I can’t recall the issue due to lack of caring, but some time during the Time of Great Darkness known as the Nineties, Magneto used his magnetic powers to rip out the adamantium metal that reinforces Wolverine’s skeleton. For what seemed like years, everyone’s favorite mutant madman went into battle without his unbreakable bones. On the plus side, Wolverine weighed 100 lbs less and he could now get through airport security.
The thing that I could never figure out (and I’m sure somebody will educate me) was the bone claw thing. WTF? I have all those old Marvel handbooks and I’ve seen Elliot Brown’s cross section of Wolverine’s skeleton, which clearly show that Wolverine’s claws were artificially grafted on by the same evil Canadians who gave him his shiny skeleton. The claws are clearly mechanical, not natural. So whattup with the bone claws? Somebody’s got some ‘splaining to do.
Anyway, this issue of Wolverine takes place during the bone claw era, and features Wolverine teaming up with the Canadian super group Alpha Flight* for the 900th time. There’s very little set-up: Wolverine and Co. bust into an A.I.M. facility trying to rescue Alpha Flight founder Mac Hudson, whose cyborg ass is the subject of some typically cruel A.I.M. experiments. For those who don’t know, A.I.M. is a high-tech organized crime syndicate dedicated to Bad Science whose members dress like evil beekeepers. If A.I.M. shows up in your comic, you have a pretty fair chance of MODOK making an appearance as well. I’m not even going to bother explaining the radness that is MODOK – just go here and here and you should be up to speed.
This issue was written by Erik “Savage Dragon” Larsen and Eric Stephenson with art by then-newcomer Leinil Francis Yu, the Filipino sensation who will be taking over the penciling chores on Bendis’ Avengers soon.
Yu’s art is serviceable in this issue but his visual storytelling is a little klunky. I’m not crazy about his interpretation of A.I.M. goons, either – they look a little too steampunk or something to me. Regardless, one can glimpse The Radness in Yu’s work in this issue. Nowadays the guy can do no wrong in my book.
The fanboy in me appreciates the classic Alpha Flight line-up in this book, as seen in the splash page (above). Let’s see, there’s Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck, Heather Hudson, and what looks like a Whilce Portacio drawing but is supposed to be Shaman or somebody. Oooh, and look! Pretty purple lasers!
I love/hate Puck, Alpha Flight’s resident dwarf acrobat, but what the hell…? Yu’s version of Puck looks like one of the Mario Bros. in a gimp suit. That’s a little too fetishy for me, thanks.
The weird thing about this comic is Heather Hudson, who once led Alpha Flight as Vindicator and now goes by the codename Brick Haus. As originally created by John Byrne, Heather Hudson was a rarity in comics: a strong female character with a slender, realistic physique. Somehow over the years she morphed from Normal Gal into Miss Boom Chika Boom.
Apparently the powers that be at Marvel thought that Ms Hudson was showing a little too much décolletage on the cover, so they employed the time-honored technique known as the De-Nudifying Effect. Showing too much skin? Just color those Power Girls and voila! Instant moral acceptability.
Of course, the De-Nudifying Effect is not used inside the book itself, just the cover. Here’s a completely non-gratuitous shot of Heather in the clutches of some A.I.M. pervs who are absolutely chuffed that they were scheduled for this shift.
Alpha Flight are captured with remarkable ease by A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K., but Wolverine manages to evade captivity and slash a few throats along the way. In the end, M.O.D.O.K. unveils his secret Wolverine-killing weapon, and… to be continued.
Sadly, I did not get the next issue. Can anybody tell me if Wolverine survived? I’ve been waiting eight frickin’ years to find out if he made it or not.
*Not to be confused with Swedish super group ABBA, which Wolverine never belonged to, as far as I know.