Friday, June 12, 2020
X-amining Wolverine #97
In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Chimera in Landau, Luckman & Lake's home office.
Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras
In Scotland, Wolverine & Jean Grey are investigating Cyber's disappearance from prison. After determining Cyber was broken out, they proceed to the local Landau, Luckman & Lake office, which has been destroyed. Wolverine finds the "WC" door amidst the wreckage, and standing it up, steps through the warp chamber into the other dimension where the Landau, Luckman & Lake's central office is. He and Jean find the place similarly trashed, with several agents dead. One of the survivors, a plucky boy named Emmet, blames a "gaslight frail" for the attack. Wolverine tracks her to a nearby chamber where she's watching Wolverine's de-evolution play out on a series of monitors. Introducing herself as Chimera, she attacks Wolverine, but he manages to fight her off. After she leaves, Jean & Emmet catch up with Wolverine, at which point Zoe Culloden teleports into the chamber. She gives Wolverine a package then sends he and Jean back to their dimension. As they fade away, Emmet asks if the package will help or hurt Wolverine, and Zoe assures him they intend to give Wolverine a fighting chance against what Genesis has planned for him, a notion Emmet greets with skepticism.
Firsts and Other Notables
This is the first appearance of Chimera, a relatively minor but recurring X-villain; she will shortly be revealed to be a member of Genesis' Dark Riders (and later join an iteration of the Marauders and a resurrected Madelyne Pryor's Sisterhood of Evil Mutants). She makes and controls weird ectoplasmic dragons with her hands (like doing a shadow puppet, but the shadow is green and large and attacks people), and has some low-level telepathic abilities.
Wolverine first meets her when she's watching a screen showing Wolverine's potential de-evolution, which does indeed match his future "nose-less" look (with added "Age of Apocalypse"-esque facial tattoo triangles).
He also meets Emmet, a young employee of Landau, Luckman & Lake styled in dress and dialogue like a turn-of-the-century newsboy ("headlines don't sell paps, Newsies sell paps!"). He pops up again in the Wolverine/Venom "Tooth and Claw" miniseries.
At the end of the issue, Zoe Culloden appears, gives Wolverine a package, and tells Emmet she's planning to help him against Genesis. While Genesis' evil plans for Wolverine will indeed come to fruition soon, all this Zoe stuff largely gets lost in the shuffle.
A Work in Progress
This issue establishes that Landau, Luckman & Lake can access their extra-dimensional offices via doors labeled "WC" in their earth office. Jean assumes it's a bathroom, but the WC stands for "warp chamber" (and it only requires the door, not the full door frame/wall, to operate).
On the one hand, this issue seems to be moving the overarching post-"Age of Apocalypse" plot closer to its conclusion: Wolverine is on the trail of the now-deceased Cyber, and finally learns that Landau, Luckman & Lake has been closely involved in his affairs of late. It also introduces Chimera, a villain who will play a role (albeit a minor one) in the conclusion of the story arc. Yet at the same time, it reads very much like another "treading the water" issue, as Hama stretches out the plot in order to ensure its conclusion occurs in the big centennial issue. Whatever plot beats are furthered here are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, it's still not entirely clear what LL&L are up to, and Wolverine is left in the same "I'm losing control of my humanity, but maybe that's not so bad" place he's been in for roughly the last half dozen issues. Certainly, the air of something momentous & tragic being right on the horizon is palpable in this issue, but the wait to get there is becoming increasingly tedious.
Next week: the kids battle Omega Red in Generation X #11, Wolfsbane gets the spotlight in Excalibur #93 and more Genoshan fun in Cable #27!
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