Marvel Comics Presents #85-92 (Wolverine)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #85, Marvel Comics Presents #86, Marvel Comics Presents #87, Marvel Comics Presents #88, Marvel Comics Presents #89, Marvel Comics Presents #90, Marvel Comics Presents #91, Marvel Comics Presents #92 (Wolverine stories only)
The first part of the story has a stranger coming to Madripoor. At the same time, Wolverine is tap-hunting in the woods around Madripoor, naked of course, and he comes across an old wolf.
Wolverine sees something of himself in the old wolf (which may be more meaningful than we first realize) and he cuts up the deer that it had caught, since its teeth are dull. In return, the wolf shares its food with Wolverine.
Wolverine then smells the stranger's arrival, and vaguely recognizes it. He goes to see the friendly crimelord Tyger Tiger about it. She tells him that her rival crimelord, General Coy, is meeting someone about a new drug shipment. Tyger Tiger herself doesn't deal in drugs. After sleeping with Tyger Tiger, Wolverine goes to spy on Coy, but the stranger, Cyber, detects Wolverine due to his psionic powers. And he knows Wolverine; in fact he says that he once left him for dead.
Cyber surprises Wolverine...
...and disembowels him when they face off.
Wolverine then flees back to the woods. A cat from Coy's place follows, and together the wolf and the cat try to nurse Wolverine back to health. But it turns out that the drug that Cyber is dealing in is a powerful hallucinogenic. So while Wolverine is recovering, we sort of get the history between him and Cyber, but it's all messed up and mixed in with random stuff from movies and who knows what else.
Obviously (sadly) Wolverine never drove around in a weenie-mobile, but we can get the gist of what really happened. Cyber was a teacher of Wolverine's at some point (someone that Wolverine "looked up to", he says later), but Cyber and Wolverine came into conflict over a woman, and in the subsequent fight the woman was killed. And we'll learn later that Wolverine was hurt bad during the fight and psychologically speaking hasn't healed yet, so facing Cyber is a terrifying prospect for him.
Inserting all of this into Wolverine's ever increasing backstory is probably not a good idea in the long run, and the role that Cyber is playing here is probably something that Sabretooth should have been fulfilling. Introducing another superior feral clawed opponent into Wolverine's past (with adamantium skin!) is probably something i should be rebelling against. But Peter David writes it so well, and you can get away with a hell of a lot in my book when Sam Kieth is providing proto-Maxx psychedelic images.
Meanwhile, Cyber approaches Tyger Tiger, giving her an opportunity to bid on the drugs, with the idea that it'll keep them out of Coy's hands.
I like the layout of the page and the way Cyber and Tyger negotiate via paper airplane. But i think David goes too far with his characteristic jokes; i don't see Tyger Tiger making a "don't call me Shirley" joke (and Marlo makes the same joke in an issue of Hulk around this time).
Cyber and Tyger eventually must agree to a price, as we'll see later.
After Cyber leaves, the wolf and cat seek out Tyger Tiger and get her to come help Wolverine (Tyger makes a "Did Timmy fall down the well" joke, something else i don't see coming from her). Tyger at first fears the wolf, but when she sees it with the cat, she see an association between the Wolf/Wolverine and the Cat/Tyger and realizes they must have come from Wolverine. She tells Wolverine "Your... friends... brought me. I sensed you in them.". Wolverine has a brief jealous freakout when he smells Cyber on Tyger and assumes that he "had" her, but he calms down as he becomes more lucid.
Tyger helps convince Wolverine that he needs to face Cyber again. She is supposed to meet Cyber to pick up the drugs, but when she gets there she finds that Coy is there as well. They've both been offered the drugs, but it's a trap. Cyber has killed all their troops and plans to take over the crime scene in Madripoor. So Wolverine fights Cyber...
...while Tyger and Coy maintain a wary neutrality.
The situation with Tyger and Coy is that they've both lost face by losing all their troops. So they have to come up with an explanation as to how it could have happened that doesn't make them look weak relative to each other or Cyber, since otherwise they'll encourage all sorts of challenges from third parties.
They settle on aliens.
As for Wolverine, he hits Cyber in one of the places not protected by adamantium, his eye.
And then he gets some help from the wolf...
...and Cyber falls into the hallucinogenic drugs and flees.
There is a weird bit at the end with the deceased wolf. You can see Wolverine carrying it...
...and then it disappears when Tyger Tiger approaches. But Wolverine says that the wolf is still there.
I guess i'm very literal-minded, because my first thought was that Wolverine ate the wolf! But i think the idea is that the wolf always represented Wolverine's spirit. There are several hints in that regard throughout the story, as i tried to note. Tyger does see the wolf too, but she says that she sensed Wolverine in it. And there are also a lot of hallucinogenics floating around in the story. I guess the idea is that the wolf, old and beaten down, represented a part of Wolverine, maybe the part that felt defeated by the lingering memory of his defeat at Cyber's hands.
Anyway, i like this in spite of the things i mentioned above. Despite the Marvel Comics Presents format (i actually have this in a trade reprint), the story flows well, and it's full of Peter David's humor and Sam Kieth's interesting artwork and layouts. Even though at this point i didn't need any more mystery added to Wolverine's backstory, i like what's done with Cyber here.
And it of course has Wolverine in a weenie-mobile.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Wolverine: Blood Hungry TPB
Inbound References (2): showCyber, General Nguyen Coy, Tyger Tiger, Wolverine
Sam Keith's one of my favorite artists. Other than Claremont/Buscema Wolverine and Weapon X, his Wolverine stories are pretty much the only other legitimate entertainment to be found in MCP's sorry 125 or so issue run.
Another bit of 90s kid history: Cyber was often billed on trading cards and the like as "the only man Wolverine feared." Everyone on the playground thought he was a badass because of that even though, in hindsight, he doesn't show up that much (and, well, Sabretooth exists). I can only remember one guy who actually had these issues.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 6, 2015 11:47 AM
Ping pong, paper airplanes, I didn't realize crime boss negotiations were such a good time.
Wolverine's hunting practices come off as creepy when the writing has him trying to justify them to his target. I don't want to hurt you, I just want to touch you. Without you knowing. Naked. Though with later revelations in the story, perhaps he was just touching himself.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 6, 2015 12:02 PM
I've never read any appearances of Cyber. So, let me ask you guys this: how come Wolverine thinks that he has a chance against this guy? Cyber has adamantium skin, so... Wolverine should have zero chance on harming him. Right?
Posted by: Piotr W | November 6, 2015 1:32 PM
Does adamantium skin even make sense? Does this guy have a molecular rearranger like Ultron?
Posted by: Andrew F | November 6, 2015 6:00 PM
"Aliens. That's ludicrous. So ludicrous that we couldn't possibly have made it up."
"Um, we live in the Marvel universe, Earth gets invaded by aliens all the time."
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 6, 2015 6:03 PM
Larry Hama thought that Cyber shouldn't exist and killed him off. He explained that he felt that no-way should Wolvie be afraid of a third-stringer like Cyber, if he wasn't afraid of his own death and he wasn't afraid of Sabretooth. And Hama has a point. Tyger Tiger even points it out in this arc. Just like with the Foreigner, PAD is too obsessed with making his new pet character too awesome. The scene where Cyber tells Coy that he wouldn't understand psychic powers is a good example- Coy's response should have been "I understand psychic powers very well- my niece can control minds."
Posted by: Michael | November 6, 2015 8:53 PM
Not singling this story out, but hallucinations are a very common tool in comics around this time. Or ever since, really.
I am no expert, but I wonder if that is not a bit weird, or at least unrealistic. A quick google research gives me the perception that hallucinations are actually a fairly rare event and tend not to occurr on people who are not suffering from serious, deep mental conditions. Comics sometimes fall just short of implying that being under stress is reason enough to expect seeing things that do not really exist.
I really wish I were better informed, because I want to know how realistic (or far from) this portrayal is.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 7, 2015 2:43 AM
Has anyone considered whether the Canadian military unit that Logan and Cyber were deployed to fight with in Europe during WWI was the same company Ernest St. Ives was a member of, or they at least encountered one another?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 11, 2016 6:03 AM
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