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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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Nov 8

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1974-1975

Posted on Sunday, November 8, 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

After ten chapters of prehistory, last time we reached an Erik Larsen flashback story that ended with Wolverine arriving back at Department H, and being told that he was needed to fight the Hulk. Yes, we’re here at last.

Just 46 years to go!

And in this extra length episode, we’re going to cover Wolverine’s stories from 1974 and 1975. There aren’t many of them… or rather, there weren’t many of them. But a vast amount has been added around the edges over the years.

INCREDIBLE HULK vol 2 #180-182
“And the Wind Howls … Wendigo!” / “And Now … the Wolverine!” / “Between Hammer and Anvil!”
by Len Wein, Herb Trimpe & Jack Abel
October to December 1974

Wolverine is sent to face the Hulk (Bruce Banner), who is already locked in battle with the cursed Wendigo (at this point, a guy called Paul Cartier). Wolverine is given six hours to beat the Hulk, and is very keen to try and pull it off. Wolverine doesn’t know or care why the Hulk and the Wendigo are fighting – but basically, Cartier’s sister Marie is planning to cure him by magically transferring his curse to the Hulk, so she’s lured the two monsters together.

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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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