Wolverine: First Class #11

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
The Pack: Part 2

Fred Van Lente (writer), Hugo Petrus (artist), Ulises Arreola (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), David Williams and Wil Quintana (cover artists), Paul Acerios (production), Ralph Macchio (consulting), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine and the werewolves attack the film-manufacturing plant and learn the identity of the primary polluter: Kitty Pryde’s father, Carmen Pryde. They head toward Deerfield to find him, despite Logan’s attempts to stop their progress. Kitty, meanwhile, learns her father is in danger and heads home to warn him, but discovers her parents went to Chicago for an anniversary date. After she and her werewolf-ally Jack Russell defeat a lingering member of the werewolf clan, the two head to Chicago to find Carmen. However, the werewolf clan finds him first, aboard a river ferry with his wife, and attacks. Wolverine manages to regain control and gives the hostages a chance to escape. Meanwhile, Kitty arrives with Jack and drives their stolen car off a bridge and onto the ferry, completely obliterating it. She and Wolverine both survive. Wolverine wonders if any of his former clan mates survived. Meanwhile, Jack Russell continues his lonely quest for companionship.

Full Summary: 

Second night...

A pack of werewolves crashes through the glass ceiling at the Kodiak Film manufacturing plant. The terrified factory workers run for their lives. Among the werewolves is Wolverine, now fully changed by his lycanthropy. As if havin' adamantium bones, claws, a healing factor, and bein' a flamin' super hero wasn't enough, he says to himself. Now this. He's not entirely sure how to describe this newfound change. He compares it watching himself on TV, only he can't turn it off, or even look away. The beast is at the wheel, with Logan as its passenger.

He snarls at a nearby chemical technician and unsheathes his adamantium claws. The poor, terrified chemist takes off running down the hallway, screaming about the unfairness of his attacker's extra claws. The man runs into a utility closet and slams the door shut. The Were-Wolverine shoves his claws through the door, mere inches from the screaming chemist's face. Effortlessly, Wolverine rips the steel door open and crawls through the gaping hole. You see the driver about to do something stupid — or disastrous — all you can do is holler at the top of your lungs, Logan thinks, —and pray he hears you in time. Baring his teeth, he approaches the frightened chemist. The desperate man pulls out his wallet and presents a photograph of his family. Please don't, he cries! He has a family, and kids! What will they do without him? Wolverine leans in close and howls in his ear, spraying him with slobber. He then turns and leaves.

Were-Wolverine heads back into the factory and observes the mayhem from a perch. The factory workers run for their lives, but Logan knows they need not worry. Malik, the pack's leader, has trained his crew to not hunt humans. They do this not for moral reasons, but to avoid attracting the full attention of the police. They could care less about human lives. Nevertheless, the werewolves give the "Joe Sixpacks" of the chemical plant a good scare, but none do so better than Nyssa, Malik's sister, who now stands holding a chemist high over her head. It was Nyssa who brought Wolverine into this mess. She chose me as her soulmate. She changed me — or did she make me more like what I already was? he asks. And am I falling hard for her, or for it?

At the top of a nearby staircase, Malik interrogates a captive factory worker. The man asks what Malik wants. Vengeance, Malik tells him; vengeance on whomever started dumping chemical waste into the marsh, thereby infecting the water supply with silver nitrate! The terrified man claims they never wanted to do such a thing, but had to after they filed for bankruptcy. The representative from the bank forced them to cut costs by whatever means necessary. They turned to extremes. Their chemists swore the silver nitrate would not be harmful to humans. "Do I look human to you?!" Malik shouts as he hurls the man across the room. He asks the man for the name of the banker. He coughs up the man's business card, from Deerfield Bank & Trust, a bank just outside of Chicago.

Malik, having obtained what he came for, turns to his pack and orders them to withdraw. He knows the nesting place of the snake responsible for this catastrophe; they will head there at first light. Logan asks where they are going. Malik tells him he doesn't get to ask questions. He is still the pup of the pack, and Malik is still his Alpha. He will do whatever Malik orders, without question. Wolverine grumbles as the pack leader walks away. Nyssa tells him to ignore her brother; he was macho even before he became a werewolf. Eventually, she says, Malik will accept him, once he learns he can trust him.

The next morning, Kitty Pryde and her escort, Jack Russell, finally arrive at the film-processing plant. She thanks Mr. Russell for accompanying her; her friends the X-Men said they would make it as soon as they could, but were currently occupied with other matters. Jack tells her it was no problem; it's the least he could do after she saved his life. Kitty reminds him that his furry alter ego already saved her in return! Regardless, she knows Logan can fight off his lycanthropy, and just needs some help doing so. Jack looks at her with blank expression that masks his sadness. He has spent years trying to find a way to cure his own lycanthropy. After years of research, he finally gave up and accepted his fate. He only came to these woods to finally join a werewolf pack. He doesn't want to see Kitty's face when she learns her friend is just as doomed as he is.

However, Jack says none of this to Kitty. Instead, he speaks up and tells her he can track Logan down using his amazing werewolf-enhanced tracking abilities. Kitty, meanwhile, spots a man chaining up the factory door and asks for a moment of his time. The frenzied man tells her he has nothing to say to anyone, especially after last night. Kitty Pryde, not giving up easily, introduces herself. Her last name captures the wounded man's attention. Pryde, as in Carmen Pryde? he asks. Like the Carmen Pryde who works at Deerfield Bank? The startled Kitty confirms their relation, explaining her family has a summer house down the street. The frightened factory worker grabs her by the shoulders and tells her she has to warn her father immediately. The werewolves are coming after him!

Meanwhile, at a diner on the way to Chicago, while Malik's clan of werewolves imbibes in a round of beers, Malik explains to Logan the benefits of running with a pack. Loners don't count for anything in their society. A “lone” has no one watching his back. Everyone a lone meets is an enemy. If a lone hunts on a pack's territory, they mess him up. Simple as that. That is how they met their friend Rolf, Malik says, referring to his clan's Omega. They almost killed him, but after he proved himself in battle, they allowed him to join... but only as an Omega. Malik reminds Logan he still has to prove himself. Just because Nyssa likes him doesn't mean he gets a free pass.

Logan says he will keep it in mind. His mind, however, is somewhere else entirely. He spies the business card with the banker's name and address poking out of Malik's pocket under the table. While cracking a joke, he intentionally spills his beer, knocking the bottle in Malik's direction. Sorry, Logan says. He pulls out a napkin and begins dabbing the table dry, an act intended to conceal his sleight of hand as he nabs the card. He gets up and goes to the bathroom, purportedly to get some more towels. As soon as Logan enters the bathroom, however, he pulls out the business card. "NICE TRY PUP!" it reads, in Malik's handwriting. Malik, suddenly appearing from behind, grabs Logan by the throat and smiles. He memorized and ate the card already, Malik says. When he gets to Chicago, he plans on hunting Mr. Pryde entirely by smell anyway. Wolverine looks at him with disdain clearly written across his face. Malik laughs it off. He knows it isn't easy hunting humans, especially so soon after becoming a werewolf. It was hard for him when he started too. However, he tells Logan not to fret; after his first kill, it gets easier.

Third night...

Kitty and Mr. Russell pull up to the Pryde residence in a bright red Mustang. The anxious Kitty phases out of the vehicle before it even stops and rushes into the house. Mr. Russell, meanwhile, stays behind in the car. The moon will rise soon.

After phasing through the front door, Kitty finds her house completely silent. Where could her parents have gone, she asks? She sees a vase of flowers sitting on the coffee table and suddenly remembers the significance of the day's date; it is her mother and father's wedding anniversary! "And I completely forgot to get them something," she realizes.

A man speaks up from the shadows and tells Kitty they didn't get her parents anything either. He steps forward, revealing his glowing, yellow eyes and a face marred by several scars. Is this the girl-cub of this family's “Pryde”, he asks? His pack didn't forget her either. In fact, they got her something too. He begins to transform, quickly becoming a savage, snarling werewolf, and prepares to pounce. Suddenly, Jack Russell, now in his werewolf form, crashes through the window and intercepts the strike. He finishes the brief battle by smashing the coffee table over the werewolf's head. Kitty thanks him, and jokes he is starting to specialize in saving her life. Jack, completely beyond human emotion, slashes at her mercilessly. "Hey! Cut it out! You're supposed to be rescuing me, dummy!" she says as his claws pass through her intangible body. Annoyed, she puts her hands on her hips and reminds him he promised to help her find Wolverine! She tells him to heel and slaps him over the head with a rolled-up magazine. According to the anniversary card she found, her parents plan on topping off their date with a river cruise through downtown Chicago. She and Werewolf by Night set out immediately.

Meanwhile, at the river ferry in Chicago, Wolverine and the rest of Malik's crew make their entrance by crashing through the boat's glass ceiling. "How do you do, rich people?" Malik asks menacingly. "I'd like to tell you about tonight's specials: YOU!" Logan, following closely behind, remains aware of his own actions, but again finds himself powerless to stop them. Reason sleeps when the moon rises, he explains. He descends on the crowd and spots his clan’s targets. His wolf aspect recognizes their scents, if not their faces. The banker and his wife whom they seek to kill are none other than Kitty Pryde's parents!

This time, the human-side of Logan’s being manages to convince his bestial-side to obey. He swipes at Malik instead of Carmen and Terri Pryde. Then, he positions himself in between his pack and the rest of the civilians, who flee over the sides of the boat. The infuriated Malik snarls at him and tells him to move; if not, the clan will tear him to shreds.

While Wolverine fights with the peons of the pack, Nyssa confronts her brother and asks if he lost his mind. Wolverine is one of their own, she says! A pack never turns on its own kind. Malik tells her she is guilty of that very act right now. Logan is her soulmate, Nyssa shouts! She changed him! She has responsibilities to him! Malik asks about her responsibilities to her own brother, her flesh and blood. Some responsibilities run deeper than blood, Nyssa says. She knew, from the moment she laid eyes on Logan, that she had found her soulmate. If Malik cannot accept that, then Nyssa will find another pack.

Is that so, Malik asks? He tells Nyssa to take another look at her precious “soulmate”. Nyssa glances at Logan and sees not a werewolf, but a normal-looking man, albeit one with adamantium claws. The sight of him like this crushes her. At this point, Logan also notices his own body has returned to normal. His healing factor must have finally caught up with the werewolf curse! He apologizes to Nyssa, but tells her it's not meant to be. He can never become one of them. Malik grins deviously. If that's the case, he says, then Logan is now their prey!

Meanwhile, thirteen-year-old Kitty Pryde drives the Mustang across one of Chicago's many bridges overlooking the river. She cannot believe she is driving. Meanwhile, like an excited dog, Werewolf by Night leans his head out the window and sniffs the wind. He catches a familiar scent and leaps out of the car and over the edge of the bridge. Down there, Kitty asks? Screaming, she hits the brakes, sends the car into a skid, and accelerates over the edge of the bridge. The car sails in the air for a moment before landing directly on the ferry, igniting a catastrophic explosion that obliterates the boat.

The smoking wreckage sinks into the river. Kitty, floating a short distance above the water thanks to her intangibility, pulls Logan up by the shoulders. "Dude," she says, "I so totally rescued you." After bringing him to shore, she says she must go back and find her parents. Logan tells her they’re okay. He saw them abandon ship.

Wolverine gazes longingly at the water. He wonders if the others made it out alright. Kitty, catching something peculiar in his tone, asks what they did to him. They wanted him to join their pack, Logan explains. They saw something in him they usually only saw in their own kind. For a while there, he admits he actually believed them, too. However, he eventually realized he already has his own pack. He has the X-Men. This new group wanted him to betray everything he learned and everyone he knew, but in the end, he just could not do it. A scrapper like him is lucky to even have a family in the first place. "A lone wolf, with nobody to turn to, everybody against you," he says, "...ain't nothin' worse than that. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy."

Meanwhile, Jack Russell, back in his human form and dressed only in tattered pants and a trench-coat, walks through the rainy streets of Chicago, hoping to hitch a ride, and hoping to find a group of people he can call family.

Characters Involved: 

Sprite, Wolverine (X-Men)

Werewolf by Night/Jack Russell

Buzz, Malik, Nakota, Nyssa, Rolf (werewolves)

Other werewolves

Carmen and Terri Pryde (Kitty’s parents)

Frightened factory workers

Frightened ferry occupants

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place between Uncanny X-Men #148 and 149. Why the rest of the X-Men are busy during this period is unknown.

Wolverine first met Kitty's parents in Uncanny X-Men #129, when he, Storm, Colossus, and Professor X approached them to recruit Kitty to Xavier’s school, again in Uncanny X-Men #131, when they brought her back home and in Uncanny X-Men #143 when they visited Kitty.

Carmen Pryde next appears in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1.

Issue Information: 
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