Wolverine (2nd series) #52

Issue Date: 
March 1992
Story Title: 
Citadel at the End of Time

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

Brief Description: 

In the Cloud Nine motel in New York, Spiral, Wolverine and Mystique are attacked by a plasma wraith. After they dispose of it easily, they get whisked away in a time vortex to the Cosmic Crunch, the universe’s opposite to the Big Bang at the end of time, where they face another plasma wraith. This one is not as easy to dispose of until Mystique transforms into Mojo and distracts the creature. Once the wraith is disposed of, Spiral informs them that they have to make their way into the citadel to save all of existence. At the motel, Jubilee is confronted by Mojo, once Spiral, Wolverine and Mystique have been taken away. Along with his liege, Mojo captures Jubilee and takes her along with his follower to the Crunch. In Canada, Elsie-Dee, Albert and the Hunter in Darkness make their way to an ancient Indian burial ground. There, they find the remains of a skeleton. However, this one is different. It has adamantium claws.

Full Summary: 

At the Cloud Nine motel in Salem Center, Westchester County, New York, Spiral tells Wolverine and Mystique that the room they are in is the intersection of five different strings in the time stream. It is a cardinal locus. Upon hearing that, Mystique tells Wolverine that Spiral has gone completely insane. Wolverine asks her if she can tell the difference, he always figured she had a few chairs missin’ in her kitchen.

Spiral calls them fools and tells them that a cardinal locus can be traced. There are too many weak points there, too many non-reflective surfaces. Wolverine thinks to himself that she may be right; they’re on her brain. Just then, Spiral uses her sword to slash the painting of a bullfighter. When she does, a bright light emits from the painting. Spiral tells them that it’s too late; it’s a temporal seeker beam. When Mystique points out that it is very bright, Spiral tells her that it’s the light of a billion tomorrows. At this point, Wolverine is thinking that Spiral is a poetic wacko and then the hand comes through. The rest is nightmare alley. Picture an arc lamp, wrapped in electrical tape and leakin’ beams o’ ten thousand candle-power.

Mystique asks Spiral what it is and Spiral tells her that it is a plasma wraith. As it leaps out of the painting towards them, Wolverine thinks to himself that, whatever it is, it’s warping reality around it like heat distortion off a hot psycho’s head and it’s reachin’ out to touch him with less than the light o’ human kindness in its eyes. As Wolverine tells Spiral that it’s time to dispense some unilateral disarmament, they both slice the plasma wraith’s arms off, Wolverine with his claws and Spiral with her sword. Once they slice off the creature’s arms, it retreats back into the painting.

Looking down at the creature’s severed arms on the ground, Wolverine notices that it wasn’t a person o’ substance. Spiral informs him that it’s a sentient energy field with less heart than an insect. Upon checking the painting on the wall, Mystique tells Wolverine and Spiral that it’s an ordinary painting again. Wolverine asks, ordinary, that must’ve set the Cloud Nine back a good double-sawbuck. As Spiral waves her sword around, she tells them that she is shielding the room with a cloaking field. They need time to assess the situation for the whole continuum is riven.

In the sky above the Cloud 9 motel, Elsie-Dee tells Albert to hold it wight there. Albert stops the stealth bomber and informs Elsie that he is maintaining hover over the motel. Elsie tells him that she was catching the stwangest vibes over that place. All her metawic cwystal, Spiwal-built sensors were going cwazy, even puppy – referring to Hunter in Darkness – was weacting. But now, not a gwimmer. She brushes it off and tells Albert to head north to Canada, full stealth mode. As they take off, on the ground, Jubilee could’ve sworn something big just flew overhead.

In the hotel room, Spiral calls out the Spirals to the Nth power. She is entering/am entering/will be entering the time stream at a number of loci that is an infinite geometric series converging to A/(1-R). Regarding this, Mystique points out to Wolverine that she is raving. Wolverine tells Spiral that she is talkin’ crazy. As Spiral leaps from where she was standing to on top of the television she tells Wolverine that of course she’s not sane. Sanity is simply the denial of chaos. She then plunges her sword into the television, adding that you can’t have multiple temporal existences in a sane universe. She points out to Wolverine and Mystique that, there in the cathode beam polarized by her sword, the shades of the once and future Spiral, all of them are dancing towards the temporal convergence – the Crunch.

In the beam, various incarnations of Spiral are displayed. Upon noticing that, Wolverine asks Spiral if she is havin’ a convention of herself. Spiral informs him that she’s not the only one. There is a traffic jam in the time stream. Every time shifter, trans-dimensional tripper and space-time juggler in the continuum is hurtling towards the Crunch in multiple existences. As the images of Gateway are displayed, she adds that some of them are old acquaintances of his. Wolverine asks what the Crunch is, it sounds crispy. Spiral tells him that the universe began with the Big Bang… and ends with the Crunch.

Just then, a beam shoots out of the television. Mystique asks Spiral what she is… Spiral tells her that it is not her. As the beam shoots out the window, Jubilee notices that her skate-lace has joined the ranks of the untied. She bends down to tie it and indicates that laces are so retro-tech, don’t they know that the future belongs to Velcro? Over her, the beam narrowly misses her and slams into a passing tractor trailer. She notes aloud that that was a weird noise. She wonders if it was a 500 pound bee, a Klingon death ray, or none of the above.

Inside the motel room, Spiral informs Wolverine and Mystique that that beam was an uncertainty nullifier. As she pulls her sword out of the top of the television, she adds that something in the future sent it back along the seeker beam and homed in on one of her sword circuits. Wolverine tells her that, whatever she says, it’s all psycho-babble. Mystique points out that psycho-babble doesn’t usually burn neat holes through levelers. Spiral indicates to them that, as long as they are in the past in relation to whatever sent that uncertainty nullifier, they are vulnerable. Mystique asks if she’s taking them into the future, to which Spiral replies that “future” has no meaning where they are going. It is a place where time folds in on itself. As a tornado begins to spin around Spiral, Wolverine mentions that it sounds like a bar he knows in Poughkeepsie.

Outside the motel, Jubilee notices the tornado and says this is just the limit. Now they have tornados in West Chester! She points out that it’s gotta be part of that global warming mess, all those flouro-carbons eating holes in the ozone and… She is cut off when the wind blows her off of her feet. As she grabs a hold of a vending machine, she says that she has a feeling that whatever gets pulled in there doesn’t get a rousing munchkin welcome from the lollipop guild. She calls out to Wolvie and asks him if he is in there. As she calls out again, she is surprised that the wind has stopped, and asks to no one in particular who turned off the breeze.

A few moments later, Jubilee enters the room and is shocked to find the room completely empty, both of people and furniture She says, “Talk about minimum furnishings.” She then realizes that Wolvie’s motorcycle got sucked in there and wonders where it went. To her surprise, a voice tells her “not where little X-Man, but when.” Jubilee asks who said that? The voice tells her that they did, they are in the closet in the dark, quiet place. As Jubilee reaches for the door handle, she asks who is in there. Just then, the door flies open and Mojo calls out surprise, surprise, surprise!!

Elsewhen, Wolverine, Mystique, and Spiral are flying through what Wolverine recognizes as a time vortex. He’s been through one o’ those before. Last time, he went back to Guernica. This time, that’s a laugh, it’s already next time. At least there ain’t no sense o’ dread goin’ towards the future in a time vortex. They’re overtakin’ the next moment too fast to fear it. As they all approach a light, Mystique asks Spiral what it is. Spiral tells her that is not light; it’s a hole in time, a direct warp to the Crunch. Wolverine asks her what happens to people when they go through somethin’ like that. As he asks it, he realizes it’s a dumb question. The answer is even dumber. As all three of them start to break apart, Wolverine remembers the joke about the frog in a blender. Right now, he can really feel for that little green guy. When they go through the hole in time, they exit on the other side as puddles.

Out of the puddles, Spiral, Mystique, Wolverine and Wolverine’s motorcycle begin to reform. As they do, Wolverine mentions that ranked pretty high on the list of things he never wants to do again. Looking around at the destruction on the barren landscape around her, Mystique asks if this is it, the end of the future? Spiral confirms that it is. She estimates that they are less than an hour away from the Crunch itself. To this, Wolverine mentions that doesn’t give them a lot o’ time to see the sights.

Spiral asks how he can be so blasé. They are at the end of everything, at the event that makes the rest of their existence meaningless. Wolverine answers that it’s not his; he still has a box o’ cigars he hardly made a dent in. Just then, a plasma wraith appears and asks who/what dares to interlude/defile/upstage the final unmaking? The wraith points out that they are bilaterally symmetrical soft/short-lived fatty tissue beings with vertebrae – pastlings. Wolverine recognizes it as another plasma wraith. The wraith continues that the pastlings are not directing/involved/cast in the great work. They will kill/devolve/temporally dislocate them forever. Wolverine answers some threat, forever is just about up.

As she rushes towards the wraith, Spiral tells him that forever runs both ways. The female wraith can put them out of synch with time, phase him backwards always just a nano-second before now. She tells him to imagine his consciousness stabilized, aware, trapped in null-time as the universe ticks back to the beginning. Wolverine asks if that means she wants first dibs on the wraith. When Spiral reaches the wraith, it flicks her away with a backhand shot. As it does, she points out that she is a sentient meat/mobile protein/protoplasm with complex pain receptors that threads on the cusp of fear/pain/death. Wolverine reaches the wraith and asks howsabout some slice/dice and…

When he slices the wraith’s leg, his arm is in severe pain. He calls out that it’s hotter ‘n a blast furnace. The wraith asks hurt, meat thing? Hurt for never-more and shoots beams out of its eyes. As Wolverine dodges the beams he asks Spiral what gives. The other wraith they chopped up back at the motel didn’t have its thermostat turned up like this one. Spiral answers that was a shade of the real thing and that here and now in their own place and time, their power is concentrated.

From behind the wraith, a voice tells it to leave those disgusting spined things alone. The wraith turns around and recognizes the producer/director/writer, the auteur. Mojo replies that by any other name would smell as sweet. Mojo then tells Wolverine and Spiral to strike while the wraith is distracted and confused. Strike they do, and they are able to destroy the wraith. With the wraith destroyed, Wolverine tells Mystique that was a slick move. He asks her how she knew Mojo was behind the scam. Mystique, changing into her normal form, replies that the wraith was babbling movie-jargon. Who else navigates time/space and wants to make movies?

Spiral mentions that Mojo’s really done it this time. He’s let loose a juggernaut of circumstances that threatens all existence and the only way to stop it is to get inside the citadel at the end of time. When Wolverine asks where the citadel is, Spiral tells him they’re standing on it. From a distance, it looks like a giant ball in space.

In Westchester, Jubilee attempts to leave the room. She has things to do, places to be, people to see. Mojo tells her not to be such a gloom, the party is just beginning. They’re all going to have such murderous fun. Jubilee tells him no way, she’s history. Mojo closes the door and tells her that she is staying, he insists. He adds that she’s not going anywhere until she tells him where or when his ex-slave and magickal protégé has gone off to. He asks her where is the multi-appendaged baroque vixen. He knows she was there, the air is alive with her ion-trail…

Before he can continue, Jubilee unleashes he firework power in Mojo’s eyes. As she heads towards the door, she tells him that she hopes she fried his retinas to a crispy well-done and calls him a metal-dreaded jello-bucket. Holding his eyes, Mojo tells her that he will have her disks compacted and calls her a pernicious slanderer. He then pulls a chain that he was holding and tells the creature to sic her. Jubilee stops in her tracks and looks at the creature. She asks Mojo that he’s siccing that on her? She asks what is she going to do, deafen her with chain-rattling? Calling her Abcissa, Mojo tells the roller-blade wearing wraith before him to do her. He wants Jubilee wrapped up to take back with them.

Abcissa answers as he commands and adds that a toss of the head and the fun has begun. A loop and a twist and the circle is done. Before she can move, the chain is wrapped around Jubilee’s neck. Once it is secured around Jubilee’s neck, Mojo announces that now begins the dance. He calls out to the space/time gypsies to play a lovely gavotte and spin them a vortex to the Crunch. In short time, they are transferred to there.

In Canada, the stealth bomber is flying over an “abandoned faciwity bewow” that Elsie-Dee says doesn’t appear on any of the survey maps. Albert replies that it’s impossible to *bzt* access file data on this location. It’s all *bzt* locked out with security shields. Elsie replies that it’s stwanger and stwanger. She asks why would a government agency build a covert site adjacent to an ancient Bwackfoot buwial gwond? Albert replies that nothing there is *bzt* consistent with known funerary practices is *bzt* Sikshika, Kinah and Pikuni indigenous tribal groups as *bzt* available in accessible data banks.

He then asks why their *bzt* furry friend is so interested in this *bzt* patch of wilderness. Why did he *bzt* lead them there? Elsie tells Albert that she doesn’t know, but puppy certainwy seems to be tewwibwy excited to be there. She points out that he is pointing at the mound and cawwying on so. Albert tells them that they will *bzt* take a look and that he will *bzt* park the bomber in hover.

As they all head down the ladder, Elsie notices a missile and asks Albert if he’s been upgwading the cwuise missiles, they wook Albert-ized. Albert tells her that it isn’t a *bzt* nuke any longer, it’s a *bzt* anti-matter implosion initiator. On the ground, Albert mentions to Elsie that the Hunter wants him to *bzt* help him dig into the *bzt* mound. As they do, Elsie tells them to go wight ahead an pway in the dirt. She’s going to keep her pwetty new dwess cwean.

As she stands over to the side a butterfly lands on her nose. Regarding it, she tells Albert to wook, there’s weal butterfwies there. From the hole he and the Hunter have dug, Albert tells Elsie that she had better *bzt* come and take a look at what they have found. They just found a *bzt* skeleton. Elsie asks so what, this place is full of skewetons. Albert answers not like *bzt* this one. From out of the ground, a skeletal hand with adamantium claws is poking out.

Characters Involved: 







Hunter in Darkness


Various plasma wraiths (Abcissa is the only named one)

In images created by Spiral:

Various versions of Spiral

Various versions of Gateway

Mystique’s disguise:


Story Notes: 

A Klingon death ray is a reference to the popular science-fiction television series and movies, “Star Trek.”

The “rousing Munchkin welcome from the lollipop guild” is from the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz.”

The time vortex that took Wolverine to Guernica occurred back in Wolverine (2nd series) #35.

One of the variations of the joke about the frog in the blender goes as follows:

Q: What is green and red and goes 100 miles per hour?

A: A frog in a blender.

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