Wolverine (2nd series) #139

Issue Date: 
June 1999
Story Title: 
The Freaks Come Out at Night

Erik Larsen (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Joe Rosas (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief), Leinil Francis Yu (cover art)

Brief Description: 

In Hardcase’s bar, Logan is attempting to reconcile with the death of Aria when Cable arrives to check up on him. Before they can talk for long, one of Hardcase’s Harriers, Longbow, flies through the window, injured. Logan and Cable give chase to her attacker and run into a large lobster-like creature. After tangling with him for a while, he is taken away by a helicopter. Before it takes off, Cable is able to shoot it wish his weapon. Later on, the duo discovers the wreckage and is attacked by other genetic anomalies. Shortly thereafter, they are engulfed by a being and are brought up into the air. Once there, they meet the cause of the anomalies – Arnim Zola. After a brief struggle, Arnim lets them go and they fall to the ground below. Cable is able to stop their plummet using his telekinesis and they talk about what has happened. They deduce that they will never learn what has happened and, with that, they head out to a diner to talk about what is going on in their lives. Up in Arnim’s ship, he informs his captive, Viper, that he has an old acquaintance of his that would be interested in her.

Full Summary: 

Sitting at a bar nursing a drink, Logan thinks to himself wouldn’t ya know that he’d find himself back at Hardcase’s. A fellow can only spend so many hours apologizing to an old friend that he hurt. Now he’s back to where the whole mess started. This is the joint that Carol Danvers an’ he were kickin’ back a few before he got possessed by an alien woman named Aria an’ forced to fight a mess o’ good guys as a test o’ his abilities, Carol included. Wasn’t long after that he got whisked off inta space ta save a planetload o’ imprisoned aliens only ta watch the place wind up as the main course on Galactus’ dinner menu. They were able to save thousands o’ lives, but not without a cost. Aria sacrificed herself for her friends. Needless ta say, “happy hour’’ it ain’t.

At that moment, Hardcase asks Logan if he’s going hard of hearing in his old age. The question brings him back to reality and he asks him what he was saying. Hardcase replies that he figured as much. He looked pretty lost in his thoughts. He asks if there’s anything he’d care to talk about for he knows the ol’ Hardcase is always up for a good tale o’ woe. He then asks Logan that he doesn’t think he got into the racket just to sell spirits, does he? Logan responds that he knows better than that. It’s pretty empty right now so they can talk a bit more freely.

He tells Harry that from the look o’ things he’s still up to his old tricks of runnin’ mercs in his spare time. Harry Hardcase smiles and says nice. He likes how smoothly he changed the subject, now it’s his woes. He may be gettin’ on in years but that don’t stop him from sending mercenaries out on missions for whoever’s willing to pick up the tab. This old place is a front of sorts. He tends bar and he must say that he’s enjoying life a bit more these days. Logan tells him that he’s happy to see him pack it in before it got packed in for him. An’ he sure doesn’t mind seein’ a familiar face behind the bar. Still, doesn’t he think he’s askin’ fer trouble exposing himself there. His ugly mug’s pretty hard ta forget and the exploits o’ Sergeant Major Henry Malone and his merry band are the stuff o’ legend. He must have ruffled his share o’ tail feathers.

Logan then asks Harry what happened ta the rest o’ the Harriers anyway. Does he still keep in touch with them? Harry replies that Blindside comes and goes as she pleases, working mostly solo these days. Darkhawk and Deacon got married and knocked off to bloody Bermuda. Timebomb, he got into a bigger spot than he could handle. Just then, the door opens to the bar and Harry wonders who aloud who he is.

Turning around from his seat at the bar, Logan thinks to himself that it looks like old home week. The guy at the door is an old acquaintance o’ his or an old sparrin’ partner dependin’ on which day o’ the week it is and which time zone they’re in. Like him, he’s a mutant, born with powers that make him more than human. In this case the ability to move things with his mind. His name’s Nathan Summers but he’s better known to most folks as the man called Cable. With his arrival, Logan knows that this night just got a lot more interesting.

As Cable walks over to Harry and looks at him, he finds that Harry has much of the same facial features that he has. Noticing that, he says there’s a face only a mother could love. Harry replies that he supposes he could say the same thing. Cable tells him that he’s there to check in on Logan, he takes it that he’s a friend of his? Harry informs him that he is. When Cable goes to take a seat at the bar, Logan says to him that he guesses that he talked to Kurt. Cable tells him Ororo actually. She sounded worried when he talked to her. From looking at him, Logan, he can see why. Doesn’t he ever look in the mirror? Logan tells him “yeah, yeah” and asks Harry to get Cable a drink. Taking a swig, Cable spits out the clear liquid and asks that they actually drink that stuff? Harry states that he guesses they’re not as much alike as he thought. Cable chuckles and states that he’ll drink to that.

Just then, a severely injured Longbow crashes through the bar window much to the surprise of Harry, Logan and Cable. Looking down at her, Harry says that she looks like she’s been put through a shredder. Logan immediately heads out the broken window and looks around. Following him, Cable asks him what is going on. Logan tells him to be quiet and sniffs the air. In short time, he finds Longbow’s assailant scaling a nearby fire escape.

Giving chase, Logan says that the sucker’s fast but there’s nowhere left ta run. Up on the roof of the building, Logan tells the assailant that he’s just landed himself in a… sweet mercy… Logan thinks to himself that he’s seen a lot o’ strange things durin’ his time with the X-Men. He’s been to other worlds, even other realities an’ he can honestly say that he’s never seen anything like that. Standing before him is a monstrosity combination of a man with gigantic lobster claws, horns, and a mouthful of sharp teeth.

Just then, Logan is picked up by one of the creature’s lobster claws. While being held, Logan attempts to pop his claws and thinks to himself that’s exactly what he needed. His flamin’ claws are still too short to be of much use. He busted ‘em up good on the other side o’ the galaxy. Cable leaps into action and tells Logan to hang on, his psimitar should take the fight out of him. However, before he can use it, he is knocked off the building by the creature’s other lobster claw.

Hanging onto the ledge, Cable says to himself that this is embarrassing. Still stuck in the lobster-man’s grasp, Logan tells the creature that he thinks he’s had just enough o’ this. His pig-stickers might be a little shorter than normal but he’s bettin’ they can still do the trick. With that, he jams his claws into the lobster-man’s hide. When he does, it calls out in pain and drops Logan. Once he does, a helicopter arrives and opens fire on Cable and Logan. They both immediately rush for cover from the onslaught of gun-fire. Safe, Cable notices that the lobster creature is getting away. He then leaps into action and fires at the chopper with a burst of psionic energy channeled through his psimitar. Cable’s blast hits the chopper but it doesn’t bring it down. Upon seeing that, Cable tells Logan that they were out of range and asks if he has any ideas.

Back at Hardcase’s, Logan asks Longbow if he’s got this straight. She ran across slappy the lobster boy while she was doin’ a job? Longbow informs him that they never met or seen their benefactor. They were approached in Madripoor about seeking out the man responsible for creating the monster he encountered. That thing, and others like it, have been linked to dozens of disappearances all over the world, and even more killings. Whoever’s creating these abominations is slick though. The second they got too close, they paid for it. She tells him this isn’t just about the job, someone has to find out who’s behind all this and put a stop to it. If they crippled the chopper he escaped in like he said, they may just be able to catch up to him.

Over a nearby river, the chopper continues to limp along aflame. No sooner do the inhabitants of it leap into the water below, as does the chopper explode.

Eventually, Logan and Cable make it to the dock near the river. There, Cable tells Logan that his friends have good instincts. They were right about the chopper going down near there. There are chunks of wreckage floating all over the place. Either his blast did more damage than they thought or someone wants them to believe it did. He then asks Logan if he even thinks that creature could have…

Logan cuts him off and tells him hold up, he just heard something. At that moment a large creature with three heads, two of them a gorilla’s and the other a human head, crashes through the wooden dock below them. As Cable is knocked to the side he states that they’re not getting any prettier. Standing over an injured Logan, the creature speaks and tells him that Monkey-Boy must stop intruders. Cable notices that he’s moving in to finish Logan off; he needs to get closer so he can use his psimitar.

Before he can, another creature that has a human body and a Venus flytrap for a head grabs hold of Cable and raises him up in the air. As it does, Cable asks what in blazes have they stumbled onto there. On the other side of the dock, Logan is getting crushed by Monkey-Boy. Instinctively, he kicks the human head of the creature. However, when he does, one of the gorilla heads chomps down on his leg. Logan calls out in pain and Cable asks him what these things are. As soon as it starts the creatures disband, much to the surprise of both Cable and Logan. Logan remarks that he has a bad feeling…

Just then, Cable and Logan are engulfed by the ground beneath them. Cable notices that it is some kind of malleable substance, moving with a purpose and that it’s pulling them into it. In short time, they are completely enveloped in its mass. Cable then remarks to Logan that it looks bad. Logan tells him to tell him something he doesn’t know. Cable asks Logan if his leg is going to be all right. Logan informs him that he’ll live. He’s more concerned about gettin’ out of this mess. Cable says that the glob seems to be expanding, opening up into a larger chamber. He also points out how humid it is in there. Cable notices that the thing they are in is respiratory, breathing, it’s alive. Now he’s seen everything.

Just then, a man with his face on his chest tells them that it’s one of the unavoidable “side effects” of traveling within an organic “capsule.” He tells them that they needn’t bother to struggle, it only “encourages” Doughboy to tighten his hold on them. This “substance” as they’ve deduced is part of a living being. Logan asks him “what kind o’ sicko are you?” The creature replies that he’s afraid he’s quite well. A bit more “forward thinking” in his specialized field, but he assures him he’s altogether sane. He adds that he would have thought that his “reputation” might have preceded him, it appears not. He is Arnim Zola, the bio-fanatic. Logan replies that’s just ducky but he’s got a news flash for him, he’s not impressed.

Just then, Logan jams his claws into the creature holding them captive. When he does, the creature loosens his grip and Cable and Logan are free. At the same time, the ground beneath Arnim Zola and his creatures moves as well, causing them to tumble. Falling down, Arnim asks them have they no compassion? They’ve injured innocent, peaceful Doughboy. Cable replies that he’s just the first on their list. He then notices that Arnim dropped a hand-held controller and proceeds to pick it up.

Arnim then orders one of his creations, Primus, to attack. While Logan and he engage in battle, Cable notices that Wolverine’s claws seem ineffective against that thing. Maybe the device he’s holding will. When he deploys it, Primus is flung backwards much to the shock of Cable. Upon seeing that, Arnim tells his other creations that Primus is down – destroy them!

Suddenly, a man with a mouthful of teeth on his stomach leaps towards Logan. Logan asks him what in blazes he’s supposed to be besides ugly. When he sees that he can’t talk, he tells him to do him a favor and shut his gut-hole and slashes the creature across the stomach. Cable then informs Logan that the controlling device he is holding seems to slow the monstrosities down and to get behind him and…

Just then, Arnim yells at enough and opens up a hole in the bottom of Doughboy. When Cable, Logan, the lobster creature, and the creature with the mouth in his stomach fall through the hole, Cable realizes that the whole time, they’ve been hundreds of feet in the air. Logan remarks that this isn’t going to be pretty. Arnim proceeds to call them fools and that they’ve gained nothing today. As durable as his “creations” are, even they cannot survive a fall from this height. His secret is safe and he, Wolverine, will never know just how much he has lost. With that, Arnim Zola and the rest of his creatures fly off.

As they plummet towards the ground below, Cable tells Logan to go limp. He will use his telekinesis to lower them safely to the ground. He does the same to Arnim’s creations – the lobster and the creature with the mouth in his stomach. Once on the ground, Logan asks Cable what they are going to do about said yahoos. Cable informs him that as long as he’s got the control device, they’re completely harmless. Zola apparently doesn’t place an overwhelming trust in his creations. Having a safeguard like this around probably allowed him to sleep at night. Logan replies yeah, if that little creep actually needs sleep.

Logan then asks Cable if he thinks they’ll ever figure out what this was all about. Cable says not from Arnim’s two creations. Logan states that maybe he can get Professor X t’ cooperate with him for thirty straight seconds an’ take a peek into their pointy little heads in search of a clue. Otherwise, he’d say it’s time to pay Nicholas Fury a call. He’ll have the facilities to take care o’ them.

Looking down at his leg, Logan remarks that the wound on his leg ain’t healin’ fast as it should. He adds that he’s not sure what just happened up there but he’s got a feelin’ this ain’ the end of it. Cable replies that they caught his friend’s attacker, that’ll have to do for now. Logan tells him that he guesses but just once he’d like t’ walk away from a skirmish feelin’ like he actually won. There was a lot goin’ on up there, but he doesn’t think they were Zola’s only captives. He caught a scent o’ somethin’ real faint but at the same time familiar.

Cable asks a friend from Madripoor perhaps? Longbow did say that Zola’s creatures were responsible for a vast number of disappearances. He has to assume those people ultimately wound up in his hands, twisted into those very creatures. They’ve done all they can do for now. Cable then points out that there are police sirens in the distance and the two monsters before them are unconscious, he thinks they ought to move on. If there are any loose ends that need tying up, he’s sure Logan’s friends back at Hardcase’s will see to it that they are. Walking away, Logan says that he’s probably right and that he’s starvin’. Does he know any place around there where they a fellow can get a bite t’ eat?

Inside his ship, Arnim Zola tells Monkey-Boy that he is an incompetent oaf and to join the others inside Doughboy. Angry, he states that it was such a simple operation but once again, due to the mistakes of others, his plans have been altered irrevocably. Still thought, the “venture” wasn’t a complete waste. Looking at a containment area, he says that he still has her, doesn’t he, Viper? Wolverine’s “better half.” Forgive him for letting his other interests divert his attention from the plans he has for her. There’s an old acquaintance of him whom he’s certain will be quite interested in the onetime Madame Hydra, quite interested indeed.

In a diner known as Babel’s, Logan asks Cable if this is his idea of a classy diner joint. Cable tells him that it’s anonymous, comfortable. The people there are worried about paying the rent and feeding their kids and going to school. With the lives they lead, it’s easy to forget that they’re who they’re fighting for just like his friend Aria fought for the thousands of innocents condemned to the prison world. Logan replies that it doesn’t make it any easier to accept that kind o’ loss. Cable says no it doesn’t but when any of them put the needs of others on their shoulders, they also accept the likelihood that they’ll have to sacrifice to satisfy those needs. Aria knew that and so does he. Because of her, thousands of people are alive and free. Someday, someone will be grieving over their loss. They can only hope that they’ll have the consolation that their deaths meant as much as Aria’s.

Logan asks him that he has all the answers, doesn’t he and tells him that he’s a lot like his old man in that way. Cable replies that he’ll take that as a compliment. Logan says that’s exactly how it was meant. When the waitress refills Logan’s coffee, Cable says to her Stacey? When she doesn’t answer him, Cable remarks that he guesses he’s finished. Once she leaves, Logan asks him if there’s somethin’ goin’ on between them. Cable responds that he’s finding they can fight for them but it doesn’t mean they can actually be one of them. Logan says to him maybe he wants to talk about it, he’s got nothin’ better to do today.

Characters Involved: 



Henry Malone (Harry Hardcase)

Longbow (one of Hardcase’s Harriers)

Arnim Zola

Various creations of Arnim Zola’s (Monkey-Boy, Doughboy, and Primus are the only ones named)


Stacey (waitress at Babel’s diner)

Various patrons at Hardcase’s bar (all unnamed)

Various patrons at Babel’s diner (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Logan and Carol Danvers were enjoying a beverage at Hardcase’s bar back in Wolverine (2nd series) #133 when they learned of Powerhouse’s activities over at the United Nations.

Wolverine took on many of New York’s heroes in Wolverine (2nd series) #134 while under the control of the female alien Aria.

Wolverine’s exploits with Aria in space occurred between Wolverine (2nd series) #135-138.

Hardcase and the Harriers last appeared in Uncanny X-Men #261. In that issue, Battleaxe, Blindside, Lifeline (Deacon), Longbow, Piston, Ranger, Shotgun, and Timebomb appeared. Harry Hardcase also appeared in Wolverine (2nd series) #5. In that issue, Battleaxe and Shotgun appeared.

What happened to Viper at the hands of Arnim Zola may never be known. Her next appearance was in Generation X #54 (August 1999). From there, her next appearance was in X-Men (2nd series) #109 (February 2001).

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