Wolverine (2nd series) #157

Issue Date: 
December 2000
Story Title: 
Right Underneath It

Rob Liefeld (plot), Ian Churchill (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Eric Stephenson (script), Peter Pantazis (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Troy ‘n’ Oscar (letters), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Cover by Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund

Brief Description: 

As Spider-Man, Wolverine and Lieutenant Curson battle with the Mole Man and his Moloids, they stop fighting when one of the rock creatures viciously attacks Curson. The Mole Man is able to subdue the creature and then asks the trio why they have traveled down there. After a discussion, Wolverine discovers that the Mole Man and his followers had nothing to do with the murders but that he is battling another crew who are threatening his turf. Wolverine is able to convince the Mole Man to take them to the offenders. There, Wolverine faces off against Carver and meets the murderer, a gigantic beast by the name of Fugue. They are Morlocks and Wolverine challenges Carver for the leadership role. During the battle, Fugue is knocked into a chasm and Carver tries to save him with the assistance of Wolverine and Spider-Man to no avail as tremors rock the underground. Once they reach safer grounds, Wolverine and the creator of the tremors, the Mole Man, part ways. Wolverine then tells Curson that while it wasn’t a resolution that was most desired, it’ll do since the recent string of murders will cease.

Full Summary: 

Several hundred feet beneath Manhattan, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Lieutenant Tara Curson ready themselves before the Mole Man and his followers. Before they do, Spider-Man says he’s assuming that kindly excusing themselves and going back the way they came in isn’t really an option, is it? Wolverine tells him ‘course not. They trudged down into these abandoned tunnels to find a murderer before another life was lost. Runnin’ at the first sign o’ danger would kinda defeat the purpose. Besides, they can take these bozos, all of ‘em.

From his perch, the Mole Man tells Wolverine that he’d be wise to stay where they are. His subterraneans have them surrounded. Move and their lives fall forfeit to the whims of their master. Claws extended, Wolverine leaps at him and says ‘ya don’t say.’ Near as he can tell, he’s just a little guy with a big stick and a grudge. Y’ask him, the only one in serious danger is him. As Curson calls out to Wolverine to wait, the Mole Man proceeds to crack him across the face with his staff and calls him a fool. He mocks him at his peril. Does he truly believe he’s unprepared for an attack? Smacking Wolverine across the face with his staff again, the Mole Man states that surface dwellers are all the same. So quick to form an opinion based solely on appearances. So eager to judge a man on anything but his merits. No more. He then orders his faithful followers to slay the surface dwellers.

At his command, the Moloids begin to engulf Spider-Man and Curson. As they do, Spider-Man remarks that this is never good. He’s tangled with these little suckers before. There are so many of them, it’s like stepping into quicksand. Just then, he tells Curson to hang on just a second and he’ll plow through ‘em to give them some breathing room. With that, he muscles up and knocks a bunch of the Moloids away from him. Curson tells the Wallcrawler to keep plowing, she thinks she’s going to try a more direct approach and opens up fire on the attacking Moloids. She then remarks that the small creatures are annoying but it’s the lumbering killing machine she’s worried about.

Before she can open up fire on the rock creature, it grabs hold of her. When it does, Curson is shocked. She’s never seen anything this big move so fast. Understanding her situation, Curson yells out for help. While Spider-Man’s spider-sense begins to go nuts, Wolverine tells the Mole Man that he better hope that lady ain’t hurt. Otherwise, he… Leaping from his perch, the Mole Man exclaims “no!” The creatures are under his command. They act only on his word. And while it was his intent that his loyal subterraneans subdue each of them, he had no desire for the more brutish denizens of his kingdom to enter the fray.

The Mole Man then uses his staff to shock the gigantic rock creature in the back. When he does, the creature releases Curson from its grasp. Once finished, the Mole Man tells his devoted ones to fall back. The conflict is over for now. Tend to their fallen brethren while he determines the fate of the interlopers.

While the Moloids carry the rock creature away, the Mole Man tells Spider-Man, Curson and Wolverine that his forces could tear them to pieces if such was his wish. He then asks them why are they down there. What is the meaning of their intrusion into the underground? Curson replies that it’s simple, to arrest him for over a dozen murders in addition to who knows how many other crimes he’s committed. The Mole Man scoffs at the notion and says neither he nor any of the denizens under his care have committed any murders on the surface world. It’s their kind that has been preying upon them.

Wolverine says that’s a pretty unconvincing argument comin’ from a guy who just got done tellin’ them how he’s gonna bring the “surface world” to it’s knees. He then asks Moley if he is developin’ a split-personality on them or what. The Mole Man replies that dominion over the world above is his destiny, his goal but first he must get his own kingdom in order.

Wolverine adds that they just had a run-in with three or four o’ his rocky playmates. They wiped out an entire S.W.A.T. team. They ain’t exactly drinkin’ buddies, but he knows him. This ain’t his style at all. The Mole Man states that if what he’s saying is true, then they are all in greater danger than he had thought. He must believe him; the men he speaks of were not harmed on his orders. What they have to understand is that his followers and he are at war with a band of intruders. Marauders from the world above that threaten their very survival. The larger beasts they encountered were grown to combat the threat posed by these outsiders, a threat which is clearly not exclusive to his domain. If there are murderers they seek, they fell within their ranks.

Wolverine tells him to wait a minute. “Marauders from the world above,” does he mean the tunnels above? Are the intruders Morlocks? The Mole Man tells him no, they can’t be. He knows the Morlocks they refer to. They were outcasts not unlike himself. The abandoned subway tunnels were their refuge. If any of them remain, they’d bear him no ill will. The ones he speaks of are surface dwellers aided by monstrous giants and weaponry far more advanced than any created below ground. They are the bane of their existence and unchecked, their presence there spells doom for his legions and him.

Hearing what the Mole Man is saying, Curson asks Wolverine and Spider-Man if he can be trusted. Spider-Man says ordinarily, he’d be inclined to say no but he seems genuinely agitated. Curson adds that if he’s on the level, they need to find these people he’s talking about. She then asks the Mole Man if he could lead them to the intruders. The Mole Man replies that he could but their assistance is neither necessary nor desired. Even if it were, he’s loathe to risk the lives of his scouts for the likes of them. Wolverine tells him that he wouldn’t be concerned about the little yellow fellas. Between Spider-Man and himself, he thinks they’ve got more than enough muscle to keep his boys out o’ harm’s way.

Removing his mask, Logan tells the Mole Man they can do this the hard way – he can act all surly and uncooperative while they poke around in this septic tank he calls a kingdom or they can put their heads together and deal with this. It’s a given that he doesn’t give a damn about the surface world but the murders that brought them down there are cryin’ out for justice just as loudly as these intruders’ infringement on his turf. The way he sees it, he helps them get what they want and he walks away with his little empire intact. Popping his claws and sneering, Wolverine asks him what it’s gonna be.

A short time later, the Mole Man leads Spider-Man, Wolverine and Curson to the place they want. Whatever happens from here on out is up to them, he’s honored his end of their bargain. Looking down at the gathering of people at the bottom of the stairs, Wolverine goes to ask the Mole Man what makes him so sure they are from the top… but the Mole Man is nowhere to be found. Spider-Man quips yeah, he wasn’t kidding when he said they’d be on their own from here on out. Alone being something of a relative term based on the way his spider-sense just kicked into overdrive.

Just then, two mutant looking individuals grab Curson by the throat and proceed to tell Spider-Man that they don’t got no time for a struggle, they go now, or the girl dies. Heading down the stairs, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Curson come face to face with a muscular individual smoking a cigar. The man says that the reports are true then. There are three of them… interesting… He then introduces himself as Carver. He doesn’t know what the Mole Man said to convince them it was a good idea to invade his domain, but he hopes they like it down there. They ain’t leavin’ – ever.

Walking towards Wolverine, Carver tells him especially not him, the pretty X-Man. His life in the sun was forfeit the moment he set foot in the tunnels above. Curson calls out that she wouldn’t count on that and tells Carver and his followers that they’re all under arrest. Laughing, one of Carver’s followers proceeds to punch out Curson. Leaping into action, Spider-Man exclaims that’s it; they clearly have no idea who they’re dealing with. Once he reaches Carver, Carver punches him out and tells him that’s where he’s wrong, they do. It’s them who have no idea what they’re capable of.

Just then, Wolverine senses something creepin’ up behind him. Before he can react, a gigantic white haired creature with razor sharp teeth and claws slams Wolverine to the ground and emits a loud guttural roar. Carver tells the large beast to take it easy, its okay; he thinks he gets the point. Carver then tells Wolverine that Fugue has a brain the size of a walnut. The “murders” their woman wants to arrest them for were his doing but he has no concept of right or wrong. He only knows hunger and pain, anger and fear.

To this, Wolveroine replies that, just ‘cause he’s dumb as a bag o’ hair, that don’t make him innocent. Six people are dead, he’s got to be held accountable for his actions. Puffing on his cigar, Carver adds that their laws mean less than nothing there. And he has no say in how their tribe metes their justice. They’re Morlocks, he should know by know that they live by different rules. Wolverine remarks so they are Morlocks. Then by their laws, he challenges him to a duel for control of the tribe.

Standing on a plateau surrounded by a chasm, Carver tells Wolverine that it’s not too late to change his mind, the duels are to the death. When Wolverine tells him that he understands, Carver says then it begins. Connecting with a number of punches to Wolverine’s face, Carver tells him to have a care. The chasm that circles this makeshift arena is deeper than it appears. One false move and he’ll plummet to his doom. Wolverine replies that he’ll make sure to watch his stop. Slashing Carver across the chest, Wolverine tells him that he, on the other hand, might wanna watch…

After his claws do absolutely nothing to Carver, Wolverine stops his thought mid-sentence. Carver laughs and says not a scratch, he wasn’t expecting that, was he? Punching Wolverine, Carver says that he’s got unbreakable bones, he’s got impenetrable skin and that’s not all. Just then, Carver pops sharp bones that come out of each fist and through each elbow. Attacking Carver, Wolverine says that you think he should be jealous or something. Dodging his attack, Carver tells him not at all, he thinks he should be scared. At that, Carver jams his claws into Wolverine’s back and holds him high over his head. Slashing Carver in the eye, Wolverine tells him ‘don’t count on it bub.’

Seeing his master injured, Fugue leaps over the chasm and goes to attack Wolverine. Once he gets there, Wolverine slashes him. When he does, Fugue begins to fall into the chasm. From the other end of the chasm, Spider-Man asks Wolverine what he was thinking. They came there to avenge a series of murders, not add to the body count. As Spider-Man uses all of his strength to hold Fugue, the ground begins to shake. The tremor’s cause Wolverine and Carver to both fall of the plateau. Holding onto the side of the plateau, Wolverine asks where Carver is. Suddenly, he gets his answer when he sees him holding onto Spider-Man’s web.

Wolverine proceeds to offer his hand but Carver declines it, he needs to get Fugue. He’s just like a child and he’s just hanging there frightened. Spider-Man tells him that he’s going to be more than scared in a second if he doesn’t take his weight off his web-line. They can save his furry friend but they’ve got to do this together. Wolverine tells Carver to listen to ‘im and grab his hand. Just then, another tremor happens and Spider-Man loses his grip. Simultaneously, Carver continues to hold onto Spider-Man’s web-line and is able to grab hold of Wolverine’s boot. Anchoring himself with his claws into the rock, Wolverine tells Carver to hold tight while he pulls them up. Unfortunately for Carver, he loses his grip and plummets with Fugue into the chasm. Valiantly, Spider-Man attempts to save them with one last ditch effort, but to no avail.

Wolverine tells Spider-Man that he knows it ain’t gonna make him feel any better but he did what he could. Best they can do now is hightail it outta there, otherwise they’re next. At that moment, the Mole Man appears and tells them that it is a wise plan and one he suggests they enact immediately. Once they reach safety, Wolverine says to the Mole Man why does he get the feeling he had a hand in what happened down there. The Mole Man asks if he means the tremors and tells him that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Wolverine replies yeah maybe and thanks him anyhow. He then tells the Mole Man to stay out of trouble.

Once they are alone, Curson says so that’s it and asks Wolverine if he thinks Carver… Wolverine says could’ve survived? Hard to say for sure. He thinks it’s a safe bet she’s investigated the last string o’ this particular string o’ murders though. Could they have had more closure, a more definitive solution? Maybe, but this’ll do.

Characters Involved: 



Lieutenant Tara Curson

The Mole Man and his unnamed Moloid followers

Various rock creatures (all unnamed)

Carver, Fugue and various other unnamed Morlock followers of Carver

Story Notes: 

Spider-Man, Wolverine and Lieutenant Curson teamed up to determine who had committed six murders in Wolverine (2nd series) #156.

Issue Information: 
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