Wolverine (3rd series) #9

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Coyote Crossing - part 3

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), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine arrives on the opposite side of the Rio Grande and immediately picks up a scent. Three men see him head off towards a drug den and one of them, Sandro, warns him not to enter. Of course, he does and he beats up on the supplier before telling Sandro he’s his new best friend. He wants to find Rojas and Sandro can help him. Wolverine returns with Sandro to where his friends, Ruben and Hector, are playing cards and ends up beating up both of them, letting Sandro go and ordering Hector to take him to Rojas. Ruben manages to make a call, warning Rojas’s men that Wolverine’s on his way. When they arrive, the guards kill Hector and fill his truck full of lead, but Wolverine evades them and manages to fight his way past all of them, entering the grounds and coming face to face with Rojas. He is surprised to find she is a young, pregnant woman. Cassie Lathrop, meanwhile, comes across the name of Garcia Nestor in some files and visits Cerveza Fria to meet him. Nestor won’t offer any more information about Logan, but asks Cassie if she’s crazy, or does she think she’s in love?

Full Summary: 

Under the clear night sky, a young man quietly washes his clothes on the banks of the Rio Grande, but he is startled when Wolverine strides out of the river, carrying his boots. “Nice night,” he says as he heads inland. In the local shanty town, three men playing cards notice Wolverine passing by, stretching his neck upwards as he tries to catch a scent. One of them, Sandro, asks if he’s lost; maybe he needs help finding something maybe? Wolverine doesn’t reply and stalks off, leaving the three men none the wiser.

Sandro follows him to a building with a doorway loosely strapped to the entrance, warning him not to enter, but Wolverine’s mind is made up and he goes inside as a large muscular guy deals drugs inside. Suddenly, the man is thrown right out the door into the mud and pulls a knife as he stands, warning Wolverine he’ll cut him open for that. He charges back inside, threatening as he does so, but soon returns, clutching his eyes, with blood pouring from freshly made adamantium claw wounds. Wolverine stands looking at a group of wasted people, lying on the floor inside, most of them unconscious amidst drug-taking paraphernalia and empty bottles. “Now that’s finished, who wants to tell me where I can find Rojas?” Wolverine asks.

Sandro informs him that they won’t answer him; most of them are too high to remember their own names, let alone anyone else’s. Wolverine retracts his claws and asks him where he can find Rojas, but Sandro doesn’t want any trouble. Neither does Logan. He asks him his name and Sandro tells him. Logan puts a hand on his shoulder and congratulates him; he’s his new best friend. As they wander up the street, he asks once again, where can he find Rojas?

Back at the El Paso Sector Border patrol headquarters, Special Agent Aguinaga wants to lock up but Cassie Lathrop is studying and tells him she’ll do it. Fine, he says, and asks her to put the files she’s using back where she found them and hit the lights when she leaves. As he departs, Cassie looks down a list of names and circles one; Garcia Nestor.

Soon, she is entering Cerveza Fria and hustles her way to the bar. She asks for a beer. Angel, the barman, passes her a bottle and she asks how much she owes him. “Nothing,” he replies, “Cops drink for free.” She fixes him with a hard stare as he pops his head into the back room and gets Nestor to check her out. As Nestor approaches her on the other side of the bar, she tells him she’s not a cop and even, if she was, she doesn’t drink on the badge. Nestor takes a 20 peseta bill from her and enters it into the till, as he tells her that, whether she’s a cop or a fed, it makes no difference. He knows who she is and why she’s here. He informs her that she’s not the first girl to become fascinated with his friend and she won’t be the last. Maybe it’s the pheromones, he thinks, or aftershave or machismo. An ugly little guy like that; you think he’d have to pay for it, but there are women who think they have to do crazy things to impress him.

Nestor passes her the change, which she refuses. He tells her it’s a bad idea. She asks if he mentioned that she’d be by. Nestor replies that he had, and he told him that she’d been chasing him all the way from Oregon, that she charged into a burning warehouse earlier today just because she thought he might be in there. “That it? You crazy? Or you think you’re in love?” Cassie tells him to shut up and give her another beer.

Wolverine, meanwhile, returns with Sandro to where the other two men, Hector and Ruben, are still playing cards. He seats himself next to them and the two men offer each other a quick glance. They want to get back to their game but Wolverine says that Sandro tells him that they help pick out mules for Rojas. Hector says that Sandro talks too much. His friend, Ruben, meanwhile reaches for a gun hidden under the table and points it towards Wolverine, as he mentions that Sandro tells him that they even take the mules out to meet Rojas. He wants them to take him to meet Rojas. Hector laughs as Ruben cocks his weapon. Suddenly, Wolverine stands up, flinging the table towards Ruben, sending Hector flying across the room. The gun goes off, as Wolverine pops his claws, but the shot misses and Wolverine goes on the offensive.

He cuts Ruben, who shrieks in agony, grabbing his slashed wrist. “Stop complaining! You’ll live,” Wolverine snarls. He wipes the splattered blood off his face as Hector cowers beneath him, asking what he is. Wolverine turns on him, angrily remarking that he’s not his friend for a start. Grabbing the man by the throat, he tells Sandro he can leave, and Sandro doesn’t hesitate a moment too long before running away. Logan fixes Hector with his piercing gaze, telling him they’re going to see Rojas as he throws him to the ground. As they leave, Ruben, still grabbing his bleeding wrist, makes a phone call.

At Rojas’s villa, a guard named Felix takes Ruben’s call and contacts Rojas, informing his employer that there has been trouble down at the shanty and a man is on his way with Hector. After the call has ended, Felix informs his partner that they’re to kill them both. The headlights of Hector’s truck light up the villa’s approach. The truck pulls to a stop outside the gates and Felix walks over to the car and tells Hector that he can’t just come out there without an invitation. Hector apologizes, but points at the back of the truck. “I know, I’m sorry, but something came up. In the back, he’s in the ba…..”

Felix and his partner open fire, smashing the truck apart with lead, killing Hector in the process. After the initial hail of bullets, they reload, but find no one in the back. Felix hears a strange noise behind him and turns, to see six claws exiting the chest of his partner, who falls lifeless to the ground as Wolverine appears from behind him, demanding to see Rojas; he doesn’t have an invitation.

The man opens fire but the agile Wolverine evades them with practiced ease, dodging behind the truck before leaping back over the top, taunting his assailant as he heads straight for him. He disarms him and holds his claws to the man’s throat, saying that he really wants to see Rojas. Suddenly, a spotlight is trained on the two men and the truck and, behind it, Wolverine can just make out the silhouettes of half a dozen men or more. Rojas is standing behind them, but is going back to bed, confident they can handle one man between them.

They fire at Wolverine, unafraid to hit their own man, who dies in a storm of bullets. Wolverine leaps behind the truck again for safety before back flipping onto the villa’s wall, wading through his opponents in something close to a bezerker rage. That dealt with, Wolverine makes his way into the grounds and approaches the figure standing in front of the open doorway. He calls out. “Rojas! Nineteen men, women and children dead! Make your last words good ones.” Rojas replies, “Very well, life is cheap on the border, now if you’re going to kill me and my baby, please get on with it, otherwise we need our sleep. In the doorway stands Rojas, who Wolverine notices is a young and clearly pregnant woman.

Characters Involved: 


Sandro, Hector and Ruben

Sleeping drug addicts and their supplier

Cassie Lathrop

Special Agent Aguinaga

Cerveza Fria customers and Angel the barman

Garcia Nestor

Rojas’s guards, including Felix


Story Notes: 
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