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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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.