Wolverine is the best at what he does, and in 2006, he will have a lot to do. Current "Wolverine" scribe Daniel Way has the Canucklehead traveling across the globe in search of secrets from his newly recalled past. In a few months time, new writer Marc Guggenheim will embroil Logan in Marvel's big "Civil War" story line. But before that happens, in the pages of April's "Wolverine" #41 writer Stuart Moore will send Logan to Africa on an important mission to save the life of a baby girl. CBR News spoke with Moore about the story entitled "The Package."
Moore and his artist on "Wolverine" #41, C.P. Smith, had previously worked together on a Wolverine short story titled "The Healing" in "X-Men Unlimited" #12. Axel Alonso liked the way Moore and Smith worked together so he commissioned the two to do a longer story.
The extra length, 34 page story by Moore and Smith has Wolverine accepting a mission from the Black Panther. "He's agreed to take on some dirty work requested by the Black Panther," Moore told CBR News. "The Panther asked for the Avengers' help, and since Wolverine's their Black Ops guy -- and because he's got a soft spot for people in trouble -- he volunteered."
Wolverine's clandestine mission for the Panther is to save the life of a baby girl, the daughter of an overthrown monarch, who is the last hope for an African nation. "I originally pitched the story to Axel as 'Logan Wolf and Cub' -- basically, Wolverine has to get out of a very dangerous situation with a baby, whom he's protecting, strapped to him," Moore explained "It seemed like a good setup because on the one hand it plays to this tough guy's soft spot, which is protecting helpless little things; and, on the other hand, it physically hobbles him from diving headlong into a brawl the way he usually does. Or if he does, he has to be especially careful that the baby doesn't get hurt along the way."
"We batted around a variety of settings, but the one we kept coming back to was Africa," Moore continued. "The country in the story is fictional -- it's a neighbor of Wakanda's -- but it's a mixture of Liberia, the Congo, and especially Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is a horror show; as Wolverine says in the story, the average life expectancy is thirty-seven, and that counts thousands of people who've been deliberately mutilated and had limbs amputated. All that plays into the story."
There will be many adversaries trying to block both Wolverine and the baby's exodus from the country. "The main enemy is a rebel general named Lago, who has marshaled a huge army in order to take the capital and, along the way, recapture the child," Moore said. "I don't want to reveal all the threats Wolverine faces, but I will say that AFTER he takes care of the tanks, deadly jungle animals, and ordinary soldiers with guns, that's when the real horror kicks in."
With the horde of enemies Wolverine faces and the dire importance of his mission, readers can expect issue #41 to be fast paced, dark toned, running of the gauntlet style thriller. "It was great fun for me because it follows the action-movie template more closely than most of what I write," Moore explained. "There's very little slowing down for conversations in this story; everything's revealed on the fly, with bullets whizzing by and Wolverine always running, running, running."
"The setting made it very dark," Moore continued. "One of the trickiest things about this story was that the reasons for the current strife in Africa are complicated -- and on the one hand, I didn't want to slow things down with a lecture on international geopolitics. But on the other hand, I didn't want to give the impression that this is a part of the world where people just shoot and mutilate each other all the time for no reason. I think I managed to strike that balance."
Moore has seen the finished art for issue #41 by his artistic collaborator C. P. Smith, and he's been blown away. "It's gorgeous. It's just got this gripping photorealistic quality, especially when he does his own coloring and effects, which he's doing here. He's just touching up some effects now -- and I think people are really going to notice it."
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