Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #23

Issue Date: 
March 2013
Story Title: 
The Last Frankenstein

Jason Aaron (writer), Nick Bradshaw (penciler), Walden Wong, Norman Lee, Craig Yeung & Nick Bradshaw (inks), Laura Martin (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Nick Bradshaw & Guru EFX (cover artists), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Four years ago, Maximilian Frankenstein, staying true to the family tradition, created an animated playmate for himself from corpse parts. Soon, however, locals attacked the castle, killing very Frankenstein. Max escaped by sacrificing his friend instead. Ever since, he’s lived in denial of his family name. In the present, while Frankenstein’s monster is fighting Oya, the X-Men have broken their brainwashing and take out the clowns. As Wolverine attacks Frank, Oya gets away to try and finish off the witch Calcabrina, an act that worries Kid Omega greatly. The burning witch teleports herself and Frank away. The X-Men restore everything to normal again. Frank attacks a car driver to get another arm. Calcabrina calls for help from her master Azazel. Max destroys the robot reverend Hail before returning to the Hellfire Club without Oya. He demands to be addressed by his true name Dr Frankenstein from now on.

Full Summary: 

Four years ago:
Somewhere in the Bavarian Alps:
Max, can you say Max?” a still very young Maximilian Frankenstein orders his creation. Reflexes seem to be fine, he notes, vocal chords are apparently a bit more decomposed than he initially thought. He’ll keep an eye on the obituaries and maybe they can get him some fresh ones. His name is Maximilian, and he thinks he’s going to call him Edvard. Does he like that name?

The creature, a boy about the same age, stitched together from body parts, gurgles the name. He’s glad he’s here, Max tells Edvard. He’s his best friend now. His best friend in the whole world! Max hugs him.

Months later, the villagers storm the castle, intent on burning it to the ground and killing all Frankensteins. They find Max and drag him out of his hideout. They call him a little corpse thief and tell him they took care of his father. It’s his turn now!

Max denies being a Frankenstein. Edvard shows up that moment wearing a baseball player outfit. He asks if they will play baseball now. Distracting the mob, Max shouts there’s a monster. Get him before he kills someone! Friend Max? Edvard asks as the mob closes in. Crying, Max slips away.

Amidst a conflagration, Frankenstein’s monster is trying to throttle the life out of Oya, who gurgles for help.

Hidden, Maximilian recalls that barely 30 minutes ago she saved his life. The decent thing to do, would be to return the favor. He walks away. He’s been accused of many things but being decent was never one of them. The burnt witch Calcabrina tries to grab his ankle. Coldly, he fires his gun at her.

A clown in a too small clown car tries to reach Calcabrina to tell her they have trouble on the midway. The X-Men are on the loose!

Other clowns try to appeal to Wolverine, formerly their old pal Revolto, but soon they realize that the witch’s magic is wearing off. The other clown runs Wolverine over with the clown car and an impossible number of clowns comes streaming out of it. Grimly, the clowns warn that it’s dunk tanks full of acid for the lotta them. Let’s use them as human cannonballs another clown suggests. Make them into meat confetti. Let’s feed their faces to the flamingos!

Those are all great ideas, Kitty Pryde tells them. There’s just one problem. She whacks one of them with a hammer. You’re gonna need more clowns! Behind her stand all the X-Men and students, ready to fight.

As the battle ensues, Kitty wonders what’s going on. Please tell her they didn’t just get brainwashed again. This time it was magic, Wolverine points out. Whatever it was, it was amazing! Quentin remarks. He’s sending them links right now to his cache of mental images.

Eye-Boy hits a clown for the two black eyes they gave him. Doop offers some help. Beast informs everyone the clowns are undead. Extreme force is hereby duly sanctioned. Much to Iceman’s pleasure. Doop goes ballistic on the clowns. Genesis protests those monsters are an affront to decent hardworking clowns everywhere. Rachel tells him to not ever change.

Rockslide informs Shark Girl that he is considering this their first date. Warbird orders the two of them to forget about their pathetic teenage hormones and focus on killing zombie clowns.

Storm electrocutes the clown car, announcing it is no longer a threat (not believing she just said that).

Quentin suddenly screams in pain. Idie is in trouble, he announces. Frank and Idie break out of the burning wagon. He is still throttling her. He calls out for Max. He tells Idie to stop her pathetic squirming and die already!

She’s been choked harder by ten-year-olds! she spits. Now everybody dies! he hisses. Not everybody, comes Wolverine’s voice as he slices off the arm throttling Idie, the stabs him through the torso. Just him!

Frank hits him and shakes him off. Some clowns come running to alert him that the big top is in ruins. Clowns are down all over the place. The circus is finished! What do they do? Nothing, just hold real still, Frank tells him and tosses him at Wolverine.

A concerned Quentin asks Idie if she is all right and where she is going. He doesn’t want to know, she replies.

Wolverine jumps at Frank with a howl of rage.

Idie enters Calcabrina’s caravan. The already burned witch tells her to stay away from her. Idie’s left hand begins to burn…

Outside, Frank tosses an elephant at Wolverine which luckily gets caught by Iceman’s iceslide. The other X-Men have joined them. Beast informs Frank his clowns have been dealt with. He’s coming with them, Wolverine orders. Whole or in pieces. The choice is his.

Holding his arm stump, Frank tells them they cannot kill him and no jail of theirs would hold him long. He cares nothing for them or their sucklings. They were merely flies that wandered into his web. Leave now with their lives, he cares not! Leave him to his torments!

In pieces it is, Wolverine decides. Somebody get the kids back. They’ve seen enough bloodshed for a day. This kid hasn’t! Shark Girl snarls. Warbird adds that she has learned if something can talk it can be made to scream, and offers to show them. Storm interjects. She doesn’t care what sort of monster he is. Nobody else is getting hurt today!

That moment, a burning, screaming Calcabrina flees from her caravan. Storm tells her to hold still. Her freezing wind will save her. As Calcabrina screeches something in a strange language, she runs toward Frank and grabs him, and suddenly they disappear with a bamf noise.

Rachel mind-scans the area but doesn’t find them. Eye Boy adds their magic trail just disappears. Kitty Pryde orders everyone back to school.

In the caravan, Quentin remarks that Idie tried to kill that woman. That’s the sort of thing he’s supposed to do, not her. Not a woman, Idie corrects him, a witch. She’s sorry she got away. With everything that happened lately, she could have used something to cheer her up. He wouldn’t tell on her, would he? He wouldn’t know what to say, Quentin admits. She knew he’d understanding. Pondering, Quentin thinks he’s afraid he does.

Later, the X-Men make sure children are reunited with their freed parents. The people of Salem Center recover. The X-Men have placed the circus under quarantine while Dr Strange and Alpha Flight’s Shaman work on sorting out and returning all the stolen souls.

Wolverine muses it’s a miracle nobody died in this one. He and Kitty turn around when they hear a strange noise and see Toad dispatching of the corpses of the zombie clowns. Let’s just keep walking, Logan suggests. Still no clue of the witch or Frankenstein, Kitty remarks, and no clue what they were really after (or why they dressed her like a cowgirl). Logan promises to get in touch with Elsa Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters. Let ‘em know Frankenstein is active again. But their focus stays on the Hellfire Club until they are sure their kids are safe.

Idie visits church again, wishing to confess a few things to Pastor Hail.

Somewhere in the wilderness, the horribly burned Calcabrina prays to her dark lord to save her. She apologizes for losing the souls she promised him. She pleads for another chance. Help her in her time of need!

Elsewhere, a truck driver offers a hulking cloaked figure at the side of the road a lift. Frank instead decides to take his arm…

Well, this is unexpected, Kade Kilgore remarks on a tropical island as Max joins him. Where is Idie? She’s not coming is Max’s reply. Perhaps he was unclear on the phone, Kade begins. No, it’s he who’s been unclear, Max replies. No longer will he run from the truth about himself or hide that truth from others.

In Salem Center, Idie finds Pastor Hail’s robot body destroyed, with an axe in his head.

No longer will he squander his talents or deny his nature, Max continues. If Kade does not like it, by all means send him t back to Romania where he will have nothing but his family fortune and ruthless scientific intellect on which to fall back.

Why, Baron Katzenelnbogen, whatever has gotten into him? Kade asks. Don’t ever call him that again, Max orders. From now on call him by his true name. Call him Dr. Frankenstein!

Calcabrina is almost dead now, still praying. He hears her, comes the reply. Azazel has come (accompanied by creatures who look like red Bamfs). What news has she for the new lord of heaven, the new king of hell?

Elsewhere, Max Frankenstein enters the Hellfire Academy.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Eye-Boy, Genesis II, Kid Omega, Oya, Rockslide, Shark-Girl (X-Men students)
Warbird II

Dr Strange

Frankenstein’s monster
Zombie clowns

Maximilian Frankenstein, Kade Kilgore (Hellfire Club)

four years ago:
Maximilian Frankenstein

Story Notes: 

Elsa Bloodstone actually is a friend of the creature.

Actually, Max wouldn’t even be the last Frankenstein, as there is also Victoria Frankenstein [Wolverine (4th series)] who evens seems to be a friend of the creature.

Azazel (father of Nightcrawler) is a teleporting mutant who lives in another dimension and who may or may not have magical powers.

Doopspeak: Page 8, panel 2: “Wait! Now there’s an eyeball kit. Jeez! If this keeps up, I won’t ever be the weirdest guy at the school anymore.”

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