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Feb 28

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1983

Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2021 by Paul in 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 | 1981 | 1982


We left off with the Brood arc, which extends into early 1983. The X-Men and the Starjammers had just figured out that Professor X was infected by the Brood, and were racing back home to sort it out. Along the way, they stop for a flashback in Excalibur vol 1 #116, in which Kitty and Kurt insist on doing what they can to help a Sidri starship in trouble. Wolverine’s there, but he doesn’t contribute much.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #167
“The Goldilocks Syndrome!”
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek & various
March 1983

The X-Men storm the Mansion in pursuit of the Brood-infected Professor X, only to encounter his latest recruits the New MutantsCannonball (Sam Guthrie), Psyche (Dani Moonstar), Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh) and Sunspot (Roberto Da Costa) – who try to defend their home. After the usual fight, both teams join forces to defeat the Brood Queen, and Sikorsky clones Xavier a new body. This body can walk, but Xavier still has psychosomatic issues for a little while. Since Deathbird has seized control of the Shi’ar Empire, Lilandra also stays on Earth for now. And the Professor infuriates everyone by demoting Sprite to the New Mutants.

As you might expect, Wolverine’s not the focus here. He completely outclasses the New Mutants that try to deal with him – he even shrugs off Karma’s possession powers – but dutifully notes that they’ll be more dangerous once they’ve had time to train. He supports killing the Professor, but only because he’s unaware of the cloning option.

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #6
“Blood Feud”
by Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein

Dracula, who still has influence over Storm after Uncanny X-Men #159, sends her to steal the anti-vampire Montesi Formula. Mind-controlled by Dracula’s daughter and rival Lilith, Sprite and Colossus set out on the same quest. The X-Men defeat Dracula with the help of his new vampire consort Rachel van Helsing (previously a vampire hunter in Tomb of Dracula), who then lets herself get killed by sunlight. Lilith pronounces the outcome satisfactory. Mostly a Storm / Kitty / Colossus story, but it’s Wolverine who gets to hold Rachel and stake her according to her wishes; he sees this sort of unpleasant but necessary task as his role in the team.

“And They Shall Call Him… Champion!”
by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson and various

The alien Champion demands that Earth’s strongest heroes fight him at Madison Square Garden, and says he’ll destroy the world unless someone can beat him. Colossus is one of the selected heroes; the X-Men try to interfere, without success. Champion defeats everyone, but is so impressed by the Thing that he spares Earth anyway.

“Visiting Hours”
by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson, Mike Esposito & George Roussos
February 1983

The Thing is hospitalised after his battle with the Champion. Loads of supervillains have a go at assassinating him, and the X-Men are among the many guest stars fending them off. Only the Sandman makes it through, but he just wants to offer Ben a beer.

By the nature of the story, Wolverine crosses paths here with a truly random selection of supervillains he hasn’t met before: the Grapplers (Titania, Letha, Screaming Mimi and Poundcakes), the Mole Man, Blacklash, the Melter, Mirage, the Constrictor, MODOK and the Mecho-Marauder. Most of them are nonentities, though Mole Man and MODOK are fairly high profile, and Mimi goes on to become Songbird from the Thunderbolts.

“A Day Like Any Other”
by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Hilary Barta & Andy Yanchus
February 1983

A glorified featurette in which Kitty gives Illyana a tour of the Mansion. Wolverine’s room is now kitted out in minimalist Japanese style, though it also has empty beer cans lying around. Oddly, he has photos of both Mariko Yoshida and Carol Danvers displayed with equal prominence.

At the end, the X-Men and the New Mutants hold a surprise belated birthday party for Kitty, who turned 14 during the Brood arc. If you’re ticking off names, this is Wolverine’s first on-panel meeting with Kitty’s dance teacher Stevie Hunter.

“The Last Word”
by Peter David, Scott Koblish & Jim Charalampidis
November 2009

The final issue of Wolverine: First Class has to come here, since the plot hinges on a fully working holodeck-style Danger Room, but Kitty is still wearing her generic X-Men outfit. Wolverine and Professor X test Sprite by pretending that the scenario has gone wrong. Not especially memorable.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #168
“Professor Xavier is a Jerk!”
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
April 1983

Near the start of the issue, Logan has a chat with Kurt about whether Kitty should be put back on the team. He makes a heart-over-head argument that she should, based on how much she’s proved herself, despite acknowledging that it’s not a rational position. (He does attempt an argument that Kitty would be in just as much danger as a civilian as she would be on the X-Men, but come on.) Then, Logan heads off on holiday to the Canadian Rockies, not to return to the pages of Uncanny until issue #172.

WOLVERINE vol 1 #1 (prologue)
“I’m Wolverine”
by Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, Josef Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
September 1982

In the Canadian Rockies, Logan tracks down and kills a bear which has been driven mad by a poisoned arrow, then deals with the irresponsible hunter who shot him. This has nothing whatever to do with the rest of the series, except to define the character at the outset for new readers. The issue tells us that Logan then returns to the X-Men Mansion, and finds that his letters to Mariko have been returned unopened. (This is seen in flashback in Wolverine: Origins #46.)

After trying to get through to the Japanese embassy and the Yashida estate without success, Logan heads to Tokyo to kick off the miniseries proper. Except… it turns out to be a bit more complicated than that. There’s a nasty continuity scramble around this point. To set the scene:

  • The Brood arc ends in Uncanny #167, and Kitty is instantly demoted to the New Mutants.
  • Logan departs on holiday at the start of Uncanny #168.
  • Scott has already taken a leave of absence before issue #168 starts (he’s in Florida with Lee Forrester). At the end of the issue he and Alex fly up to Alaska to meet their grandparents.
  • During issue #168, and after Scott and Logan have both left, Kitty discovers Lockheed and gets reinstated as an X-Man. By the next issue, she’s finally got a personalised costume.
  • Rogue joins in issue #171.
  • In issues #172-173, Logan and Scott rejoin the cast, and Storm gets the mohawk which she’ll keep for several years.

So, obviously, there are no stories where (i) the X-Men roster includes Cyclops and/or Wolverine, (ii) Kitty is wearing her personalised costume and/or has Lockheed, and (iii) Storm doesn’t have a mohawk.

Except there are.


The official solution is that both Wolverine and Cyclops must return to the team after the main action of issue #168, and leave again before the epilogue. This nearly works – not quite, because there are still glitches with Kitty’s codename – but nearly. For Wolverine, it’s fairly smooth, because Wolverine #1 does specifically say that he comes back to the Mansion again – though not for quite as long as this. Into this gap, the following stories must fall.

“God Loves, Man Kills”
by Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson & Steve Oliff

The X-Men encounter the anti-mutant evangelical crusade of William Stryker and his Purifiers, who plan to kidnap Professor X and use him as a weapon to prove to the world how dangerous mutants are. The X-Men prevail with the help of Magneto, who is still much more aggressive than they are, but is now positioned as more of an antihero.

Wolverine gets to take the lead while half the team are captured, though that’s not saying much, since Xavier, Cyclops and Storm are all missing. We also learn a bit about his involvement in assassinations back when he worked for Canadian intelligence. But he’s not the focus of this story.

“Battle at the State Fair of Texas”
by Jim Salicrup, David Kraft, Kerry Gammil & Alan Kopparberg
September 1983

The X-Men and Magneto vie to recruit mutant Eques (Danny Wiley) at the State Fair of Texas. Eques, who has the power to turn into a winged centaur, decides just to stay with his horses.

This was a promotional supplement in the Dallas Times Herald, and it’s generally taken to be out of continuity, but there’s nothing obviously disqualifying about it. If it happened, the roster forces it into this gap.

X-MEN / ALPHA FLIGHT vol 2 #1-2
by Ben Raab, John Cassaday & Jason Wright
2-issue miniseries
May/June 1998

The X-Men team up with Alpha Flight to fight a HYDRA cell who have bought some of Hudson’s battlesuit designs from corrupt Canadian official Gary Cody. By this point, Hudson is calling himself Guardian. The story is meant to end with both teams on good terms, but they were already there by this stage in continuity. Even though he’s the linking point between the two teams, Wolverine do much beyond shake hands respectfully with Guardian.

“The Making of a Man…”
by Chris Claremont, Jheremy Raapack, Larry Welch & Chris Sotomayor
February 2009

To test his teammate, Wolverine (somehow or other) engineers a confrontation between Colossus and the Hulk. After the obligatory fight, Colossus works out how to calm the situation. He decks Wolverine later, but apparently we’re meant to take it that Wolverine achieved what he set out to. It’s an especially clumsy example of the trope where Wolverine’s crazy training ideas work brilliantly because he understands human nature / the story says so (delete according to taste).

MARVEL TEAM-UP vol 1 #135
“Down Deep in Darkness!”
by Bill Mantlo, Ron Frenz, Mike Esposito & George Roussas
November 1983

The X-Men make a brief cameo at the Mansion before Kitty Pryde has her team-up with Spider-Man. And now, at last…

WOLVERINE vol 1 #1-4
by Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, Josef Rubinstein & Glynis Wein
4-issue miniseries
September to December 1982

Wolverine finally travels to Japan to find out what’s up with Mariko. Her father Shingen Harada, long believed dead, has resurfaced and claimed his rightful place as head of Clan Yashida. To settle a debt, he’s married her off to the abusive Noburu-Hideki.

Wolverine breaks into the Yashida stronghold to talk to her, but she gives him a speech about honour and family duty, introduces the Honour Sword of Clan Yashida as the emblem of such things, and sends him on his way. He’s  about to give up and go home in deference to her wishes, but Harada drugs him and faces him in a supposed sparring match with wooden swords. This is a scheme to provoke Wolverine into using his claws (in self-defence) in front of Mariko, and thus prove himself unworthy of her. He falls for it, and gets beaten up and dumped on the street.

He’s picked up by Yukio, who later turns out to be a freelance assassin working for Shingen. Broadly, her remit here is to trick Wolverine into helping take out Shingen’s rivals, and to provide an alternative and less reputable love interest, more in tune with his own self-destructive tendencies. Mariko is the opposites-attract love interest, Yukio is the apparent soulmate who also reflects some of his worst tendencies back at him. He helps her fight off a (staged) attack by the Hand – for the purposes of this series, and despite all manner of later retcons, Wolverine has never heard of the Hand before. After a while, he decides that to be a man and grow beyond his animal nature, so as to prove Shingen wrong and reclaim his dream of happiness with Mariko.

The newly motivated Wolverine starts taking down Shingen’s criminal organisation. Mariko wavers about whether to help, torn between her overwhelming familial loyalty on the one hand, and her father’s general horrendousness on the other. Yukio also turns on Shingen and helps Wolverine. Shingen faces Wolverine again in a rematch, and this time Wolverine wins using his claws, but proves his self-control and honour in the process. Wolverine kills Shingen, and Mariko inherits control of the family. She declares that he has proved himself a true hero and gives him the symbolic Honour Sword. In an epilogue, the X-Men receive an invitation to Logan and Mariko’s wedding.

While some of the Japanese tropes are showing their age, this is a key story for Wolverine and his wider development. The wedding to Mariko doesn’t happen – Claremont extricates himself from it double-quick, as we’ll see – but this is the point where Wolverine faces his animalistic, self-destructive urges directly, and wins in a more comprehensive fashion than merely keeping his cool. It’s a clear development of the character, and it sticks – to the point where it starts being applied retroactively to stories set before this point. We’ve gone from Wolverine being defined by his animal instincts, to being defined by his struggle to transcend them, and now we’ve reached the point where that struggle is succeeding – although see the next entry for Claremont putting the emphasis on these events a little differently.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #172-173
“Scarlet in Glory” / “To Have and Have Not”
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
August-September 1983

The X-Men arrive in Japan for the wedding. Rogue is now a member, and Wolverine grudgingly accepts her only on the basis that “any outfit that’ll take me as a member’ll admit anyone”.  Mariko still feels duty-bound to extricate Clan Yashida from its criminal connections, so she attends a meeting summoned by her rival the Silver Samurai (Kenuichio Harada) and his ally Viper. Although the Samurai has the better claim to Clan leadership, Mariko argues that he’s forfeited it through his criminal activities (which sounds like a pretty weak argument in a Clan that by her own admission is mired in crime). Viper poisons all the X-Men except for Storm, who heads off for a solo adventure with Yukio. Thanks to their powers, Wolverine and Rogue are first to recover, and he grudgingly accepts her help in pursuing the villains. Rogue proves herself in battle, and Wolverine lets her absorb his healing powers when she gets injured to show that he truly accepts her now.

An epilogue features the wedding itself. Other supporting characters also show up for this, including Scott and his new girlfriend Madelyne Pryor. Storm shows up at the last minute in her mohawk outfit. Midway through the ceremony, Mariko calls it off, accusing Logan of being unworthy. She’s being manipulated by Mastermind, but that doesn’t become clear for another couple of issues. A version of this scene also appears as a flashback in Wolverine: Origins #46, but it has Mariko declining to marry Logan until she’s purged the Clan of its criminal connections (which is the reason she gives in Uncanny #176 after coming to her senses). Also, Wolverine vol 3 #20 mentions that Logan meets Mariko’s cousin Ichiro at the wedding (if they haven’t met already). Ichiro will return in that issue to kick-start the plot of “Enemy of the State”.

While the Wolverine miniseries plays as a turning point in his personal development, this story is more ambivalent about his killing of Shingen. Kitty is slow to pick up on the fact that it happened, and when the penny drops, Logan feels guilty for disappointing her. The whole story is drawn in a similar style to the Wolverine mini and plainly intended to play as a continuation of it, but Yukio’s interest in Wolverine is downplayed, presumably because it’s a dead end for her as a recurring character. Instead, she becomes an inspiration for Storm’s new 80s look. The swift abandonment of the wedding, which was the pay off at the end of the Wolverine miniseries, has the feel of backpedalling.

flashback in Wolverine vol 2 #96 shows Logan drinking heavily to drown his sorrows over his break-up with Mariko. To cheer him up, Ororo gives him a unique mutant flower from her attic.

“The Art of Loss”
by Kelly Thompson & Khary Randolph
March 2021

Three days after the wedding, Wolverine is still drowning his sorrows in Tokyo. Mystique shows up looking for Rogue, and Wolverine drives her off with some words of warning about pushing Rogue away for good. Evidently Mystique ignores that warning, because she’ll come after Rogue again in Uncanny X-Men #178.

X-MEN: GOLD vol 1 #1
by Chris Claremont, Bob McLeod & Israel Silva
November 2013

(That’s the 50th anniversary anthology one-shot, not the ongoing series from a few years later.)

The X-Men defeat artificially-intelligent “neo-Sentinels” in China. Afterwards, Logan congratulates Kitty on her performance, and she tells him she will always be there to watch his back. It seems like it’s meant to show the emphasis shifting from a mentor relationship to one of equals, but if so, it’s a bit early in continuity for that.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #174
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
October 1983

Wolverine only appears in a subplot, where he shows up at Mariko’s home and demands to know why she called off their wedding. She repeats that he isn’t worthy, and that he murdered her family. Wolverine returns the Clan Honor Sword to her, and she sends him away forever. At this point, she’s still under Mastermind’s influence.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #175 (main story)
by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
November 1983

Cyclops shows up at the Mansion, pursued by Madelyne Pryor as Dark Phoenix. It’s all part of a revenge scheme by Mastermind, who tricks the X-Men into thinking that Cyclops is Dark Phoenix, so that we can have him fight the whole team in the anniversary issue. Wolverine is the first to see through it, because even though he can’t break the illusions, he can pick up on the anomalies better than the others.

Mastermind is defeated, and Storm stops Wolverine from killing him. This time, though, 80s mohawk Storm takes a different moral line on the question: she won’t accept killing a defeated prisoner, but she would have been perfectly okay with killing him in battle. Wolverine and Storm’s respective character arcs are bringing them closer together. Scott and Madelyne marry in the epilogue, but before we get there…

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #7
“Scavenger Hunt”
by Chris Claremont, Michael Golden and various artists

To prove he should be the leader of his race, the Impossible Man steals the X-Men’s Mansion as part of a scavenger hunt for superhero memorabilia. The X-Men pursue him as he tries to get more, and finally Lilandra calms everything down by agreeing to judge the bloody scavenger hunt as long as the Impossible People promise to put everything back afterwards.

Rather surprisingly, I think this is the first time that Wolverine crosses paths on panel with S.H.I.E.L.D., as the Impossible Man sneaks aboard the Helicarrier to steal Nick Fury’s eyepatch. It’s an absurdist comedy story, which served as the X-Men’s contribution to the gimmicky Assistant Editors’ Month.

After this, we return to Uncanny X-Men #175 for its epilogue, which contains the wedding of Scott and Madelyne. Logan is among the guests, and understandably isn’t in the best of moods. This is his first meeting with Philip & Deborah Summers, Scott’s grandparents.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #176
by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Wein
December 1983

Again, Wolverine only appears in a subplot. Now free from Mastermind’s influence, Mariko returns the Honor Blade to Wolverine. But she still won’t go ahead with the wedding, because she’s now learned how deeply the Clan is tied to the Japanese underworld – her sense of honour dictates that she has to sever those ties herself, before she can marry him. If she fails, she says, then Wolverine should “do what must be done”. He reluctantly accepts her decision, and leaves with the blade (which he keeps from now on).

A version of this scene also appears in flashback in Wolverine: Origins #46.

MARVEL FANFARE vol 1 #24 (backup)
by Chris Claremont, David Ross, Bob Wiacek & Bob Sharen
January 1986

This is a Carol Danvers story, and surprisingly important to her plot considering that it only appeared as a backup in Marvel Fanfare several years after the relevant point in continuity.

For the first time, Logan attends one of those superhero poker games – this one features the Thing, Nick Fury, the Beast, Wonder Man, Carol Danvers, the new Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and of all people, District Attorney Blake Tower (a Daredevil supporting character). During the evening, Carol learns that Mar-Vell has died. Although her memories have now been artificially restored by Professor X, she has no emotional connection to them, and is distraught to realise that she feels nothing about the death of a man who she knows ought to be important with her. She discusses her feelings with Logan, and tells him that she has decided to leave Earth and start a new life with the Starjammers, away from reminders of things she ought to be invested in but isn’t.

DAREDEVIL vol 1 #196
by Denny O’Neil, Larry Hama, Klaus Janson & Christie Scheele
July 1983

Following a tip-off from Tarkington Brown, Wolverine tracks a group of Japanese villains, who might or might not be connected with the origins of his adamantium skeleton. After failing to stop them from abducting Bullseye, he teams up with Daredevil, who reveals that Brown is a murderous vigilante. When Brown shows up, Wolverine horrifies Daredevil by slashing him. Daredevil takes Brown to the hospital, and Wolverine plays no further part in the storyline. Brown is later reported to have died from his injuries.

In Wolverine’s absence, Daredevil continues this storyline through to issue #200. It introduces the future Lady Deathstrike and her father’s adamantium-bonding procedure. This all winds up getting incorporated into Wolverine’s story eventually, when Deathstrike becomes obsessed with the idea that Wolverine has been given technology stolen from her father. For the moment, it’s a bizarre attempt by an unrelated title to fill out his back story. I’ve seen it claimed that Wolverine was originally announced as appearing in the whole five-issue storyline; if so, there must have been a change of plans.

Wolverine is in full on macho smirk mode here – when he meets Turk Barrett, he not only shrugs off Turk’s mace, but tries it on as deodorant. (“Not bad. Little on the sissy side.”) And yes, this is the first Wolverine story to feature longtime writer Larry Hama, credited here as the breakdown penciller.

Finally… the official timelines list Moon Knight vol 1 #35 here, but while it does feature most of the X-Men, I can’t see Wolverine anywhere in it. At any rate, the story involves the X-Men helping Moon Knight against insane Soviet mutant Bora, who wants to kill defecting artists.

Next time, the line-wide event era is upon us, with Secret Wars. (NB: Kitty Pryde & Wolverine starts at the tail end of 1984, but most of it came out in 1985, so we’ll get to it there.)

Edited on 13 March 2021 to add the story from Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #4. Edited on 18 December 2021 to add the reference to Ichiro.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] Next time, the X-Men stories of 1983, including the first Wolverine miniseries and its aftermath. […]

  2. Si says:

    Ah, X-Men #172, the first X-Men comic I read. Kid-me totally misinterpreted the cover, I thought Wolverine was standing at a window with a giant knife coming out of him. In the comic he grew knives in his hands after all, so I thought that must be his power.

    At the same time, there was a moderately successful Australian band called Uncanny X-Men, so I naturally assumed the comic was somehow about them.

    It was a few years before I could take Marvel comics seriously after all this confusion.

  3. SanityOrMadness says:

    How close were #167 and Annual 6 in actual publication? Because those would be really weirdly similar covers to have on-sale simultaneously.

  4. Nu-D says:

    That second issue of Marvel Two-in-One has to come later, because Titania didn’t get her powers until Secret Wars.

  5. Rob says:

    Was there ever an explanation for why Mastermind put Mystique through that same 1700s fantasy he put Jean in around the lead-up to #175? Or is that just a dangling plot?

  6. Chris V says:

    It was dropped. Probably for the best also.

    If I remember correctly, it revolves around a mind-game Mastermind was playing with Mystique, for an unexplained reason.

    It was going to be revealed that Rogue was being controlled by Mastermind when she joined the X-Men.

  7. Thom H. says:

    I’m also confused why Mastermind meddled in Wolverine and Mariko’s wedding. I get that he was messing with the X-Men as revenge, but surely pitting them against each other in the mansion accomplished that. Making Wolverine sad just seems gratuitous. Maybe Mastermind was running a bunch of schemes at once to see which paid off first?

    “Eques, who has the power to turn into a winged centaur, decides just to stay with his horses.”

    Has Eques shown up on Krakoa yet? Because I have questions.

  8. Si says:

    Eques has 8 limbs, so technically he’s not a mutant, but a spider. Sorry, no spiders on Krakoa.

  9. David Goldfarb says:

    Aside from why Mastermind messed with Wolverine’s wedding, was it ever revealed just how? He seems to have had a level of control there far beyond anything we saw elsewhere.

    Also, was it ever actually made explicit that it was Mastermind’s doing? Because I sure don’t recall it.

  10. Bengt says:

    “That second issue of Marvel Two-in-One has to come later, because Titania didn’t get her powers until Secret Wars.”

    Secret Wars Titania (Mary MacPherran) and Grapplers Titania (Davida DaVito) are different characters.

  11. Sparv says:

    Marvel Team-Up #135 doesn’t fit well anywhere, as far as continuity goes. The bad guys are a small group of Morlocks who do not accept Storm as their new leader, and Storm still has her pre-mohawk look. So that would place it either between Uncanny #171-172, or possibly during #171, after the X-Men return to the mansion and before Rogue arrives (who’s not in the MTU issue). But then Wolverine’s hanging around in the mansion as well, even though he would be in Japan at that point…

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @David Goldfarb
    I read those issues recently – when Wolverine confronts Mariko to ask why she sent him the Honour Sword back, he states she was manipulated by Mastermind.

  13. Nu-D says:

    Ah, I didn’t realize there had been a prior Titania.

    Anyhow, it’s my view that this Uncanny run is among Claremont’s best, and it’s largely attributable to Paul Smith. The wide-screen battle between Wolverine and Silver Samurai, silent, slow, detailed, is magnificent. The attention to detail creates a clear and emotionally powerful storytelling, and all wordlessly. This run contains several sequences nearly it’s equal. Nothing Claremont did before or after was better.

  14. Nu-D says:

    In fact, I want to go so far as to say that sequence is one of the best ever put onto the pages of a comic book. Each panel is perfectly timed, sequenced and rendered to give the action a dynamism I’ve never seen elsewhere. It seems like you could cut them out and make a flip-book and watch the animation run seamlessly. Perhaps that kind of cinematic storytelling had appeared elsewhere before, but I’ve never seen it. Paul Smith’s pages here are exceptional.

    People grouse about dropped subplots and Claremont’s habit of building off stories in other books without explanation. Remarkably, I’ve still never read the original Wolverine LS, so the wedding story, Logan’s relationship with Mariko, and all that always seemed to me to be out-of-nowhere. But the larger effect is to create the impression that these characters have lives that are going on off screen; that we’re only tuning in to part of the story. Which is of course true–we don’t see every moment of every day, and much of what happens off-screen is important.

    So dropped sub-plots and references to stories elsewhere really enhance the verisimilitude of the book. We never find out what Mastermind had planned? Well, of course not; he was defeated.

    I think it’s significant that at this point Claremont is entering uncharted territory as a creator. He’s writing the most popular book on the market, and has done so with what is beginning to approach one fo the longest creative runs in comics. Prior long runs had never developed such a sense of a single long story, instead consisting of a series of mostly distinct short arcs. So Claremont is really opening up and developing for the long-term in a way that I don’t think prior writers ever had the opportunity or tried to do. This allows for subplots that fade, and stories that get mentioned but never told, and they enhance the narrative even while leaving fans a little frustrated with the tease.

  15. Daniel says:

    I still think it’s funny that Xavier has been a clone ever since, right up to this very day. Any idea why the Shi’ar couldn’t clone him again after he was re-paralyzed by the Shadow King?

  16. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    They just didn’t feel like it, probably. You know how it is. Sometimes you have a hard day and just want to relax at the end. Phone off, good book in hand. That cloning stuff? Yeah, you’ll get to it… later… if it doesn’t slip your mind…

  17. Mark Coale says:

    I’m surprised that the poker game trope didn’t start until 1986.

  18. Thom H. says:

    @Si: Makes total sense. Looking forward to seeing Eques in No Way Home.

    @David Goldfarb, @Krzysiek Ceran: You see Mastermind meddle with Mariko’s mind in UXM #173. Or at least you see his signature tails, boots, and muttonchops — close enough. Not sure *how* is answered, though, since he’s not that kind of telepath.

    @Nu-D: I love that explanation. Having plot points drop in other books also meant that there were more comics out there to read one day, if my 10-year-old self could only find them.

  19. Chris V says:

    Yes, that may be why Claremont’s idea for Mastermind got quickly dropped. An editor may have reminded Claremont that his powers did not entail mind-control ability.
    We all know how much Claremont loves mind-control.

    It seems like he had an idea to turn Mastermind in to an arch-villain…controlling Mariko, controlling Rogue (who was presumably going to be a sleeper agent with the X-Men).
    He quickly dropped the idea.

    I think he would later return to the idea, on a grander scale, with the Shadow King.
    He wanted a powerful mind-controlling puppet master villain pulling strings behind the scenes.

  20. Luis Dantas says:

    I never gave the matter much thought (those were very weak, utterly boring issues far as I am concerned), but I did assume that Mastermind’s power boost was a logical progression from his previous appearance in Uncanny X-Men #136.

    In that issue, Jean as Black Queen battled him in a pretty brutal and, frankly, illogical way, actually claiming that she was raising him to godlike levels of awareness as punishment for his psychic violations.

    Sounds “rad” until you realize the implications. If Jean can literaly deify people as a form of punishment out of sheer spite, how can anyone ever feel safe around her again? Is she even a functional character anymore?

    In any case, Jean (or Phoenix, since it was retconned so) seems quite certain that Mastermind will simply never achieve enough control of his newly given levels of power to resume life as a functional person.

    Quite callous and grim of her, but it also promises that if he ever returns his powers must have risen quite formidably. And he pretty much confirms that in #175.

    Frankly, the whole setup was unconvincing and begs for a more believable retcon of some sort. Such as some sort of cosmic entity taking pity of poor Mastermind and lending him a hand in overcoming his torment.

    But far as I know that just never happened. Instead of being explained or kept, this power boost was quietly ignored since. His next appearance was in Excalibur #26, almost seven years later.

  21. Nu-D says:

    Sounds “rad” until you realize the implications. If Jean can literaly deify people as a form of punishment out of sheer spite, how can anyone ever feel safe around her again? Is she even a functional character anymore?

    Well no, but that was the point. Jean was on the cusp of becoming Dark Phoenix. They knew it wasn’t a situation they could sustain; they were going to strip her of the power as part of the effort to rehabilitate her. Then they decided it had gone too far, so they killed her instead.

  22. Chris V says:

    Basically, Mastermind was considered to have raped Jean by invading her mind.
    The implications was even that he had literally raped her during his mind-game.
    That was what drove the Phoenix over the edge, having herself violated by this creep. It led to her becoming the Dark Phoenix.

    The punishment was considered fit by Claremont considering the crime.

    Jean didn’t literally make Mastermind. She showed him what a pitiful, little insignificant speck he really was by showing him things no mortal mind could ever comprehend.
    Mastermind thought he was like a god, in the way he played with Jean’s psyche.
    So, the Phoenix showed Mastermind how far above anything he could ever be it is to be as unto a god.
    It snapped his mind.

    It is sort of disappointing that he recovered from what was done to him.
    He should have been in a vegetative state for life, unless he was shown pity by a cosmic entity or something.
    Instead, he just showed up again.

  23. Chris V says:

    make Mastermind *a deity.

  24. wwk5d says:

    “Not sure *how* is answered, though, since he’s not that kind of telepath.”

    Which also makes you wonder how he was able to manipulate Rogue into leaving Mystique and joining the X-men. And why. Has CC ever spoken about these supposed plans?

    “Sounds “rad” until you realize the implications. If Jean can literaly deify people as a form of punishment out of sheer spite, how can anyone ever feel safe around her again?”

    I don’t think that is what she did, I always read it as her connecting him the universe via the Phoneix itself, and his mind couldn’t deal with it.

  25. Nu-D says:

    There’s some info about Claremont’s intent for Mastermind and Mystique here:

  26. Nu-D says:

    Also, no direct answer to the questions here, but some brief mention of what CC was thinking about these stories!

  27. Mike Loughlin says:

    I remember a line during the Dark Phoenix Saga stating that Mastermind used a device that came from the White Queen. I just assumed he had a back-up in subsequent appearances.

  28. […] has lived a long time, but most of that seems to have been in the 80s, throwing widely held theories on entropy’s unstoppable march into the […]

  29. Thom H. says:

    Just realized this might be the year when Kitty is changing out costumes most quickly. I count four different outfits on the above covers alone. I assume we’re about to reach a more stable, Shadowcat-blue period with 1984/1985 on the horizon.

    Anyway, here’s more Kitty costume fun for those interested:

  30. Luis Dantas says:

    Kitty did not really have an established costume other than the generic black-and-yellow until #169 or so when she adopted the green and orange one.

    It was a running gag of sorts that she liked to use a variety of often garish costumes chosen on the spur of the moment before that.

    The green/orange did not last too long. Most later ones had more staying power.

  31. Taibak says:

    Thing is, so many of Kate’s costumes have just been variants of the original generic X-Men uniform. Really, the all blue Shadowcat costume is the only distinctive look she’s ever had that’s stuck around.

  32. Nu-D says:

    I always hated her puffy blue costume (and the green variant that preceded it).

    I really appreciated when Whedon put her back in a classic uniform. It reinforced Kate as a no-nonsense character; one who spends her time thinking about more consequential things than her wardrobe. It showed how she matured from her early years.

  33. […] 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 […]

  34. […] 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 […]

  35. […] The Silver Age 1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980  1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | […]

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