Wolverine (2nd series) #137

Issue Date: 
April 1999
Story Title: 
Countdown to Destruction

Erik Larsen (writer), Jeff Matsuda (penciler), Jonathan Sibal (inker), Mark Bernardo (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Oscar (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Aboard Prison World, Logan plays a cat and mouse game with Torgo, Raza, and Corsair. Eventually, Logan rescues Aria from her captors and they make their way to the main power grid. After a brief battle with a large rock-like alien, Logan is able to shut down the power, freeing the prisoners from their cells. Once they are free, the prisoners begin to riot, much to the dismay of Torgo. Making his way to the hangar, Logan is confronted by the Starjammers, primarily Corsair and Raza, as some of the inmates escape the world in a spaceship. During their struggle, the planet begins to break apart around them. Corsair then tells Logan what is happening. Prison World was a refuge for aliens whose races were on the verge of extinction. With their defense systems now down, nothing can protect them from Galactus. Just then, the massive form of Galactus appears before Logan.

Full Summary: 

Prison World – a world not our own, a world in terror. Not for the first time, cell doors clang open in the dead of night. Inmates are violently roused from their slumber. Possessions carefully examined. Tempers flare and are pushed to the breaking point but for the most part, it is fear that reigns supreme there tonight. For the thousands upon thousands of inmates subjected to what is clearly more than just a routine search, it is fear of punishment. For the guards conducting the search, however, it is something far worse. It is fear of the unknown.

Running over to Torgo, a guard informs him that they’ve concluded their search and they’ve found nothing. Flanked by Corsair and Raza, Torgo tells him to begin searching the outside cellblocks and that he wants everyone available on the job, every last resource exhausted. Wolverine must be found! Corsair tells him that he told him he wouldn’t be down there, he’s not stupid. He adds that Wolverine didn’t come all the way there from earth to play hide and seek. The little scrapper is already gone. They need to accept that and shift their focus to stop him from carrying out his objective to free everyone in the cells.

Torgo tells the guard to move out and to search cell-block eighteen. Done with barking out orders for the time being, he tells Corsair to understand that he and the Starjammers have only been freed because the Collector accepted his offer to help stop Wolverine. However, if he continues to take such an insolent tone with him, he will not hesitate to lock him up with the other prisoners. Corsair replies that working with scum like him is about as appealing as a three-week vacation to the Brood home world and he’s sure he’s not crazy about him either. But they need to put their differences aside and get down to business, they’re not going to find Wolverine like this.

Torgo asks him is that so. Raza informs Torgo that the Starjammers have dealt with Wolverine many times in the past. They know him to be a sly opponent. That’s why they offered their assistance when they learned of the danger facing his world. In fact, there was a time… Torgo cuts him off and tells Raza that he’s made his point. He yields to his superior knowledge of their quarry. He then asks Corsair where they should focus their search. Corsair thinks for a second and then says that, first, he’d have to ask what happened to the girl who brought Wolverine there. The two of them must have some kind of plan. His guess is that if they want to find Wolverine, they’ll need to start with her.

In another room located on Prison World, one of the guards points out to Aria that this is an interesting reversal of fortunes. Many comrades of theirs she has sent to death, now in their hands her fate is. Aria tells him, Millie, to bray all he wishes, she has done nothing to be ashamed of. From an air-duct up above, Logan looks down and thinks to himself that this doesn’t look good. He was expectin’ Aria t’ be guarded, but he didn’t count on a whole blamed goon squad loungin’ around her cell. He’s gotta try to get her attention so he can…

His thought process is then cut off when Millie yells at Aria nothing, everything she has done. Not know she wants she has… Just then, Millie is cut off by the sound of Torgo’s voice on his radio. Millie informs Torgo that he is in the prisoner’s cell and there is no sign of the terran accomplice. Torgo orders him to hold his position as he will be there momentarily. He also tells him that no one is to leave or enter the cell. Millie replies that they will hold the position. Once he is off the transmitter with Torgo, he complains that this is a wasted effort. So much trouble over a single terran, how dangerous could he be?

Dropping down from the air-duct, Logan states that if that isn’t his cue, he doesn’t know what is. He then tells the guard that he’s been wonderin’ the same thing. Pulling out his gun, Millie shoots and misses and calls out that it’s him. Popping his claws, Logan tells him live an’ in person salad-head. He adds that he can’t say he’s takin’ by his hospitality or his accommodations. The girl’s a friend of his and he doesn’t care for th’ way he’s been treatin’ her. So he’s thinkin’ they find out just how dangerous one guy can be. Winner takes all, losers take a dirt nap.

Logan immediately leaps into action and slashes one of the guards. As he does, he tells Aria that he’s comin’ right at him so why doesn’t she put a whammy on him and climb into his head like she did his. Catching the guard’s gun out of mid-air, Aria tells Logan that she’s sorry, but that would be impossible at this point. She’s been fitted with a power inhibitor. It’s preventing her from mentally taking over anybody’s body. Until it’s removed, the only form she has control over is her own. When Millie attempts to run off and alert the others, Logan takes him out with an arm shot to his neck and tells him to hold it right there cabbage-head. The only way he’s gettin’ outta there is on a stretcher or a slab.

With the guards neutralized, Aria says to Logan that they did it, they defeated them all, they make a great team. Logan asks her if that’s the case, then what was the big idea o’ leavin’ him ta fend for himself on the cockamamie planet. Not his idea o’ teamwork. Aria informed him that once Torgo intervened, it couldn’t be helped. After she’d been captured and affixed with this inhibitor, she had not choice but to wait for him to find her. The important thing is that they’re together now.

Logan tells her not to get all mushy on him just yet, they still got half the installation lookin’ for him. Aria responds by telling him that they should be on their way long before they trace them to this cell. Shooting the door, she destroys the locking mechanism. With any luck, Torgo will believe they’re still traveling the corridors while they exit through the same system of ducts he used to reach her. Once they reach the upper levels, they’ll chart a path to the main power grid. Logan tells her that it sounds like a plan and that she’s a woman after his own heart.

In short time, Torgo, Raza, Corsair and an Ovoid alien arrive in the cell where Aria had been kept. Torgo points out that they’re gone and that they shouldn’t waste any further time there. If they’ve eluded them, then they should redirect their search to the corridors where… He is cut off by Raza, who informs him that Wolverine’s too careful to be caught roaming the halls. Looking towards the ceiling, he says that they must have escaped into the air ducts.

Corsair comments that it’s stupid. Why anybody installs ducts big enough for a man, even a small man like Wolverine is beyond him. Chances are they’ve put a pretty significant amount of distance between them in a fairly short amount of time. He then asks Torgo that from what he’s told him about Aria, her plan is to free everyone in the cellblocks below involved shutting down the planet’s security systems. Where would she go to do that?

At the main power grid in another location of Prison World, Logan says to Aria that shuttin’ down the grid will allow the prisoners who’ve done nothing wrong but suck air in an’ out of their pie-holes to escape – beauty. This ought to be a hoot an’ a half. He then asks her if she has any idea how they actually shut the blamed thing off or are they just gonna play this one by ear. Aria informs him there are four breakers and they must be closed down in a specific order. Begin with the one farthest to his left, then switch off the second breaker from the right. After that will be the second from the left and finally, the one farthest to the right.

Logan replies right and asks that he doesn’t have ta do this blindfolded or anything, does he. Aria tells him it’s really quite simple. Getting there was the hard part. She then tells him to hurry as she will stand guard. Giving him a kiss on his cheek, she thanks him for everything. Standing guard, Aria thinks to herself that it’s amazing to think that she’s waited so long for this moment, but now that it’s actually coming to pass, why does she suddenly feel so uncomfortably nervous?

Walking over to the breakers, Logan mentions that the four breakers sure look a heck of a lot like five. He reckons Aria’d be as surprised as him so there’s probably not much point in hoppin’ back there to run through the closing sequence with her again. He figures that he might as well run through it the way she told him ‘n just disregard the last one. If that causes a problem, he switches ‘em back on and tries again. Flipping one of the breakers, he thinks aloud that doing that didn’t sound like it did much. He’ll have ta ask Aria if she knows exactly what happens after it turns off.

Just then, a voice from behind him tells him that worrying thus will avail him naught. What happens to his pitiable soul after it is separated from this mortal coil should be of far greater concern. Turning around, Logan is surprised by the sight of a gigantic rock-like creature. The creature tells him to prepare to die at the hands of Uroc the Invincible. With that, Uroc takes a swipe at Logan who is able to dodge it. As he does, Logan thinks to himself wonderful. The guy’s swingin’ so wild he’s liable to knock them both offa the bridge. He then wonders how he got the drop on him anyway; he thought Aria was keeping watch.

Leaping towards Uroc, Logan asks him that if he wanted a fight, he’s about to get his wish. He asks him what happened to Aria and proceeds to slash away at Uroc with his right claws. When he does, they shatter like twigs against Uroc’s hide. The pain’s almost unbearable but he’s gotta keep at it. Even after all this time, he’s still fightin’ like he’s packin’ his adamantium. As it is, his bone claws are next to useless against this foe. Dodging Uroc’s attacks, he realizes that his best bet, for now, is ta exercise the better part o’ valor, or good sense, and make a run for it. If he can at least get the fight off the flamin’ bridge, he might be able ta…

Before he can get completely off the bridge, Uroc calls him an insignificant gnat and proceeds to punch the bridge. When he does, the bridge breaks apart underneath him and he begins to fall. At the last second, Logan is able to grasp hold of the wall and starts to climb his way up it. As he does, mini explosions happen around him. Logan figures that either the whole place is goin’ nuts or he managed to shut down the flamin’ grid after all. All the more reason ta beat it outta there. Looking up t, he thinks to himself that if that’s what he thinks it is, he might be goin’ about this all the wrong way.

Elsewhere within the facility, violence erupts as prisoners realize their cells are open and take to the corridors to claim their freedom. Watching the damage, Torgo mentions that Wolverine has succeeded where so many others have failed. They need to secure the hangars, the captives outnumber them a hundred to one. He adds that it is vitally important that no one depart from the planet. Their presence must not be known, not now. He tells his guards to use whatever means necessary to stop them. He then calls the prisoners fools. If they had even the smallest inkling of the danger they all face as the result of the earthling’s meddling, all of them would be on their knees pleading for the Collector’s protection.

As a ship takes off past the main power grid piloted by an insect looking alien, it is shocked when a stow-away drops in – Wolverine. Logan tells him that he hopes he doesn’t mind him droppin’ in and tells him that he’s harmless, mostly. Logan then says to him to turn the ship towards the hangar bay and they’ll get along just fine. Once they reach the hangar bay, Logan witnesses the chaos and says that he didn’t even stop ta consider that everyone would be in such a hurry ta get off this rock that it’d turn into a full-scale riot. Findin’ Aria’s gonna be like lookin’ fer maggots in a bag o’ rice.

When a blast hits the ship, Logan tells the alien sorry and that it looks like givin’ him a lift might not have been such a good idea after all. As the ship blows up, the alien saves him from falling to the ground. Once on the ground, Logan thanks him and recommends that he take off before he gets in any more trouble because of him. When the alien flies off, Logan wonders where the shot came from. Most o’ the inmates seem more concerned with makin’ the jump off-world than takin’ potshots at him. He’d probably be of more use tryin’ ta help ‘em than… Just then, he stops mid-thought as he begins to pick up a whole mess o’ familiar scents. Before he can turn around, he is cracked in the back of the head.

Once Logan is able to turn around, he comes face to face with Raza, Hepzibah and Ch’od and wonders what the heck the Starjammers are doin’ in the middle o’ this mess. He then asks them why they are givin’ him grief. Raza informs him that it is most unfortunate that their paths must cross this way but they’ve come to prevent him from making a grave mistake. This girl Aria, who has led him there, she doesn’t know what’s going on there. The Collector is protecting the aliens. Logan tells him that he can save the speech, he’s heard this line of bull before and he knows that the folks who spew it are fighting on the wrong side. There’s no getting around the fact that these aliens have done nothin’ wrong an’ that the creeps holdin’ them there are as dirty as the day is long. With that, he proceeds to kick Raza in the chest.

Falling to the ground, Raza tells him that he doesn’t understand. Logan informs him that the way he sees it, it’s him that’s havin’ problems connectin’ all the dots, he smells a rat. From amidst the smoke, Logan sees Aria who calls out to him to stop. Momentarily distracted, Logan is punched in the face by Raza. Across the platform, Corsair holds Aria hostage. While he does, he suggests to Logan that they stop before he’s forced to do something drastic. Logan angrily calls out Corsair’s name and says that it figures he couldn’t be far. It seems to him taking a helpless girl like Aria hostage is somethin’ drastic. He then asks him since when did he get his strings pulled by trash like the Collector. What does he say he lets the little lady go before he’s forced to make some radical alterations to his anatomy?

At that moment, the place begins to fall apart and large chunks of concrete fall from the ceiling, narrowly missing Logan, Corsair and Aria. In the midst of all the commotion, Aria is able to break free of Corsair’s grasp and takes off running. Corsair points his gun at her, tells her to stop, and adds that after all the trouble she’s caused, he wouldn’t regret pulling the trigger. Punching him in the back, Logan tells him thanks for clearin’ that up, it makes it a lot easier fer him to do this. Corsair calls him an idiot and tells him that they should be helping each other. Logan says ordinarily, he wouldn’t disagree but seems ta him he ‘n his merry band o’ mercenaries picked the wrong side this time out.

When another tremor occurs, Logan wonders aloud what is going on. Corsair says that it’s all happening so fast, just like the Collector warned them. When he, Logan, shut down the main grid, he did more than simply free everyone from the cells. The planet was indestructible before, but now, without the power from the main core, he’s made it possible for outsiders to locate the world. Logan asks what’s wrong with that, seems to him that’s a good thing.

Corsair says to him that he still doesn’t get it, does he? Aria must’ve talked a pretty good game to get him involved in her crusade. But she obviously didn’t tell him and perhaps she didn’t know that the entire planet was constructed with the express purpose of protecting all the aliens held there in an effort to prevent their species from becoming extinct. Prison World is a refuge for endangered alien species. Logan asks protect them? Protect them from what? Corsair tells him from the planet devouring menace called Galactus! Just then, the immense form of Galactus appears before Wolverine.

Characters Involved: 


Ch’od, Corsair, Hepzibah, and Raza (all Starjammers)

Aria (alien with the ability to jump bodies)



Various aliens aboard Prison World (Ovoids and various other unidentifiable races) (Millie and Uroc the Invincible are the only ones named)

Story Notes: 

Aria brought Wolverine to Prison World in Wolverine (2nd series) #135.

Aria and Wolverine were separated from each other in Wolverine (2nd series) #136.

In this issue, Wolverine’s bone claws are broken for the third time. The first time by Cyber in Wolverine (2nd series) #79 and the second by Sabretooth in Wolverine (2nd series) #126.

Issue Information: 
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