Wolverine (2nd series) #178

Issue Date: 
August 2002
Story Title: 
The Shadow Pulpit - part 2

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

Brief Description: 

A captured Logan has been transported to Rome but, once he regains consciousness, he easily escapes his captors. Once free, he lets one of them escape and tracks where he enters the secret quarters beneath the Vatican. In the dungeons, Father Braun is still being tortured by Sister Inquisitor and Cardinal Panzer, who demand to know who his friend is. Later that night, Logan makes his way through the sewers and deals with a number of assassins before he faces off again against Dogma. This time, Logan defeats him by ripping open his costume, which turns out to be some kind of containment suit. Logan then makes it to Braun’s location, but is too late to stop Panzer from shooting him in the head. Logan wants revenge, but is stopped by Cardinal Parente, who promises that he will see that Panzer is brought to justice. Once Logan leaves with Braun’s body, it turns out that Parente and Panzer are both part of the secret society. Now, they have to be more careful than before, as they don’t want to incur the wrath of Logan or the X-Men.

Full Summary: 

In Vatican City in Rome, the van carrying Logan continues to drive into the streets. Inside the van, one of Panzer’s foot-soldiers points to Logan lying chained on the floor and asks his associate if they are sure this is the guy. His partner replies that it is and that he still can’t believe he survived Dogma. The other man replies that he thought he’d be much better and asks if he’s so dangerous, why don’t they put him down right now? Waking up, Logan slices his chains with his claws and says “good question” and that he has about a half-dozen reasons for him right there. Logan then jams his claws into one of the foot-soldiers legs.

After doing so, Logan then creates a hole in the van itself. Panicking, the foot-soldiers immediately park the van and run away from it as fast as they can. Logan watches where one of them goes off to and decides that he’ll come back later when the heat’s off a bit an’ hopefully he’ll be able to track his scent to Braun.

At the Vatican, one of Cardinal Panzer’s foot-soldiers rushes into his quarters and informs him that they had him, but… Panzer tells him to calm down and asks what happened and if he was followed. The foot-soldier says no but the captive escaped. Panzer asks ‘Braun’s mysterious benefactor?’ The foot-soldier admits that it was and informs Panzer that he’s a madman but there’s no way he’ll come back there now.

Knocking the books and wine off of his desk in anger, Panzer calls him an idiot and tells him that is way madmen are so dangerous. You cannot predict the behavior of such men. They should have killed him when they had the chance. Does he think he will simply run away and abandon Father Braun after meeting with minimal resistance? He then orders him to find out who this man is. The secrets of the Vatican are at stake!

Half a mile below, Braun’s female torturer says to him that they will try this one and asks what he told the stranger. She adds that these are simple questions; he can spare himself the pain. Smacking him again, she tells Braun to wipe that stupid grin off his face and asks him what he finds amusing about agony. Beaten and bloodied, Braun tells her that he finds it amusing that she hasn’t killed him yet. What he told him is of no consequence if he’s dead. She wouldn’t ask such questions about a dead man, for they tell no tales. Beating him again, she tells him that he is dead and he’s about to join him, tell them what they need to know.

Later that night, Logan, dressed in his black leather costume, returns to where the van crashed earlier. He notices that it’s pretty dark ‘round there this time a’ night an’ even darker where he’s going, just the way he likes it. Once he enters the sewer system and sees the guards patrolling it, he knows he’s on the right track. He can tell that Braun is definitely down there somewhere, he’s pickin’ up a faint scent through a small tunnel. That means there’s gonna be a lot a’ belly crawlin’. But he ain’t got time t’ be choosy.

Reaching the other end of the tunnel, Logan exits and realizes that he’s definitely getting closer t’ Braun but there’s something else. Turning around, he sees five men dressed much like Dogma only they are wearing goggles and toting swords and nunchucks. Popping his claws, Logan rushes towards them and says to them awright suckers, as they say “when in Rome.”

In Panzer’s office, Cardinal Parente cautions Cardinal Panzer that this is not the time to draw the attention of the Holy Father. If he cannot handle the American heretic, he will. Panzer tells him that he’s being handled as they speak.

Down below, Logan continues to battle the white assassins. While he does, he realizes that they’re drivin’ him to the surface and probably not by coincidence. They’re tryin’ to wear him down. They’re pullin’ their punches, keepin’ him from discoverin’ what’s below. That’s a mistake. Before long, Logan finishes off the last of the assassins and asks who’s next.

In the courtyard, Logan looks up and sees Dogma standing there brandishing a white-hot sword and prepared for battle. Logan knows that Dogma is the so-called bishop of assassins, whatever that means. He recalls that he was at a bit of a disadvantage when he tangled with his the other day but this time he’s all warmed up and firin’ on all cylinders.

Leaping at Dogma, Logan engages him in battle and slashes at him, knocking him backwards. Dogma replies with a stab to Logan’s gut with his sword which draws blood. Before he can bring the sword down on Logan’s head for the killing blow, Logan jams both of his claws into Dogma’s chest and rips in an outwardly motion. When he does, Dogma is destroyed and his essence floats off into the night sky at which time Logan realizes that Dogma was wearing some sort of containment suit. Victorious, Logan calls out to the cowards that they saw what he did ta their big buddy there and asks who’s next. Who’s tired o’ having their head attached to their body?!

Down below, Panzer enters the room where Braun is chained up and informs him that it’s just them now. Defiantly, Braun calls Panzer a monster and a hypocrite. Panzer walks over to him and sees Braun’s beaten body and mentions that the Inquisitor seems to have worked him up a bit. He then asks him why not just tell them whom this man is working for and who he is. Braun tells him that he’s merely an acquaintance; he swears that is all he knows, but he is right to fear him. Punching him across the face, Panzer tells him that he only fears God and says to him that they should try this again.

Back in the tunnel, Logan has to backtrack a bit after takin’ down Dogma and his flunkies. He also realizes that Braun’s scent is getting closer and thick with a heavy dose of fear. He ain’t much further; he just hopes he ain’t too late.

Meanwhile, Panzer continues to beat on Braun, asking him who the American is. Arriving behind him, Logan cracks his knuckles and tells him that he’ll tell him who he is. He’s the last fella he wants to be messin’ with and he’s here for his friend. With that, Logan punches Panzer across the face. Logan then tells Braun to take it easy, he’ll have him down in a sec. Sitting on the floor, Panzer replies to the heretic that he doesn’t think so. Logan mentions that he guesses he shoulda popped him harder.

At that moment, the Inquisitor enters the room in a rush and sees Logan. She then points over to Logan and states that he is an outlaw mutant, one of the X-Men known as Wolverine. He’s wanted the world over for heinous crimes against humanity. Panzer asks that a mutant terrorist threatens him? Pulling a handgun out of his robe, he calls Logan mutant scum and tells him that, without Braun, what he knows is meaningless. After all, it isn’t what you know; it’s what you can prove. With that, Panzer pulls the trigger and shoots Braun in the forehead killing him.

Enraged, Logan yells to Panzer that he’s going to kill him. Standing between Panzer and Logan, the Inquisitor tells him that he’ll do no such thing “terrorist.” Panzer tells him to think about it; he’s already lost. Logan responds by smacking the Inquisitor in the face and approaching Panzer. Panzer tells him that without Braun to back him, he has zero credibility. He points out that he’s an outlaw. He just can’t go around murdering high-ranking Vatican officials. Logan grabs Panzer by the collar and growls, preparing to punch him with his claws slightly extended. Panzer says to him that he’ll be hunted for the rest of his life and that he’ll never have peace until he is dead. Logan asks him who said that’d make his life any different.

Before he punches Panzer, Cardinal Parente arrives with three guards, grabs Logan’s hand and tells him to stop and that death is not the answer. He should stay his hand and let justice be done. There has been too much bloodshed today already. When Logan lowers his fist, Parente turns his attention to Panzer and says to him that he knew he was behind Father Braun’s disappearance. If his men hadn’t followed the Sister Inquisitor…

Looking at Parente, Logan realizes that somethin’ about this guy is fuzzy, cloudin’ his senses, he can’t tell if he’s lyin’ or not. Parente then tells the guards that he wants Panzer locked away until he can bring him before the council. Justice will be served. He will pay for his heresy. Once Panzer has been taken away, Parente tells Logan that he will be harshly disciplined – he promises that. He and Braun helped to flush him out of the shadows. Father Braun died a hero. Logan informs him that he’s not leavin’ Braun like this. Parente tells him of course not. But there is nothing more they can do for him now. He is a loyal friend and he’s sure he appreciated that.

Popping his claws and putting them in Parente’s face, Logan tells him the he can’t be any more serious when he says this, so listen real close. He’s takin’ Braun’s body with him an’ he better not hear so much as a peep about any so-called Vatican secret society nonsense anymore. Cuz if he hears otherwise, he’ll come back and kill every last one a’ them in their sleep.

Later, Parente tells Panzer that, if he had not interceded, he would now be dead. Is that what he wants, to risk a war with the X-Men? They are enemies they do not need. Does he want their efforts crushed by one mishap? What if the Holy Father got wind of this, they’d be finished. Panzer tells him to relax, they are outlaws, they would never dare attack them and they have finally dealt with the heretic Braun once and for all. He is no longer a thorn in their side. Slamming his fist on the table, Parente exasperates doesn’t he see? They may have acquired an even larger thorn with this Wolverine. He prays for any souls who may have ever underestimated that man. They must wash their hands of this, this debacle of his, forever!

Characters Involved: 


Father Braun

Dogma (Cardinal Panzer’s attack-dog)

Cardinals Panzer and Parente

Sister Inquisitor (Father Braun’s torturer)

Various unnamed foot-soldiers and assassins under the direction of Cardinal Panzer

Various unnamed residents and visitors of the Vatican

Story Notes: 

Logan first met Father Braun in Wolverine Annual 2001.

Logan faced Dogma for the first time last issue, Wolverine (2nd series) #177

Issue Information: 
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