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Mar 28

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1985

Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2021 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984

When we left off, Wolverine had disappeared from the pages of Uncanny X-Men for a few months to be in another miniseries. And here it is…

KITTY PRYDE & WOLVERINE #1-6
6-issue miniseries
by Chris Claremont, Al Milgrom & Glynis Oliver
November 1984 to April 1985

There’s a lot of plot here, so deep breath…

The Pryde family’s bank is in trouble because it’s just too generous in lending to local businesses. Kitty’s father Carmen sells out to new Japanese owner Heiji Shigematsu, actually a Yakuza obayun who intends to use the business as a money-laundering front. Kitty tails her father to Japan to learn all this, and gets captured by Shigematsu’s supposed “intermediary”, Ogun. Ogun brainwashes her and trains her as a ninja. But before she was captured, Kitty phoned Logan, and he duly shows up in Japan looking for her. Logan and Yukio fight a masked ninja who, you guessed it, turns out to be Kitty. Yukio drugs Kitty and the heroes regroup at a Clan Yashida stronghold, where Kitty seems to return to normal.

Wolverine explains that Ogun was his sensei, that he may or may not be a legendary samurai, and that he has imprinted his psyche onto hers, either through magic or psi-powers. Eventually this Ogun personality will overwhelm her entirely. The suggestion is that Ogun is basically a psychic parasite / ghost that moves from host to host. Conveniently for the plot, Logan believes that Kitty can only defeat Ogun’s influence by beating it herself. Logan mentors and trains her, and puts her through the same drills as Ogun, but gives her more choice, so that she has to make the decision to press on.

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Mar 14

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1984

Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine, x-axis

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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983

Welcome to the era of event comics.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #178
“Hell Hath No Fury…”
by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr, Bob Wiacek, Brett Breeding & Glynis Wein
February 1984

Wolverine doesn’t appear in the January issue, in which Lilandra and Binary leave with the Starjammers, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack Kitty and Colossus.

In this issue, the X-Men come to the rescue. It turns out to be a diversion to draw the X-Men away from the Mansion, so that Mystique can kill Professor X as revenge for taking Rogue away from her. Rogue talks Mystique down, and Mystique spares Professor X in exchange for safe passage for the Brotherhood.

So not a Wolverine story, then. He does note that Storm is taking on some of Yukio’s traits, and suggests that he doesn’t think this is a great idea – understandably, since Yukio’s role in the Wolverine miniseries was to offer the temptation of succumbing to his instincts.

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Feb 28

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1983

Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine, x-axis

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 | Part 10: The Silver Age 1974-1975 
 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982

 

We left off with the Brood arc, which extends into early 1983. The X-Men and the Starjammers had just figured out that Professor X was infected by the Brood, and were racing back home to sort it out. Along the way, they stop for a flashback in Excalibur vol 1 #116, in which Kitty and Kurt insist on doing what they can to help a Sidri starship in trouble. Wolverine’s there, but he doesn’t contribute much.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #167
“The Goldilocks Syndrome!”
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek & various
March 1983

The X-Men storm the Mansion in pursuit of the Brood-infected Professor X, only to encounter his latest recruits the New MutantsCannonball (Sam Guthrie), Psyche (Dani Moonstar), Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh) and Sunspot (Roberto Da Costa) – who try to defend their home. After the usual fight, both teams join forces to defeat the Brood Queen, and Sikorsky clones Xavier a new body. This body can walk, but Xavier still has psychosomatic issues for a little while. Since Deathbird has seized control of the Shi’ar Empire, Lilandra also stays on Earth for now. And the Professor infuriates everyone by demoting Sprite to the New Mutants.

As you might expect, Wolverine’s not the focus here. He completely outclasses the New Mutants that try to deal with him – he even shrugs off Karma’s possession powers – but dutifully notes that they’ll be more dangerous once they’ve had time to train. He supports killing the Professor, but only because he’s unaware of the cloning option.

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Feb 14

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1982

Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2021 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 |
1981

1982 is the year when Wolverine comes to the foreground as a lead character. I’m taking Uncanny X-Men as the cut-off points, and so we won’t reach the first Wolverine miniseries until 1983 (which is when it fits into continuity, despite having cover dates from the end of 1982). But he gets his moment in the sun in the main title, and he gets to tour some more of the Marvel Universe in guest appearances.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #153
“Kitty’s Fairy Tale”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Josef Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
January 1982

Kitty tells Illyana a bedtime story in which all the characters are obvious stand-ins for the X-Men. Wolverine, in Claremont’s self-parody, is an animalistic “fiend with no name”, who says “I’m mean” and eats cans of beer – all of which pretty much nails the tropes of the mysterious antihero role that he’s now drifted into. But now Logan finds all this just as charming as the rest of the team do – a few years ago, he would have gone ballistic about somebody making fun of him. (Oddly, the plot of Kitty’s story involves Logan and Scott’s rivalry over Jean, which happened before she joined the team.)

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Jan 31

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1981

Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2021 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wolverine, x-axis

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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980

The focus is very much off Wolverine in this year’s X-Men stories. But 1981 is also where most of Wolverine: First Class fits, so…

X-MEN vol 1 #141 and UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #142
“Days of Future Past”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Glynis Wein 
January & February 1981

Kate Pryde, the middle-aged Sprite from the distant future of 2013, swaps minds with her past self in order to warn the X-Men that the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – Mystique (Raven Darkhölme), Destiny (Irene Adler), Avalanche (Dominic Petros), Pyro (St John Allerdyce) and the Blob – are going to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly. In Kate’s timeline, this set off a chain of events resulting in an apocalyptic Sentinel-dominated America, and likely nuclear annihilation. The X-Men, now with Storm as field leader, duly defeat the new Brotherhood and save Kelly; Kitty and Kate swap back.

“Days of Future Past” is a classic X-Men story, but it’s not particularly central for Wolverine. He does get to use his senses to verify that Kate is the real thing, and to identify Mystique in disguise. And he has a brief argument with Storm, now that she’s the new authority figure in town. She orders him not to use his claws against opponents unless the circumstances are exceptional, and he grudgingly accepts the ruling. Interestingly, her argument is that he doesn’t need his claws because he has “speed [and] strength” as well as his adamantium skeleton, which reads as if they still hadn’t quite figured out exactly what his powers were at this point.

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Jan 17

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1980

Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2021 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

 

 

This is a big year, as the X-Men enter the 1980s with the Dark Phoenix Saga – the storyline that elevated them into A-listers. After this year, other writers will have a lot more interest in using the X-Men. But we’ve got to get there first.

X-MEN vol 1 #129 (part 1)
“God Spare the Child…”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Bob Sharen
January 1980

After a few days recuperating on Muir Isle following their fight with Proteus, the X-Men set off home (leaving behind Banshee, who finally quits the team). Professor X is waiting for them – he’s come back because he’s worried about Phoenix losing control, though he doesn’t explain that to the team just yet.

At this point, there’s a break in the action for the X-Men to do some training. A few other appearances fit in here.

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Jan 3

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1979

Posted on Sunday, January 3, 2021 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978

When we left the X-Men, they’d just finished an adventure in the Savage Land, and were trying to sail back to civilisation in a makeshift raft. As you do.

This is a big year for Wolverine, introducing some of the major aspects of his personal mythology.

X-MEN vol 1 #117
“Psi-War”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Glynis Oliver
January 1979

This is a Professor X story. The other X-Men only appear in the opening pages, in which a passing Japanese ship rescues them from a deadly gale. The vessel has some sort of secret government business to attend to before returning home (we never find out what) and so the X-Men are going to be stuck on it for a while yet. The reprint in Classic X-Men #23 adds an epilogue page, where the X-Men fill the time by training, and Wolverine broods over Jean, whom he still thinks died in issue #113.

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Dec 20

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1978

Posted on Sunday, December 20, 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977

If 1977 was something of a quiet year, 1978 is much busier. That’s not because Wolverine starts making more guest appearances – at this point, the X-Men still held little interest to writers who weren’t Chris Claremont. But this is the year when the X-Men shifted to a monthly schedule. And a lot of the continuity implant stories set in this era have to fit between the 1978 issues, simply because Claremont didn’t leave an awful lot of gaps – he tended to run one story into the next, and to keep the X-Men away from home for extended periods.

X-MEN vol 1 #109
“Home are the Heroes!”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne & Terry Austin
February 1978

The X-Men finally return home, having been shunted directly from one storyline to the next ever since issue #98. They’re joined by Phoenix, Moira, Lilandra, and Jean’s parents John Grey and Elaine Grey.

This is a Wolverine-centred issue. For one thing, it’s got the iconic scene where Logan goes hunting in the woods, Storm is appalled, but Logan reveals that he only stalks animals without killing them. Claremont is starting to develop the hidden depths angle by this point, but at the same time, the sullen Wolverine isn’t bothering to explain himself to his teammates because he takes offence at the way they see him – even though he often talks about himself in the same way.

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Dec 6

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1977

Posted on Sunday, December 6, 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976

1977 is the last year in Wolverine’s history that could honestly be described as quiet – well, unless you count 2015-2017, when he was dead. At this point, he’s still only appearing in X-Men, and that book is still only shipping six times a year. Nobody is interested in using him as a guest star yet – well, nobody except Chris Claremont. And his lengthy storylines run directly from one issue into the next, leaving only occasional gaps for guest appearances anyway… with none of those gaps actually falling during 1977.

It won’t stay this way.

The February 1977 issue is the tail end of the Cassidy Keep storyline, which we covered last time.

X-MEN vol 1 #104
“The Gentleman’s Name is Magneto”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum & Sam Grainger
April 1977

Worried that she hasn’t heard from Muir Isle in a while, Moira MacTaggert drops her “housekeeper” act – which never really gets explained – and asks the holidaying X-Men to drop by and check the place out. Muir Isle turns out to be a combined mutant research facility and prison, and Magneto (Erik Lehnsherr) has just escaped. Thanks to later retcons, Wolverine has met Erik before – in First X-Men. Neither of them seems to recognise the other here. That’s fair enough; aside from the fact that Wolverine’s had his memory messed about with since then, neither of them was in costume last time they met.

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Nov 22

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1976

Posted on Sunday, November 22, 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 | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975

Last time, we entered Wolverine’s early years of publication. Now, let’s travel back to a strange time before Wolverine was a breakout character, and before the creators were all that bothered about him.

And for reasons I’ll explain, we kick off 1976 with an issue from 1977…

X-MEN vol 1 #106
“Dark Shroud of the Past!”
by Bill Mantlo, Bob Brown & Tom Sutton
August 1977

The X-Men fight psychic projections of the original team, subconsciously created by Professor X’s evil side during one of his nightmares. (These nightmares are a major subplot in the first couple of years of X-Men, but they don’t directly affect Wolverine. Basically, they’re the result of a botched psychic message to Professor X, foreshadowing the introduction of the Shi’ar.)

This is a fill-in issue, which explicitly takes place shortly after Moira arrives at the X-Men Mansion – even though it didn’t see print for over a year after that point. Although it appeared with a framing sequence by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, Wolverine doesn’t appear in that bit, so we won’t be coming back to this issue again. There’s a bit of character work at the start: Cyclops accuses Wolverine of putting on a “mad killer” act, while Wolverine complains that Cyclops has been pushing the team too hard ever since Thunderbird died. Banshee chips in to agree, just so we know that the brattish Wolverine actually has a point for a change.

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