Wolverine (2nd series) #91

Issue Date: 
July 1995
Story Title: 
Path of Stones, Wood of Thorns

Larry Hama (writer), Duncan Rouleau (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist), Digital Chameleon (separations), Bob Harras (editor) cover by Adam Kubert

Brief Description: 

Near the X-Men’s mansion, Logan is running wild in the surrounding woods. As he does, he happens upon a neighboring family and begins to stalk them, sensing that something is wrong. Inside the mansion, the X-Men are concerned about Logan’s well being. After some time, Professor Charles Xavier shows Beast and Storm research he has done on Logan’s condition. With the help of James Hudson, he has discovered that Logan’s original mutation was an ongoing state and that the adamantium bonding put that mutation into remission. After it was ripped out of him, he believes that Logan has begun to evolve. Their research is interrupted when they learn that a tree has been destroyed on the grounds. When they make their way out to Logan, who is watching the house of the family he encountered before. The X-Men try to convince him to return to the mansion to no avail. During their conversation, Logan admits to not wanting to go through his mutation again. Suddenly, within the house, the man’s rage manifests again and he begins to beat his wife, who flees their home, running into the X-Men outside. When the husband follows, Logan snaps and is prepared to kill him when he is stopped by the woman herself. Together, the couple threatens to call the police, if the X-Men do not leave. However, rather than depart with the rest, Logan heads off into the woods alone, much to the dismay of his fellow X-Men.

Full Summary: 

In the woods near the X-Mansion, Logan thinks to himself that he, the ol’ canucklehead is in the dog house again. He wonders, what’s a guy to do? He let Sabretooth push him too far and he punched a hole through his head. Maybe he meant to waste him, maybe not but he’s still around and kickin’, so what’s the big deal? He feels totally torn up inside by the fact that he lost it, that he let the wild side take over but does he feel bad about poppin’ a claw through Sabretooth’s brain? Not a bit. Maybe Charlie and the others oughta cut him some slack. They say he’s getting’ dangerous. They don’t know the half of it. There’s a side of him thinkin’ maybe this civilization stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now, trackin’ and huntin’ – that’s the real thing. Basic. Primal. Satisfying. From the first sight o’ the tracks to the stalkin’ from cover.

At that moment, Logan comes upon a path in the woods with footprints imbedded in the dirt. On the path, a little boy pulls his sister in a Radio Flyer wagon filled with flowers. The girl asks her brother, Richard, if he thinks mommy’s gonna like the flowers they picked for her. Richard tells his sister, Jane, that she’s gonna love ‘em. They’re just the thing to cheer her up after one of her accidents. Jane asks how come she has so many accidents. Richard replies from lyin’ down too much. Jane asks huh. Richard tells her that dad said she was accident prone, so he asked Uncle Bill what ‘prone’ meant, and he said it means lyin’ down on your tummy.

When they reach home, their dad asks them that they didn’t wander onto Xavier Institute property, did they? Richard informs him no, they went by the pond to pick flowers for mom. They never crossed Graymalkin Lane. The dad asks if they saw anybody else out there. Richard says nossir to which the dad replies funny, he’s been getting this creepy feeling lately, like he’s being watched. Off in the distance, under cover of the weeds, Logan spies on their residence.

Inside the Xavier Institute, Storm tells Beast and Professor Charles Xavier that she is afraid that they have all been in deep denial about the severity of Logan’s problem. Ever since the adamantium was drawn out of him by Magneto, Wolverine has apparently been getting progressively wilder and more feral. What he did to Sabretooth was beyond reason. Beast replies that the thing to do is deal with him personally. Anybody can be reasoned with, especially somebody as basically pragmatic as Wolverine. Xavier adds that things are always a bit more complicated than they appear on the surface. They know full well that Sabretooth pushed Logan as far as any man can be pushed and yet, Logan barely restrained himself at the last moment.

Storm says the point is that Wolverine did that to a prisoner who was completely under his power at the time. She tells Xavier, no matter the provocation, that is egregious behavior. Xavier asks her doesn’t she think he knows that. Remember that when he first came there, as wild as he was, he still had remorse. The spark of compassion that burns deep inside all of them is not so easily extinguished. Beast adds maybe that’s why he’s out in the woods skulking and prowling and hunting down little animals for dinner. Maybe he has a few demons to exorcise. Storm answers that may be, or perhaps the animal in him knows when it is best to stay away from those he would inadvertently harm.

Running through the woods, Logan thinks to himself that stalkin’, huntin’ and runnin’ free in the wild feels so right these days. Uncomplicated. Can’t be thinkin’ o’ much when the evenin’ wind and the smell o’ life is in your face. And when you’re not thinkin’ you’re not rememberin’.

Eventually Logan stops outside a section of the mansion along the water. Inside the building, Jean Grey tells Betsy Braddock (Psylocke) that dinner’s almost ready. Before she can reply, Betsy stops in her tracks and looks out the window. Jean asks her if something’s the matter to which Betsy answers nothing. She just thought for a moment… Yes, she was right, he is out there and there are dark, raging thoughts whirling through his head. Jean asks Logan and makes her way towards the window. Betsy tells her to reach out and feel for herself. It’s a roiling redness, like something you feel at the zoo when some brat is throwing peanuts at the tigers. Jean tells her that she won’t do that. No matter what Logan has regressed to, he is still special and he is entitled to his privacy.

Scott Summers pipes up that he may not be the same Logan they have always known. Jean hangs her head and replies that the heart doesn’t change. Scott walks over to her, takes her by the hand, and tells her they trusted him alone in the mansion with Sabretooth and he nearly killed him. He’s losing control. Who’s he going to hurt next? Watching Jean and Scott embrace through the window, Logan determines that it’s too complicated. There’re things they want to forget and at the same time, they want to remember ‘em forever.

As he takes off deeper into the forest, he knows there’s a terrible blackness in the back o’ his head. Darker than the deepest cave, haunted by ghosts o’ memories. Whisperin’ secrets in tiny little voices, and the only way he can cancel ‘em out is by howlin’!! With that, Logan pops his claws and emits a guttural howl. When he does, it awakens Bishop and Archangel who were asleep in the mansion. Storm asks Xavier if he heard that. Xavier replies that it was definitely not “the children of the night.” Storm asks what that is but Xavier tells her never mind and informs both her and Beast that he has something to show them in the bio-chemical lab.

Outside, Logan decides that sometimes the howlin’ ain’t enough. Sometimes, there ain’t nothin’ that’ll do other than slashin’ and rippin’. When he gets done tearing down some trees, Logan recalls all the while that there’s a pile driver poundin’ in his head and a blast furnace roarin’ in his ears and a red haze in his eyes like a curtain o’ blood. It’s not like he feels good when it’s done, but it’s better than what was there before.

As they make their way to the lab, Storm tells Beast and Xavier that she has to admit, she was initially very wary and suspicious of Logan at first but he came to be someone who means a great deal to her. It breaks her heart to see him this way. Beast adds that they should do something constructive instead of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Xavier tells him that he’s right and that he’s already taken steps in the direction. Both Wolverine and Sabretooth are undergoing radical physiological changes. They cannot assume to think of them as essentially the same people they used to know. They are both dealing with a brand new deck of cards. Beast says that it might be very interesting indeed to see how his old chum Logan would stand up in a game of cut-throat poker. That would be the real test. To see if he still insists on drawing to an inside straight.

Xavier heads over to his console and says that he’s been perusing the under published papers of a distinguished colleague in Ottawa. His long-term study and analysis of Wolverine is quite exhaustive. Pressing a button on the console, an electronic version of Logan appears before them, part of his virtual body cut away and notes all over the place. Xavier says that it has made him rethink the entire Logan situation in respect to his apparent post-adamantium genetic retrograde. He is now of the opinion that this is not a regression at all. Looking at the image of Logan, Beast asks what – look at the readings. The parameters of…

Xavier cuts him off and says that he believes Logan’s original mutation was an ongoing state, that the adamantium that was bonded to his skeleton precipitated a chemical change within his body and put that mutation into remission. Storm asks that after Magneto pulled the adamantium out of Logan, the mutation began changing him again? At that moment, James MacDonald Hudson asks Xavier if he is ready for the conference call.

After a brief introduction, James informs Storm, Xavier, and Beast that as they know, his relationship with Logan dates back to his initial return from what they can characterize as a “grey area” of his life but it took a mind like Professor Xavier’s to see the dominant pattern behind the obfuscating minutiae. Using Charles’ premise as a starting off point, he was able to redirect his line of scientific inquiry and he has made some startling discoveries. They believe that Logan was chosen to receive the adamantium implants because his mutant healing factor could offset the traumatic intrusion of his living tissue. What they didn’t know, and now have the most fragmentary of evidence, is that the adamantium impeded Logan’s natural evolution.

When Beast asks James if he agrees with Xavier’s theory, James admits that he does. He saw what Logan was and it frightens him to think that he may become that way again. It frightens him a lot. Xavier replies as well it should. Storm asks if they mean to say that the very thing Logan hated most about himself was the very thing that kept him from reverting to a savage state all these years. Xavier replies yes, and now, they have to deal with the results of all this genetic meddling. At that moment, a computer beeps and indicates that unauthorized harvesting has occurred in sector C-5.

Near the neighbor’s house, the father steps outside to take out the trash and have a cigarette. As Logan stalks him, he thinks to himself that captivity, tamin’ or civilization can’t really change the basic animal. It still knows when it’s bein’ stalked. It’ll freeze, like the man does. The little hairs stand up on the back o’ the neck. The pupils dilate and the breathin’ gets quiet. It instinctively uses peripheral vision to scan for movement. A bold one might issue a challenge.

At that moment, the man asks aloud who’s out there. Of course, the predator, Logan in this case, never answers while he is perched silently in a tree. Once inside the house, the man sees his battered and bruised wife and asks her what she is doing out of bed. As his wife freezes in horror, outside Logan tells himself to just walk away. It’s just the wild thing whisperin’ in his brain. He doesn’t want to hurt the man. He can’t control himself. Inside the house, the man asks his frightened wife what she is hiding. His wife stammers n-nothing. Logan thinks to himself that it was something about his smell. He sniffed him and he didn’t like him and he wanted to… He knows he should just walk away. Inside the house, the man asks his wife that she wasn’t trying to call the cops, was she?

Outside, Xavier, Storm, and Beast descend on Logan’s location. When they inform him that their sensors detected a tree down, Logan tells them they oughta be careful, strollin’ through the woods at night, never know who or what ya might run into. Xavier tells him that perhaps it’s time he returned to the mansion; they have much to discuss. He adds that he had taken the liberty of inviting his old friends the Hudsons down from Canada to… Logan sneers at him and asks to push, poke, and prod the short, hairy specimen. Beast then asks Logan what he is doing at the neighbor’s house. Does he know them? Logan replies by asking if he does. When Beast replies no, Logan asks him what’s his beef then? He then tells Charlie that he’s headin’ back down that road he came from and there ain’t nothing he or nobody else can do about it. He’s sorry, he did his best, but there’s some things that just can’t be helped.

Xavier asks if that’s why he won’t come inside the mansion. He’s not out in the woods getting his thoughts together, is he? He’s out there because he’s afraid he’s going to hurt one of them. Storm reaches out to Logan and tells him that she believes in what is in his heart – his love, his honor. She asks if these are not immutable. Logan tells her that it’s like a cancer. His mutation was like this tumor growin’ in him, givin’ him visions, makin’ him crazy. An’ then he got the adamantium, and that was like the world’s worst chemo-therapy. He was finally beginnin’ to learn to live with it when Magneto rips the adamantium out o’ him. So now, it starts all over again but he just don’t know if he wants to go through it all again.

As Logan talks with his fellow X-Men, the man inside the house tells his wife Linda that he’s not an unreasonable guy but she, she makes him nuts! When he raises his voice at her, Linda drops the phone. Upon seeing that, the man wraps his hands with a rag and says to her that she was going to bother the cops again, wasn’t she? Linda screams out no and tries to run away. Her husband gives chase and tells her that nobody in his right mind would blame him for losing his temper with her. Eventually, Linda trips and screams out “noooooo,” much to the horror of her children who are watching what is going on. Her husband descends on her and tells her that it’s punishment time. Linda screams out no and tells him to leaver her alone. With that, Linda kicks him in the face with her foot and starts to run away again as her children encourage her to run.

When Linda runs outside into the arms of a shocked Storm, her husband calls out to her that now she’s gonna get it!! Logan tells him that he’s the one who’s gonna get it and grabs the man by the arm. The man yells at him to “leggo” his hand and calls Logan a hairball. Storm sees the look in Logan’s eyes and warns him not to… Logan ignores her, pops his claws, slams the man to the ground, and prepares to skewer him with his claws. Beast yells at Logan to let him go and proceeds to grab him in a reverse bear-hug. Xavier tells Logan to control himself, and that he can’t use his claws on the man no matter what he’s done.

Just then, Linda picks herself up and punches Logan in the face to the shock of Storm, Beast, Xavier, and Logan himself. As her family surrounds her husband, she tells them that he doesn’t mean it, really. He really loves them. Storm heads over to her, puts her hand on her shoulder, and tells her that there are shelters and agencies that can help… Linda pulls away from her and asks her what they are doing on their property. She tells the freaks to get back to their little preserve and leave them alone. Linda then yells at them to get out of there right now or she’ll call the cops.

Once the family has left, Xavier tells Logan that it’s time to go home. Logan replies no, he has to stay out in the woods. But he’s gonna stay close so’s they can find him if they have to get drastic. He then tells them that he ain’t runnin’ no more and asks them if they know what he means. As he starts to head off into the woods again, Xavier tells him not to cut them off, they want to help. Logan turns and tells them that they wanted to help the gal back there who thinks she’s a punchin’ bag. Well, one day that joker she’s married to is gonna go upside her head a bit too hard and they’re gonna be thinkin’ maybe those kids would still have a mom if they hadn’t stopped the ol’ canucklehead. He tells them to think about that and to think about what’s gonna be on their heads if they don’t deal with him before it’s too late. Logan then stands there on a hillside, solo, looking down at his fellow X-Men who can do little for him.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Psylocke, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Professor Charles Xavier

James MacDonald Hudson (leader of Alpha Flight)

Richard, Jane, and their mother (Linda) and unnamed father (neighbors of the X-Men)

Story Notes: 

Wolverine popped a claw in Sabretooth’s head back in Wolverine (2nd series) #90.

Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine back in X-Men (2nd series) #25.

With this issue, the series returns to its regularly scheduled program with the Age of Apocalypse crossover completed. During that time, the series was known as Weapon X.

Issue Information: 
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