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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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Jan 2

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1996

Posted on Sunday, January 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

When we left off, Wolverine was reverting to a primal state of mind after losing his adamantium. But we’re building to issue #100, so… that’ll be the end of the story, right? Right?

X-MEN & SPIDER-MAN #3
“Clone Sagas”
by Christos Gage & Mario Alberti
March 2009

But first, time to check in again on this miniseries, where every issue took place at a different point in X-Men history. This time, the X-Men team up with Spider-Man (Ben Reilly, the clone of the original) to stop Mr Sinister getting hold of a DNA sample from Carnage (Cletus Kasady). Spider-Man asks Wolverine if his enhanced senses can tell whether he’s the original or the clone; Wolverine can’t, but says that Spider-Man’s performance in the fight showed that he’s the real thing in every way that matters. You know the routine.

Unfortunately, this issue creates a continuity error with Uncanny X-Men #339, where Ben meets the X-Men for the first time again. (Wolverine met him previously in Marvel vs DC.)

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Dec 5

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1995

Posted on Sunday, December 5, 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994

When we left off, Wolverine was making his way back to New York after a year of touring the world and reflecting on his mortality – only for the whole storyline about his healing factor failing after his adamantium was removed to be summarily dumped. We’re in the mid-nineties now…

WOLVERINE vol 2 #89
“The Mask of Ogun”
by Larry Hama, Fabio Laguna, Joe Rubinstein & Marie Javins
January 1995

When the Ogun demon mask – supposedly destroyed in Kitty Pryde & Wolverine – shows up as an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, with Ogun’s spirit still hanging around, Wolverine and Ghost Rider investigate. Wolverine still has conflicted feelings about his old mentor, and is reluctant to simply kill him. But Ogun says the two of them are stuck in a loop where he, the “scientific warrior”, will be killed again and again by Wolverine, “the untamed beast.” Wolverine refuses to succumb to his bestial side, and claims to have split the difference between the sides of his personality. He destroys the mask, briefly exposing a second Wolverine underneath, who instantly vanishes into smoke and dust.

Apparently Ogun was trying to attack Wolverine by turning a part of himself against him, but it didn’t work because of the mental balance techniques that Wolverine learned long ago from Ogun himself. Or something. It’s all rather cryptic – it’s not really clear what Ogun is trying to achieve here, if indeed he has any goal in mind other than playing his role in a pre-ordained loop. Hama does come back to Ogun later, so the main aim may simply have been to get him back into play.

Oh, and Wolverine mentions in this story that he’s given up smoking.

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Nov 7

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1994

Posted on Sunday, November 7, 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993

Following a frantic couple of years, with Wolverine making guest appearances all over the place, 1994 is a remarkable change of pace. There are a few reasons for that. One is that the early 90s speculator bubble has burst, and Marvel’s line is shrinking. In particular, Marvel UK and its firehose of guest stars is now behind us. But also, Wolverine has lost his adamantium, and he’s going to respond to that by spending most of the year going off to find himself. And, for the most part, the rest of the Marvel Universe leaves him to get on with it.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #77
“The Lady Strikes”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Mark Farmer, Mike Sellers, Mark Pennington & Steve Buccellato
January 1994

When we left off, Wolverine was visiting Heather Hudson, and learning that he was going to die without his adamantium because his immune system didn’t work without it. Then, Lady Deathstrike showed up to attack. So this is a fight issue, with the payoff coming when he uses his bone claws and she find out that he doesn’t have his adamantium any more.

Lady Deathstrike’s whole motivation as a Wolverine villain is that she believes his adamantium skeleton was given to him with technology stolen from her father, and she feels obliged to avenge that theft even though she knows Wolverine had no say in it. The loss of his adamantium, in a story that she wasn’t even involved with, makes her whole agenda futile, and means that she gave up her humanity for nothing. But at the same time, she’s  freed from her perceived duty, albeit in the least satisfactory way she can imagine – so she just leaves in order to figure out what she’s going to do with her life instead. There are murmurings about giri and honour.

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Oct 3

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1993

Posted on Sunday, October 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 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992

Last time we covered a really long story that ran up to Wolverine #65 (January 1993). But then we doubled back to cover a lot of other stories… and there are a lot of them. So before we get back to Larry Hama’s storylines in Wolverine #66…

DARK ANGEL #9-12
“Assassination”
by Bernie Jaye, Dell Barras, Helen Stone & Helen Nally
April to July 1993

The X-Men help Dark Angel against assassination attempts from Mys-Tech’s D.O.G.s and Psycho-Warriors, and get to hold off the bad guys while Dark Angel and the Wyrd Sisters (BraxusSapphire and Xena) head off to the astral plane. Eventually the Guide directs the heroes to a hidden computer which was responsible for the assassination attempts , and she channels the spirit of her late father Ranulph Haldane so that he can deliver the voice command to stop the machine.

Rudimentary even by the standards of Marvel UK at its worst, this is best forgotten.

This overlaps with…

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Sep 5

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1992

Posted on Sunday, September 5, 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 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991

We’re deep into mythos-building at this point in the 90s, with Wolverine investigating his memory implants and following up on the events of 1991’s “Weapon X” origin story. We’re also deep into the glut of 1992/3, which results in a rather busy year for inconsequential guest appearances. But we kick off the year with a story that does matter.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #50
“Shiva Scenario, part 3”
by Larry Hama, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green & Steve Buccellato
January 1992

Wolverine breaks into the SHIELD Helicarrier (via improbable motorbike stunts) and demands that Nick Fury hand over his security dossier. Fury relents and hands it over – in the form of several boxes of floppy discs, because it’s 1992. The file has nothing about Logan’s personal history, but does have plenty of information about the Weapon X Project, including the whereabouts of Professor Thorton (who now has a cover job in the Department of Agriculture). Wolverine investigates a Weapon X warehouse in Ontario, and the Professor and Hines follow him there – as does Silver Fox, now an agent of HYDRA.

It’s at this point that Wolverine switches to his yellow costume. The story is very clear – Jean spells it out for us – that this is meant to be a sign of Wolverine’s mental regression, tied to the ill-advised exploration of his hidden memories in the preceding issues. But he’ll stick with the yellow costume long after that plotline fades out.

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