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Comic Book / Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom

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Wisdom (later collected with the subtitle Rudiments of Wisdom) is a comic book limited series published by the MAX imprint of Marvel Comics, starring the titular Pete Wisdom, a British hero originally appearing in the X-Men comics. The series is written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Trevor Hairsine and Manuel Garcia.

These days, Pete Wisdom works for MI13, the UK's latest attempt to set up an agency that specifically deals with superhumans and weird happenings. Their working relationship with more established agencies, such as MI5 and MI6, isn’t always the best.

And apart from Pete himself, they don't have the most prestigious team of operatives. There's John the Skrull, who decided he liked the Earth (and impersonating the Beatles) enough to disobey his orders to invade it. There's Captain Midlands, an aging WWII super-soldier who's not a fan of the 21st century. There’s Tink, a rebellious fairy who's abandoned her people. And there’s new recruit Maureen Raven, who's not technically a telepath.

But there’s no shortage of cases for them to work on. Murders and kidnappings by the fair folk of Otherworld. A village where something strange is creeping into people's dreams. A gangster who used to be a dragon. And then, lurking in the distance behind all of that, there's the other thing. The force from another reality that's looking for a way into this one, and already has its eye on Wisdom's MI13 team…

The first issue was released 8 November 2006.

Tropes appearing in Wisdom:

  • An Arm and a Leg: When one of the soldiers at Pantagruel goes on a shooting spree and reaches for grenades, Wisdom amputates the man's hands with his powers.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Some of Wisdom and Dai's conversations in "Enter With Drag On” are presented in Welsh, with no translation.
    • The first one follows Wisdom's deliberately offensive speech about Wales and the Welsh, which was intended to goad Drake into starting a fight, so serves a double purpose - it also establishes that Wisdom's a fluent Welsh speaker, so his insults were unlikely to be sincere.
  • Canon Character All Along: Maureen's son Jonathan is the Earth-616 version of Marvel's alternate universe character Killraven.
  • Captain Geographic: Introduces Captain Midlands.
  • Clue from Ed.: Subverted for comedy in the second issue, in which the clues all refer to comics that have never existed.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When John dreams about the Skrull Beatles reporting back to their boss, a cow is pictured. This is a reference to the famous 1960s Fantastic Four story where Reed Richards hypnotised Skrulls into believing they were cows… and then left them on a farm.
  • Divided We Fall: The internal feuding between MI6 and MI13 significantly aggravates the situation and enables the eventual invasion. Secretly kidnapping an active MI13 agent, even with good intentions, was never going to end well.
  • Giant Woman: Pantagruel, a giant large enough to have a whole village on the top of her head.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Played with, as they’re not actually copycats. 'Rippermania' tour guide James Ransom has psychic powers that can pull beings and objects from alternate realities - and when his abilities first manifest, as he's a Jack the Ripper fanatic, alternate Jack the Rippers keep appearing.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Pete Wisdom is forced to kill Maureen Raven when she can't be disconnected from the Martian invasion's gateway technology.
  • Mugging the Monster: Tink and Maureen are ambushed in their own houses by alternate versions of Jack the Ripper. In true Slasher Movie style, it’s late at night and both women are partially dressed. Tink’s opening the fridge to get some wine, Maureen’s on a phone call. A shadow falls behind them. Neither Ripper stood a chance.
  • Old Soldier: Captain Midlands. He’s in his 80s, but thanks to his super-soldier serum he appears to be in his 60s at the most, and is still able to fight like a much younger person.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Much of the carnage (and Maureen Raven's death) could have been avoided if Reston and MI6 had been sharing more information with Wisdom and the MI13 team.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When Ransom asks the Martians for his reward he’s promptly drained dry, leaving a dead bundle of skin and bone.
  • Scenery Censor: Some strategically placed leaves play this role for Wisdom at the end of the first issue.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Rippers accidentally summoned by Ransom is the From Hell version, offering grapes and tours of London's architecture. Tink promptly shoots his carriage with a rocket launcher. Another is literally Sherlock Holmes, referring to Michael Dibdin's notorious novel The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, in which an insane Holmes is unmasked as the Ripper. And another is an orang-utang with a razor, referencing "The Murders in the Rue Morgue''.
  • Take That!: The story's pretty scathing about London's “Jack the Ripper” nostalgia industry.

Alternative Title(s): Wisdom