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Oct 25

The Incomplete Wolverine, part 10

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H

We’ve reached the Silver Age. Not that Wolverine’s going to interact all that closely with the major tropes – he spends this period in Department H, and few writers have felt tempted to send Wolverine to mess around with mainstream Silver Age stories. But there are exceptions.

FURY vol 1 #1
by Barry Dutter & M C Wyman
May 1994

Take this one-shot about the origins of SHIELD. The Silver Age heroes are active by this point. Logan guest stars in one chapter, teaming with CIA Colonel Rick Stoner to recover James Hudson’s stolen prototype armour from HYDRA. The incident prompts the formation of SHIELD, with Stoner as its short-lived initial Director, but Logan’s not involved in any of that.

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Oct 11

The Incomplete Wolverine, part 9

Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X

When we left Logan, he’d just escaped from Weapon X and was blankly stumbling naked through a blizzard. Things can only go up from here!

WOLVERINE #900
“Hunger” by Karl Bollers & Stephen Segovia
May 2010

This anthology entry is the only full story to take place in the post-“Weapon X” wilderness period, though it’s still little more than a vignette. Still trailing wires, the befuddled Logan struggles to catch food. He stumbles upon a happy family in a log cabin and steps in to save them from a pack of wolves. Understandably, the family are terrified, and Logan leaves in silence. There’s a strong implication that Logan toys with eating the kid, but thinks better of it.

There are a few more flashbacks in this period:

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Sep 27

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 8

Posted on Sunday, September 27, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939
Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era
Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X

Well, we’ve reached the big one. It’s just one story… but a lot has been nailed on to it.

When Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” first came out, I found it vaguely annoying. It’s thirteen parts long, and it doesn’t really answer any of the mysteries about how Logan got his adamantium skeleton. It just depicts what had always been fairly obvious – that he was given it against his will by villains. What it doesn’t do is identify those villains. It personifies the organisation through the characters of the Professor, Cornelius and Hines, but it makes very clear that the Professor answers to somebody else, and never explains who that is. So the big mystery about Wolverine’s adamantium remained unresolved – and on top of that, the main character spends most of the story either comatose or zoned out.

But read with the knowledge that it doesn’t actually explain anything, it’s much more enjoyable. For our purposes it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s some heavy unreliable-narrator material, especially towards the end of the story. Even so, the general thrust of “Weapon X” has been confirmed in plenty of other stories, so it seems that most of it happened more or less as depicted.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #72
“Weapon X, part 1” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Early March 1991

Logan’s performance as an agent has been deteriorating due to alcohol abuse and an increasing obsession with the mutant issue (something that broadly tallies with the First X-Men miniseries and the Shadow Society one-shot, both covered in the previous chapter). Fired from his job, he’s living at the Prophecy, a home for “fallen Christians” – he’s an atheist, but he says he lied about his religion in order to get in. Logan is planning to catch a train to the Yukon, as he said he would at the end of Logan: Shadow Society. In the meantime, he’s plagued by dreams of his claws, which at this point in time he doesn’t know about.

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Sep 13

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 7

Posted on Sunday, September 13, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939
Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era
Part 6: Team X

This time, we’re covering a somewhat random collection of stories that bridge the gap from Team X through to Weapon X. As we saw last time, Team X seems to be locked to the 1960s, but Weapon X leads into the Department H material and the modern era. So, with sliding time, there’s an ever increasing gap between the two, to be occupied with stories that expressly follow Team X, or obviously aim to lead in to Weapon X, or which predate Department H while being too tied to modern timeframes or continuity to take place before Team X. Oddly, it’s a period that Wolverine: Origins entirely ignores, though we have to assume Romulus is hanging around in the background somewhere in all this.

During this period, Logan first meets Carol Danvers (later Ms Marvel, Binary and Captain Marvel). She’ll show up in Logan: Shadow Society, which we’ll come to later on, by which time they’ve known each other for “years. That creates a continuity problem during the Department H period, when they meet again, but we’ll come back to that.

We kick off with a couple of flashbacks that exist to set up minor present-day stories. Wolverine Annual vol 2 #1 has a brief flashback where Logan is randomly in the “far east”, battling criminal mastermind Chen Yu and his Dragon Warriors. Logan is helped out by immortal adventurer Adam Destine (from Alan Davis’s ClanDestine), who will call in the favour in the main story.

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Aug 30

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 6

Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939
Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era

We left off with Logan firmly established as a secret agent working for the likes of the CIA (and with Romulus in the background feeding him missions, thanks to Wolverine: Origins). Now, we finally get to one of the phases of his history that’s more familiar, as he joins Team X.

And this phase is… bitty. Nobody really does entire stories to the Team X era – instead it’s all fragmented flashbacks, some of which then turn out to be memory implants. So this is going to be a particularly haphazard one, since few of these really amount to a whole story.

X-MEN: ORIGINS – SABRETOOTH #1
by Kieron Gillen & Dan Panosian
February 2009

We’ve had scenes from this issue before, but it takes place over a very long time frame, and it has several scenes set during the Team X period. In particular, it’s got the closest thing to Logan joining Team X – we don’t actually see that happening, but we do learn that he applied successfully for the job, and is then horrified when Victor Creed shows up as another recruit. Logan attacks him on sight, and the two are quickly separated. The Team X staff aren’t that bothered, because they were planning to wipe both men’s memories anyway. Of course, Romulus is sitting in the background behind all this mind-wipe stuff (this issue is post-Origins). But we’ll see later that Team X has at least some employees who know nothing about Romulus – so either it’s a genuinely independent outfit that he’s infiltrated, or there are simply some people who aren’t in on the scam.

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Aug 16

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 5

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939
Part 4: World War II

We’ve reached the postwar era. We’re not quite at Team X just yet, but we’re certainly getting back into some better known parts of Wolverine’s back story.

According to Logan: Path of the Warlord – and we’ll get to that story shortly – after World War II, Logan returns to Madripoor in search of easy money. There, he gets involved with the mysterious firm of Landau, Luckman & Lake, who specialise in “all kinds of shady stuff”. As one of their agents, he visits Japan again and fights Kimora, an alien warlord who’s been brought to Earth through a portal opened by a Dr Carling. Why Logan’s fighting alien warlords, even vaguely samurai-ish ones, at this stage of his career… well, he just is. But more of Kimora in a bit.

Landau, Luckman & Lake were introduced by Chris Claremont in Wolverine vol 2 #5, which shows a photograph of Logan with his LLL contact Chang. That photo is described as a 19th century tintype, which might have been intended to imply that Logan was an adult in the 1800s – if so, that obviously can’t survive Origin. But the same story shows that Chang is around in the present day, and LLL are generally hinted to be a bit weird right from the off, so it’s equally possible that Claremont was thinking of time travel or dimension hopping.

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Aug 2

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 4

Posted on Sunday, August 2, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939

We’ve reached the Second World War – and this is a busy period, though still quite a scattershot one.

Flashback in WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #9
“Savior, part 4” by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon
December 2006

It’s somewhere on the eve of World War II. And we have to begin by unscrambling a continuity problem, since Daniel Way’s timeline gets garbled at this point. In narrating this flashback, Wolverine calls it his first mission “after being picked up in Jasmine Falls”. We’ll get to Jasmine Falls in a future instalment, but suffice to say that it’s the town where Logan fathered Daken.

The trouble is, Daniel Way had already showed Logan’s extraction from Jasmine Falls in Wolverine vol 3 #38 and #40, and it clearly happened after World War II, because the Winter Soldier was involved. So whatever this issue may say, it’s not after Jasmine Falls. (It’s an unusual lapse, since whatever else you say about Wolverine: Origins, Daniel Way certainly did his research.)

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Jul 19

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 3

Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1 – Origin to Origin II
Part 2 – 1907 to 1914

We’ve reached World War I, which is… untapped territory, for the most part. Not entirely, though. Wolverine: Origins #17 tells us that Logan fought in World War I as part of Romulus’s “Devil’s Brigade”, some sort of black ops or mercenary squad who fought alongside the regular troops. Daniel Way seems to have picked this up from Alpha Flight vol 1 #33, where Wolverine mentions in passing his service with the Devil’s Brigade. In reality, the Devil’s Brigade was the nickname of the First Special Service Force, a US/Canadian commando unit that existed between 1942 and 1944 and is regarded as the forerunner of modern US and Canadian special operations forces. Maybe Daniel Way didn’t get the reference, or maybe he was suggesting that that unit was also part of Romulus’s conspiracy.

Flashbacks in WOLVERINE vol 3 #57-60
“Logan Dies, parts 1-4” by Marc Guggenheim & Howard Chaykin
November 2007 to February 2008

22 April 1915. Logan is fighting with (apparently regular) Canadian forces. At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans use chlorine gas for the first time. Everyone else dies, but Logan survives to see a mysterious figure with a sword. Being Logan, he promptly fights and kills the guy, who immediately reappears alive and well and says they will meet again. This is Lazaer, an angel of death. (Yes, it’s an anagram of “Azrael”.) The nagging sense that he has defied the order of nature leads Logan to fall into a depression, to the point where he attempts suicide – but evidently he comes to terms with it over time.

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Jul 12

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 2

Posted on Sunday, July 12, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

For part 1, see here.

In part 1, we were going through stories that were mostly designed to be read in sequence. We left off with Logan in New York in 1907, at the end of Origin II. Now we’re entering a rather more haywire phase, since writers tend to assume that Wolverine’s history between Origin and World War I is simply a bit of a blank. It isn’t, but it’s a scattershot period with a lot of travelling going on.

Flashback in WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #10
“Love and the Wolverine” by Jason Aaron & CP Smith
February 2010

Shortly after Origin II (“it wasn’t long after I first come down outta the wilderness”), Logan wanders to California and becomes an agricultural labourer, where he loses his virginity to a Mexican migrant worker (whose name he doesn’t know). And that’s the whole thing.

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Jul 5

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 1

Posted on Sunday, July 5, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wolverine

Because you can’t spell “quixotic” without an “X”.

So the Moira thing went well, but it goes without saying you’d be completely insane to do the same thing for a character like Wolverine. Still, we had a long gap this year with no new comics coming out, and so I thought I might go back and read Wolverine’s pre-X-Men back story in chronological order to see if it made any kind of sense.

And so in this series of posts, we’re going to go through Wolverine’s history in more-or-less chronological order – some of this stuff just can’t be placed precisely, but there are certainly clear phases of his life where appearances have to go. Obviously there’s got to be a cut-off point somewhere, but we’ll cover at least his history up to joining the X-Men and see where we go from there – I’ve read up as far as Uncanny X-Men #200 at time of writing, which is around the point where he’s fully developed into the familiar character. It’s also “Incomplete” because I can’t be 100% confident I’ve caught anything, but also because it’s clearly going to stop somewhere. Once the ongoing comics are coming out again, these will probably settle into a less frequent schedule than the Moira posts – the current material takes priority.

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