Best Wolverine-Sabertooth Confrontation EVER!

We're just clear of May, so Morrison Mondays in May are technically over, but it seems to me like I'm not all that far from having featured every single Morrison work on the blog. Well on my way, as they say. So let's just keep calling the occasional Morrison Monday, shall we? Having covered a lot of the more obscure works, how about some mainstream today?

NEW X-MEN #142, Marvel Comics, August 2003
It took Grant Morrison to bring me back to the X-Men after more than 10 years. No surprise there.

New X-Men #142 occurs towards the end of his reasonably lengthy run, and is the start of "Assault on Weapon Plus", a story that asks "what if Wolverine isn't Weapon X, but really Weapon TEN?" It's really great too. But part 1 is just a prologue to tie up the loose ends from the previous storyline in which Cyclops cheated on Jean Gray with the White Queen.

So we catch up with Cyke in a Hellfire Club stripjoint, trying to get drunk and watching an illusionist stripper make like she's a whored-up Jean. That's what the real world needs, mutant strippers. (Of course, every strip joint I've ever been to had them, but they were the Morlock kind - brrrrr. Consequently, they've only been able to drag me there, like, twice.)

We've talked a lot about Morrison's Silver Age fetish, and penchant for high weirdness and disturbing imagery, but this issue spotlights his very real talent for characterization and dialogue. Cyclops has always been a jerk, but I don't think he's ever been this much of a real person before. Cyclops/Morrison on stripping: "Actually, I was thinking about how weird and sexless and unarousing this is... I know you probably have jeans and a sweater to change into backstage and a boyfriend back home. I can't fool myself into thinking there's anything more to this. So you're just making me feel a little self-conscious and embarrassed, to tell the truth." The girl: "Wow. You really know how to murder a nice romantic mood, don't you?" Cyke: "I think it might be my mutant power."

MINE TOO! See? I've never connected to Cyclops more.

Sabertooth and Wolverine are also at the club, and here's their big showdown:
Sorry kids, if you wanted a lot of claws and blood and 2-page spreads of these guys fighting like animals, you'll just have to turn to, oh, just about a billion comics where that happens. I'll just enjoy the rapier wit at the urinal, thank you very much. Wolverine wins: "You're lucky we ran into each other here. This'd been anywhere else, I'd have had you gutted and your skin hung up to cure by now." I feel the same way about people talking to me in a public washroom. Nothing's sacred to Sabertooth.

Of course, Wolverine's there to recruit Cyclops for a mission to find out yet another piece of his missing past. He drinks Cyclops under the table, Cyclops has to come. And since Cyclops is a chump and probably already drunk, he takes that bet. A drinking contest with Wolverine. Reeeeal smart.

I'll let you figure out how it ends.
Further Morrison reading:
Animal Man and its finale
Arkham Asylum
Batman: Gothic
JLA: Earth 2
JLA Secret Files
All-Star Superman (and the Bizarro issue)

Still plenty to go... Aztek, Swamp Thing, Mystery Play, 7 Soldiers, Doctor Who, Sebastian O, The Filth, Seaguy... Some of the British strips are going to be a little harder to track down, but I'll give it my best shot.


De said...

A good friend from Syracuse used to frequent strip clubs near the border because Canadian drinking laws allowed 18-year olds to imbibe (this was back in the early '90s so I'm not sure if this has changed). He used to call it "going to the Canadian ballet."

He's all class that one.

Siskoid said...

The legal age varies from province to province. Here in New Brunswick, for example, it's 19. This means that the NB-Quebec border is littered with...uhm... ballets.

Quebec's legal age is 18, the clubs close at 3 AM rather than 2 AM (by which time it's 4 AM in NB), annnnnnnnnd they sell beer in convenience stores, later than our own liquor stores.

So a lot of border crossing up North. I'm guessing some of those Quebec small towns (Maria, Ville Dégelis) practically LIVE on New Brunswickers' need for late night booze.

Austin Gorton said...

I live in Minnesota, not far from the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, and we have a similar border crossing rush on Sundays (since liquor stores are closed on Sundays in MN but not in WI) and during fireworks season, since cool fireworks (stuff that explodes) are legal in WI but only lame fireworks (stuff that sparkles or smolders) are legal in MN.

There are also quite a few bars in Northern Iowa, across that border, that allegedly gained a fair bit of business after MN banned smoking in all bars.

Also, I like to think that Cyclops had every intention of going with Wolverine, but setup the whole "drink me under the table" bet to sate Wolverine's ego. ;)


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