Following the epic “Weapon X” with another Wolverine story in MCP was an unenviable task, but Peter David and Sam Keith were not afraid (likely because they knew nothing of “Weapon X” when they were preparing their less… intense story “Blood Hungry”.
As far as Wolverine stories go, I’m not sure “Blood Hungry” has really had much of an impact, certainly nothing like “Weapon X” anyway. But David’s story is another that tries to establish an important moment in Wolverine’s past, but approaches it from a very unique direction.
In another land, Wolverine meets with his concubine Tyger Tiger, a very influential woman there. She notifies Logan of the country’s leader and his involvement in the local drug trade. She’s caught wind of a new drug shipment coming and has asked Wolverine to investigate. As he does so, the trafficker named Cyber catches wind and attacks him. The two are surprised to find one another in this place, as they both share a past, and Cyber just happens to be the one man Wolverine is afraid of. During their fight, Wolverine is disemboweled and infected with a drug that causes him to relive his past with Cyber in a hallucinogenic 1950’s high-school setting. It’s all very bizarre but ceaselessly entertaining. The cheeky humour (sometimes dialogue, sometimes sight gags) can go a little too far at times but generally serves the unique story well.
To tell a tale this unusual, you couldn’t ask for better than Sam Keith. While his covers for MCP for many issues following this story can leave much to be desired, one realize quickly that Keith’s talent is not pin-ups but storytelling with a distinctive and curious visual flair. Even if the story doesn’t engage you, the visuals will certainly grab your attention (beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, of course).
Alongside the 8-part “Blood Hungry” ran an 8-part Beast story “Just Friends”, which actually winds up as a more straightforward parallel to the Wolverine story. Hank McCoy finds himself invited to a scientists convention where he’s to meet an old flame of his from before he was an X-Man. But, his flashbacks reveal that Professor Xavier mindwiped her for her protection when he was enrolled in Xavier’s school for the gifted. At the convention, Beast is attacked by the mercenary Constrictor (a personal favourite of mine), and later by super-gorillas and techno-werewolves. It’s a wild, all over the place story by Scott Lobdell, with a good sense of humour and a bit of heart underneath. It’s illustrated, at first, by Rob Liefeld (the first two chapters, less a couple of pages) but Jae Lee takes over and makes it something not overtly horrific to look at. Lee hadn’t yet perfected his inking style he’s known for today, but it’s an able job.
Most of the side stories through these 8 issues aren’t worth mentioning, but there’s a great Dan Slott written, Joe Maduriera illustrated Mojo story that certainly displays the humour Slott would a decade later become his stock-in-trade on She-Hulk and others.