Wolverine #5 (1989, March)
The issue picks up right where the last one left off, with Xi’an having just shattered a wine glass in her hand. She’s sad about having made things worse for “Patch,” and wonders what she should do, when Bloodsport comes over. He tastes some of her blood off the tablecloth, and says they’re bound now. Bloodsport is such a goth.
Meanwhile, Logan’s narrating about how the Douglas DC3 plane is just like him. I like to think Logan does the same thing with everyone he comes across. Like, he’s raking leaves, and thinks, “The rake is old, just like me. But still sturdy. It’s still the best at what it does. Just like I’m the best at what I do. But what I do isn’t as nice. It’s not leaves I pile up, it’s bodies.” Come up with your own “Logan Compares Himself To Something” narration! It’s fun! “I hear the fan spinning its blades, and I think of the spinning my own blades have done. Razor-sharp adamantium blades, not the cheap plastic blades of the fan. The fan blades try to keep things cool, my blades are all about heating things up.”
ANYWAY! In the plane, Archie goes to the back for snacks, but Logan smelled Bloodsport’s scent on him, and guesses that Archie’s going to betray him. Archie argues with himself, but decides he can’t go through with it. Then they get attacked by an old fighter plane, a Mustang. Logan engages in some skilled flying, then dives out, destroys the Mustang, and smashes into some water. I do want to note that, at the height Logan dove from, a water landing would be more of a smash than a splash.
In Madripoor, Lindsay and Jessica have gotten Tyger to the local Landau, Luckman & Lake office, and Chang lets them in. Lindsay’s scared, remembering a time she almost got killed, and Chang offers a solution. Back where Logan landed, some guys are searching for any sign of him. Logan takes them out. Back to Lowtown. Jess sees a 19th-Century tintype photo of Chang and Logan. It’s clearly Logan. Jess knows Logan, and knows what he looks like, and in the photo, he has no eyepatch, so he’s not disguised. She thinks “Patch.” With the quotation marks. I’m not sure if this was Claremont hinting that she knew Patch was Logan, or if he was still pretending there was any chance anyone could ever be fooled by an eyepatch. Regardless, Lindsay comes out, in familiar armour.
Chang explains that Patch ordered it for a colleague, so he can only let Lindsay use it temporarily. So, yeah, this is Psylocke’s armour. Which means this story takes place before whatever issue where she first wore it. Then Roughhouse and Bloodsport bust in.
Back to Patch! He’s got the two scouts tied up, hanging in the air, with their uniforms removed. Um, why did he take their clothes? You’re weird, Logan. Their boss, Hardcase, sends out some local goonboys. Oh, Hardcase calls his team the Harriers. Hardcase and the Harriers. We’ll see them again . . . and then they’ll disappear. Seriously, they’re in a Wolverine story in the early ’90s, and then that’s it. Logan steals one of the two jeeps sent out, and follows the other one back to the base. He makes a mess of the compound, until the guys decide to load the heroin into trucks and leave. Only to be shot down by Archie, back in his Douglas, with mini-guns. With that done, Logan gets back on the plane and heads back to Madripoor.
This is pretty fun. Logan taking out the compound was definitely the highlight of the issue. It’s fun seeing him use his secret agent skills like that. He’s very clever. It’s made more effective by most of what he does happening off-panel, with the readers only seeing the results, at the same time the people in the compound do. And I think it’s a good example of what later writers didn’t get about the character. The ’90s turned him into “CUT CUT HACK SLASH CUT RAAARGH BADASS!!!1!one!” He was always at his best when he was being tactical. That’s way more interesting than Implacable Man Cuts Down Everyone. Though this issue did also have him dive out of a plane, take out another plane on his way down, and smash into some water.
The art . . . I’m still not a big fan of Buscema. And I still think another artist might have been a better fit. His art’s not bad. He does a fine job. It’s just not really as thrilling as it should be. He had a very classic art style, and this is a book that probably would have benefited from something a little more raw and fresh.
Still, all in all, a cool issue.