Wolverine (2nd series) #11

Issue Date: 
August 1989
Story Title: 
The Gehenna Stone Affair part 1 - Brother's Keeper

Peter David (writer), John Buscema (penciler), Bill Sienkiewicz (inker), Ken Bruzenak (letterer), Mark Chiarello (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In a San Francisco museum of antiquities, two creatures lurk in the shadows. They are attempting to steal a valuable stone. However, as they get to the stone, they knock it off the pedestal and shatter it. Back in Madripoor, Archie complains to Patch, the Madripoor disguise of Wolverine, about his crazy, movie-obsessed brother, Burt, who is being declared mentally incompetent. After some time, he is able to convince Patch and Jessica Drew to come to San Francisco with him to help. When they arrive in San Francisco, they find Burt looking quite normal, much to their surprise. As they leave, Burt opens up his desk drawer, revealing the same stone that was part of the robbery attempt at the museum. Later, Jessica Drew goes to her San Francisco office and is approached by the museum curator, who proceeds to tell her about the attempted theft the other day. She promises to investigate. At Burt’s competency hearing the next day, he is late, very late. Archie and Ruth begin to argue about why they are there until Burt comes flying through the courthouse window on a horse! Burt proceeds to tell everyone about the great evil that is coming. Nobody believes him until a horde of vampires crash through the window after Burt!!!

Full Summary: 

Down to Gehenna or up to the throne, he who travels the fastest travels alone.” -- Kipling.

“What do you think of Kipling?” “I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.” -- Old Joke.

In the San Francisco Museum of Antiquities, a watchman is on the night patrol. Unbeknownst to him, there are two strange-looking creatures, semi-human in appearance, lurking in the shadows. “Is he gone, Jarocha?” asks one of the creatures. “Yeah, Ernst, he’s gone. I told you he’d be gone,” the other says. They sulk through the darkness of the museum until they get to a display case under glass. In the display case resides an oddly shaped stone. It is faceted in squares, almost in a spherical shape.

The creatures get to work and pull a suction cup out of their bag. They affix it to the glass-case when Ernst asks Jarocha he is sure that he cut the right wire in the alarm box. Jarocha indicates that he has. All of a sudden, the alarm goes off. The damage done, Ernst angrily breaks the glass to free the stone. The night watchmen, hearing the alarm go off, bursts through the door and orders the two creatures to stop moving. In the midst of all of the commotion, the stone falls off of the pedestal and shatters into a million pieces.

Ernst, in disbelief, says that the stone was a fake. The night watchmen asks what they have done to the “real” stone. He points his gun at them and orders them to put their hands over their... Before he can finish his sentence, Jarocha leaps at him and knocks him down. Both Ernst and Jarocha stand over the terrified and defenseless watchmen with their fangs exposed. He pleads for mercy - No! No!!!

NO!, exasperates Archie Corrigan, as he bursts through the door of the Princess Bar in disgust. Patch, the Madripoor disguise of Wolverine, is there shooting darts against a pair of distinguished gentlemen. Moving past Patch in a huff, Archie sits down at a table and asks the waitress, Trish, for his usual. When Trish tells him that he doesn’t have a usual, Archie instructs her to find him one.

Patch, realizing that his friend Archie is in a bad mood, decides to go over to him to find out what is wrong. While he has his back turned, he tosses two darts over his shoulder and gets bull's-eyes with both, much to the astonishment of the gentlemen he was throwing darts with.

As Patch goes to sit down, Archie asks him what he wants. Patch indicates that he’s only there to listen to him, if he wants. Archie proceeds to tell him about his deranged brother. They want him declared incompetent and Archie is the only one that can stop them. The only problem is, he’s not sure he wants to. Doesn’t make any sense to Patch, so Archie continues. Their dad was extremely rich. He started out in Watts and ended up in a San Francisco townhouse until he passed away a couple of years ago.

Trish comes back with Archie’s drink and puts it down in front of him. “Here Archie, you’re usual.” Archie, still annoyed, exclaims “Again??” Trish then asks Patch if he wants anything. Patch responds by saying “Yeah, peace in our time.”

Still confused by Archie‘s tale, Patch him why he’s in such a dump if his dad was loaded. Turns out, Archie’s dad left him $32.00, one for each year of aggravation that he gave to his dad. They had a falling out; details are personal. He left the rest of the money to his flaky brother, Burt, figuring that financial responsibility would “unflake” him - it didn’t work.

Before Patch can ask how Burt is flaky, the gentleman that Patch was throwing darts with challenge him to a rematch, this time double or nothing. Patch informs the gentlemen that they weren’t betting. Triple then, says the gentleman. Patch takes that bet and, as he throws the darts, one after the other, all bull's-eyes, much to the dismay of his opponents, he asks Archie again how Burt is flaky.

Archie informs Patch that Burt is a big movie fan and that sometimes he can’t seem to keep reality straight. When he gets obsessed with a movie, he starts living it. He’s been Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, and the worst - Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Archie also indicates that his late mom’s sister, Ruthie, also got stifled by his dad. Now, she’s trying to become Burt’s guardian so that she can get his money. Knowing this, Burt wrote a letter to him asking for his help and the hearing is in less than a week.

Patch reads the letter aloud “This entire business is ill-timed brother. I am currently occupied with a great struggle against the forces of evil.” Patch responds by saying, “At least somebody is.” Archie is unamused.

Archie and Patch leave the bar and go for a nighttime stroll through the streets of Madripoor. Patch asks Archie what he plans on doing about all of this. Archie is concerned about his brother and, while he may be crazy, he’s no danger to anybody. He then asks Patch why doesn’t he come with him. Patch replies by telling him that it’s because it’s none of his business. Besides it’s not like I left my heart in San Francisco or anything. Archie continues to try and convince Patch to come with him as they pass by the residents of Madripoor, someone passed out, a beautiful lady pick-pocketing her date, and a gang of five standing around. Because you have a way with people, indicates Archie.

Patch seems reluctant as they pass by another bar. In front of them, some guy gets tossed out of the bar. Patch asks the stranger if he’s going to take that abuse. The stranger tells him not a chance and goes back into the bar. As Patch and Archie stand outside the bar watching the fight, Archie continues to try to convince Patch to come with him, maybe he can get through to Burt. Once again, the stranger gets tossed out of the bar. This time his one eye is swollen shut and he has blood coming out of his nose. Patch asks him if he’s ready to go back in for one more round. The stranger tells him in a stammer “Y-You bet.”

Archie then tells Patch that he’s apparently bored and is in desperate need of a change, and besides Patch owes him. Patch, shocked by that last comment, asks Archie what he means. Archie tells him that back when he was involved with Roughhouse and the other guy, Archie didn’t kill him on the plane even though they wanted him to. Patch responds by saying that was a lame reason. Archie replies by saying that he knows it is, but it’s the best he’s got. Please, Patch, he pleads.

Replying that he doesn’t know, Patch calls out to Jessica Drew in the shadows, and asks what she thinks. Surprised, Jessica asks Patch how long he knew that she was there. Ever since she started following them, Jessica, informs Patch. Returning to the conversation, Jessica apologies to Archie, stating that San Francisco used to be her old stomping grounds and she’d love to go if Patch is going.

Realizing that he is pretty much stuck, Patch makes a deal. If the stranger flies through the window, he goes; door, he stays. After a few more moments, the stranger flies through the window. Patch tells the beaten-up stranger that he thought that he had what it took, and to consider their partnership dissolved. Patch is going to San Francisco.

Archie, Jessica, and Patch all board a plane, piloted by Archie, and head out to San Francisco. Archie knows exactly where to fly so they don’t have to go through normal airports or customs. Patch thinks to himself that he set up the Madripoor life to get some time away from the X-Men, away from responsibilities. Now he realizes that he’s starting to get involved with the people he meets in Madripoor and right now he doesn’t need two families. Sooner or later, I might have to make a choice and I’m not sure which way I’ll choose.

In San Francisco, Archie, Jessica, and Patch arrive at Burt’s townhouse. They are led through the palatial estate, decorated with museum artifacts, by Burt’s butler, Jakes. Archie warns them to be ready for anything. Burt could be dressed as anything from Luke Skywalker to a Zulu warrior. They arrive at Burt’s study to find Burt dressed nicely and looking in control of himself. Patch tells Archie that he’s right; Burt does look nasty. He’s prepared though – if Burt points that pen at him, Patch is going to go for his jugular.

Archie introduces his brother to Jessica Drew, a private detective, and Patch. Seeing Patch’s eye-patch, Burt asks him if he is a pirate. No, replies Patch, I sell arrow shirts. Archie then asks Burt what he’s up to; this is very unlike him. Burt shows Archie what he’s up to – it’s a dissertation on ancient cultures. Archie, shocked, asks Burt if he’s not pretending to be someone else. Burt, a little annoyed at this point, tells Archie that he knows who he is, and the he knows who Archie is, so what’s the problem? Archie responds that he can’t see one, and that is what makes him nervous.

Archie, Jessica, and Patch all pile into a cab to go to their hotel. Seems pretty normal to me, Patch says. Archie is still concerned, but Burt has promised him that he will be at the hearing tomorrow morning. Patch seems concerned that maybe they should have stayed with Burt, but Archie disagrees. Jakes can get him to the hearing and, besides, the townhouse has too many bad memories. As they drive away, Burt watches them from his study. He opens up a drawer and pulls out a misshapen glowing stone.

In another section of San Francisco, Jessica Drew walks into an abandoned office. Mail is all over the floor. She thinks to herself that she needs to make a decision soon about where she wants to be. Is she moving back here or is she going to stay in Madripoor? The princes’ support has been very lucrative and the prince himself has been... Better not going on that tangent.

She plows through her mail to find that the rent is a month behind until she is interrupted by a gentleman by the name of Tuttle. He’s a curator for the museum of antiquities and they recently had a problem. Tuttle proceeds to tell Jessica that they have had a major scandal. A couple of days ago, intruders broke into the hotel and tried to steal a very valuable diamond. Only thing is, the one they tried to take was a fake. It wasn’t the museum’s idea to have a fake on display, somebody else got to the diamond and stole it first!!! Not only that, the guard that stumbled upon the intruders swears that they were vampires. He knows it sounds insane.

Jessica tells him that he’d be surprised what sounds insane to her. If they were vampires, the guard wouldn’t be around anymore. Tuttle informs her that, when the intruders attacked, the guard fainted. When he awoke, he had wounds on his neck and there was blood everywhere, but he hadn’t been drained like you see in the movies. He then asks Jessica if she would help him to find the diamond. He’ll provide a picture of the diamond and money. Jessica accepts and will do some poking around. She just doesn’t want his money until she has a clearer idea of what’s happening. Tuttle then thanks Jessica and departs, telling her he will be in touch. As he tips his hat to her, he can’t help but think of what a healthy young woman she is.

The next day, Archie and Patch head down to the San Francisco courthouse where Burt’s hearing is about to take place. Jessica got in late the night before so she hasn’t made it yet. The judge isn’t happy, Burt’s case was to begin at 10:00 a.m. and it’s 10:15 now. This is not the way he likes to begin his day and is starting to get quite annoyed. He asks Burt’s attorney, Mr. Schoenfeld, where Burt is.

Mr. Schoenfeld whispers to Archie that he should have stayed with Burt, but Archie responds that Burt is a grown man; he’s not going to hold his hand. Besides, Jakes told him that, when he got up this morning, Burt was gone. Ruth yells to Archie that he needs to admit it; Burt is crazy and undependable. He should just be put away. Archie responds by accusing Ruth of just wanting to get her claws into Burt’s inheritance. Archie points out that being late is not a federal offense and that Burt will be there.

In the streets of San Francisco, a horse gallops at full speed…

Archie continues to yell at Ruth, asking her if her deadbeat husband has run up his gambling debts again? The judge, getting extremely annoyed, starts to bang his gavel. Ruth responds by with anger that her husband Morris doesn’t gamble anymore. Archie fires back with probably because he was too bombed. Patch sits in the seats, enjoying the show.

…through the streets of San Francisco, past all of the pedestrians.....

Archie and Ruth continue to argue as the judge continues to bang his gavel in disgust. All of a sudden, Patch catches a scent. He yells at everyone to get down!! At that very moment, Burt, dressed like Indiana Jones, comes crashing through the courthouse window on a horse!!!!!!

Archie is in shock, he can’t believe what he’s seeing. Burt thinks that he’s Harrison Ford! As the judge yells at Burt to get off the horse, Burt starts rambling that they don’t understand – there’s evil in the world! The forces of Baal want to create a race of undead and Burt is the only one that can stop them. Patch, sensing something amiss, asks Archie to come over to him. Archie is too busy dealing with Burt, telling him that he’s nuts and that he stood by him when he was Sherlock Holmes and he told him that Moriarty was after him with air guns, but this, Burt needs help.

Burt responds by indicating that he does need help, help against the... Archie tells him that there are no forces of evil, none. At that exact time, a horde of vampires burst through the courthouse window. Patch prepares, thinking to himself that he left Madripoor for this????

Characters Involved: 


Archie Corrigan
Jessica Drew

Tuttle (curator of the museum)
Night watchman (unnamed)

Various vampires (Ernst & Jarocha are the only named ones)

Trish (waitress at the Princess Bar)
Various patrons of the Princess Bar (all unnamed)

Various residents of Madripoor (all unnamed)

Burt Corrigan (Archie’s brother)
Jakes (Burt’s butler)
Ruth (Archie's’ aunt)

Various residents of San Francisco (all unnamed)

Judge (unnamed)
Mr. Schoenfeld (Burt’s attorney)
Ruth’s attorney (unnamed)

Horse (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Archie Corrigan first appeared in Wolverine (2nd Series) #4.

Archie and Patch were on the plane together in Wolverine (2nd Series) #5.

Bloodsport will be known later in this series as Bloodscream.

This is the first part of “The Gehenna Stone Affair” that runs from Wolverine (2nd Series) #11-16.

“I left my heart in San Francisco” is a written by George Cory and Douglas Cross, and first sung by Tony Bennett. Years later, it was re-recorded by Frank Sinatra.

The “other guy” to whom Archie refers is Roughhouse’s partner, Bloodsport.

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