Wolverine (vol.2) #47 (October, 1991)
Script – Larry Hama
Pencils – Gerald DeCaire
Inks – Don Hudson
Letters – Pat Brosseau
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Editor – Bob Harras
Chief – Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.75
Just like with yesterday’s issue of Alpha Flight, this issue of Wolverine hit the stands during the big 1991 X-Book Shakeup month. Also, just like yesterday’s AF… this issue doesn’t feel one bit like a “kickoff” into a brave, new era. In fact, this one’s more or less an after-school special filler issue!
Let’s meet Tracy-kins!
We open with Logan being hassled by a Police Officer about leaving his motorcycle chained to a light pole outside of the World Trade Center for a number of weeks. She claims that she’d looked into having it towed and impounded, however, his plates were flagged with all sorts of Federal Allowances… the sorta stuff the geeks over at S.H.I.E.L.D. get. She decides not to write him a ticket, and just lets him off with a warning. Not sure why this scene was even included, or if it led to anything, but we’ll allow it.
Over in Westchester County… ho-boy. A mother returns home from the market, only to find her delinquent son “Tracy-kins” inside rifling through her belongings looking for something to sell for his next fix. Mom tells him he’s no longer welcome there, and that the stress from his antics killed his father. This dialogue is… unique. And, uh, bad.
Tracy-kins doesn’t heed his mother’s demands, which leads to rushing into her bedroom to fetch a pistol with like a two-foot long barrel on it! I mean, this thing is almost comically over-sized. Tracy-kins ain’t scared, and almost dares her to pull the trigger (knowing full well she won’t).
He nyoinks the piece outta Mom’s hands (by it’s gigantic barrel), and proceeds to tell her that he’s in the real world now… got a job and everything. And that job is… wait for it… “Getting Stupid“! While he’s monologuing, he’s beating the absolute hell out of her. Perhaps even beating her to death!
Back to Logan… who is just about to take the Salem Center exit on whatever expressway one can get to Salem Center from. He hears a shot being fired, and decides to find out what all the hub-bub’s about. Turns out there’s a pair of officers faced off with a rabid dog. One of the officers, a woman, unloads her entire gun into the poor mad mutt.
Wolvie points out that this was, perhaps a bit excessive… which leads to a flashback of when he and Silver Fox had a dog that went rabid… which we’ll get to in just a bit. First, lets check in on Tracy-kins… who is very reminiscent of that kid Mitch from the Death of Superman… only, ya know, a sociopath. He’s bumming around a convenience store, and just making a real nuisance of himself. He just reaches into the cash register and robs the place. Alrighty then…
The shop owner finally charges over to give ‘im the boot… and winds up getting shot. The pistol, if it’s the same one, has a much shorter barrel in this scene. Perhaps it was less excited here? I dunno. Whatever the case, Tracy-kins has become a killing machine. Waitasec, that barrel just got long again!
Over to Wolverine’s dog story… ya see, he had a dog… and it went rabid. Silver Fox handed him a rifle and told him to shoot the poor thing. Great story, huh?
Back to Tracy, who is driving erratically and under the influence of alcohol and God only knows what else. He t-bones a car at an intersection, and celebrates just how “stupid” he’s getting.
Then, a pair of kids and their (probably un-rabid) dog prepare to cross the street. Well, not on Tracy’s watch they ain’t. He puts pedal to metal and drives right for ’em!
A few streets later, Tracy pulls up to a red light. Next to him is Wolverine on his motorbike. Tracy starts to sweat and reaches over for his pistol. The light turns green, and Logan pulls out first. Noticing the fact that the front end of the Tracy-mobile is in a bad way (and has a child’s bike embedded in the front of it), he pulls in front of the turd. Tracy’s all “screw this” and plows right into our hero! Hits him so hard in fact, that his jacket explodes into pieces!
Tracy then pops it into reverse to run our man over again. Only one problem with that… well, two problems I suppose… 1) Adamantium skeleton and claws, and 2) mutant healing factor. Logan informs the boy of all of this as Tracy empties his excitable pistol in his direction.
Wolverine pops his claws… as Tracy clicks away with his empty gun. He thinks back to the rabid dog, and feels pangs of deja vu looking at this loony kid. He retracts his claws… just as that same police woman arrives on the scene to fill Tracy-kins full’a holes! When this gal commits to pulling the trigger, she doesn’t screw around! Logan informs her that the kid’s gun was empty… to which she asks “How the Hell would I know that?” That’s actually a very good point.
We wrap up with Logan finishing his “rabid dog” story for the
Officer. Turns out, he couldn’t go through with it. Silver Fox had to put the poor pup down herself. Oh! And it also turns out that this Officer the mother of those two kids who Tracy nearly ran down a few blocks over. The tots survived unharmed… so, there’s something to be happy about!
Welp, that sure was an issue of Wolverine, wunnit?
Felt a lot like an inventory/found crumpled in the back of a drawer sort of story… and, honestly, with every copy of this Marvel sold, they were stealing money. Imagine paying 50-cents more for this than any of the “core-four” X-Men books of the day? Ridiculous.
During the first episode of From Claremont to Claremont, where we spoke about this issue we posited that this story way likely slid into place in order to ensure that the three-part Shiva Scenario storyline that followed would conclude with the landmark (and die-cut) 50th issue of the title. Which, is probably what happened… and, in hindsight, I should probably be happy about that. Nowadays, Marvel would just decompress into more issues… leaving us with an unbalanced and more dully-paced story.
So, whatta we got here? Well, it’s a cautionary tale about putting down rabid animals, right? Well, sorta. If it were written with a little bit more subtlety (or any at all), it might’ve “landed” a bit better. Instead, we just get to see that how, when the going gets rough, and the tough decisions need to be made… Wolverine fails to act, and has to rely on the nearest armed woman to actually do what needs done?
I think this was supposed to be poignant… like, Wolverine… for all his violent history, is really a big softy… or, maybe he’s an eternal optimist who always feels like there’s a “better way” than hitting the “nuclear option”? I dunno. Whatever it is, it didn’t really land for me.
Let’s talk art. It wasn’t great… further lending to the idea that this was a quickie-filler. Even if we were just to focus on Tracykins’ engorgable pistol… I mean, this just ain’t great. I suppose it’s passable, but… again… as this was a “boutique-priced” Marvel Comic… you expect more.
Tracykins as a character… okay, I really enjoyed bearing witness to his ridiculousness. What a goofball… and, so close in design and attitude to Mitch from Death of Superman… heck, maybe Tracykins was the Mitch-prototype! We can only hope.
Is this issue worth your time. Ehh… maybe? It’s bad… but, it does have some “so bad it’s good” qualities. I can’t say I didn’t have a good time revisiting this one… though, the fact that I probably paid (at most) fifty-cents for it likely softened the blow.