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May 9

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1988

Posted on Sunday, May 9, 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 

At the end of last year, the X-Men set off for Dallas, to appear in “Fall of the Mutants”. After that story, the X-Men will be off limits for guest appearances for a while – but there’s time to shoehorn one in first!

“Vicious Circle”
by Peter David, Todd McFarlane & Petra Scotese
February 1988

On their way to Dallas, the X-Men stumble upon the Hulk on a rampage. At first, Wolverine  resists the temptation to go after his old rival, he but changes his mind when he sees the scale of the damage. He tries to keep his composure when facing the Hulk, but finally flies into a berserker rage which does indeed bring the Hulk down – briefly. The fight ends when Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain break it up. Dutifully following Uncanny X-Men, this story lays heavy stress on Wolverine’s discomfort with the unaccustomed role of team leader. Rather harshly, Wolverine feels that after all the progress he’s made, he let himself down by backsliding into berserker mode when confronted with the Hulk. The Hulk simply leaves without appearing to learn anything at all.

The Marvel Index lists a flashback in Wolverine vol 4 #12 as taking place during this story. It shows Wolverine fighting the grey Hulk and being treated as the hero who saves the day. But the disruption caused by the fight means that a man called Roger fails to get his pregnant wife to hospital in time to save her life. Roger goes on to join the Red Right Hand. The rationale for placing this flashback here is a bit wonky – the weather’s all wrong, for one thing – but you can treat it as an inaccurate recollection and it avoids the need for a second Wolverine/Hulk encounter during this period.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #225-227
“Fall of the Mutants”
by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green & Glynis Oliver
January to March 1988

“Fall of the Mutants” was an unusual event. Although it’s bannered like a crossover, and even had some tie-ins, it consists of separate arcs in Uncanny X-MenX-Factor and New Mutants, each bringing that title’s own plotlines to a turning point.

The X-Men and Madelyne Pryor arrive at Forge’s home in Eagle Plaza, Dallas, looking for Storm. Reality starts to break down, due to the schemes of cosmic trickster the Adversary,  who has captured Roma, the Guardian of the Omniverse. The X-Men are joined by Colossus (who was led there by Roma) and Freedom Force (who are trying to avert a prophecy about the X-Men’s death, and thus save Rogue). Freedom Force now include the Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super Sabre (Martin Fletcher), who Wolverine meets for the first time.

The X-Men fight their way to the top of the building to deal with the cosmic threat, which involves going through a chunk of the Vietnam War. This turns out to be part of Forge’s back story: after nine of his fellow soldiers were killed, he used their souls to power a spell that summoned up a group of demons to avenge them. That spell has to be undone in order to defeat the Adversary, which in turn requires nine freely-given souls. Fortunately, the X-Men, Madelyne and a returning Storm – who got her powers back in a subplot – provide those nine souls and sacrifice their lives to save the world. All this is covered by TV journalists Neal Conan and Manoli Wetherall – thus, the whole world gets to see the X-Men die as heroes. More of this coverage can be seen in Marvels: Eye of the Camera #6 and New Mutants vol 1 #61, but neither adds anything significant.

In an epilogue, Roma revives the X-Men and Madelyne, and explains that this will still leave the Adversary “bound for an age”. She offers the X-Men the chance to go wherever they want. Wolverine picks up on Storm’s idea from the post-Mutant Massacre period that the X-Men should fake their deaths in order to strike back at the bad guys. Everyone agrees, though Dazzler has reservations. Roma cheerfully tells them that now they can do much more, because they “have become legends.” The idea seems to have been that the X-Men would be able to operate as a sort of urban legend group, leaving their symbol behind as a calling card; this never really gets fully developed before the Australia status quo  collapses in issue #250.

Since Storm reclaims her post, Wolverine’s first stint as leader of the X-Men doesn’t last long. He seems to be motivated here as much by duty to the team as anything else; the opening monologue in issue #226 suggests that otherwise, he’d throw in the towel. Understandably, Wolverine is downright irritated by Neal Conan trying to ask him questions while he’s attempting to save the world. Interestingly, Neal’s whole argument throughout the story is that in order to really make their case for mutant rights, the X-Men need to engage with the public more. The story is structured to support that argument – the X-Men’s public sacrifice is presented as a grand gesture for mutants. Yet the X-Men completely ignore this lesson and immediately embrace a status quo that goes the other way entirely, sequestering themselves in Australia and hiding even from their own supporting cast.

Wolverine describes Forge as “a more solitary man, inside and out, than me”, which is certainly an interpretation that’s fallen by the wayside over the years.

Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #228 was a flashback story set during 1987’s X-Men comics, and we covered it last time.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #229
“Down Under”
by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri & Dan Green
May 1988

Roma sends the X-Men and Madelyne to a ghost town in the Australian outback, which is the secret base of cyborg pirates the Reavers. The X-Men defeat them and rescue their prisoner Jessan Hoan, a banker who they were going to reprogram into a cyborg so that she could, er, manage their wealth for them. Her name in this issue is actually Jessán Hoan, but the accent vanishes pretty quickly. In fact, the Reavers got part way through altering her personality before Wolverine interrupted, but the X-Men don’t pick up on that. This is the start of the set-up for Wolverine’s solo title, where Jessan will be part of the supporting cast.

Most of the Reavers are captured, but Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy escape through a portal created by Gateway – an indigenous mutant who has been teleporting the Reavers so that they’ll leave his holy sites alone. Wolverine initially assumes Gateway to be a villain, and Storm has to pull him off.

Afterwards, the X-Men discuss what to do with the Reavers. Havok sarcastically suggests killing them, which Wolverine claims to be entirely relaxed about. Roma then shows up to give the X-Men the Siege Perilous. She explains that “those who pass through its portal are judged by the highest of powers” and born again with a second chance to redeem themselves. On the other hand, she says, the X-Men could take Wolverine’s option and kill the Reavers, in which case they will undergo a “true death, their spirits irreparably shattered and cast into the ultimate void.” Wolverine still wants to kill them, as does Psylocke (?!), but Storm gives the Reavers the choice. Naturally, they all opt for the Siege. Roma then returns Jessan home, claiming that she’ll start growing the X-Men legend by telling her story of how she met them. (Nothing of the sort appears to happen.)

Roma also tells the X-Men that the Siege Perilous is for their own use as well, if they want to have a completely fresh start, but they all decline the offer for now. Of course, most of them will wind up going through it by issue #250.  And Roma also reveals that the X-Men are now invisible to technology, except for the equipment in their own new ghost town base.

There’s a lot of important plot points in this issue, since it sets up the new status quo, introduces two major supporting characters, introduces major recurring villains, introduces the Siege Perilous concept, and still finds time to have Wolverine vote to kill prisoners. Quite how that squares with his treatment of Rachel Summers is difficult to understand, but most people would say that the other story is the anomalous one.

“Reave What You Sow”
by Ed Brisson, Leonard Kirk & Andres Mosa
10 March 2021

Two days after Uncanny #229, Wolverine fights the Reavers’ B-squad, which is doing a bit of piracy in Singapore. (This second cyborg team already includes Cole, Reese and Macon.) He beats them all. It’s basically an excuse to do blood in the water, to take advantage of the series’ red-colouring gimmick.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #230
“‘Twas the Night…”
by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Joe Rubinstein & Glynis Oliver
June 1988

The X-Men and Gateway use Longshot’s powers to trace the true owners of the Reavers’ stolen jewellery and return as much of it as possible in time for Christmas. (What they can’t trace, they keep and use to fund their activities.) Wolverine is the curmudgeon who doesn’t think this is a worthwhile use of their time, but comes round to it in the end. He’s very happy about the new base in the middle of nowhere – it’s the wilderness, and he’s coming round to this Gateway guy, who clearly expects the X-Men to prove themselves to him.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #231
“…Dressed for Dinner!”
by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green & Glynis Oliver
July 1988

This is a Colossus story. Wolverine only appears briefly, teaching him some exercises to help him adjust to his increased strength. The X-Men discuss whether he should check in on his sister Magik, and eventually he goes off to have a solo adventure with her. (She mistakes him for a ghost that she’s summoned up, so the X-Men’s cover remains intact.)

by Nick Vince, Gary Erskine & John Beeston
June 1992

The Warheads’ Kether Troop randomly show up through a portal from the future (i.e., the present day of 1992). The team consists of Colonel Liger, Stacy, Misha, Perez and three redshirts who get killed by Wolverine. Liger and Misha manage to steal some data from the X-Men’s computers, and Liger has a conversation with Wolverine that we don’t get to see, before the Warheads return home. The same issue has a scene set in “1990” where Wolverine attacks and scars a younger Liger, and warns him about what will happen on his mission to the ghost town. The implication is that both are acting to preserve the timeline, but it’s very confused and doesn’t really work. The dates given in the story seem to assume that Marvel Universe happens in real time.

We’ll hear a lot more from the Marvel UK line in 1992 and 1993; the line is notorious for its grotesque overextension, clumsy overuse of guest stars, and (to put it politely) erratic quality control. This is one of Marvel UK’s better efforts, since at least it has a solid take on Wolverine himself.

ALPHA FLIGHT vol 1 #61
by Bill Mantlo, Jim Lee, Tony DeZuniga & Bob Sharen
August 1988

The X-Men have a brief cameo, watching news coverage of Alpha Flight appearing at a government inquiry.

“Save the Tiger”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Klaus Janson & Glynis Oliver
September 1988 to January 1989

Logan finds a man dying in the desert, who gives him a cameo and asks him to “save the tiger.” This leads him to the Princess Bar in Madripoor, currently run by O’Donnell, who is being hassled for protection money by crimelord Roche. Roche is facing a challenge from  anonymous upstart rival Tyger Tiger (or sometimes just Tyger), and the guy in the desert was killed as part of Roche’s attempts to learn more about this challenge.

Logan winds up getting captured, and deals with Roche’s henchmen Sapphire Styx, Razorfist (Douglas Scott) and the Inquisitor, who is basically just a torturer with a codename. After days of torture, Logan escapes, and gets nursed back to health by Jessan Hoan. Thanks to the Reavers’ half-finished attempt to alter her personality, Jessan has given up banking, taken up crime and street fighting, and set herself up as Tyger Tiger, the relatively-acceptable face of Madripoor crime. Roche apparently hired the Reavers to attack her bank in Uncanny #229, hence her interest in him. Logan is caught in a dilemma between his sense of honour, which drives him to help Tyger, and his reluctance to help a self-professed crimelord.

Logan repays his debt to Tyger by saving her from Razorfist, but decides to stay anyway and help her depose Roche – despite her warnings that she’s no better than he is. Logan basically says he’ll deal with that later if it turns out to be true. Meanwhile, Roche has kidnapped O’Donnell in the mistaken belief that he’s Tyger. Logan and Tyger return to Roche’s castle, where Logan kills Razorfist in combat and rescues O’Donnell. Roche nearly shoots Wolverine, but gets beheaded by Tyger. After all this, Logan decides that he likes it in Madripoor, and he’ll be spending more time here.

In an epilogue in the final issue, Logan shows up to wish Tyger well as she heads off to present herself to Prince Baran as Madripoor’s new crimelord. Logan tells her that she’s not the same as Roche, and he’s giving her the benefit of the doubt for now. She kisses him, and says that he’s saved her life and won her heart, and that he may yet redeem her soul.

All this, of course, is the set-up for the solo Wolverine book which debuts in late 1988, and initially focuses on Madripoor – not exactly what people would have been expecting at the time. The long-term arc of Wolverine going from a berserker to a leader, recovering his humanity and honour along the way, has essentially been completed over the course of the 1980s, and so Claremont strikes out in a different direction, positioning him as a noir protagonist in an urban world of moral grey areas – a vibe that Buscema’s art suits perfectly. So “Save the Tiger” is one of a handful of genuinely important Wolverine stories from Marvel Comics Presents and really ought to be treated as Wolverine #0.

There are quite a few points worth noting here. The Princess Bar is presented as quite a classy place. O’Donnell is wearing a tuxedo; customers are in suits and gowns. It’s not the dive bar that some later creative teams seem to think (though it will get smashed up a lot). Logan does not have an established identity as Patch – he starts wearing the eyepatch during this story while he’s recovering from his injuries with Jessan. He does start using the alias by the end of the story, but it’s clearly something new. The idea that anyone was fooled by Logan wearing an eyepatch, given his highly distinctive hairstyle, is difficult to fathom and never really made sense; Peter David will boot it rather harshly into touch next year. Wolverine also debuts his short-lived Madripoor costume, all black with a mesh mask. It doesn’t last long either.

This story sets up a Logan/Tyger romance storyline which never really comes to fruition. The idea is clearly that Tyger is partially corrupted by the Reavers, but also more interesting and more effective for it too; Logan is walking a moral gray area by aligning with her, and he’s meant to help her redeem herself in the end. None of which really ends up happening, and the fact that Tyger’s personality has been drastically altered by the Reavers against her will is quietly ignored from an early stage. Instead, she becomes a permanent part of the scenery in Madripoor, and something of a static character. At any rate, while Logan is undoubtedly still carrying a torch for Mariko, he seems comfortable enough that their relationship is over at this point, at least enough for Tyger to become a viable love interest.

The official timelines have a flashback in Wolverine vol 3 #58 placed during part 5. That’s one of Logan’s many battles with Lazaer, and it seems to be an arbitrary placement based upon this being another of Logan’s near-death experiences. It’s as good as any other.

There are some quite extended action scenes with Razorfist in this story, even though they’re not central to the plot. Despite appearances, Razorfist somehow doesn’t die in part 9; he shows up again alive and well in Avengers Spotlight #24.

This story leads into the first Wolverine ongoing series (vol 2, because the 1982 miniseries was vol 1). Issues #3-4 establish a bit more set-up: Patch buys a half share in the Princess Bar, because he thinks the Bar is the best place to get information in Madripoor; he befriends the corrupt Chief of Police Tai, who gives him free reign to wreak havoc in Lowtown; and he spends some time drinking and playing poker and chess with Lord Ranjamaryam, the Chancellor of Madripoor. Logan regards the Chancellor as comparatively decent by the standards of Madripoor authorities.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #1-3
“Sword Quest” / “Possession is the Law” / “The Black Blade”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Al Williamson, Klaus Janson & Glynis Oliver
November 1988 to January 1989

When Wolverine learns that Mariko’s personal secretary Noburo Kojima was on a hijacked plane, he tracks the plane to Telambang, Indonesia, where the survivors are held hostage by Banapur Khan‘s pirate gang. Wolverine slaughters the pirates, reasoning that their brutal treatment of the prisoners merits it; he lets Khan go, purely so that one of the stewardesses can kill him instead. After this excitement, Kojima tells Wolverine that the pirates worked for the Cult of the Black Blade, and were trying to get hold of the legendary Muramasa Sword (the Black Blade itself). This is a different Muramasa blade from the one that shows up in Wolverine: Origins years down the line; as a magical swordsmith, he churned the things out.

For some mad reason, the sword is being brought to Madripoor by Lindsay McCabe and Jessica Drew. Wolverine initially assumes this will be a problem, since they’re bound to recognise him. But they don’t, so it’s okay. As already mentioned, Peter David later retcons this, and says that they recognised him all along, and were just humouring him. It’s completely ridiculous that they don’t recognise him with his highly distinctive hairstyle, so fair enough really. At any rate, “Patch” winds up fighting the Silver Samurai for the sword, which itself ends up possessing Jessica. When Patch gets the sword off her, it briefly possesses him too, and he joins the Cult of the Black Blade for a ceremony at which they apparently intend to sacrifice Jessica. Lindsay and the Samurai stop him, and he fights off the Blade’s effect. The cultists are defeated, and the Samurai claims the sword, which for some reason doesn’t affect him – he takes this to mean that he is destined to own it.

The opening arc of Wolverine is rather less significant than the Marvel Comics Presents arc. But it does bring Jessica and Lindsay into the supporting cast and establish their roles, with Jessica as the professional and Lindsay as the gutsy amateur. Obviously, they help to balance out the cast and provide a bit of light in the book. But what’s most striking about these early issues is that Claremont is clearly setting up long term directions for the cast, all of which just peters out after he leaves the book. The book he had in mind feels like it would have been fun.

There’s a continuity complication here, because the official timeline has a break between Wolverine #3-4 which is obviously not intended. Why? Well… deep breath…

  • Wolverine #4-8 run through without interruption.
  • They include Wolverine picking up a new suit of armour from Landau, Luckman & Lake, which is obviously meant to be Psylocke’s new costume.
  • So we’re right at the start of the Australian era, and (therefore) before the “Evolutionary War” crossover.
  • Except… the Hulk shows up in issue #8, and he’s Joe Fixit at night, and Bruce Banner during the day.
  • And that status quo only started after the Evolutionary War crossover.

The Marvel Index has a relatively elegant solution to this problem: it puts the stories after “Evolutionary War” and claims that Wolverine is actually getting a replacement suit of armour for Psylocke. And, in fact, Psylocke’s original armour is permanently warped during “Inferno”, so it does make sense that he’d go back to get a spare. It’s plainly not what Chris Claremont had in mind, but it works well enough, so we’ll go with it.

“Inferno” is also a 1989 story, but there are a few more issues to tick off in this column first.

by Doug Moench, Michael Outkiewicz, Jimmy Palmiotti & various colourists
November 1997

Published in 1997, but explicitly set during the period when the X-Men are faking their death. A complete continuity train wreck, this story has Logan making no real effort to conceal his identity in Madripoor, and doesn’t explain how Mariko knows he’s alive. Honestly, if it wasn’t listed in the official index, it would be very tempting to dismiss it as non-canon.

At any rate, Mariko enlists Wolverine’s help when a thousand-year-old Clan Yashida army resurfaces. They were trying to summon the alien Doombringer to Earth for the Clan’s exploitation; the whole battle has been frozen in time ever since. After Wolverine banishes the Doombringer, Logan tells Mariko that her ancestors were heroes in fighting the creature, but she knows he’s just trying to be nice. This is the chronologically earliest appearance of another Madripoor supporting character – pilot Archie Corrigan, whom Logan must have met in Madripoor around this time.

by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Klaus Janson & Gregory Wright

Another one for the “technically canon” file, this is a five-page advert making a very, very half-hearted effort to pretend it’s a story. In Madripoor, Wolverine watches the X-Factor Ship pass overhead, keeps a discreet eye on new crimelord General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, and sees the New Mutants and Excalibur pass through. What are the other teams doing in Madripoor? Promoting their comics, that’s what.

“The Wilding”
by Rob Liefeld & Brad Vancata
June & July 1990

Wild Child has become a serial killer. Wolverine stops him from killing Heather Hudson (she doesn’t get a clear view of him), and then fights Wild Child until they both get swept away by a river. The end. This is all intercut with flashbacks to Wolverine’s past with Wild Child, and Wild Child makes a speech about his nature being unchanging and out of his control. Forgettable.

Alpha Flight vol 1 #90 was published only a few months after this story, but references it as taking place a year earlier. Which is why it’s here, miles out of publication order.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #232-234
“Earthfall” / “Day of Blood” / “Glory Day”
by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green, Joe Rubinstein & Glynis Oliver
August & September 1988

The X-Men investigate when a Brood ship crashes near Denver, leading to paramedic Harry Palmer becoming infected, and infecting various local mutants in turn – Brickbat, Tension, Temptress, Divebomber, Spitball, Whiphand and Blindside. Several of these characters still have human personalities who don’t know that they’re also Brood. We’re getting into the period where Claremont started to debut entire teams who never got developed much beyond a list of codenames. Most of the X-Men are reluctant to kill people who they perceive as innocent victims, but Wolverine is willing to kill absolutely anyone, even his own teammates, in order to stop the Brood.

Wolverine is infected with a Brood egg. The X-Men face the Brood at an amphitheatre, where liberal preacher Reverend William Conover is about to address the faithful. As Wolverine starts to transform, Conover insists on trying to faith-heal him. It seemingly works, though Wolverine insists later that it’s just a coincidence, and that his healing factor saved him just like it did before. The X-Men defeat the Brood, several of whom are killed. In his last moments, Palmer reverts to his innocent persona; Wolverine recognises that it isn’t an act, but kills him anyway. The X-Men leave behind them plenty of confused eye witnesses, but no concrete evidence of their existence – and fail to pick up that there are still Brood out there, including Conover’s wife Hannah Conover. (We’ll see her again in several years in the X-Men vs Brood miniseries.)

As the X-Men head home, Wolverine congratulates Havok on doing some excellent killing; he evidently sees Havok as rising to the challenges of a tough decision. Havok finds the whole thing pretty sickening. This is a decent arc, and it gets some interesting mileage out of the religion angle – as well as providing a helpful counterpart to Styrker as the most prominent preacher in the X-mythos.

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #12
by Chris Claremont, Art Adams, Bob Wiacek & Glynis Oliver

The X-Men and the High Evolutionary team up to defeat Terminus (or rather, Garokk wearing the Terminus armour) and restore the Savage Land, which had been destroyed in Avengers vol 1 #257. The inhabitants of the Savage Land turn out to be fine, as they were evacuated to another dimension by M’Rin and C’Jee, who had previously appeared in a Storm story in Classic X-Men #22. Nothing of note where Wolverine’s concerned.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #235-238
“Welcome to Genosha” / “Busting Loose!” / “Who’s Human?” / “Gonna Be a Revolution”
#235 by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, P Craig Russell & Glynis Oliver
#236 by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green & Petra Scotese
#237 by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Terry Austin & Glynis Oliver
#238 by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green & Glynis Oliver
October & November 1988

This is the introduction of Genosha, in its initial incarnation as an apartheid allegory. Genosha is a seemingly idyllic African island nation (where the vast majority seem to be white), but in fact it secretly enslaves mutants and transforms them into servile mutates. Their paramilitary police, the Magistrates, send their specialist retrieval group the Press Gang – Hawkshaw, Pipeline and Punchout – to retrieve Jenny Ransome, a mutant nurse who has escaped to Australia. The X-Men get involved, but Wolverine and Rogue are defeated and taken to Genosha, where Wipeout removes their powers.

Without his healing factor, Wolverine’s body can’t handle his adamantium skeleton, and so he starts dying. Meanwhile, Rogue is traumatised by the guards’ treatment of her, and switches to her copied Carol Danvers personality. “Carol” and Wolverine escape together into the countryside, and learn the truth about the mutates. They stumble upon Philip Moreau, the naive son of top scientist the Genegineer (David Moreau) and explore the “Mutant Settlement Zone” for a bit until getting arrested by Chief Magistrate Anderson. The other X-Men finally arrive to help, and Wolverine once again readies himself for a heroic last stand before dying of adamantium poisoning. But the X-Men win, and Psylocke forces Wipeout to restore Rogue and Wolverine’s powers.

Philip persuades the X-Men to give him and Jennifer a chance to change Genosha by exposing the truth – he’s convinced that if people see the reality of Genosha, they’ll be as horrified as he was. Wolverine thinks this is rose-tinted nonsense, and clearly doesn’t have much faith in the power of social campaigning. At any rate, Psylocke blurs everyone’s memories of the X-Men, and Jennifer and Philip leave with the team, to begin their campaign from abroad.

Despite the rotating art teams, this is a good arc – the Genoshans lack the normal trappings of supervillains, and are played very much for the banality of evil. The Magistrates behave as if they regard themselves as regular police officers, and seem genuinely baffled and confused when the Australian authorities don’t treat them as such. Still, it also shows some of the problems with the “legends” set-up. Despite the X-Men being in full costume, the Genoshans simply don’t recognise them – which I suppose we have to attribute to the country being somewhat isolated, but that seems weird given that the human minority consider it a free state. Don’t they have the news? The invisibility to sensors is also being subverted already, since Anderson has no trouble tracking Wolverine and Rogue once they’re with Philip.

by Ann Nocenti, Larry Dixon, Alfredo Alcala & Gregory Wright
April 1989

Finally, a Longshot 8-pager. The other X-Men have a brief cameo at the start.

As you can probably tell, the amount of material per year really starts picking up around this point, so in order to keep the year-per-post format, we’re going to switch schedule from here on. From this point, we’ll be doing new instalments on the first Sunday of each month. So next time, 1989 – Inferno, and the premature end of Claremont’s Wolverine run.

Edited on 23 July 2021 to add Wolverine: Black White & Blood #4.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] This leads into the “Fall of the Mutants” crossover, which kicks off 1988. It’s a year that drastically changes the X-Men’s status quo for several years – an… […]

  2. Has Forge’s backstory been shifted to “Sin-Cong” like other characters with roots in Korea and Vietnam?

  3. Paul says:

    Quite probably. The Sin-Cong conflict is in the course of being fleshed out in Kurt Busiek’s THE MARVELS, which certainly does show that (for example) Flash Thompson’s military service has been shifted there. In this story, Sin-Cong is very clearly a Vietnam analogue and not simply a generic Asian state – the dodgy name is explained away as a corruption of “sinh canh”, which is Vietnamese for “habitat”.

  4. JD says:

    A couple of minor typos :

    MCP #1-10, 5th paragraph :
    Claremont strikes out in a different direction, positioning him as a noir protagonist in an urban world of moral grey areas – a vibe that Romita’s art suits perfectly.

    John Buscema is the artist here.

    Uncanny #235-238 :
    There are some random nonsense characters at the end of the first paragraph.

  5. James Moar says:

    “ There are some random nonsense characters at the end of the first paragraph.”

    Tribute to Claremont introducing random nonsense characters as mentioned above, obviously.

  6. Paul says:

    I’ve fixed the obvious errors – thanks.

  7. >Genosha is a seemingly idyllic African island nation (where everyone seems to be white)

    There is Punchout, whom you named in the very next sentence. Is she the entirety of Genosha’s black population up ’til Shola Inkosi is introduced?

    >The Magistrates behave as if they regard themselves as regular police officers, and seem genuinely baffled and confused when the Australian authorities don’t treat them as such.

    This is running gag of sorts, I think? The same thing happens the next time the Press Gang try to apprehend Ransome & Moreau in the USA (#259).

    >Peter David will boot it rather harshly into touch next year.

    And yet everyone who makes a Patch joke seems to believe they’re the first one to think of it.

  8. Si says:

    Black Cat in her comic last year meeting Patch was a nice twist on the old joke though.

    About this line: ” Gateway – an Aborigine mutant”. The term “Aborigine” is a tricky one. Many (though not all) Australian Aboriginal people find it offensive these days, preferring the grammatically incorrect “Aboriginal”. I find it best to either say “Aboriginal person” or “Indigenous” and avoid the issue entirely.

  9. Nu-D says:

    Apropos of nothing, Neal Conan is a real journalist who reported for National Public Radio for years.

  10. Joe Iglesias says:

    Peter David’s original X-Factor run introduces the X-Patriots, escaped Genoshan mutates with two black members, Prodigal and Pirouette.

    (I did have to look up their names)

  11. Walter Lawson says:

    Although Uncanny doesn’t fulfill Neal Conan’s advice that mutants engage with the public, X-Factor in its Fall of the Mutants arc closes on this very: in X-Factor 26 they become publicly admired mutant champions of New York (and beyond, I guess), which differentiates them from the now dead-and-legendary X-Men and the previous three years’ storylines in both books of escalating anti-mutant hatred.

  12. Walter Lawson says:

    I *think* the Genosha arc is the first time (in real time) we learn that Wolvie’s adamantium poisons him but is counteracted by his healing factor. I was puzzled when I read this in the ‘80s because I thought I was pretty familiar with Wolverine but had never heard this twist.

    In retrospect, Claremont probably adds this wrinkle now because he’s already thinking of removing the adamant ink from him, which, if Claremont had followed his original plans, would have involved the healing factor purging it after Wolverine dies (again) and gets revived.

    The Siege Perilous and invisibility are also a setup for Claremont’s later plans: the legend thing isn’t meant to last long as a status quo, and the combination of invisibility plus the reset of going through the Siege will make the X-Men hard to track down when Claremont has them break up and scatter.

    Although I mostly think Claremont planned carefully and proceeded by plan, I do wonder if the Reavers were originally going to be linked not to Donald Pierce but to Joshua Stragg, the Captain Britain villain who called himself the Reaver and had a high-tech piracy operation. Roma’s presence here makes it certain Claremont (and some long-time readers) would have been thinking of that Reaver when we meet these cyborg Reavers.

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    If I had to guess, Claremont probably meant the Reavers to be connected to Joshua Stragg (who he had previously mentioned in the same issue of Marvel Team-Up that introduced Arcade) but then decided that after being denied permission to use Jim Jaspers to any significant extent it would probably be best to stick to characters that he had created and/or expected to keep under the same editorial realm under which he wrote.

  14. Paul says:

    I’ve made a couple more minor changes picking up on the comments.

  15. Matthew says:

    Looking at the inspiration for Genosha, South Africa was relatively late to TV (it didn’t get introduced until 1976) and looking at Wikipedia it seems that a non-government news TV program didn’t launch until 1988 (on a subscription channel). It seems at least plausible for nobody to recognize the X-Men if the Genoshan government controlled TV channels just didn’t report on mutants/superheroes at all.

  16. Nu-D says:

    Just a few issues earlier, during the X-Men’s fight with the Marauders in San Francisco, we got a cameo of a fat man on the beach reading a book about mutants and, in a thought bubble, dismissing the idea as preposterous. He was promptly bowled over by Rogue, Dazzler and Madelyn Pryor crashing on his beach towel.

    My point being, the X-Men were still being portrayed as relative unknowns. While I thought that was a bit silly, and most people would recognize the X-Men in costume, it certainly seems believable Logan’s face and hair wouldn’t be known by the average person.

  17. Chris says:

    I always considered that the “Outlaw Heroes the X-Men” to be considerably less famous than the Avengers, the Fantastic Four…

    They’re like Clancy Brown vs the FF’s Sean Connery or the Avengers’ Tom Cruise.

    At least at the time

    Because X-TERMINATORS, especially as X-FACTOR, were big time HEROES, with ticker-tape parades and such.

  18. Ben says:

    Paul, I seriously think you could find a publisher for this project when it’s completed. Maybe a university press or something. I want to see an index with all the character names and which pages they show up on. I would buy it

  19. Nu-D says:

    Has anyone done a side-by-side comparison of these columns with the profile of Wolverine?

    Any significant discrepancies?

  20. […] A time to flashback through history. A time to fake one’s death. A time for Wolverine to go it […]

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