Wolverine (2nd series) #180

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Everything’s Zen

Matt Nixon (writer), Jorge Lucas (artist), Avalon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Saida (letters), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president

Brief Description: 

Shaman has a new protege by the name of Chuck Moss. He tells him that he shouldn’t just accept because of some tribal obligation of his father. If he wants training, he should accept sole responsibility for this decision. Chuck agrees and receives an Indian necklace. Before he can continue his magical training, however, he needs to learn more of the way of the warrior. On Shaman’s request, Logan takes Chuck with him into the woods. He intends to show him a new way of perceiving things and becoming one with the surroundings by sneaking up on and touching an elk. However, Chuck screws up and the animal kicks Logan in the gut. After his healing factor has done his job, Logan tries a different approach and teaches him samurai sword fighting. After a few hours, Chuck needs a break, but Logan doesn’t care. If he was in a real fight, he could not call for a Time Out. As it is already getting dark, Logan decides that they need to set up camp, but they have to cross a huge canyon first. Logan cuts down a huge tree and uses it as a bridge, but Chuck is afraid of the height, especially as it is very windy. Logan pushes him, as he senses that something is hiding in the wind, something that is after them. He tells Chuck that they don’t have time for any self-doubts. The young man tries, but nearly falls of the log. Logan then hands him a blindfold and tells Chuck to sense his way and find his center. This time, Chuck makes it over the log. Later, Logan sets up camp in front of a cave, while Chuck has to spend the night inside, with one hand in a pool of mud to find out his totem. That night, Chuck is haunted by huge beasts in the darkness, but he endures. The next morning, he finds a worm in his hand. Logan explains that this means he’ll be an earthmover. Logan then tells the young man to get some rest, before he once more goes after the elk. However, Chuck gets to the animal before Logan and touches it with ease. Logan knows that Chuck has learned his lessons well.

Full Summary: 

Prince George, British Columbia. Logan is waiting outside a tent near a small cabin. He overhears Shaman tutoring Chuck Moss inside. Ever since he was a child, Shaman has been telling his young protégé about the supernatural world and the marvelous and unpredictable forces that guide them. Shaman goes on that, despite the tribal obligation of Chuck’s father to nominate him for training, the choice is his alone. He alone must accept sole responsibility for living in a strange world. Chuck accepts. Shaman hands him an Indian necklace and ensures his protégé that it’s no burden, but a gift, and, once he is no longer at odds with the world, he will understand. There is no occasion for fear, doubt or regret, and Wolverine will convince him of this before Chuck’s totem will be revealed. They step out of the tent.

(hours later)

Chuck and Logan have taken the jeep and are miles away in the woods. Logan tells Chuck that he can consider himself lucky to have someone like Shaman taking an interest in him. As Chuck was planning to become a professional hockey player, he must have had a few coaches before, but none of them has the same amount of wisdom as Shaman. Yawning, Logan says that apparently Shaman thinks that he can teach Chuck something important, but there is only one thing he knows for sure – they are all going to die. Once one accepts that fact, life is simple. Each and every act should be treated like it’s the final one. Logan recites that this is the essence of Bushido, the way of the warrior. Ironically, the secret to life is found in death. Logan is aware that even a hike in the forest could mean death tapping on his shoulder. He ain’t got the time for self-doubt. He will either die or he will survive, and he has accepted that.

Chuck has been listening closely, but suddenly Logan has vanished into the woods. He was looking right at him, but never saw him leave. He calls out Logan’s name and runs in the direction where he last saw him, but it’s no use. Logan is gone. Chuck gives up and leans on a tree, as suddenly a hand covers his mouth from behind. It’s Logan. He explains that he is a hunter and, as such, leaves nothing to chance. Logan once learned how to do what he is about to show Chuck and he points to an elk that is seen in the distance. As they get closer to the animal, Logan gestures to Chuck to stay behind and keep silent. The young man watches as slowly Logan gets closer to the Elk and then reaches out to touch it.

While watching in awe, Chuck Moss makes a sudden move and a twig snaps under his foot. The elk notices the two men and, feeling threatened, it kicks Logan in the gut, sending him flying several feet away with blood spilling all over him. As the animal runs off, Chuck checks on Logan, who is out cold. He tells his fallen friend not to move and that he will get help. Chuck runs through the wood back to the jeep, only to be greeted by a “What took you so long, kid?” It’s Logan. He has already put on a clean shirt and spits out some blood.

Chuck doesn’t know what to say. How could he have healed and gotten back to the car in that short time? Wolverine mentions his adamantium laced bones and his healing factor, but Chuck already knew about this. Shaman told him that Logan was a “technologically enhanced mutant”, but he had no idea that he would be okay that soon. Logan laughs at Shaman’s description of himself. Moss has another question; he wonders how the X-Man could get that close to the elk? Logan gets serious again and explains that this was what he wanted to teach Chuck, of course “without the getting kicked in the breadbasket part”. At times of reckoning, the regular world doesn’t exist and nothing can be left to assumption. No mutant power, nor magic, are needed. It’s just a way of understanding things and how everything relates. Logan knows that it can’t be properly explained. He can only show it to Chuck. Asking for the young man’s trust, Logan pulls something from the jeep.

(hours later)

Logan and Chuck are training with Samurai swords. Logan starts one more attack, but Chuck blocks it with his blade. Logan congratulates him on the move and then starts the exercise anew. Chuck catches his breath and asks for a break. However, Logan hits Chuck on the shoulder with the broad side of his blade. He lectures him that to assume the mood of the warrior is the hardest thing in the world. Chuck barely evades a strike for his gut, but his maneuver leaves him wide open for Logan to ram his blade in Chuck’s knee. The young trainee sinks to the ground. Logan tells him that it’s much easier to feel sorry for himself and to believe that someone else is victimizing him, but the fact is that Chuck has to blame himself for his shortcomings. With that said, Logan lifts his blade over his head, takes aim, and then rams it down, only to stop it a few inches before Chuck’s face. He now could easily split open his head. Chuck needs to train like he means it. Shaman wants Logan to prepare Chuck for a world that wants to eat him alive. He can’t call “Time Out” in the middle of a battle.

His point being made, Logan tells Chuck to get up and follow him, as the night is coming. Soon, they reach a canyon and their destination is on the other side. There is no bridge across the gap, but Logan finds another way. He pops his claws and cuts through one of the large trees. It falls down and crosses the gap. Logan walks over and tells Chuck to follow, but the young man hesitates – he is not good with heights and it is very windy. Logan yells at Chuck that they don’t have time for this. Things get dodgier at this time of they day and they are out in the open. Besides, something is looking for them. To Chuck, it might seem like the wind, but it’s something much worse. It hides in the wind and stalks his prey. A true warrior knows the difference. Indeed, it seems as if the wind has taken a special interest in Chuck, as it circles around the young man.

Reluctantly, Chuck steps on the log, walks a few step, but then he loses his balance and slips off. Fortunately, he grabs hold of the log, but he cries out that he can’t do it. Logan runs over to him and, as he pulls Chuck up, he reminds him that he is there because of his own choice and should have developed a sense of responsibility by now. Sitting on the log, Logan explains once more that being a warrior calls for self-control and, at the same time, calls for abandoning one’s self. He asks Chuck to try it again, to control his fear and to center himself. Logan hands Chuck a blindfold, but Chuck replies “No freakin’ way, old Man”. However, before long, Chuck is wearing the blindfold, and walking towards the direction of Logan’s voice, who tells him to sense his way across and relate with his surroundings. Chuck does as told and slowly, step-by-step, he makes his way over the log. All of a sudden, he looses balance once more and falls ... in the grass next to the log. He had already crossed the canyon. Logan tells Chuck he did fine.

Later that night, Logan has set up camp in front of a cave. From inside Chuck asks how long it will be untill something happens. Logan says he doesn’t know, only that Shaman said he had to stay inside until it – whatever it is – is over. In the cave, Chuck wonders why he has to lay there, with his left hand buried in the ground, just to figure out his totem. Suddenly, he becomes aware that he is not alone in the darkness. About a dozen pairs of red eyes are watching him. Outside, Logan hears Chuck cry out “Oh, my God! Help me!” but he knows that this is something the young man has to face him self. In the darkness around him, Chuck sees giant beasts, looking like a mix between wolves and bears. They approach him and as their talons and claws cover Chuck’s face, he cries “NO !”

(the next morning)

Logan enters the cave and finds Chuck asleep, his hand still in the pool of mud. He wakes his charge and congratulates him, as he made it through the night. He helps Chuck to pull his arm out of the ground, and the young man opens his hand. To his surprise, there is a worm in his palm. He wonders what this means and Logan too is taken aback. He says, apparently, Chuck’s totems are worms. He assures Chuck that this has to be a good sign. From what he has heard, this means Chuck is an earthmover. Logan knows that Chuck has been through some rough twenty-four hours, so he tells him to relay and get some of the breakfast he prepared. Meanwhile, he has some business to attend to before they will go back to Shaman’s place.

Making his way through the wood, Logan sarcastically exclaims “worms ...”. He is again on the trail of the elk from the day before. Logan gets closer to the beautiful animal, but suddenly he sees something else. Logan doesn’t believe his eyes – it’s Chuck Moss. Not only did he beat Logan and made his way there faster, but, also, is he standing right next to the elk and touching it, while looking calmly towards the X-Man. Logan knows that the Shaman’s new pupil is gonna be fine from now on, and again leaves into the woods.

Characters Involved: 


Chuck Moss


Story Notes: 
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