Characters Appearing: Black Widow, Dr. Mason, Dr. Moore, Dr. Most, Imus Champion, Le Peregrine, Lynx, Nick Fury, Wolverine
Marvel Comics Presents #123-130 (Wolverine)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #123, Marvel Comics Presents #124, Marvel Comics Presents #125, Marvel Comics Presents #126, Marvel Comics Presents #127, Marvel Comics Presents #128, Marvel Comics Presents #129, Marvel Comics Presents #130 (Wolverine story only)
She attacks him, but Wolverine suppresses his instinct to fight back, and placates her with food. He's then attacked by someone named the Courier.
We learn from Courier's internal narration that the young woman is called the Lynx, and that he's been a German agent for fifty years. Wolverine is knocked out by the Courier's power, which is the ability to "repolarize [a] body's natural bio-electric current". Lynx attacks Courier and is knocked out the same way. Courier grabs Lynx and flees in a truck, but Wolverine catches up with him. Courier explains that inside Lynx is a drug that is the intellectual property of the German government, and Courier has been sent to retrieve it (by kidnapping Lynx). The drug is said to be a panacea (later it will literally be called the Panacea Drug) which will cure all diseases on Earth and prevent death itself. Ilves tried to destroy his research for the same reason the Germans want Lynx, which is that everyone has decided that by curing all diseases the Earth will become overpopulated and everyone will suffer from starvation (but never die). Personally i'm sad to think that the only way we can avoid overpopulation is through people dying of diseases, but i try not to think too hard about Marvel Comics Presents plots.
While Wolverine and Courier are fighting/talking, Lynx is kidnapped by Le Peregrine, who is acting as a mercenary (which is consistent with some of his past appearances where he's been employed by Silver Sable).
His employer this time is the gargantuan Imus Champion, who is suffering from a disease and wants the Panacea in Lynx.
Wolverine and Courier catch up with Le Peregrine while he's in the shower.
But while they are interrogating him, they are attacked by the bizarre Flesh Tones (previously seen in Marvel Comics Presents #71, which was written by Scott Lobdell).
Le Peregrine gets part of his costume on and joins Wolverine and Courier in the fight against the Flesh Tones.
And Black Widow also arrives and helps end the fight.
But the Widow wants Lynx for SHIELD, so she subsequently attacks the others.
If you ever wanted to see Le Peregrine in a bath towel practicing his savate, this comic is for you.
Wolverine helps Black Widow knock out Peregrine. Then Courier, confident that SHIELD will recognize Germany's claim on Lynx, knocks Wolverine out. But Black Widow knocks out Courier and leaves.
The next we see, Champion's mummy-men come into the room and find the Flesh Tones, who claim that they ate Peregrine.
But it turns out that Wolverine and friends are hiding themselves in the Flesh Tones.
And it seems the Black Widow put them there.
Wolverine frees Lynx while the others fight Champion's goons.
Champion's base is set on fire and the (loosely speaking) heroes leave with Lynx. They bring her to the SHIELD helicarrier and debate what to do with her. It's said that Lynx was born without an immune system and raised in a germ-free environment, deliberately kept separate from any human contact. They don't know who was funding Dr. Ilves or how Champion found out about her. Fury says that SHIELD is going to keep Lynx. Wolverine and Courier disagree, and conspire to rescue Lynx. Courier thinks their rescue is way too easy, and must be a set-up. But the opposition increases, and Courier is left covering Wolverine's escape. Wolvie brings her, oddly enough, to a SHIELD safehouse in Maine.
Meanwhile, Courier gets away and goes back to Champion's base to investigate. He finds that Champion is still alive. And he finds that Le Peregrine is also investigating Champion now.
Meanwhile, Wolverine wakes up at the safehouse with things all mixed up. Lynx is talking now, and she thinks that she is Nancy Rushman, and, separately, Wolverine's girlfriend (i say separately because "Nancy Rushman" was the persona that the Black Widow thought she was in Marvel Team-Up #82-85, but as far as we knew she wasn't Wolverine's girlfriend).
It turns out that Wolverine is aware that SHIELD injected Lynx with a "persona-serum", but Lynx's natural immunity is rejecting it.
Wolverine tries to give Lynx a booster shot, but Lynx fights him. Wolverine, who continues to see parallels with his own origins, eventually decides that she should be allowed to be herself. Black Widow turns out to have been watching. She says that Wolverine made the right decision. She also has more information on Lynx's origin. A group called They is responsible. ("They" are not to be confused with the "They" comprised of Prince Rey, Lann, and Tyrannus.)
They have developed a "cure" for the Panacea Drug, called the "Malaigent" virus, and they plan to blackmail the world with it.
Wolverine, the Widow, and Lynx confront They.
Champion is there too.
Which means so are Courier and Peregrine.
They flee, covering their escape by activating pulse canons that hit the good guys and Champion's men alike. Wolvie catches up with them as they are activating their "trans-mat", which he damages, and i assume They are killed.
Meanwhile, the black Widow destroys the Malaigent data and Lynx winds up holding the actual virus, which stops the fighting.
The final chapter in this story is narrated by Nick Fury after the fact. We learn that Courier was being blackmailed by a shadowy organization that was holding his wife hostage. Courier decided to fight back anyway and killed his handler. We learn that Le Peregrine intended to publish a book about his adventures in this story, but it turned out that the book company was owned by Imus Champion, who held a grudge against Peregrine for double-crossing him, so the book deal was canceled. Fury says that he can't prosecute Champion without all the details of the Panacea Drug going public. Courier has now hired Le Peregrine to help him find his wife. As for Lynx, Fury has allowed Wolverine to take responsibility for hiding her. He's given her a modified Fang costume...
...and brought her to the wilds of Canada where he roamed before the Hudsons found him.
Lynx no longer has the Nancy Rushman persona, but she still thinks Wolverine is going to be her mate.
And that's how it ends.
Lynx was referred to by Courier as a "girl" and a "child". Granted he's very old, but i take it that Lynx is meant to be very young. So it's creepy to have her talking about Wolverine as a mate. Of course it's not unusual for Wolverine to have unusually close relationships with young women. I wonder if this is something Dan Slott decided to add when he was scripting this issue or if it was part of Scott Lobdell's plan from the beginning (the final scenes could just as easily have been scripted to have Lynx appreciating being set free in the world).
The ending aside, i actually think this was a good use of Marvel Comics Presents. Yes, Wolverine is the headliner, but he's lending his weight to lower profile characters like Le Peregrine and Black Widow. The story actually makes a lot of use of continuity, with the use of Imus Champion and, to an almost gratuitous extent, the Nancy Rushman persona. It's a by-the-numbers adventure, but it's successful in that regard.
Now that this story has a Wolverine association, i wouldn't have been surprised if we got a follow-up Le Peregrine story with him and Courier searching for Courier's wife. Even beyond the Wolverine connection, the Marvel Comics Presents stories do tend to have their own sub-continuity (as seen in the appearance of the Flesh Tones here). But Courier never appears again and Le Peregrine's next appearance is in some later issues of Thunderbolts. Lynx, on the other hand, will get more appearances much much later as a member of "Seraph's Angels". I am actually surprised that (as far as i can find) no one brought her back to meet X-23, given the parallels in origin and similarity in costume.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the Considerations for Wolverine #69-71, but this really seems like it can go in any break in Wolverine's appearances (while he still has his adamantium, of course).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Ilves" is Finnish for lynx so the doctor is rather aptly named
Posted by: Tuomas | April 4, 2017 5:54 PM
Weirdly, it seems like the writers of Champion's next appearance only read the first half of this story. Hawkeye claims that he heard that Champion was dying of a disease before being killed in a lab explosion. Champion replies that he faked his death in the explosion using the arts of stage magic and illusion. It seems like they didn't realize that Champion is shown to have survived in the second half of this story.
Posted by: Michael | April 4, 2017 7:56 PM
fnord, I spoke to Dan Slott about this serial ages ago, and he confirmed what you guessed. The original ending as plotted by Scott Lobdell was much more upbeat, but Slott decided to made it melancholy by adding the narration by Lynx that she believed Wolverine was her mate and she was waiting for him to return.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 4, 2017 9:08 PM
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