Characters Appearing: Gateway, Jubilee, Wolverine
Issue(s): Wolverine #72, Wolverine #73, Wolverine #74
I think one factor is Dwayne Turner's art improving, and/or the fact that he's inked by reliable veteran Joe Rubinstein in these issues. Turner's art has had appeal previously but it's been kind of messy and it seems more clear here.
I also like that in this arc and the previous one, Wolverine is being sent on missions by Xavier. Not necessarily to deal with active threats but to investigate things. In the last arc it was rumors of Magneto's return in the Savage Land. In this one they are checking out the remnants of their old Australian base which was taken over by the Reavers, who were subsequently killed by Sentinels. It makes these stories feel more "core" and more connected to larger X-Men continuity, rather than just having Wolverine randomly hanging out in Madripoor for random adventures or whatever.
In the base, they find the remains of the Reavers (not even enough left of them for posthumous Character tags).
They also fight one of the Reavers' cyborg dingoes, and more importantly shut down the power around a Sentinel that was defeated and was being eternally fried.
They then go to check on Gateway. Gateway seems to be stuck in a warp...
...and Jubilee slips into the warp and goes back in time to see her parents before they were killed. In fact, she learns that they didn't die in a car accident. They were murdered.
The targets were actually a different set of Lees, the "FOB", i.e. Fresh Off the Boat, neighbors that Jubilee went to live with after her parents died, and then ran away from to live at the mall.
Wolverine pulls her out before she can do anything about it.
All of this is actually not part of what i like about these issues. The more immediate plot is around the Sentinel that had been held in stasis by the electricity that Wolverine turned off. It now wakes up and detects the presence of the mutants. But when it gets outside it starts to get excited by the stars.
Jubilee is in the process of noting that her friends told her that she blinked out of existence shortly before her parents died, and the Sentinel shows up to explain that it was because of her time in the warp just now.
I love that he's like a guy that just heard Pink Floyd for the first time.
The bad news is that the fact that its prime directive has been nullified doesn't just mean that he's not going to hunt mutants anymore. It also feels that it's no longer his job to serve mankind. So it decides to go through the warp and install order and discipline into the universe. Wolverine and Jubilee try to stop it...
...but the Sentinel takes Jubilee as a hostage and goes through the warp.
They wind up at the Ant Hill Sentinel base that, per a footnote, was "last seen" in Avengers #104, except that it was also seen in West Coast Avengers annual #1 and Wolverine himself was there in Marvel Super Heroes #6-8. Wolverine's narration has him specifically saying that he's never seen it.
The good news is that we've gone back in time, so the fact that the base isn't currently being used by the Australian government as a particle beam factor as seen in the WCA annual isn't a problem (and the Marvel Super Heroes story screwed that pooch anyway).
Wolverine tries to free Jubilee and cuts off the Sentinel's hand, but he still gets blasted.
Jubilee then tires herself out trying to fight the Sentinel.
The Sentinel finds Jubilee's efforts to save her friend at the risk of her own life "curious", but then moves on into the base and reactivates the dormant Sentinels he finds there. His plan is to re-start their original plan of creating solar flares to sterilize humanity (or possibly just fry us all this time).
While he's doing that, he also gives himself a name: 3.14159, the Irrational Ratio.
Jubilee drags Wolverine up the hill while he's healing so that they can face 3.14 again.
Unfortunately we are out of the Dwayne Turner art now, and i don't really love what Jim Fern is doing.
It's almost like a preview of the post-adamantium noseless degenerate period.
Wolverine aside, the art isn't so bad and the interaction between the Sentinels is fun.
The other Sentinels start getting sentimental and self-aware.
And 3.14 eventually puts Wolverine and Jubilee into a kind of stasis and considers Jubilee's behavior and decides not to go through with the solar flare.
The Sentinel says that he's going to think about things further to try to understand empathy, but that it'll take 2137.23 years, so we're safe for a while.
It's a fun story that puts me in mind of old Doctor Who or Star Trek or the like.
3.14 then says that he's going to send Wolverine and Jubilee back "to your own temporal niche" but Jubilee asks to be sent to Los Angeles (although they're still returned to the present). She wants to get vengeance on the criminals who killed her parents. This is the part of the story that i'm not too interested in. Jubilee's deal is that she's a runaway that hooked up with the X-Men. She doesn't need a more complicated backstory than that, and she definitely doesn't need to become vengeance obsessed. And that's sort of the moral of the story; she gets an opportunity to kill the guys and Wolverine even sort of encourages it, knowing that she won't, but in the end she decides she doesn't want to be like Wolverine.
And that's definitely the right decision, but i question the need to set up this scenario for her in the first place.
It's also not really clear to me why Jubilee's parents' neighbors were targeted, and i don't really care.
And that's where we end. The fact that Gateway seems to be stuck in a time warp doesn't seem to be a problem that Wolverine thinks needs solving.
But despite the Jubilee plot and despite Wolverine growing in width about 5 feet for issue #74, i did enjoy this story. And i guess it's kind of the last traditional (so to speak) Wolverine story that we'll have for a while, since next issue is Fatal Attractions.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Pushing this back a bit to get it before Infinity Crusade.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I met Larry Hama at a store signing shortly after these issues came out. Back in those days I was such a Marvel Zombie *and* an absolute continuity nut, so of course I told him that the Sentinel "ant hill" had actually appeared fairly recently, in a story in Marvel Super Heroes. Judging by his reaction, Hama really didn't seem to give a @#$& that these issues of Wolverine had caused problems with continuity and ignored someone else's story. All these years later I have to admit that if I was in shoes I probably would have had the same reaction. And now I really hope that I didn't come across to Hama like some sort of teenage version of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons :(
In any case, I really do not blame Hama for the oversight. Nowadays I realize that it was the job of the editor to catch these things. You know, that Bob Harras guy. The same Bob Harras who around this same time also failed to point out to Fabian Nicieza that his retcon of Psylocke's transformation into a body-swap didn't work because it was directly contradicted by a scene in another comic Harras has also edited.
So, was Bob Harras asleep at the wheel the entire time he was editing the X-Men line of books, or what?
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 4, 2016 4:21 PM
These issues were originally solicited as featuring the X-Cutioner as the villain and not the Sentinels.
Posted by: Michael | November 4, 2016 8:12 PM
"Why can't you get a useful ability like violin virtuosity?" is a tragically funny line.
Posted by: Enchlore | November 4, 2016 9:42 PM
By the way, fnord, regarding the Reavers, later on the Reavers Wolverine mentioned- Cole, Reese and Bonebreaker- show up rebuilt as pawns of the Shadow King. I don't know if you want to list them as Characters Appearing. (Although if they're just smears on the wall, like Wolverine says, I don't know how the Shadow King managed to rebuild them.)
Posted by: Michael | November 4, 2016 11:12 PM
The name the sentinel chooses for himself _may_ be a shout-out for Warren character "The Pie", an alien whose name looked roughly similar to 3.14 when written down.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 10, 2016 4:23 PM
Does Whedon know that someone wrote his plotline twenty years too early?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 4, 2017 11:27 PM
The art in #74 is so 90's. It's not even just Wolverine. I mean, the sentinels have muscles. Why do the sentinels have muscles? Because EVERYTHING must have muscles, apparently.
As for the continuity stuff, I get that it's the editors job to catch those kind of things, but I also feel like writers should read up on the characters they are going to be writing. I understand a writer missing something like this, that didn't occur in an X-title. And I would also understand if a guest-writer popped in and missed something. But if you are supposed to be the main writer on a series, like Nicieza with X-Men, I don't think it is unreasonable to require that, as preparation for writing that series, you go back and read the stuff that has come before. Idk, maybe I am being unreasonable and thinking about how easy it is to read comics online nowadays. Maybe Marvel didn't have an archive of everything that writers could read from. But if they didn't, how were the editors catching it? From memory?
Seems to me that it's either being too hard on them or not hard enough.
Posted by: Ghost | June 28, 2018 10:19 PM
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