Spider-Man #9

Issue Date: 
April 1991
Story Title: 
Perceptions, Part 2 (see notes)

Todd McFarlane (pencils, inks, story), Rick Parker (letters), Gregory Wright (colors), Jim Salicrup (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine shows up in the woods of Hope, British Columbia, exasperated by the fact certain locals see themselves as potential “heroes” and slaughter countless innocent animals with the hope of tracking down the Bigfoot creature – the alleged murderer of two boys – and killing it. Wolverine attacks one of these hunters and intimidates him, telling him to pass the message to his colleagues that slaughtering the animals is wrong. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is troubled by some things entrusted to him by his Daily Bugle colleague, Melvin Gooner, that make him suspect some answers may be found at the top: namely the Chief Inspector of Royal Mounted Canadian Police. After witnessing a public quarrel between hunters and environmentalists and being informed by a local of the legend of Wendigo, Peter overhears a heated argument between Anna Brooks, the reporter who broke the Bigfoot story, and Chief Inspector Krahn. Peter later introduces himself to Anna and has an interesting conversation with her. Meanwhile, in the woods, Wolverine goes to the spot where the first boy’s body was found and smells Wendigo’s scent there. He also detects the spot where the boy was originally buried and also smells other dead bodies buried in the area. Nearby, policemen are being guided by a local tracker to where the creature sleeps. As Wendigo wakes up and unleashes a cry of fury, Wolverine hears it and realizes the Wendigo has just been found by people.

Full Summary: 

Evening in the woods of Hope, British Columbia. A couple of gunshots are heard, followed by a “snikt,” the trademark sound generated by Wolverine’s unsheathing of his claws. Puzzled upon hearing this sound, a man exclaims “uh?”

Emerging from the shadows, Wolverine quickly slams the man’s face onto the ground. Wolverine remarks on how these Canadians keep saying how civilized their gun laws are. How Americans shoot anything that moves. He deduces that this was because they haven’t had a reason – until now. The animals in these woods were harmless. Now they’re dead. Logan himself has counted five dozen dead animals. He sees all these “hunters” as amateurs – wannabe heroes. Each wants to be the one to bag “Bigfoot” – bag the baby-killer. However, they don’t understand that no animal would stick around in this kind of war zone. “Idiots are shooting at ghosts. And shadows. And animals” he thinks.

“Say your prayers, bub. It’s time you met your maker. If he’ll take you” Wolverine tells the man lying on the ground while standing above him. “Please… no… I beg you don’t…” the man mumbles. “You what?” Wolverine asks him. “I beg you…” the man repeats. “That’s it?” Logan asks. “You beg me and now I’m supposed to change my mind and feel remorse. Why?” he wonders aloud. He provides the answer himself: because he can understand the man’s pleas. Because he sees in the man’s eyes that he doesn’t want to die. Because it’s unfair that the man is defenseless and means Logan no harm whereas Logan himself has the power to blow his head off. “Now you know how they feel” he adds, meaning the animals.

He explains that those animals the man and his friends are slaughtering want to live just as much as them. Difference is, they can’t beg! Nature’s been taking care of them for thousands of years. Survival and keeping their species alive are their goals: a simple formula until man becomes the factor. Wolvie believes that if the animals could speak and say “please don’t shoot, I beg you” none of them would shoot. Their consciences wouldn’t let them. However, they can’t speak and nature wasn’t kind enough to give them a trigger finger. Hence, the killing continues.

As Wolverine grabs the man and holds him in the air, he clarifies that, fortunately for him, he is in a generous mood tonight. He urges the man to spread the word to his friends that killing is wrong. “And make sure they get your point” he adds. He also clarifies one more thing: if the man breathes a word of their meeting to anyone… he won’t be given a chance to beg. “Sure… sure, okay, I… I promise” the terrified man mumbles.

No further words are spoken or needed as Wolverine points the man to leave. The man starts running. Wolverine amuses himself thinking that he’s never seen a fat man move so quickly. With a touch of irony, he hopes his friends won’t shoot him. However, he also contemplates that, given that most of his kind are usually quite simple and a bit forgetful, he might just need a little reminder. Indeed, as the man reaches his car, he collapses on the ground from the shock: Wolverine has already carved the words “YOU PROMISED” all over the right side of his car.

Elsewhere, Peter Parker and his Daily Bugle colleague, reporter Melvin Gooner are sitting at a diner known as “Norma.” While putting some ketchup on his donut, Melvin assures Peter he knows what he means: all this killing and hysteria make him sick, doesn’t it? “Uh… yeah” Peter replies. He asks Melvin if he’s actually going to eat that mess. Melvin assures him he loves ketchup and donuts. Peter pleads him not to put that thing in his mouth. Peter himself hasn’t had much sleep and his stomach is empty. “So unless the aroma of barf sounds appealing to you, I’d abstain” he adds. Astonished, Melvin thinks Peter is a lightweight.

Melvin would have figured Peter as being tougher than this but after the way he reacted to some of the medical pictures of the mutilated boy, it’s understandable. On the other hand, Melvin is puzzled as to why they’d release those photos but say the tests were incomplete. He explains Peter that they usually do things quite the opposite. Pictures aren’t the norm. Melvin assumes there’re just different rules here in Canada.

Peter notices that the inspector and his crew seem to be aggravating the reporters more than anything. He wonders why they’d want to add more hassles to this case but assumes they must like all of the attention. However, the way information is getting out is only making the town more paranoid. “You’d think they’d be hiding info, not throwing out flares” Melvin notices. Peter acknowledges this as a good point.

Peter notes that things are getting too crazy but you can hardly blame the people: two kids mauled by some monster; hundreds of media teams crawling everywhere. Not the usual diet for this town. As he sees Melvin about to put some ketchup from a bottle on his donut, he warns him that if he moves that bottle one more inch, he’ll… Melvin apologizes: he must have lost his…

As he finishes his phrase with the word “head,” a bottle is hurled into the diner, breaking through the window and flying just in front of Melvin’s face. Shocked, Melvin looks out the window and remarks it’s like a riot out there. Peter rushes out, telling him he’s going to check it out, giving Melvin time to finish his donuts in peace.

Outside the diner, a huge crowd has gathered and several people are fighting. Several voices can be heard: “Psycho,” “Butcher,” “Fanatic!” “Lives are at stake,” “What gives you the right?” “Listen, I’ll crack your skull,” “You can’t shoot anything.” Peter asks an old man standing a little bit afar from the arguing crowd what is going on. The man explains that somebody leaked out that they’ve found over a hundred dead animals, thus the Greenpeace groupies are exchanging opinions with the Rambo-types. “Top it off with the nosey reporters, and we’ve got us a day that me and the missus can be proud of” he adds.

The man asks Peter if he’s one of those reporters. Peter lies that he is from Chilliwack. The man complains about all the big city slickers around, especially these troublemaking Yankees. They don’t understand anything: there is no “Bigfoot” out there, only a critter the Indians call “Wendigo.” The man explains that no one wants to listen, though, especially those Yanks: these guys seem to steal everything from them, especially their pride and exports! And the worst of all, they even stole Gretzky from Edmonton. He wonders what kind of hockey player would want to live in Sunshine all the time! He believes he must have been brainwashed!

Nightfall. Peter is in his Spider-Man costume, soaring above Hope with his webs. He has ditched Melvin and can now do his own investigating: anything to speed up this mess so he can get back to Mary Jane. He wouldn’t have taken this assignment if he knew it would drag on this long. Unfortunately, he has to stay in the shadows while he’s here. It’d be too easy to figure that the Peter Parker in New York of “webs” fame is also in Hope, B. C. with Spidey. Peter doesn’t need complications: he needs answers. He also ponders that the biggest mistake he’s made so far is not bringing his thermal underwear!

Heading to the police station, he contemplates on how Melvin thinks there might be answers at the top. Of course, Peter still can’t believe he eats donuts and ketchup: the man must be touched. As he soars above the buildings, he hopes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police building is this way. Indeed it is, but Peter spends two hours stalking outside Chief Inspector Krahn’s window before finally something of interest happens. “Finally!” Peter thinks. He is just about frozen to death. He thinks they’d have the courtesy to appear when he did; that’s how it works in comics!

In Chief Inspector Krahn’s office, Krahn is urging Daily Vancouver reporter Anna Brooks that if she has something to say, then she should say it. Otherwise, he’s got problems to deal with: there are 400 reporters, environmentalists and rookie hunters he’s trying to handle, as well as keeping the town in some sort of order while the media makes a circus of it.

“Poor you,” Anna mocks him. She informs him that people have told her that he leaked the body count of the animals to the representative of the Humane Society: he’s creating his own problems. Krahn explains his dilemma: if he gives any information, he’s causing hysteria. If he gives none it’s a cover-up. He tells her that if she has any suggestions he is all ears. If not, she should let him do his job.

Anna reminds him his job doesn’t include causing a riot. He’s supposed to stop them. Krahn argues that just because she broke the story doesn’t give her permission to slander. He suggests she goes write her next story about flesh-eating monsters and sell an extra ten thousand copies. Upon eavesdropping all this, Spidey tells himself that things are really starting to heat up.

Peter realizes this woman must be the Vancouver reporter who ran into the so-called “Bigfoot” – or as the old man called him, Wendigo. As he watches Anna exit the R.C.M.P. building and walk the streets, Peter thinks it’s time to catch a fly: too bad he can’t scare her. Soaring above the buildings, he thinks there are other ways to extract info, namely the famous but often under-used Parker-persuasion! He thinks that it’s not for nothing that babes such as Betty, Gwen, Felicia and Mary Jane have swooned over him! On second thought, he realizes he’s kidding himself: the real reason he wants answers is to get home to his wife sooner – and in the meantime, try to rid this place of some godforsaken monstrosity. He hopes the boys died quickly at least.

In his office, Krahn talks on the phone. He orders someone to get Luke Thorpe. He doesn’t care what it takes. It’s time they took the offence. If anyone can track this creature, it’s Thorpe. Krahn’s interlocutor seems to pose some disagreements but Krahn assures him he knows that and tells him to have Krahn sober if he has to. He also tells him to have ten men standing by. Thorpe will lead them to the monster and they’re going to get rid of this headache once and for all. As Krahn’s interlocutor again tells him something, Krahn angrily replies, “You tell them to shove their policies.”

Meanwhile, Peter changes quickly in his normal clothes. He doesn’t want to miss Anna. Indeed, now as plain Peter Parker, he catches up with her on the street. “Excuse me, miss,” he says, approaching her. “Thought you’d like to know this creature you’re chasing is called Wendigo.” “From the Indian myths?” she asks him. Peter tells her it’s a flesh eater and has white fur – does it sound familiar? Anna asks him if he would want to get a coffee. “Bingo” Peter thinks.

Moments later, while heading to a diner, Anna congratulates Peter on the research he’s done, noting it’s pretty impressive. Anna herself didn’t know the Wendigo was as popular as the Bigfoot. For her, the bit about it actually being a person cursed with a creature’s spirit and body is a bit much. Still, she believes anything’s possible if a guy like Thor can exist. What she can’t understand is why, when they have an expert coroner from Calgary, the R.C.M.P. insists of shipping results to Vancouver for another opinion. It seems like red tape is more important than comforting the dead boy’s parents. “Can you imagine what they must be going through?” she asks him.

Peter replies that in a small way he can. He lost a girlfriend once; he though the world of her. It was the first time he was truly in love. They even thought they might get married; but he couldn’t protect her. He couldn’t help.

As they’re sitting at a diner and drinking some hot coffee, Peter finishes his narration by telling Anna he is now married to a woman who gives his life more meaning that he thought possible. Still, he can’t help but wonder how things might have been – if the girlfriend he lost was still alive, that is. The guilt sets in even thinking about it, but he can’t forget. That wouldn’t be right, either.

“I’m sorry for your pain, Peter,” Anna says. She feels compelled to tell him that he breaks the typical New Yorker stereotype to pieces. Peter asks her to excuse him. He doesn’t usually feel sorry for himself. It’s just the thought of those boys and that thing. Anna assures him she knows what he means. This story has gotten personal with her, too. Unfortunately, she has an editor back in Vancouver who expects her columns every day. She admits she could use the boost this story has given her career – not to mention the extra money. Her job is to write something that sells papers, even if she doesn’t have all the facts.

Headline: The Vancouver Sun, “Savage Killer Still Loose”. In the woods, Wendigo slumbers.


“Nightfall, finally,” Wolverine thinks. As he moves in the woods, he thinks it’s time to check out where the first boy was found. The reporter had said that the creature laid the boy out on road.

Wolverine quickly detects the exact spot. Kneeling down, he notices there is no blood left behind, only some moss and dirt. With his animal-keen senses, he can smell the still powerful stench of rubber from the reporter’s car. Wolvie realizes his suspicions were correct but now he has a trail. He didn’t want to believe it was back. “Then why’d you come?” he asks himself. Because his instinct is always right.

“Wendigo. This country keeps turning its myths into reality,” he thinks as he moves inside the forest. And now they have a baby-killer. The creature’s smell is like a beacon for Wolverine’s senses. The only thing interfering is the smell of dead animals. Wolverine is amazed by the rationale of human hunters: they can’t find one creature so they slaughter another, with the hope of eventually getting it right. “Humanity. What a concept” Logan thinks. “Fortunately, I won’t live forever.”

Following the trail, Wolvie reaches a spot which he identifies as the place where the body was buried. He starts digging the ground; it is still moist with blood, nature’s way of giving him clues. He realizes that, unless his senses have gone haywire – which they haven’t – the area is in big trouble. There are other bodies out here. Logan realizes he has to find someone in town that he can trust.

Elsewhere, Thorpe is guiding some armed men throughout the woods. John, one of the men, asks him where he’s taking them; all the reports have been from the west end of the summit. Another of the men tells John that Thorpe may be a loony but is also good at what he does, so he must have his reasons. John wishes he’d let them in on some of them. The other men are also grumping: one complains about how many more hours they’re supposed to spend out here, another remarks that this guy moves through this forest like a man possessed, whereas another one replies that he may very well be possessed.

Undaunted by their murmur, Thorpe finally achieves his mission. As he looks behind some bushes, he points at the sight of a sleeping Wendigo. “Behold gentlemen… your treasure. No one move.” he whispers to the men. However, defying Thorpe’s order, one of the men opens fire. “No!” Thorpe screams. “Now look what you’ve done!”

In town, Spider-Man decides to try and find Melvin as he will probably be wondering what is going on. Peter promised Anna he’d keep her facts to himself. He considers he might as well get a good night’s sleep. It looks like another dud evening.

In the woods, Wolverine realizes what he just heard wasn’t an animal’s scream. The Wendigo has just been found – by fools. Indeed, nearby, the beast goes berserk. Wolverine rushes to where the scream came from.

Headline: Daily Bugle, “Bigfoot Everywhere – Could there be more than one?”

Characters Involved: 




Anna Brooks (Daily Vancouver reporter)

Melvin Gooner (Daily Bugle reporter)

Chief Inspector Krahn, John and other unnamed policemen (R.C.M.P.)

Luke Thorpe

Old man

Unnamed hunter


Story Notes: 

As mentioned in the cover, this is actually Part 2 (of 5) of “Perceptions”, even though inside the issue the story is simply titled “Perceptions.”

The issue is partly narrated by Spider-Man (in blue captions) and partly by Wolverine (in red captions).

Wendigo was ran over by Anna’s car and left behind a boy’s body in Spider-Man #8, thus setting mass hysteria in motion.

The curse of the Wendigo is regional and only takes place in the forests of North Canada, when a person commits cannibalism. Under the right conditions, the person is afflicted by the curse and is transformed into a white-furred monster, roaming the woods and eating humans. This is the fourth Wendigo to have appeared in the proper 616 Universe, although the true name of anything else about this particular human carrying the curse is unknown. The three previous persons that have been shown afflicted by this curse and transformed into Wendigo are Paul Cartier, Georges Baptiste and Francois Lartigue.

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a large, hairy creature in North American
folklore and is also thought to inhabit remote forests.

Wolverine has previously encountered two other hosts of the Wendigo: Paul Cartier and Georges Baptiste. [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #181, X-Men (1st series) #140]

A humane society is a group that aims to stop animal suffering owing to cruelty or other reasons.

Greenpeace is a well-known global environmental organization that focuses on a variety of environmental issues, such as global warming and ancient forest destruction. In common talk, Greenpeace is often used as an umbrella term to refer to all environmental groups of similar agendas and practices.

Rambo is a saga of well-known, popular actions films starring Sylvester Stallone as the title character. In popular culture, “Rambo” has become an eponym for a tactic or person demonstrating military aggression and/or heroism through extreme violence.

The girlfriend Peter once lost is, of course, Gwen Stacy. She was killed following a battle with the original Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #121. Even though Peter here wonders how things would have been whether Gwen had lived, this question was answered in What if…? (1st series) #24.

Wayne Gretzky is a retired Canadian ice hockey player. He is widely regarded by many as the greatest hockey player ever. He was originally a player for the Edmonton Oilers until 1988, when he became a player for the Los Angeles Kings, causing some Canadians to deem him as “traitor” for turning his back on his home country.

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