Wolverine (2nd series) #129

Issue Date: 
October 1998
Story Title: 
Survival of the Fittest Part One – Whatever it Takes….

Todd Dezago (story), Leinil Francis Yu (pencils), Edgar Tadeo (inks), Jason Wright (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft/EM (lettering), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

In the Canadian woods, Logan makes his way to the old Weapon X facility to discover the edge that he has lost. While exploring the facility, he is brutally attacked by the Wendigo. While Logan is able to get some licks in, the Wendigo treats him like a rag-doll. Eventually, Logan makes his way into a basement where he tries to patch himself up. Shortly thereafter, he tries to run the Wendigo over with a Hummer but that proves to be futile as it is tipped over by the gargantuan creature. Facing off against his adversary, Logan is caught in a massive bear-hug. Using all he has left, Logan takes what claws he has left and jams them into the Wendigo’s eyes, causing him to rush off in pain. Unfortunately, Logan isn’t that lucky, as he blacks out from the severe beating he has endured.

Full Summary: 

Way I see it, there’s two kindsa o’ people. There’s the kind that sit in their living rooms and turn on the Discovery Channel cause they want to learn about nature and five minutes later are appalled. Yellin’ at their TV’s, tellin’ the film crew to put down their cameras and save the poor zebra from the cheetah or hyenas. And then there’s the other kind, the ones who understand and accept. The ones who know that that is nature and that it’s all around us. That somewhere in the world, every second of every day that same story is bein’ played out. Like on the plains of Africa where a cheetah attacks a zebra or on the streets of any city where a thug attacks an unsuspecting man at the cash machine with a pipe. The brutal cycle of nature, the predator and the prey – animals doing whatever it takes to survive.

In the woods of Canada, Wolverine, wearing his blue and yellow uniform, thinks to himself that the few friends he has call him Logan. He considers himself one o’ the former – the predator, the hunter; the best there was at what he does – but sometimes, he’s given reason to doubt that. He’s been runnin’ for hours now, tearin’ up the North Canadian woods, usin’ the run to clear his head. So much has gone down in the last week or so. Things that got him, fer once, really questionin’ whether he still got what it takes and where alla these recent events leave him. Payment on a debt o’ honor. His marriage to the duplicitous Viper’s left him in too many compromisin’ positions and created tension between him an’ the only people that he calls “family” – the X-Men.

But the worst development is Sabretooth! His old “army buddy” Sabretooth is a mutant, jus’ like him. A freak, genetically blessed with incredibly acute hyper-senses and a non-stop healing factor. The thing that separates them is that he’s a cold-hearted killer. When they would throw down, he’d hafta use every advantage to take him out but now, every advantage he had, he has. Namely, adamantium.

Years ago, ‘cause o’ his healing factor, he was a candidate for an experimental process funded by an off-shoot of the Canadian military called Department H. It was called the Weapon X program. Through months o’ agonizin’ pain, they were able to lace his skeleton with unbreakable adamantium, makin’ him near invulnerable. But, awhile ago, it was taken from him and now he, Sabretooth, has it. The last time they mixed it, he broke his claws, snapped off the razor-sharp protrusions of bone that he can extend from the back o’ his hands. Now he’s without the adamantium, without the claws, without the edge.

Reaching his destination, he guesses that’s it. What brought him all the way up there. Though those’re just parts o’ him, things that gave him and advantage. He’s wonderin’ if without ‘em, he’s got the chops to do what he gotta do anymore. Or is there some kinda stupid irony there that the Weapon X facility is all abandoned and overgrown? He hasn’t been up there in years an’ it feels like yesterday. Pokin’ around there, where it all started’ll get him in a better head for what he has to do – help him find the weapon he used t’be.

A dozen miles to the north, a huge, lurching shadow detaches itself from the dark and dense vegetation of these deep Canadian woods. It lumbers through the forest, its thundering gait uprooting trees that have stood a hundred years. The errant swing of its limbs splintering tree trunks and tearing out branches the size of a man’s leg. But suddenly, a shift in the wind brings a familiar scent. The creature immediately calls out WEN-DI-GO! Filling with rage, the creature hunts through the thick underbrush, fueled by anger and a dim, muddy memory. It is the Wendigo and it has smelled its enemy.

At the Weapon X facility, Wolverine thinks to himself that gettin’ over the fence was nothin’ but he’s sure Department H hasn’t left this place unprotected. The place is still wired, he can hear it. An’ while he remembers this bein’ the area of easiest access, he still has to go through the lasers t’get t’the door. They got motion detectors on the lasers an’ those are the kind that’ll cut ya in half soon as look at ya. He has to make sure that he sees ‘em all, line ‘em up an’ do it.

In short time, Logan has made it past the lasers. Free of their sight, he realizes that he hesitated there for a second and wonders what that’s about. Has Sabretooth got him so rattled that now he’s even questionin’ the things he’s been trained for? Things he’s been doin’ all his life? He decides enough o’ that – that ain’t him! At the door, Logan thinks that usually he’d go after the lock with one o’ his claws but they haven’t grown back to full length yet. Using a pick, he opens the door and makes his way inside.

Inside the facility, Logan laments to himself who says ya can’t go home again? The place looks so familiar, an’ yet he really don’t remember much o’ his time there. Memories are foggy, like they happened in a dream. What they did t’ him. Usin’ all sorts o’ medication an’ mind-control. They went lookin’ fer his feral side, strippin’ away every bit o’ the man he was. Leavin’ nothin’ left but the animal inside – primal, savage. While he was in a state o’ constant bloodlust, they studied him, tested him, tried t’ find a way t’ control him an’ make him inta their perfect livin’ weapon. But like with all weapons, it backfired and he attacked his “creators.” He ain’t nobody’s weapon ‘cept his own.

Looking around in a laboratory, Logan sees the coolin’ tank where they pumped him fulla the adamantium. Is that where Wolverine was born? An’ has he just been jerkin’ himself around thinkin’ that he can still be that without th’ metal? Without th… Just then, Logan stops in his tracks, sniffs the air and senses the vibrations. The air’s thick, musty but he recognizes… Comin’ fast, how’d it get so close?

Just then, the Wendigo crashes through the wall. Logan senses that he’s mad and that it remembers him. He also has to move, it’s right on top of him. With a swat of its powerful arm, the Wendigo slams Logan against the wall. Picking himself up off the floor, Logan knows that he has to go evasive and that there’s no way he can go head-to-head with him, not now. Not without his claws. Before he can move, the Wendigo uses his razor-sharp claws to slash at Logan and in the process tears his back open.

After the initial shock, Logan leaps towards the Wendigo and determines that he’s gotta do somethin’ t’ stop him ‘fore the monster tears him t’ ribbons. Leaping on the monstrous creature, Logan drives his fists into the Wendigo’s neck. As he does, he wonders how it even got there. He thought he put an end t’ the Wendigo awhile ago. Obviously that didn’t take. But there’s somethin’ different about it this time, maybe somethin’ he can… The Wendigo responds by smacking him up against the wall again. As he smacks hard against the wall, Logan feels that his back’s on fire and thinks to himself that this ain’t goin’ well. Preparing himself for another attack from the Wendigo, he tries hard to think about what’s different.

Several provinces away, at Department H command, a soldier informs his superior that he’s registering serious activity in sector 8 of the old Weapon X facility. His superior informs him to continue monitoring and scan for known bio-signatures. Just then, the Wendigo crashes through the wall, taking Logan with him. In shock, the soldier informs his superior that he thinks they have identification.

Outside the facility, Logan thinks to himself that the Wendigo was born outta Indian legend, an ancient shaman’s curse upon any man who tasted human flesh. Translation: some Hannibal Lechter wannabe or some starvin’ camper lost in the wilderness cannibal, he gets possessed by the spirit of the Wendigo. Same spirit, different body. Not that that’s doin’ him much good now, he’s still a sittin’ duck out there in the open. As the lasers fire upon them, Logan determines that he’s gotta time the Wendigo’s lunge and get up an’ over an’ stay outta the way o’ those ginsu knives its got fer… At first, the plan works but it goes horribly wrong when the Wendigo jams his fist in Logan’s gut. Riding the momentum, Logan crashes through a basement window, safe for now.

Bleeding profusely, Logan realizes that he’s been torn open, it practically eviscerated him. It ripped through the abdominal and mesentery can feel his guts tryin’ to push themselves out. He has to hold ‘em in as his mutant healin’ factor’s gonna have a tough time with this one. Using a Canadian national flag, Logan begins to patch himself together. While he does he thinks about the Wendigo. The first guy who was the Wendigo was Paul Cartier, a trapper. He went up against him that time he fought the Hulk for the first time. Cartier was saved though when the curse was transferred to his friend, Georges Baptiste who gave him an’ Alpha Flight a work-out some time back. It was the Flight’s resident medicine man, Shaman, who was able t’ cure Baptiste, purgin’ him o’ the evil spirit. Even though this ain’t the same monster, th’ Wendigo spirit still seems t’have a serious mad-on for him. He wonders what he has to throw back. No adamantium, claws are useless, he’s in no condition t’ be dancin’ with th’ thing. He’s gotta find somethin’…

Moments later, Logan surprises the Wendigo by crashing through the door driving a Hummer. As he does, he hopes that he can do some damage with it an’ hope that these Hummers are as indestructible as they make ‘em out t’ be in the movies. As he starts to drive away, the Wendigo leaps on the roof of the Hummer, causing it to tip over. As it flips over, Logan thinks to himself to not believe everything ya see in th’ movies. Crawling from the burning wreckage, it’s just about then that it hits him what he’s become. None o’ the stuff he came there t’ find, somethin’ much simpler than that, more primal.

Suddenly, Logan realizes that he ain’t the hunter anymore; he’s not the predator, he’s the prey. That exact thought gets him movin’ but not fast enough. At that moment, the Wendigo grabs Logan in a massive bear-hug. In severe pain, Logan notices that th’ whole world is dancin’ in front o’ his eyes an he doesn’t hear nothin’ but the sounds of bones breakin’. All he’s thinkin’ is he’s the prey, the prey. An’ he’s gotta do whatever it takes – desperate – use anything – even if they’re short – dulled – nubs o’ bone.

Popping his claws, Logan uses the last bit of his energy to jam his claw nubs into the Wendigo’s eyes. He drives them deep, gougin’ at its eyes, carvin’ red runnels across its contoured face. Grabbing at its eyes, the Wendigo cries out in pain and drops Logan. Half-blind, it runs off into the woods. With his spine exposed, his guts in his arms, busted bones – he doesn’t make it as far and collapses in a heap.

Characters Involved: 



Department H personnel (unnamed)

In Logan’s memories:


Jean Grey, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde (all X-Men)


Logan (back when he first got his adamantium)

Various Weapon X personnel (all unnamed)

Doctor Cornelius

Incredible Hulk

Various members of Alpha Flight, including Shaman

Story Notes: 

The Discovery Channel is a popular television channel primarily known for showing documentary style footage about history, nature, and other subjects.

Logan had to deal with his marriage to Viper and the tension it caused between him and many of his fellow female X-Men in Wolverine (2nd series) #125-128.

Wolverine had the adamantium ripped out of him by Magneto in X-Men (2nd series) #25.

Sabretooth broke Logan’s claws back in Wolverine (2nd series) #126.

Hannibal Lechter was a character made famous by Anthony Hopkins in the Silence of the Lambs films. His last name is actually spelled Lecter.

Logan first faced Paul Cartier as the Wendigo back in Incredible Hulk (1st series) #180-181. He, along with Nightcrawler and Alpha Flight faced Georges Baptiste as the Wendigo in Uncanny X-Men #139-140.

Issue Information: 
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