Wolverine (2nd series) #41

Issue Date: 
July 1991
Story Title: 
Down in the Bottoms

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

Brief Description: 

In the East River, Jubilee and Forge investigate the wreckage of the down stealth jet but only find Albert’s body. When they find no sign of Wolverine, they get out of the water and pursue other options in hopes of finding Wolverine. Unknown to them, in another area of the river, Elsie Dee pulls Wolverine’s unconscious body into the sewers, where she eventually leaves him to go find help. When she does, Wolverine wakes up in a daze. His mind races back to when his love, Silver Fox, was killed. As it happens, the man responsible, Sabretooth is also in the sewers and the two soon meet up. His grief once again fresh from his memories, Wolverine is incensed at Sabretooth, who attacks. As he does so, he claims to be Wolverine’s “daddy dearest,” who cannot believe his ears. In another area of the sewers, Masque has his followers open up the grates and the valves so Morlock alley will not be flooded. In still another area of the sewer, Elsie Dee meets up with Cable. After introductions, they head off together to find Wolverine. Meanwhile as Sabretooth and Wolverine continue their struggle, the area of the sewer that they are in begins to flood. Wolverine is able to make it to a side gate but is unable to break through. On the other side of the gate, Cable hears the familiar sounds of ripping and tearing, and Elsie implores him to shoot the lock off. Meanwhile, deep in the East River, Albert is laying at the bottom, still hooked to the bomber. Suddenly, Albert wakes up and calls out for Elsie Dee.

Full Summary: 

Yeah, I’m a mutant and I heal up real fast. But the hurting, that’s something else again. Most times when I have that fighting rage, it’s like ten thousand volts of alternating current was zapping straight through my central nervous system. Sometimes, when I get a hurting even my mutant healing factor has to think twice about, it’s like a big black curtain falling down on me. The last time I remember, I was trading claw slashes with Albert the Franken-clone in a Stealth Bomber, when we got jumped by F-16’s and got shot full of 20 mm cannon holes. The East River was coming up on at us way too fast and that’s when the continuity goes fuzzy. Somehow, I don’t think ol’ Albert made it.

He wanted to be free. He wanted to fly but that’s not what Pierce built him for. Pierce built Albert and lil’ Elsie Dee to take yours truly, the ol’ canucklehead, on a one-way trip to Deadville. Lucky for me, Elsie changed her mind. I got a vague recollection of her strapping me into the ejection seat. Maybe she got the both of us out in time. That would be nice. That means I’m really off somewhere starting to heal up instead of displacing silt on the riverbed and feeding the flounders.

In the East River, Jubilee and Forge are swimming towards the wrecked Stealth Bomber that at one time carried Albert, Wolverine and Elsie Dee. When they reach it, Forge kicks in the window to find Albert, motionless. As they continue their search they notice the ejection handle has been pulled. Unable to find any sign of Wolverine or Elsie they make their way up to the surface. When they reach the surface, Forge informs Jubilee that there was no sign of any other bodies down there and that one ejection seat is gone – that’s a good sign. Jubilee asks what that means that it’s a good sign. Wolvie is still missing. Before Forge can respond, they are met by a police boat that pulls them in.

One of the cops says to them that was a mighty brave rescue attempt they made, but he doesn’t think anything human could have survived that crash. Jubilee quips back that who said they were looking for anything human. Forge warns her to cool it. Once they are on the boat, the cop points out that she’s raving and that shock will do that to you. Forge agrees and says let her babble. Jubilee tells Forge to stuff it and adds that that little toaster Elsie Dee led Wolvie right into a trap, she just knows it. She is told by the boat pilot to calm down, for they will be back at the dock in no time. Jubilee tells him that they can’t go to the dock and quit now. They have to keep searching.

One of the cops leans down and takes Jubilee’s hands and tells her that they can’t do that. They have the mother of all storms roaring into town right now and if they don’t snub up to the dock right quick, they’re floundering. He can’ risk his crew for… for… He is cut off by Jubilee, who finishes, “For someone he figures is already dead?” Forge attempts to calm her down and tells her that the ejection seat being gone means that Wolverine got out of the Stealth Bomber before it crashed. If he did, he had a good chance… He is cut off by Jubilee, who asks him if he’s giving up. Forge replies that he isn’t.

I must be tore up real bad. The ol’ mutant healing factor has kicked into overdrive and cut my consciousness out o’ the information chain. The thinking part of me is still tickin’ away, but the feelin’ part o’ me: the wrigglin’ the toes and fingers part has gone fishin’. Trouble with being’ cut off from sensory input is that the ol’ imagination takes over. Subconscious stuff boils to the surface. Forgotten stuff. Repressed stuff. Dreams. Nightmares.

As Elsie Dee drags Wolverine through the water, she calls out for help. The wiver is wising and there’s no way up fwom the wiverbank. When she reaches the South Street Outlet, she pulls the bars apart on a sewer grate and tells an unconscious Wogan that he can’t die on her. She tells him that he and Albert were her onwy fwiends and now Albert is dead. She continues to drag him through the water until she is able to find some dry land in the sewer. Once they are there, she says to him that he hasn’t moved for a wong time. When she feels his chest she finds no heartbeat and no bweathing. She knows that she can’t get him started again by herself and that she has to get real help. She also has to find her way out of there. She has to get somebody to jump-start Wogan before his memowy cwashes. As she runs off to find help, she tells Wogan that she doesn’t want to weave him all alone, but there’s no other way.

No sooner does Elsie leave than do Wolverine’s eyes open wide. He hears the sounds of ripping and snapping off in the distance. As he does, he thinks to himself that his past and future are meeting like a train wreck. Fantasy and reality are doing the Spanish fandango on top of his skull. As he staggers through the sewer he wonders, if he makes his way to a bathroom mirror and opens his eyes, whose face will he see? In his pain, in his need, whose name will he call out? Just then, the name Silver Fox escapes his lips. As he continues to stagger through the sewer, he thinks to himself that it’s his birthday. It was going to be so sweet. They were going to celebrate together, they were going to… As he thinks back, he calls out in pain that he was only gone for a little while. His mind wanders back to the day when he carried a dead Silver Fox through the snow. Still now, he wonders who, how, whyyyyy. Why is she dead, and he is still alive??

In another section of the sewer, Elsie continues to search for help. As she reaches another grate, she pulls the bars open and steps through. She notices a bunch of “awwigators.” She also notices that they’re dead, their thwoats wipped out by cwaws. As she steps through the grate, she steps on Sabretooth and announces to herself that there sure are a wot of things with cwaws around there. She thought Albert and Wogan were the only ones with cwaws. When she leaves, Sabretooth says to himself cw, cwaws? Claws? He then says Wogan? Wo.. No. Lo… Logan!!

As Wolverine continues to drudge through, he thinks to himself that it wasn’t no bear that did this to Silver Fox; it was a man. It had to be. A man with less heart in him than the lowliest beast. A man who enjoyed the hurting. A man who got off on the killing. Whoever he is, he wants him. He’s his!!!

On the streets of New York, Jubilee points out to Forge that the storm isn’t letting up – it’s getting worse. She then tells him to get off the phone and for them to get back to the river. Forge tells her to relax and to be careful. If she gets sucked down one of the storm drains, she’ll be taking the flume ride of her life all the way back to the river she’s in such a hurry to get to. Jubilee shoots back that at least she’ll be doing something to find Wolvie. Forge retorts that that is what he is doing; he is calling in all of his markers. To this, Jubilee asks him, “Who?”

Deep inside the sewer tunnels, the Morlocks flock towards Masque, begging him to save them. They tell him that Morlock alley is flooding. Masque tells them that of course he’s going to save them. He says to them that they didn’t think he’d stand by and let his pretty little darlings drown, did they? He then points out to two of the big, strong, strapping good-looking ones to come with him into the pipe room. Once they enter, he tells them to turn four of the valves. He adds that they have to redirect all the water away from them and that they have to redirect the flow from all the storm drains. He orders them to redirect it all to the South Street Outlet.

As Wolverine continues to stagger through the sewer, he calls out to Sabretooth that he killed her! Upon hearing that, Sabretooth pulls himself up and tells him that she was an uppity squaw and that she said no. He then tells him that it’s good to hear his voice. It stirs up all them warm feelings inside him. Warm, like freshly spilled guts.

Wolverine’s mind goes back to another time when he confronted Sabretooth about Silver Fox’s death. Back to when Sabretooth told him that he killed her and then asked him what of it, birthday boy. He then told him that he saved him a slice of birthday cake. As Sabretooth took a taste of it, he told Wolverine that it was mighty sweet and tasty, just like… He was cut off by Wolverine who tells him that it ends when one of them is dead. One of the ladies present at the bar tries to step in between them and says to Logan that she was just an Indian and Sabretooth is his... his… Wolverine asks what he is to him. He then asks Sabretooth what he is to him.

In the sewers, Sabretooth leaps at Wolverine. As he does, he tells him that he’s his ever loving daddy dearest. Upon hearing the news, Wolverine calls out NOOOO! As Sabretooth slashes Wolverine, he tells him that he has to learn to have some respect for his old man. Wolverine responds that he doesn’t believe him. Why would his own father kill his girl? Why would he try to kill him? Sabretooth continues to slash away at Wolverine. As he does, he tells him that he just doesn’t understand what makes him tick, does he? He adds that nothing in the world makes him happier than to see him in pain. He then challenges him to get down to some serious ripping and tearing.

In another section of the sewers, Elsie Dee is continuing her search to find someone to help out Logan. As she walks, she hears the howls from the battle behind her. Looking behind her she calls out that she pwomises that she’ll come back with help as soon as she can. Not paying attention, she runs into somebody and responds that there wasn’t a brick wall there a second ago. When she looks up she points out to the man she ran into that he’s not a bwick wall. The man responds that there are some who might argue with that – he’s called Cable.

Continuing, Cable informs her that he heard there was a nasty piece of work alive down there who he thought was dead. He adds that it wouldn’t do for a nice little girl like her to run into him, especially when the whole tunnel system is due to get flooded out. He tells her that he better get her top-side right quick. Elsie protests and grabs a hold of Cable’s hand. She tells him that they can’t. He has to come with her and help her fwiend. He’s hurt weal bad. Suddenly realizing it, Cable points out that she’s a construct and asks her if her friend is and android too. Elsie answers that he’s not, he’s a weal person and his name is Wogan. Cable looks at her and says oh yeah?

In the midst of their battle, Wolverine says to Sabretooth that he heard he got his back broke by Caliban. Sabretooth replies that he’s a fast healer, it’s in the blood. Wolverine starts to reply that he’s not convinced until both he and Sabretooth are stopped dead in their tracks. They look to see a stampede of vermin. Alligators, and rats scurrying past them in a hurry. Once they pass, Wolverine asks what that was all about. It looked like they were all running from something. Having already guessed the anwer, Sabretooth tells him that here it comes. Just then, a rush of water descends upon both of them.

In the pipe room, Masque orders his two followers to turn more of the valves and to redirect everything to the South Street Outlet. He adds for them to shunt all of the water overflow down through the causeway to grate 23.

Even as they are overcome by the water’s current, Wolverine and Sabretooth continue their fight. Wolverine thinks to himself that the animal part of him just wants to tear him apart for he killed his Silver Fox. He wants to rip apart everything in his life that is good. Then there’s the reasoning part of him that manages to get a word in every now and then like “live to fight another day.” It’s that part of him that spots the side tunnel as they tumble by. Sabre’s too intent on ripping his jugular to notice it. His tough luck. Wolverine is able to grab a hold of the wall and pull himself out of the water. As he does, he wants Sabretooth to get swept down the drain and drown. At this point, he doesn’t care if he didn’t tear the life out of him with his own hands – dead is dead. At that moment, Sabretooth grabs onto his leg and informs him that his business with him isn’t finished by a long shot.

On the other side of the wall, Cable says to Elsie Dee that it sounds like a lot of water moving real fast. He adds that it sounds like it’s just on the other side of the wall.

Inside the side tunnel, Sabretooth dares Wolverine to let the berserker go and to claw his heart out, son. Wolverine responds that he’s not his son. Sabretooth tells him that blood will tell. He then asks him if the door to get out of there was locked. He points out that he’s stuck in there with him and that the water is rising too.

Back in the pipe room, one of the Morlocks informs Masque that there’s too much debris in the tunnels and that the conduits to the South Street Outlet will clog. Masque replies that they can’t have that happen, can they? He then gives out the order to lower all of the grates.

When he does, the grate closes behind Sabretooth and Wolverine. Sabretooth notices and tells Wolverine that they just got the back door slammed on them and that they’re now dead men. He then asks him why would he lie to him now and informs him that he needs to accept. Wolverine tries unsuccessfully to slice the metal door open and tells Sabretooth that he isn’t accepting anything but his offer to fight, “So let’s do it.”

On the other side of the door, Cable tells to Elsie Dee that there’s a familiar ripping and tearing sound. He then asks Elsie is she supposes that their mutual friend, Mr. Logan, is behind that door, does she. Elsie points to the lock on the door and tells Cable to shoot the “wock” off before it’s too late.

Out on the dock, Forge and Jubilee look out into the East River. Jubilee says to Forge that he’s out there somewhere. She knows it. Forge informs her that it’s been too long and even Wolverine couldn’t… Jubilee cuts him off and tells him that he’s alive. She can feel it. He got out of that bomber and he’s just crawled off somewhere to lick his wounds. Forge puts his arm around Jubilee and tells her that they have to go and meet that friend of his. As they leave, Jubilee asks Forge if he thinks Wolverine is still under the river. Forge replies that she was down there with him and the only body in that bomber was that Wolverine android.

Deep in the river, the lifeless body of Albert is floating at the bottom of the river, still plugged into the bomber. By chance, a fish swims by him and comes in contact with him… and is immediately electrocuted. When it does, Albert awakens and calls out for Elsie Dee.

Characters Involved: 

Jubilee, Wolverine (all X-Men)



Elsie Dee


Masque (leader of the Morlocks)
Various Morlocks (all unnamed)

Various members of the police (all unnamed)
Various residents of New York (all unnamed)

In flashbacks:
A younger Wolverine
A younger Sabretooth
Silver Fox

Story Notes: 

The flashbacks from when Wolverine discovered that Silver Fox were killed and when he confronted Sabretooth about it occurred in Wolverine (2nd series) #10.

Sabretooth’s back was broken by Caliban in New Mutants (1st series) #91.

There are two Wolverine galleries in this issue. One with Wolverine and Cable drawn by Mike Mignola and one with Wolverine and Sabretooth by Art Thibert.

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