RSS Feed
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.

Logan’s capture takes place between chapters 1 and 2, but it’s shown in flashback in chapter 2. It’s also shown in various forms in Weapon X vol 2 #23, Wolverine vol 2 #48, X-Men: Origins – Wolverine and Weapon X: First Class #1. As he leaves a bar and gets into his car, Logan is attacked by Weapon X Project agents, who shoot him with a stun gun. He fights back thanks to his healing factor, but he’s eventually subdued.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #73
“Weapon X, part 2” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Late March 1991

The next day, Logan is shaved (his hair grows back quickly) and placed in a tank of nutrients, where he’s given his adamantium skeleton. While our hero spends the issue insensate, he’s experimented on by Professor Thorton, Dr Cornelius and Ms Hines. You’ll recall we saw these three before during the Team X era, though in this story Cornelius and Hines are presented as relatively recent recruits. (In part 1, it’s suggested that Cornelius is a doctor on the run after a series of supposed mercy killings, while Hines is an innocent who simply applied for the job.) There’s something to be said for declaring their Team X appearance to be non-canon – it’s certainly a needless complication – but let’s shrug our shoulders and run with it for now.

Anyway, the trio discover that Logan has superhuman healing abilities, which comes as news to all of them. The Professor makes his excuses to avoid having to answer awkward questions about this, and the experiment continues without him. The general thrust of “Weapon X” is that although the Professor’s unnamed superior knows about Logan’s powers, everyone on the site has been kept in the dark because they’re all expendable.

As you might imagine, the scene where Logan gets his adamantium has been revisited a number of times. There are flashbacks in the very next issue, but also in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, and Weapon X: First Class #1-2. And, unnoticed by any of the other characters, the Micronaut Bug and the alien villain Annihilus briefly pop into the room during a brawl through space-time depicted in the 1997 Bug one-shot. It’s literally one panel.

There’s also this…

WOLVERINE: EXIT WOUNDS
“Red in Tooth and Claw” by Larry Hama, Scot Eaton & Sean Parsons
June 2019

During the adamantium implantation, the scientists monitor Logan’s thoughts and see him dreaming about Silver Fox’s death. Cornelius is worried that they haven’t got rid of Logan’s most traumatic memories. The Professor is pretty relaxed about that, and figures they’ll come in handy. More of this story later, as it interweaves with several chapters of “Weapon X”.

Wolverine vol 3 #54 has a flashback which clearly establishes Romulus as the hidden villain behind Weapon X. While Logan is still floating in the tank, the Professor lets Romulus and Sabretooth drop by to gloat. Romulus reminds the Professor of how important Logan is to him, and stresses that Logan must remember nothing of this. This scene doesn’t fit very neatly with “Weapon X”, since the Professor is still phoning up his boss to complain about his lack of information even after Logan gets out of the tank… but you get the idea.

In a flashback in Weapon X: First Class #2, Logan wakes up in his cell, and promptly attacks two guards. Once he’s subdued, Cornelius and Hines decide to keep the incident quiet rather than risk punishment for their mistakes – presumably, for not realising that Logan would wake up so quickly. Afterwards, Hines secretly brings Logan some food, and apologises to him – it’s a scene that takes her role as “the nice one” at face value.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #74-76
“Weapon X, part 3 to 5” by Barry Windsor-Smith
April and early May 1991

While Logan sleeps off his treatment, the Professor calls his unidentified boss (Romulus) to protest about being kept in the dark about Logan’s mutant powers. When Logan wakes up, still covered in wires, he stares at his hand in confusion, and then pops his claws for the first time, to the surprise of everyone. He promptly kills a hapless lab attendant and smashes through a window to get to Cornelius and the other scientists – but as soon as he tears free of the wires, he collapses.

Cornelius is having second thoughts, but the Professor convinced him to plough on with training and reconstructing Logan. At the Professor’s insistence, Cornelius creates a device that lets the Professor give him spoken suggestions, but complains that it’s pointless because Logan simply can’t be controlled. Ignoring the warning entirely, the Professor uses the device to demand that Logan recognise him as his master. Instead, Cornelius’ device, which shows images of Logan’s thoughts, shows an image of Logan’s spiked skeleton, crying out “What have you done to me?” Logan stirs again, and is quickly subdued – but an image appears on the screen of the Professor lying dead at Logan’s hands.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #77
“Weapon X, part 6” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Late May 1991

A silent, unmoving Logan is placed in a snowy landscape for his first outdoor test. The Project set wolves on him. After a delay, he flies into a berserker rage and kills them all. Logan is “switched off”, falls to the ground, and is brought in by Weapon X soldiers. A version of this scene also appears in the Exit Wounds story.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #78
“Weapon X, part 7” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Early June 1991

Weapon X implant various experimental devices into a conscious Logan – a control device with a three mile radius, and a helmet which is needed to control him over anything more than 150 yards. This is the iconic “Weapon X” look which keeps getting reference – however, the original story goes out of its way to stress that this stuff is basically junk. It’s clunky, it’s awkward, it’s heavy, and at a push it’s maybe proof-of-concept. The thrust of “Weapon X” is that these are banal people who are out of their depth and are ploughing on anyway.

The excruciating procedure is also seen in flashback in a single panel of New X-Men vol 1 #130. During it, Logan briefly dies, and has another of his battles with Lazaer in order to return to Earth, as seen in flashback in Wolverine vol 3 #58 (in a single panel). Once the implants are complete, the Professor experiments with controlling Logan directly, but remains worried that Logan is not truly under control. He tests it by pouring hot coffee over Logan’s face; Logan doesn’t react.

In X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, there’s a flashback of Logan sitting chained in a cell, and being horrified on seeing his own claws. That story also claims that Logan underwent memory implants during Weapon X as well, which might help account for some of the oddities we’re coming to.

A flashback in Wolverine vol 2 #49 shows Logan – now with clunky helmet – standing in the snowy forest looking impassively at a tree, which he hallucinates to be a monster with Silver Fox trapped inside. Weapon X set a bear on him, and he fights it while Thorton and Cornelius discuss his reaction. This sequence also appears in Exit Wounds and in a flashback in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #79
“Weapon X, part 8” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Late June 1991

Logan kills a bear in another test, then passively returns to base with his wranglers. Cornelius is concerned that the helmet and battery packs are cumbersome, and begs for more time to get the design working properly. Exit Wounds adds a scene in which Logan goes briefly out of control, and has to be subdued by his wranglers. At any rate, the Professor insists that they’re ready to move on, and wants to test Logan against humans.

This is where things get awkward. In the original “Weapon X” story, things more from here quite rapidly towards a conclusion – but it’s also suggested that this is part of the mind-games that are being played in the later chapters. However, there are a couple of flashbacks which unequivocally do show Logan being tested against human opponents. On top of that, they show Logan without the control helmet and batteries, which doesn’t fit into the “Weapon X” narrative at all. If you squint a bit, you can just about accept that they take place during part 8, or perhaps earlier, and that Logan’s memory of them gets wiped before the Professor and co set him up for their fake-escape trick.

  • In a flashback in Weapon X: First Class #2, Logan is tested against a group of Weapon X soldiers, until the test is aborted due to a lack of controllability. That’s not too much of a stretch.
  • Much more problematic is Weapon X vol 2 #24-25, which show a normal-looking Logan, under Weapon X directions, slaughtering the entire population of a small town called Roanoke (population 116). The slaughter is covered up by claiming that the whole town perished in a fire. This makes so little sense in the context of “Weapon X” that there’s a strong case for disqualifying it as non-canon – but that would break the plot of those two issues, and the unreliable-narrator elements of “Weapon X” make it hard to say that anything is truly impossible.

Back to “Weapon X”. In what’s ultimately revealed as a trick, Cornelius and Hines discuss how they can resist the plan to test Logan on humans. Before they can do anything, Logan wakes up and starts attacking his handlers.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #80
“Weapon X, part 9” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Early July 1991

Logan runs riot through the Weapon X compound, killing everyone in sight. Thorton desperately calls his superior for guidance. Logan fights his way to Thorton and cuts his hand off, before soldiers arrive to fight him.

More of this can be found in flashbacks in Wolverine vol 2 #48-49.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #81-83
“Weapon X, parts 10-12” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Late July to August 1991

Also expanded upon in flashbacks in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine and Weapon X: First Class #3.

Logan fights Weapon X soldiers, while the three scientists shelter in the “adamantium reactor hold”, whatever that is. The Professor believes that Logan is actually under outside control. This actually fits quite well with Wolverine: Origins, since “Weapon X” implies that the unseen employer (Romulus) is covering his tracks by arranging for Logan to slaughter his underlings. And that’s the sort of thing Romulus does in Origins all the time. Admittedly, this bit is part of the fake escape, but something similar does seem to happen at the end of the story.

The Professor plans to shoot out Logan’s bulky power packs in order to subdue him. At this point we get into clear illusion: Logan kills Cornelius; the Professor tries to use Hines as a distraction. Logan finally manages to speak, and says that he only cares about the Professor. Professor Thorton tries to kill Logan and Hines by opening a “fission gate”, but the outsider shuts it off. Logan furiously announces his name, and kills the Professor.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #84
“Weapon X, part 13” by Barry Windsor-Smith
Early September 1991

Logan throws the Professor’s body into the reactor and passes out. This seems to be the end of the illusion sequence. When Logan wakes up, a cacophony of random voice recordings play back the events of the storyline to him. (It’s very Prisoner.) He discovers his new adamantium claws and starts to hallucinate about spikes. Larry Hama’s stories will later associate this with Psi-Borg’s brainwashing, which supports the idea that he’s involved in here somewhere too.

Logan seemingly escapes the Weapon X compound again, and kills a Siberian tiger. At this point it turns out that everything the Professor, Cornelius and Hines are alive and well, and that the whole escape was just a scenario. But this time Logan overcomes his wranglers and (seemingly) fights his way to the three scientists for real.

At this point, “Weapon X” skips to the epilogue, in which Logan has already escaped. The obvious implication is that he kills the three scientist, but they show up again in the Larry Hama run, so perhaps there are still some illusions at play. Even so, plenty of stories agree that Logan does indeed escape after a destructive rampage through the Weapon X compound in which he kills a lot of people:

  • In Wolverine vol 3 #14, there’s a single panel in which another Weapon X experiment, the Native, recalls seeing Logan in his Weapon X gear. The rest of that story reveals that at some point Logan and Native team up to fight Weapon X soldiers.
  • In the prologue to X-23 vol 1 #1, Logan kills Weapon X scientist Dale Rice. Way down the line, this will motivate Dale’s vengeful son Zander to join the Facility, a Weapon X imitator project which will use Wolverine’s DNA to create X-23 (Laura Kinney).
  • In flashbacks in Wolverine vol 2 #166 and #175, Logan maims rookie soldier Malcolm Colcord. He survives, and returns in the modern era as the vengeful Director of a new Weapon X Project. There’s a lot of vengefulness in here.

And finally, there’s a shadowy and improbable insert to continuity which might or might not count, and has never been mentioned again…

WEAPON X: FIRST CLASS #3
“The Job” by Marc Sumerak & Tim Seeley
January 2009

This is the back-up strip. Somehow or other, Weapon X has wound up with Nathaniel Essex’s journal, so he hires the Thieves Guild to get it back. And lo, just as Logan is rampaging through the facility on his way to freedom, here comes Gambit (Remy Lebeau) in search of a lunatic’s notebook. Logan probably doesn’t notice him; Remy certainly does see Logan, but stays out of his way. If you were wondering – and it doesn’t really matter – Remy does get the notebook, but he’s so horrified by the contents that he destroys it and claims he couldn’t find it.

Finally, in the epilogue to “Weapon X”, and a flashback in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, a naked Logan walks through a snowstorm, away from the Weapon X Project.

Next time, Department H.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    I don’t know why there needs to be a major revelation about a master-villain behind everything.
    I realize that, apparently, Windsor-Smith was thinking about revealing Apocalypse as the mastermind, based on that Simonson/Mignola one-shot.
    I also think that Sinister was sort of revealed as the mastermind behind Weapon X at some point.

    It just makes sense that the Weapon X experiment is part of a long-running super-soldier project.
    It fits with Claremont’s long-term idea that eventually the governments of the world would want to weaponize mutants to be used in future wars.

    It’s one of the great drawbacks of “mainstream” superhero comics, that there always has to be some super-villain revealed at the end of stories, as a big surprise.

  2. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    “Popular Character’s History Part 8 – The Origin Story”. I feel like a lot of what’s wrong with comics these days is right there.

  3. Ryan says:

    So, Wolverine murdered about a 100,000 people and they just handwaved that it got covered up.

    I think that one needs to officially get nuked from the canon.

  4. Paul says:

    Actually, it must be a different Roanoke, since the state isn’t given and it’s evidently meant to be a small town – the death toll is given as 116. I’ll change that.

  5. Chris V says:

    The Siberian tiger fight is just a scenario, right?
    Otherwise, where in the world are they supposed to be?
    Canada isn’t exactly known as Siberian tiger territory.

  6. Chris V says:

    Checking Marvelwiki, the town of Roanoke is a (fictional) town in Alberta.

  7. The Other Michael says:

    Yeah, as someone who lives in the actual Roanoke, VA, I can assure you the town depicted in Weapon X is in no way, shape, or form one of the largest cities in southwest Virginia. 🙂

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    Whoever named the fictional city of Roanoke may have recalled the mystery of 16th century’s Roanoke Colony. The population is pretty close, although of course the timeline can’t be made to fit.

    It was located in an Island, also named Roanoke, in what is currently North Carolina.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roanoke_Colony

  9. Eric G says:

    My major reaction to the story- when it first came out, and still now- is Barry Windsor-Smith is a jaw-droppingly good artist. But the story itself is pretty slight, for all that it’s had to carry a lot of weight over the years since it came out.

  10. Zoomy says:

    So many masterminds behind Weapon X, but one day we’ll learn that James MacDonald Hudson was the boss of them all (Bill Mantlo’s unpopular and swiftly abandoned story from Alpha Flight in 1986) 🙂

  11. Col_Fury says:

    re: Chris V
    I also remember that inferred Apocalypse connection from Wolverine: Jungle Adventure. But I can say that even if it had been the original plan it was dropped at least by the late ’90s. How do I know? I had a letter printed suggesting that Apocalypse was behind Wolverine getting the Adamantium by way of Weapon X in an issue of Gambit (I think) in the late ’90s. They (basically) responded that Apocalypse wasn’t behind Weapon X. So there’s that.

    Of course, Jungle Adventure came out in ’89, and this came out in ’91. They did have the mystery of “who was the professor’s boss?”, I guess leaving the door open for Apocalypse being responsible. But then, every other character that Apocalypse has upgraded he did it personally; why farm the job out to the Weapon X Project in this one case?

    And then they didn’t mention the mystery boss for something like 15 years, and it turns out to be Romulus. bleh

    BUT! Apocalypse did give Wolverine the Adamantium back after Magneto ripped it out of him. It took a while, but there’s that at least.

  12. Daniel says:

    It would be hilarious if Wolverine was responsible for the disappearing Roanoke colony. Let me guess, he carved “CROATOAN” into the tree with his claws, too.

  13. Daniel says:

    Oh! Or maybe the Roanoke colonists were secretly mutants who disappeared because Romulus transported into a pocket dimension where time moves faster. Soon, Virginia Dare will emerge as an advanced Neo / Children of the Vault / The World type being and will lead an attack on Krakoa.

  14. Andrew says:

    I remember hating Weapon X when I read it as a teenager a few years after its initial release on one of those early reprint TPB which buggered up the colouring rather badly.

    I re-read it a second time many years later in the late 2000s when Marvel re-released it with the improved colouring and enjoyed it then.

    BWS is a beautiful artist and I love that Marvel got him back to draw the Weapon X flashback during the Frank Tieri run.

    It’s a shame he appeared to basically retire after that point because he’s just an incredible artist.

  15. Omar Karindu says:

    I realize that, apparently, Windsor-Smith was thinking about revealing Apocalypse as the mastermind, based on that Simonson/Mignola one-shot.

    My understanding is that Claremont, at the time, told Windsor-Smith that he was thinking of making the mastermind behind it all turn out to be Apocalypse.

    The idea is hinted at not only in <i.Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure, but also in an issue of Uncanny — #242, maybe? — in which Wolverine recognizes something about the scent of the alterations made to Archangel, which were also Apocalypse’s handiwork. (I learned about this from the Danglers list that Paul curated in the past.)

    Some version of this idea seems to have been in the editors’ minds for some time after Claremont left the books. Both Wolverine (1988 ongoing series) #100 and parts of “The Twelve” revolve around the idea of Apocalypse or his minions having the same Adamantium-implantation technology.

    Indeed, “The Twelve” as Apocalypse use it to both rebond the metal to Logan and to turn him into Death…much as he’d done with Archangel

    Th Romulus retcon seems to have been just about entirely down to Jeph Loeb wanting to do one of his “everyone was connected, everyone parades through” sorts of stories, and the Marvel editorial philosophy of that era being about letting big-name writers do whatever they want and sorting it all out later.

    In some ways, it’s kind of amazing how much Loeb’s sloppy story — in which an ancient duel of hair colors is a central plot point, and which seems incapable of keeping straight the differences between cats, dogs, and primates — was so assiduously cemented by Daniel Way. (I know Romulus’s claims have been retconned since, but he’s still there in the backstory, and he’s still a truly awful character idea.)

    I mean, I’m not a huge fan of “Apocalypse was behind it,” but at least there was some groundwork laid for that one.

  16. Paul says:

    As best as I can recall, Windsor-Smith knew that there were other plans about who would ultimately be behind Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, and he deliberately made the Professor answerable to a higher unidentified power for that reason. On its own terms, his story is stronger for it, because he’s really not very interested in WHO was responsible; it’s a story about what the middle managers were thinking.

  17. Josie says:

    “BWS is a beautiful artist”

    His art is pretty too!

  18. neutrino says:

    There’s also the later revelations that Weapon X was actually the tenth project of Weapon Plus, which might make John Sublime the mysterious boss.

  19. Matthew Murray says:

    I’m pretty amused at the idea that Wolverine is waiting to catch a train to Yukon, as it means he’s hanging out and drinking in Skagway, Alaska. ; )

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Pass_and_Yukon_Route

  20. Chris V says:

    Daniel-There was an alternate history version of the Roanoke colony used in Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602.

  21. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Honestly, 1602 was begging for a later writer to make it canon. Rohjaz (Steve Rogers) was from the future, sent back in time by ‘a government that turned against superheroes’ – which is basically what happened later (that’s later by publication date) in Civil War, and even later was revealed to basically have happened to Steve Rogers – he was… lost in the timestream? His consciousness was lost in the timestream? – after being ‘assassinated’ in Death of Captain America.

    The only piece that wouldn’t quite fit is the flashback/flashforward in 1602 where we see the arrested superheroes as older versions of… Spider-Man and Daredevil, I think? But apart from that – it fits perfectly. And Rojhaz is sent back to his future at the end.

  22. Si says:

    Wolverine scratched CROATOAN in the tree because he forgot how to spell KRAKOAN.

  23. Chris says:

    I swear I’d simply strip EVERYthing out of the backstory after Larry Hama.

    Although I hate bone claws.

  24. Rob says:

    Incidentally, there has never been a train to Yukon, for the obvious reason that it would take thousands of miles of track to connect to a territory with a population of about 20,000 people. President Trump, naturally, has just proposed building one (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/a2a-railway-1.5744023) so maybe someday it’ll fit in with Marvel’s sliding timeline.

    Also, not sure if it’s canon, but didn’t the conclusion of Weapon X: Days of Future Past establish that Logan was possessed by a time-travelling Wolverine and a time-travelling Sublime when he escaped from Weapon X, and Sublime forced him to maim Colcord?

  25. Nu-D says:

    So, when Weapon X was published the bone claws had not yet been revealed. I’m fairly confident hey hadn’t even been conceived. BWS was writing with the understanding that the claws were a bionic enhancement, given by Weapon X.

    With that in mind, what was Logan dreaming about?

  26. Nu-D says:

    Also, where does the original Weapon X story fit in all this? Uncanny #205. Did I miss it?

  27. Chris V says:

    Uncanny X-Men #205 wasn’t a Weapon X story. The cover depicts Logan after being captured and tortured by Lady Deathstrike.

    Lady Deathstrike was turned in to a cyborg by the Body Shoppe, run by Spiral, not the Weapon X project.

    It just happened to also have artwork by BWS. His Weapon X serial was published a number of years after UXM #205. Otherwise, there’s no relation.

  28. Sparv says:

    Not related to the plot, but Weapon X is also one of the best lettered stories I can think of. The captions are perfectly placed to flow naturally along the artwork, and the individual coloring for the three scientists makes you immediately know who’s speaking and get their voice in your head from the very first word.

  29. Walter Lawson says:

    The bone claws are hinted at in the Weapon X serial — Wolverine is dreaming about them, and the scientists observe that an unusual amount of adamantium is flowing to his hands.

    Before the hints that Apocalypse was behind everything, and before Apocalypse was even created, Claremont indicated that “a classic Marvel villain” was responsible for the adamantium skeleton. But as others have mentioned, by about 1988 a pretty clear plan to hint at Apocalypse was in place: Wolverine recognizes a scent on Archangel and is reminded of pain; he finds an adamantium-plated skull in Apocalypse’s jungle base; and then much later we get the ’90s attempts by Tyler Dayspring and Apocalypse to restore Wolve’s adamantium. In the Twelve storyline where Apocalypse does restore it, Claremont seems to have been involved in an uncredited capacity, so that suggests to me that Apocalypse was his idea of the force behind the adamantium, though it’s possible that Claremont may have been setting up Apocalypse as a red herring — the Archangel and Jungle Adventure clues aren’t completely positive.

  30. Walter Lawson says:

    The mention of BWS’s work on Uncanny 205 brings to mind the Lord Darkwind connection to Wolverine’s adamantium. Circa Daredevil 200, Wolvie guest stars in DD’s book, and in a Wolfe-free part of the arc we’re introduced to Darkwind, who bonds Bullseye‘s bones with adamantium. Yuriko is his daughter but opposes DW, she has a large facial tattoo, and she’s not much of a combatant.

    A couple of years later, she turns up in Alpha Flight, now calling herself Deathstrike, seeking to vindicate her father, and trying to kill Bullseye—but her adamantium detector finds Wolvie instead, so she assumes he stole her father’s adamantium process and she tries to kill him. Her facial tattoo is gone, she’s now an expert combatant, and her personality is totally changed.

    A month or so after that, real-time, is USM 205, where Deathstrike has now somehow connected with the Hellfire Club cyborgs and with Spiral, who turns Lady D into a super-cyborg. From this point on, her sole focus is on Wolvie, not Bullseye. It doesn’t make much sense, especially when she must at some point realize that Wolvie didn’t steal the adamantium bonding technique.

    So the Deathstrike-Wolverine feud backstory is a botch. But so much effort was put into connecting adamantium bonding to Lady D, and making Lady D a Wolvie archenemy, that I suspect at one point Claremont did intend for them to have a real connection. Maybe Apocalypse would have been revealed as having stolen the bonding process, or maybe a “classic marvel villain” would have been. But the stories only add up if Darkwind has something to do with it.

  31. Nu-D says:

    So both of Logan’s “arch-enemies” were poached by CC from another title. Sabertooth from Iron Fist, and Deathstrike from Daredevil.

    I guess I forgot #205 was a Deathstrike story, and not Weapon X. For obvious reasons, the style was strikingly similar. But for those of us who limited our reading to X-Titles, and didn’t even read Logan’s solo book, Deathstrike’s back-story was opaque and her appearance in Uncanny seemed disconnected from anything.

    CC’s habit of assuming the readers knew everything that was going on in he MU sometimes added a lot of depth by giving the sense of a wider world, but sometimes was just confusing.

  32. Thom H. says:

    “So both of Logan’s “arch-enemies” were poached by CC from another title. Sabertooth from Iron Fist, and Deathstrike from Daredevil.”

    Seems fair since Wolverine was himself plucked from the Incredible Hulk. Wolverine is the point at which the entire Marvel universe converges.

    I know what you mean about the sudden guest appearances being confusing. I only recently found out who Kulan Gath was, and his two-parter in the X-Men was in the ’80s.

  33. ASV says:

    I’ve been reading some of the other early Claremont/Byrne stuff recently, and it’s striking how meaningless Sabretooth seems in that first appearance. He’s a one-off, nothing character whose personality is just nihilist Wolverine, he’s defeated, goes away, and becomes an occasionally recurring Iron Fist villain for like seven years before Claremont brings him over to X-Men.

  34. Dave says:

    I’m really surprised that currently there’s still no reprint or Unlimited version of the Daredevil Deathstrike story. I guess/hope it’ll be in a Wolverine Epic volume eventually.

  35. Chris says:

    Walter Lawson forgets the scrap between Wolverine and Archangel in X-TINCTION AGENDA. They almost involuntarily feel drawn to killing one another even more than their usual Jean-based animosity.

  36. Chris V says:

    Dave-That is very surprising, considering that Denny O’Neil died recently.
    Marvel should have put most of his work online in honour of him.
    His DD run wasn’t exactly on the same level as his Iron Man, but it was quite good.

    You aren’t really missing anything as far as Lady Deathstrike though. You are probably better off not reading her pre-X-Men appearances.
    As others have pointed out, what Claremont did with her bears little resemblance to the character created by Denny O’Neil and fleshed our by Bill Mantlo.
    There really was no reason for her to blame Logan for her father’s death, which involved DD and Bullseye, not Wolverine.

  37. […] to Astonish presents part 8 of the life and times of one Mr Logan T. Wolverine, as the irascible scamp falls under the spell of Barry Windsor Smith and emerges… WEAPON […]

Leave a Reply