Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #4 (1989, February)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, the creators and line-ups for X-Men Blue and Gold were announced. Fuller thoughts tomorrow (or tonight on my Twitter), but the short version: Can the X-Men stop being about pretty straight white people feeling persecuted? Anyway, today, by the Simonsons, Jon Muth, Kent Williams and Bill Oakley, “Endgame.”
Alex is broken up about killing Logan, and doesn’t think they’ll find any clues about who sent Logan after him. Luckily, Scarlett literally trips over a map buried in the sand. That’s not suspicious at all! Alex figures out that the map is showing a nuclear reactor, similar to the one from Chernobyl. So, Alex has studied nuclear reactors, then? I guess it makes some sense. His power absorbs radiation, so that might have given him an interest in nuclear reactors. He quickly buries Logan in a shallow grave, using his jacket as a shroud (the map is in the jacket pocket), and then heads off for India with Scarlett.
Meltdown and Neutron talk about how their plan is moving along well. Then, Logan wakes up and digs out of his grave. And he figures out what happened: Alex held back when he blasted him, knowing Logan’s healing factor would keep him alive, then he buried him in a shallow grave so Logan could get out easily, and he left Logan the map so he could follow. Alex is clever!
In India, Alex thinks about Scarlett, and she thinks about him. She’s falling for him. That’s dangerous for her. The power plant is already under attack, and Scarlett refuses to stay behind while Alex goes in.
Also, this book is so frigging gorgeous.
Anyway, they go into the control room, but the rods are buckled, so he goes instead into the core itself, to absorb the radiation directly.
The General Meltdown shows up, and challenges Alex to kill him. Scarlett tells Alex to run, and Meltdown kills her, which drives Alex into enough of a rage to unleash his full power against him. Which is what Meltdown wanted all along. Before Meltdown can kill Alex, Logan shows up to occupy him. Fight! Meltdown heals as fast as Logan cuts him, but Logan can mostly avoid Meltdown’s blasts. Then Logan starts impaling Meltdown with the control rods, so they can damp down his radiation. He ends up fading right into nothingness.
But the plant is still in danger. Alex has absorbed too much radiation, and can’t hold it much longer. And it’s more gorgeous art.
And then he has to release it.
Later, Alex talks to Logan about Scarlett, and how wonderful she was, and Logan decides that maybe telling him she was a spy who was manipulating might not be a good idea.
Then, an epilogue, with Dr. Neutron. He’s sad to see the game lost, but he figures there will be more, and he has a case with chess pieces painted like various superheroes. And he greets the new superintendent of the asylum he’s kept in, and asks if she likes chess.
It’s a great finale to a great mini. This was good all around. The Simonsons came up with a very clever plot, with lots of twists to keep it interesting. The characters were well-written – Scarlett was probably the stand-out, with her being gradually taken over by the disguise. But I liked Alex embracing the Noir attitude, and Logan was enjoyably himself. Between Meltdown and Neutron, Neutron was definitely the better of the two. He was so charming and cheerful. I’m a little disappointed he never showed up again. I guess I’ll head-canon it as him having a heart attack shortly after this mini. He was pretty old. Meltdown, as an aside, did show up again a couple years ago. Logan and Elixir found him in some village, draining life from people. They killed him again, obviously.
The real draw of this book was the art. Williams’ Wolverine is intense. All raw ferocity and wildness. Muth does most of the art for the rest, though, and it’s gorgeous. I posted plenty of panels and pages, so you’ve seen how gorgeous it is. It’s the effects he uses for everything. Alex’s power, and the radiation being absorbed, and the big release. It’s such spectacular stuff. Visually unique, and entrancing.
This was such a great book. Highly recommended. It’s a stand-alone that’s not really referenced again, outside that one issue of Wolverine 4 years ago, so it’s not like it’s integral to continuity or anything, but it’s very much worth reading.