Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What If Wolverine Was Never Deprogrammed?: Bite The Hand That Feeds (Marvel comics)
What If? Wolverine Enemy Of The State #1 When: January 2007
Why: Jimmie Robinson How: Carmine Di Giandomenico

The story so far...
Wolverine became enemy of the state when he was attacked by a mysterious warrior called Gorgon, killed, and resurrected by the mysterious group called The Hand.

Brainwashed into being an agent of Hydra, Wolverine went on a spree to kill and thus recruit other powered heroes into Hydra's control.

Eventually Captain America and the X-Men were able to intervene, and put a stop to Wolverine's rampage long enough to deprogram him once more, but in other realities this was not the case. Here we bare witness to a world where Wolverine savaged Captain America, and escaped to fight another day...

Previous Form:
Wolverine (#3): Wolverine has suffered defeats against Captain America and Magneto.
Captain America (#7): Captain America has victories over Wolverine and more importantly, MODOK.
Invisible Woman (#28): The Fantastic Four defeated the Frightful Four previously.
Kitty Pryde (#95): Wolverine decapitated Kitty Pryde in another issue of What If...
Magneto (#244): Magneto has yet to attain victory.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Captain America 3 (Trained Athlete)
Intelligence: Magneto 5 (Professor)
Speed: Wolverine 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: Wolverine 6 (Generator)
Agility: Captain America 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Wolverine 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Magneto 6 (Mass Destruction)

Across the given areas of the tape you've got a pretty good spread of capabilities and talents, and with that, let us delve right in, totally overlooking my rampant lateness.

The SHIELD team is comprised of the awesome foursome of Captain America, who's missing half an arm and leg, but has a neato hover chair; Invisible Woman, who is possibly the last survivor of the FF; long-time rival of Wolvie - Magneto; and rounding out the team is Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat.

Wolverine's a well known scrapper, but against a grouping like this, it's a pretty big ask. On the site alone you can find our world's version of the Wolverine/Captain America scenario [Wolverine #25]; and the famous encounter with Wolverine where he loses his adamantium [X-Men #25].
So, I guess you could get two things out of that; A) Wolverine's on the back foot to begin with, and B) Wolverine should probably try to avoid issue twenty-five of books for a while...

In the situaton of a What If... issue you can open your mind to Wolverine's true potential. I don't think the title has ever traditionally been a mature readers title, but without the constraints of maintaining a franchise, death is on the menu for anyone and everyone. And Wolverine is the best there is at serving menus. And those menus are ugly, bub.

So, yeah, Wolverine is actually in with a chance here.
He's got the healing factor, and he's even got Hydra in his ear teleporting him around the city. Without any kind of restraint there, Wolvie could take it.

That said, Magneto and Invisible Woman are big asks. Particularly Magneto, given the nature of Wolverine's adamantium.
And Kitty Pryde has the emotional tug, which is always the defense against a brainwashed hero. Hey, don't try to deny! There's precedent!

The Math: Team Cap (Total) Wolverine (Average)
The Pick: Team Cap

What went down...
Bunkered down in a SHIELD base that Hydra do not have information on, the foursome prepare themselves for their plans. SHIELD have begun leaking dummy information about their whereabouts, to lure Wolverine and Hydra in with the scent of Captain America.

Their plans are to have Kitty Pryde close blast doors, sealing the place up; Invisible Woman is to snare Wolverine with her forcefield powers; Magneto will disrupt Hydra's teleportation and communication systems by powering an electromagnetic machine; and then they'll contain him.

When the proximity alert hits, their problems begin.
Magneto readies the jamming device, while Kitty Pryde phases through the wall to look around for Wolverine, who hasn't emerged yet. Sue Storm warns her to keep her eyes peeled, but doesn't notice the shadow moving below the grate in the floor.

The Invisible Woman should've taken her own advice!
Wolverine's claws burst through the floor and her feet, spraying blood onto the steel.

Invisible Woman goes down as Wolverine pushes the floor panel up, her feet still pinned to the floor via his claws. Desperate and tough enough to act, she creates a forcefield bubble around Wolverine's head, cutting off his air supply.

This cold, controlled Wolverine doesn't even hesitate to pop his own claw through his throat, performing a tracheotomy on himself, rendering Invisible Woman's attack moot. With that, he leaps on top of the heroine, and pops his claws through her skull.

Captain America's attempts to bait Wolverine finally pay off. Wolvie lays murderous eyes on the maimed Captain, and makes a wisecrack about murderball. Geez Wolverine, you'll date yourself!

You don't want to bet on a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest, but if ever you were going to do it, it'd be if it was Captain America. Despite the handicap he fends off Wolverine's savage attack, using his good leg to spring the mutant across the room.

Wolverine is snatched in the air - the work of the one and only master of magnetism; Magneto!

Disappointed by the turn of events, Magneto springs into action, confidently lamenting on the weaknesses of an adamantium skeleton as the reason why Hydra so certainly avoids him.

However, with the field broken, Hydra is able to resume contact with Wolverine and teleport him behind the distracted mutant. "Always been your problem, bub..."

Magneto pays for his deviation, taking all six claws through the chest. The adamantium slices through flesh with little or no resistance, bursting out the front. Magneto will bend metals, no more.

He drops to the ground, his helmet popping off and bouncing on the ground above his head.
It echoes eerily as Captain America watches from his chair, fully aware that it's just he and the murderous mutant, now.

Wolverine leaps onto Cap's hoverchair, and raises his arms back.
Hands reach out of the wall behind, and Captain America finds himself intangible just at the right moment, as Wolverine brings his weapons hailing down at Cap's star-spangled chest.

The Captain orders Shadowcat to let him go, whipping his shield forward, allowing it to become solid as it wooshes past Wolverine's ducking head.

Canada? Why, you must like... CANUCKLE SANDWICHES!!!Cap pushes Kitty away, and tells her to let go, as his shield hooks around in the air in a boomerang style U-turn. Wolverine spots it, but can't avoid feeling the crunch from both sides, making the meat in a shield/fist sandwich!

While Wolverine collects himself on the ground, the Captain reminds his soldier of her mission. "You know what to do now."
Wolverine certainly does. An uppercut finishes with Cap's jaw, and several gushing pints of blood. Hydra doesn't like loose ends. Wolverine ties it up.

All alone, Wolverine stalks the last of his prey.
Shadowcat makes an emotional plee, trying to reach the man she once regarded as a mentor and dear friend. She revisits the events of the past [Enemy of the State], and considers all those that died in this world, while Wolverine slashes his arms through her phasing form.

Kitty throws a punch, slipping out of her phased form for just a moment.
Wolverine detects her inreasing heartrate and sweat and challenges her to make her one move, or put an end to it all by surrendering. She makes her move.

With blood gushing from her wrist, Kitty apologises to Wolverine as he stumbles away from the reader, dropping to his knees. She clutches at her wound, revealing a blood stump, the cut-off of where she left her hand phased in Wolverine's skull.

SHIELD chose wisely.

The hammer...
Well, that was cheery, wasn't it? The winner, if you can call her that, is Kitty Pryde. Pretty grim, but hey, Cap lost a hand and an arm, plus he ended up dead. Well, yeah, I guess he ended up dead in our universe too, didn't he? What a moot point...

... Anyway, yes! I am drifting further and further behind.
I'm only an hour away at this point from being a full week behind, so thankfully I'm on the case and trying to maintain justification for your readership!
A lot of things have been keeping me sufficiently distracted, including work on my own comics projects, which you've probably heard about by now.

Though it took me a while to get to it, I really like these fifth week What If events. I think over time the void that was left by the title healed over, but these extras on the months with a fifth Wednesday have been a delicious application of the concept, and a welcome treat. Even if some of them have been on the mediocre side...

This one, thankfully, was not that bad. I was a big fan of Enemy of the State, as you might know if you've been with us long enough. It's one of those storylines that was really made for a blogsite like this, and one of these days we'll get all the relevant parts up and reviewed, I'm sure.

The original Wolverine run was notable for the feature roles of writer Mark Millar, and more to my point, penciller John Romita Jr.
I can never really decide whether I love or hate JRjr's pencils, but it isn't even a factor with Carmine Di Giandomenico taking the role of both penciller and colorist, with inker Robert Campanella rounding things out nice and smooth.
The finished product has a rendered sheen of a flat-coloured cartoon, boasting cool colour palettes and smooth, clean lines everywhere. It's really a great looking comic. I'd love to see more from this team!

The artwork aside, which really IS a huge highlight, the story plods on along well. As you would expect from the scenario, there's a grim overtone of Wolverine hacking his way through the superhero community, and we even get a one-page fight with Moon Knight that I might like to get in the Quick Fix sometime in the future!

Like the original storyline it isn't heavy on over-thought plotlines, but it contains enough to be less of a beat 'em up comic than the original, and has the obligatory twist ending that makes you rethink what you've read.
Due to the nature of the flat summary style used here, you've actually had part of the twist (Kitty Pryde's role on the team) spoiled, so if you haven't read it... Sorry.

Still, it's a pretty decent read, and is hopefully a shot of Wolverine into the site that will keep up our average hitcount. I know guys, but it was a good issue, and the hits are just a bonus. Stop buying if you have that big a problem!

Jokes aside, I'm trying to wrap this up so I can get on with the next feature!
I'll be trying to catch my way back up before the 100th fight next Monday, but I won't make any promises about that. I will, however, promise one of the biggest weaks of Secret Earths history whenever I do get around to it. And if you're wondering -- nope. We don't break the themes. Cheers!

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 5

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