Wolverine Origins #39
Picking up right where we left off in the previous issue, more of Romulus’ secret plan unfolds before us as several members of his deadly fight club square off against each other. Wild Child appears extensively in this issue as an agent of Romulus, having joined up with him sometime before Wolverine v3 #53.
Wild Child first appears in flashback to his single panel cameo in issue #38 on the Intro/Credits page, then in a metal fabrication plant in Russia where he has killed a local worker and tied up Wolverine over a vat of bubbling molten metal. After expostulating for a few pages about his diabolical plan to lower Wolverine into the vat, which could have been shortened if he had just said, “Terminator 2. ‘Nuff said!”, he accidentally gives Wolverine (and us) clues about what’s been going on for the past few years since the Romulus retcon started.
You made the classic movie mistake: don't explain so much!
Wolverine figures out Romulus’ gladiator-style plan to pit various members of his fight club against each other, shown very nicely with half-page portraits of the members, the best art in the book (Nuke, Cyber and Sabretooth already killed, Omega Red, Wild Child, Daken and Wolverine are left). Wild Child then appears in a greyed out flashback to the events of Wolverine v3 #55 when Wolverine killed Sabretooth.
Meanwhile, Omega Red, who was defeated but not killed in the previous issue, shows up during Kyle’s monologue and after a brief scuffle, rams one of his tentacles through Wild Child’s throat and tosses him into the vat of molten metal, killing him.
The way the battles had been going so far, this was an unexpected result. Remember that a newly powered (with possibly increased levels) Wild Child fought Wolverine and won handily in Wolverine v3 #53. Later, Wolverine defeated Omega Red, so it would appear that Wild Child ought to have done better against the loser of the loser’s battle, but unfortunately, fared worse than expected.
Given the choice, I’d prefer not to see Kyle die at all, but if he had to, it would have been preferable for Logan to do it: remember back to the grisly fight between them in Marvel Comics Presents #51-53, which could have gone either way, the short battle in Alpha Flight #127 and in that same issue, the flashback when he rescues Stitch from him and declares, “The kid’s a monster, pure and simple. He doesn’t need reaching… …he needs putting down!” I was expecting Logan to take him out with a line something like, “Mac’s not around anymore to stop me from doing something I shoulda done years ago…”, to get a sense of closure on the long-standing storyline of raw animosity between the two. Nothing was even mentioned before or after Wild Child’s death. Even Jeph Loeb took a shot at Wild Child’s history, but Daniel Way just treated Kyle as some random dude who just showed up who Logan didn’t even know, without a single hint of recognition or connection whatsoever.
Wild Child’s character has been transformed so many times through his life, from the scraggly feral man-beast from Delphine Courtney’s Omega Flight to Weapon Omega, then the handsome Wildheart, reborn somehow into X-Factor, devolved at the end of his run there, reborn by Weapon X into a mute grey-skinned vampiric moppet and finally depowered, only to be brought back all Wildhearty again, with super-speed and strength, hair, a voice, and tons of piercings. His life, a story of continual change, oscillating between man, beast, hero and villain, is finally over.
Note: this issue has a variant cover:
||Wolverine Origins #39 – 70th Anniversary Frame variant