“SAVAGE WOLVERINE 19
ISSUE # 19 - Gail Simone (W) • TBA (A)
COVERS BY Shane Davis
ISSUE #19 -
• He’s the best there is at what he does – but what if he has a bad day?
• Logan collides head first with some bad luck on the worst possible day. Can Jubilee lend a hand?
• It’s Wolverine’s no good, very bad, extremely awful day by Gail Simone (Batgirl) and Somebody!”—
"By Gail Simone (Batgirl) and Somebody!"
Yes, I wonder why artists may feel like they’re being devalued by the Big Two these days. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
There is no good reason why The Long Kiss Goodnight isn’t a television series. You remember, the Shane Black-written, Renny Harlin directed flick from 1996, which starred Geena Davis as a housewife who learns that she’s actually an assassin and Samuel L. Jackson as the shitty detective who befriends her and leader her to her identity.
It didn’t do all that well at the box office when it was first released: The Long Kiss Goodnight cost $65 million and grossed $33 million, and this was back when domestic grosses meant something. Geena Davis was probably the wrong star — you never once bought her as maternal, so the shift to homicidal didn’t carry the necessary weight. And Shane Black’s thread of homophobia didn’t do any favors. And it was just the wrong kind of dark at the wrong time.
But today, that idea would fit in perfectly well on FX or AMC or HBO or Cinemax. A woman struggling with a submerged persona that erupts at all the wrong times, not knowing which her is the real her. A family that doesn’t know what to make of this person who flips from intimately familiar to stranger-made-of-danger on a dime.
And once the CIA twigs to the presence of their former prize assassin who’s been off the grid for a decade, she’s forced to leave the people she loves to protect them from herself — all in a quest to uncover who she was in another life and why her former bosses tried to kill her.
Jesus, give me Naomi Watts and a 13-episode order and we’re off to the races.
Here’s what I WOULDN’T do in the pilot: Kill Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Instead, open with the Waynes sneaking out of a charity event, confronted by punks with malfeasance on their minds. Then the Waynes are SAVED by young Lt. Gordon.
Have Gordon become a friend to the Waynes, get to know young Bruce during happier times. The prince of the city and its knight defender. Gordon educates Thomas about where the city is hurting the most and Thomas begins directing his charities towards addressing those ills.
Show us who these men are before tragedy.
THEN, either halfway through or at the end of the first season, you have the Waynes at a similar event — make it a charity screening of Zorro — sneaking out the back, and getting gunned down. Without Gordon there to save them.
That way, the Gordon who drapes his jacket over a heartbroken boy isn’t a stranger being nice to an orphan, he’s a distraught man also grieving the loss of dear friends. Of good people in a bad world.
What’s more, he feels personally responsible for both the death of his friends and the life of their son. Let him become a surrogate father to the orphaned Bruce Wayne — and have his paternal impulses conflict with Alfred’s. They both care for the boy and both think they know what’s best for him. New stepdad vs. old stepdad.
But Bruce, not yet aware of the realities of the world — not yet realizing that Jim Gordon wasn’t his father’s personal bodyguard, not understanding that the police can’t be everywhere to save everyone — blames and resents Gordon.
Conflict, entanglements, bonds. Drama.
And you firmly establish Gotham as a show about James Gordon — the things he stands for, the people he loves, his quest to make the city a safer place — not just waiting for Batman to arrive.
The pain didn’t hurt. Not at first. The impact was sudden, unexpected, even though it was absolutely inevitable. The branch was as thick as a baseball bat and it hit me in that wee patch of flesh between my right eye and the bridge of my nose. I stared it in, the way a kid does when he’s playing skee-ball. Helpless and excited.
All of the clichés about the world going silent and full of white are true. A dull ringing as my brain fell out of sync.
Then the pain hurt.
I must’ve been in junior high when I almost blinded myself. The time markers have slipped away. But it was during a summer when I wasn’t trying to be cool, which is what makes me think it was junior high — that narrow band during which boys are no longer just boys but don’t realize they’re supposed to be pretending to be men.
I was visiting with my friend Chris, who lived a decent enough bike ride away from me. His house was a block or two from what we called The Woods. Baldwin, NY is a suburb on the southern shore of Long Island — one of a hundred towns in the orbit of New York City. For black families like mine, it was a way station after an exodus from the city itself. We moved there from the Bronx when I was 11. Because any family with any means does not want to be raising children in the Bronx. For white families like Chris’, it was just where their people had settled generations ago and probably wouldn’t leave. His father was a teacher at a nearby high school. His mother was a nurse at the hospital. Today, almost 25 years later, Chris’ younger brother is a teacher at the high school. His older brother is a fireman. And all of my family has gone.
In the mid-‘80s, there were still undeveloped tracts of land in Baldwin, thick with trees and paths and creeks and hills to jump BMX bikes from. The Woods behind Chris’ house felt like it was miles wide and at the far end, past the teenagers’ porn stashes and half-assed tree forts, was an abandoned power plant. Local lore had it that Blue Oyster Cult used to rehearse there. No one could prove it, but it didn’t matter. It made an already exotic locale irresistible.
So we decided, like good pre-teens with nothing better to do and no money to spend, to go light a fire in The Woods.
Because we are not idiots, we decided that we’d go build our fire on the concrete surrounding the power plant. We were both Boy Scouts, after a fashion — I was gently “encouraged” to leave after smuggling Playboy magazines to sleepaway camp — and we knew better than to do it in the actual Woods. We knew who could prevent forest fires.
We gathered tinder to start with and some larger branches for fuel and went to work breaking it down to manageable size. I’m not sure what we talked about, but it was one of two things: comic books or Dungeons and Dragons. Chris and I first met at The Incredible Pulp, one of Baldwin’s two comic book shoppes. In the years before The Avengers or The X-Men or even the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles made it to the screen, we could spend hours handicapping fights that would never exist outside of our heads.
“I’m pretty sure the Hulk would kick Superman’s ass. He’s as strong as he is angry. And his anger goes all the way down.”
“Bullshit. Superman doesn’t even need to breathe. He could just punt the Hulk into orbit, where he’d just kick and whine like a baby until he died.”
And I was one of what must’ve been a handful of black kids in the Tri-State area who knew what a “saving throw” was and had the shelf of books to prove it.
I picked up that wrist-thick branch, placed one end on a rock, the other on the ground, and stomped on it with my K-Swiss.
The thing that I wanted to happen, did: I snapped the branch in two, cleanly. But the other end flipped up into the air and into my face.
Once the white faded, I couldn’t see. Either I was blind or my right eye had swollen shut and, with it, my left eye wouldn’t open. Or I was blind AND my right eye had swollen shut.
I don’t think I fell down, or the back of my head would’ve been throbbing as much as the front. But I could hear Chris’ voice slowly come into focus.
“Holy shit, man. What the hell happened?”
From his perspective, I’m sure the events went a little something like this: “Hulk.” Snap. Crack. Thud. “Aaaugh!” “Dude!”
So I’m blind and bleeding. My hands feel wet but it could’ve been from tears or sweat or blood. Chris is confused. And we’re about a mile from his house. In the Woods.
As neither of us had cell phones, because we weren’t drug dealers or drug lawyers from the future, we start walking. Chris was holding my hand and leading me back to his house. Gently, keeping me talking, steering me under tree branches, around thickets, over beer-can strewn creeks. I don’t remember much of that walk, besides his steady voice.
I remember when the ground felt flat again, when we’d left The Woods and made it back to The Street. I remember his mother’s short scream, quickly cut short as the nurse kicked in. I remember the emergency room, waiting to see the doctor, trying to laugh because that’s what I do when all seems lost; when no one can tell me if, when the swelling goes away, if the sight will come back.
When all seems lost, I laugh.
I missed my eye by an inch. I still have the scar on the bridge of my nose. It took the balance of the summer for my eye to return to normal. But I got to wear a patch.
“You can’t be Nick Fury, man. Nick Fury’s a white guy.”