Back when Frank Tieri was writing the ongoing “Wolverine” series, a few relaunches ago, he introduced Logan’s most formidable combat opponent: Mr. X, a guy who could predict Wolverine’s every move.
Basically, it was DC’s Prometheus, but with less clothes and more tattoos. Mr. X was never quite as cerebral as the now-dead purple-clad DC villain. He was more of an instinctive fighter, whose superpower let him feel the moves of those whom he was fighting. And he also savored the defeat of others, physically — their fading life essence emptied into him.
This one-shot, in which Frank Tieri returns to his creation, accompanied by the energetic but grotesque illustrations of Paco Diaz, recaps Mr. X’s origin, tells a bit about his powers, and wallows in his obsession with Wolverine.
He wants to beat Wolverine — the only man who has ever defeated him — and he’ll do anything to get what he wants. So he trains against an army of combatants clad in Wolverine costumes — representing different eras of Logan’s career — and even unleashes a squad of ferocious bears against himself. With each anti-bear strike, he images fighting Wolverine instead.
Basically, it’s a twisted love story, with Mr. X daydreaming about Wolverine, longing to see Wolverine. Just to punch him real hard.
The issue works well when it shows the excessive nature of Mr. X. Whether he’s standing in a pile of fallen Wolverines or striking back against growling, drooling grizzlies, Mr. X’s story — as absurd as it is — makes sense in its own bizarre way during those moments. I mean, this is a guy who’s really obsessed.
But when we get moments like Wolverine waiting in line at the bank — He doesn’t have direct deposit or an ATM card? He literally waits in line at the bank and still has time to fight alongside every Marvel superteam? — and the absolutely ridiculous finale in which Wolverine uses a surprise move against Mr. X, the issue completely falls apart in its own silliness. The climax doesn’t make sense, for Wolverine as a character, for this story as a single issue, and though you can see Logan’s logic at work, it leaves too many unresolved questions. I don’t want to spoil the “twist,” but Wolverine’s actions don’t lead to the defeat of Mr. X at all, not really. And there’s no reason for Wolverine to even leave Mr. X alive at the end of the issue.
Except the character has to go on to join the “Thunderbolts,” as he did a few months back. And I suppose that makes as much sense as anything else in this issue.