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Left Unresolved – What’s in the Box, Wolverine? What’s in the Box?!?

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In this feature, I spotlight storylines that have been, well, left unresolved. Click here for an archive of all storylines featured so far.

Today, we take a look at a mysterious box that a bunch of villains fought Wolverine over possession of it. As Brad Pitt would say, What’s in the box, Wolverine? What’s in the box?!?

In Wolverine #111 (by Larry Hama, Anthony Winn and Dan Green), during Iceman’s going away party (he was taking a leave of absence to take care of his dad), Wolverine receives a mysterious box (lots of people are after it, but sure, sending it by FedEx should be safe)…

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Later that issue, someone mysterious attacks Wolverine in the Danger Room.

Later on, in Wolverine #113 (by Hama, Leinil Francis Yu and Edgar Tadeo), that same mysterious person has possessed this mime and is trying to get a hold of the box…

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Wolverine realizes that it is his old foe, Ogun, possessing the mime. Jean Grey and Storm show up and Ogun possesses Jean, as well…

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They free Jean, but then Ogun possesses Wolverine’s foreman at his side job as a construction worker…

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(I love how she is talking about how dumpy she looks compared to Storm and Jean…ah…comic book depictions of women)

At the end of the issue, we see that Daimon Hellstrom is ALSO interested in the box…

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Go to the next page to see how the story ended (but not resolved)…

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40 Comments

If Storm invited me to join her and Bobby in her attic DRESSED LIKE THAT, the only thing that would make me stop is perhaps a chance to kill Bobby before knocking.

BTW can anyone read the oriental writing on the manhole cover in Logan’s memory about seeing the cube?

I’m guessing it was either Wolverine’s nose, or the missing part of Deathstrike’s shirt.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s head?

I asked Larry Hama if he knew what was in the box, and he gave me an awesome answer about how he never knew what was on page three of a story until he wrote page two. Something like the box, in his mind, was a destination, something to drive the characters to.

So it was a Macguffin, with no plan and no direction. Sure sounds like great writing!

On the other hand, this is some of the least bad ’90’s art I’ve seen.

Captain_Mcgloo

March 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm

I wasn’t a huge fan of his art on new Avengers or Secret Invasion but Leinil Yu on Wolverine was fantastic

I think this one has been solved…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSEuJFJ1SiE

After #90, Hama’s run became such a mess and never recovered. Finished reading he Dying Game Epic Collection that ends with #100 and most of it is just unreadable jumble of riddles and vague dialogue that amounts to so much filler and useless issues, then he goes and kill most of the Madripoor cast off panel. Just terrible. Some great art from Adam Kubert, though.

Love Hama. Loved his run on Wolverine. I think the term ‘shaggy dog story’ applies though.

There’s nothing in the box. It’s just a Macguffin, or in this case a pop culture reference to another pop culture reference that was also a Macguffin.

It’s just Wolverine referencing Pulp Fiction, which in turn was referencing Kiss Me Deadly.

FuryOfFirestorm

March 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

It was Justin Timberlake’s d**k, obviously.

I will tell you exactly what was in the box: An apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands!

The back half of Larry Hama’s Wolverine is pretty forgettable. But hey, he had a rat with a smiley face on his ass running around so there’s that.

Nothing long with making it up as you go along as long as you’re writer’s instincts are sharp and you can pull it off in the end.

As I recall, Damien Hellstrom was substituted for Doctor Strange at the last minute due to some bit of continuity or other.

A second, smaller box.

Was Deathstrike still hunting Wolverine when he didn’t have the adamantium? That’s not clear here.

Also, why is Ogun, a master martial artist (iirc), using machine guns? That doesn’t seem like him. (I’m remembering Ogun as being Mariko’s father from the Claremont / Miller mini; am I wrong?)

Le Messor: Mariko’s daddy is Shingen Yashida. But Ogun’s a martial artist too.

Nothing long with making it up as you go along as long as you’re writer’s instincts are sharp and you can pull it off in the end.

There’s a difference between dropping in a few subplots that are only half-formed ideas and coming back to work them out later, and literally declaring that you have no plan at all for what you’re going to put on the next page.

The former is an evolving creative process, the latter is just hack work.

Nu-D:

See, if I didn’t know better about Larry Hama, I’d be tempted to agree with you. But I know he’s said many times that that’s exactly how he plotted his G.I. Joe run, including the silent issue that many consider a hallmark of American comic books.

I think it’s a style of plotting that Hama developed on G.I. Joe because of how fast he had to come up with stuff while fitting in anything Hasbro wanted to promote for the toyline. And if you didn’t know better, I doubt you’d be able to guess he was writing it that way. It’s not the best thing ever, but it’s amazingly more solid than most mainstream American comics were at the time.

Forcing yourself to improvise and work on instinct really DOES bring out good stuff in some writers. Hama may have been taking it to an extreme, but with the right book, I can believe that a writer can push that pretty far without diminishing returns.

But Ben Herman, there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands…

Ah, not planning your stories and writing as you go, by the seat of your pants… Scott Lobdell would later use this in EVERYTHING HE WROTE.

I get doing SOME of this,but c’mon, if it’s something that’s played up as a mystery or something, at least have the resolution planned out.

I listened to a podcast recently where Mark Waid said he employed a writing style similar to Hama’s: he tries writes the character(s) into an impossible situation then just figures it out when he breaks the script for the next issue. The other creators on the podcast (Gillen and Fraction IIRC) where aghast. Only in comics!

And yes, the female character wearing a flannel shirt as a halter top should have a little more confidence in herself. Then again, I’ve met some gorgeous women who somehow believe their looks to be on par with Quasimodo.

Jamil- I think there’s a big difference between a writer not knowing ahead of time how the characters will get out of a situation and not knowing ahead of time what’s actually going on.

The late Steve Gerber was also notorious for not plotting his stories in advance, iirc.

Hama was very good about tying up his loose ends, regardless of whether he plotted them out in advance or not (unlike certain other X-writers). I tend to believe that the only reason this one didn’t get resolved was due to his leaving Wolverine beforehand.

@Max

Nothing long with making it up as you go along as long as you’re writer’s instincts are sharp and you can pull it off in the end.

Unless you’re writing a mystery. And this story was very much one, given the box’s unrevealed contents.

I only bought these issues cuz I was 12 and Jean and Storm were in it.

Worth it.

Although I was a little worried cuz I hadn’t picked up Fatal Attractions yet so I was wondering why people stopped drawing his claws all sleak and added this jagged look.

Hey, Jamil! I believe it’s a plague not exclusive to comics: some TV series with long-running plots also suffer from it –Lost is the first one that comes to mind. And maybe “How I met Your Mother”.

Several Brazilian soaps also qualify: somebody blackmails the protagonist saying “Gustavo, I know your secret!” and the writers have some months until the last chapter to think of a good enough secret. Have in mind that it’s not always they manage doing it.

And maybe “How I met Your Mother”.

That was the precise opposite problem of How I Met Your Mother. ;)

Thanks, Inner Circle. It’s the ‘Logan’s mentor’ bit that confuses me… but come to think of it, Shingen was never a mentor to Logan, was he? What is WRONG with me?

Sean – see? The device works!

“Hama was very good about tying up his loose ends, regardless of whether he plotted them out in advance or not (unlike certain other X-writers). I tend to believe that the only reason this one didn’t get resolved was due to his leaving Wolverine beforehand.”

Exactly. Had Hama stuck around he would have come up with something or other as he had done countless times before and people complaining he introduced a mystery without an answer would be none the wiser.

Don’t rag on Hama for the mystery box. Rag on him for what he did to Generation X. ;D

Though I didn’t like the storyline in this article, I absolutely loved Hama’s run on Wolverine. The aftermath of AoA as well as the Onslaught and Operation: Zero Tolerance X-overs really screwed up his storylines, but he had a great run as a whole. I wish they’d put out dedicated Wolverine omnibii for his run.

@Inner Circle: BTW can anyone read the oriental writing on the manhole cover in Logan’s memory about seeing the cube?

The middle character is ? “big, great,” the third is probably a mangled version of ? “wind” (a reference to the title, maybe?). The first character is probably just a made-up scribble that’s supposed to look like “Asian” writing, just as the writing on the cube itself looks like some random lines meant to resemble Japanese kana.

Boy, everything about Wolverine screams “not protagonist material”. Every other panel wakes up an instinct to ask “when will we reach the interesting part already?”

The panels above seem to make a very direct parody/homage of the Lament Configuration out of the box. Lots of hints pointing that way, to the point that is distracting, even annoying.

Why did Wolverine ever get a series again?

It’s Saturn’s Cube. The Matrix. A representation of how we are all trapped in time and space. It even has the x on it which equals “space” where “o” equals time because it’s the snake eating itself going around and around.

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

No, wait, that was a different MacGuffin. Never mind :)

Comic-Reader Lad

March 13, 2016 at 8:13 am

Those Wolverine pages above are campy as all hell.

Wolverine’s “side job” as a construction worker?

Wolverine’s “digs” where a possessed juggling mime is waiting for him?

Sending a magic box that has multiversal implications via Fedex?

A group that safeguards the multiverse that sounds like a law firm?

A possessed Rambo-chick with a machine gun?

The MacGuffin box that has an “X” carved on it because everything in the X-Men universe had to have an “X” somewhere?

Not to mention the hackneyed and cliched MacGuffin plot in the first place.

In general, Marvel sucked in the 90s and the 90s X-crap that flooded the market unrelentingly was very much a prime example of why.

That multi-versa lawfirm was used well in Joe Kelly’s Deadpool.

It’s a sad day when Wolverine is reduced to fighting a Mime. I mean, at least do what we all want and kill him.

And Triniking1234’s post reminds me a bit too much of the story recounted about Yvonne Craig in the columns here after her death. TMI.

M-Wolverine- “It’s a sad day when Wolverine is reduced to fighting a Mime. I mean, at least do what we all want and kill him.”

That would be horrible. A mime is a terrible thing to waste.

She was always the quiet type, but she never told me she was a mime.

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