Return of Wolverine #4

Issue Date: 
March 2019
Story Title: 
Chapter Four: Judgment

Charles Soule (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Laura Martin (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Steve McNiven & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Declan Shalvey & Matt Wilson; Whilce Portacio & Chris Sotomayor; Chris Stevens & Jason Keith (variant cover artists), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), C B Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine wakes to find himself in a hospital bed within the strange city. Ana is with him, and tells him that he sent the invaders running. Wolverine looks out a window, to see part of the city in ruin, and Ana tells him that he is a hero. Wolverine doesn't remember how he ended up in the hospital, so Ana explains that he seemed to burn out, exhausted. Wolverine points out that they still need to find Ana's son, when suddenly, she reveals that he is here. Perren appears in the room and thanks Wolverine for saving him. Ana then kisses Wolverine, thanking him for everything. Wolverine is confused, wondering how Perren can be here, but Ana tries to change the subject, and tells Wolverine another story, a story about the people of this city, how they sleep, work, go home and repeat, but in their sleep, sometimes they dream – dreams that the vast majority will never be able to attain, so in their day to day lives, they just fulfil their purpose in mankind's engine. She tells Wolverine that this is sad and inefficient. Wolverine is still confused, and Ana tells him that the story was about him – before shooting Perren in the chest. Wolverine lunges for the gun, as Ana reveals that Perren isn't her son, that isn't even his name – and that she isn't Ana. A Soteira soldier appears and fires a device at Wolverine that restrains him against the wall. Wolverine realizes that Ana is Persephone, that the real Ana died before Wolverine rescued her from the research facility. Wolverine asks Persephone what she is trying to achieve, so Persephone demonstrates her control over life and death – ending the lives of several people outside with a simple thought, she explains how she grew up with death all around her, thought her powers were the cosmos balancing things – but she still hasn't managed it, everyone she brings back just walks, talks, only really, they are her – death is her only friend. She brings the people outside back to life, explaining that this city was her test case to make the world a better place – where the dead do what they are told. Persephone reveals that the people who attacked the city were thev X-Men, Wolverine's friends, and explains how she managed to get them to leave by warning them that if they didn't go, she would have Wolverine slaughter everyone in the city. Persephone suggests Wolverine come visit her, and motions to the soldier, Zagreus, who can take him. She then leaves Ana's body. Zagreus frees Wolverine from the restraint, and they head towards a space shuttle, where Wolverine tells Zagreus that he already knows how this story ends – someone will die.

Full Summary: 

'Logan...' Ana calls out as she touches Logan's face '... wake up!' Ana tells him. Suddenly, Logan does, and finds himself strapped to a hospital bed. 'What the hell is this?' Logan asks. Ana explains that the hospital people were worried about him, that they thought he might go wild again. 'But they don't know you like I do' Ana remarks as she starts to undo the restraints. 'Wild? What do you mean “go wild”?' Logan asks, looking at his left hand which is covered in bandages. 'You...don't remember?' Ana asks. Logan frowns as he reveals that he remembers the start of the fight with those people, another Soteira squad, he thinks – with a teleporter and a redhead. 'Then... ice?' Logan asks, as he suddenly remembers his flaming claws slicing through a man made of ice. 'That's all' Logan tells Ana, who stands up and tells him that he won, that he sent them running. Ana smiles as she informs Logan that the people of the city helped, but mostly, it was his strength, his resolve, his anger – nothing could stop him – he drove them away.

'Though it came at a cost' Ana points out as she and Logan look out a window, to see part of the strange futuristic city in ruins, although a construction crew has already moved in to clean up and repair. 'I... I did this?' Logan asks. 'No. They did. The weather witch and the rest. They chose to come here. They knew the consequences and they came anyway. You just did what you had to' Ana tells Logan, frowning, before she suddenly smiles and tells Logan that he is a hero. Logan asks how he ended up here, to which Ana asks him if he really doesn't remember, before informing him that his claws were burning, white-hot, that it was beautiful, but that eventually, he burned out, like embers, he seemed exhausted, injured, and he was brought here for treatment. She adds that normally he recovers quickly from battles, but now, she wonders if the claws steal energy from his ability to heal.

Logan starts to put on a shirt, 'Whatever it is, I feel like I got hit by a truck. It doesn't matter. We need to go' he tells Ana, before pointing out that they need to go, as they still have to find her son.

'Logan... he's here' Ana announces, as a teenage boy walks into the room, 'Hi' he calls out, before extending his hand to shake Logan's, he introduces himself as Perren, and tells Logan that it is an honor to meet him. 'My Mom told me everything you did to save me' Perren adds, before thanking Logan. 'Huh' Logan responds, confused, before he shakes the boy's hand and tells him to call him Logan. 'Yes, Logan. Thank you' Ana adds, before she embraces Wolverine, and, to his surprise, puts her lips on his, kissing him passionately. 'Ana... your son...' Logan remarks, pulling away from Ana, who tells him that her son doesn't mind. 'I don't. You deserve it' Perren remarks. Wolverine continues to keep his distance from Ana as he asks her how Perren is here, and what about the injection they gave him? Ana explains that Soteira set him free, that they knew they could not hold him without Logan coming after them. 'And the injection...well, this is a hospital. All is well' she adds, before smiling and telling Logan that he needs to rest, as she promised to tell him three stories about himself, and she has only told one. 'There is no rush now. We have time, and I think you will find this story very revealing' Ana claims.

Ana's story:
Ana tells Wolverine that every day, the people of this city wake up – they go to work – they work – they go home – they go to sleep. One such case is a man, who wakes next to his wife, then stands on a train en route to work. At work, he sits in his cubicle, working away. He catches the train home again, then goes to sleep next  to his wife. Ana remarks that, when they can, in tiny slivers of moments snatched from what they must do – they consider what they might do. They dream. This man dreams of being a rockstar, playing with his band to an adoring audience. And then, they wake up.

Ana tells Logan that all those people, all over the planet, wasting time, effort and hope on dreams, the vast majority will never achieve them, they will never be great, ot even vaguely notable. They struggle forward, believing the indignities they suffer while serving their time in the grand machinery of humanity's rise are somehow worth it. Their dreams, the carrot in front of the donkey – hope an opiate. Ana declares that, in truth, in all their lives, most people do nothing more than fulfil their roles in mankind's engine – they are bears, wires, lines of computer code – they are not really alive at all, not like Logan. They are born dead, and then one day... they die.

'Isn't that sad?' Ana asks as she touches the window and continues to look out over the city. 'More than that...doesn't it seem inefficient?' she asks. 'I think so. I've always thought so' Ana answers her own question. Ana turns back to Wolverine, who looks at her and asks 'Uh...that's... are you all right?' 'Logan, don't you see?' Ana responds, reaching behind her back,. She tells Logan that story is why he is here, why he came back to life. 'That story was about you' she declares, before pulling a gun out from behind her coat, aiming it at her son and firing. 'Ana, n-' Logan calls out, lunging forward, but too late. 'It's all right, Logan' Ana assures Logan, who grabs her, while blood pools around Perren. Ana looks down at Perren and tells Logan that he is not really her son, he isn't even Perren, that is just a name she likes. The boy “Perren” suddenly stands up, smiling, blood stains on his t-shirt, while Ana reveals that she is not really Ana.

'What the $#%& is going on?' the confused Wolverine asks. Suddenly, another door opens, and a Soteira soldier appears. 'Son of a -' Wolverine begins, popping his claws, before the soldier fires some sort of spear at him, which knocks Logan back and pins him against the wall. The end of the spear sticks out of Logan's chest, and suddenly it extends outwards, and latches Logan to the wall with various cables like some strange mechanical webbing. 'You figure it out yet?' “Ana” asks. 'Persephone' Wolverine snarls. 'Very good' Presephone confirms. Wolverine reminds her that she kissed him, to which Persephone reveals that she would have done more if he wasn't such a prude. 'Ah well. Maybe in our next lives' Persephone suggests. Logan asks Persephone if she killed Ana, to which Persephone reveals that this woman was dead before Logan made it to that research facility on the coast, and she is just giving her a second life. 'I think her name actually was Ana, though' Persephone remarks.

Logan narrows his eyes and asks Persephone why she would do this, what she is trying to achieve. 'That's a big question. But I'll do my best to answer. You deserve it' Persephone responds, before telling Logan to look out the window. Logan glances over to the window, and sees civilians gathering below the building. Persephone informs him that everyone he sees out there is like Ana and Perren, the entire city, dead since before the two of them ever met. Persephone tells Logan that she is a mutant, like him, her power is death – she brings people back. 'I can make monsters, like your movie zombies, that's easy. Or I can return them like the people in this city, able to follow programs and simple instructions. The greatest challenge: if I focus, I can create a facsimile of  life so accurate it would fool your mother. Monsters, drones and clones' Suddenly, the people outside drop dead – again.

Persephone informs Wolverine that where she grew up, death was all around, that it took everything from  her, left her so afraid, so angry, so she thought these powers were the cosmos balancing things, giving her back what she had lost, but it has been years – and she still hasn't managed it. 'Everyone I bring back.. they walk, they talk... but really, they're all just me. Death's the only friend I've got' Persephone claims, narrowing her eyes and frowning. Persephone looks up at Logan and tells him that death is a good friend, though, and that this is a city of corpses – and Logan had no idea, none of her brilliant ones she brought here realized the truth, either, not until she told them. Persephone tells Logan that they couldn't see death here because people think death is ugly or frightening, but it is not – it is beautiful. 'The dead do not litter. The dead do not squabble. The dead do not waste. This is the most perfect city on the planet'. As Persephone uses her powers to resurrect the citizens of this city, she informs Wolverine that this was her test case, a proof of concept, to show what she could accomplish – and it worked for one simple reason – because the dead do what they're told. Those once-again resurrected then go about their business.

'Because they're dead. This is... an abomination' Logan declares, as he strains against the device holding him against the wall. 'Oh, I know. But you gotta do what you gotta do' Persephone responds. Logan asks her who the people that attacked the city really were, to which Persephone informs him that they call themselves X-Men, and that they are a pompous group, on the whole – and some of Logan's best friends in the world. 'Well. Maybe not anymore' she grins, as she informs Wolverine that she did cut one of them in half, recalling Logan lunging at Iceman, growling as he sliced his white-hot claws through Bobby Drake's ice form. Persephone recounts how the Weather Witch came in and helped Iceman, kept him alive, as far as she knows, while she blasted Logan back with a snow storm. Persephone informs Wolverine that the telepath, Jean Grey, was distracted enough by Iceman's agony that a missile from one of her helicopters got through her shields. Persephone tells Wolverine that he had already taken out the teleporter, Nightcrawler, so only Kitty Pryde was left, and she made her an offer, warning Kitty Pryde to take her people and leave, or Wolverine would slaughter every man, woman and child in this city while she watched.

Kitty Pryde was phasing though rioting civilians when she got that warning, and with no other choice, ordered the X-Men to retreat. Persephone informs Wolverine that the X-Men saw sense and left, but that left him, and he was in a mood – so it took quite a bit of work to calm him down – about a third of the city's population, in fact. Persephone remembers how the citizens attempted to calm Wolverine down – and were killed by him for their efforts, slaughtering them all savagely with his claws. 'The damage will take ages to clean up' Persephone remarks, recalling the battle. 'Lady, I'm gonna -' Wolverine begins. 'What? You'll slice up poor little Ana? Go ahead. Learn nothing, and stay and face what's coming with everyone else on the planet. But I have a better idea. Come see me. In person' Persephone suggests, turning to the soldier, she calls him Zagreus and announces that he can bring Wolverine.

'Come because you want to kill me, the real me, or because you want to learn the truth about how you returned to life. Come to save the world, Wolverine. Or come to meet the Devil' Persephone smiles. She walks over to Logan and strokes his face, telling him to come because she still owes him a story. 'Don't you want to see how it ends?' she asks, before suddenly, she lets Ana's body die, falling backwards to the ground, and “Perren” falls too, another pool of blood forming. Wolverine looks up at Zagreus and tells him 'You can drop dead too, if you want'. Zagreus doesn't answer, so Wolverine remarks 'All right, big guy. Invitation accepted. Let's go. Now get me out of this damn thing'.

Soon, Wolverine and the soldier walk side by side out of the hospital and past several citizens who stare and watch as they approach some sort of military vehicle. 'What'd Persephone call you? Zagreus?' Logan asks. They get into the vehicle and Logan adds 'I'll show you something, Zaggy'. They drive off and Wolverine declares that he already knows how the story ends. He notices a shuttle craft positioned at a nearby launchpad and Wolverine finishes his sentence: 'Same way it always does. Somebody dies'. 

Characters Involved: 


Persephone / “Ana”


in Persephone's story:
Unnamed man and his wife

in flashback images:
Iceman, Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, Storm (all X-Men)


Story Notes: 

This issue reveals that Persephone has been posing as “Ana” since the beginning of this series.

Written By: