Issue(s): Wolverine #35, Wolverine #36, Wolverine #37
First of all, Puck is working as a temporary bouncer in a small town pub, but he's doing it as a favor to a (never seen before or again) friend, so i guess that's ok.
Meanwhile, Lady Deathstrike has sex with a Japanese police car computer and catches up on Wolverine's recent whereabouts.
So she has Gateway teleport her to wherever Wolverine is now. Lady Deathstrike isn't particularly polite to Gateway, and Donald Pierce warns that since Gateway is operating under duress, she should be careful and also be more specific. But it's too late. Wolverine is out fishing with Puck, and he's been talking with Puck about the days of the Spanish Civil War. So when Gateway sends Lady Deathstrike to Wolverine, he winds up sending her, and Wolverine and Puck, back in time.
Puck, who was around at the time, winds up back in his pre-Demon Sword, full-sized body. Wolverine is his normal self, adamantium claws and all. And they're both in the middle of a bull fight in front of Ernest Hemingway.
Let's stop here and take a breath. We did learn in Alpha Flight #15 that Puck spent some time bullfighting with Hemingway. But it was explicitly while Puck was a dwarf, which would place it before he got the Demon Sword in his head which, per the flashback in Alpha Flight #32, happened in 1939. This story is occurring in 1937, So did time travel screw things up, or did Puck bullfight multiple times, pre and post Demon Sword (in which case, no wonder Hemingway was so confident in Puck)? More importantly, we went through a lot of painful Alpha Flight comics by James Hudnall and Fabian Nicieza to put all this "he used to be tall" stuff behind us, and revisiting it now is just pure maliciousness. Especially when, even if we're going to do a dumb time travel story, the original quote in AF #15 made it clear that Puck was a dwarf at the time.
And honestly we never needed to see first hand Puck hanging out with Hemingway, especially in this weird way, nor did we need an explanation, if that's what this is, for how Wolverine and Puck knew about each other. Might as well throw in the Brass Bishop to get all of the mysteries about Puck over with.
Anyway, queue two and a half issues of Wolverine, Puck, Ernest Hemingway, and Lady Deathstrike running around in the Spanish Civil War, with Deathstrike teaming up with Nazis.
Then for some reason we teleport ahead to the setting of Uncanny X-Men #205.
No idea what's going on or what the point of it is. And eventually it's over, and Wolverine and Puck are back in the present. Puck has no recollection of any of it, but a photograph has been altered to show that Wolverine was around with Puck during the Spanish Civil War.
One additional thing that we learn in this arc is that Pierce is up to something back in the present.
The little bot is called Elsie Dee (LCD). Distracted by time distortion stuff, the Reavers accidentally let her get programmed with full intelligence instead of stopping her development at age five.
The one thing in this book's favor is the art by Marc Silvestri, which, thanks to the fact that he drew the X-Men for a while (plus the fact that it looks good), makes the book feel "real" instead of the throwaway weirdo story that it seems to be. But the story is a mess.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Wolverine mentions Alpha Flight's temporary headquarters in Ottowa.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBonebreaker, Elsie Dee, Gateway, Lady Deathstrike, Murray Reese, Pretty Boy, Puck, Tyger Tiger, White Bishop (Donald Pierce), Wolverine
Definitely disagree. I'll concede the point on continuity, but I never cared much about Alpha Flight anyway. [I think this was the first story I'd ever read that Puck was in, certainly as a main character.] It actually gave Wolverine something to do in a way that justified him having a solo series while supplementing the main series. The Spanish Civil War scenes, playing "split the fly," and Hama's clever dialogue helped it sparkle. Who can forget Pierce's deadpan response to Deathstrike's return. "Don't worry about the damage to the time continuum. No one's going to miss that fifth Ninja Turtle." With the construction of Elsie Dee, the next year or so of adventures are just revving up.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 9, 2015 8:43 PM
I wonder if the scenes with Gateway were supposed to explain why the X-Men couldn't just use Gateway to teleport to whomoever they wanted (e.g. Leong and Nga). Maybe the idea is they needed to word their wishes carefully to avoid going to the wrong place. But Pierce suggests that this is a result of Gateway being under duress, which he wasn't with the X-Men. In any case, this story makes it clear that Gateway can teleport to a PERSON, and not just a specific location, something that will of course not be used in the future whenever the plot requires the X-Men to have trouble locating someone.
Posted by: Michael | September 9, 2015 9:39 PM
I've never understood the hard-on writers have for Lady Deathstryke, who I've always found to be a boring, cliched character who should be dispatched much easier by the heroes they pit her against.
Posted by: Bob | September 10, 2015 3:38 PM
Deathstrike just happened during what I like to call 'the rise of the Action Chicks.' She's a hot Asian lady ninja with ties to Wolverine's past, and then to Mojo and Spiral, and then to Pierce, the Hellfire Club guys from Wolvie's "Dirty Harry" sequence, and the Reavers. I never liked her either, but that's probably the reason why so many people do.
Michael, first of all there's the disconnect that happens when someone other than the primary creator is responsible. Claremont thinks of Gateway 'this way,' but Hama inherits Claremont's work and thinks 'that way.' Second of all, Pierce and the Reavers use duress as part of their standard operating procedure. In contrast, the X-Men had Betsy who could communicate with Gateway mind-to-mind. This doesn't really iron out the inconsistencies you mention, but it makes them a bit more logical.
Third of all, how depressing is it to realize that such an important plot point as 'being invisible to mechanical devices' just fades away, eventually being covered on a letters page of all places as, uh, yeah, that doesn't really count anymore? It's like when Superman discovered a brand-new power in the Weisinger era (or George Reeves tv show) and never used it again. Definite sign of going downhill.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 13, 2015 2:59 PM
Elsie Dee - the Jar Jar Binks of Logan's life.
Posted by: Bob | September 26, 2015 7:41 PM
The difference is that unlike Jar Jar, readers apparently liked Elsie at first.
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2015 11:05 PM
The Hunter in Darkness single issue was pretty much the high point of the Hama/Silvestri run, but I still think this story was one of their better ones.
I agree that logically it doesn't make much sense, but if you can let go of that you get an entertaining romp through the Spanish Civil War and Wolverine teams up with Ernest Hemingway. Hama is a master at pacing and writes really good dialogue even when the plot is kind of shaky.
Posted by: Red Comet | September 27, 2015 1:35 AM
I think Elsie Dee was great. As was Albert, that handsome rogue.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 27, 2015 11:13 PM
This was a fun era and Silvestri was my BOY.. run into him now and then at Wizard World, will have to get this issue signed..
Posted by: Brimstone | December 29, 2015 7:16 PM
I gave up worrying about continuity in the Wolverine solo title back when Wolverine lost access to Gateway to justify his globetrotting, and frankly at this point anyone who can do anything halfway interesting with an Alpha Flight character is on the side of the angels. This was a fun romp, with nicely lyrical dialogue, that really got at what makes Lady Deathstrike cool (to the extent that she is even remotely cool).
On the other hand I might just be so deadened by story after terrible Wolverine story over in Marvel Comics Presents that any remotely defendable Wolverine solo adventure looks like genius...
Posted by: Greg T | September 21, 2016 5:40 AM
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