Wolverine: The Best There Is #5

Issue Date: 
June 2011
Story Title: 
Contagion chapter five: Looking for a Way Out

Charlie Huston (writer), Juan Jose Ryp (artist), Andreas Mossa (colorist), VC's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts (cover), Sebastian Girner (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer) with special thanks to Madison Carter, Jeff Christiansen, Mike Fichera, Rob London, Mike O'Sullivan, Markus Raymond and Stuart Vandal

Brief Description: 

Contagion continues his studies into Wolverine's incredible healing factor. Only when Logan converses with Winsor's son, Flip, does he realize that the restraining collar he wears is fake and the Corruptor fluid he is being injected with is just glucose solution. Dciding to fight back, Logan puts on a pair of goggles to keep the blood from his eyes and proceeds to whup Victor Slaughter, Scavenger and Suicide. Winsor manages to put him down and, as he chases him, Logan comes face to face with Yi Yang sporting a pair of large scimitars.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine has been placed in a cell where he is attacked by the noxious chemicals that Winsor has infected him with. He has developed several allergies, all of which cause him a great deal of distress. He is now allergic to his own hair, to his own blood, to his skin, his lungs and even to oxygen. Finally, he becomes allergic to his own thoughts. His body keeps on regenerating, but it’s a horrible way to pass the time. Yi Yang congratulates Winsor, but he admits that he’s uncomfortable with praise. However, he is rather proud of that last one. It took a special effort. Mortigan Goth asks him to take comfort in the knowledge that he is unimpressed. Yi Yang thinks Goth’s ennui is tiresome, but Goth replies that he’s allergic to his own soul. In comparison, Logan’s afflictions seem like something you could take a pill for.

Ms. Brink flicks through a book and says that referencing the D.S.M, it appears that Wolverine has, in the last few days, exhibited symptoms of any number of mental illnesses. She lists depression, bipolar disorder, mania, Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s, psychogenic fugue, narcolepsy, O.C.D. and sleep terrors. “What,” replies Mortigan Goth. “No paranoia? Um wait. Someone really is out to get him.” Winsor notes that some were the direct result of specific infections. Some were side effects but all are receding with increasing rapidity. Brink agrees. Even Wolverine’s healing factor for his brain chemistry is adaptive. Goth reckons that at least he’ll come out of this with a healthy ego. “Come out of this,” laughs Winsor. “Truly Mortigan. You are so very amusing.” Goth quips that they all thought Madcap was the jester.

Speaking of whom, Madcap visits Wolverine in his cell. He finds Logan naked but conscious and pretty much fully healed again. He uses an old knock knock joke to break the ice.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say knock knock again?

Wolverine is distinctly unimpressed. Madcap asks him for one.

“Knock Knock,” says Wolverine.

Yeah, yeah. Who’s there?

The fourth horseman of the apocalypse.

The fourth horseman of the apocalypse who?

“Death,” replies Logan. Madcap loves it. He thinks it’s hi-lair. As Madcap departs, Logan reckons that, if he wasn’t full of Corruptor juice, he’d kill the guy. Flip, watching from behind a window nearby, says please. Logan thinks he still wants him to kill him. He tells Flip that he knows he’s in pain, but he ain’t gonna put him out of his misery. No matter who he is or how he’s involved. His guess is that Winsor infected him with a virus that made him smell like his son. “Please,” Flip repeats again. Logan says that he can’t do it. Even with a skinful of the Corruptor’s sweat, it’s against his nature. This time Flip gets to complete his sentence. Grimacing, he tells Logan to please stop being so #### stupid all the time.

Logan barely flinches at the insult. He simply replies that he ain’t stupid. He can trust him on that. They’ve got him all acquiescent on account that they’ve dosed him with Corruptor stuff. It makes him seem a little simple, but he ain‘t. “Oh... my... God,” replies Flip, though Logan continues speaking regardless not really listening to Flip at all. Flip asks Logan if he’s ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome. He informs Logan that Stockholm Syndrome is the phenomenon wherein hostages show signs of sympathy with their captors. Patty Hearst is the most famous example, he continues, actively participating in a bank robbery and other crimes with the members of the S.L.A who had taken her hostage.

Logan, not listening to Flip, says that his friggin’ restraining collar thing keeps him from using his senses. It’s disorienting as hell. You go through most of your life, over a century, able to smell a man’s fear in his spit, and when you cut that off, it’s like losing a whole part of your brain. It’s a big piece of how you think about things.

Flip bangs his fists on the window and screams for him to take the #### thing off. Logan looks back at him, thinks for a moment and then simply snaps the collar in two. Flip informs him that it’s a placebo collar. The idea of it was supposed to keep Logan from popping his claws and cutting his way out of his cell. A real collar would have inhibited his healing factor and ruined Winsor’s experiments. “Moron.”

Logan snikts a claw and replies that he’s heard of Stockholm Syndrome. Flip reckons it requires tremendous stress. Being kidnapped is enough for a normal person, and Logan’s not normal. Getting him to feel aligned with his tormentors required an ordeal. Logan asks about the needle they kept hitting him with which was supposed to be full of the Corruptor formula. Flip explains that it was a glucose solution. They needed his system to be clean for accurate results. It was another placebo. Throw in the collar and it was a major mind ####.

Logan grins and replies that thinking ain’t his strong suit. But, he knows some really smart people. Has he ever heard of Mr. Fantastic? Tony Stark? Heck, he adds, even his boy Xavier’s no idiot. What he’s saying is, if Flip helps him out, he won’t need Winsor to cure him. Any one of them could fix him up.

Flip tells Logan that just talking to him is so boring... so boring that just to keep from strangling himself he’s thinking in Urdu, translating what Logan says into Hindi, transcribing their conversations into cave paintings, creating a binary code that would describe those images, visualizing how that would feel as Braille and then speaking it in English. That, he adds, keeps a little over one-percent of his brain occupied, which means he only needs about eighty similar puzzles to dumb him down to the level of his buddies until his brain grows some more, which is growing all the time.

Logan reckons he must be smart enough to cure himself. So, once he kills Winsor, he can run around this lab and make himself a healing potion. Flip replies that he can’t do that. Logan says in that case, he’ll start with getting him away from these people. Flip barks back that he is one of these people. Winsor gave him the infection so he could cure him! Logan says the cure for him is that he kills him. “No,” replies Flip. Logan asks now who’s got Stockholm Syndrome? Flip reckons it’s not Stockholm Syndrome when you’re sympathizing with your dad. Logan admits he thought that was just part of the mind #### and he doesn‘t like that. Flip replies, sarcastically, that his dad’s a #### who purposefully infected him to make him smart enough to help him. “So what? He’s my #### dad! Virally smart doesn’t equal emotionally mature, okay?”

Logan asks what they did with the Corruptor. Flip explains that they moved him to a cell somewhere. Logan reaches for some pants and asks if his dad’s deal is that he’s experimenting with healing factors to cure all his diseases. Flip thinks it’s something like that. “Oh! Hey!” says Flip, just as Logan leaves, “I just discovered a Mersenne prime number with over ten million digits. “Congratulations, Flip,” replies Winsor who appears at the door with Scavenger and Suicide. He wishes Flip would stay focused on the task at hand. Splitting his mental energies like that is distracting. Plus, it makes him chatty with the help.

Logan asks Winsor to give the kid a break. He pulls on a pair of gloves and adds that it was only a matter of time before he got himself together and realized he was playing him hard. He admits that he’s surprised to find that he’s really his boy. He then puts on a pair of goggles as a mist cloud wafts its way through the room. Logan tells him that he’s not surprised to find out that he’s tooling Flip for his own benefit. That kinda thing pisses him off. Winsor smiles and put his fingers to his eyes to imitate the goggles. He doesn’t think Logan can really pull them off. Logan replies that he has a lot of work to do and he’s gonna need them to keep the blood out of his eyes.

Logan looks around and informs them that whatever they’re looking to gas him with, he can keep his breath plenty long enough. Winsor says he might want to take one whiff to see if there’s anything familiar. Wolverine snikts all of his claws and passes on breathing Corruptor fumes for now. The gasses begin to form teeth behind him. It’s actually Victor Slaughter, but Logan doesn’t know that without sniffing the air.

Flip, watching from his booth, can’t believe Wolverine is so stupid. He admits to his father that he had to do something to get him out of there before he drove him #### crazy with how stupid he is. Winsor asks him not to be rude. Logan is a clever fellow. He just happens to be wrong more often than he is right. As Logan looks one way, Slaughter’s face appears on the opposite side and he sinks his teeth into Logan’s neck. Winsor then shoves Suicide and Scavenger into the battle, Suicide with two large knives, one in each hand.

Wolverine manages to throw off Slaughter, just in time to twist around and shove his claws into Scavenger’s stomach. He pushes him to the floor, grabs his crown jewels and Scavenger breathes in Victor Slaughter’s gaseous form as he gasps. Wolverine eviscerates him while he is distracted, and then turns his attention to Suicide. Marjorie Brink, watching on a monitor, notes Slaughter’s vampiric anti-lifeforce as having an interesting effect. Suicide swings at Logan, but he evades the attack and slices his right arm off. Suicide raises his other arm, but loses that in quick succession. Wolverine tells him he’s slow, not very strong and can’t fight. What the hell is he doing there? Suicide tells him he wants to die. He’s just looking for a way out. Logan puts his fist to Suicide’s head and snikts his claws. They go through Suicide’s head and the wall behind him. “Sorry. That’s the best I can do,” he replies.

Logan wipes some blood off the goggles and reckons he was right about those. Winsor looks around at the mess Logan’s left behind and tells him, “I’m physically weak.” He adds that, due to the anemia, he can’t risk injury – not even a scraped palm from a slight fall. “Imagine,” replies Logan, not really that interested. Winsor fiddles with his cane which he raises up to point at Logan. “Gausse-gun-rocket-launcher-cane,” he says. Logan doesn’t understand but, when Winsor fires it at him, the projectile hits him square in the chest and explodes. Winsor uses the opportunity to make a clean getaway.

When Logan comes round, he tells Flip not to worry. He’ll be back for him. Flip sighs. “Almost interesting.” Logan dashes after Winsor, but when he rounds into a corridor, he finds himself confronted by Yi Yang who is carrying two large scimitars. She asks if they should consummate their affairs. “Let’s do that,” replies Logan, claws at the ready.

Characters Involved: 



Contagion (Windsor) and his companions Marjorie Brink, Immortalis (Mortigan Goth), Madcap, Scavenger (Robert Nicolle), Victor Slaughter, Suicide (Christopher Daniels) and Yang Yi (all Unkillables)

Story Notes: 

The D.S.M is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, first published in 1952.

Patty Hearst is the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. She was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (S.L.A) and unexpectedly helped her kidnappers rob the Hibernia Bank at the corner of Noriega and 22nd in San Francisco just two months later on April 15, 1974. She served a small jail sentence and became an author and actress. She was pardoned for her crimes by President Clinton during the final days of his administration.

Stockholm syndrome is so called because, in 1973, four Swedes, held in a bank vault for six days during a robbery, became attached to their captors, identifying with them while fearing those who might help free them. The syndrome was featured in Greg Rucka's early issues of Wolverine (3rd series) #1 - 5.

Mr. Fantastic is a founder of the Fantastic Four. Tony Stark is the original Iron Man and Charles Xavier is the founder of the X-Men.

Marin Mersenne was a French mathematician who lived in the seventeenth century.

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