Friday, March 9, 2018
X-amining Wolverine #78
In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Bloodscream.
Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Mark Farmer & Mike Sellers
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Wolverine rides his motorcycle, honor sword of the Clan Yashida outstretched, at Bloodscream. Four weeks ago, Wolverine travels on foot through the Canadian wilderness, unknowingly being tracked by Bloodscream & Cylla. Wolverine recalls how the honor sword was forged from a meteorite, while Bloodscream recounts his origin for Cylla. Wolverine eventually arrives in the town of Logan, to find his motorcycle waiting for him, having been shipped there because his name was on the shipping tag. Outside, a starving Bloodscream drains Cylla of her energy, then attacks Wolverine, who manages to slice him with the honor sword, seemingly killing him.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue fills in Bloodscream's backstory and his motivations for targeting Wolverine, revealing him to have been a naval surgeon serving under Sir Francis Drake who was injured and revived by a witch doctor as a vampiric undead being. He was told he would need to consume the blood of a fellow immortal to reclaim his lost life, and that the only thing which could kill him was metal not made by man. He later encountered Wolverine during the battle of Normandy in World War II, and when he bumped into him again in Madripoor decades later, realized he too was immortal.
It's also revealed that the Honor Sword of Clan Yashida was forged from a fallen meteorite, and hence is "metal not made by man". As a result, Bloodscream is seemingly killed when Wolverine slices through him with the blade.
This comes after Bloodscream has drained the life force from Cylla, and though the issue ends with both of them dead, only Cylla's death sticks, as Bloodscream will pop again in a few issues' time.
A Work in Progress
Bloodscream refers to Wolverine as "Master Patch"' as he first encountered him when Wolverine was using that alias in Madripoor. Normally, I'd be inclined to ding Hama (or Harras) for the lack of footnote (it's been awhile since anyone mentioned the whole Patch thing), but I kind of like it going unremarked upon a a deep cut for veteran readers. It's the sort of thing that doesn't impact the story for any readers ignorant of the reference, but adds some value for readers in the know.
For some reason, the art in this issue is decidedly smaller than most issues, with a significant amount of negative space surrounding the panels on each page.
There's a clever bit of layout during the sequence where Bloodscream & Cylla are tracking Wolverine through the woods, in which the panels on each page mirror one another.
In theory, this issue isn't a whole lot different than the previous one - Wolverine, battling an old foe, dealing with the loss of his adamantium. In practice, it doesn't really compare. For one, Wolverine's lack of adamantium doesn't really factor in to his battle with Bloodscream at all (here, the honor sword is a much bigger deal). For another, Bloodscream isn't quite on the same level as Lady Deathstrike. The pair have a history together, but it's not as long-standing nor as personal as the Wolverine/Deathstike feud, and it's been awhile since we've even seen Bloodscream. Hama continues to get some mileage out of Wolverine getting in touch with nature and his more animalistic side, and Kubert draws some particularly evocative panoramic vistas, but coming right after confrontation in the previous issue does this one few favors.
Next week: X-Men (vol. 2) #29, X-Force #31 and Excalibur #74.