Monday, July 26, 2010

Uncanny X-Periment # 156: Original Sin

Wolverine: Origins # 16 – 28, X-Men: Original Sin # 1, X-Men: Legacy # 217, Wolverine Origins # 29, X-Men: Legacy # 218, Wolverine Origins # 30-32 (Pages # 1-29)

Logan goes to visit Captain America’s exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum to drink to his friend’s memory. As he does, he recalls his first encounter with Cap in Madripoor, when he and Cap were assigned to keep the Hand out of Madripoor, away from Strucker, and to retrieve the young Black Widow. In that aftermath of that mission, Logan is ordered by Seraph (by way of Romulus) to determine is Cap is “one of them” and to either recruit him or kill him. Logan catches up with Cap in Africa and joined by Sergeant Fury. Cap’s mission to lead his unit against a Nazi force and take them down, thus solidifying himself as a leader and allowing rumor to spread about, well, how awesome he is. Bucky’s mission is kill Strucker, who is building his own power base and his own Nazi-like group called Hydra. Bucky’s orders are classified, though Logan believes that they came from Romulus as well.

Cap follows Bucky on his mission, who is then followed by Logan. Bucky kills Strucker, but after Fury and the unit arrive, it’s determined that Strucker was using a double. Logan and Bucky search the place, but Logan eventually stashes Bucky and confronts Strucker himself. Strucker and Seraph (and, by extension, Romulus) have apparently struck a deal. They want Strucker to go free and Logan to kill Cap. Logan agrees, gets Bucky and they escort Strucker out the Americans. Cap and Logan then fly towards south France, but are attacked on the way. The plane crashes and they are met by Baron Zemo. Logan had made arrangements via Strucker after getting his new orders – figuring that Cap would be able to escape someone like Zemo easier than he could escape actual Nazis. Logan reveals his betrayal to Cap, who thoroughly beats the shit out of. Bucky (after taking out Baron Zemo’s men – but still escaping) finally shoots him and Logan goes down. Logan wakes up and doesn’t remember anything that had happened.

Back in the present, Logan knows that Cap would want to let go of the guilt Logan now feels for betraying him. But Logan can’t, because that’s not how he is. After carving ‘Friend’ into the statue of Cap, Logan leaves.

Elsewhere, Deadpool is being hired to kill Logan. Wolverine goes through Deadpool’s over-the-top plan of death until eventually he has him in a position to actually kill Logan for good. Except, Daken shows up and proceeds to take down Deadpool and accidentally frees Wolverine. Daken is about battle his father when Bucky/Winter Soldier hits him a Carbonadium bullet. Logan takes his son away, revealing that he had set-up it all up to get Daken out in the open so he could do this.

Wolverine takes Daken to this lab inside an old lava tube. Back during World War Two, Logan took some Japanese men to this lab, where scientists basically turned them into cyborgs. Logan was given the order to kill them and the scientists, meaning that no one else knew where the lab was or that even still existed. However, Logan is ambushed by the cyborgs, who want to claim Daken as their families were killed by Logan to prevent them from asking questions. With no choice, Logan kills them, waking up Daken in process, who doesn’t remember anything about his past.

His past is revealed to us, however. He was found shortly after his mother was killed and was adopted by a kindly Japanese couple. While the father takes to him, his new mother rejects him. Nick-named Daken by the children of the village (which is Japanese for “mongrel”), he eventually learns that his mother is pregnant and doesn’t feel anything for Daken. Daken gets upset and a year later, kills the new baby. His mother goes after Daken, but he pops his claws for the first time and kills her. His father, unable to cope, kills himself. Romulus then arrives and offers Daken a place with him

Wolverine leaves Daken with an old monk friend in Chinatown. In the meantime, Wolverine goes off to find Emma Frost. At headquarters, he gets a whiff of Professor X, discovers he’s alive, and has it out with Scott and Emma, then goes after Charles. Meanwhile, the monk and his friends are killed by Hellfire Club and Daken is taken in by Mistress Sinister (Claudine Reniko – sounds familiar to me too). She takes him to Shaw’s house in Panama while Wolverine and Professor X go after the Hellfire Club. Wolverine wants Professor X to do to Daken what he did to Wolverine when joined the X-Men.

Years ago, Wolverine was ordered by Romulus to use his first mission against the Hulk as a way to draw the attention of Professor X. When he was recruited by Xavier, he was charged with killing him. Xavier struck back with a psi-blast and then broke down his memories and put them back together, causing Logan’s memory to be blocked out.

Back in the present, Wolverine attacks the Hellfire Club, leaving all but one dead. He and Xavier find out where Daken is and go after him. Wolverine battles Shaw and Xavier handles Mistress Sinister. Xavier the goes to Daken, springs a psychic trap (which his own scattered memories allows him to be spared from), which in turn allows Mistress Sinister to step in. Daken stabs her and then is confronted by Wolverine himself. Wolverine, Xavier and Daken are then joined in their minds to a critical moment – when Itsu was killed. Learning that it was in fact the Winter Soldier and not Wolverine, Daken let’s go of his revenge. He tosses Shaw out a window, and then decides to join Wolverine in a quest of vengeance against Romulus.

Daken and Wolverine head to Halwan while trying to track down Romulus. They instead meet up with Cyber, who is looking to join with them and then take Romulus’ place once they kill him. Wolverine doesn’t trust him and he and Daken plan to defeat Cyber. Wolverine pretends to fall for Cyber’s plan, and then Daken gains his confidence by faking to betray Wolverine. Cyber takes Daken to a lab where Cyber was created in exchange for the C-Synth synthesizer. Wolverine tracks them down, but only finds Cyber defeated and Daken gone – striking out on his own.

As a whole, this portion “Wolverine Origins” details his continuing quest for vengeance – but with the focus on being Daken. Each story arc (save for “Our War”) deals with Daken in some way or another. Right off that bat, I can that is a vast improvement. The previous installment we saw of this series here at the X-Periment, Daken was barely a character. He was Wolverine with a Mohawk and a big-ass tattoo.

Deadpool’s own comments regard Daken mirror ones I’ve seen elsewhere (and here, of course). I’m thankful we finally have a better understanding of this character. I don’t like him a whole lot, but I like him more than, say, X-23. His character has texture and a background and is more relatable than before. It’s the absolute key to selling this character off as Wolverine’s son.

On that same token, the fact that Romulus is still so mysterious is what kills that character for me. I can’t care about him. We still don’t know his agenda, what his motives are, why he’s such a mystery, why we haven’t heard anything about him before . . . I just can’t care. Revealing more about him can only help us out. My opinion of Romulus hasn’t changed. If Romulus shows up and is revealed to be Wolverine’s father or some bullshit like that, it’s over and whatever momentum this story had, it’s gone.

I want to see Romulus, at least. Get a better understanding of his character and his interests. I want explanations – that’s the whole reason why I’ve continued to buy this book.

Individually, each arc has its strengths. “Our War” was pretty good. Cap goes from super-dork to freakin’ awesome to super-dork a number of times, which really works for this time period. Bucky made for an interesting character, especially considering his connections to the future and his appearances throughout the next arc. I really wish we had been given a scene where we see Cap and Logan actually talk about his betrayal.

“The Deep End,” was ridiculous. It was just so over the top, but I guess it was on purpose. Logan’s planning seems to be really at the heart over this entire portion and is seems to pay off here as well as other places. Deadpool was funny . . . but not in the same way he’s been elsewhere.

“Son of X,” I pretty much covered. I’m happy to have seen it, as it did reveal more of Daken’s background and made him, again, into an actual character.

“Original Sin” in it of itself, was decent. More “Giant-Sized” revelations. Someday I’m going to sit down and read all through “Giant-Sized X-Men” flashbacks just to get a complete picture of this apparently dark day (!) in the X-Men’s history. It makes sense, I guess, and while this was one that moved Wolverine’s story forward, it didn’t do much for Professor X. I’m still trying to figure out what I think of Mistress Sinister. She-Sinister is a little weird, seeing as how she acts and dresses like my best friend Stephanie . . . except evil. I’d like to see her fleshed out a bit, because, uh, I actually like the character.

“Family Business” gives us a good stopping point (for now). While Daken and Wolverine have decided to go after Romulus, it does a good job of really showing Logan that he just can’t trust his son.

A better bout here – stronger and more interesting than “Origins and Endings” and light-years beyond “Evolution.” Honestly, I’d like to see a little more self-contained stories that only lightly tie in with the “Romulus” over-arc. We haven’t seen Lady Deathstrike in this book yet, nor have we seen much from the Silver Samurai. Maybe an annual or a one-shot? Please?