Wolverine (3rd series) #2

Issue Date: 
August 2003
Story Title: 
Brotherhood - part 2

Greg Rucka (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Studio F (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Warren Simons & John Miesegaes (assistant editors), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine removes a bullet from his body and heads off to the local gun shop to show it to the shopkeeper, Blaine. He tells Blaine that he wants to know about some guys calling themselves ‘The Brothers.’ Blaine replies that there are loads of people like that but Logan is looking for ones with modified Mac 10’s. Blaine gives him a name, Tom Leeds, who does shows all over the state. He should be at one in Klamath this weekend. Cassie Lathrop prepares for the show where she assists Tommy. She arms herself and puts on a flak jacket under her T-shirt. They head to the gun show, where Wolverine approaches Tommy at their stall. He asks for some AR-15’s and lots of rounds. Tommy says that he can hook him up, and might even have something in his private collection if he’s interested. Later, Logan departs, having bought a USP and making arrangements to meet Tommy later that evening. In a bar called Suds, they meet up and after a little grandstanding, they get down to business. He asks how many AR-15’s Tommy can get him. He wants ten, with kits, but Tommy thinks he might struggle with the order. It will take too long to get them but he tells Logan that he can get him what he really needs, M16’s, no conversion needed. He can have them by Tuesday if he has the money. They agree to meet in Melford where Logan can check them out the next day. Logan then casually asks if he has any converted Mac 10’s. Tommy says he got cleaned out of them last December. Tommy returns to his motel room and is given the blow off by Cassie. He enters his room alone where Wolverine forces him to reveal who he sold the Mac 10’s to. After a little gentle persuasion, Tommy reveals that it was to a guy in Westfall called Dennis Terril. He leaves the motel, but not before he spots Cassie outside, aiming a gun at him. He tells her not to do it and she doesn’t, but she does call someone on her walkie-talkie and tells them they have a problem.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine stands naked in front of the mirror, his body still riddled with bullets but no longer bleeding. His healing factor has knitted his flesh over the bullet holes; it’s now simply a matter of removing them. Squeezing his flesh so the bullet stands next to the surface, he pops a claw and slices the flesh, resulting in a few drops of blood and a deformed bullet, which he takes a good look at. He wanders back into his sparse hotel room and puts on some clothes before picking up Lucy Braddock’s journal and heads to the local ammo store, called ‘My Cold Dead Hand.’ Inside, there are racks of guns, clothing and accessories and a couple of hunting trip mementos on the wall. A stocky bearded guy talks to Blaine, the shop manager, relating the events that took Lucy’s life. His argument appears to be that people complain that there are too many guns around, but if she’d been carrying one then she would have been able to defend herself.

Logan approaches the counter and the big guy asks if he has a problem. “Just you,” replies Logan. The man stands tall and asks if he wants to do something about it but Logan replies that he doesn’t need to; Darwin’s on his side. He wanders into the back of the shop and tells Blaine he needs to talk. He helps himself to a beer from the fridge and asks Blaine if he wants one as he tosses the bullet to him. It’s too early for Blaine, who, judging by the posters on the wall behind him, is a Vietnam vet and may have been in the Special Forces. Logan asks him what he makes of the bullet and Blaine tells him that it’s a forty-five, soft nosed and that it has been on the inside of someone too from the look of it. Logan says it has, him, and it came out of a Mac 10 with a lot of its little brothers. Blaine says that he assumes someone’s sorry they did that and Logan grins; “Not yet, soon.”

He checks out the pictures on the wall and says that they got lucky, twice. They hit him through a door, tearing up his lungs pretty good. By the time he got up, they were gone and he never even got a look at them. He stares at a photograph of a group of army buddies, one of them presumably being Blaine. Blaine flicks the bullet back to him asking how he knows it came from a Mac 10. Logan catches it and tells Blaine that you get shot enough; you learn to tell the difference. He asks if he has ever heard of some guys who call themselves ‘The Brothers.’ Blaine leans against the wall, admitting that he hears about lots of guys calling themselves brothers, brotherhood, all that. There are brothers of freedom and brothers of revolution, brothers of white pride, brothers of Christ and the list goes on and on. He adds that if you hit the high desert between there and Idaho, hell, up to southern Washington then you get more militias and survivalists than you can count.

Logan sits and says that he’s looking for brothers with modified Mac 10’s. Blaine replies that it’s an easy conversion. Logan points out that it’s easy for them maybe, but he’s thinking that these guys used a kit, maybe lots of kits. Blaine angrily protests his innocence, claiming that he doesn’t sell those but Logan knows that, asking who does. Blaine calms down and tells him to check the shows; there’s always someone got a table with kits. Logan’s wants someone looking for volume sales and Blaine offers him a name: Tom Leeds, who has a shop in Melford. He does shows all over the state and there’s a show in Klamath that weekend. Logan says that he may be back and he may need gear. As he leaves, Blaine says anytime.

In Klamath, a woman looks out of the window at Smithy’s Motel toward the building hosting the gun show. She wears combat trousers, boots and a black vest and has her blonde hair tied back. She empties everything from her holdall onto her bed, flak jacket, walkie-talkies, hairbrush and pistol included. She shoves a clip into the handle and puts on a T-shirt with ‘If you run, you’ll only die tired,’ written on the reverse. This covers the slimline flak jacket. There’s a knock at her room door and her boss, Tommy, shouts through that the hall’s gonna open soon and they have to get going. She opens the door and asks him how she looks. “Good enough to eat,” he replies. He holds her around the waist, telling her he loves a girl with a gun but she manages to shrug him away politely by telling him to remember that they have sales to make.

At the gun show, a large crowd shuffles from stall to stall packed with weapons, ammo and parts; an NRA members dream come true. The place is bustling with an assortment of shady looking characters. There are plenty of places to choose from; Rebel Shotguns, JM Parts, Lucky 7. Tommy and Cassie have their own stall selling firearms and she offers a guy a $50 ‘cutie discount’ as he’s buying a gun for his young son, ready for a hunting trip in Alaska. She asks for his license in order to run a check and gets on the phone. Wolverine, dressed in his familiar bomber jacket approaches the stall and checks out the valuables. Tommy leans over and says that he sees a man who doesn’t see what he wants, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. Logan looks mean, putting on an act, though it’s not like he needs to. He tells Tommy that he’s looking for a couple of AR-15’s for him and his friends. Tommy tells him that it’s a good weapon, the civilian version of the M16. Logan knows.

Tommy asks if he served and Logan replies that he did his time as he handles a pistol. He says that he’d want parts for them too, that’s the thing, and ammunition. Tommy asks how much they’re talking and Logan replies, “Ten thousand rounds, to start.” Tommy says that he can hook him up. He can cover the replacement modification and even has some stuff in his private collection if that is of interest. Logan replies that it is. Later, with the deal in the bag, Wolverine heads off as Tommy counts the cash. Cassie asks if he’s doing good today and he tells her that he’s doing great, having just sold the USP from his private collection to Logan. Cassie thought she heard him say he wanted AR-15’s and puts her arms around Tommy’s neck, but he tells her that’s what he said, but that’s not what he wants. He wants M16’s and the rounds to go with them. He is going to meet him at the bar later that evening to talk about it; it could be a profitable weekend. Cassie returns to serving duties.

Later that evening, at a bar called Suds, Wolverine leaves his bike parked outside and gets a drink from the bar before spotting Cassie seated in a booth, alone. He walks over and sits himself down across from her, telling her that he was supposed to meet her boy. Cassie replies that he’ll be along and holds out her hand, introducing herself. Logan doesn’t even fix her a glance, simply grunting as he scopes the bar. Cassie leans over. “Friendly sort, aren’t you?” she says. He tells her that they aren’t friends. Tommy approaches carrying two bottles of beer and sees that they’ve already met. Logan stands up and tells Tommy that he kept him waiting. Tommy seats himself next to Cassie. He had to make a couple of calls, it’s nothing.

Logan informs him that he doesn’t like dealing with people who break their word. Tommy says he didn’t, here he is and he knows how to be discreet. He points to Logan, telling him that he can be subtle, something Logan isn’t, standing there and posturing. He asks him if he wants to talk or does he want to nurse his wounded pride. Logan gives him an impetuous look. He’s acting a role, but is trying to get a handle on Tommy’s character.

He leans over and asks Tommy about the AR-15’s and how many he can get him. “With kits?” Tommy replies, “How many are you looking for?” Logan asks for ten. Tommy looks downward as the order looks like being a challenge. Logan begins to stand, telling Tommy that he’s wasting his time. He quickly tries to calm Logan down, saying that it’s a challenge, but not impossible. Guns and kits take two weeks but that’s too long for Logan. Tommy then says that they should stop playing games then. If he has the cash, he’ll get him what he really wants; M16’s, no conversion needed. Logan asks how and Tommy replies that he has a connection. He can get them to him by Tuesday if he gets him the money. Logan takes a swig of beer and deliberates over the exchange.

He asks how much and Tommy replies that they’ll be fifteen large. That’s too much for Logan but Tommy asks him to think about what he’s getting. The guns need no conversion and take military magazines. He’s talking thirty-rounders, not those post-ban fifteen-rounders. It’s a good price, he adds. Logan says that he’ll want to check them out. Tommy wants a down payment. He tells Logan to be at his place in Melford tomorrow and to being ten percent; he’ll have a sample for him then. He pushes his calling card across the table. Logan also mentions that he’s interested in Mac 10’s too, same conversion of course. Tommy tells him that he should have hit him a couple months ago as he got cleaned out in December. Logan scowls as he walks away, telling Tommy he’ll see him tomorrow.

That night, Cassie and Tommy head back to their respective motel rooms. He tries to persuade her to join him, pointing out that he has a king-sized bed in his room but Cassie reminds him that she has to drive tomorrow. “Later, okay,” she tells him. He says that she always has an excuse but she smiles and replies that she has, and it keeps him coming back for more. She gives him a peck on the lips before entering her room, telling him to sleep well. “Tease,” he mutters to himself before using his key card to open his room door, “Always an excuse.” A man needs more than a peck goodnight but it’s all he ever gets from her. He wanders into the darkness of his room and tries to remember where the light switch is.

Suddenly, Wolverine’s hand grabs him by the throat and he tells him to be quiet. He shoves the USP into Tommy’s face and says, “Recognize this? You sold it to me today from your private collection. Private sale, you don’t even have to run a background check.” He smiles at Tommy, “God bless America, huh?” He thrusts Tommy against the wall and Tommy asks what he did to him. Wolverine says that he’s gonna tell him who he sold those Mac 10’s to. Tommy insists he doesn’t remember. Logan asks him to try harder, pushing the gun even harder into the base of his septum. Again Tommy insists he doesn’t know. Logan knows he’s lying and asks him to lie some more; give him a good reason to really hurt him. Tommy finally confesses that he sold the guns to a guy named Terril, Dennis Terril out in Westfall.

Wolverine releases his grasp and says that it wasn’t so hard, was it? Recovering slightly, Tommy grabs his own pistol and aims it at Wolverine who still has his back turned. “No! You don’t just walk away!” he cries but Wolverine replies, sure he does. He pops a hidden claw and slices the USP in two, dropping it at Tommy’s feet. As he looks in astonishment, Wolverine departs and begins to ride off on his bike. As he leaves the motel, he smells a familiar scent and, without even looking behind him, he knows it’s Cassie. He tells her not to do it. As he vanishes into the distance, she uses her walkie-talkie. “It’s Lathrop. We’ve got a problem.”

Characters Involved: 



My Cold Dead Hand customer

Cassie Lathrop

Tommy Leeds

Gun Show customers

Suds Bar customers

Story Notes: 

The name of the gun shop, “My Cold Dead Hand,” is from the slogan regularly said by former NRA president, Charlton Heston during speeches. It referred to the manner in which someone would have to remove his 2nd Amendment protected firearm from his person.

The story takes place in Oregon.

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