Welcome to the column formerly known as X-Men: Bland Design! As it turns out, even when we say nice things about X-Men comics, when the column is titled “Bland Design,” it apparently bums people out. And we don’t want to bum people out about the X-Men. We love the X-Men!
The X-Men have long been neglected by Marvel as a result of Ike Perlmutter‘s war with Fox over the X-Men and Fantastic Four movie rights, and X-fans have long-suffered as a result. We’ve seen Cyclops’s character assassinated over and over again. We saw the fascist Avengers invade the X-Men’s sovereign country and try to imprison a teenage Hope Summers on the moon for crimes she might commit in the future under the influence of a bird-themed cosmic death god and somehow end up portrayed as the heroes in the abysmal Avengers vs. X-Men super-mega-crossover event. We saw Marvel try to replace the X-Men with the Inhumans, who literally nobody cares about. It was a dark time.
But with the Disney/Fox merger looming, the X-Men are finally able to rise once more to their rightful place as Marvel’s most important franchise. It’s a new day for the X-Men, and it’s time to let the healing begin.
So welcome to the first week of our rebooted weekly recap column, where we can all agree it’s time for some…
The concept of X-ual Healing is simple. We read all the X-books Marvel publishes in a given week and we tell you what happens in them. Along the way, we’ll fill in the blanks on some history or additional explanation where required and possible. We’ll also point out when the comic does the sort of things we think comics should be doing to be more accessible to new readers: properly introducing characters and explaining how their powers work, providing links to back issues when previous stories are referenced, and generally providing a satisfying experience in a single issue for the outrageously high price Marvel charges for comics. If the comic fails to do those things, we’ll point that out too.
We’ve been collecting and reading X-Men comics since the 1980s, and we’ve read pretty much every one Marvel has published, many of them multiple times, but it’s been a while. To refresh our memory, since starting this column, we’ve been rereading the X-books beginning with Giant-Size X-Men #1 on Marvel Unlimited (switching to paper where there are gaps). We’re currently up to Inferno, in case you were wondering. Marvel Unlimited is well worth the subscription price for the X-Men comics alone, but we recommend you utilize a reading order guide to keep up with all the spinoffs and mini-series. And if you just can’t get enough X-Men, and you’d like to dive into some theories on classic X-Men comics, you might be interested in checking out the Chris Claremont‘s X-Men section on the Fanfix blog.
So that’s how this all works. If you’re a longtime X-Men reader, you can follow along, let us know if we missed anything, and post your thoughts on the issue in the comments. If you’re new to the X-Men, hopefully this column helps you figure out what’s going on in the X-Men’s 60 years of complicated continuity. If nothing else, we hope you get a few laughs.
Now, let’s get on with the show…
WEAPON X #16
GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE (W) • ROLAND BOSCHI & ANDREA SORRENTINO (A)
Cover by ERIC CANETE
“OLD MAN LOGAN VS. SABRETOOTH” CONCLUSION!
Savage action as Old Man Logan and Sabretooth fight alone in a containment facility filled with horrific beasts! But who will prove himself the biggest monster?
Witness the true fate of Sabretooth from the Wastelands of Old Man Logan’s past!
Sets up a huge status quo change for Marvel’s deadliest team of mutants!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
This issue is the conclusion of a two-part story called Happy Birthday, Old Man Logan, in which, despite being teammates, Sabretooth tries to kill Old Man Logan as per birthday tradition while the rest of X-For– er, Weapon X party in Mexico. The issue picks up where the previous one left off, with Logan and Creed battling to the death in the ruins of their crashed ship, inside a research and development complex for Olympus Group called GammaWorld in New Mexico. You can see where this is going.
Amadeus Cho has been capturing monsters and storing them here, Creed points out to Logan. Weapon X readers might remember this from earlier issues, but if not a caption box reading something like “Amadeus Cho teamed up with X-Force during the Weapons of Mutant Destruction Crossover” would have worked wonders here to send curious readers to Marvel Unlimited, increasing their investment in the story and characters. Alas…
The monsters are all in cages as Logan and Creed continue to hack and stab each other.
Creed, who has always tried to push Logan to surrender to his nature as an animalistic killer, begins to realize that he may have succeeded this time. Satisfied, Creed begins smashing open the cages so the monsters can attack Logan, but (surprise!) they attack Creed too. As Creed and Logan maul monsters, Creed says…
…referencing the AXIS (or SIXIS if you read the poorly designed logo wrong) super-mega-crossover event, in which the heroes and the villains were “inverted,” making the good guys good and the bad guys bad. At the end of the event, Sabretooth’s inversion was permanent. You could learn that by reading about it on Marvel Unlimited… but this comic doesn’t tell you that. Missed opportunity.
Anyway, uninhibited slaughter feels good to Sabretooth, was the point. Logan also looks like’s having a good time. It’s nice to see these boys spending quality time together. Until Logan smashes a monster’s head through a wall and sees what appears to be a children’s soccer game occurring next-door to the lab. You know what, that’s on Amadeus Cho. He ought to have known that sooner or later, if you try to keep a lab full of bloodthirsty monsters, there’s eventually going to be a big superhero battle on the premises that trashes the place, and accordingly, not located it next to a children’s soccer field.
Creed calls Logan a hypocrite. Then he grabs him and tosses him at the monsters in a variation of the classic Wolverine-tossing move, The Fastball Special, which he dubs the Furball Special. Logan is fighting a Hydra — not the Nazi Captain America kind, the mythical multi-headed dragon kind — and each time he cuts off one of its head, two more grow. Logan takes an innovative approach to solving this problem.
Creed impales the buried beast, prompting Logan to lecture him about how he doesn’t have to kill the monsters blah blah blah they were safely in cages and Creed let them loose blah blah blah. Creed says that he and Logan are monsters too. This prompts a flashback to The Wastelands, the post-apocalyptic future timeline that Old Man Logan is from.
Via X-pository Flashback, Logan tells Creed that in his timeline, Logan thought he was dead when he stopped trying to kill him on his birthday every year for a while until Logan found Creed one day trying to cannibalize some townspeople. Creed had degenerated into the complete savage he always aspired to be. Logan killed Creed easily, as he explains, because it was actually the human side of Creed that made him dangerous.
Logan says he thought Creed in this timeline had changed, but apparently he hasn’t, so he wants to fight him to the death once and for all. Creed agrees, but then…
Creed leaves, vowing to continue this next year. After he’s gone, Logan discovers Warpath has been there and watching them during their battle. Warpath suggests they kill Sabretooth before he goes crazy again, but Logan is a big old softie and he thinks maybe Creed isn’t so bad after all. The issue ends with a tease for Omega Red showing up next issue.
This was a fun comic. It was one part of a two-part story, which is nice because too many comics are “written for the trade”, which makes them feel unnecessarily decompressed and a ripoff for the exorbitant prices you have to pay for a single issue comic these days. In this comic, you got your money’s worth in action and a good accounting of the relationship between Logan and Creed and how it’s changed over the years.
The letters page of the comic is a message from editor Chris Robinson spoiling upcoming issues by telling us that the next story arc will feature a “new era” of Weapon X with Sabretooth in charge as Old Man Logan leaves, presumably to make way for the return of original Wolverine, coming soon to a super-mega-crossover event near you. Can this title survive with one less Wolverine? We’ll find out!
Read more X-ual Healing here:
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