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Wolverine #11 (1989, September)

August 19, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by David, Buscema, Sienkewicz, Mark Chiarello, and Bruzenak, “THe Gehenna Stone Affair (Part 1 of 6): Brother’s Keeper.”

The Gehenna Stone Affair (Part 1 of 6) - Brother's Keeper

This cover just feels weird to me.

The issue starts, for some reason, with a terrible pun. Because I guess PAD just couldn’t stop himself.

Wolverine #11

Way to set the tone off the bat.

A couple stupid-looking guys sneak into the San Francisco Museum of Antiquities to steal a fancy stone, but they get surprised by the night guard, who then gets surprised by them having fangs. (Also, the stone falls and shatters, which means it was a fake.) In Madripoor, Logan is implausibly good at darts, until he checks out what’s bothering Archie Corrigan.

Wolverine #11

Too cheesy to be cool.

So Archie’s gotten a letter that his brother is going to be declared incompetent, and he’s not sure he wants to stop it. Archie’s family drama is actually pretty entertaining. His dad was rich, but when he died, he only left Archie $32, “one for each year of aggravation.” Which is horrible, but also a pretty epic burn to one’s own son. The rest went to Archie’s brother, to try to “un-flake” him, as Archie puts it. Turns out his brother is obsessed with movies, and he tries to be the characters from the movies. Now, their aunt is trying to get her hands into their dad’s money, and Archie doesn’t really want that to happen. Also during the scene, this joke comes up:

Wolverine #11

OK, I’ll admit this made me chuckle.

Archie tries to get Logan to go with him to his brother’s competency hearing. While trying to convince Logan, they stop outside a bar. A guy’s tossed out, so Logan sends him back in. He gets tossed out again, so Logan sends him again, clearly finding it amusing. Jessica’s been following them, and she says she’d like to go with them, and Logan has an interesting way of making the decision: If the guy comes out the door, he stays. Out the window, he goes. Obviously, the guy comes out the window. The whole scene is actually pretty cute.

So they fly to San Fran, and Archie’s brother, Burt, seems perfectly normal. After Archie, Logan and Jessica leave, he takes out a glowing stone that looks like the one from the museum earlier. Suspicious! Jessica goes back to her old San Fran office, and immediately gets a client. Because of course she does. It’s the curator for the museum, telling her about the theft of their precious diamond, and the guard’s story of being attacked by vampires. Jessica’s sceptical, not because she doesn’t believe in vampires, but because she doesn’t think vampires would leave the guard alive.

At Burt’s hearing the next day, Burt is 15 minutes late, to the annoyance of the judge. The aunt declares that Burt is crazy and should be put away, and given what Archie’s said about him, she might not be wrong. At the very least, he should be in therapy and on medication. That he’s not already on medication is a failure on the part of everyone around him. Archie and the aunt yell at each other, the judge yells at them both, and Logan just watches in mild amusement. And then Burt finally arrives, making one hell of an entrance.

Wolverine #11

Why isn’t court always like this?

Turns out, Burt thinks he’s Indiana Jones. And he says that the forces of Ba’al want to create a new race of the undead. Archie yells that there are no forces of evil, right before those forces of evil bust in to kill them.

This is . . . interesting? Archie’s family drama is neat. Though, like I said, Burt needs to be on medication. It’s irresponsible of those around him not to do that. That part of the issue actually works for me. But the larger plot, with a diamond, and forces of evil? I know where this arc goes, and as I recall, I found it really weird. Still, focusing on this issue, we mostly just get hints of something bigger, and that’s handled well enough. Vampires actually make for a good enemy group for Wolverine, since he doesn’t have to hold back against them. He can murder them without feeling bad, because they’re vampires. I’m happy for the inclusion of Jessica Drew in the arc, because she’s awesome, and her getting to return to San Francisco, the city that came closest to being home for her, is really nice. I actually wish we’d gotten a little more time spent on that. I get that this is Wolverine’s book, not hers, but I still would’ve enjoyed some panel time spent on her re-connecting with the city. It just would’ve been nice.

The art is still not my style. John Buscema was always great at what he did, but what he did just didn’t appeal to me. No harm in that, the man was a stellar visual storyteller, a writer’s artist. There’s a good, natural flow of the story, expressive characters. The colours are good, too, setting tone effectively from panel to panel. As for PAD’s scripting, well, there’s more of PAD in here than in his first Wolverine issue. He’s got some jokes in there. Not much wordplay, but still quite a few jokes. Most of which land. It’s definitely a departure from Claremont’s run, which had some humour here and there, but was mostly somewhat serious, as a Noir series. This one has less of the Noir elements in it, and a lot of that comes down to PAD’s inclination towards comedy.

As the start of an arc, this issue’s pretty good.

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