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Oct 3

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1993

Posted on Sunday, October 3, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992

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

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

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

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

This overlaps with…

MYS-TECH WARS #1-4
4-issue miniseries
by Dan Abnett, Bryan Hitch, Jeff Anderson & John Freeman
March to June 1993

Marvel UK’s big event of 1993. Dark Angel #10 is a tie-in issue which is meant to interweave with Mys-Tech Wars #1 but, well, it doesn’t. Anyway: Mys-Tech have created the Un-Earth, a duplicate planet which is basically a giant voodoo doll. The Marvel UK heroes (who mostly have tie-in issues) team up with various American heroes (who certainly don’t) to stop the thing and hit the cosmic reset button. Wolverine has a subplot in which he’s trying to avenge Nick Fury’s death while investigating Mys-Tech.

As the creative team might suggest, this actually isn’t bad, but the ending is telegraphed a mile away when the story does things like blowing up the X-Men Mansion and killing Nick Fury and Spider-Man in the first act. Anyway, Wolverine meets Motormouth, Killpower and the Knights of Pendragon – currently Union Jack (Joe Champan), Adam Crown, Albion (Peter Hunter), Grace and Breeze. He also meets (and kills) Mys-Tech board member Algernon Crowe.

X-CUTIONER’S SONG:
X-Factor vol 1 #84-86
X-Men vol 2 #14-16
X-Force vol 1 #16-18
Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #295-296
November 1992 to February 1993

Back to the X-books, and their first major crossover since Chris Claremont left. Note, by the way, that Wolverine (and Excalibur) are still being treated at this point as standalone titles who don’t have to join in such things. The crossover actually begins in Uncanny X-Men #294, but Wolverine doesn’t appear in that issue.

Stryfe poses as Cable to shoot Professor X. Then he abducts Cyclops and Jean Grey, believing them to be the parents who abandoned him. Wolverine joins the X-Men and X-Factor in hunting down X-Force, then (after a side trip to Canada’s Department K) joins Bishop and Cable in investigating the whole affair. By a process best described as wild guesswork, Wolverine works out that Stryfe and his captives are on the moon. The heroes show up on the moon in time to fight Stryfe henchmen the Dark Riders (Foxbat, Gauntlet, Psynapse, Tusk, Barrage and Hard-Drive), but otherwise don’t play much role in resolving all this.

The core of “X-Cutioner’s Song” is the revelations about the past of Cable and Stryfe, and their connection with Scott and Jean. It’s a solid Cable story weighed down by the need to find busy work for so many characters, very few of whom have anything at stake . In Wolverine’s case, he’s given the chance to butt heads with Cable again, to keep that thread ticking over. (“I don’t like you, Cable. I’ve never liked you. I like your house even less. It’s got as much personality as you do.”)

This is also the first time Wolverine meets X-Force as a group under that name; his first meeting with Feral; the first time he’s met James Proudstar as Warpath; and the first time he meets Cable’s AI, Professor. It’s also the story that kicks off the Legacy Virus storyline that runs throughout the 90s, but Wolverine won’t find out anything about that for a while.

BATTLETIDE #1-4
4-issue miniseries
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Geoff Senior & Louise Cassell
December 1992 to March 1993

Wolverine and Psylocke are among an assortment of heroes kidnapped by Megaira and Termagent to fight on the gladiatorial world of Colosseum. Everyone is assigned a partner, and Wolverine finds himself saddled with Sabretooth; they spend most of their time fighting each other, partly due to adrenalin-boosting collars, but still manage to win their fights. But the Colosseum is actually planned as a sacrifice to the demonic Battletide. Dark Angel and Killmonger figure out how to win and Wolverine is duly there in the crowd for the finale.

Throwaway, but it has its moments. (Despite the publication order, this has to come after Mys-Tech Wars, since Wolverine doesn’t recognise Killpower when they meet in that series.)

WOLVERINE vol 2 #66-68
“Prophecy” / “Valley o’ Death!” / “Epsilon Red”
by Larry Hama, Mark Texeira & Steve Buccellato
February to April 1993

Even though it’s separated from the preceding arc on the timeline, this arc is really best thought of as the wrap-up for that first arc – it doesn’t have any of the important revelations of the earlier issues, but it brings some closure to Wolverine’s investigation of his past and allows the book to move on.

Professor X finally agrees to enter Wolverine’s subconscious and remove the mental blocks relating to “Terry Adams.” It goes badly; Wolverine becomes convinced that he’s still in Team X and has to complete the “Terry Adams” mission, all while being cryptically steered by a hallucinatory angel. So we get things like Wolverine trying to use fake KGB credentials to bluff his way past baffled Kazakh security guards, who don’t recognise him (despite his costume) and gun him down and leave him for dead. Naturally, he survives, staggers across the desert, and finally reaches “Terry Adams”, which turns out to be the Team X nickname for the Soviet space station Tyuratam. After fending off the same two guards (who have belatedly discovered that he has a price on his head from Hydra), Wolverine makes it into the base, where he meets Elena Ivanova and her father, Soviet super astronaut Epsilon Red.

The first half of this arc is extremely surreal. It’s not easy to decode which scenes are hallucinations, and which are actually meant to be happening as shown. Eventually, Epsilon Red removes more of Wolverine’s memory blocks, and we get a coherent flashback: back in 1968, Wolverine was sent to assassinate Epsilon Red in order to stop the Soviets from winning the space race. The assassination was cancelled at the last minute, and poor Epsilon’s project was abandoned after the American moon landing the next year. Since he’s been biologically altered to be at home in space, Epsilon Red is actually quite happy that Wolverine has come to put him out of his misery. At Wolverine’s request, Epsilon removes still more memory blocks, though he points out that there will still be gaps in Wolverine’s memory: things that were erased outright instead of blocked, and other blocks put in place by his own subconscious instead of by Weapon X. Wolverine briefly experiences an agonising vision before a bright light starts to clear things away. Finally, Wolverine helps Epsilon to stow away on a space launch so that he can finally be in space where he belongs, and the X-Men show up to take Wolverine home.

An epilogue establishes that Elena, not Epsilon, is the actual telepath here – Sabretooth killed her mother, and she wants revenge on him. According to issue #69, all of Wolverine’s memory implants are also removed in this story. This isn’t exactly honoured by future writers. But as far as Hama is concerned, from this point on, Wolverine’s memories are incomplete, but reliable as far as they go. It’s clearly meant to draw a line under Wolverine’s doubts about the memories and identity.

It’s a really weird story. Since so many of the earlier issues set up long-running concepts that embedded themselves in the core of the Wolverine mythos, this arc now feels like a coda, but it makes a lot more sense in the context of Hama’s overall plot. And again, the madness plays to the strengths of Mark Texeira.

X-MEN vol 2 #17-18
“A Skinning of Souls”
by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Mark Pennington & Joe Rosas
February to April 1993

On their way back from Tyuratam, the X-Men stop off in Siberia to visit Colossus’ parents Nikolai and Alexandra Rasputin for a few days.

Logan has a nice scene with Peter in issue #17, where he points out that Peter seems to have given up sketching. Peter complains that the X-Men’s accomplishments come nowhere close to justifying all the suffering they go through, and Logan gives the usual hard-man pep talk that the world doesn’t owe them a living. This is more interesting in the light of issue #20, when Nicieza has Logan voice essentially Peter’s viewpoint privately to Jubilee – apparently  Nicieza feels that Wolverine is more willing to let his guard down when talking to her.

At the request of Colonel Alexei Vazhin (the Russian Nick Fury counterpart), the X-Men battle the Soul Skinner, a psychic mutant who feeds on angst and has zombified a whole town of locals. Also investigating are Darkstar and Alexi Garnoff (because they’re heroes) and Omega Red (because he’s been hired by a rival government agency). Wolverine abandons the A-plot and attacks Omega Red on sight, helping to establish him as a major Wolverine villain. As per usual with this sort of villain, everyone is confronted with traumatic events from their lives, but Nicieza feels no need to reinvent the wheel in Wolverine’s case, and just goes with recent events from his solo book.

The Soul Skinner is defeated, but Peter and Illyana’s parents are killed by Russian agents (who were trying to turn Illyana back into a teenager and use her powers to get rid of the Soul Skinner). So Illyana comes back to the Mansion with the X-Men.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #300
“Legacies”
by Scott Lobdell, John Romita Jr, Dan Green & Steve Buccellato
May 1993

The X-Men rescue Moira MacTaggert from the Acolytes. Wolverine meets a bunch of Acolytes for the first time here – Neophyte, Sanyaka, Spore, Amelia Voght, Milan, Javitz, Seamus Mellencamp, Scanner, Joanna Cargill, Carmella Unuscione, Harlan Kleinstock and Sven Kleinstock. He and Cyclops are in this book because it’s an anniversary issue, but they don’t contribute much.

X-MEN vol 2 #20-21
“Digging in the Dirt” / “The Puzzle Box”
#20 by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Mark Pennington & Joe Rosas
#21 by Fabian Nicieza, Brandon Peterson, Dan Panosian & Joe Rosas
May and June 1993

A second Psylocke shows up at the Mansion, claiming to be the real one. She’ll turn out to be Kwannon, the woman with whom Psylocke was body-swapped and mind-merged in “Acts of Vengeance” – but at this stage, she’s going by the name Revanche. Professor X and Wolverine verify that both Psylockes believe that they’re telling the truth, and so a group of X-Men head off to Japan to investigate the crimelord Nyoirin – but not Wolverine, who claims that Japan is too traumatic for him to visit just now. So he drops out of the plot at this point.

Issue #20 has the scene where Wolverine talks to Jubilee about whether the X-Men’s lives are worth it, following up on the conversation he had with Peter in issue #17.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #69-71
“Induction in the Savage Land” / “Tooth and Nail” / “Triassic Park”
by Larry Hama, Dwayne Turner, various inkers & Steve Buccellato
May to July 1993

Instead of going to Japan with their teammates, Wolverine, Rogue and Jubilee pop down to the Savage Land in search of Magneto, and end up fighting Sauron and the Savage Land Mutates. From Wolverine’s point of view this is just an extended fight scene, with an unconvincing payoff where Sauron argues successfully that Wolverine shouldn’t kill him because (a) his attempts to conquer the Savage Land are just part of the natural order of things down there, and (b) his innocent Karl Lykos persona would die too. If you say so. Compared to the preceding year of stories, this is very forgettable.

For no apparent reason, we’re back to the “healing factor ain’t what it used to be” routine, so that Wolverine can spend most of the story hobbled by a hamstring injury. The Savage Land Mutates include Equilibrius, who Wolverine meets for the first time.

X-MEN vol 2 #23
“Leaning Towards Oneself”
by Fabian Niceza, Andy Kubert, Mark Pennington & Joe Rosas
August 1993

The two Psylockes arc is still going, but in a subplot, Wolverine, Rogue and Jubilee report back on their Savage Land mission. They found evidence that Magneto is back, and it’s all very ominous.

X-Men #25 claims that “Fatal Attractions” takes place only around a week after this point, but it’s not essential to the plot, and a bunch of guest appearances have to be shoehorned in somewhere before Wolverine loses his adamantium. So here they are…

SECRET DEFENDERS #1-3
“A Gathering of Heroes” / “Second Chance”
by Roy Thomas, Andre Coates, Don Hudson & John Kalisz
March to May 1993

Dr Strange enlists Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Darkhawk and Nomad (Jack Monroe) – who comes with baby Bucky (Julia Monroe) – as an ad hoc Defenders team to deal with weird events in Phoenix, Arizona. It turns out to be an alien invasion by a hive-mind viral swarm, the Zusommin, who are infecting homeless people as host bodies, and then rapidly ageing them as the bodies burn out. The Defenders defeat the Zusommin henchmen Tokamak, Decimator, Dreadlox, Macabre and Stasis and thwart the invasion. Everyone agrees that homelessness is very sad, and generally a bad thing.

It’s a competent but generic team-up book with Wolverine lending it some much needed star power. Thomas writes him reasonably well, but has some dated-even-in-1993 ideas about Wolverine’s willingness to fight women. With hindsight, the most interesting thing is Dreadlox, who can make people see the thing they most dread, making Wolverine believe that he’s killed the X-Men in a berserker rage. This is essentially the idea that Mark Millar uses as a springboard for “Old Man Logan” years down the line.

FANTASTIC FOUR vol 1 #374
“Suddenly … the Secret Defenders!”
by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan, Danny Bulanadi & Gina Going
March 1993

Oh dear, this.

Dr Strange recruits Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk and Ghost Rider (the new Fantastic Four, in other words) as a Secret Defenders team to bring in the Human Torch, who’s on the run after setting fire to Empire State University. Don’t ask me why Strange is wasting his time with this, or what the point is in having the Secret Defenders guest star when they don’t have a regular line-up. The rest of the FF show up to defend their teammate, as do supporting characters Ms Marvel and Lyja. During the fight, Wolverine instinctively claws the Thing’s face, and is immediately horrified by what he’s done. This kicks off a FF storyline in which the Thing wears a helmet to cover his disfigured face, but Wolverine will play no part in it at all (until he eventually shows up to apologise and tie up the loose end). A very strange use of a guest star and not a very good issue.

WOLVERINE: INNER FURY
One-shot
by Dan Chichester & Bill Sienkiewicz
November 1992

When HYDRA assassins inject Wolverine with nanotech, he teams up with Big, an eccentric dwarf who claims to be a bounty hunter working for other victims of the HYDRA operatives. Big claims that the nanotech was the work of HYDRA scientist the Whale. Wolverine has his doubts, but his healing factor is starting to expel his adamantium, which is coming out of his body in spikes, so he plays along. It turns out that Whale is a pressganged scientist, and Big is a rival HYDRA agent trying to take the Whale’s inventions for himself. Wolverine somehow reboots his healing factor by clawing himself through the brain, and that… restores his adamantium skeleton to normal… somehow.

This is about as arthouse as Marvel got in the early 90s, and it’s certainly very different from what people think of when they imagine Marvel comics from the period. Still, almost all the interest lies in the art. The underlying story is pretty mundane and a bit of a mess – plus, it has no explanation for how Wolverine’s adamantium gets back to normal, and it completely ignores the question of whether he might prefer to be rid of the stuff. If you’re feeling generous, maybe it explains why Wolverine’s adamantium is easier to remove in “Fatal Attractions”. The official timelines place this miles out of publication order, probably to accommodate the Christmas setting.

TERROR, INC. #9-10
“Aggressive Portfolio” / “Defensive Portfolio”
by D.G. Chichester, Richard Pace, Jason Temujin & various
March & April 1993

Wolverine is framed for the murder of Kristin Braniff. In order to clear him, Terror provokes him into a fight so as to get examples of how he attacks when enraged. Well, I’ve seen worse excuses for a fight. They team up to fight the HYDRA officer responsible, who’s trying to avenge himself on Wolverine for the defeat of the nanotech project in Inner Fury. Wolverine accepts that Terror has repaid the favour he owed.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #123-130
“Passion Play”
by Scott Lobdell, Dennis Jansen, Jon Holdredge & Kelly Corvese
March to June 1993

After encountering repentant scientist Dr Reiger Ilves, Wolverine joins the hunt for his guinea pig Lynx – a girl who was born without an immune system, but whose body now contains a new “Panacea Drug” that can cure anyone. This drug is supposedly so good that it will lead to eternal life, and so it must be suppressed at all costs in order to avoid global overpopulation. Also looking for Lynx are Courier (Hans Middlestadt, not the Gambit character), the Black Widow, and Imus Champion‘s agents Le Peregrine and the Fleshtones. Lynx is rescued and, bizarrely, SHIELD stabilise her personality by giving her a serum that makes her believe that she’s Wolverine’s girlfriend “Nancy Rushman”. (This refers back to Marvel Team-Up vol 1 #82-85, of all things, where the same persona was given to Black Widow.) The heroes defeat the villains responsible for Lynx’s creation – the They (the Easterner, the Occidental and Meridian) – who had planned to blackmail the world using their “Malaigent” virus, the opposite of the Panacea.

After all that, Wolverine gives Lynx a Fang costume and takes her to the wilderness, where she can live ferally as she seems to wish. However, she still believes that Wolverine is her destined mate who will one day return to her. That plot thread remains dangling, but you can see why nobody has ever felt inspired to revisit this convoluted story.

ALPHA FLIGHT vol 1 #121
“The Return of the Brass Bishop!”
by Simon Furman, Craig Brasfield, Frank Turner & Bob Sharen
June 1993

The X-Men help Alpha Flight investigate the disappearance of Silver and Auric’s bodies. Wolverine points them in the direction of a scientist who claims to have seen them, only to have been kidnapped soon after by the Chess Set. And then the plot moves on.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #131
“These Foolish Things”
by James Felder, Dennis Jensen & Pat Garrahy
June 1993

Madripoor! Remember Madripoor?

Wolverine retrieves a small statue that Sapphire Styx stole from Tyger Tiger. It turns out to be a gift from Tyger to Wolverine, in commemoration of Mariko’s death. This doesn’t stop Tyger from finding the time to proposition him twice in eight pages.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS vol 1 #132-136
“Brothers in Arms”
by Dan Slott, Steve Lightle & Marianne Lightle
July to September 1993

Another entirely forgettable Marvel Comics Presents serial. While vacationing on a tropical island, Wolverine rescues islander Kayla from the extremely 1993 villains the Coven – Fetish, Blood Shadow, Vex and Satyr. Karla and Wolverine sleep together, which transfers her “mark” to him, meaning that the Coven will now have to kill him in order to magically bring a new dark age to the world. The Coven also hire Cyber as part of their pursuit. But Wolverine wins, Cyber gets dropped off a cliff, and it turns out that the Coven were stuffed all along anyway because a vital mystical jewel had already been replaced with a fake.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #72-74
“Sleeping Giant” / “The Formicary Mound!” / “Jubilee’s Revenge”
#72 by Larry Hama, Dwayne Turner, Joe Rubinstein & Kevin Somers
#73 by Larry Hama, Dwayne Turned, Joe Rubinstein & Paul Becton
#74 by Larry Hama, Jim Fern, Art Nichols & Marie Javins
August to October 1993

Wolverine and Jubilee drop by to check the X-Men’s former Australian base. Gateway is missing, but he’s left a time vortex which shows Jubilee how her parents were killed. They turn out to have been murdered by mobsters Molokai and Reno, who had got the wrong Lee family. (We met Molokai and Reno before in issues #38-40, and the fact that they turn out to be behind Jubilee’s origin story is, er, a bit of a coincidence even by genre standards. The mix-up is played as blithering incompetence, rather than racism.)

Wolverine and Jubilee accidentally revive one of the alternate future Sentinels which fought the Reavers in Uncanny X-Men #281; worse yet, it’s been exposed to the same chemicals that gave Elsie-Dee her genius-level intelligence, and it too has become an AI genius. It uses the time vortex to travel to the old Ant Hill Sentinel base, planning to revive the Sentinels there. It briefly toys with wiping out humanity with a solar flare, but becomes confused when one of its revived Sentinels also starts showing signs of empathy and self-sacrifice, and decides to devote itself to self-contemplation.

Logan and Jubilee then drop by to Los Angeles to confront Reno and Molokai; Jubilee has the chance to kill them both, but (with Wolverine’s encouragement) lets them go. That’s the more interesting bit of this story: Jubilee initially wants to kill them in revenge, and Wolverine warns her against succumbing to those impulses and ending up like him. It’s the common angle where Wolverine is tormented by the awful things he’s done, and wants to justify it as something that he does in order to spare other people the pain. The Sentinel storyline is less well developed, and the art in issue #74 has some really ill-advised exaggeration that’s completely at odds with the rest of the arc.

PUNISHER WAR ZONE vol 1 #19
“The Jericho Syndrome, part 3”
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Hugh Haynes, Rodney Ramos & Kevin Tinsley
September 1993

An unnamed friend asks Logan to look into events at an oil platform in the Northwest Territories. He shows up in time to help the Punisher stop some villains from destroying the platform and creating an environmental catastrophe. (They work for a guy called the Architect, but Logan never finds out about him.) Wolverine adds nothing to the plot – early nineties guest appearances don’t get much more gratuitous than this.

WOLVERINE: KILLING
One-shot
by John Ney Reiber, Kent Williams & Sherilyn van Valkenburgh
September 1993

Wolverine is drawn to the Enclave, a hidden community in the mountains of Tibet, by nightmares induced by the Enclave’s Tribune. Matriarch Nirissa hopes to bring Wolverine’s healing factor into the Enclave’s small gene pool by mating him with her daughter Serra, who has no interest in anything of the sort. But when he saves her from exposure in the course of an escape attempt, and fights past the snake-like guard Slith to get back into the Enclave, she falls in love with him. But instead of getting dutifully pregnant, Serra decides that she wants to leave for the outside world. Wolverine gets Nirissa to back off, and kills Tribune in battle, then leaves without waiting to find out whether Serra’s feelings for him were genuine.

The Official Handbook claims that the residents of the Enclave are a splinter group of Inhumans and that Slith is some sort of corruption of the gene pool that they’re trying to fix using Wolverine. None of that is really on the page, and it’s quite telling that they felt the plot needed plugged to that extent. Still, it’s actually quite readable, and Kent Williams’ art is always interesting.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #137-142
“Rumble in the Jungle”
by Erik Larsen, Chris Marrinan, Mike Machlan & Joe Andreani
September to November 1993

In a jungle, Wolverine rescues a girl from some inauthentic-looking tribesmen who talk like insects. Then Wolverine faces a giant gladiator ape, followed by another gladiator who turns out to be a mind-controlled Doc Samson. Samson breaks free and teams up with Wolverine to stop alien insects from invading Earth.

That seems to resolve the plot, but for some reason there’s a final chapter where Wolverine has to blow up an ape. Heaven only knows what Larsen was aiming for in this story, but the end result reads like random nonsense.

SABRETOOTH vol 1 #2-3
4-issue miniseries
by Larry Hama, Mark Texeira, Marie Javins & Steve Buccellato
September & October 1993

Ah, the early nineties, when serial killers start to get their own minis. This is very similar to the Hama/Texeira issues of Wolverine in terms of the absurd machismo, but with a lead character who leans even more heavily into it. The plot involves Sabretooth trying to kill Mystique, partly to claim a price on her head, and partly because he’s being blackmailed by people who have put a bomb into him.

Wolverine shows up in issue #3 (and briefly in issue #2), to have a fight with Sabretooth and to offer some independent confirmation of Mystique’s account of a Team X-era mission where she seduced Sabretooth and wound up conceiving Graydon Creed.

WOLVERINE: GLOBAL JEOPARDY #1
One-shot
by Peter David, Richard Howell & Bill Anderson
December 1993

Wolverine teams up with Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil, Namor the Sub-Mariner and Devil Dinosaur to deal with the Conservator, an aggrieved eco-scientist who is capturing animals for an Ark-type wildlife reserve he plans to build on a private island. Shanna convinces him to make it a public wildlife preserve instead.

This was a one-shot produced in association with the World Wildlife Fund, and it’s a competent casual-reader story (in a rather dated style) given the didactic remit. Despite the title, it’s not a Wolverine story, and he has no greater prominence than any of the other characters appearing.

WOLVERINE / NICK FURY: SCORPIO RISING
One-shot
by Howard Chaykin, Shawn McManus & Gloria Vasquez
October 1994

In the wake of the fall of communism, HYDRA stage a revolution in Carpasia and instal its exiled monarch as ruler. Nick Fury’s son Scorpio, who was raised Carpasian, goes to intervene, and winds up becoming President himself.

Again, despite the title, this is not a Wolverine story – it’s a Nick Fury story in which Wolverine has no very good reason even to show up. He does narrate the story, perhaps in order to give him something to do. (The story explicitly precedes “Fatal Attractions”, which is why it’s placed here.)

X-MEN vol 2 #24
“Between Hope and Sorrow”
by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, various inkers & Paul Becton
September 1993

This is a prologue to “Fatal Attractions”; it claims to take place only a week or so after X-Men #20-23, but a gap has to be forced into 1993 X-Men somewhere, and the official timelines place it here. Logan appears in two scenes: he tells Psylocke and Kwannon that they just have to accept the confusion about their identity and get on with their lives, and he comforts Jubilee over the recent death of Illyana Rasputin from the Legacy Virus.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #304
“…For What I Have Done”
by Scott Lobdell, John Romita, Dan Green and various
September 1993

We’re now properly into “Fatal Attractions”, the 1993 crossover – though quite a loose one by the standards of X-Men events. In this issue, Magneto gatecrashes Illyana’s memorial service and Colossus defects to join the Acolytes, before the X-Men and the other mourners drive Magneto and his followers away. This is Wolverine’s first encounter with Exodus (Paris Bennet).

INFINITY CRUSADE #1-6
Six-issue miniseries
by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, Al Milgrom & Ian Laughlin
June to November 1993

Unusually, “Fatal Attractions” allows quite nicely for other stories to take place during it. Infinity Crusade is probably placed here to account for an X-Men roster that features Wolverine with adamantium, but no Colossus.

Adam Warlock’s “good” side, the Goddess, recruits assorted religious-minded heroes to her utopian cause; the atheist Wolverine can’t even see her. In fact, the Goddess plans to eradicate sin by destroying the universe; Adam Warlock engineers her defeat with Wolverine’s role being completely peripheral. He gets a bit in the final issue to reassure Storm that the religious heroes who were susceptible to the Goddess’s influence aren’t just a bunch of suckers, but… well, there’s no real getting away from the fact that the plot is literally about the religious characters being more easily manipulated, at least in that particular way.

With the usual gathering of heroes, Wolverine ticks another couple of names off his list: Maxam from the Infinity Watch, and Sleepwalker. He also appears in several tie-in issues: Warlock & The Infinity Watch #18-20, Web of Spider-Man vol 1 #104-106, Darkhawk #30 and Alpha Flight vol 1 #127. Most of these are just alternate versions of Infinity Crusade scenes, but the Alpha Flight issue includes a scene in which a distrustful Wolverine is all too easily tricked into thinking that Wildheart (the former Wild Child) has killed Storm; it’s designed as a scene where Wolverine is forced to apologise to Wildheart for misreading him, and play into Wildheart’s rehabilitation.

GAMBIT vol 1 #1
4-issue miniseries
by Howard Mackie, Lee Weeks, Klaus Janson & Steve Buccellato
October 1993

Wolverine and Storm supervise a Danger Room training session between Gambit and Rogue. Oddly, it’s Storm who deliberately puts them together to work out their emotions, and Wolverine who disapproves of the mind games, which feels like a misreading of the characters. At any rate, Gambit’s adopted brother Henri LeBeau shows up to call Gambit away for the main story, and Wolverine plays no further part.

X-MEN vol 2 #25
“Dreams Fade”
by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Matt Ryan & Joe Rosas
October 1993

Back to “Fatal Attractions.” When the UN invoke the “Magneto Protocols”, Magneto retaliates with an EMP that knocks out most technology on Earth. Professor X leads an X-Men team to Magneto’s space station, where they get rid of the Acolytes before fighting Magneto. Magneto retaliates by tearing out all the adamantium from Wolverine’s body, which leads into the next year or so of stories in his solo title – but otherwise, his role in this particular issue isn’t that central.

Professor X telepathically shuts down Magneto’s mind (an alternate version of this scene can be found in the X-Men Gold one-shot), and summons a plane to take the X-Men home.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #75
“Nightmares Persist”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert and various others
November 1993

We’re still in “Fatal Attractions”, and Adam Kubert’s first issue as penciller. You’ll note, also, that Wolverine has now lost its special exemption from participating in X-Men crossovers.

The previous chapter presented getting home as a fairly routine event, but this story is downright hysterical with panic about the desperate effort to get him home before he dies. Much of the story consists of the X-Men trying to stabilise him while they fly back, and Wolverine talking as if he’s going to die. He has a near death experience, complete with bright light and “the voices of everyone I ever loved, singing the end to loneliness and sorrow… the brilliant, shining chord of redemption!” He’s about to willingly surrender himself to death, but Jean gets into trouble while holding the plane together, and he pulls himself off his sick bed to help her. She realises that he came back for her, but he tells her that she reached out to him. For a one-scene story with no antagonists, it’s pretty effective, though wonderfully over the top.

That’s followed by a string of epilogues. Two weeks later, Wolverine insists in going into the Danger Room despite everyone warning him against it. He struggles badly against two battle droids, furiously insists (in the face of all evidence to the contrary) that he’s still the best he is at what he does, and then extends his bone claws for the first time – in publication terms, anyway. This is the theme for the next year or so, somewhat repeating the final year of Claremont’s run when he took forever to recover from crucifixion, but with the distinct vibe that maybe he’s now just a wiley veteran getting by on experience until time catches up with him.

A little later still, Logan has a talk with Jubilee and confirms that he didn’t know he had bone claws. With hindsight, this sits oddly with the fact that he was supposed to have got most of his memories back from Epsilon Red, but perhaps this is meant to be something he screened out for his own sanity. Jubilee gets to tell us about how her showdown with Reno and Molokai has given her a greater understanding of her powers, and Wolverine tells her how Xavier helped him to find himself, and will do the same for her. This is Jubilee being written out of the book, as Wolverine goes off on his sabbatical, and it’s a nicely done scene. Logan also abandons smoking here, after finding that his healing factor is no longer strong enough to stave off the coughing.

Finally, Logan leaves a note for Jubilee before departing the Mansion at night – without his powers, he’s a liability to the team, and he’s going to go his own way. He leaves his cowboy hat behind for her, and she gets the note just in time to wave goodbye. Very, very sentimental stuff, but it works.

The bone claws wouldn’t have come as a complete surprise to readers at the time, even going solely by what was on the page. Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” arc had come out in 1991 and showed that the claws came as a surprise to at least most of the scientists involved. The strong implication was that they were simply another part of the skeleton.

In X-Men vol 2 #30, we see that Logan also left farewell notes for Scott and Jean (apologising for not attending their wedding), and Xavier (it just says “Lighten up”). Of course, he won’t be able to resist showing up for the wedding in some form…

WOLVERINE vol 2 #76
“Northern Dreams”
by Larry Hama, Tomm Coker, Al Milgrom & Kevin Somers
December 1993

Logan is on his way to Ottawa when he crashes his bike while dodging a fox. A bunch of bikers show up, and a dazed Logan sees them as a threat, giving the “still the best at what I do”  speech before extending his bone claws and passing out. Fortunately, the bikers are nice, and they take him to Heather Hudson (having found her address in his wallet and, apparently, decided that this was a better bet than taking him to a hospital). Logan has delirious dreams about the Weapon X project and Magneto, the gist being that he hates the adamantium but fears that it made him what he was.

When he finally wakes up, he tells Heather that he’s considering retirement. Then they find a research paper by Monica Hines which suggests that, without his adamantium, his immune system will stop working. This is the precise opposite of what’s been shown in the past – that without his healing factor, his adamantium would be poisonous to him. But this threat is going to half-heartedly drive the plot, so we’re going to have to run with it. And to round out the issue, Lady Deathstrike shows up for a fight.

Next time, in 1994, it’s Wolverine without his adamantium, away from the X-Men, and with the early-90s glut behind him too. It’s… different.

Bring on the comments

  1. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    “the Coven – Fetish, Blood Shadow, Vex and Satyr”

    Oh good god!

    As an aside, has Erik Larsen ever written anything… good?

  2. Drew says:

    As a teenager, FF #374/X-Men #25 was my first realization that some stories just can’t be reconciled continuity-wise, and that was all there was to it.

    Because in X-Men 25, after Magneto launches his global EMP, there’s a reaction scene of an unscarred Ben Grimm talking to Reed about it. But in the same story, Wolverine loses his adamantium, which he has in FF 374 when he scars Ben Grimm, who bears those scars for a few years. So either both stories have to take place before the other one; or New York temporarily regained power after the EMP and Logan left the X-Men right after Magneto’s attack to go do Spider-Man and Strange a solid by hunting down Johnny Storm, scarred Ben Grimm, THEN returned to the X-Men in time to go to Avalon and lose his adamantium.

    TL;DR: X-Men #25 has to take place before FF #374, and FF #374 has to take place before X-Men #25.

  3. Daibhid C says:

    I’m pretty sure Le Peregrine and the Fleshtones once appeared at the Reading Festival back in the sixties.

    I can understand Wolverine getting the title spot in the WWF book, but deciding the others are so Z-list you might as well start the guest-star list with Zabu is just cruel.

  4. Thom H. says:

    This whole year seems like a chaotic mess to me. But it’s worth it for the naked crouching butt shot on MCP #137 with Iron Fist looking on in horror. That’s funny.

  5. Luis Dantas says:

    Erik Larsen is IMO easily the best writer among the Image founders. And one of the weakest pencilers.

    Of course, this is a small group, with the runners up being Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino.

    Of those, McFarlane and Valentino are probably the only ones that truly count as writers.

  6. Chris says:

    I am disgusted that Wolverihe shows up in a WWF comic and doesn’t battle the Undertaker

  7. Chris V says:

    The interesting aspect to that “Inner Fury” one-shot is that it used one of Claremont’s unused plot points left behind after he left Marvel.
    The idea about Wolverine’s healing factor rejecting the adamantium.
    I haven’t read that comic and have never heard anyone mention the plot.
    I’m surprised more people online haven’t pointed out that this was another example of X-writers post-Claremont using his leftover story beats.

    It seems as if Claremont left behind a big notebook filled with ideas for where he was going with X-Men and Marvel handed pages out to writers working on the X-titles.

  8. Eric G says:

    I don’t have anything particularly useful to add to the discussion, but I wanted to say just how much I’m enjoying this series. Thank you for doing it.

    I need to track down a copy of Inner Fury, I think… Sienkiewicz doing arthouse Wolverine sounds amazing.

  9. […] Next time, 1993 – and Magneto finally figures out what magnets can do to metal skeletons. […]

  10. The Other Michael says:

    This ongoing summary of Wolverine’s complete history is really the perfect capsule summary of comics as a whole for the time.

    I mean not every story can be a classic or a winner, but there are a lot of forgettable ones and some downright stinkers here. No wonder Wolverine’s memory is so sketchy: would you want to bother remembering some of these adventures?

    Battletide, for instance, just proves that the writing team of DnA had just as many misfires as they did hits.

  11. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> An epilogue establishes that Elena, not Epsilon, is the actual telepath here – Sabretooth killed her mother, and she wants revenge on him. According to issue #69, all of Wolverine’s memory implants are also removed in this story. This isn’t exactly honoured by future writers.

    Also not honoured by future writers: the idea that Epsilon Red isn’t a telepath. He showed up in the Krakoa-style resurrection of Black Widow after Secret Empire as the telepath (unwillingly) using the Cerebro-alike.

  12. MasterMahan says:

    Ah, X-Cutioner’s Song. I remember being a kid building my collection by sorting through through bargain bins and trying to figure out how the X-Cutioner fit into this crossover.

  13. Nu-D says:

    Brings me right back to 1993; I have the strong desire to quit reading comics for a decade.

  14. Ben says:

    What a slog. Even reading the recaps is a bit much. I didn’t realize 90s Marvel UK used so many guest spots, I was unable to read them at the time and now find no desire to do so.

  15. Chris V says:

    No, they were quite bad comics.
    A few of the early series were worth reading.

    The original Knights of Pendragon series by Dan Abnett is an exceptional comic.
    Much more of a Vertigo Comic rather than the typical comics Marvel was publishing at the time.

    The Death’s Head books weren’t bad either.

    That’s about all you are missing.

  16. Col_Fury says:

    oh, Wolverine #66-69…

    I love the bit where he’s hallucinating people. Archie Bunker, Elvis, JFK, Jackie O., Fidel Castro, Neal Armstrong (or was it Buzz Aldrin?), etc. And then eating “stringy” buzzards to fuel his healing factor. Did he actually meet/know these people, like when he was hallucinating Nick Fury and Carol Danvers back in Uncanny? That’s how I read it then, and how can I remember stuff like this from almost 30 years ago but not what I had for lunch yesterday?

    The Tex was the best, one of my favorite comic artists. I wonder what he’s up to these days?

    re: X-Cutioner’s Song
    I remember being amazed that Havok could make it through Stryfe’s shield or whatever, and then realizing “oh yeah! He’s a Summers!” A nice moment for Havok, at least for me.

  17. SanityOrMadness says:

    Col_Fury> The Tex was the best, one of my favorite comic artists. I wonder what he’s up to these days?

    I really hated Texeira’s pencil’n’ink work on Wolverine, it was messy in all the wrong ways. Some of his PAINTED work which I saw later (e.g., Black Panther), OTOH, is gorgeous.

  18. Si says:

    So many regrettable decisions. Claws made of sharp bones. Killing Colossus’ family one by one. Thing’s scarred face. Ugly holographic covers that are so much uglier without the holograohic bits.

    I have a soft spot for the Dark Riders though. Absolutely gorgeous visuals, absolutely nothing else of substance about them. Not even their names. You have a guy with the bog standard Wolverine suite of powers, and he’s named after an ultralight aircraft. Who cares, “Foxbat” sounds cool and that’s all that matters. And the guy who spat little versions of himself out of his nasty crusty back. What the hell is that about? Who cares, they make good mooks. The Dark Riders were stupid fun.

  19. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Foxbat is I assume named after the actual animal, not that he has wings or anything so it’s still nonsense.

    I always wanted the Tusk action figure as a kid, because he looked cool and I thought shooting little clones out of your back like a Gremlin was awesome (still do.)

    I guess they all got retconned into being Inhumans or something?

    PS- bone claws are great.

  20. Chris V says:

    The animal isn’t really called a “fox bat” though. It’s usually called a flying fox.

    Plus, they eat fruit, so it’s not really the most intimidating animal to name a villain, even if they are very large bats.
    They’re pretty cute, especially compared to bat standards.
    I don’t have anything against any bats, mind.

  21. Si says:

    Yeah Tusk is great. He was a particularly challenging bad guy on some computer game I liked, where he was basically Donkey Kong and the little guys were the barrels. So many questions though.

    Actually the whole team would be ripe for a deep exploration by the right author. You could do anything you like with them. They have no past, no personality, hardly even defined powers. Gauntlet never did anything but shoot people with a gun. Maybe his power is he’s ugly and green, and nothing else. A crowd scene extra who made good.

  22. Jason says:

    “I guess they all got retconned into being Inhumans or something?”

    I think they were Inhumans from the start, no?

  23. Chris V says:

    True, Claremont’s story which introduced the Dark Riders featured Apocalypse recruiting and genetically experimenting on Inhumans.

  24. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    So I went and locked at the Dark Riders original story arc in X-Factor.

    The absolutely do say offhandedly that the Riders are Inhumans!

    I did not know that. Though I guess the latter additions are mutants.

    Also, Wilce Portacio’s art makes the 05 look pretty awesome, Jean especially looks killer.

    Also Apocalypse mentions Cyclops being the “father-spawn” of the Twelve who will change mutant kind forever, which is pretty funny considering the terrible way that story plays out in the end.

  25. Josie says:

    I always have it in my head that X-cutioner’s Song came out in 1991, because it couldn’t have possibly been the same year as Fatal Attractions. Wow, there was no crossover in 1991 and the bulk of 1992? (I really don’t consider the Muir Island Saga a crossover, since it was just four issues and was a singular deck-clearing editorial mandate).

  26. “Operation: Galactic Storm” (ugh) was 1992. The X-books had almost nothing to do with it (an epilogue in Unlimited two years later) but maybe Marvel was so busy with that there was nothing left in the tank for an X-over in the same year.

  27. Mark Coale says:

    There was a DC character named Flying Fox that showed up in the late 80s. He was what we would now call a First Nation guy meant to be a Golden Age continuity replacement for Batman post Crisis.

  28. Chris V says:

    Oh, that’s right. He was from the Young All Stars series, written by Roy Thomas.
    He was revealed to be the descendant of Arak, from the Roy Thomas Arak, Son of Thunder series; which is one of my very favourite forgotten gem comics.

  29. Will Cooling says:

    I think reading all these Marvel UK comics has placed things in perspective for Paul, because that has to be the most mellow he’s been when describing removing the adamantium skeleton 🙂

    Really enjoying this recaps. I really think it would be worth collecting them in an e-book when you’re done.

  30. Nu-D says:

    I think that from the perspective of the X-books, the launch of X-Men v. 2 and X-Force in 1991 took the place of the annual crossover. The X-Tinction Agenda actually tailed into early 1991, and the Muir Island Saga lead into the capstone re-shuffle of the whole line.

    After all, since X-Men #1 became the best selling comic book of the modern era, they didn’t really need to add on a crossover, did they?

  31. Dave says:

    It seems like Marvel of today (and all the years inbetween) doesn’t consider Muir Island Saga a crossover either. I only got to actually have the issues in print from buying the Legion/Shadow King collection that came out to cash in on Legion’s TV show.

  32. Zoomy says:

    I just noticed a flashback in Alpha Flight #47 that should really be in the Department H chapter, unless I’ve missed it…

    Really loving this epic summary of Logan’s life!

  33. […] The Direct Market crash looms. However, for Wolverine, it is business […]

  34. Chris says:

    Wolverine would have been more interesting without bone claws

  35. Thom H. says:

    Or bones at all. He and the Kree Supreme Intelligence could become friends.

  36. Paul says:

    @Zoomy: I think you’re right, and I’ll get that added.

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