Wolverine: First Class #17

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
Two Wongs

Peter David (writer), Ronan Cliquet (artist), Ulises Arreola (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (lettering and production), Cameron Stewart (cover), Ralph Macchio (consulting), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine and Kitty attend a political rally for New York Senate hopeful Benjamin Wong, whose criminal father Wolverine stabbed decades earlier in Madripoor while operating under the identity of “Patch”. Kitty criticizes Wolverine for assuming Wong is a criminal just because his father was. While the sight of Wolverine in the crowd unnerves Wong, the sudden appearance of him and Kitty in his office the next day unnerves him even more. He promises Wolverine he is a clean politician and asks them to leave. On their way home, however, Wolverine and Kitty are attacked by a trio of agents who appear to work for Wong. After neutralizing them, Wolverine and Kitty force the men to lead them to their boss, who turns out to be not Benjamin Wong, but his elderly father! During this confrontation, Benjamin arrives and is disgusted to learn his crooked father ordered a hit on Wolverine and Kitty and tells him he never wants to see him again. As Benjamin escorts the two X-Men out of the building, Wolverine wishes him luck on his campaign—but warns him he will be keeping his eye on him.

Full Summary: 


Wolverine and Kitty Pryde stand amongst the crowd at a political rally for prospective New York Senator Benjamin Wong. Logan acknowledges that this Benjamin Wong guy is good. He can see why Kitty thinks so highly of him. It's not just that Wong knows what to say; it's that he knows how to say it. He's been all over New York State looking for votes, and the speech he's giving is his stump speech. He must've said it a hundred times. Somehow, though, it comes across like this is the first time he has even spoken these words. Wong's got the crowd completely on his side. He's cool, confident and self-assured. That's probably because he hasn't seen me yet, Logan thinks.

Suddenly, for a brief moment, his eyes meet Wong's, and Wong's eyes widen. Ah. There we go, Logan thinks. Nice to know I leave an impression. Wolverine, dressed in a white tuxedo with a black bowtie and wearing an eye-patch, winks at Wong and casually salutes him with his left hand.

Wong struggles to recover from the shock without anyone noticing. "Uhm... and by sending me to the Senate," he says to the audience, "you can be sure that someone who represents your interests, your concerns... is going to be watching out for you."

Back in the audience, Kitty tells Logan she knew he was wrong; Wong didn't recognize him. Logan says he did for a moment; he just covered it well. He just can't admit he's wrong, Kitty says, any more than he can admit how ridiculous he looks with that patch over his eye. Logan sneers at her; no one said she had to come along. In fact, he seems to recall telling her how her not being there would be better. Kitty rolls her eyes. "Seriously. All you need is a parrot and a peg leg."

Logan turns away. Not that it's any of her business, he says, but there's a whole country where all one has to do to spook people is mention the name "Patch". Kitty asks what country that is. Madripoor, Logan answers. Kitty's never heard of it. Perhaps not, Logan thinks—but he knows someone who has: Benjamin Wong.

Some time ago...

"Benjamin! What are you doing here!" an adult man yells at Benjamin. "You were supposed to wait in the office!" The young Benjamin apologizes to his father and claims he just wanted to help. Before he can reprimand him, however, the lights in the warehouse go out, shrouding both of them in darkness. They don't know what happened. However, one of Mr. Wong's colleagues asserts that it’s got to be Patch. He shines his flashlight at Mr. Wong. Mr. Wong disagrees; there is no way Patch would have made it past the perimeter guards. After ordering his subordinate to quit shining that flashlight in his face, he claims he doesn't care about the reputation of this "Patch". He is the real power in Madripoor, not Patch—not some interloper! He vows to make Patch regret the day he set foot in low town.

As he begins telling his men to turn the lights back on, however, he hears an agonized scream coming from the distance reaches of the warehouse. He asks who, or what, it was. Assuming it was one of their own, and fearing the wrath of Patch, Mr. Wong's subordinate grows very worried and flees. He shoves his flashlight into Mr. Wong's arms and tells him to just take it; he isn't paying him enough anyway.

Mr. Wong screams out to the man as he runs, but it is to no avail. He is left alone in the darkness with just his young son. He vows to deal with Patch himself; no way is he going to run from some sawed-off foreigner. After ordering Benjamin to hide between the crates and to not come out until he tells him, Mr. Wong sets off to face Patch. Calling out into the darkened warehouse, he asks Patch if he will face him, or just snipe from his hiding place like an animal.

Suddenly, Mr. Wong catches a glimpse of Patch and fires his gun. Patch puts an end to him with a quick SNIKT of his claws. As Mr. Wong lay dying, Patch tells him he's finished. His business deals are slimy, even for Madripoor. More than that, though, he hurt some of Patch's friends—and one just doesn't walk away from that.

Meanwhile, little Benjamin Wong peers out through the space between the crates to see a man in a white tuxedo with adamantium claws standing over the lifeless body of his father.

Present day...

"So you know Benjamin Wong?" Kitty asks Logan as the sun sets over Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, New York. "When did you meet him?" Logan merely tells her he met Wong as a kid. He adds that he has no business running for Senate; he’s a bad egg. If he was just kid, Kitty asks, how can Logan be sure it’s him? Logan tells her his name is Wong, like his old man, and he’s the spitting image of him. Kitty asks if he’s kidding; he’s got to be kidding.

“Yeah, that’s me. A joke a minute,” Logan says as he sips his beer. Kitty tells him there have got to be a billion guys named Wong. Still, Logan insists it’s him. Kitty asks if he’s seen him since he was a kid. No, Logan tells her. If that’s the case, then how could he possibly know Wong is a bad egg? “Because his father was,” Logan tells her. “Like father, like son.” When Kitty informs him that saying is actually a cliché, he asks what that matters. Kitty, her arms folded, tells Logan he thinks he knows everything. He doesn’t think so; he just knows more than her. He takes another sip of his beer.

Refusing to give up, Kitty points at the image on the television and claims Benjamin Wong is a great man. She’s watched him, she’s read up on him—she basically knows him. Logan reminds her she knows what Wong wants her to know. When Kitty counters that the press hasn’t said anything about any transgressions, Logan interrupts her and says Wong’s family can keep their history under wraps. People say he would make a good President some day, Kitty responds. “You know what I say? The sins of the father are visited on the son.” Kitty reminds him this is another cliché. Logan tells her that just because it’s something she hears a lot doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Benjamin Wong is the kid he met years ago, and he will go bad. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Enraged, Kitty gets off the couch and, as she phases through the wall, tells Logan to blow it out his ear. “Like I don’t hear that a lot,” he says.

The next day…

Benjamin Wong returns to his office, where his secretary, Jennifer, asks how his meeting went. He tells her it went fine. Jennifer begins to remind him of his evening's appointment, but Benjamin interrupts her and tells her to cancel them. She asks if he means to reschedule. He doesn't care at the moment. They can tell the people he's supposed to meet that he's sick or something. As he slams the door on his bodyguards and his secretary, Jennifer rolls her eyes; Benjamin looks like he's just seen a ghost.

Inside his office, Benjamin stands still for a moment and rubs his temple. It can't be, he sighs. At that moment, Patch—the man he saw in the crowd—emerges like a ghost from the wall. Behind him comes his young, female accomplice, who wears a black and yellow uniform with a cowl. Sorry about this, the girl says. She introduces herself to Mr. Wong as "Kitty"—at least that's her name this week. Does that work for him? Benjamin stutters for a moment, but Kitty changes the subject. She's a big fan of his and tells him she wishes she were old enough to vote for him. Turning to Logan, she begins another introduction, but Benjamin makes it clear he knows the man when he calls him by the name "Patch". Kitty seems surprised; does Benjamin really know him?

Wong asks Kitty what they're doing inside his office. Patch turns the question around on him by asking what his big plan is. Wong takes offense to this insinuation. He assures Logan his plan is to represent the great state of New York in the U.S. Senate. "Save it for the rubes, Benjy," Logan tells him. Angered, Wong tells Patch he doesn't know how he came to be there or how it's even possible that he looks exactly the same as he did decades ago. However, he does know two things: his name is Benjamin, not Benjy, and he is going to be New York's next Senator. Despite whatever Patch may think he knows of his family's history, he is a law-abiding American Citizen with neither criminal record nor intent. Lastly, they can leave his office the same way they entered—immediately.

As Kitty phases Logan back out through the wall, she apologizes to Wong for her friend's behavior. He's not really a people person, she says. She tells Benjamin she'll see him—in a watching-him-on-TV way, not in a weird, stalker way.

After they leave, Wong stares at the blank wall for a moment.

Later, on the ride home in Logan's Jeep, Logan asks Kitty when she intends to start talking to him again. It's not that he minds the silent treatment; it's just that he wants to know if he should turn on the radio. He totally embarrassed her in front of Wong, Kitty says. True, but Logan reminds her she wore a mask; Wong would never know. "That's not the point! And will you take off that stupid patch? It's a dumb disguise," Kitty tells him. He asks if she'd prefer yellow spandex. "Of course!" she snaps. "Who wouldn't?" Kitty is about to make another point when Wolverine tells her to be quiet. She asks if he wants her to shut up because she's just a girl. No, Logan says—they're being followed.

Sure enough, the headlights of an approaching vehicle fill the rearview mirrors. Kitty turns around to get a better look, thus alerting their tail they seem them. In response, the stalkers fire a gas grenade through Logan's back window and into the cab of the Jeep. Before Logan can even tell Kitty to get it out of the vehicle, she picks it up, phases it through the roof and lobs it back at the convertible vehicle following them. Guided by Kitty's superlative aim, the smoking grenade clears the windshield and falls into the open interior of the sports car, blinding both men. They lose control of the car and crash into a rock embankment. Fortunately, there isn't much traffic around and the stalkers don't take anyone else with them.

"Who were those guys?" Kitty asks Logan after resolving the crisis. He asks who she thinks they were? They rattle the cages at Wong's headquarters, and the next thing they know, this happens. "Post hoc ergo propter hoc!" Kitty retorts. When Logan asks what she means, she claims he thinks that just because something happened after something else, the first thing caused it. Most of the time, she says, that isn't true.

Suddenly, a semi-truck slams into the side of the Jeep and sends it careening off the road. They crash into some nearby boulders. The truck, meanwhile, comes to a screeching halt, and after it stops, the freight door of the trailer opens and out jump three hooded agents armed with flamethrowers. They intend to burn everything and leave nothing for anyone to find. After all, Mr. Wong says this Patch guy is so slippery he's practically a ghost. As they approach the overturned jeep, one of the men suggests they make him into a real ghost. At that moment, however, Patch emerges from the rear and slashes open one of their fuel tanks with his adamantium claws. It spills flammable fluid everywhere.

As Logan attacks, he recalls that it wasn't very challenging escaping the car crash; Kitty simply phased them both through the bottom before the vehicle landed and upturned. It wasn't very high on the list of challenges they've faced. He almost feels sorry for Wong's men—as they have no idea what they're facing. It's time to give them a clue.

"Hi. Name's Patch," he tells them. "Hear you're looking for me." The agents turn their flamethrowers on him. However, the one with the spilt fuel tank orders them to stand down; if they use their weapons, they all die! Logan grabs one of these men by the collar and asks if they forgot he was a ghost. It won't make no nevermind to him, he says. If they don't tell him exactly what he wants to know, he vows to spark his lighter—and they'll all be ghosts together. The terrified man is shaking too hard to notice that Logan's lighter is actually a roll of breath mints.

Back at Mr. Wong's office, the security guard monitoring the control station informs Wong that the truck has returned; he's watching it pull into Loading Bay C at that very moment. Wong orders the man to have the agents come up to his office immediately. They can even take his private elevator.

On the screen, the three green-garbed, hooded agents exit the vehicle and head for the elevator. The elevator takes them to a private office. With the lights off, the only thing illuminating the robed figure in the center of the room is the moonlight. The steam from his cup of tea slowly drifts into the ether. This man, Wong, welcomes them back. He assumes they had no trouble tracking their targets. After all, the moment Patch made his presence known in that office, his time was limited. He asks them to tell him everything; he owes Patch for—

One of the men suddenly pulls back his hood and reveals a snarling face topped with a thick head of black hair and adorned with an eyep-atch. "See, now, I'm a guy who collects his debts in person instead of sending flunkies," Logan says. He pushes aside the captive guard he forced to lead him to Wong's office. Logan tells him to get lost; his business is with his... boss?

The realization suddenly hits Logan. The voice—and more importantly, the scent—are not from Benjamin Wong the politician, but from Wong's father. Incredible, the elderly Wong says. When he heard from his son that Patch hadn't aged a day, he assumed he was exaggerating. As it turns out, he was correct. As he draws a gun, he tells Logan to have no fear; he intends to ensure that aging will no longer be an issue for him. He explains to Patch that his friends in research & development built him the gun he now holds in his hand. It's a laser, just like in the video games, he says. Unless Patch thinks he's faster than light, he's dead.

Patch freely admits he isn't faster than light. As for Wong's trigger finger, Patch is willing to take those odds. Very well, Wong says. Better he die fighting than as a stationary target.

At that moment, Benjamin Wong opens the office door to the sight of his father aiming a laser gun at Patch. What are they doing?!? He orders his father to put the gun down right away! "He'll destroy you, boy! Just as he tried to destroy me! I only survived by a miracle," Wong Senior shouts. Logan steps forward and grips the sides of Wong's wheelchair. He tells him he didn't survive because of a miracle; he survived because his son was watching. Things would've ended differently if Benjy hadn't been there. That just the way it goes.

Kitty suddenly asks if this is the guy who ran them off the road. Upon hearing this, Benjamin grows outraged and barks at his father. They had an agreement! Wong Senior tells him he did what he felt was necessary, but Benjamin doesn't care. He wanted a clean campaign, a new life and nothing that whiffed of criminality. That's what his father promised him, for both their sakes. Wong Senior calmly tells his son he doesn't understand the world, but Benjamin disagrees. He understands the world, all right—he just doesn't understand his father. He's done trying. He's dishonored them both for the last time. After he returns from escorting Patch and Kitty out of the building, Wong Senior had better be gone.

The elevator...

Logan stands with his arms folded while Kitty leans against the opposite wall. Benjamin stands in the middle and stares straight ahead. "Quite the little scene back there," Logan says to him. Benjamin tells him he wasn't endeavoring to perform a scene. "So that wasn't all performed for my benefit to cover your own tracks?" Logan asks. Benjamin assures him it was not.

Kitty, meanwhile, throws up her arms and asks Patch to knock it off. "The kid there wants to believe in you," Logan says. "Maybe kids should be allowed to believe in good things, occasionally, don't you think?" Benjamin agrees; they should, every once in a while.

They arrive at their stop. The doors open and Logan and Kitty step out of the elevator. As they leave, Logan wishes Benjamin luck with his campaign. "And just so you know," he adds, "I'll be keeping my eye on you." The door slams shut.

Characters Involved: 

Ariel, Wolverine (X-Men)

Benjamin Wong

Wong Senior

Jennifer (Benjamin Wong’s secretary)

Wong’s agents and security guards

in flashback only

Wong’s henchmen

Story Notes: 

Kitty never having heard of Madripoor is a joke at the fictional country’s expense precisely because it is fictitious. Madripoor didn’t appear until NEW MUTANTS (1st series) #32, which takes place after this story.

Wolverine’s “Patch” identity, which he uses primarily in Madripoor, first appeared in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1st series) #1. However, WOLVERINE: ORIGINS ANNUAL #1 established that he has been using the identity as far back as before the onset of World War I.

Kitty Pryde didn't adopt the name Shadowcat until after the KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE limited series, yet it is used here. Either this issue takes place after that series and UNCANNY X-MEN #192 (which is unlikey as Kitty should have short hair then), or Kitty was considering that codename before she left for Japan in KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE #1.

Wolverine’s joke about whether Kitty would prefer him wearing yellow spandex echoes an exchange between Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and James Marsdens’s Cyclops in the first X-Men film, directed by Bryan Singer. Incidentally, another comic published the same month as this issue—X-MEN FOREVER (2nd series) #4—lifted a line from that same movie.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because (on account) of this”, is the logical fallacy stating that one event (a) following another event (b) must mean that the event (a) was caused by the other event (b). It is commonly known as the false cause fallacy.

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