Wolverine (2nd series) #156

Issue Date: 
November 2000
Story Title: 
Going Underground

Rob Liefeld (plot), Ian Churchill (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Eric Stephenson (script), Digital Broome (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Cover by Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund and Digital Broome

Brief Description: 

After learning of six mysterious slayings in an abandoned Manhattan subway station, Logan chooses to investigate them himself. In the abandoned tunnels, Logan runs across Lieutenant Tara Curson and her crew of heavily armed members of the NYPD. After brief introductions, they are attacked by gigantic rock creatures. Eventually, Logan is able to wound one of them but not before the others decimate Curson’s crew, save for Curson. Logan leaves her there and proceeds after the creatures. After some time, he encounters Spider-Man and together they take down one of the creatures. The two are then joined by Curson and they all head off after the creatures. A little time later they happen upon the Mole Man, his Moloids and a number of the rock creatures. As the trio is surrounded, the Mole Man tells them that the surface world will bow before his might.

Full Summary: 

In New York, a cameraman tells the female reporter from ANN that they’re on in three, let’s get ready to… He stops mid-sentence when he sees that she is smoking. He asks her that he thought she quit. The reporter informs him she did, but this… The cameraman tells her yeah, he knows. She don’t have to explain nuthin’ to him. Two… He advises her that she better lose that thing though. They’ve got one and…

Flicking the cigarette away, the female reporter introduces herself to the audience at home that her name is Joanna Chen. She is reporting live from an abandoned subway station on Manhattan’s lower east side, where authorities are investigating the sixth murder in a string of grisly killings spanning as many weeks. Detectives assigned to the case are offering little commentary on this latest tragedy, but a police spokesperson has stated that all six of the slayings are believed to be related at this point. Authorities are at a loss to explain the strange killings. All five of the previous cases remain open, with no suspects and nothing in common among the victims, save the sheer brutality of the attacks. And with this killing taking place only two days after the last, the police department’s ability to handle the situation is being called into question by members of an outraged and increasingly fearful community.

Unknown to Chen, also in the abandoned subway is the mutant who goes by the name of Logan. Lighting a cigarette, Logan thinks to himself that he always hates comin’ home to this. Spend the better part o’ his time traipsin’ around the world, doin’ his part to make it a better place only to be reminded that there’s trouble aplenty right in his own backyard. He’s a mutant, born with abilities that set him apart from most. His hyper-senses tell him things the cops can’t pick up on. He can smell the blood that’s been spilled an’ all but taste the fear o’ the victims at the back o’ his mouth. Fear… and lack of understanding. Whoever’s doin’ this is striking randomly, with no regard for religion, sex or age. Latest victim was only ten. A whole life snuffed out before it even had the chance to really begin.

Changing into his yellow and blue uniform and descending deeper into the subway tunnels, Logan figures that it’s no wonder the police have so few leads in this case. They’re only scratchin’ the surface o’ this thing. The real story has gotta be down there. Based on what he’s heard, the police believe the killings are takin’ place in the abandoned subway tunnels but none o’ the victims fit the profile o’ folks who’d be hangin’ out in places like this. They’re bein’ abducted from the streets above and then brought below. Sniffing a piece of cloth, Logan determines that somebody’s doin’ some huntin’ or judgin’ by the stench, someth…

Just then, Logan senses somebody behind him and pops both sets of his claws. Turning around, Logan sneers that he’s gonna give them till the count o’ three to dim those lights so he can see. After that, it ain’t gonna matter much what they look like. Standing before him are members of the armored division of the New York Police Department. One of the men points his weapon at Logan and tells him to turn around, face the wall and get his hands in the air where he can see ‘em. He’s under arrest for…

Just then, the female member of the division speaks up and tells Giordano to hold on a second. Doesn’t he see what he is? Remember his intel files, look at the claws and mask. This man isn’t their killer. He’s one of the X-Men; the one called Wolverine, unless she missed her guess. She then orders everybody to back off and dim their lights. Removing her mask, she introduces herself to Logan as Lieutenant Tara Curson. She then apologizes to him if they startled him but there is a killer in these tunnels. And there he is with those claws. It shouldn’t be too difficult for him to understand how that looks from their P.O.V.

Walking up to him, Curson informs Logan that the murders make her sick to her stomach but she won’t tolerate vigilantism in this case. She’s read about him, she knows that he and his consider themselves the good guys. When Logan says ‘but?’, Curson informs him that it’s her duty to uphold the law. He’s more than welcome to help, but don’t get in the way of her job. Peering at her, Logan tells her that not a lot o’ people have the guts to be so direct with him. Luckily for her, he respects that. With that, he sheathes his claws.

Logan tells her “enough o’ that” and proceeds to show Curson the piece of cloth he found. He tells her that he found it a yard or so back. Damp as it is, he can still tell her it’s from the crime scene upstairs and that it’s part o’ the victim’s skirt. There’s another scent there though. It’s familiar, but he can’t quite place it. Could mean more trouble than the lot of them are used to. Giordano tells him to give him a break. They’ve all been specifically trained for situations just like this. Where does he get off implying that… Sniffing the air, Logan yells at him to shut up. Popping his claws, he adds that he thinks it’s time to put that training to use, they’ve got company.

Just then, a number of dark creatures with sharp nails and teeth fall from the ceiling onto the lot of them. As the police open up fire on them, Curson asks Logan what they are. Logan informs her that he’s never seen ‘em before in his life. Attacking one of the creatures, Logan tells her all the same, she’d better move out o’ the way. Considerin’ her aversion to vigilante violence, this won’t be pretty. When his claws connect, Logan realizes that it won’t be easy either, judgin’ by the critter’s rocky hide. He can’t really get a bead on how many there are, but they are as big as the Hulk. They’re also pretty flamin’ quick for something so large.

As he gets tossed into a pillar, Logan thinks to himself that the poor girl and all the police never had a chance. Faced with that knowledge, Logan lunges at the creature and again connects with his claws. Continuing to slash away at the creature, Logan realizes that he can’t see Lieutenant Curson or the rest of her team but he can imagine how poorly they’re doin’. He also discerns that this thing’s wastin’ so much o’ his time an’ energy it’ll be a miracle if everyone else isn’t just plain wasted. Nothin’ seems to faze the pile o’ rocks but there’s gotta be some way he can…

Before he can finish that thought, the creature chomps on Logan’s arm. Holding its mouth, the creature starts to stagger away. Logan calls out to him that’ll show him. Tastes like chicken ‘til he gets to that impenetrable adamantium-laced bone, eh? He then notices that he’s really bleeding. While the creature continues to stagger off, Curson opens up fire and shoots it a number of times in the back. Logan tells her to knock it off, her shots are just bouncin’ off ‘em. Injured, Curson informs him that everyone else, they’re all, they… Logan says to her that he knows and asks how she is. Curson informs him that she’s okay. She’s got some pretty deep cuts but she’ll be all right. Just promise her that he’ll get those things.

Leaving her alone, Logan continues to follow the creatures down the tunnel. As he does, he thinks to himself that the lady is scared, can’t say he blames her. He hates smart mouths but what the guy said earlier was true. Cops like Curson and her team are trained to handle the bad stuff. It’s only when things go from bad to worse that things get dicey. Reaching a wall of webbing, Logan wonders if the creatures sealed off their escape route or trap them in. Slicing through it, Logan recalls that he remembers this stuff. The way it smells, the sound it makes when he slices through it. The rock things didn’t do this, it was Spider-Man. Making his way to the other side, Logan witnesses Spider-Man battling one of the rock creatures and engulfing it in his webbing.

Spider-Man sees him too and remarks that he thought he saw his handiwork on one of the lunkheads as they ran past. He then asks him what he’s down there for. No, wait, let him guess. He just got the new XTC album and he was wondering how it compared to Apple Venus Vol. 1, right? As the creature escapes from the webbing, Spider-Man quips that Wolvie might actually want to refrain from commentary for just a sec, beastie boy there is asserting his right to fight for his, um... right to party. Leaping at the creature, he adds that was so bad, even he can’t believe he said it. Sometimes, he just has no idea where he’s going with this stuff.

Once the creature grabs Spider-Man’s leg and slams him up against a wall, Spider-Man tells it okay, okay, he’ll stop with the music references. He so did not intend to offend. Leaping into the fray, Logan tells Spider-Man that regardless o’ his intentions, he can pretty much guarantee that joy boy there does want to gnaw his leg off so do him a favor and shut up for a minute while he directs his attention elsewhere. With that, Logan slashes the creature across the back which causes it to let Spider-Man go free.

Continuing to slash the creature across the jaw, Logan asks Spider-Man if he has any idea where the rest o’ the dirt bags went. As the creature punches Logan away, Spider-Man enters back into the fray and replies away basically. As he may have noticed, it’s hard enough corralling one of these guys. Landing on the creature’s head, Spider-Man tells the creature that he’s done it now. Hasn’t anyone ever told him how rude it is to knock the spit out of someone while they’re in the middle of a conversation? He thinks he needs to apologize. And he’ll tell him something else, he doesn’t know dentistry but he really needs to look into that breath of his. The “I only” have four teeth thing is obviously a concern too, but man-alive. How can he not smell what’s coming out of his mouth?

As the creature flings him away, Spider-Man calls out to Logan that if he’s conscious down there, he’s all his. Lurking in the water, Logan thinks to himself that the Wallcrawler talks too much but he’s done a good job o’ openin’ things up for him. The creatures seem pretty simpleminded, it’s long since forgotten him – big mistake. Leaping out of the water, Logan slashes the creature and proceeds to kill him. As it falls, Logan remarks what do you know, these creeps aren’t as indestructible as he thought.

Seeing the creature fall, Spider-Man mentions to Logan that’s a pleasant surprise. He hates fighting bad guys that don’t actually talk, gives him less to work with. Logan tells him that, if he asks him, he’d get a lot more done if he’d shut up every once in a while. He then asks him why he is down there. Isn’t he usually swingin’ around on top o’ the city? Spider-Man replies that he knows him, he goes where the action is. Or maybe it’s just that the action follows him around like a stray dog looking for its next meal. Whatever the case, he’s there.

To himself, Spider-Man says so is the camera he’s been using to take pictures of this whole screwball-palooza now that he thinks about it. Probably not the best idea that Wolverine figures out he’s taking photos for the Daily Bugle to make ends meet.

Examining the creature, Logan points out that judging by the relatively decent shape it’s dental work is in, no to mention the fact that his face ain’t got his signature on it, this clearly isn’t the same one he was fightin’ earlier. Aloud, he wonders how many o’ them there actually are. Lieutenant Tara Curson arrives and tells him that she counted four in their earlier encounter with them, maybe five.

Seeing the new arrival, Spider-Man asks Logan if she is a friend of his or something. Logan informs him or something and proceeds to ask Tara what she’s doin’ there. He thought she was stayin’ put. She doesn’t need to be mixed up in this anymore than she has already. Toting a very large gun, Curson informs him that she thought he could use some help. He saw what those things did to her team and she knows he wasn’t having an easy time of it on his own. She just, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. She’s got a gun, it’s not like she’s just this waif lost in the wild. Logan tells her that he wasn’t questionin’ her ability to keep up, he just asked why she didn’t hang back.

Spider-Man pipes in and says now that they’ve settled that, what say they talk about what happens next? These really aren’t the kind of creatures he usually finds himself trying to take charge of. He then asks Logan what about him, any chance they’re Morlocks like Marrow? Logan tells him that the Morlocks were people, mutants, who’d taken refuge under the city. These things aren’t even human. He then adds that there is something familiar about the creatures scent though. He’s been tryin’ to place it, but it’s just not comin’ to him. Spider-Man remarks that the he supposes the best they can do is follow after them then. He then asks their female companion ‘you sure you’re okay miss?’ She replies that she’s fine and introduces herself as Lieutenant Curson, Tara if she decides he doesn’t annoy her.

Upon hearing that, Logan says “smile o’ the day” to which Spider-Man tells him to stop it right now. Spider-Man then says that what gets him about all of this is why are these things traveling so far to abduct people? Don’t they have any idea how far underground they are? Logan states that the bigger concern is what they’re even doin’ down there. It’s not like New York’s underground supports its own indigenous species. Curson asks where they would come from then. Just then, Spider-Man’s spider sense goes off and he tells his companions that he doesn’t want to alarm anyone but he suddenly has the feeling danger’s ahead.

Once they reach a clearing, they happen upon the Mole Man, his Moloids, and a number of the rock creatures. The Mole Man tells Spider-Man that he’s sensing danger with good reason. But as he can no doubt see, it’s a warning that’s come far too late. His destiny is at hand and there’s nothing they nor any of his other accursed enemies can do to prevent him from embracing it. This is the day the surface world bows before the might of the Mole Man!

Characters Involved: 



The Mole Man and his unnamed Moloid followers

Various rock creatures (all unnamed)

Joanna Chen (reporter from ANN) and her unnamed cameraman

Lieutenant Tara Curson

Various emergency personnel of New York (all unnamed)

Various members of the New York Police Department (all unnamed)

Various members of the New York Police Department armored division (Giordano is the only one named)

Story Notes: 

XTC is a new wave band from Swindon, England. At the time of the publication of this issue, their follow-up album to Apple Venus Vol. 1 would have been Wasp Star – Apple Venus Vol. 2. They were made up of Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory, Terry Chambers, and Barry Andrews.

The Beastie Boys released “(You gotta) Fight for your right (to Party)” in 1986. It was on their Licensed to Ill album.

Spider-Man met Marrow in Uncanny X-Men #346 and also in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (2nd series) #4.

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