Wolverine (2nd series) #32

Issue Date: 
October 1990
Story Title: 
Terminal Trauma

Larry Hama (script), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Glynis Oliver (coloring), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine battles through his own personal nightmare, until he awakens to find himself in the company of Tyger Tiger and Archie Corrigan. They are in Tyger’s penthouse in high-town. Tyger and Archie have been trying to patch him up ever since they found him. Wolverine asks Tyger what she knows about what is going on. Meanwhile, in the forest of Madripoor, Dai-Kumo and Dr. Malheur are harvesting the spider monkeys for their own nefarious needs. Dai-Kumo receives a phone call from Goro, who informs him that their target, Wolverine, is still alive. Irate, Dai-Kumo orders him to take care of it!! In the penthouse, Tyger and Archie leave Wolverine alone so they can find out where Dai-Kumo is staying and how the Princess Bar is faring. They leave a battered Wolverine in the care of four of Tyger’s best enforcers. No sooner do they leave, as do Goro and Reiko appear. A brief fight ensues which leaves all of Tyger’s enforcers dead. Wolverine hears the commotion and puts his ear next to the door. Goro takes the opportunity to stick his sword the door and into Wolverine’s chest. Wolverine is enraged, but can do very little as he collapses - apparently dead. In his ensuing dream, Wolverine is heading to the bright light but is met by somebody who looks exactly like Jean Grey. She helps Wolverine and brings him back to life. When Wolverine awakens, he is met by Archie and Tyger. Wolverine tells them what happened and informs them that he is ready for some payback. Down at the warehouse, Dr. Malheur and Dai-Kumo, and his chauffeur are discussing their plans. They are not synthesizing a cancer cure. They are creating a drug named zap. Zap, when further refined, creates a super-drug - thunderbolt!! Thunderbolt drives those who take it insane and eventually kills them. Goro and Reiko arrive on the scene and show Dai-Kumo a picture of Wolverine with a sword in his chest. Dai-Kumo is pleased and orders them all to return to Japan. Later on, Wolverine and Tyger arrive at the warehouse and discover a mountain of dead monkeys. The tribesman who is in the warehouse tells Wolverine where they went. When he returns to Tyger, Wolverine informs her that they need to go get Archie - they are going to Japan!!

Full Summary: 

In his own personal nightmare, Wolverine is facing three monsters. One of them, a giant red dragon that tells him to gaze into his eyes and tremble at the prospect of his own doom!! He is beyond fear, beyond hope!! Wolverine responds defiantly that he should be the one who ought to be shaking, because he’s about to carve him up into sushi!

Wolverine slashes at the dragon, severing a part of the creature off of its twisted body. The dragon responds that Wolverine may be able to kill them, but he can’t stop them... The dragon then morphs into body shapes of Seven, Eleven and Dragonhead. They inform Wolverine that they are beyond fear, beyond hope and beyond pain, because they are riding the thunderbolt! The thunderbolt!! The thunderbolt!!!

Suddenly, Wolverine awakens from his nightmare and slashes his claws wildly. He starts muttering that he doesn’t care what their riding, he’s gonna... Before he can finish his sentence, Tyger Tiger tells him to calm down - some of that furniture is irreplaceable! Wolverine realizes that it is Tyger talking to him and asks her where he is. Tyger responds that he is in her Madripoor high-town penthouse. Archie Corrigan and her brought him their after he got into a free-for-all throw-down with a busload of yakuza gangsters down at the Princess Bar. Archie adds that they have been trying to bandage him up, but that he’s been ripped up something fierce.

Wolverine asks who won. He then adds that it must have been him cause he’s still breathing - but just barely. When he’s hurt this bad, the healing gets slow. Tyger indicates that she would say that he was about as close as he could get to being dead without starting to decompose! As Wolverine heads out to the balcony, he informs Archie and Tyger that the Japanese gangsters weren’t fooling around. The last three were flying on some drug they called the thunderbolt. It made them nigh near unkillable.

He asks Tyger if she knew anything about that. Tyger responds only with that he needs to rest his wounds. Wolverine retorts that there is no time to rest. Somebody out there is out to do unto him, and it behooves him to do unto him first. He again asks Tyger what the story is - are the prince and Coy involved? Tyger asks rhetorically that there is no keeping anything from him - is there? Wolverine responds - not hardly.

In the central highlands of Madripoor, there are two soldiers and a local tribesman. The tribesman is pointing across the jungle towards where the tall trees grow close together. That is where “little people” of the forest play. One of the soldiers informs him that he is doing fine and calls him a savage. As long as he continues telling them where they can find the spider monkeys, they won’t have to put a bullet through his stinking Montagnard head.

The other soldier shoots a gas grenade from his launcher into the trees. A number of spider monkeys fall unconscious into the awaiting nets. Over on the other side of the forest, Dai-Kumo stands with Dr. Malheur and General Coy. He points out that the “harvest” is proceeding nicely and that this is working out to everyone’s satisfaction. They are all going to be even wealthier than they already are. The prince gets his cut for looking the other way, while they poach an endangered species, which is also sacred to the local savages. General Coy gets his cut for providing the harvesters. Coy adds that Dai-Kumo gets his cut as well.

Dai-Kumo agrees. It’s too bad about Tyger. Coy responds that that is women for you. They think with their hearts instead of their brains. Dr. Malheur pipes in that, speaking of brains, these monkeys have rather large ones. There will be plenty of hypothalamic fluid to extract as a catalyst for their “cancer cure” drug! One of the tribesman indicates that he doesn’t understand - why are the lowlanders stealing all of the “little people?” This is not good. They take all and leave none for the next time. One of the soldiers points a gun at the tribesman’s head and says to the doctor that the savage is being impudent. He asks if he should shoot him. Dr. Malheur indicates that is not necessary, the tribesman is just being curious.

He asks the tribesman if the Montagnards eat monkey meat. The tribesman admits that the mountain people do indeed eat monkey meat, but they also eat wild pig, deer, river-fish, birds, and taro-root. But never all of them, they always leave some. He then asks if the lowlanders eat monkey. As Dr. Malheur taps one of the monkeys on the head, he answers the question. In a manner of speaking, they do eat the monkey. They eat his brain, and it makes them see God. The tribesman retorts that they don’t have to eat the monkey to see God, all they have to do is open their eyes.

Dai-Kumo chuckles that primitive theology is amusing. He adds that, if they have cleaned out this part of the forest, they should get this load back to their warehouse for the crude processing. At that moment, Dai-Kumo-Sama’s chauffeur informs him that he has a call on his cell phone from Goro and Reiko. Dai-Kumo wonders aloud as to why they are bothering him. He thought they had finished their business.

Outside of Tyger’s penthouse, Goro and Reiko are sitting in their car. When Goro informs Dai-Kumo that they have a problem, Dai-Kumo replies that he doesn’t have problems - his underlings have problems. Reiko interjects that Goro better watch himself. If he makes too many mistakes, Dai-Kumo may give her his job! Goro ignores her and tells Dai-Kumo that the problem is named Wolverine and he is still alive. Dai-Kumo mentions that Goro had informed him of his demise and that he is beginning to be gravely displeased with him. Goro interjects that he must have had help. After all, he wiped out Dragonhead and twenty of their toughest “soldiers.” Right now, he is at Tyger’s penthouse and the pilot is with them.

Dai-Kumo informs him that it was his job to oversee the elimination of this obstacle. Honor dictates that he make good on the failure of his subordinates or he must forfeit a finger. He adds that Goro must see to this personally and to remember to bring something back in the way of proof. Goro responds that he won’t let him down. When he hangs up the phone, Reiko asks him if he isn’t the faithful dog. Goro hands a camera to Reiko and informs her that the old spider wants proof. He adds that she had better improve her mood - she knows how he gets after he kills... Reiko responds that he might have bought up her father’s gambling debt markers, but he doesn’t own her soul. She may belong to him, but she doesn’t have to pretend that she likes anything about him!

In Tyger’s penthouse, Wolverine is laying on the couch smoking a cigar. He asks if that was the story. To him, it doesn’t add up. Slime like Dai-Kumo aren’t interested in curing stuff. He looks down at his dressing and notices that he is still leaking a bit. He then asks if Tyger and Archie are stepping out. Archie informs him that he is going to go check up on the Princess Bar to make sure the looters don’t cart off what’s left of O’Donnell’s half. Wolverine interjects that it is his half that is still standing! Tyger indicates that she is going to go make some inquiries among her underworld cronies. They are bound to know where Dai-Kumo is staying. Wolverine informs them that if he’s not breathing when they get back, just roll him over and use him for a rug!

As Tyger and Archie get into the elevator, Tyger informs her hired help that they are supposed to be the toughest enforcers on her payroll. They can prove it today by not letting anyone pass out of this foyer into her penthouse. The enforcers inform her that nobody is getting past them. As the elevator door closes, Archie indicates that those boys are rough. Tyger replies that they are the roughest.

No sooner does their elevator door close, but does the other elevator open up, from which Goro and Reiko emerge! Goro is carrying some flowers meant for Tyger Tiger. One of the enforcers informs him that she is not home and that he needs to go away. Goro replies that he will just leave them inside. An enforcer pops his knife blade and indicates that he doesn’t think that is going to happen and slashes Goro’s shirt - asking him if he is carrying any illicit hardware. They notice he has no weapons, but he does have an interesting piece of skin-art on his back.

They ask him what a lug like him is doing with a likeness of Kwan-Yin, goddess of mercy on his back. Goro angrily asks if it is not truly merciful and that undeserving sinners like them may gaze upon the glory of the mother of mercy and carry that shining image to their graves! With that, he pulls a sword out of the bouquet of flowers and slices three of the enforcers, killing them. The last one pulls out a gun and goes to shoot Goro. Before he can, he is killed by Reiko, who informs Goro that they need to finish their job and get out of there. Goro claims that Reiko does really care for him. Reiko tells him not to flatter himself. The shout would have been heard in the penthouse and it would have alerted the prey!

Inside the penthouse, Wolverine has arisen from the couch and popped his claws. He thinks that he’s not so far gone that he can’t hear death through a locked door. He may be groggy but he’s still mean enough to rock and roll. He leans up against the door and smells blood, steel, and perfume. He wonders about the perfume, as well as who is out there and why are they being so quiet?!?

From outside the penthouse, Goro drives his sword through the door. Wolverine screams in pain. Goro is pleased with himself - his blade hit meat!! Just then, Wolverine’s claws come through the door!! Goro is shocked and backs up. He thinks that it is impossible – he can’t be human!! At that moment, Wolverine comes through the shattered door with the sword still stuck deep in his chest and a wild look in his eyes. He then collapses in front of them - apparently dead!!!

Reiko indicates to Goro that she thought for a moment, Wolverine was going to kill him. Goro replies that only a blade wielded by a dead man can slay him. That was the last prophesy of the blind seer Mongaku - just before he separated his head from his body. He orders Reiko to give him the camera. As Reiko hands it over she asks why did he... Before she can finish her thought, Goro finishes it for her. He killed the seer so he can seal the prophecy in blood and to prevent retractions. He then takes a picture of the dead Wolverine.

In a dream-like state, Wolverine is floating outside of his body. It is cold. Colder than the north wind howling off the Great Slave Lake in February. So cold, it burns, like a spear of hot ice through his soul. He doesn’t care though; he’s just drifting. Drifting lazily towards that bright friendly light at the end of the darkness. There’s warmth there, and rest from all of this weariness. All he has to do is let this cold shining thing in his chest carry him there. Just then, he notices a woman who looks eerily like.... Jean!?!

Wolverine asks her what she is doing there. What? She’s been to this place before? Back when she was dying on the space shuttle? Dying? He asks her where he is. He asks her what is that brightness drawing him home. He’s got his toes hanging on the precipice - doesn’t he? “Jean” puts her finger at the point where the sword went into Wolverine. He wonders about the shining thing in his chest. It has to come out. But what about the warm brightness - he wants to be there. That brightness at the end of the dark. She says that it will always be there for him, but now he has to pull this shining thing out. If that is what he has to do then.... Wolverine grabs a hold of the shining thing coming out of his chest and pulls. It feels something like a freight train full of hurt running through his heart. One thing he has to know - is that really her - Jean - or is he talking to himself again??

When Wolverine awakens, he realizes that he must have been in the “Twilight Zone” for hours. The blood on the floor is developing a crust. At that very moment, Tyger and Archie return to Tyger’s penthouse. Tyger sees the dead men on the floor and asks what happened. Archie notices the sword that Wolverine just pulled out of his chest is from the yakuza. He asks if they... Before he can finish his question, Wolverine answers that they almost had him pushing up petunias, except he had a little help from an old friend. He then asks Tyger if she was able to rattle some cages down in low-town and if she was able to find out where those slimy hyenas slink off to when they’re not trying to cancel his ticket. Tyger responds that they stay in a warehouse in low-town down by the docks. Wolverine responds that he needs some help getting up - he’s about to get himself some payback - even if he has to drag himself down there to get it!!

Down in low-town, Dr. Malheur, Dai-Kumo, and his chauffeur exit their warehouse hideaway and begin to walk the streets of Madripoor. Dr. Malheur informs Dai-Kumo that the extraction process went quite smoothly and the extinction of the Madripoorian spider monkey guarantees them a monopoly on their product. He then asks Dai-Kumo if the prince and Coy were naive enough to believe they’re actually synthesizing a cancer cure. Dai-Kumo retorts that he doesn’t care what they believe. If you pay people enough money, they will believe anything.

Malheur holds up a jar full of spider monkey hypothalamic fluid and indicates that this is the catalyst all right. Only, instead of a cancer cure, it creates a powerful designer drug - zootoxic acid psychogalvanide - or as they call it - Zap!! Just one milligram of refined monkey brain catalyst can create millions of doses of zap out of plain cane sugar, vinegar and peanut shell fiber! Dai-Kumo adds that further refinement of zap yields a super-drug. They call it the thunderbolt. One dose of it imparts super-human strength, endurance, total pain-suppression, and an ultimate ecstatic rapture that lasts for an hour and ends in death.

The beauty of zap, he continues, is that it is cumulatively-progressive in dependence as well as being dose retrograde. The more you take, the more you want it and it always takes more to “get you off!!” The profit projections are unimaginable - zap will create the market for thunderbolt. They shall create zap for next to nothing and charge ten thousand dollars a dose for thunderbolt!!!

Malheur indicates that he never did understand Dai-Kumo’s preoccupation with thunderbolt. He can understand the profit potential of zap, but does he really think that people will pay ten thousand dollars for a drug that will kill them?? Dai-Kumo laughs! The hilarity of it all!! He asks Malheur if he thinks that people know that alcohol and tobacco and saturated fats will kill them? In fact, people know that alcohol and tobacco and saturated fats will them in horrible, prolonged and painful ways that will bankrupt their families emotionally and fiscally - and they still persist in consuming them!! At least thunderbolt lets them go out with a bang!!!

At that very moment, one of the beggars of Madripoor comes up to the trio and asks them if he could borrow a few coins for a drink - the chauffeur makes short work of him with a stiff smack to his face. When they reach the docks and their plane, they meet up with Goro and Reiko. Dai-Kumo asks if they have cleared up their earlier difficulties and have since arranged for their departure to Japan. Goro bows to him and informs him that they have and humbly apologizes for the inadequacies of his subordinates. He also assures him that matters have been rectified!! Dai-Kumo informs him that he doesn’t want assurance, he wants proof!! Goro reveals a Polaroid picture of Wolverine with a sword in his chest. He appears to be dead. He asks Dai-Kumo if that would suffice.

As Dai-Kumo takes the picture he is in wonder of modern technology. It is much neater than dragging a severed head through the streets. He then informs Goro that this picture will suffice. A man with a sword through his chest must surely be with his ancestors. He then orders all to get on board the seaplane - they’re going home to Osaka!!

In the streets of Madripoor, Wolverine and Tyger are in Tyger’s car. Wolverine asks her where the warehouse is. Tyger informs him that it is at the other end of Dream Street, just pass Lotus Lane. She was also able to turn up an Interpol wanted sheet on Malheur. Turns out he really is a chemist, but a drug chemist. He came out of the Corsican Brotherhood in Marseille, active in the Golden Triangle, Peru and Columbia. Wolverine asks who the big lug with the scar across his face is. Tyger indicates that he is Goro, chief enforcer for Dai-Kumo, a major boss of the Osaka yakuza gangs. Wolverine retorts that he and Goro have some one-on-one coming. He pretty near put a permanent kink in his healing mutant power. As he looks out the window, he asks if they are having a drugged out zombie convention in low-town. When did it get this bad? Tyger responds that it has always been this bad - he just never looked.

In time, they reach the warehouse where Dai-Kumo is staying. As Wolverine gets out of the car, he smells death. Lots of death, and something else. He tells Tyger to stay in the car; he is going to go check it out. As he enters the warehouse, the stench of death is strong enough to choke a buzzard in the sweltering heat. It’s not strong enough to mask the scent of a living person from his heightened mutant senses however. He expects to see a dozen dead men. He’s not prepared for what is in there - piled up to the ceiling - a mountain of dead monkeys!!!

In shock, Wolverine asks aloud why anybody would do that. One of the tribesman inform him that they killed the little people of the forest so that they could eat their brains. They said that, by eating the brains, they could see God. He then asks what kind of God do you see after you’ve done something like this??? Wolverine asks the tribesman about the men that did this and asks where they are. The tribesman goes over to Wolverine and sniffs him. He notices that he is not like them - he is a forest creature - a wild thing. He then informs Wolverine that the men he seeks are gone. They went to the factory island. The place where the cars, motorbikes, radios, and TVs come from and where all the money goes.

With that information, Wolverine leaves the warehouse and heads back to Tyger’s car. He informs her that they need to go find Archie - they need transport. Tyger asks where they are going. Wolverine answers sternly - to the land of Amaterasu, the sun goddess - to Japan!!

Characters Involved: 


Tyger Tiger

Archie Corrigan

Goro, Reiko, Dai-Kumo (all members of the yakuza)

Dr. Malheur

Various foot-soldiers of the Yakuza gang (unnamed)

Dai-Kumo’s chauffeur (unnamed)

General Coy

Montagnard tribesman (unnamed)

Tyger Tiger’s enforcers (unnamed)

Various patrons of the Princess Bar (unnamed)

Various residents of Madripoor (unnamed)

In dream sequences:

Visions of Dragonhead, Seven, and Eleven.

Jean Grey

Story Notes: 

The Yakuza are members of traditional organized crime groups in Japan. Today, the yakuza are one of the largest organized crime phenomena in the world.

Wolverine took on the busload of yakuza gang members back in Wolverine (2nd series) #31.

Montagnard (French for “from the mountains”) historically refers to indigenous people from the Vietnamese highlands.

Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan with a population of 2.7 million. It is located in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshu, at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay.

Polaroid is a type of camera that takes instant pictures.

Interpol or International Criminal Police Organization was created in 1923 to assist international criminal police co-operation. It is the world's third largest international organization after the United Nations and FIFA. Sean Cassidy (Banshee) was once an agent of Interpol.

Issue Information: 
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