Wolverine (2nd series) #104

Issue Date: 
August 1996
Story Title: 
The Emperor of the Realm of Grief

Larry Hama (Writer), Val Semeiks (Artist), Chad Hunt (Inker), Joe Rosas (Colors), Richard Starkings and COMICRAFT (Letters), Malibu (Enhancements), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine goes to the Massachusetts Academy, home of the team Generation X, to find Gateway and ask him if he knows any information that could be useful against Onslaught. Wolverine finds the school empty, but discovers Gateway sitting on the roof in the rain. He asks the man if he has any information, but Gateway only shows him the time that he had to kill his love, Mariko, who was poisoned. Wolverine is joined by Elektra, who is still intent on helping Wolverine recover his humanity after going feral, and tries to help him. However, upon hearing the name of her mentor, Stick, Gateway shows her images of when she was dead and how she was resurrected. Elektra and Wolverine agree that Gateway is showing them their worst moments to prepare them for the truth about Onslaught. Gateway then teleports them into the school to see pictures of various X-Men and then takes their astral forms to a different time. The two confused heroes find themselves observing the time when Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s adamantium. They witness how Xavier used his powers to wipe Magneto’s mind clean, but Gateway slows down time and sends them to the astral plane, where to their horror they discover that Magneto’s dark ego planted its seed inside Xavier’s mind in a fraction of a second, which is why no one suspected anything was wrong. Wolverine and Elektra are returned back to the mansion, where Wolverine blames himself for everything. If he hadn’t pushed Magneto too far, Xavier wouldn’t have made himself so vulnerable.

Full Summary: 

They had told Wolverine to go ask him what he knows about Onslaught. That is why he made the trek from the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning in New York to the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters in Massachusetts, home to the group known as Generation X, who do not seem to be at the academy at the moment.

As Wolverine scales the wall of the school, he thinks about how, in the years that he has known Gateway, the man hasn’t uttered a word. What makes Cyclops and Phoenix think he will talk now all of a sudden? Do they think he has special insight into mystic Aborigine, because he went through a feral regression recently? He is on the road to recovery now, making his way back one day at a time. Too bad time means nothing to Gateway.

As the rain continues to fall, Wolverine reaches the top and sees the being known as Gateway on the roof of the school, eyes closed and hands together as if he were meditating. Wolverine calls out to Gateway and tells him it is his old friend. He and the X-Men were wondering if he could help them out. They are facing their most powerful enemy, who is called Onslaught. Can he give him some good information on how they can defeat the creature?

Gateway says nothing to Wolverine and it seems as if he does not yet notice the feral man. Wolverine admits that asking Gateway for too much information was too much to ask for, so he asks the Aborigine if he can give him a clue. Desperate, Wolverine tells him that he will even settle for a head nod, when suddenly he notices Gateway’s “whirligig” at his feet. He picks it up and tells Gateway that it is hard to recognize when it is not being spun over his head. Gateway yanks his mystical item by the string it is attached to and then begins to spin it around his head. Wolverine asks Gateway if he is going to show him what he needs to know about Onslaught, but something entirely different shows up.

In front of Wolverine is an image of Tokyo, more specifically the Yashida Estate. That was where he, Gambit, and the Silver Samurai were fighting Matsuo’s Hand ninjas when Matsuo poisoned his fiancée Mariko with blowfish toxin. The image next shows the tragic scene of Wolverine holding the dying Mariko in his arms. Once again he hears her tell him to spare her the final moments of agony. He needs to kill her with his claws while her soul can still sing her love for him. The present day Wolverine screams at the sight of the ghosts of his past and asks Gateway why he is making him relive the worst thing that has ever happened to him. He cannot bear it. Wolverine loses his footing on the roof and falls off the slope. As he falls past a window, however, a hand grabs him and helps him inside.

Wolverine thanks Elektra for the assist, but asks why she is here. Has she been following him since Salem Center? Elektra tells him that he leads quite a chase, but the X-Man tells her that nothing going on now concerns her. You are my business, says Elektra, and she has been tasked with setting his feet back on the path. Wolverine leaves the room and tells her that she can follow him, since school definitely isn’t in session in the academy. He compares getting answers from Gateway to meditating in the desert while eating locusts dipped in honey. Sometimes the answers are a bit baked.

Wolverine and Elektra go back to the roof, where Elektra informs Wolverine that she has experience with unfathomable mystics. Perhaps a different approach will reach Gateway. Wolverine tells her to be his guest, but reminds her that he warned her. Elektra calls out to Gateway and tells him that Logan is asking aid as his friend and as a human being. Gateway has a soul too and Elektra asks that he gets off his holy mountain long enough to walk with Wolverine in Logan’s time of need. Gateway continues to spin his mystical bullroarer, but again acts as if no one is speaking to him.

Annoyed, Elektra says that Gateway is as stubborn as her mentor, Stick. Suddenly Gateway stops spinning and his bullroarer hit the ground. He turns around with his eyes wide open and stares back at Elektra. Confused, Elektra asks Wolverine if she said anything wrong. Wolverine tells her that she mentioned someone named Stick. Maybe Gateway knows him. Elektra asks Gateway if he knows Stick, he who is master of the chaste. Gateway puts his finger to his lips to silence her and then swings his mystic item once again. As an image begins to appear, Elektra asks Gateway why she dreads what he is about to show her.

Elektra finds herself wearing a white robe around her and she sees that she is in a small wooden boat that is being rowed by a hooded being behind her along a river of fire. She admits that she does not recall the river or the boatman. This cannot be anything in her past, unless it is what mortals may not preserve in memory for the sake of sanity. She looks at the land to her side and sees fire with people in it. She wonders who the people are when one of them calls out to her. She recognizes the voice and as the small boat nears the man she recognizes him as her father, who is dead.

She turns around to ask the boatman where he has brought her. He pulls back his hood to reveal his skull as Elektra realizes that he is the specter of Death. The boatman disappears and Elektra notices several men rising from the fire. She realizes she is in the River of Woe and also recognizes the rising men as Hand ninjas. She then sees images of the men resurrecting her from the dead, when she was already lying in her grave with worms and beetles. She recalls how she would have been brought back as a slave for the Hand if the love of a man hadn’t saved her; the love of a man whom she is no longer worthy of.

As the images die away, Elektra asks Gateway what the purpose is of showing her images that best be forgotten, but then quickly asks him how he can be so hateful. She falls back and Wolverine catches her. Wolverine calms her down and explains that it is Gateway’s usual display of power, but Elektra tells him that it was more than that. He showed her the worst thing that has ever happened to her. She explains that Gateway didn’t do that to torture them. He is showing them the worst things, because somewhere underneath is the answer. To that end, is this information something Wolverine needs to know, because the truth may be worse than what Gateway has already shown. Wolverine tells Elektra that he has to ask Gateway one more time and indeed he does ask the man. In response, Gateway swings his bullroarer again and, this time, the two heroes are teleported to another time again.

The two are warped with Gateway into the school and Wolverine is glad that they are out of the rain. Elektra explains that Gateway has teleported them to the proper setting of Logan’s answer. She asks him what this terrible question is and why it is so important. Wolverine looks at the pictures on the wall, which are of the X-Men and he explains to Elektra that this secret affects everything and everyone he holds dear, as well as the fate of the world. Professor Charles Xavier, who breathed life into the X-Men and is the most powerful psi-talent in the world, has been transformed into an evil known as Onslaught, who is able and willing to destroy the planet and remake it into his own perverted image. Elektra apologizes, for she had no idea.

Annoyed, Wolverine turns to Gateway and tells him that if he has something to show him, then he better get on with it. Gateway swings his bullroarer again and, this time, both time and space become distorted, as the two of them begin to shrink and turn into their astral forms. Elektra knows that it is late to ask, but when Gateway shows them something is it an illusion or are they actually there? Wolverine is thrown off his feet and tells her that it is real, since Gateway can bend both space and time, as well as reduce them to their astral images. The two are then sucked into Gateway’s eye, as Wolverine tells her to hold on.

Suddenly, Wolverine finds himself back on Avalon, as Magneto rips the adamantium out of his body. The death of Mariko was the worst psychic pain he ever experienced, but having his adamantium pulled out was the worst physical pain. Wolverine falls to the ground near dead, when Elektra comes to his side and pulls his astral image from his bloody body and tells him that they are not hear to relive his excruciating moment. They are here to see what happened on the Astral Plane that caused Professor Xavier to turn into Onslaught. Wolverine looks at the scene, as his fellow X-Men see his injured body. He tells Elektra that he only heard about what happened next since he was out. Elektra looks at his body again and tells Logan that she never realized the extent of the damage.

Suddenly, the two are cut off by Magneto, who asks Charles Xavier what right he has to make the choices for the lives of both human and mutants and how he is less misguided than himself. Xavier, wearing an exoskeleton suit to help him walk, tells Magneto that it is the fundamental differences in their views. He wishes to live in harmony, while Magneto wants to rule over those who oppose them. Today, however, that dream is no more. Logan will be the last one to suffer. Xavier then sends a blast of psychic energy through Magneto’s mind as he wipes the man’s mind away.

Time suddenly slows down at that moment and Elektra tells Wolverine that whatever Gateway wanted him to see is about to happen. She then wonders then why everything is turning white. The two find themselves on the astral plane where a giant blue avatar of Xavier sends his psi-blast through the giant red avatar of Magneto. Wolverine explains that this is what transpired on another level of perception when Xavier wiped Magneto’s slate clean. Elektra notices something wrong and asks Wolverine what the dark mass is in the center of Magneto’s avatar. Does he see it? It is a twisted homunculus. She then realizes that it is an astral manifestation of Magneto’s dark ego.

Suddenly, the dark beast within Magneto leaps out of him and reaches out to Xavier. It touches the Xavier avatar right in the chest and leaves a part of itself in Xavier. Elektra realizes that this all happened in a fraction of a second on a rarified plane, so no one could have known! Wolverine screams to Xavier that Magneto planted something inside of him, but Gateway quickly teleports the two heroes back to the Massachusetts Academy. Elektra calms Logan down and tells him that they are back in the mansion and the show is over, unless Gateway wants to show them anything else. The two look at Gateway, who in response drops his magical item on the ground before them and goes back to meditating.

Outside, the rain subsides, so Wolverine sits outside on the brick sign of the school, pondering what he just saw. Xavier did it for him. Magneto ripped out his adamantium out of spite, so Xavier snapped. Elektra approaches Wolverine and, guessing what he is thinking, she tells him that Xavier did not become evil on his own, it was Magneto’s doing. Wolverine tells her that she is wrong. Magneto’s dark side wouldn’t have had the power to reach Xavier if he hadn’t lashed out like that. It was the darkness inside Xavier that laid him open to Magneto’s dark touch. That makes Wolverine partly to blame, because he is the one who lost it first and pushed Magneto too far. Elektra reminds him that he now has an important piece of information that the X-Men can use to free Xavier from the dark avatar and restore him back to normal.

Wolverine looks away and says that they will put Xavier back together, but he won’t be the same ever again, just like him. It wasn’t until he saw himself lying hurt at Magneto’s feet that he remembered he used to be a man. Elektra puts her hand on Wolverine’s shoulder, and then she sits next to him and rests her head on his shoulder. “You still are, Logan,” says Elektra to console her friend.

Characters Involved: 




Gateway’s Images:

Gambit, Wolverine (X-Men)

Mariko Yashida

Silver Samurai


Elektra’s Father


Various Hand ninjas

Professor Xavier


Story Notes: 

This issue is part Impact One of the company-wide Onslaught crossover and continues from Uncanny X-Men #335.

A continuity error in this issue is that Wolverine claims that Cyclops and Phoenix told him to contact Gateway, when in truth he came here on a hunch, as he explained to the Vision in Uncanny X-Men #335.

Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s adamantium and Xavier wiped Magneto’s mind in X-Men (2nd series) #25, as part of the Fatal Attractions crossover.

The Massachusetts school is currently closed, as Emma Frost is hiding Generation X from Onslaught, as seen in Generation X #18.

The love who saved Elektra from the hand is, of course, Daredevil.

Issue Information: 

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