Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2 (1988, December)
Logan’s hunting for information on the guys who attacked him and Alex. He finds the cousin of one of the men. Among the cash the guy was paid to help, there’s a Russian coin. Then, to Alex, waking up in a hospital room. He’s told Logan’s dead, which he doesn’t believe. There’s a hot red-headed nurse there taking care of him. She sedates him, then takes the doctors up to the roof. She says they’ll only leave when Alex is totally under their control. She’s a bad guy! Oh no! It didn’t take long to get to that reveal, which I find interesting. Often, with something like this, the reveal would be delayed, for later shock value. Doing it this early creates tension. Anyway, one of the doctors says Alex doesn’t show up on video cameras. The nurse contacts her boss, General Meltdown, who calls her Quark.
Meltdown’s call is interrupted when he’s told an inspector is due for a visit at the asylum the next day. Meltdown gets angry, and visits Dr. Neutron, who talks a bit about Quark.
Quark, as Nurse Scarlett McKenzie, pays a visit to Alex, who starts to flirt but then backs off, explaining he has a bad romantic history. This mini takes place a little after Inferno, so . . . yeah, that’s fair. He keeps insisting Logan is still alive, and then he blows up the TV in his room, which is laced with subliminal messages that are hurting his head. A nice little reminder that he’s been trained in psychic resistance. Scarlett tells Alex he’s a great guy.
Meanwhile, Logan arrives in the town where the fat guy was supposed to be. He asks a guy at a taco stand about the heliport, and the guy calls someone else about it. Logan has the guy say he’s staying at a local hotel, and threatens to kill him if he reports on him again.
Alex again! Scarlett is helping him walk, and says someone’s been asking questions about him. She says the word is the guy’s a spy, which she seems to find exciting. She says she’ll talk to the guy and try to turn the tables on him. Using Alex’s beliefs to manipulate him.
Meanwhile, the bar Logan’s staying in gets blown up. The Russian dude responsible lets Quark know about it, and says he watched to make sure no one survived. Then Logan pops out of the trunk and kills him. Pretty brutally. Back to Alex, where the “spy” has come in, and wants to know about Logan. The guy says Logan’s death was faked, and it’s a matter of national security. That Logan’s been abducted by the Russians, and is being brainwashed into working for them. Then the guy hits Scarlett, so Alex hits him.
Alex tells Scarlett they’re leaving, and going to Poland to look for Logan. He also calls her “doll.” He’s really slipped into Noir mode here. It’s pretty fun, actually. Scarlett lines up transportation for them, and Havok blows them an exit. They take a motor-scooter to an airstrip, where Scarlett’s gotten them a biplane that belongs to a friend. Logan gets to the hospital, a half-hour too late, and finds Alex’s scent, along with a woman’s. And a bomb.
Logan gets to the airfield . . . just too late, as the biplane’s already taken off.
Another great issue. The art is spectacular. Muth and Williams both do great work. Muth, who does the Alex portions of the story, has a gorgeous painted style. Very photo-realistic. He brings in a nice moody Noir feel to it, especially once Scarlett starts talking about spies. But even before that, things like a close-up on Scarlett’s lips, painted bright red, do a great job setting mood. Williams does the Wolverine portions, and as shown above, it’s about the opposite of Muth. Very stylized and exaggerated – I mean, Look at Logan’s hair – but it’s still gorgeous. Rough and raw and violent, very fitting of Logan. The contrasting art styles make for a great read.
The writing is excellent, as well. The Simonsons work well together. Character voices shine. Quark/Scarlett is particularly interesting, with a different voice for each. As Quark, she’s cold, scientific, analytical. As Scarlett, she’s warm, caring, fearful. It’s interesting to watch. Dr. Neutron’s description of her stands out, while also showing some of Neutron’s own personality, which is cool. The plotting is tight, with no wasted space. It’s not that it moves fast – here, it’s actually still moving at a fairly slow pace – it’s that everything in the comic needs to be there. It’s all necessary for character, or for set-up, or for whatever.
This is a great issue.