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Thursday, February 20, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #94

"The Lurker in the Machine"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine visits Generation X

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Chris Alexander
Inks: Mike Sellers & Al Milgrom
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Separations: Violent Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
The Dark Riders arrive in the devastated city of Akkaba, and proceed from there with Cyber to their master's citadel. Meanwhile, Wolverine arrives at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters at Jubilee's request, and Emma declares him the school's first guest lecturer. He gathers the students inside the biosphere for a lesson in hand-to-hand combat, but during the session, he senses something and orders everyone out. The next day, Jubilee & Skin tell their classmates about waking up in the middle of night and witnessing Wolverine enter the biosphere. As they watched, Wolverine confronted some sort of malevolent spirit, one which forced him into a berserker rage and radiated anger in visible waves. Wolverine managed to drive it out, before leaving the school himself. Banshee says he believes Wolverine encountered a Token, a spirit of the dead which can't abide its own kind, which is how Wolverine forced it to leave. 

Firsts and Other Notables
Wolverine becomes the first guest lecturer at the new Xavier School, something the Collectors Preview suggested would happen a lot but hasn’t happened until now (and is happening in a book other than Generation X).


In the course of his lesson, Wolverine encounters some kind of weird angry ghost spirit Banshee calls a Token, and chases it from the Gen X biosphere, never to be heard from again.


In the few pages devoted to furthering the Cyber/Dark Riders subplot, Dark Rider Hurricane says there is a particular attribute of Cyber’s which their boss finds appealing,  which, in hindsight, is a nod to the fact that the Dark Riders want Cyber for his adamantium.


Jamil, the mutant street urchin who debut in X-Men Unlimited #7 and threw in with the External Candra, pops up to help guide the Dark Riders somewhere (it will turn out to be one of Apocalypse's citadels, being used by Genesis), part of an alliance formed between Candra and Genesis (I don't recall where, if anywhere, the whole Candra/Genesis thing goes; Jamil next appears in issue #99).


A Work in Progress
Hurricane also hang a lampshade on the fact that Harddrive isnt just teleporting everyone everywhere.


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Wolverine (and by extension, Larry Hama) knows what pogs are.


The Best There is at What He Does
Wolverine traveled from New York to Massachusetts on foot.


Wolverine debates the merit of killing opponents with the Gen X kids - they make the standard argument that the X-Men don't kill, and Wolverine counters that while that may be all well and good, he still seems to end up put in situations where he has to kill.


Austin's Analysis
The idea of Wolverine serving as a guest lecturer for Generation X makes a lot of sense. He has a pre-established relationship with Jubilee, and putting his gruff, world-weary experience in contrast with younger, more innocent characters has long been a recipe for entertaining stories. And bringing in older X-Men to teach at the new school is a great vehicle for guest stars that the series will ultimately employ all too rarely. But having Wolverine stop by the new School for Gifted Youngsters and then fight off a weird non-corporeal wraith thingee that apparently was haunting Generation X's Danger Grotto is, well, it's a decision. To his credit, Hama essentially uses it to further the ongoing story he's telling about Wolverine's descent away from his humanity (the Token ultimately flees because it senses its own rage-filled kind in Wolverine); this is Wolverine's book, after all. But it seems like Hama probably could have made a similar point without resorting to such an out-of-nowhere and ill-defined concept, and still found more time for Wolverine to function as a teacher in the story, makingt his something of a missed opportunity.

Next Issue
Next week: the X-Men meet a new mutant for the first time in forever in X-Men Unlimited #8.

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7 comments:

  1. I seem to remember Hama revisiting his "haunted Danger Room" scenario again during his brief run on Generation X.
    I dropped Gen X after Lobdell left, and didn't pick it up again until the Jay Faerber run, so my memory of that Gen X story is limited.

    You'll be glad to know that this isn't a plot-point being left behind by Hama.

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    1. Not only does he bring the token back, he also brings a pooka, something mentioned as an aside by Banshee in this issue, into the series. He was really laying some seeds here!

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  2. If memory serves, Hama brings the Token back in his Generation X run. If you think this story is weird, just wait.

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  3. Yeah, my memory of the Hama GENERATION X is definitely spotty. I can't say I'm excited for what I'm sure is the exciting return of Token, but at the same time, I do appreciate that it makes this story a little less random.

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  4. This is a weird issue. It ends really abruptly, like Hama (or Chris Alexander; you never know when it’s Marvel-style) ran out of pages. And speaking of Alexander, some of the artwork is really rough and amateurish. All around, this is not a great read.

    I’m especially bummed that Hama, who wrote the Wolverine/Jubilee relationship so well a few years earlier, really doesn’t do much of anything with them here. Lobdell handled their reunion way better in one page of a GEN X issue a few months back than Hama does in an entire issue here.

    (And what’s with Jubilee constantly calling him “Wolvy”? Wasn’t it always “Wolvie” before?)

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    1. Great Kubert cover, though. Best thing about the issue!

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  5. The owl-like snake form of the Token reminds me of the Eye Killers that Storm and Naze fought in UXM #222.

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