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It’s a day late, but that’ll happen when you go out of town.

This week in geekdom:  got a huge stack of comics delivered from mycomicshop.com.  A lot of small issues that had been destroyed by a basement flood years ago, some alternate covers I’ve wanted for a while, and Uncanny X-Men #122 and 123, making #122 the oldest X-Men comic I own.  I’m slowly working my way backwards!

Also went to a great toy store in St. Louis called Saga Toys.  Holy crap I could’ve spent $2000 in there easily…  left with the Menasor Transformer (the newer version) and a 25th anniversary G.I. Joe Crimson Guard.

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 Wolverine #104 (August 1996)

Emperor of the Realm of Grief
[Onslaught, Impact 1]

cover

Writer:  Larry Hama
Penciler:  Val Semeiks
Inker:  Chat Hunt

On top of the Massachusetts Academy, Wolverine, who desperately needs a haircut, finds the mysterious Gateway.  However, despite Wolverine’s pleading to say something, Gateway remains stoic, eyes closed, ignoring Wolverine.  But when Wolverine finds Gateway’s “whirligig” (Wolverine’s words, not mine), Gateway yanks it away and starts spinning.  In the vortex, Wolverine gets a glimpse of Japan, a place he knows well.  He sees his love, Mariko, dying in his arms, a memory that haunts him still.  Wolverine pleads for Gateway to stop and as he reaches for the mute mutant (get it?) he stumbles and falls off the roof.

But a hand reaches out and pulls him inside a window.  It is Elektra in her Psylocke-inspired outfit! (kidding!)  She followed Wolverine out there but he doesn’t want to deal with her.  Instead, it’s Gateway he’s after.  So Elektra follows him back out to the roof but this time, she asks on Wolverine’s behalf.  Gateway is stubborn (as always) until she mentions Stick (no, not A stick, but Stick, some blind ninja who trained Elektra and Daredevil and is now involved in the Wolverine books for some odd reason).  Gateway actually stops spinning for a second.  When he resumes, he shows them images again, this time of horrible acts that happened in Elektra’s life, including her death.

Wolverine elektra

When her vision clears, Wolverine realizes that Gateway is intentionally showing them the worst of their lives for a reason.  And suddenly, they are downstairs by the fireplace, out of the rain.  Then Gateway sucks them into another plane of existence and the scene is a familiar one to Wolverine as he watches Magneto rip the adamantium from his bones (remember this from the iconic X-Men #25?).  But the astral version of Elektra pulls Wolverine’s astral projection from his body so that they can watch what happens next.  They watch as Xavier confronts Magneto.  Xavier sends a wave of psychic energy into Magneto and suddenly the world slows.

xavier vs magneto

Elektra and Wolverine’s perceptions change.  They are now witnessing the astral avatars of Xavier and Magneto.  And there is a little deranged ugly-ass creature right in the middle of Magneto’s avatar.  And as Xavier’s power connects them both, it reaches out and touches the Xavier-avatar.  And suddenly, where it touched, a small growth has started.  And that’s when Wolverine realizes that it was during that moment that Magneto’s dark side, his evil nature, latched on to Xavier at that moment, eventually corrupting him until Xavier would become Onslaught.

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Before I get into what a bad issue this was, it did have one redeeming quality:  we at least get to find out how Xavier became Onslaught.

Of course that explanation was total bollox (no, I’m not British, but it’s a fun word) but at least we got something.

I mean, seriously…  Magneto’s evil essence?  Let’s ignore for a moment that it almost acts as an excuse for everything bad Magneto has done (destroyed a city with a Volcano?  It wasn’t his fault, he had an evil essence.  Crippled the Earth with an EMP?  It wasn’t his fault, he had an evil essence.).  But seriously…Onslaught has a different powerset than Xavier.  Sure, there’s telepathy, but Onslaught clearly has a method of generating an electromagnetic pulse which is something Xavier wouldn’t be able to do but Magneto would.  So somehow getting infected by Magneto’s evil essence transferred power?  This issue just perfectly demonstrates one of the many problems I have with Onslaught.
On a side note, apparently, Mark Waid wanted to make Onslaught just an insane Xavier (check out CBR) but it was Lobdell who decided to make Onslaught an amalgamation instead.  As much as I love Lobdell, I think this was one of the worst ideas he’s ever had.

To make this issue even worse, at this point in Wolverine’s comic, he was being written and drawn as almost a walking, talking dog.  His hair was shaggy, he didn’t look at all human, and he was often more animal than man.  It had been building up since Wolverine #75 right after he had the admantium torn out.  But I hated it.  I didn’t like this Wolverine and the art in this issue made it even worse.

Wolverine
see?  looking like a dog.  ugh!

Overall?  yeah, it’s a tie-in to Onslaught.  But it’s one of the worst that relates directly to the crisis (yes, there are even worse issues but they are generally in other parts of the MU), even if it does seek to explain the origins of Onslaught.  But I also admit to just not liking Wolverine during this time of his development…

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