Wolverine #7 and #8
(Marvel Comics, 1989)
Writer – Chris Claremont
Artist – John Buscema
Letterer – Ken Bruzenak
Colorist – Mike Rockwitz
Greetings from the Wasteland!
Often the easiest way for a creative team to reboot a character is to make the most simple of changes. The costume. And who doesn’t like a good costume change? At first…everyone. Red/blue Superman? Harpoon-handed Aquaman? But there are exceptions to the rule, as with the black-costumed Spider-Man and the yellow to red Daredevil switch. Sometimes all it takes is the disruption of a new costume to create new and unexpected depths to a well-known character’s persona. Enter Grey Hulk and Patch Wolverine.
These are some classic covers. #7 has Wolverine and Hulk back to back surrounded by a mob of menacing mercenaries. #8 has the two dressed to the nines in tight white tuxes a la Harrison Ford in Temple of Doom. (Alliteration dedicated to Stan Lee.) Both have become fairly collectable just for that, but what of the story between the covers?
Refresher 101 – Hulk is Grey now. He has taken on a lycanthropic state, where he turns to Bruce Banner during the day and grey Hulk (Joe Fixit) at night. He works in Las Vegas for Michael Berenghetti, a skilled businessman.
Wolverine has taken the name Patch after an assassination attempt. People think he’s dead and he wants them to keep thinking that. He owns part interest in a Madripoor nightclub.
Wolverine Issue #7
Patch is facing off against the royalty of Madripoor, attempting a coup with the aid of Jessica Drew, Karma, and Tyger Tiger. The prince, who basically tells Tyger and General Coy to play nice and split the running of the country, resolves the issue.
Mr. Fixit is on his way to…fix something, lent out by Berenghetti to a mysterious contact in Madripoor. General Coy has lost a shipment of opium and frantic to find or replace it. He is the one who has hired Fixit to come and…uh…fix it.
Patch is at the airport and knows recognizes Fixit, but Hulk, after smashing a couple of guys with Patch’s aid, only know him by that name. Issue ends with Patch seeing Banner in bed. He knows that Mr. Fixit must be indoors at dawn, because he turns back into Banner.
Wolverine Issue #8
Joe Fixit works in Vegas. He has crown accustomed to the life, wearing tailored suits and staying in the best rooms. When he wakes up he finds that someone (Patch) has replaced all of his fine suits with purple pants and more purple pants. (My favorite moment in both books.) As the issue progresses we watch as Patch plays the Hulk, using him as muscle to bust up a cocaine operation and a slavery ring run by General Coy. Hulk finds out that Patch is Wolverine when he pops his claws and cuts the support beam beneath the Hulk, dropping him off of a cliff and onto the cocaine factory below. But he doesn’t let on until he punches Patch at the end of the book, hard enough to kill him, for playing him. “As if he knew he could break my bones…”
These were two great books. It was the height of the Claremont/Buscema co-op, and it is just a sample of why those two are revered in the world of comics. These are Wolverine comics, and he pops his claws only twice in two issues because he’s keeping his cover as Patch. But because of the writing skill of Claremont and the artistic pairing with Buscema, you don’t care. Claremont shows a smarter, more cunning side of Wolverine, a side we didn’t see as often then, the opposite of the raging animal. And Grey Hulk, increased knowledge but no less savage, only serves as a perfect straight man to Patch’s pranks. Both of these were great books, worth your time and money.
COVERS FOR ‘WOLVERINE’ #7 & #8 (1989):
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