Where: New Invaders #6 When: March 2005
Writer: Allan Jacobsen Artist: Jorge Lucas
The story so far...
Those visiting SWIE will remember back to our first installment at the beginning of the month, highlighting one of the exciting chapters of the Enemy of the State storyarc by Mark Millar.
With the New Invaders title on the brink of cancellation, it seemed apparent that a gratuitous guest appearance by Wolverine, as part of an Enemy of the State crossover would be a last ditch effort to assess the viability of the book.
The political struggles in the oil rich nation of Mazikhandar continue, and the Invaders are there as part of the US/Atlantean joint effort to take care of the synthetic Pterrorists. The Invaders' victory ironically curbs invasion, and leaves the Nazi Masterman out of favour with Baron Von Strucker, master of the Hydra.
Displeased, Strucker dispatches an assassin to do away with the failed loose end...
Tale of the tape...
As was the case last time, Wolverine again faces fairly over whelming odds.
Although a much smaller unit than the collective of X-Men and SHIELD operatives that we last rated Wolverine against, the Invaders pack a particularly potent punch.
Now, I should admit, I am an avid fan of this series, and the grossly underrated Sub-Mariner. In certain circles I am known and regarded as the Namor guy, but in cases such as these I think impartiality is a virtue most important.
Now, let me tell you about how great Namor is...
Strength: 5 (Super strength)
Fighting ability: 6 (Warrior)
The Sub-Mariner's fighting skills aren't as refined as Wolverine's, which include a range of hand to hand martial arts, and extensive Samurai training. However, the Atlantean ruler has honed his effectiveness over the years, clobbering everything from the trivial, to the downright omnipotent.
Occasionally Namor's hard headedness, and wanton regard for himself have been known to be his downfall. It is perhaps here that the two characters, both known for their brash, loner attitues, begin to diverge.
Namor's incredible mutant strength allows him the luxury of taking a beating from the likes of Thing and the Hulk, where Wolverine can be swiftly subdued.
Of course, though Namor leads the charge, he's not alone.
Accompanying him are two competent forces in their own right: the US Agent and Blazing Skull, possessing their own unique skills.
US Agent posseses some of the same attributes as Captain America, who already has a defeat over Wolverine, but let's be honest. If a team beat the crap out of Wolverine, pretty much anyone could be there to put the finishing blow down.
Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Wolverine is the underdog on paper, largely due to the versatility and stature of a character like Namor. If he were able to systematically eliminate the distractions of Blazing Skull, and US Agent, he'd still have overwhelming odds to overcome. Of course, that's what he does, and he is the best there is...
What went down...
It's one hell of a way to make an entrance.
Wolverine makes his presence known, gutting Sulumor (aka Charlie Tuna), Namor's Atlantean advisor from behind while he's talking to Blazing Skull.
With his reservations tamed by Hydra's brainwashing, Wovlerine savagely attacks US Agent.
Blazing Skull comes to the rescue of his fearless leader, and loses a forearm and leg for his troubles. It seems to be so rare that we actually get to see Wolverine inflict these kinds of wounds, so it's quite nice.
It's now that business really picks up.
The involvement of Blazing Skull and US Agent really forces this to be listed as a fight against the Invaders, but the real crux of this fight is all about Namor.
Fighting Namor is never a good idea, but getting him stark raving furious by killing one of his own? That's the bullseye equivalent of priceless.
Wolverine takes the punches, and rakes the claws over Namor's face.
Hydra's control has unlocked Wolverine's greatest potential, and apparently that also includes some sadistic quipping. He licks the blood from his claws, and remarks, "Mmm. Sushi."
Namor applies his vastly superior strength to the fight, swatting the pocket sized Canuck away with a conveniently present girder.
There's an argument to call the fight here, but it's not over until it's over.
The Sub-Mariner goes in pursuit of the possessed X-Man, finding him quite some distance away, amongst the tanks and machinery of the Mazikhandar.
Intent on his goal to assassinate the Necromancer scientist that failed his master, Wolverine decides to go through Namor... and is surprisingly successful.
Wolverine slices a tank of oil open, and then drives his claws directly into the Sub-Mariner's abdomen. Any other man would be dead right then and there, and without the aid of his fellow's, Namor very well could've been.
US Agent, arriving by helicopter, prevents a killing blow, sending Wolverine back with a hail of bullets from a machine gun. Using his spiked shield, US Agent swats Wolverine back into the puddle of oil he let spill, and ignites it with his gun.
Proud to the end, Namor protests US Agent's interference, on the edge of death.
A flaming Wolverine emerges from the fires, about ready to tear the universe a new arsehole, as Blazing Skull lifts Namor and US Agent to safety.
Hydra agents arrive to cancel Wolverine's mission, and redirect his priority to the events of the Enemy of the State core issues occuring in the Wolverine title.
US Agent tends to the mortally wounded Namor, finally having earned respect from the pointy eared bastard of a monarch.
This is a series that really didn't get the shot it deserved, and it seems people that checked it out post-cancellation in trade enjoyed it. This issue does absolutely no justice to what was a truly different, and exciting book from Marvel. Something fresh, in a time when Marvel was quickly losing me as a reader.
Where the fight is concerned, this is an incredibly difficult fight to call. While Sub-Mariner clearly out muscled the clawed Canuck, Wolverine never stayed down, and inflicted some serious blows.
I think it's reluctantly that I have to acknowledge, Wolverine got the better of the Invaders, in what was very nearly a draw.
Like the JLA/Deathstroke confrontation, the final result was relatively inconclusive. What sets them apart is that in this particular battle, Wolverine was never convincingly put on the back foot. He got smacked around, but he never stayed down.
So there you have it, the first month of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths behind us, and a new year ahead.
Tomorrow you have to look forward to what will regularly be a month's end recap, taking a look back at what's happened, and who stands where. As some eagle-eyed readers will remember, part of this blog's purpose is an exercise in discovering the potency of characters' effectiveness.
Also watch out for potentially new fun, and hopefully some more fun comics discussion.
Happy Holidays, and a have a good New Year, all. Ciao!
The Fight: 4 The Issue: 4 [July 17, 2006]
Wolverine - Kill. (Sulumor)
Wolverine - Mortal injury; cuts off right forearm. (Blazing Skull)
Wolverine - Mortal injury; cuts off right lower leg. (Blazing Skull)
Wolverine - Kill. (Colonel Mutasim Zai'id)
Sub-Mariner - Knockout blow; with girder. (Wolverine)
Wolverine - Mortal injury; claws to gut. (Sub-Mariner)
US Agent - Critical blow; machine gun. (Wolverine)
US Agent - Critical blow; oil explosion. (Wolverine)