Wolverine Month: Wolverine+Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection

The last book I’m going to talk about in this great month of Wolverine is part of the Marvel Graphic Novel line. Rather than the comic-sized paperback format of the other books I’ve talked about, It was a series of high prestige books printed with much better paper and with better color technology. It’s a format I really like, and have quite a few of these even though some of them have been reprinted in modern times.

Drawn by Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, he also drew the first ever Star Wars comics) and written by Archie Goodwin (also did Star Wars for a time, but is mostly known for being the best editor in the history of American comics.), Wolverine+Nick Fury; The Scorpio connection is more of a Nick Fury story than a Wolverine one. Also, if you’re coming in mostly with a knowledge of the movies, this Nick Fury does not resemble Samuel L. Jackson at all. He’s white, has graying hair and looks a bit like David Hasselhoff.

The story opens with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent David Nanjiwarra, investigating a gun-running ring in Machu Picchu. He along with the rest of his team are killed by an unseen figure. The killer leaves a small token with the Zodiac symbol Scorpio.

In Manhattan at a S.H.I.E.L.D. gym, Nick Fury’s old flame Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is being asked out by a young agent, while Fury and his right-hand man, Dum Dum Dugan, reminisce about simpler times. Fury remembers that he used to hope for love and a family, but that all seems behind him now. As they leave Dugan’s wife and kids come along and Fury looks at the scene longingly. He remembers the one family member he did have, his brother Jake, who he killed.

Meanwhile, The supervillain hitman Arcade has his latest deathtrap foiled by the X-Men (In what appears to be their Austrailia-era costumes.) As he escapes, just to mess with Wolverine, he mentions, speaking via a decoy robot, that he intercepted one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s communications, which said to keep certain information out of Wolverine’s hands at any cost, in fear of how he would react. The info? Agent David Nanjiwarra has died. Turns out he was one of Wolverine’s close friends. Wolvie goes berserk and slices the robot to pieces

S.H.I.E.L.D. has discovered the Scorpio emblem and the dead agents. Fury thinks it has to be a hoax as killed Scorpio himself (and left his true identity out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database). Fury goes to a bar and orders a drink. As he’s about to take a sip, his olive is stabbed by Wolverine, who’s not happy about Fury keeping the death a secret. Fury says he’ll help Logan find the killer.

We cut to an island where a handsome young man named Mikel has two attractive young women flirt with him. He’s distracted until an older woman in a bikini tells him to hurry along and get on their boat. (A sentence I loved writing.) The women are actually really mean about it and joke about him being into cougars and it’s something that seems like it could happen, but man, can’t we be nice?

Anyway, the woman is actually his mother and she’s rather catty about Mikel chatting with them. He then puts on the Scorpio costume and shows off his impressive martial arts skills. He, having been trained and conditioned by his mother for one purpose. To kill the man who killed his father. To kill Nick Fury.

Wolverine, now in Machu Picchu, flashes back to when he met David. Wolverine was hunting terrorists in the desert and he collapses and David helped him up. They go to get a drink, but the bartender refuses to serve David because he’s of Aboriginal descent. Wolvie strongarms the guy into doing it. David complains about the conditions working for the Australian government and how the whole country is systematically racist. He plans to join S.H.I.E.L.D. where that sort of thing isn’t tolerated.

So Fury chases Scorpio to Vienna they fight. Fury is really pissed that someone is posing as his dead brother, but Scorpio dramatically rips off his mask, revealing that he’s the son of Jacob Fury. I mean, we all saw it coming.

In Istanbul, Wolverine has tracked an arms dealer from Machu Picchu to a dingy little joint. There he meets the leader of the gun runners, Amber D’Alexis, the mother of Scorpio. And yes, her name sounds like $10 perfume.

Scorpio attacks Logan, and with a combination of his martial arts and his the Zodiac Key, actually manages to hurt him pretty badly. For you continuity buffs, the Zodiac Key is an immensely powerful weapon that looks like a key and apparently can be used to unlock a door to the future or something. This is not that key. It’s a replica and basically just a blaster.

Suddenly the lights go out and Nick Fury scoops up Wolverine. He used a “BlackLight Bomb’ which knocks out anything not in the infrared spectrum. They escape and Fury argues about how it’s too personal to Logan before cracking and revealing it’s personal to him too.

Nick tells Logan that he used to know Amber back when he was CIA agent. He had posed as a gambler at a seedy club she owned to gain underworld connections to bring down criminals. She had clawed her way up from the bottom and created an empire through both illegal and legitimate means. Through one of her legitimate companies, she had hired and then fallen in love with researcher Jacob Fury. Not wanting to blow his cover, he gave Jake and Amber his blessing. He takes her out dancing to thank her for not telling his brother about his activities at the club and predictably, seduces her. She stopped caring about Jake and fell for Nick, but he used their closeness to turn her in. After that, Jake hated him and became Scorpio.

As the flashback ends, it turns out that they were discussing this over dinner and Wolverine eats a shish kabob with his claws and all is perfect for a moment.

There’s a bit where they invade Amber’s private island to take the duo out. They get caught with knockout gas, but that’s literally all to say about it. Not super important. More pressingly, Scorpio attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D.

Base with the gym. Fury and Wolverine show up and chase Scorpio to the top of the building and the foursome fight. Amber reveals that Mikel is actually Nick’s son, which, yeah, you also saw coming. Nick shoots him to stop him from killing Logan, causing him to drop the Zodiac Key. Nick runs to his son’s side. Amber picks it up and blasts Logan something fierce. She points it at Fury and Mikel, saying killing Fury would have been nice, but killing Fury and the son he’ll never know will be better. Then boom! Logan comes from behind and stabs her.

Mikel attempts to escape with a plane on top of the building, but as it’s taking off, Fury and Wolvie bring it down. They all survive and S.H.I.E.L.D. is working to get Mikel deprogrammed from what his mom conditioned him to believe. As they leave the building Logan tosses Fury a cigar and congratulates him on being a parent and what the what? Dude, a little inapropprite all things considered.

Oh, and spoilers, Mikel is deprogrammed and plays a part (and then dies) in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors series, which is great and you should all read.

The story was continued in graphic novels/annuals called Scorpio Rising and one called Bloody Choices. I have not read either, but there is a collection that contains all three stories, so it’s out there if you want to.

So to wrap up this dumb Wolverine month celebrating this dumb character I love, I chose a story he’s barely in. He could have been removed and it would have been just as strong. David doesn’t get mentioned again, not even in an “and now he’s been avenged can rest” speech. Like, Wolverine’s “Scorpio Connection” seems kinda tenuous at best. It’s kinda unsatisfying if you’re looking for a Wolverine revenge story, but it’s a solid Nick Fury story and I’d still suggest it.

That’s it for “Wolverine Month”. I had fun reading these and fun writing all of these except this last one. You can find me @NicoliRaymond on Twitter and on my podcast Hopelessly Obsessed.

So You Want to Read Old Man Logan and the X-Men (Comixology Sale Edition)

This article is part of Wolverine month, something I just decided is happening. So, I’ll be putting up a few articles about Wolverine.

Comixology is having a massive amount of sales now. Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Superman, Image 25, but In this installment of so you want to read, I’m going to be talking about the Old Man Logan, Wolverine and X-Men sales currently going on. They’re broken into sections on Comixology’s site, so for sake of expediency, I’m going to focus on those sections and what I recommend from each of them. Also, obviously both Comixology and I are trying to cash in on the movie. Only I’m doing this because I love you.

I previously covered the Ghostbusters stuff here though, so check that out if you’re interested.

These sales end March 6th, so hurry if you’re interested, but if you want to consider, you have a day and a half.

Due to the sheer volume of stuff on sale, I’m going to be a bit more rapid-fire than in previous installments. The stuff in bold are my top picks!

Old Man Logan:

In a separate sale from the rest, is the Old Man Logan sale. It’s all of the graphic novels with the character, plus the tangentially related Wolverine: The End and some X-23 stuff.  

Old Man Logan: The story that inspired the movie, kind of. It’s a fun read, really cinematic. Is it my top pick? No, but it’s important to establish the character and world of Old Man Logan. It’s also a blast. Alternately, you could listen to my podcast.

X-23: The Killing Dream: Written by Marjorie Liu with art by Will Conrad, this is Laura Kinney’s solo series. After all of the violence in her life, she tries and fails, to be a normal teen. A demonically possessed Wolverine attacks the Xaiver School and only Laura can stop him! And then she sets out to find herself and runs Into Gambit!

Old Man Logan (2016 series): Available are two volumes (vol. 1 Berzeker and vol. 2 Bordertown) of the most recent series with the character. They’re gorgeously illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino. I highly recommend this for the art alone, but thankfully the writing by Jeff Lemire, has a lot of great character moments. Also available is vol. 0 Warzones!, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Sorrentino, although I don’t suggest it unless you have a grasp of the Secret Wars storyline (or are willing to Wikipedia it.) Art is still worth it though.

 

Wolverine/X-Men sale

There are a bunch of categories and books to look at, so I’m going through them as the website does.

Wolverine: This section is dedicated to Wolverine solo books. Who would’ve guessed?

Wolverine by Claremont and Miller: Legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont (Dark Phoenix Saga, God Loves, Man Kills, Days of Future Past) and industry icon Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, 300) team on this story that sends Logan to Japan. Featuring honor! Dishonor! Ninjas! It’s a great read that introduced a lot of defining features of Wolverine. This also served as the basis to The Wolverine, Logan’s second solo film. No silly robot fights here though!

Enemy of the State: By Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Logan gets programmed by the newly formed Hydra/Hand terrorist-ninja merger and their leader, the stone-eyed Gorgon sends Logan to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and kill as many superheroes as he can. It’s a really fun book and reads surprisingly fast for there being twelve issues contained in here. Like Batman: Hush, it’s a great book for people just getting into superhero comics, letting you know who the character is and what his place is in the world.

There’s also a book called Wolverine: Logan by Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso, that I haven’t read, but I can basically recommend anything by Vaughan and still sleep soundly.

 

Classic X-Men:

Claremont: This is the Section I know the most about. I’m a huge fan of Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which makes up almost all of my selections here.

Proteus: Moira Mc Taggert’s son Kevin is a mutant with reality shifting powers, the X-Men head to Scotland to help Moira get him back under control. It ends tragically and is one of the defining moments of Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s run. There is absolutely fantastic character stuff in this story and outlandish visuals.

Dark Phoenix Saga: Widely considered the best X-Men storyline, Jean Grey’s cosmic power overwhelms her and her teammates have to stop her from losing control. Obviously, she does, because we need a story, and her last stand is absolutely gut wrenching as the X-Men, even after the evil she committed, all risk their lives for hers. Contains X-Men #137, the greatest single issue of X-Men ever.

Days of Future Past: Contains the stories immediately after the Dark Phoenix Saga, including Days of Future Past, which inspired the movie of the same name. Also, includes Kitty Pryde joining the team and the return of Alpha Flight!

Asgardian Wars: The Asgardian Wars collections is actually composed of two stories, the X-Men/Alpha Flight miniseries drawn by Paul Smith, in which Loki bestows upon mortals abilities of the gods, but at a cost; and two annuals drawn by Art Adams, where the New Mutants get transported to Asgard and the X-Men head there to save them.

Lifedeath: Barry Windsor-Smith draws the titular story, the two-part “Lifedeath”. These are the definitive Storm stories and some of the most beautiful X-Men comics ever. Storm comes to terms with losing her powers and defining herself outside of them. Also included is the Wolverine story “Wounded Wolf”, by BWS.

Ghosts: Claremont in top form, the duel between Cyclops and Storm for leadership of the X-Men, the attack of Nimrod: The Sentinel of the future, the birth of Cylclops’ son, and the Trial of Magneto in the classic X-Men #200.

 

Mutant Massacre: The first of a series of crossovers where Claremont is joined by writer Louise Simonson. The underground mutant society the Morlocks, who are too ugly to fit into normal society are attacked in the sewers. They’re slaughtered. The remaining Morlocks make it to the X-Mansion and the X-Men head down to check for survivors, they’re ambushed by the sadistic Marauders. It’s violent, vicious, and very, very good. This has the classic issue that pits Psylocke on her own against Sabertooth.

Fall of the Mutants: One of the most impactful X-crossovers ever. Even though it’s not really a crossover. Thematically tied together by each team dealing with major loss and failure. The X-Men face the Adversary, manipulating them for some time and make the ultimate sacrifice. The New Mutants encounter their first loss when one of the kids is gunned down. X-Factor battles the mighty Apocalypse and a fallen member of their own.

Inferno+Crossovers: Cyclops’ ex-wife and clone of Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor, becomes the Goblyn Queen and unleashes the demonic forces of Limbo on New York, warping the city into a Hellscape. To save the world, X-Men and X-Factor join forces for the first time since the teams split. Illyana Rasputin, Magik of the New Mutants and ruler of Limbo struggles with her dark side as she fights to reclaim her domain or lose herself trying. Great art by Brett Blevins, Marc Silvestri, and Walter Simonson, it is blockbuster superhero action at it’s finest and balanced perfectly with the emotional tension building for years. Also available is a book of crossovers, how the rest of the Marvel universe dealt with the transformation of Manhattan.

X-tinction Agenda: The last of the Claremont/Simonson crossovers, The New Mutants are abducted by the nation of Genosha, a utopia that achieved through the mental and biological manipulation mutants into a docile slave race. The X-Men, X-Factor, and Cable have to commit international terrorism to save the kids. Little do they know their old enemy Cameron Hodge has taken over the country and is manipulation its arsenal, both mechanical and biological to his own means. It’s a truly upsetting story dealing with class, treatment of minorities, and US/international relations. The last truly great story of Claremont’s original run.

Mutant Genesis: This is the story after which Claremont left the X-Men and Marvel for a long time. It’s not the most cohesive work, you can definitely tell there’s some narrative disjointment with Claremont and superstar artist Jim Lee. Even though it can be janky, the art is great and filled with a fantastic energy. It makes you want to rip the pages out and hang them on your wall, but you can’t because it’s digital. Duh. Also available in Mutant Genesis 2.0, a version with modern coloring techniques. I don’t really like it, but whatever floats your giant asteroid base.

Post-Claremont: I’m sure there’s other good stuff here, I just haven’t read a lot of it. Fatal Attractions and Second Coming are popular stories. X-Termination is really good, but only if you’ve read Uncanny X-Force and X-Treme X-Men.

Battle of the Atom: A newer story and maybe a little confusing, but you’ll catch on quickly enough. The X-Men of the future arrive in the present demanding that the original five X-Men (brought forward in time), be sent back to the past, for if they stay something catastrophic happens and the world hates mutant more than ever. Jean Grey and Cyclops go on the run, things aren’t quite what they seem, another team of X-men show up with contradicting reports… The fiftieth-anniversary story pays tribute to past stories like Days of Future Past while opening up possibilities for the future.

 

Wolverine Team-Ups:

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine: Wolverine and Spider-Man are the oddest couple as the twosome are sent careening through time and space. It’s a surprisingly touching character study for a story that involves Wolverine leading a tribe of cavemen. By Jason Aaron (Mighty Thor, Southern Bastards) and Adam Kubert (Renew Your Vows, X-Men).

Kitty Pryde and Wolverine: Claremont and Al Milgrom (Spectacular Spider-Man) The youngest X-Man goes to Japan to save her father and is assaulted by Ogun, lord of ninjas. Ogun brainwashes her into becoming an intangible assassin. Logan doesn’t take to this kindly. He heads off to Japan to save his teenage sidekick.

Wolverine and Jubilee: Jubilee has turned into a vampire. She’s adjusting, but how well is open to interpretation. She’s framed for a series of murders and her and Logan must prove her innocence.

 

X-Men Team-Ups:

X-Men/Spider-Man: This series offering vignettes of four times Spider-Man has teamed up with the X-Men and the mysterious force manipulating both of their pasts. Also, a classic Spidey/X-Men team-up.

X-Men: S.W.O.R.D.: Abigail Brand is having a bad day. She was formerly head of S.W.O.R.D., Earth’s agency for dealing with alien threats. Now she’s second to Henry Peter Gyrich, a bureaucrat with a stick up his butt. What’s she to do when she finds a conspiracy to end all alien life on earth? Oh, and her boyfriend, the Beast, is visiting. Perfect. By fan-favorite Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Darth Vader)

 

Uncanny X-Men Masterworks: The Masterworks are series of collections (the print versions are high-quality reprints) each containing approximately ten issues. They’ll get you to the From the Ashes.. storyline, about halfway through Claremont’s run. If you bought these, you’d have the content from Proteus, Dark Phoenix Saga and the Days of Future Past collections. These are my highest recommendation in the sale, you almost certainly want to grab them.

If you only get one book from this sale, I’d suggest Volume 9. It contains both God Loves, Man Kills, one of the greatest X-Men stories and inspiration to X2 and also the Wolverine miniseries by Claremont and Miller.

 

Cyclops Vol. 1: Cyclops in space! After finding out his father is alive, a teenage Scott Summers decides to join the family business, space piracy. A coming of age tale in space dealing with a father and his son. By Greg Pak, Russell Dauterman, and Cameron Caneor. It’s one of my favorite X-Books, a perfect blend of writer, artists, and characters.

 

Nightcrawler:

Amazing X-Men vol. 1: Backstory; Nightcrawler died and went to Heaven. That’s all you need to know. He calls the X-Men to help him fight off a group of demonic pirates attacking the good place. It’s just a lot of fun, one of the lighter reads in the sale and great if you’re looking for a stand alone X-book.

Nightcrawler (2014): Claremont returns to one of his favorite characters  It’s an interesting read, seeing this classic master write in a more modern style. It doesn’t always work, but it’s fun enough to be worth a read.

Other:

Magneto Testament: It’s called a Magneto story, but it’s really a book about a young Jewish boy during the holocaust. That boy may be Magneto someday, but besides a few moments, it’s not about that. It’s beautiful and haunting.

X-Men First Class: A fun all-ages series about the original X-Men. Recommend if you want to read something with the Youn’uns in your life. (Not related to the movie of the same title.

Uncanny X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis: One of two sister runs by Brian Michael Bendis, Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto are branded terrorists by the media, but they’re just looking out for mutantkind. Join the revolution or face the man with an X on his face.

X-Treme X-Men vol. 2: Although the first series is by Claremont and I’ve heard it’s of varying quality, I haven’t read it, so I can’t suggest it. The second series however, I have read and it’s a blast. The basic rundown is this, Dazzler ends up being sent from one alternate dimension to the next, recruiting a team of X-Men from different worlds. Their mission is to destroy ten evil counterparts of Xaiver intent on ruling the multiverse. It’s only two volumes and the finale is in the X-Termination crossover, but it’s really fun and if you want to read some really weird comics, this is your jam.

X-Men Season One: One of my favorite comics ever, this is my rainy day go-to book. A day-to-day standalone story about the early days of the X-Men, as told by Jean Grey. By Dennis Hopelss (Avengers Arena, Spider-Woman) and Jaimie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine, Young Avengers) craft one of the best interpretations of the original team and especially Jean Grey as this would become the definitive version of her going forward.

X-Men ’92: Another one of my favorite series, a tongue-firmly-in-cheek parody/homage to the most extreme era of X-Men. Two books are available, volumes 0 and 1 and both are well worth checking out. The X-Men battle Vampires! Psychics! Censorship! This is one comic you can’t miss! Or you can, I just felt Hyperbole was appropriate with the material. By Chris Sims and Chad Bowers with art by Scott Koblish (Deadpool) and Alti Firmansyah (Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde)

Worst X-Men Ever: What happens if all you want is to be special, and then you find out you have a super power. The power to blow up! Once. Might have been better off before. That’s what happens to Bailey, but when his parents are killed. He joins a team of reject trainees, and he’s the most useless of them all. A touching letter to the X-Men franchise truly as tragic as it is funny.

X-Club: Super science makes super snobs; the smartest X-Men have decided that they can science their way out of anything, but along comes a problem of their own creation because we can’t have nice things, especially if we grow it in test tubes. CURSE YOU SCIENCE!!!!

 

Top Recs:

Uncanny X-Men Masterworks 

Season One 

Worst X-Man Ever 

Inferno 

Cyclops Volume 1