Wolverine (3rd series) #10

Issue Date: 
March 2004
Story Title: 
Coyote Crossing - part 4

Greg Rucka (words), Leandro Fernandez (art), Studio F (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Rus Wooton (letterer), Leo Fernandez (cover artist), Axel Alonso (edits), Warren Simons (more edits), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Agent Cassie Lathrop is determined to see Wolverine again and remains seated as the Cerveza Fria is emptied of its customers. She chats with Nestor about Wolverine, who, meanwhile, confronts Rojas. He isn’t the man he was expecting but a heavily pregnant woman. Leaving the dead guards behind him, Wolverine follows her into her house, where she happily explains that she is a major drug lord and is quite happy to have people die if it makes her money. Because he can’t find it in himself to kill a pregnant woman, regardless of her crimes, she taunts him about his inability to carry out the task he came here to perform. She taunts him so much that he finally loses his temper and pops his claws. Still, he can’t bring himself to kill and it takes plenty of will power to bring himself back under control. He decides to leave and, as he does, Rojas goes into labor with no one around to help her. Back at the Cerveza Fria, Cassie stays the night with Logan, but only on the couch, and wakes to find him missing. She ask Nestor where he is and he replies that he has unfinished business with Rojas. As Cassie heads for the door, Wolverine enters the bar, carrying Rojas’s baby.

Full Summary: 

(El Paso)

Angel, the barman at the Cerveza Fria accompanies some of his best customers out the door and hangs up the sign reading ‘closed.’ He walks back into the bar to find Agent Cassie Lathrop refilling her glass from a jug of beer, one of many she’s had tonight. He tells her they’re closed and it’s time for her to leave, but she says fine, close, but she’s staying. His boss, Garcia Nestor, opens his door and Angel informs him that she’s not budging, unless he wants him to pick her up and throw her out. He tells his friend that she’s a fed and, if he touches her, he’ll be looking at charges. He allows Angel to go home and heads over to collect a bottle of tequila and a couple of glasses before sitting down at the table with Cassie in the empty bar.

He asks what it is with her, calling her Agent Loca. She replies that it’s Agent Cassandra Lathrop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and she’s putting the stress on alcohol right now. She explains that she knows that Logan isn’t here right now, she watched him swim the Rio; but he has to return sometime. She downs the shot of tequila and Nestor does likewise. She grabs the bottle for a quick refill and reminds Nestor that ATF stands for alcohol, tobacco, and firearms - three things that are bad for you if you don’t know how to control them. Like all bad things, she adds, you get a taste, and you want more. Nestor raises his glass and makes a toast. “To Logan, who is probably more dangerous than all three of those things combined, Senorita.”

(Across the river)

Leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake, Wolverine is astonished to find the perpetrator of the crimes he is following up is a pregnant woman, a far cry from the rogue he was expecting. She stands in her doorway, asking him what he’s waiting for. She tells him that he blames her for nineteen dead men, women and children and she doesn’t deny it, offering nothing for a defense. She says that they died by accident, an accident that cost her money, time and resources. She enters the house and adds that she’s murdered dozens more than that; by her own hand or on her order, it makes no difference.

As they enter a lounge, she admits that she smuggles drugs; heroin mostly, black tar, Andean flake, sometimes cocaine, sometimes pot; anything that will make her money which it does, a lot of it. She asks rhetorically how much nineteen men, women and children weigh altogether. “A ton perhaps? Do you know how much a ton of heroin is worth? And inside them was not more than ten pounds of heroin put together. Do you know how much those ten pounds were worth? More than nineteen lives, I assure you, much more.”

Rojas seats herself with not a little discomfort before looking straight at Wolverine and saying that life is cheap here. Logan retracts his claws as he wanders around the room, first picking up a statue of a woman. He turns and tells Rojas that he should kill her, and she asks why then he doesn’t. “You know why,” he replies. She appears not to care how much she rides Wolverine as she taunts him, saying that just because she has a baby, why should she be spared? She asks if he’s simply too soft to do what he came here to do. Wolverine doesn’t reply to her comments, so she continues her taunts. He cut through her guards like water, yet she, a woman, stopped him cold; “Ohhh, or is it something else?” she enquires.

Her next line of verbal attack centers on his need to kill, and she gleefully taunts him that he is nothing but a rabid dog who wants to kill her. It would make him feel good about being a beast, make him feel like a man instead, to kill a villain, but only an animal would murder a poor innocent unborn child. Wolverine finally loses his rag, and launches himself at Rojas, grabbing her chin with his left hand and popping his claws on his right. Although Rojas is clearly frightened of Wolverine, she tells him that it is better not to lie. “Be the dog and do it,” she says. Their eyes meet in a brief moment, the hunter and his prey.

Despite being in a rage, Wolverine hasn’t lost it completely and, instead of removing her head, he plunges his claws through the couch behind her. He then backs off and growls in an almost unbridled manner, as he fights the conflict inside his mind. He longs to kill but knows he can’t and this infuriates him. He slashes away at the mantelpiece and the statue he held earlier and stands in the middle of the room, his anger trying to control him. Rojas realizes he is struggling to maintain control and is told to shut up when she tries to speak. Gradually, his years of training allow Wolverine to calm his inner demons and he soon reaches the point where he can retract his claws. He turns and grimaces at Rojas before leaving. Rojas feels something happening and looks down at her stomach before rocking backwards in pain. The stress of the situation has brought on her labor and she calls for help. Unfortunately, her help is dead. She struggles to the telephone and collapses on the floor beside it, flicking the receiver off its hook as she does so.

Wolverine swims back across the Rio and returns to the Cerveza Fria, where Cassie is awaiting his return. She opens a can of beer and asks him if he wants one. There’s a cold pizza too. He takes a can and thanks her before telling her to get out, throwing his jacket to the couch and downing the beer. “Rough night?” she asks. He repeats his request for her to leave but she remains stationary. As he removes his shirt and vest she asks, “You...woof…you find Rojas?” He tells her he did, but she’s pregnant. “That’s a twist,” Cassie replies, her intel thinking for sure that Rojas was a guy. He lays on his bed, but this doesn’t deter Cassie, who asks him if he’s sure it was Rojas, and not his wife. He’s sure. He rolls on his side and asks again for her to go away as he’s tired and needs to think. Cassie stands beside his bed looking at his back. “I want to stay.” Logan turns and looks at her. “Yeah, I know,” she adds, “Pathetic, huh?” Logan asks what is it with her and she tells him that she wishes she knew. Logan points and says fine, take the couch. Cassie smiles.

Later, Cassie wakes up and is about to apologize for her behavior but finds Wolverine is missing. She makes her way into the bar downstairs, where there is a party atmosphere. She asks Angel if he’s seen Wolverine but he replies that he left before they opened. She spots Garcia Nestor and repeats her question. Nestor informs her that he’s gone back across the river, saying he had unfinished business. Cassie is shocked and thinks that he’s going back to kill Rojas. She heads for the exit but, just as she begins to push, the door opens and in strides Wolverine, holding a baby wrapped in a blanket. “I need help. I can’t get her to stop crying.”

Characters Involved: 


Cassie Lathrop

Cerveza Fria customers, barmaid and Angel the barman

Garcia Nestor

Rojas’s guards


Rojas’s baby

Story Notes: 
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