Wolverine: Under the Boardwalk #1

Issue Date: 
February 2010
Story Title: 
Under the Boardwalk

Stuart Moore (writer), Tomm Coker (art), Daniel Freedman (colors), Jeff Eckleberry (letters), Tomm Coker & Daniel Freedman (cover), Daniel Lucchese (production), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Logan is about to take a little vacation in Alaska, but before he boards his flight, he receives a mysterious text message asking him to head to Atlantic City. It’s something to with Phil DeBlasio; a gangster who’s been missing for years. His men beat Wolverine down many years and buried a body under the boardwalk. Intrigued, he flies over and heads for the gaming tables. He loves the place and it’s been a while. He meets a woman he had a good night with all those years ago, Katrina, and also a more fun-loving spirit named Amber. He beds Amber before looking for some clues as to who might have called him there. He doesn’t find much, so he heads for the boardwalk. There, he recognizes some lampposts and starts digging, hoping to find the body that was buried at the same time he was beaten up by Phil DeBlasio’s men. The police intervene before he finds anything and he spends the night in a cell, before being bailed out by Amber. Logan reckons that Katrina might have some answers, so he heads to her place and tries to get information from her. During his interrogation, she mentions that his memory is confused. The boardwalk he keeps referring to isn’t in Atlantic City… it’s in Coney Island. Logan realizes that she’s right and decides to head there. He soon finds the buried body, but before he can do anything about it, Amber appears with two henchmen and shoots him. She announces that she is Phil DeBlasio’s daughter, and she’s used him and Katrina to try get the location of her missing father. Logan makes short work of her henchmen and Amber too, but there’s nothing to be gained by further violence. He doesn’t know where her father is. Later, he meets someone near the fairground who he thinks for a moment might actually be the missing gangster, but he doesn’t trust his scent memory. Instead, he heads for Alaska, leaving Atlantic City behind.

Full Summary: 

(the airport)

After a series of adventures with the X-Men, Logan has 'disappeared' for a while, up in the cold west coast of Alaska. There's been too much trouble lately; too much drama. The flight is called and Logan heads to the boarding point. As he approaches the gate, he receives a text message. It's from an anonymous sender and reads 'Re: Phil DeBlasio. Come to Casino Alexandria, Atlantic City. On the boardwalk. ASAP.'

Logan tries to recall why he remembers the location. His memory is better than it used to be but there are still some gaps in the timeline. However, the message jogs something loose. It must have been forty years ago. He recalls how Phil DeBlasio was a young Mafia underboss. His men ambushed him, shot him a dozen times and beat him near to death. They made him watch while they buried the body of another victim... under the boardwalk.

Logan checks the message again, focusing on the sender. No clues there. He figures that Tony Stark would track the message by satellite, Reed Richards would find the sender by analyzing the syntax. Hank McCoy? He'd have their complete DNA profile by now. The final call for his flight comes through the PA. He glances at his tickets, knowing he cannot use them. His road is a little rougher.

Two hours later, Logan is at the Casino Alexandria in Atlantic City, playing craps, dressed like a pimp and up four G's at the table. As he rolls another seven, he grins. He's still sick of the trouble and the drama and especially the people, but he's got to admit... he loves this game.

The town is jumping at the moment. It has been ever since the gambling came in, thirty-some years ago. The last time Logan visited Atlantic City it was before all that. The whole place was a seaside toilet back then. There were beachside freak shows and old men waiting to die, parked on benches that smelled like stale taffy. Of course, there were women, too. Everywhere he goes, there are always women. As Logan lays some more chips down, a woman in a very distinctive black and white dress approaches him. She tells Logan that he's got a nice streak going. How far would he like to push it?

Soon, Logan is sat up in bed with the woman lying half under the covers. He hasn't done that for a while... certainly not without getting a name. She didn't ask for money so she's not professional, but he still doesn't think this relationship has much of a future. It's just past dawn, and about time he started on the hunt. He slides his jacket on and heads for the door. He's so hungry he could eat a moose. He takes a look out the window. There's something weird about coming back to the city after so much time. It makes him feel like taking risks. It makes him feel... he doesn't know... different. Younger maybe. The woman watches silently as he leaves.

After making some inquiries, Logan's friend in the FBI informs him that DeBlasio disappeared twenty years ago. He hasn't been sighted since. The bureau assumes that he got whacked by a New York rival, but Logan's mysterious text message suggests otherwise. If DeBlasio is still out there, then somebody wants Logan to find him. The best clue he's got is a body buried forty years ago, somewhere under four miles of wooden slats. The trouble is, he can't remember where. After DeBlasio's beat-down, he woke up on a ship bound for Australia. He never caught up with him after that. This city has gone through one hell of a facelift since as well.

Logan heads to a diner and takes a seat. The waitress walks over to him and recognizes him instantly. "I don't believe it," she exclaims. "Logan?" Her scent comes to Logan first, and then the face. And then the rest. He recalls how she once served him forty years ago. Katrina McCann. They had one night he'll never forget. Unfortunately, she turned out to be Phil DeBlasios girl, which led to that nasty business on the boardwalk. She tells him that it's been forty years yet he looks exactly the same. He smiles and says he's not, but thanks her all the same. He asks if she's working the early shift. She tells him that at her age she asked for it. The two a.m.’s are a little tough to take. She is shocked that he has turned up after all this time. Logan strokes her cheek and says that she looks good. He always knew she'd survive it all. He asks for five eggs and a pot of black coffee, then says she can tell him why he's there.

Soon, they chat about things. She informs him that it's not a bad place to work. The place is mobbed up, of course, but the manager's decent and the medical coverage keeps her out of the poorhouse. Logan asks what this is all about. What does she know about DeBlasio? Katrina tells him that she doesn't like to think about those days. She's sorry about what he did to Logan. She tried to stop him. She corrects herself quickly, admitting that it's a lie. She didn't dare stop him. He'd have beat the hell out of her. She and Phil didn't last long, anyway. He didn't really want a woman… just a little girl to follow after him. She looks him in the eye and says she never forgot that night. When they made love, his hands were so rough and, every once in a while, there'd be an odd sensation, like ice against her skin. She clearly never actually saw his claws extended in the darkness. But, she adds, he never hurt her.

A second woman approaches their table and asks if there's anything new on the menu. She glances at Logan. "Or anything old?" Katrina tells the woman, Amber, that Mister Corvasio told her not to come trolling around anymore. Amber replies that she's not trolling. She's with her boyfriend. She wraps her arms around Logan's neck and swings onto his lap. At least Logan now knows her name. She asks Katrina to bring her a protein shake with extra soy. She thinks she needs to build up her strength. Katrina pauses before turning away. "Later, Logan," she sighs as she heads to the kitchen. Amber tells Logan that Katrina reminds her of her mom. She thinks she just hates people who have fun.

(half an hour later)

Wolverine pulls on his costume after ditching Amber. He has work to do. Odds are that Katrina's the one who sent him the message, but that doesn't quite add up. If she was gonna talk to him once he arrived why contact him anonymously? He needs to attack this from a few angles, so he hits the boardwalk and calls in some favors. He speaks to the barman at the same place Katrina worked all those years ago, but along the way, he finds himself asking the question - why is he doing this anyway? It sure ain't to get justice for some poor bastard DeBlasio killed four decades ago! The guy probably deserved it, and his own body count pretty much disqualifies him from passing judgement. Revenge on DeBlasio for what he did to him? That hits a little closer to the bone, but it ain't quite right, either. Maybe it's just curiosity. That's killed smarter cats than him. Like a cat, he follows his instincts, and so he continues his questioning along the boardwalk, threatening people along the way until he gets what he wants.

Wolverine runs down every lead he can, and at the end of the day he gets exactly nothing. He changes out of costume and heads to the front to think things over. If Phil DeBlasio set foot in this town after the Reagan administration, he's covered it up pretty well. He feels like somebody's playing him. The text message was the bait, and Katrina is what's keeping him on the hook. Well, her and Amber, he guesses. Could she be involved in this, or is he just grasping at straws?

As he heads along the boardwalk, he pauses and looks back at a lamppost. It triggers a memory. He recalls the last spot he saw DeBlasio and reckons that this is it. The whole city has been renovated, but the boardwalk's still the same, which means somewhere right under his feet is a body. He snikts his claws and begins to slice his way through the wooden planks. If he can find the body, he can tie it to DeBlasio and maybe find him, too. It can't be too deep. He slashes and cuts, but nobody turns up. Unfortunately, this has attracted some unwanted attention.

Several cops aim their pistols at him and order him to get his hands where they can see 'em. Logan knows he could tear his way through them with ease, but decides against it. He came to Atlantic City to get rid of old ghosts, not make new ones. He agrees to go quietly, and retracts his claws. He finds himself landed with a thousand dollar fine and a night in jail. At least this gives him some time alone. He's been thinking with his claws and not his head. He's been acting like a fool.

Amber turns up the next morning and they leave the jail. She asks if he's some kind of murdering psychopath. She's been looking for somebody a long time, somebody who'll make her feel safe. Logan replies that he ain't no psychopath, but he's not what she's looking for either. He thanks her for the bail and says he'll pay her back, but he then splits and gets back into costume. He uses his instincts to provide answers to his own questions and makes his way to Katrina's house, letting himself in. Katrina arrives back sometime later and switches on the light. She finds Wolverine standing there looking at a framed photo. "This your husband?" he asks. She confirms that it is. They were married a long time but he died three years ago of cancer. Great, thinks Wolverine. Make this harder...

Katrina tells him that she's a little old to dance around. What does he want? Wolverine snikts his claws and assures her that he doesn't want to hurt her, but he's had enough dancing, too. He asks why she called him and what she knows about DeBlasio. She recoils from his blades, but replies that she didn't call him. She grabs a knife from the dispenser and tells him that he is just like DeBlasio, does he know that? She orders him to get out of there; to take his little girlfriend and get out of her life! Wolverine replies that she was there, forty years ago, when DeBlasio ran him down and buried that body under the boardwalk. Katrina asks what he's talking about. That wasn't Atlantic City. That was Coney Island! Wolverine pauses. 'Oh god,' he thinks. 'Oh my god.' He remembered the gangster and the girl, but he got the wrong boardwalk.

(sometime later)

Logan is at Coney Island, pulling the body from under the boardwalk. The lampposts look identical. Unfortunately, though he's found the body, the whole thing makes even less sense. Did somebody really drag him to Atlantic City so he could find a corpse in a whole other boardwalk a hundred miles away? The answer comes to him in a scent carried on the wind... just a second too late. A bullet hits him in the chest and he drops to the floor. He looks up at Amber and he tells her she didn't have to do that. He'd have paid her back.

Amber, flanked by two henchmen also with guns, replies that this isn't about money. He's a nice guy, and smart, too, but he let his instincts lead him around. Otherwise, he wouldn't go sleeping with a girl without learning her name. "Amber DeBlasio. Pleased to meet you." Logan tries to speak, but Amber interjects, explaining that she is Phil DeBlasio's daughter. She hasn't seen him since she was four. He left her a good-sized fortune in various untraceable accounts so she's always been taken care of, but like she said, this isn't about money.

She tells Logan that she told him she'd been looking for somebody for a long time, but she didn't say who. She tracked down Katrina and found out that she knew her father years ago. She thought she could help her find him. But, Katrina wouldn't even talk to her. She even reported her to the management of that low-rent casino she works for. So, she had to bring in the third part of the old love triangle. "That'd be me," groans Logan.

Amber continues to explain that she thought if she pushed them together, they might learn something which she could get out of him later that night. Logan asks if she knew anything about the body he's just recovered from under the boardwalk. She replies that her father was pretty careful about bodies. This is the first one that's ever turned up. She tells Logan that she likes him. They had a good time together. If her father ever does turn up, he and the body could probably put him away from life, so she guesses she has a choice to make. She point the pistol at his head. "You, or him."

Logan reacts swiftly, knocking the gun from her hand. "Get him," she cries, and the two henchmen open fire, hitting Logan with several rounds. The bullets pierce his skin and rip his tendons, but that doesn't stop him. He remembers how Phil DeBlasio's men were trained, veteran killers. These guys are just rented muscle, and they go down easily. Amber reaches for her pistol, but Logan knocks her away and pins her down. He looms over her, asking if she can hear the sirens. The cops will be there soon. He ain't inclined to stick around. She might be able to talk her way out of this, but if not, maybe she'll find her father in prison. And maybe she'll grow up a little. He asks her to look him up when she does. Something inside of him likes her, and he heals fast. He gets up and wanders away, bleeding.

Logan's flight out of New York isn't until the next morning so he spends his morning loitering at the scene of the crime. A very, very old crime. As he looks up at the rollercoaster, an old guy tells him that he had some good times on it. It seems like a century ago. An image of Phil flashes across his mind of Phil DeBlasio. Could he be that lucky? The scent seems the same, but he just can't trust that memory. Logan comments that they're tearing it down. The old guy reckons that nothing lasts forever. He tells Logan that it's a funny thing. You know how your life should go... all the things you're supposed to work for. You work hard, have a family, take some chances and pay a little price every now and then. But you be there when they need you to keep them safe. "But some of us can't do that," he adds. "Some of us gotta disappear." He wanders off, and Logan heads in the opposite direction. He heads for the airport and boards flight 3145 for Nome, Alaska.

Characters Involved: 


Katrina McCann

Amber DeBlasio

Phil DeBlasio (possibly)

Police Officers

Airport passengers


Guy being beaten up by Wolverine

(in flashback)


Murdered man

Phil DeBlasio and his henchmen

Katrina McCann

Story Notes: 

Logan's memory largely returned following the House of M storyline.

A ‘G’ is a thousand dollars.

Taffy is a candy which originated in Atlantic City.

Former actor and Californian governor Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989 after which he was succeeded by George H.W. Bush.

Issue Information: 
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