Marvel Comics Presents #109-116 (1992): Wolverine in “Typhoid’s Kiss”

Ann Nocenti, who had a controversial run on Daredevil, gets to play with the Wolverine character—and she has him meet up with her greatest creation during that run: Typhoid Mary.

We learn that Typhoid Mary was, like Logan, experimented on by the government.  And of course they eventually do it.  But that doesn’t change Typhoid’s essential nature…

As they investigate the site where Mary was experimented on, they come across some cats who are also being tortured.

Wolverine expresses an oddly right-wing reaction to the testing.  This seems very out of character.  Wolverine has always had a soft spot for kids and animals, and he himself was experimented on unnecessarily.  I think what Nocenti is trying to do is show Logan as being resentful against the activists who try to free animals but never tried to free Logan when he was imprisoned.  Problem is, this aspect of his personality has never been explored before, and that makes this potentially interesting aspect just feel out of character.  This is the problem with sharing characters between creators, I guess.

Another interesting part of this story is Wolverine assuming the government messed with Mary’s memory, like they did with Wolverine, but Typhoid Mary has a split personality, and Nocenti makes it unclear whether in fact her memory was blocked or if it is just her disorder, as she switches between her Mary/Typhoid personalities.  Of course along the way the two characters fight, team-up, and fight during her switches, and there are subplots involving renegade agents, but the above are the major beats of the story.

In the end there’s a major confrontation with the evil Dr. Joern, who was behind the experiments on Mary, but he survives the battle and Wolverine and Mary go their separate ways.

A very solid story, with lots of interesting twists—especially since it is crammed into just 64 pages of story across 8 issues of MCP.  The amount of story Nocenti told here stands in stark contrast to the early ‘90s trend.  At this time, comics are becoming increasingly less dense, with multiple, full-page panels of the main characters posing, and pages and pages of steroidal fights.

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