Issue(s): Wolverine #54
The basic story has a gang of street punks that beat up and kill homeless people (nominally Morlocks, but they don't seem to have any powers or obvious mutations) while filming it. This catches the attention of Shatterstar, who sees the "Vidkids" as similar to what his people did on Mojoworld.
So he takes a break from X-Force to go join up with them.
Meanwhile, Wolverine and Rogue are in a Danger Room sequence. Rogue falters when confronted with a Magneto robot.
And after the session, Rogue says that she's not sure if she still has feelings for Magneto.
For placement reasons, i'll note that Rogue says "feel" and not "felt".
Rogue then tells Wolverine about the Vidkids and he decides to go stop them.
So Wolverine and Shatterstar cross paths, and don't recognize each other and fight.
But when Wolverine uses his claws, Shatterstar recognizes him as "Lord Wolverine", "Warrior of Legend".
At this point Wolverine is able to smell Cable on Shatterstar and realizes that he's an "X-Force brat". They then team up to go after the Vidkids, with Shatterstar giving up on joining up with the Vidkids basically on Wolverine's say so, because of the honor of fighting beside him.
Shatterstar also gets an idea of how he looks to other people while fighting the vidkids.
The Vidkids stink like they belong in a bad Mark Gruenwald story (e.g. the Death-Throws), and do way too well against Wolverine and Shatterstar.
Wolverine ends the fight by destroying their video camera. Apparently some of the Vidkids were killed (which wasn't shown).
I thought it was odd to see Wolverine and Shatterstar just walking away, but they do stick around and wait until the police arrive to arrest the ones that weren't killed.
I suspect the "Vidkids" were based on some topical news story that got overblown in the media, but it does make for an interesting angle for examining Shatterstar. I doubt this story actually has much of an effect on Shatterstar in X-Force. Although Fabian Nicieza was scripting X-Force at that time, so even if this story isn't specifically referenced, i guess it gives us a hint of what Nicieza had in mind for Shatterstar's character development. It's also nice to have a fill-in that has a significant moment, i.e. the first meeting of two characters. Art on this issue is kind of amateurish looking and wonky, which isn't shocking for a fill-in. But this is Darick Robertson's first work at Marvel (after he already did some things for DC). Robertson will go on to work with Nicieza on New Warriors, but he's probably best known as the artist and co-creator for Transmetropolitan and The Boys.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP push this back in publication time, between Wolverine #47-48. See the comments for the reasoning on that; it relates to Wolverine's costume, and looking at Wolverine #49 it does seem clear that we should be avoiding having Wolverine in his brown costume after that story. Based on the comments from Rogue that i noted above, it seems like this fits better before the seeming death of Magneto in X-Men #3. Granted everyone could just be assuming that Magneto survived (as he, of course, does), or Rogue might simply still have feelings for Magneto even though she thinks he's dead (but it would be awkward phrasing and you'd think the fact that he was thought dead would be at least mentioned). But if i'm pushing this back anyway because of the costume, it might as well go before X-Men #1-3. For Shatterstar and Cannonball, it really seems context free and can fit in any gap in the X-Force series.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Well, Wolverine is the one who asks "still carryin' the torch for him?" so on the one hand, maybe that lends credence to the notion that Magneto is still alive if they're both talking about him as though he is, but on the other hand, it's not that awkward for him to ask that if Magneto is thought dead, and Rogue's speaking of her feelings in the present tense makes more sense if Wolverine started it. But on the other other hand, why are they fighting a Magneto robot to begin with if Magneto's thought dead? But then, the revolving door of death has already been established to some degree by this point, and Wolverine does say "gotta be prepared for any contingency"... but like you say, you would expect them to at least mention Magneto being dead...
Are there any other reasons for pushing this back in publication time? Alternately, when does Magneto come back?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 5, 2015 6:36 PM
Despite this being a fill-in, this issue was extremely popular when I was a kid since it was the era of cool guys like Wolverine, Shatterstar, and Gambit and featured two of them getting in a fight.
Everyone went nuts over the Wolverine popping two claws scene. Needless to say, back in those days there were actually very few trade paperback collections of reprints so none of us had ever read (or even heard of) God Loves, Man Kills.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 5, 2015 6:43 PM
This is Darick Robertson? Wow. Rogue looks awful on that fourth scan...
BTW. A correction, Fnord: Transmetropolitan was written by Warren Ellis, not Garth Ennis.
Posted by: Piotr W | November 5, 2015 7:24 PM
Morgan, Magneto comes back in the Fatal Attractions storyline a couple of years from now. That's the storyline that saw Wolverine's adamantium ripped from his bones. It also set the stage for Onslaught when Professor X wipes Magneto's mind at the end. Mags stayed gone longer that time IIRC.
Posted by: Robert | November 5, 2015 7:46 PM
One other note to consider regarding the chronology- in Marvel Team-Up 19, Jubilee knows that Shatterstar is a member of X-Force and makes a joke in front of Wolvie about his hair. But in this issue, Logan seems completely clueless who Shatterstar is. Now, keep in mind Jean, Scott, Warren, Bobby, Hank, Lorna and Moira have already met Shatterstar at this point, so it's possible that they told Jubilee but not Logan somehow. (And Logan might have not paid much attention to Jubilee's joke.)
Posted by: Michael | November 5, 2015 7:54 PM
@Piotr, whoops, thanks.
@Morgan, i was following the MCP when i pulled this forward in publication time. I don't actually know yet why they did it, but i noticed where they had it and figured i'd cover this first. It may become apparently when i get to the Shiva Scenario that comes next for Wolverine. But it wasn't based on Magneto since they actually have it after X-Men #3 but still between Wolverine #47-48. We'll see, and i'll adjust if it turns out there's no reason not to place it at publication date.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 5, 2015 8:42 PM
Fnord, the reason is Wolverine's costume- he switches to the yellow costume in issue 50.
Posted by: Michael | November 5, 2015 9:22 PM
Thanks Michael. I'll see how it plays out, since Wolverine has switched costumes in Spider-Man #8-12 and X-Men #273-277. Does he swear off wearing the brown costume forever in #50? I guess i'll see soon enough.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 5, 2015 9:54 PM
I would side with fnord and reduce the necessary hemming and hawing by placing this before Magneto's death if this does have to be placed earlier, and it sounds like either Nicieza and company weren't aware of prior developments or this was written earlier anyway.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 5, 2015 10:08 PM
I wouldn't get too hung up on costume use when trying to iron out continuity. That's fairly minor when compared some of the more complicated continuity harmonization I've seen when trying to put just my X-books in order.
If you want to go really crazy about costume detail then this would have to go just before (or during) X-men #1 because Wolverine added the big "X" belt to his brown costume between the Muir Island Saga and X-men #1.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 5, 2015 10:16 PM
Trans by Warren Ellis. The Boys by Garth Ennis. Nice blog. Greetings from Milan, Italy. Ciao !
Posted by: CREPASCOLO | November 6, 2015 4:34 AM
Geez, maybe i just shouldn't list the writers! Thanks, CREPASCOLO!
Posted by: fnord12 | November 6, 2015 7:53 AM
I was halfway through this review before it occurred to me how good the art looked compared to the other mutant titles. After looking back, I can kinda see Darick Robertson's talent - Rogue looks a lot like Starlight in the fifth scan - and just the fact that it's so well-told puts this fill-in issue [which I have somewhere in storage] well above the contemporary mutant titles.
My guess is that, with the changes in editorial, more fill-ins were scheduled. The chronology is showing us Wolverine, Excalibur and "Marvel Comics Presents" stories that had no reason to exist, and I suspect they all came from a need to keep the flow. Comics were moving into longer books, MCP was demonstrating a need for regular material, the editors were being torn both directions, and very few artists are really capable of keeping up a monthly series. Once upon a time, yes, they could. Not any longer.
So, my theory is that that this was an idea Nicieza had for Shatterstar that would never fit into an issue of "X-Force," and it wasn't enough for a separate book. Marvel probably still had a need for fill-in issues (the "Wolverine" series had several of those) so it was easy enough for Nicieza to write the issue, give Shatterstar some character development he wouldn't get in the main series, fulfill Marvel's increasing desire for crossovers, and when Marc Silvestri needs a break, the editor has a fill-in ready.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 6, 2015 9:50 PM
This at least explains why Shatterstar calls him Lord Wolverine in X-Cutioner's song. This, chronologically, also looks like it should be the first appearance of the rebuilt mansion.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 24, 2016 2:33 PM
I would never have recognised Robertson's art. Not keen on the wolverine two claws thing, the last scan shows his claws aren't as wide as his fist, so how are they wider than Shatterstar's head in the earlier scene?
(The God Loves Man Kills scene avoids that by just having Logan's claws under the guy's chin. Though come to think of it, I'm pretty sure think Logan does the two claws thing around Rogue's neck in X-Men 223, and that's never bothered me till now. Still, I think Rogue's neck slightly strains artistic license, and Shatterstar's head completely breaks it.)
Posted by: Jonathan | January 24, 2016 4:07 PM
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