Wolverine (2nd series) #110

Issue Date: 
February 1997
Story Title: 
Lesser Beasts

Tom DeFalco (guest writer), Joe Bennett (guest pencils), Joe Pimentel (guest inks), Richard Starkings/Comicraft/EM (letters), Andreani/Becton (colors), GCW (separations), Bob Harras (editor & chief), cover by Adam Kubert

Brief Description: 

In Canada, Logan is asked to track down two thugs by Shaman. Logan agrees and meets up with the thugs, just as they are threatening the lives of a family who is camping. Before the situation can be defused, a possessed bear arrives and begins to fight Logan. During the struggle, the thugs and the wife and son of the man rush off towards safety, leaving the father behind. Initially, Logan uses his claws in an attempt to take down the bear but eventually he decides that he’s a man and takes down the bear with his fists. Once he does, Shaman does his magic and removes the spirit from the bear. Logan then tracks down the thugs and takes them out with assistance from the man of the family. As the thugs are taken away by the Mounties, Shaman asks Logan how the obviously flawed family keeps going. Logan replies that he doesn’t know and that he asks the same question about himself every day of his life.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere in the mountains of Canada, a lone bear wanders into a cave and, in the hunt of looking for something to eat, opens up a pot. When he does, a spirit exits the pot and enters the bear, driving him mad.

In another location Logan mentions that s’funny how things work out. There ya are, livin’ each day as it comes. Chuggin’ full steam ahead like your entire life was laid out by Lionel. Then, ya make one bad decision, a single moment of carelessness and whammo! Everything’s suddenly changed an’ your life just ain’t the same anymore. But he didn’t come north t’write fortune cookies. Nope, he’s there because of a young sicko by the name of William “Jocko” Jacquomo. Seems he and his buddy, Peter Hale, specialize in convenience stores an’ they’ve left a bloody trail from the Northwest Territories to central Canada.

Inside a convenience store, a young man points his rifle at the shopkeeper and yells at him to give it up. The old man pleads with him to t-take it easy; he can have every cent they have. The young man tells him to add a six pack’a beer but none of that micro-brew baloney. Getting what he wants, the young man leaves the store and opens up fire inside the convenience store. Outside, in the car, his partner asks him, Jocko, what’s wrong with him. The old stiff came through, why shoot up what he’s got left? Hopping into the car, Jocko tells his buddy Petey ‘cause it’s fun and to drive.

On the ridge above, Shaman tells Logan that he’s glad he’s familiar with their quarry. The Mounties found the stolen car they were using about a mile south of the wilderness preserve. They’re assuming those boys are planning to hide in the park until the heat dies down. Logan replies let me get this straight: he wants him to find two yahoos in the middle of a few hundred square miles o’ wild forest. No problem! He then tells Shaman that he can see why he called him, but why’s a big shot medicine man involved in a case like this. Why not leave it to the locals? Shaman responds that a raven came to him in a dream four nights ago. It warned him that one of the great beasts of antiquity had recently awakened and would soon attempt to drown this world in blood.

Taking some bones from his pouch, Shaman drops them on the ground between where he and Logan are seated. As he does, Logan thinks to himself that he’s known Michael Twoyoungmen a long time. They coulda been teammates in an outfit called Alpha Flight but he left before that could happen. He’s never been real comfortable with his magic thing but he’s seen him work it too many times for doubt. And yet, some things bet a comment. Logan then asks Shaman if he usually talks to ravens. Shaman replies why not, he speaks with wolverines. Logan says point taken as they look out into the wilderness before them.

In the woods below, Jocko tells his friend Peter this really stinks. He don’t know why he ever thought it’d work. Peter tells him to k-keep his voice down, t-this jungle could be crawling with Mounties. Jocko says how many times he gotta tell him, it’s a forest, idiot! Peter, scared, replies o-kay, okay. But there’s still wild animals out there. Jocko turns and tells him to pleasssse knock it off, he has nuthin’ t’ worry about. He’s here, ain’t he. When did he ever let him down? Just then, a loud growl is heard resonating through the forest. Peter asks wha-what was that. Jocko quietly says nuthin’, nuthin’ he can’t handle.

Nearby, an SUV driving down the road is stopped by the Mounties. They tell the family inside that they’re sorry, but the camping grounds are presently closed to the public. The man says but he confirmed his reservation only last week. The Mountie tells him that there’s nothing he can do; he has his orders. The man replies he understands and begins to turn the car around. His wife angrily asks “that’s it?” He’s not even going to argue with the man? The man tells her “Catherine, please.” Catherine tells him don’t dare Catherine her, Mr. Bob Totebind and asks him where his backbone is. Her father wouldn’t have given up so easily. Bob tells her that the major isn’t there. Catherine says that, if he were, they wouldn’t have driven all this way for nothing. And poor Alan, their son in the back seat, wouldn’t be cheated of his camping trip because his father’s not man enough to stand up for himself. Bob asks her she still wants to go camping. Fine! They’ll circle around the Mounties. With that, Bob drives the SUV off the road and into the woods.

Inside the forest, it doesn’t take Logan long to spot the trail of the thugs he’s looking for. With a little luck, the punks will be squirmin’ in cuffs before sundown. But his mind keeps driftin’ back to Shaman’s Great Beasts. According to legend, they were supernatural beings that walked the Earth long, long ago and are the inspiration for so many ancient stories about werewolves and vampires. Except the real thing is worse, a lot worse. If a predator like that is walkin’ around, things could get nasty.

Unbeknownst to Logan, deep inside the forest, the possessed bear effortlessly flings another fully grown bear against a tree with one mighty swat of his paw.

In another location of the forest, Catherine complains to her husband, asking him couldn’t he get them any closer to the camp grounds? The nearest bathroom must be miles away. Attempting to set up the tent, Bob begins to tell her that they would have gotten caught if he’d… Just then, he smacks his thumb with the hammer he is using to drive the tent post into the ground. Hearing her husband call out in pain, Catherine asks him must he always be so clumsy. Her father never had trouble pitching the tent. Taking a moment from playing his handheld video game, their son Alan, asks his mom if she can give his dad a break. Just then, Jocko and Pete emerge through a clearing in the forest carrying rifles. Jocko tells Catherine the kid’s got a point. Do them all a favor an’ shut up!

There are forces that exist beyond the perception of man. Malevolent entities that were old when the land was virgin, untouched by humankind’s taint. Few know of their presence, fewer still can decry them. Inside a cave, Shaman, studies the drawings on the wall. He thinks to himself that the mystic energies that drew him there are strongest there. These cave drawings appear to be representations of a great spirit that preyed upon lesser beasts such as men.

He remembers, as a child, his grandfather gathering the sacred tribe’s young around the hearth passing on the legends of such creatures as his grandfather had before. He thought him a superstitious old man, they all did. And how he wishes, at this moment, that they had been right for such spirits are far more powerful than any weapon the science of the white man can devise. Looking at the pieces of the cracked pot on the ground, he determines that if he has read the signs of the terrain correctly, the being should be bound there. Just then, he realizes that it has already been freed which means anyone in the vicinity is in peril.

Back at the campground, Peter tells Catherine to t-turn over the keys to the jeep, their cash and food and nobody gets hurt. Jocko tells him not to make any promises he won’t keep. Bob quietly tells them that they don’t want any trouble. Hearing that, Catherine berates Bob and asks him is he crazy – do something. These lunatics won’t let them go, they’ve seen their faces. Jocko tells her she watches too much television. The law already knows who they are. But she’s a real spitfire and he likes that in a babe.

At that moment, Logan appears and tells Jocko that his dating preferences ain’t exactly their highest priority. He tells them to try to go through the next few minutes with a minimum of fuss and bloodshed. Drop the guns and move away from the people real quick like, they don’t want to test his patience. Jocko turns, points his rifle at Logan, and asks him why he should listen to a sawed-off runt in a stupid Halloween costume. He’s the man holding the rifle. Logan tells him he’s impressed and pops his claws. When he does, he tells him last chance. Lower the weapon or take a ride on the meat wagon.

Peter points out to Jocko that the claws came right out of his arm. H-he’s some kind of freak, a mutie. Raising his rifle, Jocko says that it don’t matter to his baby. She’ll plant on him a third eye and they’ll spit on his corpse.

At that moment, the monstrous possessed bear arrives and lets out a primal growl. Peter sees it and says to Jocko that they got another problem. Turning to see the bear, Logan thinks to himself that the kid’s got a gift for understatement. But he an’ his pal are in the clear. The overgrown furball’s only got eyes for him. On some instinctive level, he realizes he’s his only real competition. He’s anxious to stake his turf but it’s more than that. His scent’s off. This ain’t just an angry grizzly bear, there’s evil in this here animal. Jocko yells out the jeep, head for the jeep.

Running towards the car, Peter tells Catherine and the kid to run to the jeep. Bob asks what about the costumed guy. They can’t just abandon him to that… that monster. As he runs by him, Jocko tells him that if wants to lend ‘im a helpin’ hand, be his guest. The rest of them are blowin’ exhaust. As the jeep takes off, Bob says he’s only an accountant.

While Logan and the grizzly bear start their vicious brawl, Logan thinks to himself that, on one level, he’s throwing down against a couple o’ tons o’ savage grizzly. One careless mistake, the slightest miscalculation and he’ll shred him like a bloody old rag. And even his mutant healing factor has limits. On another level, he’s facin’ off against a primal force o’ nature that caused ancient man to cower in his cave until he somehow found the courage to lash out at the unknown and challenge the unconquerable. No matter how terrifyin’ the consequences.

During their fight, Bob picks up a tent pole and smacks the bear with it as hard as he can. Annoyed, the bear swats him with his paw, sending him skyward. When he lands, Shaman rushes over towards him and asks him if he’s all right. Bob replies that it f-feels like he cracked a rib or two but he guesses he’ll live. Shaman tells him that he took an awful risk and that he’s certain his friend will thank him if the opportunity presents itself. Sitting up, Bob asks Shaman if h-he thinks he has a chance. Shaman says that if he can stun the beast, even momentarily, he can do the rest. But he fears that the great beast is not the only monster he fights.

Continuing to hack and slash away at the grizzly, Logan thinks to himself that beneath the creature’s ear-piercing growls the tauntin’ subtext is all too clear. To beat him, he has to go beyond his own pitiless fury, beyond his untamed capacity for animal violence. No problem.

In the jeep, Jocko yells out, asking where the freakin’ road is. He knows it’s gotta be around there somewhere an…. Just then, he crashes the jeep headfirst into a tree.

Continuing his fight against the bear, Logan thinks to himself that s’funny how things work out. One minute you’re livin’ each day as it comes. Chuggin’ full steam ahead. And then, a single moment of carelessness starts ya down the road to a really bad decision. Shaman yells out to him that he need only stun the bear. That will allow him the chance to exorcise the spirit. Logan hears his friend callin’ out to him but he’s too far gone to listen.

Ever since he mutated into his current state, he’s been slowly clawin’ back his humanity, one precious inch at a time. Thanks to the love an’ support of his friends (Elektra) and the occasional boot in the butt (Stick) he’s been makin’ real progress. But he still hears the siren call o’ the beast and this time he’s talkin’ about his own private monster, the wild things that lives in the darkest recesses o’ his soul. He’s like a recoverin’ alcoholic. Trying to avoid that first fatal drink. And yet, why shouldn’t he surrender to the rage searing within him? If it means savin’ innocent people? Everyone stumbles eventually. Even the best o’ men (Professor Charles Xavier). Logan tells himself no! He’s fought too hard and sacrificed too much.

Putting his claws away, he starts to pound on the grizzly with his fists. As he does, he thinks to himself that his humanity is too precious to surrender to any wild beast. He’s a man! A man! And it’s time for the wild things to return to the caves and cower in the darkness. With one final blow, Logan knocks the bear down and stuns him. Immediately, Shaman heads over to the bear. When he does, he cuts his eyes towards Logan and a momentarily smile dances in them. He quickly assumes his position and then guttural sounds knit themselves in a haunting rhythm as a long-dead language spills from his lips. And then, almost an eternity later, the bear whimpers, freed from the unholy presence. As the bear rumbles off into the forest, Shaman tells Logan that he did well. Most would have destroyed the vessel to reach the prize. Logan replies yeah, he’s a real brick. But he still has him a date with a pair’a punks.

Over at the wrecked jeep, Jocko kicks it and says it’s no use, the piece o’ junk is totaled. Peter tells him to forget it. They oughta ditch the hostages and kick heel before that bear thing catches up to them. Catherine asks them that they’d leave them there, to face that monster alone? What kind of men are they? It’s bad enough they left her poor husband to die but Alan is only a child. Jamming his rifle under Catherine’s chin, Jocko tells her not to dare question his manhood. Another word and he’ll do her right there.

Alan yells at him to leave her alone and throws his handheld video game at him, bouncing it off his nose. Peter points his gun at Alan’s head and tells him dumb move, his man Jocko’s got a real temper on him. Alan replies that he don’t scare him. If they were half as tough as they claim, they wouldn’t have run out on his dad. Jocko tells Peter that he’s had enough of their garbage and to cap ‘em both. Peter asks if he’s serious, th-the woman and the kid? Catherine cries out no, please don’t!

Just then, Logan arrives, places his fist under Peter’s chin, pops his two outer claws, and tells him to listen to the lady. When Peter drops to his knees and drops his gun, Logan tells him that he’s so glad to see they understand each other. Jocko raises his rifle and yells out understand this mutie, you’re pulp! At that moment, Bob cracks him on the back of his head with a stick and tells him he thinks not. Nobody threatens his wife and son.

As the Mounties take Jocko and Peter into custody, Shaman tells Logan that they have helped avert several tragedies today. Seeing the Totebind family continue to argue, he adds that it is a pity that the family still has many problems. He asks Logan how he thinks they keep going. Logan replies don’t know. He asks the same question about himself, every day o’ his life.

Characters Involved: 


Shaman/Michael Twoyoungmen (member of Alpha Flight)

William “Jocko” Jacquomo and his accomplice Peter Hale (thugs terrorizing convenience stores in Canada)

Bob, Catherine, and Alan Totebind (family vacationing in the Canadian forest)

Various convenience store personnel and patrons (all unnamed)

Canadian Mounties (unnamed)

A bear possessed by an evil spirit

In Logan’s memories:



Professor Charles Xavier

Story Notes: 

Logan joined the X-Men before he could become a full-time member of Alpha Flight back in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

Elektra helped Logan get back on the path to being more human between Wolverine (2nd series) #101-106.

Stick helped him on his trek back in Wolverine (2nd series) #105.

Professor Charles Xavier making a mistake, in this instance, is when he became Onslaught.

Issue Information: 
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