Wolverine (2nd series) #38

Issue Date: 
April 1991
Story Title: 
See Venice & Die!

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: 

Storm arrives in Los Angeles, California to find out her friend Wolverine and soon happens upon some men, Sally and Jocko, who have distributed wanted posters up portraying his picture. When she asks them, she finds out that Logan, with a young female companion, has been stealing money from them. Storm doesn’t believe them and continues her search. In another part of town, Molokai and Reno, two men working for Sally, have found their man down at the bus stop – Logan. As he emerges from the bus with two ladies on his arm, Logan is quickly taken out by the two men, who place him in the back of their car. Later, up in the hills, a Logan look-alike and his pre-teen, female companion steal some more money from a casino owned by Sally. At the same time, Molokai and Reno have brought their captive to Sally. When he is informed by his casino that they have been hit again he doesn’t believe Molokai, that is until the real Logan bursts out of the car. In Venice, the little girl and “Logan” make their way towards their warehouse. The little girl has a secret – she is not only a robot but a walking time bomb. Elsewhere in Australia, Donald Pierce, her creator, explains this to Yuriko. He also explains that Elsie Dee was supposed to have the intelligence of a five year-old but, unbeknownst to him, Bone-Breaker has accidentally gave her the wrong program, increasing her intelligence. Back in Los Angeles, Logan is attempting to find his double and, in pursuit, are Sally and his group of goons. In the warehouse, Elsie Dee makes the Logan look-alike smarter and calls him Albert, after Albert Einstein. When Logan reaches his destination he meets up with the two women he met on the bus, who convince him to take them to the beach. While they are on the boardwalk, Logan is attached by Albert and, during the scuffle, they are found by Sally and his gang. The group threatens to take both “Logans” out, until Storm arrives and sweeps them away with a tidal-wave. Eventually, Logan is able to slice Albert in the stomach, severely injuring him. When Albert radios Elsie Dee and informs her that he is injured, she sets upon an alternate plan and sets fire to the warehouse. As it burns, she calls out the window for help, which Logan, hears. Immediately, he races over to the warehouse, determined to help the little girl.

Full Summary: 

In Los Angeles, Storm uses her power over the wind to burst into the building occupied by two gentlemen, who proceed to pull a gun on her. Storm berates them for threatening her with a firearm and calls them petty hucksters, though one of the men informs her that they aren’t petty huckster, they’re gaming entrepreneurs.

The other man asks her to stop with the special effects; they get her point. He adds that he and his partner, Sally, will be happy to help her, now that they know she’s not a vice-cop. Sally confirms and says that he and Jocko thought she was there to shake them down. Anything she wants she has it, they run a class joint there. Storm informs them that a back-alley betting parlor on a seedy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard is hardly a “class joint.” She then reiterates the question that was so rudely interrupted – why are two low-life “gaming entrepreneurs” circulating a crude “wanted” poster bearing the likeness of a friend of hers. With that, she holds up a wanted poster that depicts the likeness of Wolverine.

Sally explains to her that it’s because her pal has been knocking over all of their best joints. If she doesn’t believe them, she should watch the tape. Sally puts in a tape and indicates to Storm that this is from the security camera that was hidden in one of them ceiling things with the holes in them… Storm finishes her sentence and informs him that it would have been a ventilation grate. Sally responds that’s exactly what it was, a ventilation grate. As Storm watches the tape she notices someone that looks like Wolverine and a little girl taking the money and putting it into a sack. Sally adds that if that ain’t knocking over a joint he doesn’t know what is. Jocko says that the camera doesn’t lie and that the mug with the hat even had his little frail hostage scooping up the loot.

As Storm watches the tape she says aloud that the man on the tape looks like Wolverine but he would never… From behind her, as he goes for a gun, Sally informs her that she needs to keep watching the screen. He then asks her if this pal of hers is a mutant or what. He took six slugs in the back and never even flinched. Then he comes out with a set of claws like a whole set of them Ginsu knives like what they have on the television. Jocko then cocks his gun and points it at Storm’s back. Hearing this, Storm turns around and reminds them that she warned them about playing with guns. As she begins to use her wind power she asks them if they know what happens when the air pressure inside a structure is suddenly made twice as high as the air pressure outside. The answer – it blows the gun out of Sally’s hand, his toupee off, and tears apart half the building. The people on the street that witness the destruction are in shock. In fact, one of them thinks that they must be shooting Lethal Weapon 3.

As Storm walks down the street, some of the passersby on the street ask where Mel Gibson is. His friend asks him if they’ve never heard of stand-ins. At the same time, a street urchins proceeds to ask Storm for a date, though simply replies “July 14, 1992.” When the man asks her what that is supposed to mean, Storm informs him that will be the date he may get out of traction if he even tries to touch her.

Inside the destroyed building, Jocko points out to Sally that the broad blew their joint away. Sally holds his hand on his head and laments the loss of his custom hairpiece. Jocko adds that now they have two weirdoes raining on their parade and that they have to put a stop to this. At that time, the phone rings. As Sally answers it, he puts an empty bowl on his head to cover up his bald spot. The man on the other end informs Sally that it’s Molokai and he and Reno are down at the bus station. Sally asks him if he is his probation officer that he has to tell him where he is all the time??? Ignoring this, Molokai then tells him that they found him, though Sally confusedly asks who they found. Again ignoring, Jocko adds that it’s a good thing they have been having all the pit bosses stash miniature transmitters in with all the money so they can track where it goes with the radio direction finder gizmos they have. The next time he hits them, they got him.

Molokai continues and tells Sally that he found the guy in the poster - a chunk-style haoli dude with burns, cheroot and a Roy Rogers hat. Sally is in shock and asks him how he found him down at the bus station. Molokai informs him that he has a cousin that sells frozen yogurt at the rest-stop in Stockton and he saw the man get back on the bus from Vancouver. He cuts his conversation short; he’s getting off the bus. As Reno hangs up the phone, Sally’s cries of “Wait” and “That can’t be right” go unheard.

Molokai asks Reno if he’s ready and Reno replies as ever as he will be. He then tells Molokai to pull out the poster and make sure they put the arm on the right hombre this time. Molokai replies that that was an honest mistake. Besides, she had the hat and cigar, didn’t she? As they look at the poster and then over at Wolverine, they are sure they have the right man. Wolverine, on the other hand is oblivious to them, as he is dressed in civilian clothes and is escorting two gorgeous women off of the bus.

One of the women, Cyndi, says to her friend, Bunny, that ride would have been soooo boooring if they hadn’t met Logan. Bunny agrees and says that she’s never been so… entertained in all her born days. After hearing the compliments, Logan informs them it was his pleasure. When he sees the two goons making their way over to him, Logan orders the two girls to scoot; he has business to take care of. Cyndi pouts and says to Logan that she thought they were going to have more fun, to which Logan replies, “Later.”

As Molokai and Reno make their way towards Logan, Reno tells Molokai to just give the word and he will put a fresh part in their target’s skull. When Molokai reaches Logan, he grabs him by the collar and asks him if he is there to see the sights and calls him half-pint. Calmly, Logan replies that he is. He hears they grow the vermin real big there. Molokai then asks him if has ever heard of Sally and Jocko. Logan asks him if they are the ones looking for him. Molokai holds the poster up to verify one last time they have the right man and informs Logan that he is the one they are looking for. Logan then replies that he’s found. Now what? Molokai lets Logan down and orders Reno to make his hat tight. With one swing of his tire iron, Reno knocks Logan out. As they drag him away, Reno mentions to Molokai that was the easiest ten grand they ever made. Molokai replies, “‘Now what,’ he says,” mocking Logan.

Up in the hills, at a ritzy location filled with high rollers, a party is going on. As the betting continues, a knock is heard at the door and the guard asks the person knocking what the password is. The person on the other side of the door tells him that he doesn’t need no password. The guard informs him that nobody gets in without no pa… He stops himself mid-sentence as he notices the man on the other side of the door as the same one in the poster. Just then, the man on the other side of the door breaks it down and says that he don’t need no stinking password and he knows what he needs so start forking it over. The man looks exactly like Logan, and he has a little girl under his arm. The guard replies to him that he’ll get nothing but grief and proceeds to unload his gun into him with no effect. The man then pops his claws and proceeds to ask the guard if he has anymore witty patter or if they are going to get down to brass tacks.

In another part of town, Sally receives a call. When he answers it, he confirms with the person on the other end that he is indeed Sally and of course the connection stinks; he’s on a cellular phone. He’s talking on the car phone because their office is getting redecorated is why. When he hears of the goings on, he is shocked that their man is there and that he has the little girl with him. Just then, Molokai and Reno pull up in their car. Molokai calls out to Jocko that he better start counting out that ten thousand. Sally informs the man on the other end of the phone to hold on a minute for he has two more brain-dead idiots to deal with over there.

Molokai taps the trunk and tells him that they have his man in the trunk as they speak, growing a lump-farm on his head. Sally yells at him and asks him, if that is so, then who just knocked off their ritziest joint up in the hills? He adds that it’s a good thing that beeper was thrown in with the money so they can keep track of it. Because of it, they know their man just got off the freeway and that he’s now on Venice Boulevard heading towards the beach. Before he can continue, he is interrupted by Wolverine sticking his claws through the trunk and freeing himself. Once he escapes the trunk, he tells them all that is just what he needed to know.

In Venice, a Corvette is heading down the road. The passenger, a man that looks a lot like Logan is counting the money. The driver, a little girl. As she drives she calls out to the ladies on the street to get of her way as she calls them “stir-fwied wegetables.” She adds that the stench of their cocoa-butter is wank. One of the ladies informs her to mellow out and to be happy. The little girl yells back “wet’s see her be happy dwiving a brown ‘vette with twaining bwocks on the pedals.”

When they reach their destination, the man that looks like Logan finishes counting the money. He informs the little girl, Elsie Dee, that they got fifty thousand dollars at that last place. As they pull into the parking garage there is a mural of the Silver Surfer on the wall. Once inside, the Logan look-alike indicates that puts their haul at a little over three thousand dollars and that it’s a good thing they’re not human or they might be tempted to deviate from their programs. He then pulls a transmitter out of the bag that was hidden among the bills. He asks Elsie if he should smash it. Elsie informs of course not, they want them to twack them there. The more people who know where they are, the more people there are for the weal Wolverine to lean on to find them and the whole point is for him to find them. The Logan look-alike asks her doesn’t that mean when he finds them won’t that mean… Elsie cuts him off and asks if he means “mowecuwal disincorpowation?” Maybe not, not after the surpwise she has for him.

In a base somewhere in Australia, Donald Pierce is showing Yuriko, Lady Deathstrike, a diagram of his newest creation – Elsie Dee. She is a walking time bomb. Every spare cubic inch of her android body that isn’t frame, motor, or computer is packed with plastic explosives. All of it wired to a complex anti-tamper circuit. Her only purpose is to latch on to Wolverine and reduce him t a fine red mist. Relaxing in a batch, hooked up to wires, Yuriko indicates to Pierce that it is ingenious and verifies if the Wolverine simulacrum is simply the bait to draw the real Wolverine to Elsie Dee. She then says to Pierce that it is very clever but asks if the little android is intelligent enough to simulate a real little girl, isn’t she intelligent enough to avoid self-destruction? Pierce replies that she may want to reject the program but a five year old intellect won’t be able to reason out the procedure and crack the code to do so. Besides, he had Bone-Breaker stop Elsie Dee’s logic programming at the five year-old level.

Across the room, Bone-Breaker whispers to Reese that Pierce doesn’t know that he slipped up and that Elsie Dee got the maximum logic program by mistake. He then asks him if he should tell him. Reese tells him to never tell Pierce that he messed up and to just sit tight. Maybe it will work itself out.

In Los Angeles, Logan is driving down the road in the car that he broke out of. He notices that the town is just one big parking lot. It’s a good thing he’s not in a hurry to find this creep who’s running around impersonating him. He also now knows why everybody has a fancy car in this burg – it’s so they can be comfortable while they’re sitting in traffic. In the seat next to him is the receiver so he can find the transmitter.

In another area of Los Angeles, Reno is in pain and complaining about his nose. Sally asks him who cares about his nose when that stinking haoli Bogarted his Mercury and that he’s also the one who has been copping all of his money. Jocko adds that he has been stealing his money as well and that at least they know where he is going. As Jocko, Reno, Molokai and Sally pile into Molokai’s car, Sally informs them that at least he’s not getting there too fast. At least not in rush hour he ain’t. As they speed off the road, they surmise that they can beat him to Venice by avoiding the freeways and running all the lights.

In a warehouse in Venice, Elsie Dee is operating on the Logan look-alike. As she does, she informs him that is the surpwise she was tewwing him about dummy. After she’s finished, she won’t be able to call him “dummy” any wonger. He’ll be a weguwar Einstein! She then asks him if he wemembers all those stops they made at “Radio Hut” stores all over town. The Logan look-alike asks her if that’s where they bought all those tools and circuit boards and computer stuff. Elsie Dee replies that’s wight and that’s where she speed-wead all the computer manuals and memorized all the schematics. When she’s finished, he’s going to be turbo-charged. All his wogic and tactical capabiwities will be boosted so he might actuawy have a chance at defeating Wolverine.

The Logan look-alike thanks Elsie Dee for making him smarter. However, Elsie replies that she didn’t do it all for him and starts to call him dummy but then stops herself and calls him Albert. She tells him that she did it because, even though she can’t overwide her own pwogwam, there’s nothing to stop her from impwoving his chances so that maybe she won’t have to compwete her detonation circuit. She then puts the top of Albert’s head back on his neck. As Albert sits up, he tells Elsie that he sure hopes she won’t have to complete her detonation circuit. Now that she made him smarter, he can feel things and he sure would miss her if anything were to happen to her. Elsie holds his hand and tells him that he never has to be awone ever again – she just gave him a modem.

Near Venice Beach, Logan is in his car stuck behind another red light and thinks to himself that, if he wasn’t such a law-abiding individual, he’d be making good time. Just then, his name is called out by two women. One of the women says to him that he ditched them at the bus station… The other finishes the thought and tells him that they’re not going to let him get away with not giving them a ride. Logan recognizes them as Bunny and Cyndi. Seeing that they are both wearing bikinis, he asks them aren’t they kind of under-dressed? Bunny replies that she thought they would just change and walk to the beach. Cyndi adds that they didn’t know it was so far.

Bunny then asks again for a ride, to which Cyndi adds that they’ve been waiting and waiting. Logan tells them that he finds it hard to believe that they haven’t had any offers, but Cyndi explains that they’re picky and that he owes them one. Logan gives in and tells them to hop in. The girls are ecstatic but ask how they are going to get their surf-boards in the car. Logan pops one of his claws and answers that’s easy and that they can’t be cruising the beach in a hardtop anyway. With that, he slices the hood off of the car.

Inside the warehouse in Venice, Elsie Dee has removed her own head and the rest of her body is working on it. As she works on herself, she mentions that, wuckiwy, her neuwal networking is a diwect wadio winkage from her bwain to major motor aweas awwowing her head to function independentwy from her body. She’s awso instawwing a diwect FM wadio link between her and Albert. She adds for him to just wemember that he won’t be able to hear her whenever he’s under an overpass on the fweeway.

Just then, Albert informs Elsie Dee that a car has just pulled up to their garage door and that their target is in it with two girls. Outside the warehouse, Logan informs the girls that he has some business to take care of first. The girls tell him that, no, he doesn’t and that he needs to take them to the beach first. Inside the warehouse, Albert tells Elsie that all three of them are heading for the boardwalk. Elsie’s head tells him to go through the trapdoor quickly. Her body is holding it up for him to get through.

Inside the car holding Reno, Molokai, Jocko and Sally, Sally takes the phone and calls Duffy at their ritzy joint in the hills. When he gets an answer on the other end, he asks for Duffy, but the man on the other end informs him that Duffy isn’t there – and that his name is Lumpy. Sally instructs him to tell Duffy that, if some weirdo leather broad comes by with a tornado right behind her, that he isn’t supposed to tell her anything. He adds that he and Jocko are heading out to Venice with Reno and Molokai to stop that claw-guy’s clock. He asks him if he’s got that. Lumpy repeats that they are going to Venice to waste the claw-guy.

A moment after Sally reiterates that he’s not to tell that windy-lady anything, Storm then takes the phone out of Lumpy’s hand and tells him that he did a very good job and that he was extremely cooperative. As she leaves the shell of what used to be a house, Lumpy asks her if she’s going to blow anything else away. Storm tells him that his friend Duffy should never have pulled a gun on her and that he may find him and the rest of the house somewhere in Pomona.

On the boardwalk in Venice, Logan is walking arm in arm with Bunny and Cyndi. He says to them that he thought they wanted to go in the water, to which Cyndi responds, “What and get their suits wet?” Logan informs them that he can’t really hang out too long for he has an appointment with his doppelganger. Cyndi asks him if that is like an acupuncturist. Bunny adds yick – she hates needles.

Below the boardwalk, Albert informs Elsie Dee that he has all his systems rigged for silent-running and all non-passive sensors are shut down and his infrared dampers are on. He then asks her where he is. Elsie’s head tells him that he’s right above him and to do it, and get him for her.

At that moment, Logan senses something beneath him and pushes the women out of the way of harm’s way. He looks down at the boardwalk and notices that something is ripping right up through the boardwalk. Something with claws! As he falls through the sliced boardwalk to the ground below, he says to his nemesis that he’s just the fella he’s been looking to see and tells him that he’s been giving him a bad name. Albert replies that he will give him worse than that.

Up on the boardwalk, Bunny and Cyndi are watching the events transpiring. The astonished Bunny tells Cyndi that there are two of them down there, to which Cyndi replies that is twice as much fun and asks Bunny which one she wants. Bunny says she doesn’t know and that they certainly aren’t being very friendly with each other. Cyndi replies that they know how guys are – they like to rough-house.

Below the boardwalk, Albert and Logan are exchanging swipes of their claws. At the same time, Albert informs Elsie that his adversary is fast and he’s good at what he does. Logan indicates that something is wrong and wonders why didn’t he sniff this guy out until he was right underneath him…

In another area of Venice, Molokai is distraught when he finds his destroyed Mercury. He calls out to the others that the haoli sawed the top right off of it, though Reno points out that it looks like it was clawed off. Just then, Sally asks them if they hear the commotion up on the boardwalk. Cocking his gun, Reno says that it sounds like their boy, so why don’t they just mosey on up there and see if he’s got the time of day? As they walk over towards the boardwalk, Molokai says that he’s got dibs on him, but Sally rejoins that he can get his shot after he and Jocko get theirs. Jocko then asks Reno what wrong, isn’t he going to put in his dibs? Reno replies that he reckons he will just clean up on what’s left.

Just then, Storm lands behind them and recommends to them that she thinks they should drop their guns and leave her friend to take care of his business. As the crew turns around, Sally recognizes her as the tornado lady. Storm informs them of her name and tells them that’s what she’s going to bring down on them if… She is interrupted by Logan and Albert crashing through the boardwalk. When they do Storm calls out to Logan. During the fight, Logan says to Storm that it is fancy meeting her there and tells her that he will be with her in a minute, just as soon as he finishes with the handsome devil he’s fighting. Storm tells him to take his time.

Upon hearing that Sally tells her that he hasn’t got a lot of time and they’re gonna terminate his life-expectancy as soon as he stays still long enough. Him and his twin brother! Storm informs them that they will do no such thing. Sally shoots back that, if she hasn’t noticed, they ain’t got no building around them to blow away so there ain’t no… Before he can finish his sentence, Storm is able to summon a tidal wave that takes them out.

In the meantime, Logan is finally able to connect with a decent slash to Albert’s mid-section. When he does, gears and mechanical parts fall out of him. Logan says it’s just as he thought: he’s a construct, a bag of parts. As Albert staggers away, he calls out to Elsie Dee that he needs help and that he’s damaged. He adds that there’s a smell in his nostrils, like burning circuits, and there’s a taste in his mouth like rust. He asks her if this is what it is to die? Elsie disagrees and informs him that he has back-up systems but he will need to go hide somewhere and wepair himself. Albert says to her that he can’t leave her, but Elsie tells him that he has to whun and that he has to save himself. She can’t overwide her pwimawy diwective any wonger – she has to do what she was cweated to do. With that, she climbs the stairs of the warehouse and lights some curtains on fire with a mini-blowtorch. Immediately, a large fire consumes the warehouse.

Down on the boardwalk, Albert collapses in front of Logan and Storm. As they stand there, Storm says to Logan that she thought he might need some help, but she should have known he would have it all under control by the time she got there. Logan replies that he’s still glad to see her. The on-lookers on the boardwalk think it’s a movie shoot and wonder where the cameras are. One thinks the SFX are Z-grade. Another speculates that the stuff leaking out of the dummy is cottage cheese and cooked spaghetti. He read about it in Fangoria. Still nearby, Bunny and Cyndi are grossed out by the whole scene.

Just then, Logan and Storm hears cries of help. Logan points out that it sounds like a kid. The cries continue as the “child” calls out that “the fwames are getting cwoser!” Logan immediately reacts and runs towards the burning warehouse. As he does, he tells the little girl to hang on – he’s coming right up.

Characters Involved: 

Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Sally and Jocko

Molokai and Reno (thugs working for Sally and Jocko)

Lumpy (another employee of Sally and Jocko)

Bunny and Cyndi (Wolverine’s “friends”)


Elsie Dee

Lady Deathstrike

Donald Pierce

Reese and Bone-Breaker (members of the Reavers)

Various patrons on Santa Monica Boulevard and the boardwalk (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

At the time of this issue’s publication, Lethal Weapon 3 had not been produced, though Lethal Weapon 2 had been released two years previously. Lethal Weapon 3 was released the following year in 1992, starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, and Stuart Wilson.

Haoli is a Hawaiian term for foreigner.

Elsie Dee and Albert first appeared in Wolverine (2nd series) #37, but this is the first time the Wolverine look-alike (Albert) was named.

Ginsu was a line of kitchen knives made famous by their infomercial television marketing campaign. According to them, their knives could cut through anything and still stay sharp.

Pomona, California is located approximately 45 miles away from Venice, California.

Venice, California is located near both Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California.

The painting above the warehouse that Elsie Dee and Albert enter is that of the Silver Surfer.

“Fangoria” is an internationally-distributed U.S. film fan magazine specializing in the genres of horror, slasher, splatter, and exploitation films. It has been in regular publication since 1979.

A “cheroot” is an inexpensive cigar.

“Getting down to brass tacks” is an expression dating back to the 1800s, meaning to get to the point of a subject or situation, clearing out unimportant details.

“Bogarted” most likely refers to the slang verb, meaning to “hog” or take something of others.

“Radio Hut” most likely is an allusion to Radio Shack, an electronics supply chain.

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