Friday, December 02, 2005

Where: Wolverine #25 When: April 2005
Writer: Mark Millar Artist: John Romita Jr.

The story so far...
Mark Millar's Enemy of the State six part storyarc has seen Wolverine come under the control of Hydra, as part of Baron Von Strucker's last play as the head of Hydra.
The resulting story is akin to a Hong Kong revenge flick, or a video game, as Wolverine graduates through the levels of opponents before finally arriving at freedom.

This long and arduous road has seen Wolverine face off against SHIELD, the Invaders, Daredevil, Elektra, and even the Fantastic Four. Leading him to the next logical step.

Seeking the means to locate the President of the United States, Wolverine's quest leads him to his home, the X-Mansion, where under HYDRA's control he intends to enlist the aid of Rachel Summers, a formidable psychic, to locate PotUS.

Tale of the tape...
Over the years Wolverine has gained something of a reputation for being an unstoppable killing machine, equipped with mutant healing factor, and unbreakable Adamantium claws. Of course, in the context of fight specifics, this is probably farthest from the truth. As an equalizer, his unique ability to recover from almost any injury has made him one of the most wreckless fighters in the Marvel universe, and his wanton disregard for injury has left him the worse off in many-a battle.

Against an arrangement of X-Men that includes; Rachel Summers, Kitty Pryde, Cyclops, Beast, Havok, Northstar, with the assistance of agents of SHIELD, Captain America and Iron Man - Wolverine never really stands a logical chance.

On the right day, there's no doubt Wolverine has the tools to overcome the odds. His stylish application of hairspray wasn't what earned him a place in the hearts of fanboys worldwide, it was his irrepressible Canadian underdog attitude.

Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)

Against the powerhouses he faces, the above three are likely his greatest chances for victory. His keen skills as a tactical operator, coupled with his hightened senses give him the ultimate in Predator-esque strategies.
In the woods of the Westchester X-Mansion, it's the perfect place for Wolverine to divide and conquer opponents that are likely holding back because of emotional attachment.

With guys like Havok, Cyclops and Iron Man in the field, Wolverine's greatest vulnerability is high impact long range attack. Though capable of taking a lickin', it's been proven in the past that enough energy stops him tickin', for a while.

What went down...
Things begin real subtle, as Kitty Pryde shares a midnight chat with Rachel Summers, before phasing through the cieling. Of course, little does she realise an invisible Wolverine is perched on the sofa, with a terra-former gadget designed by Reed Richards to populate uninhabitle locales with the necessary elements of life.
As Wolverine gladly points out, the destruction that kind of ecological change could unleash on Westchester could be insurmountable. HYDRA's utilization of Wolverine gives a slightly unique view of the character, making use of the technologies bestowed upon him, in ways that in todays climated would brand him a terrorist.

Battling the inner monologues of the HYDRA controls, Wolverine is distracted enough for Summers to escape his clutches, and alert her fellow X-Men.

HYDRA are quick to act, bouncing their agent through the mansion long enough for him to reach the hangar, where he crashes an X-Jet through the mansion, to the neighbouring woods. Woods he knows better than anyone else.

With various X-Men out in full force, Wolverine goes about taking out two nameless SHIELD agents, and taking a sizable slice out of Havok, who's just too darned scared to shoot straight, apparently.
Despite the distraction, Wolverine is able to dispatch of the far stronger Beast, before making another hop, again giving him the element of stealth.

Of course, it's here that the money shot arrives.
In the lead up to, and throughout the series there was plenty of teasing as to which "significant" X-Man would fall before the six blades, and phasing at the last second, Kitty Pryde escapes a skewering, leaving Northstar to take it in the chest - like a bitch.

Shadowcat is able to get the jump on the warn out Wolverine, and a hefty blast from Cyclops, a somewhat less reluctant Summers brother, puts Wolverine on the ropes.

It's no small wonder that when push comes to shove, it's the sentinel of liberty himself that puts his man down.
He's sometimes dismissed as a cornball fossil, outdated in these modern times of complex characters, anti-heroes and deconstructions; but here Captain America proves himself in all of his awe-inspiring glory.
Metal meets metal as the shield of the red, white and blue comes crashing down on the laced skull of Wolverine. Taken out, maybe not like a bitch, but quite surely none the less.

Unfortunately my chosen format for images doesn't lend itself to this particular image. Say what you will about John Romita Junior, but this is one heck of a full page splash.

The Hammer...
All in all, not a bad fight to start things off with. Purely a pick off the top of the pile of comics that happened to be sitting around. Of course, I'm sure other chapters in Millar's Enemy of the State will come up, because as this fight shows, it's an action movie.

This storyarc arguably personifies the very type of thing I hope to embody and explore on this webpage. It's especially favourable because, unlike some superhero battles, there's a clean winner.

I don't think anyone could deny Captain America and the X-Men finished the job, and so they should with odds like those. While Wolverine gets deprogrammed, I'll leave you with some additional info while I ready myself for the next article, which is not-so random. Cheers!

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 5.5 [July 17]

Rachel Summers - Subdues Wolverine with the Phoenix force.
Wolverine - Destroys X-Mansion with jet plane.
Wolverine - 2 kills (SHIELD agents).
Wolverine - Severe injury (Havok).
Wolverine - Subdues Beast.
Wolverine - Kill (Northstar).
Kitty Pryde - Critical blow to Wolverine with tree branch.
Cyclops - Critical blow with optic blast.
Captain America - Subdues Wolverine with shield.

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