Wolverine (2nd series) #98

Issue Date: 
February 1996
Story Title: 
Fade to Black

Larry Hama (script), Ramon Bernado (pencils), Napolitano, Milgrom, & Morales (inks), Joe Rosas (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Malibu (seps), Bob Harras (editor & chief)

Brief Description: 

In Madripoor, Logan awakens in the Princess Bar to find his friends Archie, O’Donnell and Rose dead. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember anything, save that he got a package from Zoe Culloden and then blacked out. Stumbling out of the bar, he is arrested by Police Chief Tai and offers up no struggle. Chained inside his prison, Dirt Nap (as a rat) shows up and tells him that everyone is trying to set him up, especially his boss, before scurrying off. Once he leaves, Tyger drops off a hacksaw and one of his yellow and blue uniforms. Shortly after that, Prince Baran and General Coy lead a gang of thugs to finish off Patch. Logan learns that two of the thugs are the ones who killed his friends and he snaps. After killing all of the thugs, he turns his attention to Baran and Coy. Coy, trying to save himself, shoots Baran in the back of the head and kills him. After that, he is killed himself by Tyger Tiger. Tyger then drives Logan to the damaged location of Landau, Luckman and Lake, where Logan uses the key given to him by Zoe. Entering into the warp chamber, he encounters Zoe who is going to show him his fate!

Full Summary: 

Waking up, the first thing Logan is aware of is pain. Pain on the level of a white hot railroad spike being pounded through his forehead with a nine pound sledgehammer. His eyeballs feel like they’ve been sandpapered. His tongue, like it’s been dipped in battery acid. His guts are churning like a Maytag on the rinse cycle. Groggily, he guesses he must have had one rip-snorter of a rockin’ good time last night, except he can’t remember any of it. It’s called a blackout and for most folks it means it’s time to check into a good twelve-point program. For the ol’ canuckle-head, it’s probably another side-effect o’ his feral regression brought on by the removal o’ his adamantium.

Picking himself up, he hopes he didn’t mess up too bad and wonders if he really wants to open his peepers. When he does, it’s worse than he could have imagined. On the ground he sees Archie Corrigan lying on his back and O’Donnell lying facedown on the ground. Logan determines that he must be in Madripoor, in the Princess Bar. Surveying all of the bodies strewn all over the bar, Logan wonders what happened there. It looks like a freight train full o’ butt-kick rolled through with no brakes. Heading over to Archie, he tells him to snap out of it and clue in ol’ Mr. Patch. When he gets closer to him, he discovers that he’s dead as is O’Donnell. They’re both ripped and shredded by claws. Popping his own claws, Logan finds them covered with blood.

When he sees his own claws, Logan cries out who did this, why can’t he remember? He recalls that he was in Edinburgh with Jean and no… They went through that warp chamber door in Zoe Culloden’s office and ended up in another dimension at a branch office of Landau, Luckman and Lake. Zoe was there and she was called the Expediter and she had some kid named Emmet with her and she warped them back to Rockefeller Center. There he said to Jean ain’t this a kick in the head, guess they gotta cash in their return tickets. Jean asked him isn’t he going to open the package that the Expediter gave him. Logan says that he thought he’d save it for his birthday. Jean tells him that it might be important. When he opened up the packet, there wasn’t much in it but a folded-up piece o’ paper with a key inside. He was just about to read what was on the paper when everything faded to black.

In the Princess Bar, Logan holds his head and cries out. He did read the paper and he can’t remember anything since. He determines that he needs to get outta there and find somebody who can tell him… As he goes to leave, he stumbles and eventually trips over one of the dead bodies. When he does, he figures he must really be losin’ it if he’s trippin’ over stiffs. Falling flat on his face, Rose tells him in a weak voice that he can say that again. Time was, he could cover the floor with bodies, blood and beer and never lose his balance. Surprised, Logan exclaims that she’s alive?

Rose says to him he calls this living. She thought she was hitting easy street when she took her annuity from Landau, Luckman and Lake and bought the ol’ Princess Bar from O’Donnell but all she got coming through the door are hard cases just like him. A smile and a kiss and that thousand yard look in the eye that goes all the way to blackout city. She don’t forget anything though. They had some times in the bad ol’ days, didn’t they? Logan asks her if he did this. Rose replies he was a pistol, a pistol and a firecracker…

With Rose dead, Logan stumbles out of the bar. He mentions he sure could use a stogie, too bad he quit. Putting his hand in his pocket, he pulls out the piece of paper and the key. As soon as he pulled it out of his pocket, Police Chief Tai grabs it out of his hand to use it as material evidence. While the other cops of Madripoor point their guns at Logan, Tai says to Logan that he sincerely hopes he will not be resisting arrest. Logan replies that maybe the hoosegow is the best place for him, put him away somewhere he can’t hurt anybody else. Hearing that, Tai informs his sergeant that he wants the prisoner manacled and chained to the wall in the maximum security cell.

Later, as he sits in his prison chained to the wall, Logan sees that it’s come down to this, he can’t trust himself anymore. He should have gone back to Canada with Jimmy and Heather. If anybody could get a handle on what’s been happenin’ to him, James McDonald Hudson can. Maybe he could find a way for him to shut down his hearin’ so’s he could get some rest. His ears are so sensitive lately, he can just about hear right through solid walls. He can hear Tai on the phone telling his contact he’s alive. He knows it’s hard to believe, but they have witnessed his amazing powers of recuperation many times before.

Tai informs the person on the other end of the line that he is locked up downstairs. He adds that he thinks he will send his entire force out on patrol for about an hour and asks if that is enough time. He is also going out for a walk himself, down into lowtown, where he can establish an alibi.

In Logan’s prison, a voice tells him he was set up. Looking up, Logan sees a talking rat that informs him that everybody is trying to set him up. It’s his boss who’s gonna nail him, ‘cause he’s the baddest of the bunch. Logan replies oh great, a talking rat. Now he’s got hallucinations on top of blackouts. The rat says to him that he don’t remember Dirt Nap from New York; he’s mortified. Logan remembers and angrily recalls that he’s the shape shifter, the one who absorbed the kid. As Logan slices the pipe above him, Dirt Nap tells him that he was quite yummy too. He hasn’t absorbed him completely yet, so he just might be able to get him back if he can figure out how. Scurrying into a hole, Dirt Nap tells Logan he’ll be seein’ him, after he goes over the edge, that is.

Just then, Logan catches the whiff of jasmine and eucalyptus and recognizes it to belong to Tyger Tiger. Tossing a box through the prison bars, Tyger tells him she is returning something he left in her keeping a long time ago. She thought he might want it back along with what he might call a practical gift. If she had the time, she would have baked it into a cake. Blowing him a kiss, she bids him goodnight. Opening up the box, Logan finds one of his old yellow and blue costumes and a hacksaw. He begins to tell Tyger that maybe he shouldn’t be runnin’ around free, maybe he’s supposed to be locked up. Stopping himself, Logan wonders what he’s sayin’. After all he went through with Gambit in England, he has to have more faith in himself. He knows he couldn’t have killed his friends! As he begins to work on slicing the chain off of his arm, he determines that to complete the job it might take a good ten hours.

Up near the entrance to the prison itself, Prince Baran tells Tai that General Coy and he shall remember this favor. Coy says “some favor.” Tai is getting a nice wad of Swiss Francs for taking a convenient constitutional. Walking away, Tai tells them they have an hour and to use it well. As Baran and Coy lead their crew of thugs down the stairs of the prison, Coy says that Mr. Patch will soon regret he ever returned to Madripoor. Baran says that he was supposed to have regretted it with finality back at the Princess Bar. Coy informs him that no human could have survived the rocket grenade they hit him with but somehow Patch managed to…

When they open up the door to his prison, Logan is wearing his mask and the bottom half of his costume while still chained to the wall. Coy points out that their adversary is dressed for the occasion. Seeing that he wasn’t able to get the shirt on past the chain, he says it’s a topological problem. Baran cuts in and says so much for the idle chit-chat, let them proceed with the nasty little chore. At that moment, Coy calls for Imak and Ivan to come to the front and center.

When Imak and Ivan step up, both of them are wearing claws on each hand, manufactured to look like what Logan has. Baran informs them that Logan is to have a painful and lingering death and for them to finish the job they started in that disreputable lowtown saloon. Ivan tells him to consider him sliced and diced. Looking at the claws they are wearing, Logan says that explains the claw marks at the Princess; they were the ones who ripped up his friends.

Ivan confirms that yeah, they done all o’ them geeks. He adds that it’s almost not very sportin’, him all chained up and all. Logan tells him that can be fixed and starts to pull his arm out of the chain. As he does he says the manacles weren’t meant to restrain anybody with a mutant healin’ factor. Seeing that, Imak says that he’s scrapin’ the meat right off his hand. Ivan asks can’t he feel no pain? Licking his wounds, Logan tells them that it hurts like all blue blazes but he can take it. Question is, can they?

As Imak and Ivan rush towards Logan, they tell him that pain don’t mean nothin’ when he’s dead, an’ that’s what he’s gonna be. Popping his claws, Logan tells them they have guts and proceeds to slice them both across the stomach. As he does, he tells them it’s too bad they’re all over the floor. Stumbling over to the doorway, Ivan begs Baran and Coy to help him. Baran tells him to have the decency to die like a man and to stop dripping blood on his shirt.

Just then, Coy suggests that they beat a hasty retreat. As he stands on Imka’s head, Logan puts on the rest of his uniform and informs Coy there ain’t no retreat fast enough to shake him. He then tells him and the Prince that they got some serious payback comin’. Hearing that, Baran tells the rest of his thugs that the time for finesse is over and that he wants Patch’s skull for a foot-rest. When one of the thugs asks if they get a bonus for this, Baran tells them all five hundred thousand Swiss Francs to the man who brings down Patch. Coy adds a bullet in the head to any man who turns and runs.

As the thugs converge on Logan, he takes them out as fast as they can attack him. While he does, he thinks to himself that in some half-remembered former life, he might have trotted out a quip about employee incentives or some nasty crack about their group life insurance being paid up. But it ain’t like that no more. The red rage in him is an animal thing. This is the real reason for anger. It’s that curtain o’ blood in front o’ his eyes and the molten lava pumpin’ through his veins. It’s that roarin’ sound in his ears that ain’t nothin’ but himself howlin’. This is the real reason for anger, to rev yourself up for killing!!

Once Logan has killed all of Baran and Coy’s thugs, he turns his attention to Baran and Coy themselves. Logan says to himself – look at them. They were so haughty before, so sure o’ themselves. Look at them now; they have the animal fear o’ him. But they are the ones who have sold their own humanity for gold and bearer bonds. As they run up the stairs, Coy calls out it was all the Prince’s idea and proceeds to shoot him in the back of the head, killing him. Standing before Logan, Coy tells Logan that Baran is dead, he shot him for him. Pointing his pistol at Logan, he tells him to not come any closer.

At that moment, a shot rings out and Coy falls to the ground, dead. From behind him, Tyger Tiger is sitting in a car and tells Logan to get in. She decided to provide him with a… how do you call it, a “getaway car.” Jumping into the car, Logan mentions to Tyger that things aren’t right there, the Prince an’ Coy were never this blood-thirsty. It’s almost like someone was makin’ ‘em hurt people he knew. He then asks her where’d all the blood come from on the hood. Tyger tells him there was an unfortunate and fatal road accident, Police Chief Tai was jaywalking just as her gas pedal got stuck.

As they drive away, Tyger tells him that Tai had some interesting artifacts in his pocket, a key and a piece of paper with an address on it. Reading the piece of paper, Logan sees that it says 23 Hotel Way, Lowtown Madripoor. Logan replies it’s the street of the drunken god, he knows the address. It was the regional office of Landau, Luckman and Lake (LL&L). Pulling up to the wreckage, Tyger says “was” is certainly the correct tense and inquires as to what transpired there. Logan tells her that she’s lookin’ at the handiwork of Bloodscream and Roughhouse. LL&L handled his business affairs in the old days. Mr. Chang, the local manager, and he went back a long way. But things have changed since then. Tyger asks what happened to Mr. Chang. Logan informs her he was in the building when they did this.

At that moment, Logan finds what he’s looking for, a solitary door standing in all of the wreckage. Tyger asks that’s what he came to look for? He came halfway around the world to find a bathroom door? Logan tells her that a lady who’s been keepin’ close tabs on him for a long time gave him that key. He thinks she gave it to him to help him find out what’s really happenin’ to him. As he unlocks the door, Logan tells Tyger that W.C. doesn’t stand for water closet, it stand for warp chamber.

Opening the door, Tyger is surprised by the bright light. Logan tells her it’s the light of a million tomorrows. Before he enters the doorway, he turns and returns the kiss to Tyger that she blew to him through the bars. He adds that he trusts she’ll take care of Rose, Archie and O’Donnell for him. He’s got to take care o’ some business, and he has a feelin’ nothin’s gonna be the same after this.

Just then, Zoe appears before him and tells him that’s a consequence of being trapped in the wheel of entropy. Logan recognizes her and tells her that it’s time she told him what’s goin’ on and who’s behind all this. Zoe tells him to come with her, and learn his fate!

Characters Involved: 


Archie Corrigan, O’Donnell, and Rose (residents of Madripoor, now all dead)

Tyger Tiger

Dirt Nap

Zoe Culloden/Expediter

Police Chief Tai

Prince Baran (now dead)

General Coy (now dead)

Various thugs employed by Baran and Coy (Imak and Ivan are the only ones named)

Various patrons of the Princess Bar (all unnamed and dead)

Various policemen in Madripoor (all unnamed)

In flashbacks:

Logan & Jean Grey in front of Rockefeller Center in New York

Story Notes: 

Archie Corrigan, O’Donnell, Rose, Tyger Tiger, and Police Chief Tai were last seen in Wolverine (2nd series) #87.

Logan faced Dirt Nap back in Wolverine (2nd series) #95.

“After all he went through with Gambit in England,” refers to the Wolverine/Gambit: Victims limited series.

The Madripoor office of Landau, Luckman and Lake was destroyed by Roughhouse and Bloodscream all the way back in Wolverine (2nd series) #5.

Issue Information: 
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