|Wolverine (2nd series) # 36|| || |
Issue Date: February 1991
Story Title: ...It Tolls For Thee!
Staff: Larry Hama (script), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Mark Chiarello (coloring), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
In Spain back in 1937, Logan, Judd, Inez, and Ernesto are making their way to the partisan camp. They run into a roadblock, where their vehicle is ruined. After he is able to take out the machine gunners, Logan is able to commandeer one of their guns. They then make their way to the partisan camp on foot. When they reach the partisan camp, they discover that there are only three of them left. One of the three being a young boy who is a prisoner. On the other side of Guernica, a German commander and his troops are in the process of hanging their prisoner - Lady Deathstrike. They are surprised when Deathstrike is not killed and when she approaches them. While in her approach, she kills a crow, which creates a time-vortex in the present. The rest of the Reavers, Pierce is worried about Deathstrikes actions in the past. If she kills the wrong people, they may cease to exist. Back in Spain, Deathstrike is able to convince the German commander to assist her in tracking down Wolverine. At the partisan camp, an enemy plane takes out Judd, severely injuring him. Logan is able to take the plan out thanks to the machinegun but, with Judd injured, they will need to cross the pass to get him proper medical attention. They let the prisoner go, who meets up with Deathstrike and the commander. After some duress, the boy informs them as to what pass the partisans are taking. After some time, Deathstrike and the commander catch up to where Logan and his group are. Logan sends the group ahead, so they can get Judd the help he needs. Once they are gone, Logan changes into his brown and tan costume and starts to take out the oncoming German troops. Deathstrike then decides to join the fray and walks into the smoke, challenging Wolverine to do battle.
April, 1937, Northern Spain. Wolverine wonders how he got there. Heís just a mutant, not a swami. All he knows is that one second heís lazing in a rowboat with Puck in Vancouver and, the next, theyíre both in the middle of the siege of Guernica. Now, theyíre busting through a Falangist road-block with a gorgeous partisan babe and a big-time macho writer. All he can think about all of this is - go figure!
As Judd and Logan are relaxing in the back of the car that is being driven by Ernesto, Inez is shooting at the Nazi soldiers blocking their path. Inez exclaims to the Americanos in the back to make themselves useful and shoot some fascists. Judd replies that they canít be useful; theyíre Canadian. Logan questions Ernesto if all of the famous American war correspondents pack loaded .45ís in their glove compartments. Ernesto replies that it makes more sense than packing gloves.
Further ahead, a Nazi commander, speaking in German, orders the ďstupidĒ Spanish soldier to mow down the car so they canít escape. The soldier, speaking in Spanish, replies to him to stop babbling and calls him a fat pig. Besides, heís trying to shoot the car. As the car is being riddled with bullets, Ernesto asks Inez if she heard that sound. Inez replies that she did and asks what it was. Logan pipes in and indicates that it was the brakes. He remembers that from when he drove an ambulance in France. Thatís the steering linkage getting shot to smithereens and that they lost them five miles back.
With no brakes, the car crashes into a building. All of the passengers are okay and hide behind the car until they decide what their next move is. Judd asks Logan if it is time to rush the villains with their guns blazing. Logan replies that Judd seems to be full of vinegar ever since he got his size back and that he needs to remember that heís not fast healing like some folks. When Judd asks him how he knows that he still is, Logan replies that he can feel it in his bones.
Further up, a machine gunner is unloading round after round in the direction of the car, each round coming closer and closer to reaching itís target. Judd indicates to Logan that they have to take out that machinegun crew and asks Ernesto how good of a shot he is. Ernesto replies that he doesnít have a chance with a .45. If he had a nitro-express or a big Weatherby game gun... Logan declares that in the absence of both of them pieces of heavy ordnance, he will have to make do with a ball-peen hammer and an adjustable wrench! Wielding both of these non-traditional weapons, Logan is able to avoid the shots coming in his direction and makes it over to another structure that he can hide behind.
Logan informs Ernesto, Inez and Judd to give him some cover. Heís going to charge them. As Logan makes his charge, Ernesto exclaims to Judd that his friend has more guts than sense. Judd indicates thatís how you get when youíre short and ugly but that heís still a lot of fun at parties. Just then, Judd, Ernesto, and Inez unload their guns into the troops. Up ahead, Logan is making his charge to where the machine gunner is. Eventually, enough rounds get into Logan and he collapses to the ground in a heap. One of the troops declares that he is dead. Logan opens his eyes and informs him that heís not dead yet. The troop is in complete shock and declares ďHimmel...Ē Logan cuts him off and informs him that he doesnít think Himmel is the place heís going to and attacks the troops with his hammer and wrench, taking them out.
Back at the destroyed car, Inez indicates that they need to hurry. It is a long climb into the mountains to the camp of the partisans. Ernesto looks at the car and replies that it looks like their transport has had it and that they will be riding the shoe-leather limousine from here on. Logan arrives back at the car toting a machine gun and indicates that may be the case, but at least now they have something to cover their rear with. Judd asks him if he figures if somebody else is on their trail. Logan replies that he does.
On the other side of Guernica, the German troops have hung Lady Deathstrike from a telephone pole. At current time, she is standing on top of a tank. The commander asks her if she has any last words before they stretch her filthy foreign mongrel partisan neck. When she does not reply, the commander sentences her to dance the rope-end two-step. He then orders the driver of the tank to roll out the half-track. When the tank moves, Lady Deathstrike is hung by her neck.
One of the troops indicates to the commander, Hauptmann Schlachter that it was a quick death and that she barely twitched. Another adds that she should have ďdancedĒ longer; she murdered five soldiers. Commander Schlachter points out that apparently she killed them with her bare hands. He is amazed and indicates that it is quite a remarkable feat, and that it is a pity they didnít have the time for extensive interrogation. He then orders his second in charge, Oberfeldwebel, to move the men out. When Oberfeldwebel asks where to, Schlachter replies that they are heading into Guernica so they can observe their Spaniards butchering the other sides Spaniards.
As soon as they are about to leave, one of the troops points back to Deathstrike and informs Schlachter that the girl is not dead! Deathstrike smiles and informs the commander that he is a hasty man, hasty like the carrion birds gathering for their supper. She adds that he had her strung up before hearing her proposition and perhaps now, he will listen. With that, Deathstrike extends her neck muscles and snaps the ropes that hold her strung high above. When she lands in front of the German troops, Schlachter asks in amazement who she is. Deathstrike replies that she is, or shall be, the daughter of Lord Darkwind, the lady Yuriko Oyama, also known as Deathstrike. At that instance, she crushes one of the crows that were circling around her.
In Australia, in the present, Donald Pierce, Pretty Boy, and Bonebreaker are caught up in a tornado. Pierce indicates that it is impossible and that it canít be a tornado; the barometric pressure is all wrong. Bonebreaker adds that the internal sensor readings have gone haywire but it isnít meteorological or psychokinetic. Rather, it is a flux in the probability and causality continuum - a time vortex. He notices that itís heading up towards Gatewayís rock and asks Pierce if he thinks it is something Gateway cooked up. Pierce answers that it is not. Gateway abides by his Geas, but the vortex is drawn to him because he created the situation, which spawned it. It means that Gateway didnít teleport Deathstrike to Vancouver at all - he sent her to another time. He laments that he told her that she had to be specific in dealing with him.
When they reach Gateway, and the final destination of the vortex, Pretty Boy points out that something is coming out of it. When they notice that it is crow feathers, Pierce indicates that Yuriko is tampering with the past and upsetting the continuum and that if she kills people who should have lived and done things that affected others, she could cause an anomaly and make them not be!
Back in Spain, Logan, Judd, Ernesto, and Inez arrive at the partisan camp. Once there, Inez welcomes them to the camp and points out one of the men at the camp. His name is Ricky Blair, another writer. Judd indicates to Ernesto that he has some competition, but Ernesto blows it off. Inez then greets Enrico and informs him that she has brought more fighters for la causa. Enrico replies that she already missed the big-to-do. Inez replies that they had quite the adventure themselves in Guernica and asks where the others are. Enrico answers that they are burying whatís left of them. They had a run-in with the guardia civil down at the rail-road bridge.
The morning fog lifted and there were both sides out in the open. There was no cover, only carnage -pure and simple. The Russian dynamiter got blown to atoms and took twenty men with him - theirs and the oppositions. A bullet must have hit his box of blasting caps. They are all that is left. Inez asks that itís only the three of them? Enrico replies that itís only the two of them. The kid stirring the stewpot is a prisoner. Inez informs him that they canít keep prisoners. Enrico replies that if she wants him shot, she can do it herself. He already knows his name and the names of his seven sisters.
In Guernica, Deathstrike informs Schlachter that this is only the prelude. The armies of the Third Reich will lay waste to Europe from Cherbours to Stalingrad. Schlachter replies that he almost believes that she is from the future but questions what she can really offer to the Reich. Deathstrike indicates that she can offer him an army of super-soldiers created by her father, Lord Darkwind. She goes on to talk about her father; how back in 1937, he was, is, a young navel pilot cadet in Japan. If she can track down the gaijin known as Wolverine and take his adamantium skeleton and claws back to her father, he can fulfill his scientific dreams and he wonít have to ride the kamikaze into the American carrier. He wonít be honorably disfigured and she shall be free of the obligation that led her to become what she is.
At that moment, one of the German troops indicates to Schlachter that there is a report from aerial recon. The pilot reports that the destruction of a Falangist roadblock on the south road. It seems to be a touring car all shot up, crashed into a cantina. The machinegun crew looks like a wild animal mauled them than anything else. The pilot then indicates that he is heading for the foothills to see if the partisans took to the mountain passes. Upon hearing the report, Deathstrike informs Schlachter that it sounds to be the work of Wolverine, the man she seeks. She then asks him if they will hunt him down together. Schlachter responds that his command is not empowered to act as ground troops. They are Luftwaffe military police, attached to a bomber group. Deathstrike indicates that if they recover the adamantium and, if her father is successful, he can be the next Reich marshal, higher than even Goering! Compelled by what he has just heard, Schlachter informs his troops that they are heading out to the south road.
Up in the mountains, where Logan, Inez and the others are hiding out, an enemy plane appears above. Logan shouts to the others that the pilot spotted the smoke and that he is coming around for a strafing run. Judd takes off towards the horses and indicates that they will need to be un-hobbled and scattered. Logan shouts to him to leave them be and to take cover, but the cries fall on deaf ears. The pilot releases a bomb and drops it in the direction of Judd. It explodes upon contact, flinging Judd with extreme force!
Logan decides to take action and heads up to higher ground. He thinks to himself that when a man climbs into a powerful precision machine, something awful comes over him. Whether itís Ferraris or Messerschmitts, it doesnít make a difference. When a man feels them big twelve-cylinder engines throbbing through the firewall, the rest of the world better watch out. He then adds that this fighter jock is being a class-A weenie and all weenies ought to have a stick shoved through them and get chucked on a hot grill.
With that, Logan shoots at the plane with his machinegun. He is able to get a clean shot and to create an oil leak that causes the plane to crash. With his work done there, Logan heads over to where Inez is holding Judd and asks if he is okay. Inez replies that he lives, but that the wound is a great one. It is not a thing for bandages and hot water but it is a thing for surgeons and drugs. She adds that they need to take him over the mountains to the real doctors in the camps of the Republican army.
Enrico indicates that there are only three high passes that are climbable at this time of year. Eroica, Cultura and Progresso - and the spring rains bring the danger of avalanches even to them. Inez replies that they have no choice. Eroica is the shortest route to the doctors; all of the other routes will kill Judd. One of the partisans, Vicente, angrily indicates that she has already killed him with his loose tongue, either him or their prisoner. He indicates that, if they take Eroica, they cannot let the prisoner go, for fear he betrays them to the Falangist s and, if they donít take Eroica, the American will die. He then asks Inez to make a decision.
The boy replies that he wonít betray them and drops to his knees. He swears on the blessed virgin, all the saints and on his motherís honor, that his lips are sealed. He begs not to be shot. Vicente tells him that it is unmanly to beg and to not shame them in front of the foreigners. Enrico indicates to Vicente that the boy has sworn on his motherís life and that he thinks they can trust an oath like that from a good boy like Jaime. He then orders Jaime to go and to have a good life. Jamie thanks him and takes off. Vicente readies his rifle and indicates to Enrico that he was kind, giving the boy his one last minute of hope and happiness, but that of course, they canít really let him go. Just as Vicente is ready to pull the trigger, Enrico stops him and indicates that he is a poor marksman and that it was his favor, his responsibility, and he is the better shot. He will make it clean. As Enrico is getting ready to shoot Jaime, Inez and Ernesto plead to Logan that he stop it. Inez indicates that this is not a good thing. Ernesto adds that this is a dirty business. Logan simply turns his back and informs them both that he knows what heís doing and that itís the right thing. As soon as Logan finishes his thought, a shot rings out...
At the now destroyed roadblock, the pilot from the highly damaged plane informs Schlachter that there are three passes, Eroica, Cultura and Progresso. Schlachter orders him to maintain a high altitude surveillance and find out which pass they are heading for. The pilot informs him that he has oil leaking over a hot engine block and that if it ignites the fuel lines... He is unable to finish his thought as the plane explodes. Fire and plane debris lands all over the ground. Undeterred, Schlachter lights his cigarette on the burning remains of what was the pilotís headgear. He asks which pass their quarry will take for they donít have enough troops to cover all three.
Just then, Schlachter notices a figure running towards them. He is curious as to why a partisan would be coming to surrender and wonders if any them are that stupid. One of the troops informs him that he is wearing a Falangist uniform. Schlachter calls out to the young boy and asks him if he is a deserter. He figures that he must be, since he isnít bearing any arms and is descending from the place of the partisans. He then indicates that this boy must be taken behind a wall and shot through the back of the neck. The boy replies that he is not a deserter, but that he was a prisoner of the partisans. One was an Ingles, and there were Americanos.
Schlachter then asks him if he knows much about the partisans and if he knows the pass they are taking over the mountain. The boy replies that he cannot tell him and that he swore on is mother and the blessed virgin and all the saints, and even if one of them did shoot at him... Deathstrike leans down and tells the boy that they are partisans. They shoot even the priests and the nuns and asks him what is an oath made to them. The boy replies that he swore at peril of his eternal soul. Deathstrike extends her claws and as she does informs him that he will welcome the tortures of the pit after he has felt her wrath!
In the high pass known as Eroica, the rag-tag group of partisans makes their way. Up ahead, are Vicente, Ernesto, Inez, and the injured Judd. Behind them are Logan and Enrico. Enrico indicates to Logan that he must have known that he was going to miss the kid on purpose. Logan replies that everyone misses everyone else when humanly possible in this war. Enrico replies that is a good one and that he will have to remember that one. He then asks Logan if he isnít the loutish brute he pretends to be. Logan replies that he doesnít pretend to be anything he isnít and that he tries not to regret anything he does. He then asks Enrico if he has any second thoughts about letting that kid go and if he has something stuck in his craw. Enrico replies that he has faith in the boyís integrity and that he swore...
He is cut off by Logan who catches a scent. He indicates that from the wind at their backs, somebody is coming who doesnít care diddly about oaths and who can make a mute recite haiku if she wants to hear it. At that very moment, he pushes Enrico down, allowing him to narrowly miss being hit by a rifle shot. He informs him that she is here and that her new friends are within rifle range. He orders George to give him the tripod. Enrico informs him that his name is Rick, Eric really, and that he will load the gun so Logan can be the gunner. Logan informs him that he isnít going to be loading anything. Heís going to help the others get Judd to a doctor.
Enrico protests but Logan pushes him towards the others and informs him that he has things to do and places to be. Also that it only takes one man to hold the pass and heís the man to do it. Up ahead, Ernesto informs Logan that he wonít forget this. Logan responds that they need to get away from him with that malarkey and that he intends to see them again when he gets through kicking butt. He then tells them to leave a man to his dirty business.
Further back, Schlachter orders his men to dismount and advance through the pass. He informs them that there seems to be only one man holding the choke point. Deathstrike informs him that these troops are no match for that man. Schlachter replies that is nonsense; some of them are Aryan. He then looks up to where Logan is and wonders why the machinegun hasnít opened up yet.
Up in the pass, Logan is messing with the machinegun trying to get it to work. He then realizes why it isnít - the firing pin is broken. He hit a bum casing when he let rip that burst at the ME-109. He then thinks that what the heck - heís not too crazy about guns to begin with. He then indicates that at least, heís still every loviní mutant self. As he removes his clothes to reveal his brown and tan costume he wonders how it is that Puck changed back to his 1937 self and he didnít. Itís crazy but all of this teleporting and time-warp stuff as to be Gatewayís doing. And who can figure Gateway - not him.
As the German troops lob a grenade into where the machinegun resides, Wolverine wonders if they are just living out the past as it actually happened. If so, he wonders why Puck doesnít remember any of it. He wonders what kinda crazy logic is at work there. Itís way too complicated for the olí canucklehead to figure out. But he doesnít need to figure out too much, as long as he has his near-indestructible adamantium-laced skeleton and his razor-sharp adamantium claws. At that very moment, Wolverine descends upon the troops that are making their way up the pass. As he begins to slash his way through the troops he decides that it doesnít hurt to be the best at what he does.
Further back, Schlachter views the goings-on through his binoculars. He is shocked and dismayed by what he is witnessing. He indicates that there is something inhuman in there and it is tearing his men apart. Deathstrike leaps from the tank and adds that includes his Aryans. Schlachter tells her that she didnít warn him. Deathstrike indicates that she did, he just didnít listen. Now, she is telling him to stay back and let her do her work. As she enters the smoke, she calls out to Wolverine to come forth and test his claws against hers. Let them rip and tear and smash and mangle for honorís sake and other meaningless causes.
In Spain in 1937:
Wolverine / Logan
Puck / Judd
Ernesto (Ernest Hemingway)
Enrico & Vicente (partisan followers)
Jaime (Falangist loyalist)
Lady Deathstrike (member of the Reavers)
Kaptain Horst Schlachter (Nazi commander)
Various Nazi soldiers (unnamed)
Nazi fighter pilot (unnamed)
Donald Pierce (leader of the Reavers)
Bonebreaker & Pretty Boy (members of the Reavers)
Image in Lady Deathstrikeís Mind:
A young Lord Darkwind
Ernest Hemingway was indeed a reporter in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
The Spanish Civil War lasted from July 17, 1936 to April 1, 1939. It was a conflict in which the Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, defeated the Loyalists or Republicans of the Spanish Republic. The Nazis were on the side of the Nationalists.
For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1940 novel by Ernest Hemingway. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist Guerilla unit in the mountains during the Spanish Civil War.
Wolverine, Puck, and Lady Deathstrike were all teleported back to Spain 1937 by Gateway back in Wolverine 2nd Series #35.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential Wolverine Vol. 2 (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)