Wolverine (2nd series) #182

Issue Date: 
December 2002
Story Title: 
Three Funerals and a Wedding

Frank Tieri (writer), Sean Chen (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Avalon Studios’ Edgar Tadeo (colors), Comicraft (letters), John Miesegaes (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The newspaper reports of three members of the Pazzo Family having been killed at a wedding. This is disturbing news for Johnny, the underboss of the organization. Tony comes in and tells him that their boss, Freddo, wants to see him. Johnny gets upset and Tony tells him he should do everyone a favor and just kill Freddo, after all he should have been made leader. Johnny reprimands him for making such a suggestion. On the way to Freddo’s office he reminisces about the day his former boss, Sal, Freddo's father, told him he was leaving the family not to him, but to his son Freddo, who otherwise would never make it to anything in his life. As Johnny arrives, Freddo is furious and lets Johnny feel that it is he who is the boss. He then asks him about the murders at the Chez Bippy bar, where three more of the Pazzo Family were killed. Johnny hasn’t come up with any clues yet and Freddo even goes as far as accusing Johnny of having something to do with these killings, as he didn’t like the methods of these three guys. Just as they are about to have an argument, Tony walks in and informs them that there is someone outside claiming to know who killed them. Wolverine walks in with a box. It contains the hand of one of the murdered mobsters. Johnny and his men pull out their guns and threaten to kill Logan, who remains calm. Before anyone can react, he slashes their guns with his claws and explains that he killed those guys, as they crossed a line when the took the child of his friend hostage. Logan then proposes a deal, wants the debt from his friend forgiven in exchange for his services. He will assist them in getting rid of the Roman, an adversary that’s been killing a lot of their men, like those at the wedding. Against Johnny’s advise Freddo accepts, citing a quote from “The Godfather: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

Full Summary: 

Johnny is reading an article in the Daily Bugle. It’s about the death of Joseph “Joe Bats” Cavella and two others at the wedding of Cavella’s niece in Bay Ridge. Joe Bats was the capo of the Pazzo family. Disgusted, Johnny throws the paper away.

Tony walks in the room and asks if Johnny has read the paper. He comments on how it’s a shame, since Joe Bats was one of the “good ones”. He also tells Tony that Freddo wants to see him. Johnny is visibly upset and makes a remark on how this is turning to be a hard day. Tony apologizes, but he is just the messenger. He tells Johnny that currently everybody is on the edge, especially with The Roman eating up their territory. He also says Tony would do everybody a favor by killing Freddo.

Johnny turns around in anger and asks Tony to repeat what he just said. Tony tells him that he is simply saying what everybody is thinking; besides Sal should have made him boss in the first place. Johnny is mad. He tells Tony that it doesn’t matter and that since Freddo is the boss he should be respected. He walks away telling Tony that he’ll pretend the conversation never happened.

As he goes down the hall, Johnny walks by the pictures of many famous gangsters. Among them are pictures of his former boss Sal and his son Freddo, who is currently the boss of the Pazzo Family. Looking at the many photographs, Johnny wonders aloud how things could get so bad, and he remembers ...


Johnny walks into Sal’s room. He’s lying in bed with an oxygen tube up his nose. Sal asks Johnny to get closer and see his Don for one last time. Johnny asks jokingly if they should have a sit down with “this death fella” and sort things out with him, after all, they sure sent enough business his way over the years. Sal, however, answers that his deal-making days are over and he’s ready to die. Johnny turns away his face in shame and says that he always thought he’d die first. Sal agrees. He thought the same, but he had a nice run and can’t complain.

Still there is one more thing. Sal breaks Johnny the bad news. He is leaving the family to Freddo and not to him. Sal sees the confusion in his friends’ eyes, but he promised Freddo’s mother on her deathbed that he would do anything to make something out of the boy. Johnny is shocked and doesn’t know what to say. Stating that Johnny was like a brother to him, Sal wants Johnny to make a deathbed promise too, a dying wish from his Don. He wants him to remain as underboss in the family and help Freddo along. He needs guidance and protection.


In his office, Freddo is watching “The Godfather” on a flat screen TV. He is writing down one the movies most famous quotes “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. Talking to his deceased father, he complains about his given name Freddo. Why couldn’t he have called him Michael instead?

Johnny walks in and Freddo reprimands him for being late. Johnny explains that he was paying his condolences to Bats’ family, but young Freddo doesn’t care – when he calls for him, he gets here before he hangs up the phone, understood? Johnny doesn’t answer, but instead asks why he was summoned. Freddo, however, now doesn’t answer and with a “First things first...”, he has Johnny kiss the ring on his finger before they proceed.

Seating himself behind the desk, laying up his feet, Freddo asks Johnny what he knows about the incident at Chez Bippy’s. “Not much,” answers the older man, only that three of their toughest guys went in there last time and got ripped to shreds… literally. One of them was even missing a hand. Johnny wonders if one of the Roman’s “buttons” is responsible and voices his concern, he has a bad feeling about this one.

Freddo responds that he has been having a lot of bad feelings lately, hasn’t he? Taking this as an accusation, Johnny asks what he means and Freddo asks another question in return. He didn’t particularly like the three guys that got killed, did he? Johnny admits as much. They never should have kidnapped the girl. Leaning on a guy is one thing, but you don’t bring his kid into it; this isn’t how things were done in his day. Pointing to the huge painting of himself, Freddo however reminds Johnny that it is now his day and things are handled differently now. So Johnny better start getting with the program, after all, he is only keeping Johnny as an underboss out of respect for the friendship between he and his father.

They are suddenly interrupted by Tony, who informs them that there is guy outside claiming to know who is responsible for the Chez Bippy’s murders and has proof. Freddo and Johnny look at each other for a moment and finally Freddo asks what kind of proof? Wolverine walks in with Tony and three other goons following him, eyeing his every move. Logan is carrying a gift box. Freddo asks who he is, to which Logan answers, “Someone you may or may not want to know.” Freddo then asks what’s in the box. This time Logan replies, “Something he may or may not want to see”, but he doesn’t have to take Logan’s word for it.

Johnny asks Tony if he has checked the content of the box and he confirms it. Johnny asks what’s in there, but Tony confirms that he would want to see for himself. For a moment everyone is waiting, until Johnny breaks the silence. He sits down and begins to open the box, while Freddo tells Logan that he doesn’t like a wiseguy playing some games with him. Logan says that this is not his intention and Freddo then dares him to reveal who is responsible for killing his men, before he has Logan’s thumbs cut off. Simply answering “Him,” Logan points in a direction, and the four mobsters quickly pull their guns, but there is nobody there, just the mirror with Logan’s reflection.

Slightly amused, Freddo is about to resume his questioning, when Johnny tells him Wolverine isn’t kidding and shows him the content of the box. It’s the missing hand of the three dead mobsters from the bar. The distinct tattoo on the back of the hand, and the ring on it’s middle finger prove it to be the real deal.

Johnny, Tony and the other three mobsters pull out their guns and point them at Logan’s head, who, rather unimpressed, simply comments on how there just being no shopping for some people these days. Tony expresses that he wanted the boss to see the hand himself, so that he would not think he went off half cocked and whacked somebody for no reason. He then wants to pull the trigger, but Johnny tells him to wait. He is worried that Logan is so calm with five guns pointed at him and asks Logan what he knows that they don’t. He answers that he knows what is going to happen if the guns don’t get out of his face.

Freddo begins to ramble on how he likes Logan’s attitude and that he is almost sorry for having to kill him. Suddenly, with one swift motion, Logan pops the claws from his left hand and slashes the five guns before anyone can react. He blows at one of the guns and they all fall down in pieces. As they all stand in amazement, wondering what exactly just transpired and how Logan could have pulled it off, Logan grabs Tony and pops out his claws in front of his face. “Here’s how.”

Shocked by the sight before his eyes, Johnny asks what the hell is he? Logan advises him to stay cool and he’ll be thankful that he doesn’t have to find out. Otherwise... well they don’t really want to know otherwise. Logan says what happens next depends on their own cooperation. He proceeds to tell them the purpose of his visit. He killed the three mobsters in the bar because they went “overboard” collecting a debt. He wants Johnny and Freddo to forget the debt forever. Johnny answers that while he didn’t agree with the way the situation was handled, they cannot forget the debt. Wolverine tells him he wasn’t asking for a free ride, but he is here to see that it gets paid. What he is actually proposing is some sort of deal that fits both him and the Pazzo Family.

His curiosity peeked, Freddo asks Logan what be could possibly offer them? “Me,” Logan says, holding up the newspaper article about the Cavella wedding, he says he could help them getting rid of the Roman. Johnny turns him down. The day when they will need the likes of him to take out the Roman is the day... He can’t finish as Freddo interrupts him, telling him to shut up. He tells Logan to continue and he does. It’s an easy deal: he’ll take care of the Roman and his crew and all is settled with Logan’s friend and his daughter.

Johnny is outraged at the proposal, but Freddo thinks about it for a few seconds and then accepts. As Logan is escorted outside, Johnny insists that this is a mistake and they should kill Logan while they still can. Freddo replies by quoting the phrase he’d previously written down: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” Johnny mumbles that the bad feeling is coming back.

Characters Involved: 


Freddo Pazzo, the Godfather of the Pazzo Family

Johnny Delacavva, underboss of the Pazzo Family

Tony Ditello and other members of the Pazzo Family

In a flashback :

Sal Pazzo, former Don of the Pazzo Family

Johnny Delacavva

Story Notes: 

Wolverine killed the three mobsters and cut off the hand of their leader in the last issue.

The Daily Bugle is a newspaper Peter Parker (Spider-Man) used to work for. J. Jonah Jameson is the editor and Ben Urich is one of the journalists.

“The Godfather” won several Academy Awards, including best picture in 1973. Michael is the name of the character played by Al Pacino. Al Pacino is an actor from Hollywood, who stared in all three installments of the series. He won an Oscar after his seventh nomination for his portrayal of a blind man in the film “Scent of a Woman”.

The last names of Freddo, Johnny and Tony are revealed on the recap page of the next issue.

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