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Jun 6

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1989

Posted on Sunday, June 6, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988

We’re deep in the Australia period, and we left off on the eve of…

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #239-243 & X-FACTOR vol 1 #37-39
“Inferno”
Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Hilary Barta & Glynis Oliver
X-Factor by Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Al Milgrom & various colourists
December 1988 to April 1989

Wolverine isn’t particularly central to “Inferno”, which mainly focusses on Madelyne Pryor, the Summers family, and Magik (over in New Mutants). The X-Men return to New York in pursuit of the Marauders, only to get caught up in an invasion of demons from Limbo. This force is led by N’Astirh and S’ym, who have deposed Magik and formed an alliance with Madelyne Pryor, who now calls herself the Goblin Queen. Manhattan is demonically warped by the invasion, and the X-Men themselves become distorted, demonic and aggressive. They team up with X-Factor, after the usual misunderstandings, and defeat the invasion – specifically, Jean reclaims the part of her soul that animates Madelyne, Madelyne dies, and New York returns to normal. The X-Men’s costumes remain weirdly transformed.

The final two issues are a coda – still billed as “Inferno” – in which the X-Men and X-Factor team up to battle Madelyne’s creator Mister Sinister. This is the first time the X-Men actually encounter Sinister, who is seemingly destroyed by Cyclops’ optic beam. Of course, it eventually turns out that he was faking.

The most significant scenes for Wolverine are connected with the return of Jean Grey. Up to now, Madelyne Pryor has been making sure the X-Men don’t learn that she’s back, but they learn the truth as soon as she heads off to become the Goblin Queen (and thus stops censoring their news footage). Wolverine already knew about Jean’s return from the times last year that he picked up her scent, but claims that he kept quiet because she seemed different without the Phoenix – he doubted his senses, and wondered if it was just wishful thinking. He’s come to terms with her death, and (he says) he’s scared that the story seems to be re-opening.

When the X-Men actually meet X-Factor, he kisses Jean rather obnoxiously and gives her the spiel about knowing she wants more from him. To be fair, he is demonically altered at this point. The story is a bit vague about how affected the X-Men really are, though. They all have distorted costumes, and the likes of Longshot and Dazzler are badly affected, but X-Factor #38 claims that Wolverine, Storm, Rogue and Psylocke are “unscathed”. The transformation was supposedly a dropped plot – in X-Men #243, Storm claims that the X-Men even look distorted in astral form, but the art doesn’t really reflect it.

Sabretooth shows up briefly in X-Factor #39, and Wolverine despatches him in less than a page, another reminder that he hasn’t quite taken root yet as an A-list villain. Oh, and among the Limbo forces encountered by the X-Men are a handful of soldiers from the Right, who were dumped there by Magik during “Fall of the Mutants”.

Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #244 is a “girl’s night out” story, and Wolverine doesn’t appear.

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #13 (backup)
“Jubilation Day!”
By Sally Pashkow, Jim Fern, Joe Rubinstein & Gregory Wright
1989

Teenage mallrat Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), who secretly followed the X-women back through their portal at the end of Uncanny #244, spends her first night in the town. The X-Men have brief cameos going about their business, but she remains unnoticed for now, living in the tunnels beneath town.

PUNISHER vol 2 #18
“Face Off”
by Mike Baron, Whilce Portacio, Scott Williams & John Wellington
April 1989

Just an easter egg cameo of the X-Men in New York, apparently on a shopping trip.

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL vol 1 #6-7
“On the Track of Unknown Animals” / “Endangered Species”
by Carl Potts, Jim Lee & Gregory Wright
June & July 1989

Logan investigates a poaching ring operating in the Congo. By sheer coincidence, this leads him to a jungle expedition that includes the Punisher (Frank Castle). The Punisher isn’t even working on the case; he’s just been talked into going on holiday. The usual misunderstanding leads to the antiheroes fighting before Logan catches the real poacher and leaves him for the Punisher. The story itself is forgettable, but this is indeed Wolverine’s first encounter with the Punisher, who debuted at around the same time he did, and has likewise graduated to a solo title as the nineties beckon. It’s also got art by then-rising-star Jim Lee, though it’s not Lee’s first outing with Wolverine – he drew him in Alpha Flight in 1987.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #4
“Bloodsport”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Al Williamson & Glynis Oliver
February 1989

Back to Madripoor, and some more work on establishing the supporting cast. (See last instalment for an explanation of why there’s a break in the action between issues #3-4, all appearances to the contrary.)

Prince Baran’s chancellor is murdered as part of a war for influence between Tyger Tiger and rival crimelord General Nguyen Ngoc Coy. Coy’s niece Karma, formerly of the New Mutants, also shows up in Madripoor to join the cast. She’s reluctantly working with her father in exchange for his aid in finding her missing siblings. This storyline began in New Mutants, eventually gets resolved in the 1997 Beast miniseries, and doesn’t really go anywhere in this book – it winds up being just part of the background as far as this title is concerned, giving Karma a reason to be hanging around in this dodgy situation. Also joining the cast are Coy’s superhuman enforcers, the thuggish and possibly-Asgardian Roughouse and the vampiric Bloodsport (who will soon be renamed “Bloodscream”). Bloodsport gets the story named after him, but Roughouse will get his turn in issue #6.

With the Chancellor dead, Prince Baran gets more directly involved in the crimelords’ feud – and he is minded to support Coy, because of Coy’s willingness to trade in such profitable things as slaves and drugs. (Meaning heroin, presumably, because the idea that crimelord Tyger Tiger draws the moral line at marijuana doesn’t make any sense at all.) As Patch, Logan tags along to a meeting of the crimelords, but winds up saving Tyger from Roughouse and Bloodsport. Logan then ropes in Archie Corrigan to help him strike back at Coy. Unfortunately, Archie is already under Bloodsport’s mental influence.

The book is already struggling with the conceit that Wolverine is maintaining his cover as “Patch”. He initially grabs Karma from behind to talk to her – but later, she does see him clearly, and apparently fails to recognise him. You can rationalise it as playing along, but it’s a stretch.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #5
“Hunter’s Moon!”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Al Williamson & Glynis Oliver
March 1989

Archie resists Bloodsport’s influence, and flies Wolverine to the Golden Triangle so that he can destroy Coy’s opium crop. It’s a “one man takes down a facility on his own” story. Among Coy’s mercenaries are three of the Harriers – Hardcase (Harry Malone), Battleaxe (Jerome Hamilton) and Shotgun (Zeke Sallinger). These guys will show up again in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #261, with some fanfare, but never come to anything. Accordingly to the X-Men story, they’re actually undercover DEA agents here. Wolverine explicitly holds back from killing Coy’s men in this story, but he gives purely practical reasons for doing so: he figures his opponents will be more preoccupied worrying about the wounded than the dead.

This issue also introduces Landau, Luckman & Lake into the plot, as they produce a set of armour for Psylocke (which is given to Tyger Tiger for her safety). As explained in our previous instalment, this is obviously meant to be Psylocke’s original costume, but for continuity purposes it has to be a spare (probably replacing the one that was warped in Inferno).

WOLVERINE vol 2 #6-7
“Roughouse!” / “Mr Fixit Comes to Town”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Al Williamson, Glynis Oliver & Mike Rockwitz
April and May 1989

On returning to Madripoor, Wolverine and Archie learn that Tyger, Jessica and Lindsay have been captured. So they sneak into Baran’s palace for the rescue. Karma shows up too, having already decided that she can’t stay completely loyal to her uncle. Wolverine and Tyger defeat Roughouse and Bloodsport. But during the fight, Bloodsport draws blood from Wolverine, which apparently creates a psychic link between the two. This doesn’t really go anywhere either, no doubt because Claremont leaves the book soon after.

When Baran finally shows up, he turns out to be a huge fan of Lindsay McCabe’s acting, with a somewhat disturbing hall of memorabilia devoted to her. Despite that, Baran is played less as a stalker and more as a capricious and spoilt child; Lindsay seems more amused and flattered that anyone could possibly be a fan of her abysmal body of movie work. (“That’s my first major role in Demon Debs and its sequel Demon Blues. I was a sorority succubus at Yale.”)

Baran brokers a deal for Tyger and Coy to divide up the Madripoor underworld between them, leaving Coy with the bits that Tyger doesn’t want. He seems to go for this partly because Tyger is Lindsay’s friend, but also because there’s some value to him in having the two criminals keeping each other in check.  Meanwhile, Coy wants revenge, so he borrows an enforcer from an American contact. The enforcer turns out to be Joe Fixit – the current persona of the grey Hulk.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #8
“If It Ain’t Broke–!”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema & Glynis Oliver.
June 1989

This is mainly a comedy issue. Logan tricks and torments the Hulk, manipulating him into smashing up Coy’s own operations. Logan also engineers events so that Fixit only gets his rewards (er, prostitutes) just as the sun is rising, at which point he turns back into Bruce Banner. Honestly, Wolverine’s a bit of a dick in this issue, since Fixit is certainly no worse than Tyger Tiger; he instantly turns on Coy as soon as he find out what sort of things Coy is involved in. Logan and the Hulk part on reasonably good terms, only for Logan to trick him one more time on the way out.

Again, the problems with the “Patch” identity are becoming apparent, since the Hulk somehow fails to instantly recognise Wolverine’s incredibly distinctive hairstyle even while looking right at the guy and having a conversation with him. Having said that, the story does strongly imply that he’s figure it out by the end.

Issue #9 is a fill-in story by Peter David & Gene Colan, set years in the past with a token present-day framing sequence. We’ve covered it already.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #10
“24 Hours”
by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Bill Sienkiewicz & Mike Rockwitz
August 1989

Logan wanders Madripoor on his birthday, looking out for Sabretooth. He gets distracted by rescuing a couple from muggers, and also finds that Jessica and Lindsay have set up in business, under Baran’s protection, as Drew & McCabe Resolutions. The setup (which never really gets used) is that they’re Baran’s spies in Lowtown, and in the awkward position of trying to stay neutral between Coy and Tyger. Two thugs who got into a fight with Logan earlier try to take their revenge, but get killed by Sabretooth, who leaves their bodies with a note: “Nobody kills you but me – especially today!”

All this is intercut with flashbacks to the death of Silver Fox, as Logan recalls it. This story will get messed about with by multiple retcons in the future, but it’s a touchstone that writers keep coming back to, and the first story in the Wolverine ongoing that really qualifies as a key text for the character. Even though this story is the origin of the “Sabretooth attacks every year on Logan’s birthday” meme, Sabretooth doesn’t actually attack this year; he steps in to save Wolverine instead. Maybe instead of hiding every year, Logan should just hurl himself into a particularly challenging mission.

This is also the final Chris Claremont issue; he leaves behind a set-up and that’s about it. As we’ll see, for a little while, other writers will generally accept that as the status quo, but nobody will be around long enough to really advance it. And nobody ever will – instead, it becomes a more or less static set-up that the series keeps returning to.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #11-16
“The Gehenna Stone Affair”
by Peter David, John Buscema, Bill Sienkiewicz & Glynis Oliver
September to November 1989

Logan and Jessica tag along when Archie Corrigan goes home to San Francisco to sort out a family problem: his sister Ruth Corrigan is trying to have their mentally unstable, film-obsessed brother Burt Corrigan declared insane, so that she can control the family fortune. Burt doesn’t help his case when he showing up at a crucial court hearing riding a horse, acting like Indiana Jones, and claiming to be locked in battle with the vampiric forces of Ba’al. But he has indeed stumbled upon a group of cultists who are plotting to reassemble the mystical Gehenna Stone and thus restore Ba’al to life. The group leader claims to be the reincarnation of the original Ba’al.

Finally, Wolverine defeats and kills Ba’al. This is a curious scene, clearly designed to imply that Wolverine is either the literal or symbolic reincarnation of the “Hand of God”, a legendary warrior who defeated Ba’al in ancient times. Somewhat out of character, Wolverine strikes the killing blow by apparent fluke when praying (in desperation) for a higher power to guide his hand; decide for yourself how literally you should take that, and maybe Wolverine is more likely to think along those lines when fighting a villain he knows is magical. Still, he is meant to be an atheist.

This arc has no particular impact on anything, but it’s pretty decent. In terms of wider continuity, the most significant material is in issues #14-15, where Jessica reveals that everyone always knew he was Wolverine, and they were just indulging him with the “Patch” thing. When it first comes up, in issue #14, it reads as if Claremont’s premise is being thrown under the bus – though it had serious workability problems, as we’ve seen. Issue #15 is a little kinder, pointing out that loads of people in Madripoor use obvious aliases – including O’Donnell – so that everyone just assumed Logan was doing the same for some reason. That seems to have been the intended editorial line, as Archie Goodwin repeats it in issue #17: “Most who know me aren’t deceived, just willing not to question as long as I obviously want it that way.”

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #245
“Men!”
by Chris Claremont, Rob Liefeld, Dan Green & Glynis Oliver
June 1989

The male X-Men go on a drinking session, and wind up defeating an alien invasion. It’s a parody of DC’s Invasion crossover.

It ends with Logan inviting Alex on a road trip to Mexico. That would be…

HAVOK & WOLVERINE: MELTDOWN #1-4
4-issue miniseries
by Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Jon J Muth & Kent Williams
December 1988 to March 1989

Logan and Alex’s Mexican holiday is interrupted when Alex is lured away by Scarlett McKenzie. Scarlett, also known as Quark, is an agent of Meltdown, a nationalist Russian general aggrieved by Glasnost. He has super powers, and hopes Alex can help charge them up. Since Wolverine is completely irrelevant to this scheme, Scarlett tries to sideline him by making him think Alex has died (and trying to make Alex think Logan is dead too). Neither falls for it – at least not for long. So Scarlett switches tack, and tries to keep Alex on side with an increasingly convoluted conspiracy story, while Logan gives chase. Meltdown’s men actually capture Logan and mindwipe him, but his healing factor resets him after Alex blasts him. The two heroes finally reunite to defeat Meltdown, who dies. As for Scarlett, she gets killed by Meltdown before Alex ever figures out the truth about her. Logan decides that he might as well let Alex believe that she died a hero.

One of the most unusual X-books produced up to this point, this miniseries came out under the Epic imprint. It features painted art, with Muth on Havok’s pages and Williams offering a very distinctive take on Wolverine.  (Uncanny X-Men #246 has a gag about Logan using hair gel to get the Kent Williams look.) It’s not Code approved, and Wolverine is much more violent on panel than usual. If you’ve never read it, it’s worth a look just for those factors, though the plot is a lot more conventional than the art.

The idea that Logan’s healing factor overcomes brainwashing clashes with all manner of later stories, and Meltdown’s whole anti-Glasnost thing is dated (and tricky to revise with sliding time). But it gives some closure to Logan and Alex’s relationship as the grizzled veteran and the naive rookie.

X-MEN ANNUAL vol 1 #13
“Double Cross”
by Terry Austin, Mike Vosburg & Tom Vincent
1989

This is part of the “Atlantis Attacks” crossover, which ran through the 1989 annuals. Austin and Vosburg were, at this point, the creative team of Cloak & Dagger, and so they bring in their book’s villain, evil sorcerer Mister Jip.

Jip captures Dazzler and Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), and swaps their minds. He offers to restore them if the X-Men retrieve four mystical idols for him. Meanwhile, the crossover’s main villains Ghaur and Llyra hire Diamondback’s old team the Serpent Society to do the same thing. So it’s the two teams racing for the macguffins, with the complication of Diamondback being on the wrong team. The X-Men win the race – specifically, Wolverine and Dazzler (in Diamondback’s body) fight Asp, Puff Adder and Boomslang in the Savage Land. Jip duly swaps the women back, only for Sidewinder to steal the idols anyway, because the wider plot demands it.

In a creepy subplot, Diamondback (in Dazzler’s body) tries to seduce Logan, and they get interrupted before the understandably stunned Logan gets the chance to shove her away. Dazzler takes rather badly to that, but winds up apologising to Logan for not trusting him.

The official chronology places a flashback in X-Men Unlimited vol 2 #9 here, which as far as I can see is a single panel of Wolverine being eaten by a dinosaur, and not something that actually happens in the story.

MARVEL SUPER-HEROES vol 3 #6-8
“Third Time’s the Charm!” / “Sterility’R’Us!” / “Three Strikes, Yer Out!”
#6 by Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Rich Buckler & Jim Sanders III
#7 by Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Larry Alexander & Harry Candelario
#8 by Michael Higgins, MC Wyman & Sam DeLaRosa
Summer to Winter 1991

A stray Mark II Sentinel starts attacking gamma-powered characters such as the Abomination and Doc Samson. Investigating, the X-Men encounter Cynthia Chalmers, daughter of one of the Sentinels’ original promoters. It turns out that (1) the Sentinel is planning to use gamma radiation to rid the world of mutants and wants to check that this won’t accidentally fill the world with Hulks instead, and (2) Cynthia is actually dying of cancer and wanted to transfer her mind into a Sentinel body. Once she gets her wish, Cynthia starts losing her mind, and flies into the sun to kill herself.

This is an absolute mess – it changes creative teams midway through, and seems to exist solely so that this obscure quarterly anthology could put “X-Men” on the cover. And since it takes place during the Australian era, the Sentinel shouldn’t be able to detect the X-Men.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #29-31
“Pharaoh’s Legacy, parts 6-8”
by Howard Mackie, Rich Buckler, Bruce Patterson & Andy Yanchus
October to November 1989

Wolverine shows up at the tail end of a Havok serial, to help him out against Plasma (Leila O’Toole) and the Cult of the Living Pharaoh.

A flashback in Wolverine vol 2 #17 shows Logan hunting and killing a boar in the outback, and dwelling once again on his animal and human sides (yes, we’re back to that again). Deciding that his animal urges need a release, he tells Storm that he needs some time alone to get them out of his system. Gateway sends him on this way.

WOLVERINE: THE JUNGLE ADVENTURE
by Walt Simonson, Mike Mignola, Bob Wiacek & Mark Chiarello
February 1990

De facto, this is Wolverine Annual #1. Apocalypse lures Wolverine to the Savage Land, where he is promptly crowned chieftain by a gullible tribe. The lifestyle suits him rather nicely. Eventually a cyborg T-rex leads him to Apocalypse’s base. Apocalypse declares himself Wolverine’s new confidant and mentor (!), then begins explaining his plan to turn Savage Land natives into cyborg henchmen. When Wolverine and tribeswoman Gahck smash everything up, Apocalypse regretfully decides that Wolverine is “too intransigent” to be of any use. Wolverine defeats Apocalypse, who turns out to be a robot; the real Apocalypse then appears in a video message to thank Wolverine for tidying up this loose end for him. Wolverine is less than pleased.

Again, it doesn’t make sense that the robot Apocalypse can see Wolverine. But we know this story takes place somewhere around here, because it’s referenced in Wolverine vol 2 #23. It’s a nice enough story with some lovely art. At the time, it was most notable for containing strong hints that Apocalypse was responsible for Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, an idea which never went anywhere because it was overtaken by Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” story.

The story is told in flashback. A framing sequence shows Gahck with a newborn baby, which is strongly implied to be Logan’s son. The Official Handbook makes that claim outright (which is a fairly natural reading of the story). It also names the character as Erista, a name with a weird history: Handbook contributor Eric J Moreels had previously insisted that this was the name and that it had definitely appeared in print somewhere (which it hadn’t). My impression was always that Eric was attempting to establish a bit of folk-memory continuity for his own amusement, but who knows. At any rate, the kid never shows up again.

CAPTAIN AMERICA vol 1 #363
“Moon Over Madripoor”
by Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer, Danny Bulanadi & Gregory Wright
November 1989

Another one-panel easter egg, when Crossbones passes Logan on the street in downtown Madripoor.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #17-18
“Basics!” / “All at Sea”
by Archie Goodwin, John Byrne & Klaus Janson
Late November and Early December 1989

This short (and enjoyable) run really consists of a single storyline, but some other stories get shoehorned in between parts 2 and 3. It begins by reasserting the Madripoor status quo as established by Chris Claremont, developing Logan and Tyger’s sexual relationship, and reiterating the idea that Logan is meant to be her conscience. Investigating General Coy’s crack-smuggling operation, Wolverine discovers that the Nazi cyborg Geist is involved, and that Coy has handed over Roughouse to him. Since he regards Roughouse as a somewhat honourable opponent, Wolverine decides to rescue him. In a cute scene, Logan confronts Geist in full costume as Wolverine, only for Geist to dismiss him as an impostor on the entirely reasonable grounds that everyone knows the X-Men are dead. So Logan unmasks and “admits” to being local character Patch, posing as Wolverine.

Anyway, the plot turns out to be that Geist is working for Felix Guillermo Caridad, the President of Tierra Verde. Caridad wants Geist to create a national superhero for Tierra Verde, using the wondrous properties of the local cocaine; Roughouse is an experimental subject. Wolverine then gets dumped in the sea, and Geist escapes with Roughouse. Wolverine naturally vows to give chase, which he’ll do next issue.

The official timeline has two more single-panel flashbacks from X-Men Unlimited vol 2 #9 here, though I can’t really understand why – it’s just more action scenes.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #246
“The Day of Other Lights!”
by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri & Dan Green
July 1989

Yes, July – Uncanny and Wolverine had got seriously out of synch by this point. Wolverine asks Storm for a leave of absence to deal with something not very clearly specified – perhaps because Claremont didn’t want to spoil the plot of Wolverine, perhaps because he honestly didn’t know what it was going to be.

At any rate, this ends Wolverine’s time with the X-Men for now. By the time he returns, the group will have disbanded. Next time, in 1990, we’ll look at the rest of the Goodwin/Byrne run, and the collapse of the X-Men.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] 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 […]

  2. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> In terms of wider continuity, the most significant material is in issues #14-15, where Jessica reveals that everyone always knew he was Wolverine, and they were just indulging him with the “Patch” thing. When it first comes up, in issue #14, it reads as if Claremont’s premise is being thrown under the bus – though it had serious workability problems, as we’ve seen. Issue #15 is a little kinder, pointing out that loads of people in Madripoor use obvious aliases – including O’Donnell – so that everyone just assumed Logan was doing the same for some reason.

    Oh, PAD was absolutely throwing it under the bus (which he’s had an occasional habit of – for instance, there were perhaps reasons for retconning the idea that Lockjaw was an Inhuman turned into a dog by terrigenesis, but going “lol, it was a practical joke, you sucker Pietro” ignores the context of the original scene).

    I mean, quite aside from anything else, why does he suddenly decide to throw the Wolverine costume on *at all*? He’s been avoiding the use of it in Madripoor-related situations to this point in favour of the basic black suit.

  3. Jason says:

    “I mean, quite aside from anything else, why does he suddenly decide to throw the Wolverine costume on *at all*? He’s been avoiding the use of it in Madripoor-related situations to this point in favour of the basic black suit.”

    He had just learned that the basic black suit was actually a symbiote.

  4. Jason says:

    ” Two thugs who got into a fight with Logan earlier try to take their revenge,”

    I know it’s irrelevant, but aren’t the two thugs a pair of brothers both named Darryl? That always suggested to me that Claremont was a “Newhart” fan.

    Speaking of pop culture references, I also got the impression that those three “Harriers” in issue 5 were meant to be a quasi-A-Team, with Hardcase as Hannibal, Axe as B.A., and Shotgun as Murdoch. Wolverine even quotes the “I love it when a plan comes together” line near the end of that issue!

    One last piggy-back off Claremont and pop-culture jokes …. since we’re in the year of “Inferno,” I hope it’s not out of bounds to post this little nugget:

    https://youtube/VpoEhbQs1eI

  5. Col_Fury says:

    I’ve always liked the Meltdown mini, and still think it’s great that Jon J. Muth’s take on Alex is he looks like James Dean. And of course the hair gel callback in Uncanny #246 is fun. Uncanny #246 also heavily implies that Wolverine and Storm have a casual romantic relationship.

    Mike Mignola does a great Apocalypse, doesn’t he? And at the end, is that a Cyclops visor the hologram Apocalypse his juggling?

    I still love the Inferno crossover, especially the big two-page Logan/Jean smooch. Good stuff. 🙂

  6. >hints that Apocalypse was responsible for Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, an idea which never went anywhere because it was overtaken by Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” story.

    But at least Windsor-Smith was decent enough to leave a door open in case someone wanted to reveal ‘Pocy as the man on the telephone.

  7. Col_Fury says:

    re: Michael Hoskin
    “But at least Windsor-Smith was decent enough to leave a door open in case someone wanted to reveal ‘Pocy as the man on the telephone.”

    Yep. Too bad we got Romulus instead. 🙁

  8. In fairness, Wolverine isn’t the only one with that distinctive hairstyle. There’s also the Owl, who even has claws.

    Obviously no one is going to think the Owl is Patch, but at least he shows that Wolverine isn’t the only one who visits that particular barber.

  9. Joe Iglesias says:

    There’s a What The or Marvel Age page somewhere with headshots of Wolverine, Beast, Quicksilver, and someone else I forget (maybe the Owl) as a testimonial ad for their barber…

  10. Alastair says:

    The kiss in inferno is always to me the start of the slow and unwelcome push to Logan and Jean as a thing. Really she should have telepathically lobotomized him right there and then for forcing himself on her like that.

  11. Luis Dantas says:

    I _so_ agree, Alastair!

  12. Ben Kimball says:

    This series has been such a nostalgia-trip time capsule for me, with this post marking the exact moment I left comics for 16 years. I think #248 was the last issue I actually bought from my local spinner rack.

    It was a fine time to jump ship, and not just because I went off to college after that summer and didn’t have time/interest anymore. I didn’t really take to the art or conceit of the costumeless-Wolverine-really-tears-into-a-lot-of-people-on-a-fake-southeast-Asian-island-that-may-or-may-not-be-Singapore title, and Inferno did a satisfying job of wrapping up a bunch of the plot threads that mattered the most to me at the time: the X-Men and X-Factor finally meeting; what the hell was going on with Illyana; who was behind kind-of-everything since Mutant Massacre (it was Sinister, who… just looked so silly and childish, it felt like a good time to put it all down).

    Whedon’s Astonishing run brought me back, and what a pleasure it was to then go back and discover what Morrison had just recently done. And pore over a website called The X-Axis =)

    Thanks Paul, for all of your efforts. You’re an excellent writer on top of everything and I totally agree with the commenter on a recent post who said it was impossible to not read a somewhat dismissive review in your voice. Looking forward to seeing the next few installments covering what came after.

    One comment about something I’m not sure has been touched on yet: the title going on sale twice-a-month for a while (maybe more than once?) around this time. Something about the alternating artists and Silvestri’s scratchy style was tough for me to take back then. Or maybe the inherent doubling of Claremont’s writing output that was required of it, I don’t know. It just sort of seemed like the quality took a significant dip there (except for Inferno, which worked for me). The second Brood storyline definitely felt like more of a cash-in than an actual saga I cared that much about. Or maybe I was just growing up. Anyway, just wondering if anyone else ever noticed a shift in quality related to the change in how frequently Uncanny came out.

  13. SanityOrMadness says:

    Alastair> The kiss in inferno is always to me the start of the slow and unwelcome push to Logan and Jean as a thing. Really she should have telepathically lobotomized him right there and then for forcing himself on her like that.

    Well, she didn’t strictly have telepathy at the time. She would have to have settled for telekinetically crushing a certain piece of anatomy or somesuch.

  14. Andrew says:

    We’re heading into the period where I first got into the books (with Acts of Vengeance)and the wonderfully odd period where the X-Men as a team cease to exist.

    I know it wasn’t intentional on Claremont’s part particularly but I’ve always loved how ultimately the scattered teams come together with X-Tinction Agenda and the coda of the space adventure/Muir Island Saga and the final X-Factor arc which writes off Nathan Summers and Apocalypse.

    The finale of the opening X-men arc and Magneto’s end had a sense of finality to the young me.

  15. Jason says:

    “I’ve always liked the Meltdown mini, and still think it’s great that Jon J. Muth’s take on Alex is he looks like James Dean […] Mike Mignola does a great Apocalypse, doesn’t he? […] I still love the Inferno crossover, especially the big two-page Logan/Jean smooch. Good stuff. ”

    Col. Fury, you are truly a man after my own heart. I have similarly fond memories of this material.

    Let me echo the others who are saying thank you, Paul, for the monthly doses of dryly witty nostalgia!

  16. Thom H. says:

    @Ben Kimball: That’s a great summary of the reasons to quit X-Men at the time. I did the same. I couldn’t stand Silvestri’s scribbles.

    Half the time, character’s faces were at such weird angles it looked like they were rotating into another dimension. I read it as quirky and kind of fun when he first became the regular artist, but it was all downhill with the twice-a-month schedule.

    Another change around this time is that Claremont starts pouring on the prose. Just paragraph after paragraph. Characters begin speaking, interrupt themselves to think a couple of paragraphs, continue their original thought out loud, and then think some more. There’s a particular panel in Inferno where it’s just Jean’s head and 10 word/thought balloons.

    Maybe that’s a function of the stepped-up schedule (in that no one took a second pass at the writing) or maybe Claremont was experimenting with something new. Either way, it was difficult to maintain story momentum with characters delivering speeches the entire time.

    It’s cool that Marvel was willing to experiment with the X-Men a little bit by releasing Meltdown. I think the success of Sienkiewicz’s tenure on New Mutants has something to do with that. But what a strange mix of creators. I wonder what impelled Muth and Williams to participate? The potential for piles of money, I suppose.

  17. Ben Kimball says:

    @Thom: “Characters begin speaking, interrupt themselves to think a couple of paragraphs, continue their original thought out loud, and then think some more.”

    Literal LOL to that! So true. Tell tell tell tell tell tell tell (and maybe sometimes occasionally show, if there’s any room left amongst all the self-indulgent blah blah blah).

    Teenage me wanted Arthur Adams, Paul Smith, Michael Golden, or Alan Davis to draw everything (for good reasons; they were and are truly awesome); Adult me looks back at Sienkiewicz and thinks… “damn, there’s something genius going on here.” So glad if that short New Mutants run helped inspire future experimentation and mature takes on the material.

  18. Col_Fury says:

    re: Jason
    Hey, what can I say? I’m here to help. 🙂

    Also, I have memories of following “the Gehenna Stone Affair” every two weeks, looking (on my bicycle) for the new issue at my local gas station (it was called “Convenient,” now closed and vacant for at least 20 years) hoping to get the next issue; when they didn’t have it, I rented the VHS tape of the animated Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings movie to tide me over (for a dollar, I think? Maybe fifty cents?).

    Why am I talking about this?

    Somewhere in this time frame, Lord of the Rings was rented out (not available at some point), to my memory. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) suggested the Superman movie instead (“because Superman was against the bankers”) (she grew up during the Great Depression, and is still as sharp as ever). I remember when Superman found Lois’ corpse and let out a terrible sound, I got a nosebleed.

    Why am I talking about this?

  19. Matthew says:

    @Joe Iglesias

    It’s in What The–?! #6 and features versions of Wolverine, Beast, Quicksilver, The Owl, Starfox, and Thor (who does not like his new haircut).

  20. The Other Michael says:

    Man, I remember the introduction of Hardcase and the Harriers in Uncanny, and how they seemed poised to be a bigger deal and then… we never saw them again.

    I never even knew any of them had appeared before!

    Kind of a shame. But then again, Claremont was great at creating teams of characters who never really went anywhere. Remember the time the Brood infected a bunch of random mutants who all had convenient codenames? (And of course the Neo…)

  21. Loz says:

    Wolverine’s barber? Oh, you mean this guy?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qqf87

  22. Chris says:

    I never understood what exactly the art in INFERNO was telling me regarding the change to Wolverine’s mask and I was hoping you could explain it to me.

  23. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    That cover with Miami Vice Sabertooth is perfection.

    I love when the incredibly unhip understanding of what’s currently cool style by the writer/artist is revealed.

  24. Allan M says:

    The added layer of creep in the Annual story is that, after Wolverine rejects Diamondback (in Dazzler’s body) advances, it’s made clear that Dazzler’s been having sex with Longshot despite being in Diamondback’s body. Not a plot point you could breeze past as a quick joke in 2021.

  25. Nu-D says:

    An underrated and unfairly maligned year for Uncanny, IMO. As an exercise in tying up loose ends that never should have existed, Inferno was great and better than could be hoped for. The comedy issues that followed were tremendous fun. Silvestri was an exciting dynamic artist, and Claremont was pushing the X-Men into even more radical ground for a superhero team.

    Meanwhile John Byrne was busy having the Avengers fight the Lava Men and introducing the Great Lakes Avengers. Stories worthy of 1974.

  26. Will Cooling says:

    Fun fact – with the new monthly schedule it will take Paul 30 months to reach 2020. At which point we will be in 2024, so requiring a further three editions 🙂

  27. Nu-D says:

    Two points:

    1. Many people won’t recognize Logan’s “distinctive haircut” because they’ve never seen him without the Wolverine mask. Obviously that’s not true for someone like Karma. But when has Banner ever seen Logan without a mask? And certainly the average Madripooran has not, or he B-henchmen populating these stories.

    2. I don’t get the criticism that Logan’s costume in Inferno was unchanged. Simonson and Silvestri both drew Logan’s costume (and the others) as exaggerated and tattered in a distinctive way. Among other things, Logan’s cowl was larger, and the usual smooth curves were jagged and irregular.

  28. Allan M says:

    I really like most of this year’s run of Uncanny and Inferno is easily the best X-Men crossover and possibly my single favourite X-Men story, period. The sheer number of character and story arcs that it wraps up is just ridiculous and somehow doesn’t feel rushed. Everyone in the story has something going on. Even Longshot gets big hero moments. Also, the way they kill N’astirh is classic comic book combine-our-powers pseudoscience nonsense and I love it.

    Also, unless I’m forgetting something from previous entries, I believe Inferno is canonically the first time Wolverine scores a clean victory over Sabretooth, after, given retcons, decades of continuous losses due to the “ambush Logan on his birthday” thing. A retroactively momentous moment that’s over in less than a page.

  29. Chris V says:

    He beat Sabretooth pretty badly in Uncanny #222, when they were fighting on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    “Inferno” is also my favourite crossover, although there isn’t a huge amount of competition.
    There were some great tie-in issues also. I really loved the Nocenti Daredevil story, for one.

  30. […] Wolverine down under. Following in the footsteps of one Crocodile […]

  31. Jason says:

    Seeing “Inferno” love always warms my heart.

  32. JD says:

    @Nu-D
    Meanwhile John Byrne was busy having the Avengers fight the Lava Men and introducing the Great Lakes Avengers. Stories worthy of 1974.

    GLA diss notwithstanding, the comparison is helped out by Wolverine skipping on Uncanny #249-250, an awful trip to the Savage Land with Zaladane and the SL Mutates as the main villains, Polaris randomly changing power sets, and Claremont indulging even more than usual in his enslavement fetish.

    It’s the last proper adventure of the Australia-era X-Men (the next issue has them disbanded in a flashback/dream), timed on an “anniversary” issue… and it’s a completed dud, ending that era on a whimper rather than a bang.

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