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Jan 31

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1981

Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2021 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wolverine, x-axis

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

The focus is very much off Wolverine in this year’s X-Men stories. But 1981 is also where most of Wolverine: First Class fits, so…

X-MEN vol 1 #141 and UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #142
“Days of Future Past”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Glynis Wein 
January & February 1981

Kate Pryde, the middle-aged Sprite from the distant future of 2013, swaps minds with her past self in order to warn the X-Men that the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – Mystique (Raven Darkhölme), Destiny (Irene Adler), Avalanche (Dominic Petros), Pyro (St John Allerdyce) and the Blob – are going to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly. In Kate’s timeline, this set off a chain of events resulting in an apocalyptic Sentinel-dominated America, and likely nuclear annihilation. The X-Men, now with Storm as field leader, duly defeat the new Brotherhood and save Kelly; Kitty and Kate swap back.

“Days of Future Past” is a classic X-Men story, but it’s not particularly central for Wolverine. He does get to use his senses to verify that Kate is the real thing, and to identify Mystique in disguise. And he has a brief argument with Storm, now that she’s the new authority figure in town. She orders him not to use his claws against opponents unless the circumstances are exceptional, and he grudgingly accepts the ruling. Interestingly, her argument is that he doesn’t need his claws because he has “speed [and] strength” as well as his adamantium skeleton, which reads as if they still hadn’t quite figured out exactly what his powers were at this point.

Wolverine’s future counterpart gets rather more to do in his segments of the story. He’s generally played as a reliable veteran, foreshadowing the role that he was growing into. He’s also perhaps the least changed by this apocalyptic future. After all, there wasn’t much room to make him harder than he was already.

“So Bright This Star” / “Where Demons Fear to Dwell!”
by Tom DeFalco, John Romita Jr, Alfredo Alcala, Glynis Wein & Ken Klaczak
March and April 1981

Dazzler invites the X-Men and a bunch of other superheroes to her first show at the Numero Uno nightclub. Coincidentally, a magical portal is about to open at the club, and so the Enchantress shows up, with an army of followers in tow for all the guest stars to fight. Dazzler saves the day, and the assembled superheroes (yes, even Wolverine) persuade agent Harry Osgood to sign her.

It’s a completely inconsequential story, but this is also Wolverine’s first meeting with the Human Torch and the Avengers, who currently consist of Captain America, the Beast, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Iron Man (Tony Stark) and the Wasp (Janet van Dyne). It’s also the first time he meets Ben Grimm as the Thing, though they’ve crossed paths in the pre-FF days.

by Marc Sumerak, Mark Robinson, Robert Campanella & James Brown
November 2008 to January 2009

This miniseries is basically a framing sequence for a retelling of the Weapon X story. Professor X and Wolverine take a telepathic journey into Wolverine’s mind, to try and unlock his suppressed memories. He learns about Team X and the Weapon X Project, but the memories send him into such a rage that he asks Professor X to wipe them again for everyone’s safety.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #143
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Glynis Wein
March 1981

This is the one where Kitty Pryde is left alone in the Mansion on Christmas Eve, and has to fight an N’Garai demon on her own.

Wolverine is in the intro scenes, in which Mariko visits the Mansion to collect him for a date. He introduces her to the X-Men as his “lady”. Kurt playfully teleports in and kisses her under the mistletoe, and Logan lashes out with his claws. After being calmed down, Logan apologises, and is very upset about his behaviour. Somewhat remarkably, he and Mariko leave on their scheduled date anyway. It’s the “loose cannon” interpretation of Wolverine, though with a very clear indication that he hates being that way and wants to change. As for Mariko, she’s still a cipher – though an extremely tolerant one.

A few minor flashbacks fit in here. In Wolverine Annual 1995, the X-Men destroy the N’Garai cairn, to try and get rid of the demon infestation for good. In Wolverine vol 2 #126, Sprite faces Wolverine in the Danger Room for the first time (which is still usable for sparring sessions). And in Excalibur vol 1 #85, Wolverine gives a nervous Sprite her first lesson in Krav Maga.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #144
“Even in Death…”
by Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson, Joe Rubenstein & Glynis Wein
April 1981

This is a Cyclops solo story. The active X-Men only appear in a subplot, in which they’re still doing repairs after the previous issue. Wolverine and Nightcrawler tease Sprite about all the damage, and she cries.

ROM #17-18
“Hybrid!” / “And a Child Shall Deceive Them!”
by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema & Ben Sean
April & May 1981

The X-Men team up with Rom to fight the half-mutant, half-Dire Wraith creature known as Hybrid. Rom and Hybrid both wind up banished to a limbo dimension.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #145-147
“Kidnapped!” / “Murderworld!” / “Rogue Storm!”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Joe Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
May to July 1981

Miss Locke blackmails the X-Men into rescuing her boss Arcade from Doctor Doom – later retconned into a faulty Doombot in Fantastic Four vol 1 #258 – by holding various friends and family hostage. The X-Men escape the usual deathtraps, and Doom backs down. Meanwhile, a reservist team rescues the hostages. As a result, Colossus’s little sister Illyana Rasputin comes to live at the Mansion.

Wolverine objects to the X-Men even bothering to rescue Arcade, instead of going for the hostages themselves. He escapes his trap room by keeping his cool and thinking his way out of it, with the help of a flashback to a James Hudson pep talk. It’s a minor triumph over his berserker impulses, to keep that storyline ticking over.

by Fred van Lente, Andrea di Vito & Laura Villari
April 2008

Kitty wants to show off to her dance class friends by getting Logan to drive them to a Dazzler show in the X-Men’s limousine. Looking for a way to get into his good books, she finds out his birthday by hacking into Xavier’s files, and sets him up on a birthday date with Mariko at a horrific ninja-themed novelty restaurant. Of course, this completely screws up Logan’s plan to deal with the annual Sabretooth attack alone. Naturally, Sabretooth attacks, but Kitty saves the day by blowing him up. In exchange for her keeping quiet about the whole birthday attacks thing, Logan winds up driving her to the Dazzler concert.

This is a fun issue, and it plays rather cleverly off the fact that we know more than most of the characters do. It also plugs the obvious gap in that Sabretooth didn’t show up in the regular X-Men comics for years.

“The Last Knights of Wundagore”
by Fred van Lente, Salva Espin & Guru eFX
April & May 2008

As part of the X-Men’s search for Magneto (mentioned in Uncanny #149), Wolverine and Sprite investigate strange electromagnetic pulses in Wundagore. They meet the High Evolutionary and his evolved-animal New Men, including Bova, the Knights of Wundagore, storyteller Prosimia and the evil Man-Beast. It’s meant to be a story which contrasts Wolverine’s animalistic tendencies with the New Men, but it’s rather confused. The Evolutionary first claims to cure Wolverine of his berserker rages, but later clarifies that he only removed Wolverine’s sense of self-loathing temporarily. For some reason Wolverine panics and runs when he believes that he’s lost his anger, but eventually he stands and fights anyway, because he’s a hero. Bit of a mess.

by Fred van Lente, Clayton Henry & Chris Sotomayor
June 2008

Wolverine and Sprite visit Alpha Flight in a last attempt to wake Citadel from his coma (a villain who might know something about Department H and Wolverine’s past). Citadel dies. Mainly a framing sequence for flashbacks, with Wolverine brooding on the loss of a potential link to his inaccessible past.

SPIDER-WOMAN vol 1 #37
“Who Am I?”
by Chris Claremont, Steve Leialoha, Terry Austin & Carl Gafford
April 1981

Wolverine cameos as some of the other X-Men head off to investigate a new mutant. It’s Sean Cassidy’s long lost daughter Siryn (Theresa Rourke) and he’ll meet her when they bring her back to the mansion after the next issue. (This storyline has to come out of publication order because the story below takes place “days” later.)

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #148
“Cry, Mutant!”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Joe Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
August 1981

Once again, Wolverine’s not in the main plot (which is the first meeting of Sprite and Caliban). But he spars with Nightcrawler and reveals that he can hide in plain sight like a ninja. He also joins the other X-Men for the heartwarming reunion of Sean and Theresa.

Meanwhile, Angel storms out when Professor X refuses to take Wolverine off the team. This turns out to be Angel quitting the team, though it doesn’t come across that way here. Still, Professor X does wonder whether Wolverine’s potential for good justifies the cost of keeping him around. 

Another flashback from Wolverine: Weapon X#16 has been placed around here in the official timelines – it shows Wolverine storming out of the Mansion in a rage, on his way to kill someone. Nightcrawler tries to warn him that he’s dooming himself to Hell, but Wolverine is unswayed. It’s an essentially unplaceable flashback – the whole point is that it’s broadly generic.

“By Friends — Betrayed!”
by Chris Claremont, Michael Golden & Armando Gil

When an amnesiac Carol Danvers turns up in San Francisco, Professor X is called in to help. The other X-Men make a brief cameo, still plodding away on the repair of the Danger Room. This story is, of course, the debut of Rogue, but Wolverine won’t meet her for a while. The X-Men also appear in the epilogue, “weeks” later, where Carol is rehabbing at the Mansion and the Avengers drop by for a visit – but since the story expressly calls for a massive gap before that scene, I’m going to stick it as late as it can go, which puts it into 1982.

“Little Girls”
by Fred van Lente, Salva Espin & Chris Sotomayor
August 2008

We now hit another run of Wolverine: First Class issues – since issue #12 explicitly follows on from Uncanny X-Men #150, issues #6-11 all have to be shoehorned into the gap between Uncanny X-Men #148-149. (They can’t go any earlier because Angel is no longer with the X-Men, and Illyana is now living at the Mansion.)

In this one, Logan tries to watch the Stanley Cup play-offs in peace while Kitty has a girls’ night in with little Illyana, Siryn, and Michelle from issue #1 (now Amp). The girls play in the Danger Room and wind up activating some robots that Wolverine has to deal with. The main story is about the girls squabbling over a boy. It doesn’t fit very neatly into continuity because the plot hinges on the Danger Room working, but at least it’s not working properly.

“Zone of Alienation”
by Fred van Lente, Steven Cummings, Vicente Cifuentes & Adam Street
September and October 2008

Paranoid Kitty thinks Colossus is meeting a Russian girl, but it turns out that he’s helping the Soviet Super-Soldiers to deal with an apparent reactor meltdown. This leads to Wolverine, Sprite, Colossus and the Super-Soldiers uncovering a failed experiment to power-up Russian mutants, who have instead been merged into “the Collective”. The heroes defeat the Collective, and the Super-Soldiers pledge to deal with the party officials responsible. Kitty decides that Peter thinks of her as a sister, and determines to change his mind.

The Soviet Super-Soldiers here are Darkstar (Laynia Petrovna), Vanguard (Nikolai Petrovna), the Crimson Dynamo (Dimitri Bukharin) and Ursa Major (Mikhail Ursus) – and yes, they’re the Soviet Super-Soldiers even though the story was published in 2008. Wolverine: First Class seems to be going for stories that would have literally fit in if published at the time of the original issues. Ursa Major is presented as a cadet Super-Soldier, and he did indeed debut in 1981 – specifically, Incredible Hulk vol 2 #258-259.

WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS #8 (backup strip)
“Kitty’s Dream”
by Fred van Lente & Colleen Coover
October 2008

Kitty tells Logan about a dream involving the Mole Man. It’s a two page gag strip, but there’s no reason why it can’t be in continuity.

by Fred van Lente, Francis Portela & Ulises Arreola
November 2008

When Sabretooth kidnaps Kitty, Wolverine asks Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu for advice, but only gets some zen pointers about not being distracted by thoughts. Wolverine is initially unimpressed, but naturally, Shang-Chi’s advice leads him to victory. This is an interesting counterpoint to the usual angle in early 80s stories, which was that Wolverine wasn’t thinking enough, and needed to temper his animal instincts. The point is not to overcorrect and become paralysed by overanalysing.

“The Pack”
by Fred van Lente, Francis Portela & Ulises Arreola
December 2008 & January 2009

Wolverine takes Kitty into the Illinois woods for a solo navigation exercise. They wind up encountering a pack of werewolves, plus the passing Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night. The werewolves are mostly agitated about a new film manufacturing plant which is dumping silver (which is poisonous to them). Logan is briefly turned into a werewolf, and becomes drawn to the pack while struggling for control. He comes to his senses when he realises that the banker behind the plant is Kitty’s father Carmen, and that the pack are going to kill him. Logan, Kitty and Jack defeat the pack, and Logan’s healing factor cures him of the werewolf bite. A pretty straightforward story, but a nice counterpart to the Shang-Chi one that precedes it.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #149
“And the Dead Shall Bury the Living!”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Josef Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
September 1981

The X-Men (and stowaway Sprite) check out Magneto’s old volcano base from issue #115. They find evidence that Magneto is back, and fight reluctant watchman Garokk the Petrified Man. Not an especially important issue for our purposes.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #150
“I, Magneto…”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Josef Rubinstein, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
October 1981

Apparently by sheer coincidence, on their way home the X-Men are caught in the magnetic field surrounding Magneto’s Island M base, and they crash. Cyclops and his new partner Lee Forrester have already been on the island for several issues, and Professor X gets yanked there by Magneto during the story. Despite the island’s power dampers, the X-Men fight Magneto, who has a crisis of conscience after knocking out Sprite and realising that he’s hurt a child. Magneto escapes, and the X-Men celebrate on the beach. 

This is a key issue for Magneto, since it kicks off his rehabilitation storyline. It also gives the X-Men possession of his base, which they’ll use a lot in coming issues. But again, there’s not much that’s specific to Wolverine.

“The Substitute”
by Fred Van Lente, Scott Koblish & Ulises Arreola
February 2009

Van Lente’s final issue takes place immediately after issue #150. Professor X sends Kitty and Cyclops to investigate a strange noise. They encounter the monstrous demon Quoggoth, which claims to have been imprisoned in a sepulchre on the island by Shuma-Gorath for hundreds of millions of years, until Magneto raised it from the sea. Quoggoth can’t escape the mystic veils around its sepulchre, but plans to hold Kitty hostage until the X-Men release it. Naturally, with Wolverine’s help, they escape and re-form the seal. The main point of the story is that after twelve issues of odd-couple squabbling between Kitty and Wolverine, she find that she prefers him to Cyclops as a teacher, because he brings a much wider perspective than career-superhero Cyclops.

The remaining issues of Wolverine: First Class, written by Peter David, are a bit more evergreen in character, not to mention Not Very Good. At least some of them have to come before the Brood arc due to Kitty’s age, and so they have to fit somewhere between Uncanny X-Men #150 and #154 (where the X-Men finally decamp to Island M). I could have scattered them at random in the available gaps, but for simplicity I’ll just shove as many as possible of them here. The X-Men make a bunch of other appearances in that same period, after all, so it’s as good a gap as any.

“Hand in Hand” / “Demon With a Crass Hand”
by Peter David, Ronan Cliquet & Ulises Arreola
March & April 2009

Mariko’s friend Keli Saga has recently inherited a family company and asks Wolverine to protect her from the Hand. In fact, the Hand just want to steal a magical mask which is occupied by the demon Shinigami. The demon possesses Kitty for a bit, but gets defeated by Wolverine, Daredevil (Matt Murdock) and Elektra (Elektra Natchios). 

“Rock Gods”
by Peter David, Scott Koblish & Ulises Areola
May 2009

Kitty pesters Logan to introduce her to Thor, so that she can impress her dance classmates. They team up with Thor to fight Ulik, and eventually Logan persuades Thor to show up and impress the dance class.

by Peter David & Gurihiru
June 2009

When Dazzler receives death threats, Wolverine, Kitty and Siryn guard her. The art is lovely, but the story is excruciating – there’s lots of Wolverine grumbling about disco, and the death threat turns out to be a misunderstanding from someone who wants to throw a pie at her. Seriously, if you’re thinking of re-reading this series, stop with issue #12.

“Two Wongs”
by Peter David, Ronan Cliquet & Ulises Arreola
July 2009

Wolverine uses his Patch persona to intimidate politician Benjamin Wong, whose father was a criminal that he once assassinated in Madripoor. For some unfathomable reason, Logan is convinced that Wong will be a bad guy simply because his father was. It turns out that Wong Sr is still alive and Wong Jr knows nothing about his crimes – but for some reason Wolverine still insists he’ll keep an eye on the guy, and the story treats this as perfectly reasonable. Really bad.

“Identity Crisis”
by Peter David, Francis Portela and Jim Charalampidis
August 2009

Madrox shows up looking for a missing dupe that he wants to reabsorb; Logan and Kitty argue about whether it should have the right to refuse. (Logan agrees with Madrox.) In the end, the dupe dies anyway while rescuing a child from a fire. This is the best of the Peter David issues by a mile – it’s a Madrox story, after all – but still mars it with a stupid scene of Wolverine ranting about the evils of bootleg movie script vendors (“insulting and unfair to the movie-makers”).

“Discreet Invasion”
by Peter David & Dennis Calero
September & October 2009

Wolverine and Sprite are kidnapped by Skrulls led by the Super-Skrull, who plans to experiment on Wolverine. Sprite and the original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) save him. Lovely art, but that’s pretty much the whole plot and it’s two issues long. The implication is that the Skrulls were planning to create duplicates of Wolverine and Sprite in order to replace them as part of the scheme that eventually came to light in 2008’s Secret Invasion crossover.

The final issue of First Class comes long after this point, since the Danger Room is fully restored. We’ll get to that.

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #5
“Ou, La La – Badoon!”
by Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson, Bob McLeod & Glynis Wein

The X-Men team up with the Fantastic Four to save Arkon’s world from the invading Badoon. This is the first time Wolverine meets Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Girl and young Franklin Richards

Wolverine’s not the focus of this issue, but it does have a rare scene of him objecting to Cyclops’ plan on the grounds that it’s too risky. More interestingly, there’s also a scene of Wolverine and Nightcrawler discussing the morality of killing, in which Claremont flags up that Wolverine would be a completely conventional hero in the barbarian-genre world of Arkon. Wolverine also points out that this is a war, and lethal force is perfectly reasonable on the morality of a soldier. Kurt accepts that argument but responds with two points: first, that even if killing is necessary, Wolverine needs to take it more seriously; and second, that the X-Men should follow a higher standard because they symbolise an ideal. This is a common Claremont argument and Wolverine will start to advance it himself later in the 1980s.

“Into the Land of Death…”
Issue #3 by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Bob McLeod & Glynis Wein
Issue #4 by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Terry Austin & Glynis Wein
July and September 1982

In the Savage Land, the X-Men team up with Angel and Ka-Zar against Sauron, Zaladane and the Savage Land Mutates (Gaza, Vertigo, Amphibius, Timberius and Barbarus). The X-Men get captured and experimented upon, with Brainchild turning them into neanderthals and back. The bad guys are defeated, and Sauron turns back into Karl Lykos. Wolverine meets Shanna the She-Devil here, along with obscure supporting character Tanya Anderssen (Sauron’s ex-girlfriend). Even though these are essentially extra issues of Uncanny X-Men, you’re not missing much if you haven’t read them – certainly where Wolverine’s concerned.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #151-152
“X-Men Minus One!” / “The Hellfire Gambit”
Issue #151 by Chris Claremont, Jim Sherman, Bob McLeod, Josef Rubinstein & Bonnie Wilford
Issue #152 by Chris Claremont, Bob McLeod, Josef Rubinstein & Don Warfield
November & December 1981

Kitty’s parents send her to Emma Frost’s Massachusetts Academy, and Emma uses a device to swap her mind with Storm’s. The Hellfire Club attack the X-Men Mansion, using both Sentinels and soldiers. Three of the soldiers (Cole, Reese and Macon) have been turned into cyborgs after the injuries Wolverine inflicted on them during the Dark Phoenix Saga, and who are out for personal revenge. The villains are defeated, Storm gets her body back, and Emma agrees to send Kitty back to the X-Men. Rather implausibly, both groups simply agree to keep the other’s secret.

Wolverine suggests that Professor X simply change the Prydes’ minds telepathically, which Professor X vetoes on the ground that it’s completely immoral – though he acknowledges that he used to do that sort of thing in the Silver age.

The main Wolverine material, though, comes in his brief interaction with Cole, Reese and Macon (and Harry Leland, who also fancies a bit of revenge). Wolverine is completely unimpressed by the three cyborgs’ motivation – so what if they had a lot of cyborg parts put in, they’re still human, aren’t they? He sees them as making excuses, and there’s an obvious parallel with his own experiences in the Weapon X Project.

Next time, 1982 and the Brood.

(Oh, and a footnote: The first Wolverine mini is cover dated 1982, but it fits into Uncanny X-Men during 1983. So we won’t reach it for a little while yet.)

Bring on the comments

  1. […] Next time, 1981, and the X-Men start showing up in the wider Marvel Universe. (And, loads of Wolverine: First Class…) […]

  2. Thom H. says:

    Wow — things are getting complicated again in terms of continuity. I’m impressed with how deftly you juggle multiple series and guest appearances, sometimes just based on minor clues like the Danger Room’s appearance.

    Uncanny X-Men #150 was the first comic book I ever read, although not at its time of publication. It came in a 3-pack of Marvel comics at Target (or whatever pre-Target store it was at the time) a few months later. What an introduction to comics! I was 8 years old.

    “Interestingly, her argument is that he doesn’t need his claws because he has “speed [and] strength” as well as his adamantium skeleton, which reads as if they still hadn’t quite figured out exactly what his powers were at this point.”

    Claremont frequently relied on “fast” to make characters seem more powerful. “His bulk belies his speed,” and stuff like that. And it’s not like we can check given how panel-to-panel time works. For all we know, every mutant moves at 1.5 times the speed of humans and speaks in a high-pitched voice.

    Finally, what was the point of adding Angel back to the team for a year? He filled out the roster during the latter part of Dark Phoenix, he made a few rookie mistakes because he was out of practice, and then he stormed out to protest Wolverine’s inclusion on the team. Was any of that Claremont’s point, or did he have plans for Angel that got scrapped for some reason?

  3. Luis Dantas says:

    I suspect that Claremont used Angel as a voice for the viewpoint that Wolverine was given too much reign, and his flight in #148 was an open invitation for readers to write and take sides.

    At this point Claremont is still a bit cautious in his writing. Angel’s statement can be accepted at face value, but it can just as easily dismissed, since what little we actually see of both characters’ personalities and behavior at this time is often vague and ambiguous. As I pointed out in last installment’s comments, most of the character development by Claremont at this point in time occurs off-panel and is decreed after the fact to have indeed happened.

    For instance, we never see a scene with Storm being chosen as field leader. Does she feel that she is ready for that? How temporary a replacement does she consider herself to be?
    Would she have chosen someone else instead?

    The actual published stories go out of their way to avoid giving us any hint, although there is a somewhat busy and, again, ambiguous scene in Marvel Fanfare #3 between Angel and Storm. It is IMO telling that such a scene, hidden in a book that most regular readers would miss, addresses such an obvious matter (and develops Wolverine’s personality) to a considerably greater extent than the whole year worth of regular issues wants to.

    Angel storming out of the mansion in #148 is a similar scene. It is purposefuly denied any clear context. We are meant to decide out of our own judgement, almost entirely arbitrarily and with little support either way from the published material, whether there is any point to either Angel’s claims or the (very brief and weak) challenge offered by Storm and Xavier.

    Even Storm’s irritation, made explicit by her thought balloons, can be explained by any combination of several possible stances, from simple dislike of being disagreed with up to having convinced herself somehow that Wolverine has a heart of gold. It helps that she is very new in her leadership role and we have no clear statement of how permanent it is viewed by anyone.

    IIRC, Wolverine back in #139 is in fact the one character to ever comment either way for a very long time, making it easy to guess that Ororo may feel insecure about criticism to her one known supporter.

    At this point I feel confident that Claremont was writing for the letter column during this time period.

  4. Drew says:

    “ Finally, what was the point of adding Angel back to the team for a year? He filled out the roster during the latter part of Dark Phoenix, he made a few rookie mistakes because he was out of practice, and then he stormed out to protest Wolverine’s inclusion on the team. Was any of that Claremont’s point, or did he have plans for Angel that got scrapped for some reason?”

    IIRC, John Byrne pushed for Warren to be added to the team, and has said his plan was to gradually add the original members back one at a time over a couple of years. (Like Kurt Busiek, Byrne preferred the original 05.) I’ve just always assumed that once Byrne left, Claremont ditched Warren the first chance he got.

  5. Drew says:

    “Madrox shows up looking for a missing dupe that he wants to reabsorb; Logan and Kitty argue about whether it should have the right to refuse. (Logan agrees with Madrox.) In the end, the dupe dies anyway while rescuing a child from a fire.”

    Kind of a weird choice, since a major plotline of Peter David’s first X-Factor story was Madrox freaking out because he’d never had a dupe die before. (Except the one Proteus stole, but for whatever reason he didn’t count that one.) I guess PAD was treating Wolverine: First Class as out of continuity (or assumed no one was paying attention to it).

  6. Nu-D says:


    It’s even stranger, since by 2009 PAD had written most of X-Factor vol. 3, which included exactly the same plot about the morality of reabsorbing duplicates. Why tell this story in a one-off after spending years telling it in an ongoing?

  7. Rob says:

    Paul, what are the official chronologies you refer to?

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It might not have been the original intent, but with Cyclops on a leave of absence after the Dark Phoenix Saga, keeping Angel on the team maintains the symbolic connection of the new X-Men to the original team. And Cyclops comes back two issues after Angel leaves.

  9. Paul says:

    There are detailed chronologies in the X-Men and Wolverine Indexes from a few years back, which were mostly based on the Marvel Chronology Project (

    At this point I’m largely following the MCP timeline, though there are few bits which I’m rejigging where they make more sense purely in terms of a Wolverine readthrough. (This will be particularly glaring when we get to the Australian era, where the official timelines have some odd hopping about, designed to avoid continuity errors arising in other books entirely.)

  10. Person of Con says:

    FWIW, I remember PAD making a comment somewhere (maybe his blog?) that his approach to continuity was that the story at hand came first, and that he didn’t worry about “minor” inconsistencies (characters X and Y act like they’ve never met before, etc) if there’s more than a decade between the events. He’s also someone who’s not above reusing an idea, if he thinks it’s a good one; I remember seeing dialogue in his Captain Marvel book that was identical to an exchange in his Star Trek stuff, for example.

  11. Paul says:

    By the time Peter David took over Wolverine: First Class, Marvel were also starting to vacillate about whether the First Class books were canon. They were certainly originally *meant* to be canon – X-Men: First Class has at least one plot point which is picked up in Agents of Atlas, and the final issue of Van Lente’s run has a footnote which says outright that it takes place after an issue of Uncanny. However, they don’t feature in the official Marvel reference books because (apparently) Marvel specifically asked that they not be mentioned. There seems never to have been a ruling that they *aren’t* canon, but more a ruling that the question isn’t to be addressed.

  12. Tim XP says:

    The idea of Wolverine randomly having very strong views about leaked movie scripts and film piracy is really funny. I’m imagining Kitty watching him pop his claws through the skull of his 200th ninja and then very seriously forwarding her one of those “You wouldn’t steal a car, so why download a movie?” memes later that same day.

  13. Paul says:

    It is, shall we say, not as funny as it was clearly meant to be.

  14. Tim XP says:

    @Paul: That’s a late-period Peter David script, all right.

  15. Jason Powell says:

    I’m somewhat bemused that you’re coming down so hard on Wolverine First Class #17, ripping apart the plot logic and calling it “Really bad.” I literally bought that issue ONLY because of your positive review of it when it first came out, Paul!

    “By Critics …. BETRAYED!!!”

    This is the last couple lines of your original review in 2009, fwiw: “David manages to tie up the story without giving a clear answer to that question, and still make it satisfying. There’s also strong artwork from Ronan Cliquet, who has more than a hint of Darick Robertson. This is a good issue.”

    Fortunately, no hard feelings from me, because I do enjoy that issue. It’s still part of my personal fan-canon, though I place it much later in my own personal reading order … more specifically, circa Uncanny 196. (Kitty calls herself Shadowcat …. AND she is able to phase an entire other person, something she couldn’t do circa Uncanny 150.)

  16. Jason says:

    “Kind of a weird choice, since a major plotline of Peter David’s first X-Factor story was Madrox freaking out because he’d never had a dupe die before. (Except the one Proteus stole, but for whatever reason he didn’t count that one.)”

    My interpretation was that Madrox didn’t freak out at a dupe dying, he was freaked out at the fact that he couldn’t reabsorb the body of the dead dupe, which implied that maybe the duplicate was his own person, rather than just a soulless extension of Jamie himself. The reason he didn’t freak out about the one killed by Proteus is not because that death “didn’t count” but because he never got a chance to re-absorb the duplicate, so he simply assumed he would have been able to.

    I had a vague recollection that the events of First Class 18 didn’t really contradict the Madrox existential freak-out from X-Factor 72. Double-checking, it seems that he re-absorbs that dupe at the end of the story. (And the dupe hasn’t died yet, though he is dying from his injuries.). So, there really isn’t any contradiction with X-Factor 72.

  17. […] to Astonish takes a look back at 1981 through the lens of Wolverine’s stabby hands, and brings Dazzler and one ROM Spaceknight along for the ride. Mais bien […]

  18. Rob says:

    Just started rereading Wolverine: First Class and while it’s easy enough to hand-wave away, Angel actually is still with the X-Men in issue #6, though he doesn’t have any lines. I guess he just decided to swing by for Moira and Sean’s going-away party, even though he barely knows them? But the issue also has to take place some time after X-Men #148 because Theresa has already moved to Muir Island and is just back at the mansion visiting with her dad (who Wolverine mistakenly calls her uncle).

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