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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 133

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we begin a mini theme week (“mini” as in it will take less than a week) that I meant to do the other week when his film came out – cool comic book moments involving Wolverine stabbing people!

Enjoy!

This scene in Uncanny X-Men #207 by Chris Claremont and John Romita, Jr. shows you just how stubborn Wolverine can be.

He’ll even kill you to teach you a lesson about killing!

But really, the scene is notable (besides the fact that it involved Wolverine stabbing a member of the X-Men who had been, up until that point, a fairly major part of the book for the previous year or so) because of how John Romita Jr. frames the scene.

He really does a marvelous job making the moment a lot cooler than it perhaps deserves to be.

Great work by JRjr.

59 Comments

Man, this was one of the first X-Men comics I ever read, and was definitely a big reason why I thought Wolverine was such a bad ass for such a long time. Great job by Claremont and JRjr.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

Wait a minute.

Wolverine is talking to this girl about how murder is wrong under any circumstance…and then murders her to stop her from murdering?

What the fuuuuuuck??

He’s using the same logic that says its okay for a cop to kill a criminal to keep a criminal from murdering someone (not saying said logic is SOUND in this instance, of course, just pointing out what Wolverine’s logic is here).

Bernard the Poet

May 14, 2009 at 12:51 am

I loved this scene twenty years ago. Still do. The Claremont/Romita years were stuffed full of these types of moral dilemmas and played a big part in the series’ popularity.

Of course, put the scene side by side with yesterday’s – when we were shown Wolverine casually murdering a sentry – then you see how daft the whole thing is. Thanks Cronin, you’ve raped my childhood.

….aaand what happened after that? =P

I got this one off the stands and yeah, it was a cool cliffhanger but I remember wanting Rachel to be dead in the next issue. I just couldn’t get into the character. She took in the Phoenix powers and started acting nuts just like Jean had done. If I were Logan, I would have stopped her before the X-Men had to face the same crap Rachel’s mom had put them through mere years earlier.

Revisiting “Days of Future Past” seemed like a good idea at first but it never really paid off. The whole Rachel/Phoenix concept briefly took over the book but her storyline fizzled out quick after JR Jr. left, just before she moved over to Excalibur with Kurt and Kitty. Besides that, it was around this time that the book began its descent into the “grim and gritty” era which eventually killed my interest in the whole franchise.

Tom Fitzpatrick

May 14, 2009 at 3:04 am

….aaand what happened after that? =P

The shit hits the fan, is what happened after that. ;-)

I know this is an unpopular position, but I hated Romita Jr.’s art on this book so much that I dropped it shortly after he took over and never came back. I particularly hated his depiction of Rachel. This art is just so flat and boring to me. Of course, I hadn’t enjoyed the book all that much since Byrne left, so Romita’s arrival was just the last straw.

I remember this, one of the really high points of the UXM book before it really started to tank (I think the battle between Nimrod, the Lords Cardinal of the Hellfire Culb and the X-Men was the last great moment of the book).

Chris — remember that Wolverine saw Jean fall apart as the Phoenix. I figure he’s doing this as much to prevent a future Dark Phoenix outbreak as he is to keep Rachel from becoming a murderess in cold blood. I can see where it’s not the best of arguments, but man, at the time, a great moment!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane on this :)

Take it and run,

Wow, the moment I stopped liking the X-Men. I’ve never thought I’d see that again.

Sorry, this is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen on a comic. And that is saying a lot!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

This is…quite hypocritical of Wolverine. Not to mention that it was one of those can of worm-opening incidents that perhaps superhero morality should stay away from (the victim in this case being Selene, an immortal vampire who only survives by killing people on a regular basis. And sure enoughs, she offs someone the next issue).

Jesus, that dialogue . . .

Sorry, this is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen on a comic. And that is saying a lot!

Agreed. And it was hypocritical and stupid enough on its own, sure, but add in the number of cold-blooded killings Wolverine has committed since then, many under Claremont’s own pen, and it gets even worse. But this moment wasn’t the moment I stopped liking the X-Men. For me that moment was the next issue, where Wolverine was utterly unrepentant and callous about the whole thing, and we see Selene killing another person not long after Wolverine saves her.

Ugh.

To be fair to Logan, here, he stabbed a “Phoenix”.

You can’t really kill one of those.

But really, the scene is notable (besides the fact that it involved Wolverine stabbing a member of the X-Men who had been, up until that point, a fairly major part of the book for the previous year or so) because of how John Romita Jr. frames the scene.

He really does a marvelous job making the moment a lot cooler than it perhaps deserves to be.

Great work by JRjr.

I agree here Brian, The logic of the writing is bad but Romita’s “camerawork” is impeccable. Even if you don’t like how Romita renders people (I do like it, but I know it’s not for everyone), you have to give him props on how he composes panels, mise-en-scenes, angles, etc. Good call.

that was one of the coolest x men moments where wolverine relizies that rachel killing selena was not what hero’s do and the last pannl all black marvel proably was afraid fans woudl not like showing wolverine stopping Rachel and the blood

Personally, I think it’s a great moment , and I really liked that period in the X-men’s history.

“To be fair to Logan, here, he stabbed a “Phoenix”.

You can’t really kill one of those.”

Actually, at this point he could, so far as he knew.

When I saw the mini-theme was Wolverine stabbing people, this was the first thing that I remembered. It just stands out…I think it works *because* it doesn’t make sense and is really hypocritical.

To me the irony is that Wolverine is lecturing Rachel about what a hero would\wouldn’t do, and then he goes and stabs her.

I think that maybe the point of the scene…to show how fallible the heroes are, even when trying to “save” each other from making mistakes.

Sure, it’s not logical, and shows how much of a prick Logan can be, but that makes it an even stronger moment in some way.

-D

…and this was the second scene I thought of for this Wolverine portion of the archive, and a scene I was kind of hoping wouldn’t show up.

Count me among the people who found this scene dumb. (this was around the point when I was really starting to lose patience with the book…for me its best days were long past).

Even though Wolverine’s logic does hold up, it’s still ludicrous that he would embrace the logic enough to gut an X-Man. And, as noted, it’s horribly hypocritical. The next issue, where it’s revealed Selene has killed another innocent victim, just underlines how stupid this all is.

By this point in the run I was pining for the days when Wolverine was a hot-headed supporting character, before he became the team’s resident Obi-Wan. I’m all for him showing some development, like in the Claremont/Miller miniseries, but this scene just takes his transformation to bizarre lengths.

A 13-year-old me bought this book based on the cover alone, and it kicked off a 15-year X-Men habit.

Two of my all time favorite moments in comics occured in the X-men. One of those (which was actually the moment that led me to start collecting comics in the first place) has Wolverine dispatching someone and I am hoping that particular moment will be spotlighted here. But I doubt that it will since both of the events that I think of as definitive and Iconic are never mentioned anywhere. But I am hoping one or both will get their due in this column.

When I saw the mini-theme was Wolverine stabbing people, this was the first thing that I remembered. It just stands out…I think it works *because* it doesn’t make sense and is really hypocritical.

To me the irony is that Wolverine is lecturing Rachel about what a hero would\wouldn’t do, and then he goes and stabs her.

I think that maybe the point of the scene…to show how fallible the heroes are, even when trying to “save” each other from making mistakes.

Sure, it’s not logical, and shows how much of a prick Logan can be, but that makes it an even stronger moment in some way.

I see what you’re saying, and it’s a good point, but from reading and rereading the story I think you’re giving Claremont too much credit. I think he meant for it to be taken at face value personally.

Wow, I know artists hate this but those pages prove….His old stuff was better.

Also MJ, I totally agree about John Romita jr’s art. I have never seen what anyone likes in the guy. His characters are all blocky and even the “action” scenes for me lack any dynamicism. Boring and ugly in my opinion.

The art on this is absolutely flawless,, in my opinion – Romita Jr. and Dan Green (or was it Al Gordon?) really shined on this period of the X-Men comic. And the storytelling is fantastic.

But, MAN, what a stupid scene – It does nothing but make Wolverine come off as a complete, hipocritical, unredeemable a**hole, and downplays not only how much of a villain Selene is, but how powerful Rachel is as well – She should have sensed Logan’s intentions a mile away, and at those power levels he wouldn’t be able to get close to her, much less stab her.

Horrible, misogynistic (“ooh, look, a woman gets all-powerful and it off course drives her crazy. Leave it to a real man to put her in her place”) and a real blemish on an otherwise almost perfect phase of the comic.

The logic thing for Wolverine to do would be to stab… SELENE! The scene would actually make sense if he did. But stabbing Rachel and letting the villian go like nothing happened? That’s not the Wolverine I know!

And to me that X-Men run was one of the lowest points in JR Jr.’s artwork. He was on a transitional period and would go to do much better things later.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Horrible, misogynistic (”ooh, look, a woman gets all-powerful and it off course drives her crazy.

There are plenty of valid criticisms of this comic…plenty…to use without having to cry misogyny. Come on now…especially with Claremont, a writer notorious for going overboard to portray women positively. No writer puts as much effort to portray powerful women positively as he does, to the point where it was almost overkill.

Man, that’s a lot of words on each page. I really liked this issue when I was 10, but Wolvie’s reasoning for stabbing Rachel didn’t make any sense then, either. I love Romita’s art from this period.

From reading interviews with JR JR, my theory is that his artwork has changed so often from his urge to get out of his dad’s shadow. To me his best work ever was his early Spider-Man, but apparently he felt he was aping his dad too much and over the years deliberately tried to make his style as opposite from him as possible. Unfortunately I think he went too far in the opposite direction and threw out the baby with the bathwater, abandoning a lot of his early strengths in the process.

Another thing to add in defense of JR JR, I think Glynis Oliver’s colors don’t really help either. Oliver tended to just be lazy with backgrounds at this time, making lots of things monochromatic and dull.

There are plenty of valid criticisms of this comic…plenty…to use without having to cry misogyny. Come on now…especially with Claremont, a writer notorious for going overboard to portray women positively. No writer puts as much effort to portray powerful women positively as he does, to the point where it was almost overkill.
What, he can’t slip up?
Sure, he did great things with his female characters, and developed most of them really well. But this case is, on top of everything else that’s bad about it, misogynistic. In my opinion, it’s a really big slip on a very good record. And it’s not “crying misoginy”, if it’s really there, right?

Here you have a girl that’s been brutalized and abused from childhood, forced to hunt and kill her own kind (including friends and family), and then she gets a chance of a do-over (kinda), and gets the power to fight back…And she goes CRAZY?? And one of the guys who was supposed to be her friend/mentor takes it upon himself to judge and act all holier-than-thou with her, and STAB HER? To save the villain? C’mon, why not have Kitty, then, or Storm, try to convince her to not kill Selene?

What’s worse, a few issues earlier Magneto shared a very similar scene with Rachel, and that played out SO MUCH MORE satisfyingly (IMO, of course), and much less hipocritical.

So would it have been okay if he had the exact same stuff done, but to a man? Is Claremont a misandrist for all the traumas, abuses and loss of control in the form of beserker rages he visited on Wolverine?

I understand if Claremont had a record of consistenty treating the women subpar, but he has had a record of the exact opposite. To avoid being called misogynistic he has to never write a woman negatively EVER? That would be patronizing…

I’m not sure if i’ve seen a “moment” that has caused this many passionate love/hate responces.

Romati Jr.’s art is everything people are saying good and bad and while I agree the moment was intense/well presented, Wolverine’s contridictions in words/actions and the fact that Rachel had been turned into a really annoying character after becoming Phoenix/encountering the Beyonder(also really bad) turns this into one of the early downpoints for the 80′s UNCANNY X-MEN.

Part 12 of GREAT MOMENTS in Comic Books, inspired by this column,

Romati Jr.’s art is everything people are saying good and bad and while I agree the moment was intense/well presented, Wolverine’s contridictions in words/actions and the fact that Rachel had been turned into a really annoying character after becoming Phoenix/encountering the Beyonder(also really bad) turns this into one of the early downpoints for the 80’s UNCANNY X-MEN.

Exactly. And by the time Mutant Massacre hit the book really became a dour, depressing book. Much as I love the 80s grim and gritty superhero epics like Miller’s DD and Grant and Zeck’s Punisher and Moore’s Watchmen, there were a lot of casualties when some series tried to hop on the bandwagon and took a turn for the worse. 80s X-Men was one of them. Especially low point was issue not long after this one where Havok stumbles the X-Men post Mutant Massacre after they have gone underground and Psylocke seriously suggests killing him to shut him up. And no one in the story really acted like that was an insane and disrespectful suggestion. Especially coming from a total newcomer rookie in regards to the brother of the first X-Men ever and a guy who was on the team before any of them.

Claremont doesn’t write women positively, he just writes them as the dominant madonna-whores he fantasizes them to be. It’s not misogyny, but it’s not respectful, either.

Count me among the many people who hated this era, who couldn’t stand the art and who pined for the earlier days when the melodrama was kept to a manageably low level and there was a little light-hearted humor to occasionally balance the darkness.

Anyone know who inked this?

Dan Green was the regular inker at the time. I’m pretty sure he did this issue.

Claremont doesn’t write women positively, he just writes them as the dominant madonna-whores he fantasizes them to be. It’s not misogyny, but it’s not respectful, either.

I can agree with that. But at the very least, I think in his mind he was writing them respectfully. Honestly, I think Claremont was just treating most of the characters like crap at this time, men and women.

Wolverine always had a “Don’t start down the path of killing someone, or you’ll wind up like me” mindset. That’s why he stabbed her. Because he doesn’t consider himself one of the heroes. He’s done it a few other times too.

Personal preferences in art has to be one of the most subjective things about comics – but I have to admit that JR JR seems to bring out the most varied and diverse range of opinions on his art work. Part of it can probably be attributed to the fact that he’s done work for so many years, on so many different books, in so many different styles. I still think his run on ASM with Roger Stern was his best stuff and represents the “real” Spider-Man to me. But as much as I loved that run, I found his stuff on X-men here in the late 80′s to be almost intolerable – I never forgave how he drew Kitty Pryde and it really turned me off on the book for a long time. Now I see him back doing ASM here and there in a completely different style, and love him all over again for completely different reasons.

Strange career for someone who, love him or hate him, is widely recognized as being a giant in the field.

Mike Loughlin

May 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

It took me years to actually appreciate JR Jr.’s art. It wasn’t until I discovered his Daredevil work that I saw his strengths. The X-Men comics from this era are a big reason why. Now, I can see his excellent sense of composition and storytelling, but (to me) the figures and faces are flat-out ugly.

> I see what you’re saying, and it’s a good point, but from reading and rereading the story I think you’re giving > Claremont too much credit. I think he meant for it to be taken at face value personally.

That’s probably true. When I read the story back then, I didn’t really think about that. But even then I felt like Wolverine was wrong and it’s a shame that no one really takes him to task for it.

If that had been Claremont’s intention, he probably would have had a real showdown between Wolverine and Strom, instead of…whatever the heck happened next.

It’s true though that this was pretty much when the series started to decline a lot…and I started skipping issues…

-D

“Wolverine always had a “Don’t start down the path of killing someone, or you’ll wind up like me” mindset. That’s why he stabbed her. Because he doesn’t consider himself one of the heroes. He’s done it a few other times too.”

I like that concept, but the “but this is murder” line negates that interpretation for me. And considering how ham-fisted those yellow text boxes are, it makes me doubt the artist or writer’s ability to use subtext.

And just what are “the rules”? If you know the dude’s name then it’s murder, but if it’s just a guard (like from yesterday’s moment) then it’s okay?

Wait, that IS the rule! He knew the cat’s name but the dinosaur was a complete stranger. Cat lives, dinosaur dies. This also explains why villains loudly announce their names in combat, so that Wolverine can’t kill them. Brilliant!

I’m reading comments here and wondering if any of the people who are so opposed to Wolverine stabbing Rachel and think the logic is such bunk read any of the issues following? I thought they cleared it up pretty well. It’s not so simple as “i’m going to murder you to stop you from commiting murder”. Rachel was out of control and going to kill someone who was helpless. At this point in the history, X-Men didn’t kill cavalierly, and they didn’t kill someone who was helpless unless there was no other choice. Rachel had just gone through and mind-raped half the team…after Selene, who was next? The rest of the lords cardinal? he popped his claws believing it was the only way to stop her and that she needed to be stopped.

It’s a good scene, IMHO. We’d seen a similar confrontation with magneto in #196, where he talked her back off the ledge (and seemingly had the power to stop her without attacking her; could Wolvie stop what she was doing to Selene? No.), but the cause was different. here, we have emotionally scarred and unstable Rachel having been put through th wringer by the Beyonder back on the precipice. Great drama, it all fit the characters.

Now, of course, there have been so many ham-fisted yahoos whose sriting style just shoves the characters they have at hand into whatever plot role they need any character will do just about anything. Claremont’s writing now has lost it and some of what he wrote back then lacks subtlety, but it still quite good. he wasn’t writing for a trade (they didn’t even exist then, not really) so the repetition was part of the style and his long form storytelling was unusual for minstream work.

I’ve grown to like JRJR’s art more and more over the years (though I still find Wolvie’s sideburns hilarious). The page layouts are great and so is the emotion in the scenes. This was a definite change in style for him and stepping stone to where he is now.

I agree with Dan about the killing of the guard thing. He’s murdered plenty before this moment and again after. And I disagree with the commenter who said it was properly addressed later. It really wasn’t. Kitty Pryde yelled at him, he just smoked a cigarette and was nonchalant and dismissive about it like it was no big deal, then Spiral kidnapped her and no one even cared enough to mention her again. I hated Wolverine for a while after that, then just chalked it up to a momentary lapse by Claremont and moved on.

At this point in the history, X-Men didn’t kill cavalierly, and they didn’t kill someone who was helpless unless there was no other choice.

Look at yesterday’s “moment” with the Savage Land guard. He could have just knocked the guy out but didn’t. He killed him from behind. So at this point they did kill when there was no other choice. And he’s done it since. It’s just hypocritical.

Josh:

This was Selene, though. If Claremont had wanted to make that scene work, he should have used a victim character that weren’t killing people every day just to survive.

I, too, never cared bfor JR Jr’s work on this book. He started out imitating Paul Smith, probably in an attempt to have a smooth transition because Paul’sm style was so unique. But JR Jr’s work never did it for me.

Composition is good, but his figures bug me, and Wolverine loks rediculous with his sideburns coming out of his cheeks.

Count me as one who left the book after JR Jr came aboard.

Dang, I always wondered how that all happened. I had the issue following this one. Was totally confused by it, since I didn’t know who these characters were or what was going on at the time. Even now, knowing who they all are, I was a little lost.

Wolverine’s the best he is at what he does, but what he does isn’t make rhetorically sound arguments.

Claremont WROTE THE SCENE that followed where Selene murdered an innocent after Wolverine rescues her. That is, in part, done to highlight that it is not supposed to be cut and dried. The issue opens with Kitty’s angrily yelling at Wolverine and her arguments against him are the same ones posted above. Claremont knew when writing it that Wolverine’s logic wasn’t spotless.

When I read it first as a teenager, I was pissed off at Wolverine for attempting to kill a teammate/friend. Now, I am not so sure. Rachel as Dark Phoenix could be a much more terrible thing than Jean. Jean-Phoenix did terrible things just out of self-gratification, lust, greed etc. If he let her go unscathed, you might have seen a fully Phoenix-empowered Rachel who would casually take nearly anyone’s life and have the smug illusion she had the right to as a victim of atrocities and her past (hence Wolverine’s question, “Who made you Judge Jury and executioner). Unfortunately, her kindred spirit, Magneto, tried to stop her going down that path through reason only a few issues earlier and it didn’t stick (when she was about to kill humans who were going to murder Kitty). Wolverine’s more brutal attack was the lesson that worked (I think there was a scene in Excalibur a few years later where she says as much).

This is from my favorite run of all time, the Claremont/JRjr era. Say what you will, I love the art. Great cliff-hanger, too.

For the record, Claremont admitted later in interviews that the reason Wolverine stabbed Rachel was because he was worried she was on the path to becoming another Dark Phoenix (Claremont also admitted he didn’t bring the point across as well as he would have liked).

Found this via Google and thought I’d post in case anyone else does the same. Because good lord, so many of these comments lack context. This isn’t a random sequence, it’s the climax to a character arc that had been building ever since we learned who Rachel really was. Going after Selene in cold blood was precisely what Rachel had done as a hound, and suborning traditional morality put her square in the footsteps of her mother … and we all saw what happened there. It’s interesting to note that Rachel doesn’t actually change as a character until Excalibur, after she’s been altered by Spiral’s Body Shoppe. That’s her mulligan, not simply leaping into the past.

This is just background radiation, because the real issue here was Rachel’s behavior in Uncanny X-Men 203, where she literally murdered several X-Men (including Wolverine) in order to gain the power to take on the Beyonder and end the universe by shattering the M’Kran crystal. Those deaths were reset, but the X-Men remembered them all the same, as well as her plan to end all of creation to stop the Beyonder. This had just happened days before Wolverine follows her to the Hellfire Club, and it’s impossible to intelligently process this scene without understanding what had come before. Of course Wolverine was going to gut her; she’d already attempted to do more damage than Dark Phoenix ever had, she had no real conscience to speak of (which we see again in 209 when she abandons the X-Men to their fate) and she was preparing to engage in cold-blooded murder (again, the same logic that allows cops to shoot criminals before they can harm someone).

Should Wolverine have allowed Rachel to execute Selene? It’s supposed to be a murky moral choice, people. That’s the point. I know many comic readers like to be spoon fed, but come on. But suppose he did allow that. Where does it end? Do the X-Men pro-actively murder all the villains in the Marvel Universe? Who would really support that? Think it through.

The same sense of context is required to make sense of Psylocke’s suggestion to kill Havok in 219 – a suggestion Storm dismisses. That issue was directly on the heels of the Mutant Massacre and the X-Men are in war mode. The Marauders appeared unstoppable, they had slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of mutants, the X-Men themselves took heavy and significant casualties, their friends were falling (the Marauders had already been seen to take on Jean Grey’s family, Havok and Polaris, Madelyn Prior etc). On top of that they didn’t even trust themselves, thanks to Malice’s actions in 219. It’s a logical suggestion from one perspective, and of course one that’s also shot down. But without this context, it’s impossible to make an intelligent comment about it.

@Anne – I see your point. But you’re presuming that the people who objected to that sequence have not already read all that came previously. I have, i understand where that scene came from and I still think it was a horrible, misguided move to make to have Wolverine kill a teamate to save Selene. Also, I still maitain that, at those power levels, it’s ridiculous that Wolverine would even get close to Rachel without her reading his intentions and without defending herself.

But as I said, where does it end? In story terms, you cross a line into pro-active execution and where does it end? Does the book then become about hunting down villains and killing them in cold blood? I don’t think the critics have thought this through. And while they may have read the previous few issues, they pretty clearly didn’t understand them. That scene isn’t really about Selene. It doesn’t exist in isolation. We have to remember that just three issues previously Rachel killed half the X-Men in cold blood and then threatened to destroy the entire universe in hopes of defeating the Beyonder. As far as Wolverine was concerned, she was a vastly bigger threat than Selene, and her refusal to adhere to a heroic moral code re: the Hellfire Club was just further proof. The X-Men had already been through one Dark Phoenix and only survived because she killed herself. Wolverine’s actions make perfect sense in that context, and only seem bewildering if we’re looking at this one issue in isolation. Context is everything.

You’ve got a point about Wolverine sneaking up on Rachel, but it had already been established that his is a hard mind to read even for Xavier. And considering her emotional state at the time, I think it’s easy enough to write off her not being grounded enough to scan intelligently. Let’s not forget in the immediately preceding issue she loses control of her powers because of something so small as a temper tantrum.

The real issue here, in my opinion, is that most comic readers aren’t used to reading comics the same way we read novels, when that’s exactly how Claremont was writing the book during this period. A lot of it feels dated and hokey today, but if you look at other books published at the time, the difference in sophistication is night and day. I don’t think readers were conditioned to look at 207 as the climax to the previous 20 issues, but rather a standalone month on the spinner rack at 7-11.

Anne, I completely agree with you here and appreciate your articulate arguments.

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