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Nov 6

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2006

Posted on Sunday, November 6, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003
2004 |2005

We left off in the aftermath of House of M. Almost all mutants have been depowered by the Scarlet Witch – though by a happy coincidence, almost all the main characters happen to be exceptions, including Wolverine. On top of that, Wolverine has regained all of his memories. That took us through to the “Origins and Endings” arc from Wolverine vol 3 #36-40, where Daniel Way kicked off his Wolverine: Origins storyline. That arc already took us through to March 2006, but it continues into Origins itself. And that arc runs for a good long while before allowing a break in the action. So…

WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #1-5
“Born in Blood”
by Daniel Way, Steve Dillon & Dan Kemp
April to August 2006

Origins is Wolverine’s second ongoing monthly series, running for 50 issues and attempting to tie his back story into a coherent whole. On that score, it was a failure. It ties everything into a byzantine conspiracy arc involving Romulus, which has barely been mentioned since, presumably because nobody finds Romulus very inspiring. But it would be unfair to say that nothing in Origins matters. It also introduced Daken, and he’s still appearing prominently today.

In the opening arc, Wolverine starts hunting down people who were part of the conspiracy that exploited him in the past. He feels that he’s done terrible things in his life, that it’s no excuse that he wasn’t in control of his mind, and that he’s beyond redemption – but that’s not going to stop him from taking revenge. We establish that Logan started as a thug for the conspiracy, but went on to become a handler who treated other people the same way in a cycle of abuse. One of his victims, Nuke, resurfaces to lure Wolverine out. Wolverine defeats Nuke, but Captain America shows up to stop Wolverine from killing him. Wolverine beats up Cap, then gives the Muramasa Blade (which he retrieved in the previous arc) to the X-Men for safe keeping. Finally, he heads off in search of his long lost son Daken, believing that the conspirators are planning to engineer a fight between them.

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Oct 2

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2005

Posted on Sunday, October 2, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003
2004

We’re midway through the Mark Millar / John Romita Jr run. It already carried us through the first couple of months of the year, and when we left off, Wolverine had just been captured by the good guys after his brainwashed rampage on behalf of the Hand. If you haven’t read this storyline, you can probably guess what happens in the second half.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #26-31
“Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson & Paul Mounts
March to August 2005

S.H.I.E.L.D. deprogram Wolverine by putting his mind through repeated simulations in which his normal personality can finally reassert itself. When the Hand attack with a bunch of brainwashed villains, Wolverine has to be woken ahead of schedule to fight them, but his normal personality is indeed restored. The attackers include a bunch of minor villains that Wolverine hasn’t encountered before – Slyde (Jalome Beacher), S.H.O.C. (Todd Fields), the Spot (Johnny Ohnn), Vibro (Alton Vibereaux), Poison (Cecilia Cardinale) and Leap-Frog (Buford Lange). In a completely random bit of continuity, the scientist who cures Wolverine, Dr Weinberg, is the former Rabble-Rouser, a one-off Human Torch villain from 1964.

Naturally, Wolverin sets out for revenge and atonement. In practice, this means killing everyone he can get his hands on from HYDRA, the Hand or the Dawn of the White Light cult. Basically it’s a mirror of the first half, except now he’s going after the villains. S.H.I.E.L.D. also fret about whether he’s really deprogrammed, but nothing really comes of that.

In the course of his casual slaughter – and this arc is really casual about having Wolverine kill large number of bad guys – the brainwashed Northstar is captured. As for Elektra, she was never under Hand control after all, and she was just playing along. Finally, Wolverine and Elektra lead SHIELD against the bad guys. Elsbeth is apparently killed in a missile strike, while Gorgon is turned to stone by his own powers and shattered. His ridiculously OTT powers are better suited to being a one-off villain, which is how Millar seems to have conceived him.

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Sep 4

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2004

Posted on Sunday, September 4, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003

We’re in the Greg Rucka run, which so far has been a detour from regular superheroics into something more down to earth. Meanwhile, Grant Morrison has just left the X-Men. We left off with Rucka’s “Coyote Crossing” arc, which ran through to February 2004, and so we pick up with…

WOLVERINE vol 3 #12
“Dreams”
by Greg Rucka, Darick Robertson & Studio F
March 2004

After eleven comparatively low-key, real-world issues, this is a drastic departure – a surrealist stream-of-conscious issue depicting one of Logan’s nightmares. Recurring themes include an animalistic version of himself hiding in the closet and a bright red bird who symbolises Jean, but it defies summary. Darick Robertson’s slight edge of cartooning is perfect for it. In the morning, Cassie Lathrop asks Logan if he had dreams, and he just answers “no.” They’re a couple at this point, by the way, but nothing will come of it.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #13-19
“Return of the Native”
by Greg Rucka, Darick Robertson, Tom Palmer & Studio F
April to September 2004Sabretooth is hired by Mr Willoughby and his aide Mr Murray – both connected with the Weapon X Project – to find and capture the Native. Rather than do it himself, Sabretooth gives the Native’s file to Logan and lets him do the hunting. Ostensibly it’s the easiest way of doing the job, but mainly Sabretooth just wants to screw with Logan.

Logan duly tracks down the Native, a feral woman living in the wilderness, who turns out to be another survivor of the Weapon X Project. She clearly remembers him, but he doesn’t remember him at all. Her attitude to him swings wildly from violence to sex. Logan tries to help her escape and they wind up in a cabin that they vaguely recognises; she tells him in broken English that it is “home”. Eventually, Willoughby and Murray manage to capture the Native; their plan is to harvest her eggs to create new super-soldiers. Having fallen out with his employers, Sabretooth switches sides and offers to help Logan rescue Native, mainly just to annoy everyone. Logan plays along until he gets the chance to run Sabretooth over and claw him in the head. Meanwhile, Weapon X’s Dr Vapor discovers that Native is pregnant (apparently with Logan’s child). Logan kills Vapor and rescues Native. He tries to persuade her to come back to the X-Men with him, but she says she can’t. (“Don’t belong, Logan.”) Sabretooth attacks Logan again, claiming that they both know Native needs to be put out of her misery, and that only he has the strength to do it. Sabretooth wins the fight and kills Native before Wolverine can recover, leaving a note reading “I did you a favour, runt – you can thank me later.”

This seven-parter is the end of the Greg Rucka run, and his only arc that really engages with wider continuity. Surprisingly, Native never appears again – yes, she dies at the end, but when did that ever stop anyone? She’s an interesting character, in that she’s an “animal” in a different sense from the usual Wolverine stories – she’s too animalistic even for Logan to interact with meaningfully, and in some ways the character is limited by design. There’s a definite hint that Creed is sincere in his view that she is better off dead.

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Aug 7

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2003

Posted on Sunday, August 7, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002

When we left off, we were in the middle of a mob storyline, though we’d taken a diversion to deal with some guest appearances. And now, back to the main story.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #183-185
“…And Got Yourself a Gun” / “When in Rome…” / “Sleeping with the Fishes”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Tom Palmer & Edgar Tadeo
December 2002 to February 2003

As per his deal with Freddo, Logan starts going after the operations of rival crimelord the Roman. The Roman turns out to be a gang leader who publicly feigns insanity, dressing as an ancient Roman. He does things like feed annoying henchmen to his pet lions. It works better than you’d think; he feels like a Silver Age Batman character who’s wandered into an otherwise straight crime story. Anyway, being a moron, Freddo is so delighted with Logan’s work that he tries to offer him a permanent job, despite sensible underboss Delcavvo trying to warn him off it. When Logan turns him down, Freddo starts scheming to force Logan into working for him. Meanwhile, the Roman and Delcavvo both try to have Logan killed, and get absolutely nowhere with it. In the end, Logan kills the Roman, but winds up striking a deal to hand over Freddo to Delcavvo, who has him killed.

Issues #181-185 are the peak of the Tieri run; they have dry humour that actually lands, and they don’t have the repetitive sadism that plagues a lot of his run. This is a largely forgotten arc because it has no wider impact, but it’s really pretty good.

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Jul 3

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2002

Posted on Sunday, July 3, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001

We’re in the Frank Tieri run, and we left off with Wolverine teaming with Alpha Flight against Mauvais. Meanwhile, thanks to all the books being miles out of synch with one another, we’ve only had a single issue of the Morrison and Casey runs on New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men

WOLVERINE vol 2 #173-175
“The Logan Files”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Norm Rapmund & Raymund Lee
February to April 2002

As per Mauvais’ warning in the previous arc, bad things do indeed start happening: Sabretooth, Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike start going after Wolverine’s loved ones, and use a hacked Weapon X device to shut down his powers. Sabretooth has escaped the Weapon X project and stolen a copy of all their data on mutants – which he keeps on, er, single floppy disc. (Even at the time, this was a bit much, and Weapon X #1/2 retcons it to make this just a part of what he took.) Deathstrike and Omega Red are working with Sabretooth in exchange for access to the data and Weapon X’s money, but Sabretooth is just stringing them along, since what he really wants is to lure Wolverine into yet another cat and mouse game.

Sabretooth takes Amiko hostage and gives Wolverine a choice: either they can fight directly, or Wolverine can run for it and try and rescue Amiko before Sabretooth gets to her. He also claims to have Weapon X’s “Logan Files”, which contain everything they know about Logan’s lost memories. Naturally, since Wolverine doesn’t have his powers and isn’t about to risk Amiko’s life, he runs for it. But he outwits his pursuer by setting traps. Sabretooth lures Wolverine to the Weapon X compound, where he finds a mortally injured Amiko and a “Logan Files” case that turns out to be empty. Sabretooth explains, apparently truthfully, that this really is everything that the current Weapon X project knows about Wolverine’s lost memories – the gaps are due to his healing factor erasing his traumatic memories (as established in Origin). Weapon X show up, Sabretooth escapes, and Wolverine collapses from his injuries. A Weapon X doctor declares him dead.

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Jun 5

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2001

Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000

Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada took over at Marvel in 2000, but it’s in 2001 that their direction for the company really becomes apparent. And there’s a point I should flag at the outset: a hallmark of this era is that Marvel weren’t really paying much attention to how various titles would fit together, and were also doing some quite lengthy storylines with no obvious gaps in them. This means that getting everything to fit into a coherent timeline can involve quite a bit of stretching, and series can often be miles out of synch with one another. So when I say “2001”, I’m using Wolverine’s solo title as the yardstick. There are other books that came out in 2001 – like Grant Morrison’s New X-Men – which we won’t reach until the 2002 instalment, because that’s just how it winds up fitting together.

Also, I’m going by shipping date, as best as I can establish it, rather than the notional cover dates listed on Marvel.com for these issues (which don’t even appear on the covers by this point).

WOLVERINE vol 2 #159-161
“The Best There Is”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Norm Rapmund and various colourists
December 2000 to February 2001

Testing Wolverine to see if he’s worthy of being an ally, deranged mercenary serial killer Mr X sends a bunch of soldiers after him, led by the Major, and including Blok and the Ladykillers. The Ladykillers are a female duo who go by the names and, deep sigh, A. Welcome to the Frank Tieri run, which continues (with some interruptions) through to issue #186 in 2003.

Logan fights off all the thugs, but loses to Mr X in single combat. Mr X takes Logan to his private island, where he explains his back story: as a child, he encountered a dying woman, could feel her passing, and became obsessed with recapturing that feeling. He’s also trained under the world’s greatest masters so that he can face ever greater opponents. Mr X gives Wolverine a choice between “accept[ing] my superiority and join[ing] me in my new murder avant-garde”, or dying because he now knows too much. Outraged that Mr X treats murder as a game, Logan flies into a berserker rage, escapes his restraints, and attacks Mr X. He does rather better this time, and Blok is forced to intervene – which Mr X regards as cheating.  He dumps Logan in a raft, and leaves a message that Mr X will get back to him in due course. So apparently Wolverine didn’t know too much after all – or maybe Mr X’s weird sense of the rules overrides that. Wolverine is troubled by the way he had to succumb to his berserker instincts to defeat Mr X, and is determined to be ready when Mr X comes back.

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May 1

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2000

Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
19981999

When we left off, Wolverine was a brainwashed henchman of Apocalypse under the name “Death”, and he had replaced by a Skrull impostor for several months. And now, the thrilling climax… right?

CABLE vol 1 #75
“Who is Worthy to Break the Seals…?
by Joe Pruett, Rob Liefeld, Lary Stucker & Optic Studios
January 2000

We’re now in the Apocalypse: The Twelve crossover. Cable has been captured by Apocalypse. He escapes, fights Death, and then confronts Apocalypse himself – but has to surrender again when Apocalypse threatens to have Death kill Caliban. That’s pretty much the whole anniversary issue, which is built around two big fight scenes. It tries to rekindle the idea of an age-old rivalry between Cable and Wolverine, something that had long since been moved on from.

X-MEN vol 2 #96
“The Gathering”
by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Marie Javins
January 2000

More of Apocalypse: The Twelve. The Twelve was a long-running subplot about twelve mutants who supposedly going to be of great historic important. It was set up as a really big deal. This crossover is the pay-off, and they turn out to be just a bunch of characters with convenient powers for a particular scheme that Apocalypse had in mind.

As part of his scheme to assemble the Twelve, Apocalypse sends Death to abduct Mikhail Rasputin from the X-Men Mansion. Death duly punts him through a portal to Apocalypse’s base, but makes his own escape the conventional way. He fights past the X-Men (oh, and Skrull informant Fiz) and ignores all their attempts to talk to him. But Kitty argues that Wolverine was actually trying to thwart Apocalypse’s plans, since he was trying to kill the X-Men – including Cyclops, who’s a member of the Twelve. If you say so, Kitty!

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Apr 3

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1999

Posted on Sunday, April 3, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998

Last  year was mostly random fill-ins and abortive stories. But as we go into 1999, Wolverine finally has a regular creative team again. Will this bring us direction? Will it heck.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #133-138
“The Great Escape”
by Erik Larsen, Jeff Matsuda, Jonothan Sibal & Jason Wright
January to June 1999

No, we’re not in the trade paperback era just yet. This arc is just very long. Take a deep breath…

Wolverine is out drinking with Carol Danvers – she’s going by Warbird at this point, she’s drinking heavily, and she’s just been kicked out of the Avengers. They wind up fighting Powerhouse (a rabidly anti-human mutant from Larsen’s Amazing Spider-Man), who Wolverine defeats despite Warbird’s drunkenly inept “assistance”. None of this has anything to do with the rest of the arc, in which Wolverine’s body is possessed by alien Aria. She spends an issue testing her new body by fighting assorted minor superheroes who have come to investigate – Wolverine ticks Solo (James Bourne) and Cardiac (Elias Wirtham) off his list here, and also meets Vance Astro as Justice. Eventually Aria explains that she’s escaped from “Prison World”, which supposedly holds thousands of innocent people. She wants help from the legendary X-Men, and Wolverine in particular.

Despite there being no evidence for anything Aria has said, and despite her having just wasted an issue making him fight other superheroes, Wolverine agrees to go. Remarkably, Aria is actually telling the truth, but as soon as they arrive on Prison World, she bounces off to possess someone else, leaving Wolverine with no clue what the plan is meant to be.

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Mar 6

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1998

Posted on Sunday, March 6, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997

We left off with Wolverine between regular writers. Warren Ellis’s “Not Dead Yet” filler arc had already taken us through to March 1998, and so we pick up this instalment with…

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #353-354
“Blackbirds” / “Prehistory”
by Steve Seagle, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend & Steve Buccellato
March & April 1998

Rogue has a recurring nightmare in which she first absorbs Wolverine’s powers and memory without his consent, then begs him to kill her for her lack of control. Rogue and Storm won’t tell him why she’s so jumpy, and he’s also generally annoyed about losing his temper with Marrow in X-Men #72, so Logan is generally annoyed.

At this point, Board of Education inspector Margaret Stone shows up, demanding to carry out a surprise inspection, since apparently Professor X hasn’t filed the necessary paperwork for over two years. She’s predictably horrified and quickly leaves, announcing that a full inspection will follow. In a depressing sign of things to come, this plotline simply vanishes into the ether without any resolution, after getting one further passing mention in issue #355. At any rate, Logan is having a very bad day, which only gets worse when he gets knocked out from behind by Sauron. He spends most of issue #354 unconscious, and finally wakes up in time to defeat Sauron. (Sauron is just hunting down mutant energy in this arc, and has no particular plan.)

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Feb 6

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1997

Posted on Sunday, February 6, 2022 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996

Last time Wolverine turned into an animal and then Marvel backtracked from the whole plot at tremendous speed. And so the search is on for a new direction.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #110
“Lesser Beasts”
by Tom DeFalco, Joe Bennett, Joe Pimentel, Joe Andreani & Paul Becton
February 1997

The January 1997 issue was the end of a storyline, and we covered it last time. So we kick off with… a fill-in issue. Wolverine and Shaman team up to deal with a couple of murderous robbers who have accidentally released one of the Great Beasts.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #111
“Restoration”
by Larry Hama, Anthony Winn, Dan Green & Dana Moreshead
March 1997

Logan returns home from his jaunt to Japan and Canada, in time for Iceman’s leaving party – though he leaves early to go and drink on his own and mourn his supporting cast. A package arrives for Logan from Zoe Culloden, asking him to look after an “artefact” whose “nature and origin are not necessary for you to know at the present time”. Zoe’s message says that a dark time is coming, and malevolent energies are converging on him. Seems like a bad idea to give him an important artefact to look after, then. It’s a box with something glowing inside, but we never find out what it is, beyond that it has some sort of connection with both Ogun and Lady Deathstrike.

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