What does an old, grizzled, time-displaced version of Wolverine do when he realizes that the version of history he’s in isn’t going to lead to the awful future he came from? “Bordertown” has him going to check on the little girl that eventually grew up to become his wife and making sure that she’s all right. This turns out to be an extraordinarily bad idea when Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers show up, looking to extract some measure of payback against this version of Wolverine. If you think that setup sounds formulaic as hell, then you’d be right.. Still, writer Jeff Lemire continues to do a good job fleshing out Old Man Logan’s character (and the future he came from) while also doing the necessary work to make sure we care about the people we need to in this small town. Even more effective is Andrea Sorrentino’s striking art which has this predictable story playing out in imaginative ways on the page. While the issue that follows this arc may be overly sentimental, we at least get a decent direction for future adventures involving the character. I’ll still be onboard for them.
A welcome surprise to this volume is the extra issue they included to round out its page count. While reprinting old issues in collections of modern issues has annoyed me in the past, that’s not the case here as the one we get is both relevant to the story in this volume and a really good one at that. They story in question is “Wounded Wolf” from “Uncanny X-Men” #205, featuring the first appearance of Lady Deathstrike after she’s been remade in the Body Shoppe by Spiral. After that introduction, the story picks up with Katie Power (of the Power Pack) running into a severely wounded Wolverine. Logan has been driven into a near feral state by Deathstrike and her mercs, and his only chance of survival hangs on this five-year-old superhero getting him to safety.
For a Marvel comic that’s over three decades old at this point, it has held up remarkably well. Even if you know that all the named characters are going to survive this, it’s still just a little bit unsettling to see an innocent like Katie thrust into such a violent situation. Less so, but still effective is seeing Wolverine beaten up so badly that he can’t even talk. Legendary X-writer Chris Claremont also builds an effective rapport between the two as they help each other out the best they can while keeping the pace relentlessly tense until the end. Barry Windsor-Smith is also on hand to provide some incredibly detailed art that helps sell this tension, while providing Deathstrike with a memorable character design that has endured to this day. If you needed a reminder as to why “Uncanny X-Men” was the superhero comic to read in the 80’s, then this is it.