Wisdom #2

Issue Date: 
February 2007
Story Title: 
The Rudiments of Wisdom, Part Two: The Village that Walked Like a Woman

Paul Cornell (writer), Trevor Hairsine (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Guru EFX (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Pete’s team is investigating the village of Pantagruel, where a new government weapon is tested. Unlike with previous tests elsewhere, here everyone seems to be suffering from nightmares. Pete’s team stops a young man, who runs amok dreaming. When Maureen creates a psychic link with the force influencing him, they all are swamped by dreams, with the exception of Tink. Dreaming of his dead mother, Pete nevertheless tries to shut down the Mi-13 weapon, to no avail. Tink explains that Pantagruel is one of the British giants influencing British life. They have to send her back to sleep again. They try to do it with a séance. Unfortunately, John wakes her up instead. The giant rises, the town on her head and two guardians intending to put her back to sleep again rise as well, unfortunately also with towns on their heads. The members of MI-13 can convince Pantagruel to at least not destroy the other towns. They intend to evacuate the town, but the citizens refuse. So only the MI-13 members leave while the town gets ready to begin diplomatic relations with Greenland.

Full Summary: 

Wisdom’s dream:

London’s devastated, the sky is red. Before him stands Maureen Raven, the upper part of her head missing. This is a dream, she warns him, but it will come true.


His recent “Wife,” Tink, sleeps on. Grabbing a terryrobe, Pete “informs” her that he is going to see Blatley and asks her not to wake up.

A little later, he sits in the office of Jonathan Blatley, head of military applications research, who informs him that the local villagers are leaving in droves, and they can’t recruit anyone in the service to come here. But the weapon they are testing has no subtle effect on the human brain… at least it didn’t when they tested it in London.

He bets the wise old country folk say there’s a reason for that, Pete mutters, as he stares into his hot beverage. The tossers.

Pantagruel village:

Pete and Maureen tour the village, marvelling at the scenery. Mo points out that Pete looks bad and already knows the reason for that: bad dreams. She has them, too, Mo admits: She’s seen her little boy floating off into space. But they are just dreams. Pete remembers that his mother used to live near here. Doesn’t she think there’s something about ancient Rolling Downland that’s just…? Nah, just him then.

Is there nothing about the past he likes, she wonders. Dinosaurs! He’s got to love dinosaurs.

Pete begins a word association: Dinosaurs… dragons… oriental adventures…innocent natives… “Whoops, I killed them all…”
That’s his problem here. He’s a sitting duck for bad dreams. He knows who’s gonna pop up sooner or later. Changing subject, he wonders hopefully whether that pub is open.

A little later in the pub Maureen muses that clairsentients have other people’s dreams. They see themselves as others see them. “You know if your bum looks big,” Pete offers helpfully. But they still need to ask. Mo continues. It doesn’t, not in the slightest, Pete assures her. How’s Tink enjoying the arranged marriage? she asks, changing the subject. It’s “when Gnomes attack” again if they don’t, Pete replies, so… they do.

At St. Christopher’s Church in Pantagruel, the reverend, a middle-aged blonde woman assures the other members of MI-13, John the Skrull and Captain Midlands that the audience at the parish council meetings is usually one man and a dog, not one Beatle and one superhero.

Sitting back relaxed, John the Skrull asks her to carry on. They are here to be irreverent. Or irrelevant. If they had bad dreams when they were kids they’d get a good hiding… the Captain remembers a better past.

John asks the others to ignore the Captain and asks about their problems with the collective unconsciousness. It’s the military, one of the citizens replies accusingly. Who else is ever down here? For him the dream is his old dad. All night, every night, talking about the war all the time. It’s only a matter of time before someone… That moment someone shoots through the windows.

Outside a young man with military clothes and a machine gun is running amok. He seemingly spouts gibberish. “The weight. The hills. History! Geography! Physics! Biology!” Does he think he is trying to teach them a lesson? John the Skrull wonders. Captain Midlands addresses the man. Before he can threaten them, hotknives – courtesy of Wisdom – sever the man’s hands, thus keeping him from shooting or blowing up anything else. Sorry, Pete adds while Maureen phones for a military ambulance. The Captain stoically assures Pete it had to be done. Pete curtly agrees. Tink joins them. Curiously looking at the victim, she inquires whether he is meant to look like that.

Later at the base hospital, the members of MI-13 question the man who apologizes. He’d gone to sleep and thought this was a dream. This is a dream now, isn’t it? Maureen touches the stump of his arm to find his nervous system. Making contact with something she remarks that they’ve met the sleeping giant in their dreams. The others are also affected, having visions while still awake.

Wisdom’s dream:

Pete dreams of hanging off the edge of a highrise, hundreds of people hanging on to him, foremost his mother whom he asks to let go.

Captain Midland’s dream:

Captain Midlands sees himself as an old man sitting helplessly on a bench as he watches neo-Nazi youths pass by. But I was Captain, he ventures helplessly. But we won.

Tink is puzzled about what’s going on with the others. She perceives nothing.

As for John the Skrull: Groovy, he exclaims, its The Skrull Beatles in: The British Invasion.
John’s vision:

The fours Skrull impostors (looking like the Beatles in their very early career) have arrived in Liverpool. “Lovely day for a bit of a conquest.” “All hail the mighty Skrull Empire, like.” “You should tell them that about the weather down here. It’s all hail.” “Come on, lads. We’re gonna take the Beatles’ places and rule the world!”

Later, Skrull John and Skrull Paul discuss matters while playing the piano. John wants to do more than an alien invasion. Gerry and the Skrull Pacemakers could do an alien invasion. Skrull Paul suggests he sell it to their bosses if he knows where they’ve gone to. Pointing at a cow, Skrull John remarks that Daisy says it’s okay. And does anyone fancy a pint of golf top?

Later still, Skrull John introduces the others to his new flame, Captain Boko of the Free Kree Liberation Army. Skrull George is going off on a pilgrimage with the Dread Dormammu, while Skrull Ringo finds he really likes money and power. Frustrated, Skrull Paul wonders how Gerry and the Skrull Pacemakers are doing.


John ponders whether he should give Skrull Paul a call. He could. He might. But he won’t.

With the contact Maureen made, the dreams intensify for everyone in Pantagruel. Zombielike the citizens turn violent.

Pete walks to the weapon room, followed by his vision of his dead mother. The shot corpse reminds him to ask about the weapon. Mum, I know, he replies exasperated. He’s an adult, he’s an intelligence officer and she’s obviously just a dream, okay?

He is expected by an officer who is relieved to see him still acting normally. He explains his own conscious state that, when the shared dreaming started, he threw back seventeen tabs of Dextroamphetamine sulfate and a can of Red Bull. He believes he is going to die. Eventually. He doesn’t care whether the weapon can do this or not. Wisdom has to help him switch it off.

Ask him what it does, Pete’s mother tells him. How come he isn’t dreaming, the officer asks, He is, Pete replies, but he has his duty. She is so proud of him, Wisdom’s mother commends him. The officer explains that it’s a sonic weapon. Like radio waves bouncing off the ionosphere, it’s designed to reflect off the inner layers of the Earth and back up onto a target.

The other MI-13 members join them. A glowing Maureen explains that it connects everyone to the dreams of some dreaming underground mind that is now projecting through her. She apologizes, as the continued contact forces her to climax again and again. In the meantime, they find that they can’t shut the sonic weapon off.

Tink finally gets what this is about. She’d wondered why they were all acting weird. It doesn’t affect her because she doesn’t dream. Has nobody told them about the sleeping giant?

Later outside, they sit in a circle, holding hands as Tink explains that Pantagruel is one of the giants of Britain. They were defeated, put to sleep and buried by the Celestials or Asgardians or someone like that. “Thanks Mum,” Pete comments. “Don’t call me that,” Tink retorts. “Sorry, Mum,” he apologizes

The flavours of the British giants’ dreams gently determine the character of British life, like in every nation, Tink continues. But Maureen sticking her fat nose in this sent the effect off the scale. Maureen resents that but is shut up by another passing orgasm... But if she is channelling one way, she can channel another, Tink explains. So she wants them all to look at Mo and think: ”Hello, Pantagruel! Quieten your sleep.”

They begin to channel, the first effect they notice being that they now share Maureen’s orgasms. The effect is not quite the desired one though as a giant hand rises from the ground. All right, Tink asks accusingly. Who thought “Wake up?”

Skrull John protests that he wanted to do more than just keep a sleeping giant sleeping. Gerry and the Pacemakers could…

However, the positive effect is that the people are waking up. The citizens and heroes stare helplessly as they begin to rise. This is very bad, Tink remarks. Bad in some other way than the whole village being on top of its head? Pete asks. It’s worse, Tink explains. Whoever buried Pantagruel buried guardians, too. Other giants with towns on their heads begin to rise. The reverend identifies one town as Little Bremmington. They’ve never really liked them.

The two guards begin to fight Pantagruel. Pete orders Tink and John to help while he tells Mo to inform Pantagruel those are innocent people she is endangering. John and Tink begin flying people caught in the crossfire away. Tink reminds John this is his fault. She wants him to feel bad. That’s beyond him, he shrugs.

Mo states that Pantagruel wants to know whose sided they are on. Say “hers,” Pete replies. Can he truthfully tell her that? Mo asks. With people falling into the sky out of their back gardens? No. He can, Captain Midlands interjects. She’s England. She’s been buried and overwritten and shat on. She’s angry. He’s not too P.C. to tell her she’s right. Mo channels him and is getting through to her. Captain Midlands marvels that he’s never met anyone like her… apart from her majesty…

Panatagruel puts down her foe’s head with the village on it. Pantagruel takes out the other guardian. Pete suggests they evacuate the town, then take her out with missiles. The reverend protests that this is their village. Mo adds that Pantagruel is already on the move. She’s going to where she can’t do any harm. Pete insists the villagers can’t stay there. The reverend replies it’s what they are meant to do. If the English subconscious is moving, they have to move with it.

A little later, Pantagruel is in international waters and out of MI-13’s jurisdiction. Mo remarks to Pete that she sounded a bit tarty under the influence. He liked that, Pete assures her. She was just about the only woman he didn’t call “Mum,” she points out as she gets into the helicopter with him. Did he see his mum in his dream? If she lives in Wiltshire, maybe they could….

Pete corrects her: his mother died in 1987. She was shot. She was waiting for him. Standing by her window. But they’d had this row, so he stood her up… The Hungerford Massacre. Bit of local history. A Spree Killing. Sixteen people. Hence his distaste for nostalgia, she realizes. And a distinct lack of joy in his own killing sprees, he adds. And if you don’t have that, what have you got? He wants to tell her about this dream he had about her. With a smirk, she suggests he doesn’t tell. He being married and all.

They fly off while on Pantagruel the parish meets, discussing the fact that they’re going to have to establish diplomatic relations with Greenland. One citizen wonders about the effect this will have on the cricket season while Mr. Thompson is trying to look up SHIELD in the yellow pages.

And all the way to the mainland, John the Skrull was singing, “You’ll never walk alone.”

Characters Involved: 

Pete Wisdom

Captain Midlands, John the Skrull, Maureen Raven, Tink (Wisdom’s MI-13 striketeam)


The reverend and other citizens of Pantagruel


Pantagruel’s guardians

Pete’s dreams:

Maureen Raven

Pete’s mother

Captain Midlands’ dream:

Captain Midlands


John the Skrull’s dream:

Skrull Beatles

Captain Boko

Skrull cows

Story Notes: 

The Wisdom series appears under the Max label. Hence there is a fair amount of swearing, violence and partial nudity.

“Gargantua et Pantagruel” is a cycle of novels by Francois Rabelais published between 1532 and 1564 about the adventures of the young giant Pantagruel and his father Gargantua. It should be noted that Rabelias’ Pantagruel is male.

“Tales to Admonish #589” and “Journey into Misery #648” are fake footnotes sounding similar to past Marvel series.

Skrull John’s fantasy is a spoof of the Beatles movies “ A Hard Day’s night” and “ Help.” Captain Boko is a reference to Lennon’ second wife, Yoko Onno. Skrull George going off on a pilgrimage with Dormammu refers to the Beatles’ guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The cows are a reference Fantastic Four (1st series) #2, where the FF stopped a Skrull conquest and Reed Richards hypnotized the Skrulls into believing they were cows.

The death of Pete’s mother was first mentioned in Pryde & Wisdom #2. The Hungerford Massacre in 1987 sadly really occurred.

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