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.