VENGEANCE UNBOUND
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WOLVERINE # 89

SYNOPSIS
After an extended leave, Wolverine returns to New York City on his way back to the X-Men's mansion in Westchester. As he crosses the George Washington Bridge into the city, he's met by the Ghost Rider, who tells him that a spectre from Logan's past has returned to shed innocent blood. Wolverine shrugs this off and tells the Rider that he'd better say something quickly to keep him from heading to Westchester. Ghost Rider says one word, "Ogun", and Logan turns away from the exit ramp to head into the city.

Wolverine follows Ghost Rider to the Metropolitan Museum, which is closed due to the late hour at night. The heroes find the doors blasted open and the guards dead, but no alarms have sounded. They ride into the museum, while Ghost Rider tells Wolverine that he found the entire building permeated with an evil mystic aura that echoed with the name "Logan". Ogun had sensed Logan's entering the city, and the Ghost Rider sensed the desire for a final confrontation - so he sought the X-Man out. They come across a display case that houses the Demon Mask of Ogun, along with a sword - a mask that Wolverine himself destroyed in Tokyo the night he killed Ogun to save his teammate, Kitty Pryde. The Rider explains that the mask of an artifact of the dark arts, and must be mystically unmade before they can be destroyed. A noise draws them away from the display, and when they return the mask and sword are gone. Ogun descends from the ceiling and attacks the two heroes, repelling their claws and chains with ease.

Ogun leads them into the Egyptian wing, where Ghost Rider senses a terrible evil. Logan explains that Ogun was a demon sorcerer while he was alive, but has somehow managed to cheat death. As they fight again, Wolverine thinks back to his time as Ogun's pupil in Japan, and how he could only beat his master by allowing his animal side to take over. While lost in thought, Wolverine is saved from Ogun's sword by the Ghost Rider's chain, allowing Logan to claim the sword. He brings the blade down upon Ogun's head, cutting the Demon Mask in half - and for a split second Logan sees his own face beneath the mask before the body vanishes into smoke and dust. Ogun the sorcerer had reached out from beyond the grave to attack Logan with a part of himself, but forgot that he taught the X-Man about balancing his animal and rational mind.

ANNOTATIONS
This issue is the second part of a very loose crossover with Ghost Rider (1990) # 57, in which Wolverine helped Ghost Rider defeat the Next Wave.

Ghost Rider and Wolverine will meet next in Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: The Dark Design.

Wolverine's history with Ogun was detailed in the classic Kitty Pryde & Wolverine mini-series from the early 1980s, which is also when Logan killed his former teacher.

REVIEW
Well, we've come to a time when Ghost Rider guest-appearances weren't as trumpeted as loudly as a few years before when the character was a guaranteed sales-booster. In this unofficial crossover with the Ghost Rider series, ol' Flamehead didn't even warrant a cover mention, let alone an appearance. 'Tis a sad thing, indeed, especially considering how poor this issue is outside of the stellar Kubert cover.

This issue came out the same month as Wolverine's guest-appearance in Ghost Rider, so it's an easy assumption that the two were meant to be a crossover of sorts. Of course, neither book does anything to tie the two stories together or even segue into one another appropriately. The ending to the Ghost Rider issue doesn't match up with the beginning of this Wolverine issue, and vice versa - so it begs the question of why the writers even bothered to begin with? It's not like Larry Hama was using Ghost Rider as a sales-booster, considering the character didn't appear on the cover or the solicitation text - his appearance was truly a surprise.

Of course, Ghost Rider is completely unnecessary here, only needed to bring Wolverine from point A to point B in a plausible way. The story itself reads like a filler issue, despite the involvement of the book's regular writer. Ogun was a character that Chris Claremont effectively created and destroyed in a mini-series a decade before, and if he was to come back Ogun deserved much better than this throw-away story.

But what makes this issue truly awful is the artwork. As a growing artist myself, seeing the work of Fabio Laguna actually getting published makes me downright angry. This man has no talent whatsoever, as 90% of his "art" in this issue is swiped from other comics. Every panel featuring Wolverine is stolen from Jim Lee, while his Ghost Rider is swiped from poses by Mark Texeira to Adam Kubert. Check out the shot of Ghost Rider on pages 2 and 13 here, then take a look at pages 3 and 27 of Spirits of Vengeance # 1. It's shameful that the editors didn't catch this, because it's theft at its worst - Laguna is trying to pass off other people's work as his own, and it makes me sick.

This comic is utter shit. Read it at your peril.

Grade: F


Wolverine # 89
Published: Jan. 1995 Original Price: $1.95
Cover: Adam Kubert

Title: "The Mask of Ogun"
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Fabio Laguna
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor In Chief: Tom DeFalco