wolverine's past, but even more high concept tales like the trip to the Spanish Civil War seemed to be trying to say something about Wolverine as a character. This reads more like Hama wanted to do a trippy Mojo story and just decided to bring Wolverine along for the ride. Which is not at all where the first chapter of the story seemed to be going.

Next Issue
Next week: Incredible Hulk #393 and Marvel Comics Presents #90-97 (Ghost Rider & Cable).

Collected Editions


  1. // This reads more like Hama wanted to do a trippy Mojo story and just decided to bring Wolverine along for the ride. //

    Yeah. Also: Feh.

    I did not expect Wolverine to get pulled through a hole in time, become a puddle, and then reconstitute from said puddle at “the end of the future”. So points for that just on the basis of weirdness alone. Except then it turned out that the story didn’t just involve Mojo sending creatures to reclaim Spiral or to bedevil the X-Men but had him responsible for “threatening all existence”. Mojo plus Albert and Elsie-Dee in one issue already tested my patience twice over. I wasn’t aware Mojo did anything more than use Earth’s dimension as fodder for his productions, despite his admitted obsession with the X-Men, and I really have no interest in seeing him recast* as a cosmic-scale menace to reality.


    1. *Mystique would surely assume that, based on the offhand usage of this word, Mojo is behind my comments.

    2. I will probably reiterate this in the next WOLVERINE post, but yeah, totally agreed that making Mojo a generic world-beating villain does nothing for the character.

  2. Amongst the various alternate Spirals is a woman meant to represent Ricochet Rita; the upcoming X-Factor Annual #7 will establish that Rita and Spiral are the same person.

    I would use the word 'confirm' because it's pretty obvious that's what they're saying here. Gotta wonder if this all came because of a (possible mis)read of Longshot's hallucination in UXM #248 where Rogue, Dazzler and Rita fuses into six-handed Rita who then turns into Spiral.

    I kind of hate when the heroes are always effectively invulnerable but the supporting characters get put through the wringer. None so like Rita.

    1. Generally, I need text (either dialogue or narration) to spell something out before I consider it "confirmed", mostly because art styles vary so much it's never 100% certain a character that looks like someone is supposed to be that someone. And I believe "officially", for what that's worth, it's X-FACTOR ANNUAL #7 that's considered the "Rita is Spiral" reveal point.

    2. Especially with it being the time when the artists are known to just draw stuff they themselves want to draw, plots be damned (if any), I must say that is a fair point.

      Silvestri/Hama may or may not have been in the know of the idea here, or carrying it from the UXM sequence, or maybe even effectively putting it to subsequent writers' heads, but the official point is good for the official point.

      Now I got wondering why Claremont got so enamored with Nocenti-created character the first place, all the way to inexplicably including her to Freedom Force in UXM #199, "Spiral Paths", and simultaneously using her with her Body Shoppe heftily in the following issues.

  3. I conducted an email interview with Annie in 2012 and she advised that Rita becoming Spiral was not her intention.

    1. Yeah, I think I've read that somewhere as well. That was something Claremont came up with, or at least teased (he certainly left it open to interpretation).

  4. "...the noir vibe gets replaced with plasma wraiths..."

    Man, if I had a dollar for every time I've seen that happen...!


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