Wolverine (2nd series) #177

Issue Date: 
August 2002
Story Title: 
The Shadow Pulpit - part 1

Frank Tieri (writer), Dan Fraga (penciler), Larry Stucker (inker), Avalon’s Raymund Lee (colors), RS / Comicraft / ST (letters), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

In New York, Logan’s friend, Father Braun, alerts him of a plot happening within the Catholic Church. His old mentor, Cardinal Panzer, has set himself up as a Shadow Pope and is planning to brainwash everyone into becoming Catholic by using a device that produces extra-low frequency vibration emanations, E.L.V.E.S., that is already being tested in Manhattan. Logan determines that this must be what is messing with his hyper-senses recently. Braun informs him that one of his friends has already been killed. Once outside, Dogma, a being apparently neither human or mutant, ambushes Braun and Logan and stabs Logan in the back with a white-hot sword, allowing him to escape. Later, Logan and Braun track the device to Brooklyn Bridge and successfully destroy it, but is ambushed a second time, by Dogma, who vomits acid in Logan’s face and tosses him into the water. Without Logan, Braun is easily captured. Three days later, at the Vatican, Braun is being tortured by Cardinal Panzer’s people while Logan lies unconscious in a van in Rome.

Full Summary: 

Yesterday evening in St. Ann’s church located in lower Manhattan, a priest sits patiently in the confessional, waiting on the next person to come by and confess their sins. When someone does show up, the priest tells them good evening and asks them if they are prepared to confess their sins. With no auditory response, a glowing white arm crashes through the screen and proceeds to strangle the priest. With his dying breath, he says to the glowing white armed man to tell their masters they are too late. They’ll all be exposed for the monsters they are…

Tonight in Greenwich Village, Logan stands in the street outside a bar and holds his fingers to his temple while a thunderstorm rages around him. As he does so, he states that his damn head’s poundin’ like a drum, his sinuses are full o’ junk and his heightened senses ain’t workin’ fer spit. Entering the bar, Logan asks the female bartender for a whiskey neat and if she’s seen a priest come in there tonight. The lady tells him yeh an’ he was with a rabbi and a golf pro.

When Logan tells her to come again, the bartender says to him that she was just havin’ a bit o’ fun with him. Logan begins to tell her that he can’t hear, but she gets frustrated and tells him to fergit it and points over to the corner where a priest is sitting. Waving his hand, the priest – Father Braun – tells Logan that he’s been trying to get his attention since he walked through the door. Taking a seat, Logan apologizes to him and informs him that somethin’s screwin’ with his head big time.

Sipping his coffee, Braun informs him that is precisely why he summoned him. It may not be just his head that’s being toyed with. Looking up from his whiskey, Logan asks what this is all about. Braun tells him to lean close and keep his voice low. He has reason to believe that the Pope, the Holy Father himself, is in grave danger. He has discovered that a small, terribly corrupt faction of the Vatican’s power elite is planning to usurp the papacy and implement its own sinister agenda. But what’s worse, is that he believes this faction is operating from within his office, the office of inquisition. And he fears that the shadowy leader of this rogue coalition is in fact, his mentor Cardinal Panzer.

Logan replies that he’s got a whopper of a headache, so if he can get ta the flamin’ point. Clearing his throat, Braun continues that a New York counterpart of his contacted him last week. And as unbelievable as it sounds, he had stumbled upon a conspiracy to brainwash the populace of the entire city. When Logan asks “and…,” Braun informs him that he was murdered last night. Logan tells him that he’s sorry t’ hear ‘bout that and recommends to him that maybe they oughta take this outside. Braun agrees and remarks that the walls seem to have ears. Logan tells him exactly and to bring the holy pig-sticker of his, he has a feelin’ he’s gonna need it.

Standing outside the bar in the midst of a thunderstorm, Braun and Logan continue their conversation while they are being, unbeknownst to them, stalked by a shadowy figure. Braun tells Logan that he must listen to him carefully. Cardinal Panzer operates in opposition to the legitimate Pope. Some call Panzer the Shadow Pope, a man laboring in secrecy for years and he’s afraid that his twisted plan – the mass conversion of every man, woman, and child in New York City – is becoming a reality as they speak.

Logan asks reality, eh? Not a week goes by without some yahoo looking to brainwash Manhattan for some insane reason but it never works. One way or another, they always get shut down. He then asks how Panzer’s doin’ it. Braun informs him slowly. He’s employing a device that produces extra-low frequency vibration emanations, also called E.L.V.E.S. By resetting brain wave patterns over a long period of time… Logan finishes his thought with ‘he reprograms people any way he wants – real cute.’ Braun adds that they all seek to bring people into the light but they must do so willingly. Panzer’s approach is obviously misguided to say the least.

Logan replies that it seems t’ him like he runs with a pretty twisted crew. His mentor sounds like a real piece a’ work. Braun states that no system is immune to corruption. They do their best but even the Vatican is no exception. Logan says to Braun that, now that he mentioned those elves, it’s got him thinking. Before he can finish his thought, Logan senses something. However, Logan doesn’t see anything and assumes that his senses are betrayin’ him. He coulda sworn…

Pulling out his weapon, Braun asks him what it is, are they being followed? Braun then puts his hand on Logan’s shoulder and tells him to take it easy. Logan turns around and tells “preach” that he best move his hand if he wants it back and begins to growl. Backing up, Braun tells Logan to take it easy and to stay back. Logan responds by popping his claws and leaping towards Father Braun who proceeds to ask him what he’s doing. Passing Braun, Logan rushes towards a white figure with a cross design across his chest and no face toting a sword. Logan then exclaims to Braun that he best make himself scarce, he’ll handle this.

As Logan battles the being in white, he realizes pretty quickly that he’s quick when it grabs his arms, which prevents his claws from doing any damage. He doesn’t think he figured on an adamantium skull when he decided to go head-buttin’ him. Letting go of his grasp on Logan, the white being backs up. Braun calls out to Logan to mind his step. The being he is battling is named Dogma, bishop of assassins, the enlightened soul. He then mentions that he has clearly angered Panzer to warrant this monster’s attention.

Looking at Dogma, Logan tells him that’s a nice name and scary little rep he’s got there but it means exactly squat t’ him. When Dogma doesn’t answer, Logan notices that he’s the silent type. Logan then wonders how Casper likes the headache he just gave himself. He gets his answer when he sees the wound on Dogma’s head healing itself. Braun looks off in the distance and points out to Logan that Dogma is not alone. They are being observed by Panzer’s foot soldiers. Blocking Dogma’s sword strike with his claws, Logan tells him to let ‘em watch, he’ll try t’ make this as entertainin’ as possible.

At that moment, Logan is surprised to see that Dogma’s skin is growin’ right over his hand. Taking the advantage, Dogma slams Logan into the ground and pins him. Logan understands his situation and knows that he’s got him dead t’ rights for he can’t move. Carrying his sword, Braun rushes over and tells Logan to hold fast. Before he can get there, one of Panzer’s foot-soldiers tosses a bolo which wraps around Braun’s legs, causing him to fall to the ground and lose the handle on his sword. As Dogma raises his sword over his head, Logan knows that what’s coming.

A moment later, Dogma drives his energy sword into Logan’s back. When he does, Logan calls out to Braun to help. Throwing himself at Dogma, Braun manages to knock him away from Logan temporarily. It is a short lived victory however. Dogma quickly recovers and picks up Braun by his neck. Popping his claws, Logan knows he only has one shot at this and proceeds to stab Dogma with his claws. When he does, Dogma lights up and frees Braun from his grasp. Seeing this, Logan exclaims pay-dirt and mentions that his adamantium claws sure got his attention. Braun points out that he’s not sure if it was his strike that felled him or if he’s fleeing to avoid the approaching authorities. To this, Logan replies that they should probably do the same.

As Braun works on dragging Logan to safety, Logan remarks that he feels like Dogma fried his insides. Braun replies that they say that Dogma can super-heat the metal of his sword instantly. Logan says that it ain’t just the metal of his sword he can cook and asks if he’s a mutant or somethin’. Braun informs him that he wouldn’t believe him if he told him. He then adds that they must quickly get him inside and that he weighs more than he looks. Logan cautions him to be careful; he might upset his fragile ego with comments like that.

Back inside the bar, the female bartender hands Braun an ice-pack. When Braun tells her ‘we appreciate your hospitality child’, the bartender introduces herself as Lois. She then tells them that they’re welcome. T’ was a borin’ night at Irish Ayes ‘til they came back. Grabbing hold of the handle of the sword with the ice-pack, Braun tells Logan to hold still as it will hurt. When he pulls the sword out of his back, Lois exclaims gross and mentions that Logan’s got metal bones. Logan replies that he knows and then thanks her for the drink she brought him.

Taking a drink, Logan tells Braun that until he brought up the elves, he didn’t know what he was hearin’. They’ve been messin’ with his sense for a couple a’ days now. His body’s been treatin’ ‘em like an infection but now that he knows what he’s listenin’ for, he can take them straight to the source. Smiling, Braun tells Logan that he’s finding out that he has many wonderful gifts and it is good to see he has such a noble soul to match.

Later, at the Brooklyn Bridge, Logan tells Braun that he apologizes but he’s no good underneath the bridge where he is. The closer he is to the damn thing, the more disoriented he gets. It’s takin’ all he has just ta stand up. Underneath the bridge, Braun informs Logan that he was right. There is a device down there. They must be using the bridge as an amplifier for the elves. Looking at the device, he adds that he can’t believe this is happening. Panzer must be stopped. After they finish their work there, he must return to Rome and warn the Holy Father. Raising Dogma’s sword to strike, Braun states that perhaps he can put the grisly souvenir he pulled from Logan’s back to use. He should be able to pry it free…

Up on the bridge, Logan thinks he hears something and turns around. When he finds nothing, even though there was something there, his senses just couldn’t pick up their stealth, Logan asks Braun what’s going on down there. Braun replies that he’s nearly got the device loose. Logan tells hi that he better hurry up ‘cuz they’re sittin’ ducks out in the open like this. He should just trash the flamin’ thing and they can get the hell outta there. While he talks, Dogma stealthily approaches him from behind.

Down below, Braun states that he’s nearly broken the device free but he needs to retain it as evidence. He then tells Logan to have patience, they’ll be on their way soon enough. Just then, Logan whirls around and slashes Dogma. As he does so he tells him surprise, did he think he could sneak up on him? He then yells down to Braun to watch his back. Braun is able to knock one of the foot-soldiers off the bridge and decides that time is of the essence and chooses to destroy the device with the sword instead of retaining it. Braun is pleased with himself but doesn’t notice the other foot-soldier behind him who tosses an electrified net on him and takes him captive.

Back up top, Logan continues to duke it out with Dogma and realizes that Braun must’ve done it, his enhanced senses are returning. Slashing Dogma across the chest, Logan tells him that he hopes he keeps his body parts numbered whitey ‘cause he’s gonna tear him apart. Without uttering a word, Dogma responds by punching Logan in the face and spitting some sort of liquid into Logan’s eyes. Immediately, Logan discovers that he’s blind and wonders what’s next with this guy he’s fighting. He soon gets the answer as Dogma kicks him in the gut and knocks him off the bridge and into the water below while Braun looks on in despair.

Three days later at the Vatican, Cardinal Parente visits Cardinal Panzer in his office and tells him that he is concerned about Father Braun. Panzer replies that he can assure him that they are doing everything they can in regards to the good Father Braun.

One mile below the Vatican, Father Braun is shackled to the wall while a young lady continues to torture him by beating him with a crop. She asks him why he doesn’t make this easy on both of them. They just need him to tell them what they need to know and they can get this over with. Leaning in close, she asks him who the man was that Dogma killed in New York. Braun weakly tells her that she must know by now that it was Father Davidson. The lady angrily tells him no, the man with the claws, she wants to know who he is. With that, she cracks him across the face again.

Later, on the streets of Rome, Panzer’s men are in a van. One of them tells his associates to be careful. He’s been advised he is very dangerous. So keep their guns trained on his head at all times. If he so much as blinks, blow his face off. Their target in the back of the van is an unconscious Logan.

Characters Involved: 


Father Braun

Dogma (Cardinal Panzer’s attack-dog)

Cardinals Panzer and Parente

Father Braun’s unnamed female torturer

Various unnamed foot-soldiers under the direction of Cardinal Panzer

Father Davidson (killed by Dogma)

Lois – female bartender at Irish Ayes

Various other unnamed patrons of Irish Ayes

Story Notes: 

Wolverine first met Father Braun in Wolverine Annual 2001.

Issue Information: 
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