Wolverine (2nd series) #18

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
All At Sea

Archie Goodwin (writer), John Byrne (breakdown artist & cover), Klaus Janson (finishing artist), Jim Novak (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Once aboard the ship, Wolverine is immediately met with guards, who are trying to take him out. Though Wolverine is able to take them out with little problem, he is stopped by Geist, who offers to show him Roughhouse. Once he sees Roughhouse, shaven and doped up, Wolverine demands answers from Geist. Geist complies and tells Wolverine that he works for the president of Tierra Verde – Felix Guillermo Caridad. President Caridad has enlisted, through the U.S. government, the services of Nuke. As he watches Nuke take out an entire village, President Caridad realizes that he wants someone like that for his country. Somebody like Captain America. Back on the ship, Wolverine has heard enough. He grabs Roughhouse and starts to leave. At that moment, Roughhouse wakes up and starts to slam Wolverine around like a rag doll. Wolverine is able to counteract and is ready to go toe-to-toe with Roughhouse until he is shot in the back with tranquilizer darts by Geist. Now that he is incapacitated, Roughhouse pounds him into unconsciousness. Before he can kill him, he too is shot with tranquilizers by Geist. The first helicopter arrives on Geist’s ship and out of it comes General Coy. He makes a trade with Geist of money for drugs. Once he leaves, Prince Baran, the Prince of Madripoor, arrives via a plane. Geist then trades Wolverine to the prince for money. Once the prince leaves, they toss Wolverine out of the plane into the ocean below! On Tierra Verde, President Caridad is trying to convince his former wife, Sister Salvation, to come back with him and leave her mission behind. She declines until the president blows up the mission in which she was working. Back in the ocean, Archie Corrigan, Tyger Tiger and O’Donnell are able to fish Wolverine out of the water. They think he is dead… until he informs them that their next job is to invade Tierra Verde!!!

Full Summary: 

When you try sneaking some place, odds are – sooner or later – you’ll be discovered This time, luck was with me. These guys made it sooner.

Once aboard the ship, Wolverine is immediately surrounded by goons that are making every attempt to take him out. As he hacks and slashes his way through them, he thinks to himself that this ship he is on appears to be a U.S. vessel. However, who he is fighting hit like killers, not like a military team. To them, that might be giving no quarter. To him, it’s giving carte blanche.

Once he has taken down all of the guards, Wolverine hears somebody shout something in Spanish. He looks up to see more guards up above, who have rifles pointed down at him. From above, Geist informs him that these rifles are equipped with laser sights and, with his over-eager deck guards either dead or withdrawn, those sights are zeroed upon him directly. He then points out that Wolverine’s position has become impossible. Wolverine, smugly replies that is funny, he says it just got more interesting.

Geist responds that he is impressed. He questions what would drive this stranger to wear the clothing of a dead man and come aboard this ship so willing to die. The world knows the X-Men are dead. He asks if this is some sort of psychological trick, a cheap attempt to strike fear - by making them believe one of that notorious mutant group still survives.

As Wolverine begins the ascent up the staircase to where Geist resides, he removes his mask. He replies to Geist’s question by telling him that maybe he felt, if no one else was using the outfit, he might as well. Maybe he traded his patch for it. What’s important are some purchases Geist made in Madripoor. Along with a shipment of bad cocaine, he bought a man. Not a swell person, but a good enough enemy that he doesn’t deserve whatever he was doing to him when he boarded this tub. Geist knows what he is talking about – the screaming earlier from their mutual friend, Roughhouse. Geist then invites Wolverine to join him with the promise that his guards will disperse and perhaps he can ease his fears and spare what remains of his crew.

Games - don’t like them. Not crazy about cyborgs either. Like ones I’ve faced with the X-Men, this guy smells too much of machine oil, and not enough of humanity. But if playing along gets me to...

Wolverine enters a room on the ship to see a shaved doped out Roughhouse, strapped to a table. He yells at Geist that he has made him... Before he can finish, Geist informs him that he has made him neater. A more disciplined look for a more controlled phase of his life. Shaving proved to be a bit traumatic. He’s self-conscious about his old scars perhaps. Wolverine slams Geist up against the wall and shouts at him that, not only has he humiliated him, he’s doped him into a stupor. He gets directly in Geist’s face. He accuses him of using the garbage from Madripoor; the cabin reeks of it. He then asks Geist what he is doing there. He then gives Geist a choice - answers or a sudden pain in the neck - it’s his decision.

Geist then reveals himself to Wolverine. He informs him that his name is Geist and his business is survival. His body, obviously, has become a monument to it. He survives by being useful. He is currently useful to Felix Guillermo Caridad. He currently is president of the Central American republic of Tierra Verde, a position attained through military success, anti-communist politics and a personal fortune from the traffic of cocaine.


On a hilltop plateau, President Caridad is looking through binoculars at the destruction below. He is pleased. Some months ago, the president hit upon a new goal. President Caridad applauds the military personnel behind him. Their man has penetrated the rebel stronghold. They will now truly put him to the test. This...

The Colonel behind him informs him that his name is Nuke Nuke was a code-name. Melodramatic to be expected in a secret project of U.S military intelligence, but quite apt. A super-soldier they call him, created out of chemical experimentation to the body and the mind. Down below, explosions are everywhere.

Nuke is running around with a huge gun, blasting everything in sight. He is rambling about their boys, their boys. They’re holding our boys!!! He then pops a red pill and tosses a grenades into a house. Caridad had provided his allies with a proving ground and, if the rebel stronghold also housed a rival cocaine-processing factory, the overall result was the same. President Caridad shakes hands with the Colonel and congratulates him on his success. Nothing is left standing or moving. He is envious of their accomplishment. The Colonel responds that the president’s less friendly neighbors won’t agree, that is guaranteed.

As they enter the helicopter, the president informs Geist that wasn’t idle flattery. Back at the palace, they will talk. Geist knows that the president's thoughts were beyond Nuke’s possible involvement elsewhere in Central America.

Back at the palace, Geist and the president view videos of Thor, Iron Man and Captain America. As they watch the video of Captain America, the president passionately informs Geist that that is what he wants: a living symbol of his country. Captain America is a purer vision of what they saw today. Geist informs the president that that will be difficult. Any Avenger would be above political alliances. Nuke, however, should not be discounted. With their CIA and U.S. military contacts perhaps...

The President cuts him off. NO!! He doesn’t want an item on loan. As they loan them arms, ships and helicopters – pats on the head for standing against communism... even as their press brands him as a banana republic drug czar! Whatever he is, he is for Tierra Verde. It is the norteamericanos who wallow in his drugs yet they make fun of them! No more. He will give his country its own super hero - a symbol of pride - equal to any so-called important nation!!!


Wolverine, having heard enough at this point, cuts off Geist’s story. He points over at Roughhouse and asks him if this poor slob was his solution for some third-rate Napoleon with a case of super hero envy?!? Geist responds that he is less a solution than a step towards it. Certain Tierra Verde cocaine seems to cause interesting side effects. He recovered some in Madripoor and...

Before he can finish, Wolverine cuts him off. As he slashes the shackles that hold Roughhouse down, he informs Geist that, if he wants guinea pigs, he can find some volunteers Better yet, he can experiment on himself!!! He’s already got a start on being something not quite human. Geist informs him that not being Iron Man as he so readily pointed out, he is old. This ridiculously expensive shell – acquired gradually with the cooperation of several governments - preserves his life. Whatever it’s powers, it was never intended for the constant battle he gathers is a super hero’s lot.

Wolverine, taking offense to Geist’s rationale, shoots back that Geist will keep clear and pump dumb lunks like Roughhouse full of whatever’s weird in those drugs, hoping eventually one them turns into what he wants. A man who plays roulette with human lives better learn to fight or at least how to get out of the way fast. With that Wolverine grabs Roughhouse and throws him over his shoulder and starts to leave.

Good exit line, but bad exit! Roughhouse grabs Wolverine around the face and flings him through the door. It was a noble intention, aiding an old foe - maybe he should’ve checked first with Roughhouse. Roughhouse then comes barreling through the doorway and drives Wolverine through the ship’s wall. Wolverine realizes that they’re a bit beyond reason at this point.

Back in the ship’s room, Geist calls up the ship’s captain and informs him that they can now get underway. He also instructs him to have communications send the messages he left earlier in the proper order. So much data, so many communication. How did they manage in the old days, before computers? On a computer encased in his arm, he marks how long before the drug brought Roughhouse to the active phase. He then restarts and adds new settings. Timing… it is everything. Timing and execution.

Back on the main deck of the ship, Roughhouse picks up a mounted machine gun as if it were a pop-gun and takes a swing at Wolverine. At the last second, Wolverine is able to roll out of the way.

Inside the ship, Geist is outfitting his arm with some sort of gun. He is pleased with the start of the fight. Still, they cannot leave everything to the test animals. Hhe has his own role to play. The captain of the ship comes up behind Geist and begins to protest the destruction. Geist informs him that it is nothing for him to concern himself about, so long as his messages were sent. The captain, enraged, begins to yell at Geist. It’s bad enough that his ship – meant to protect Tierra Verde’s coast – is used for collecting drugs, but he cannot justify... Geist cuts him off. He can; it is what a presidential adviser does best. He then informs the captain to just drive the boat and to leave matters of philosophy to him.

On the main deck of the ship, Roughhouse is flinging anything he can get his hands on towards Wolverine. Wolverine is yelling at Roughhouse that he needs to listen. He then thinks to himself that Roughhouse never listened. Also whatever he’s shot full of weren’t making him stronger, meaner and more bullheaded crazy than any other time they fought. Roughhouse is then able to wrap a clip of bullets around Wolverine’s neck and begins to choke the life out of him. Somehow, Wolverine is able to fling forward and knock Roughhouse into a stack of barrels.

Wolverine then gets up and points out that words ain’t doing it – all he has left are his claws. As Roughhouse starts to get up, Wolverine tells him to stay down. Roughhouse doesn’t listen and bull rushes Wolverine. The beast inside of him rises up to meet him, raging to kill the man he came into this mess to save. Only the killing edge turns suddenly soft.

From behind him, Geist shoots Wolverine with a load of tranquilizer darts. He then points out that a good test must have certain controls. Roughhouse is their most successful subject to date. They cannot have him sliced like bratwurst, at least not while his limits are still being charted. Instead, they will note the effects of being riddled with tranquilizer darts upon Wolverine’s own fighting skills. The sluggishness, the faulty reflexes, the loss of defensive skills - perhaps even the ability to survive.

Wolverine makes a feeble attempt at slashing at Roughhouse but misses by a mile. Roughhouse then picks him up by the arm as if he was a toy and slams him up against the ship’s wall. Then down hard on the deck of the ship. In his thoughts, Wolverine thinks to himself that Geist is wrong about that last bit. He has an unbreakable adamantium skeleton. Only problem is every ounce of flesh and blood around that skeleton is screaming that Geist is right. One consolation is that his mutant healing factor hasn’t beaten the tranquilizer darts yet. He’s going to be too unconscious to know when he will drown.

As Roughhouse lifts Wolverine high over his head and gets ready to toss him into the ocean, he is shot in the back with tranquilizer darts by Geist. Enough for today, exclaims Geist. He tells Roughhouse to rest, that great body has much more to endure and he has a schedule to maintain.

At that precise moment, one of the ships workers informs Geist that there is a helicopter approaching. Right on time; the first of his expected guests. When the helicopter lands, General Coy emerges from it. Geist greets him and informs him that he appreciates a man prepared to act on such a short notice. Coy responds that it is an old soldiers nature. Even if his army is now Madripoor’s criminal class and his foe is that interloping she-devil, Tyger Tiger.

Geist informs General Coy that this mornings developments will please him as they involve his former bodyguard and the self-styled protector of his lovely rival. Coy recognizes Wolverine as Patch. Geist points out that it is obviously an identity that he seems tired of, though imitating the Wolverine seems a most painful alternative. Coy points out that he may of sold Roughhouse too quickly. If Geist wasn’t sharing the catalyst behind this miracle.

At that point, Geist exchanges a vile of drugs for a wad of money from Coy. Geist points out that it is a small share – for a good price. What he paid for Roughhouse, he believes. He then warns the General the main property of his purchase is that it drives any user to insane violence and ultimate death. Coy responds that those are interesting qualities if one can control where and in whom they appear. With that he boards the helicopter and leaves.

Quite some time later, Wolverine is beginning to awaken from his stupor. The voice points out that Wolverine appears to be dead. It is Prince Baran, the Prince of Madripoor. Geist informs the prince that he served as an object for Roughhouse to focus his violence upon rather him or his employers men. That is why he let him spy them taking Roughhouse from the Prince’s island. His future - he leaves to the Prince and his men.

The Prince points out that it is at a price. One that so conveniently duplicates the tribune given to him to reclaim his cocaine. That which is still in the same bag that Geist gave it to him in. Geist indicates that it is all relative. Maintenance on this shell of his is an incredible expense. Any sum that removes a man so threatening to the princes carefully maintained balance of power in Madripoor is modest indeed. He then bids the prince farewell.

Once the prince and his men have boarded their plane and taken off, the captain of the ship asks Geist if President Caridad tolerates his side bargaining. Geist responds that as much, as he tolerates the captain’s disapproval - provided it doesn’t interfere with their ultimate goal. As the prince’s plane climbs towards the sky, a body is tossed from it! The captain of the ship points out that the man Roughhouse fought was... was... Geist agrees with the captain – it shocks him as well. He would have at least waited until the plane was much higher.

Prince Baran obviously feared the feral little gentlemen even more than he let one and that he may have undercharged. At least their mission is accomplished. In Roughhouse, the President has a lab rat who can survive the testing that must be done... though the devil knows what it will make of him.

Tierra Verde:

On a gigantic yacht anchored right next to an island, President Caridad is being touched by a lady dressed as a num. Her touch is better than his best memories. Caridad points out that she truly is a miracle worker. The foreign press calls him this country’s strong man. They don’t see his pain. They don’t know that against his constant migraine attacks, only her, his love, can save him.

He requests that she come back to him, to the capital. He has built a magnificent hospital there. A place to share her talent for healing with everyone, not just Indians at some back-river mission. Savages who call her... The nun cuts him off. She is known as Sister Salvation. The Indians are gentle, accepting unlike him who can’t forget that, before she was Sister Salvation, she was his wife! She asks if she can leave the yacht. President Caridad says to her that the reason she fled to the church was because he was becoming corrupt. Out of that corruption has come something that can bring pride to Tierra Verde but he needs her gift to complete this miracle.

Sister Salvation replies that miracles don’t spring out of corruption. Besides, whatever her gift, there is need enough for it there. President Caridad responds that he was afraid that would be her answer. His deck hands then inform the president that the shore party is aboard and they are ready to cast off. Sister Salvation is yelling at Felix - he needs to put her ashore; even he can’t... She is cut off by Felix, who informs her that she has left him no choice. At that exact time, a massive explosion rocks the island, destroying the shelter where Sister Salvation had worked!!!

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean:

A boat is traveling over the ocean with a South Sea airways plane circling overhead. The pilot of that plane, Archie Corrigan, indicates that the man told him to keep his distance but track the ship if it moved. Who knew anything like this would happen? On the boat below, Tyger Tiger reminds Archie that he runs an airline, and not a crystal ball gazing service. Visual fix was good, the rest is up to her and O’Donnell.

Tyger then asks O’Donnell if he got him yet. O’Donnell replies in the affirmative. He has pulled Wolverine out of the ocean. While there can’t be much left of him, he sure is heavy. Archie, from up above, points out that even if he is alive he must have broken every bone in his body. Tyger tells Archie to trust someone who knows - he doesn’t break as easily as most. O’Donnell informs Tyger that Wolverine is still breathing although it seems doubtful he’ll ever do anything else. Wolverine is able to stammer out “One.” O’Donnell asks him what he means. Wolverine, quite messed up, replies “Gonna do one other thing. invade Tierra Verde.”

Characters Involved: 


Tyger Tiger

Archie Corrigan



Geist’s men (unnamed)

Ships captain (unnamed)


Felix Guillermo Caridad (President of Tierra Verde)

Sister Salvation

President Caridad’s men (unnamed)

In flashbacks:

Colonel and his men from the U.S. Army (unnamed)


(on screen)

Captain America, Thor, Iron Man

Story Notes: 

The X-Men have been believed to be dead ever since their “death” in Uncanny X-Men 226.

Nuke was part of a super-soldier program, which would retroactively be applied to the “Weapon Plus program” in New X-Men (1st series) #145, along with Captain America. In his initial appearance, he was employed by the Kingpin to take on Daredevil back in Daredevil (1st series) #232 and supposedly “died” in issue #233. This issue is the first confirmation that was is still alive.

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