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Dec 5

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1995

Posted on Sunday, December 5, 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 | 1993 | 1994

When we left off, Wolverine was making his way back to New York after a year of touring the world and reflecting on his mortality – only for the whole storyline about his healing factor failing after his adamantium was removed to be summarily dumped. We’re in the mid-nineties now…

WOLVERINE vol 2 #89
“The Mask of Ogun”
by Larry Hama, Fabio Laguna, Joe Rubinstein & Marie Javins
January 1995

When the Ogun demon mask – supposedly destroyed in Kitty Pryde & Wolverine – shows up as an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, with Ogun’s spirit still hanging around, Wolverine and Ghost Rider investigate. Wolverine still has conflicted feelings about his old mentor, and is reluctant to simply kill him. But Ogun says the two of them are stuck in a loop where he, the “scientific warrior”, will be killed again and again by Wolverine, “the untamed beast.” Wolverine refuses to succumb to his bestial side, and claims to have split the difference between the sides of his personality. He destroys the mask, briefly exposing a second Wolverine underneath, who instantly vanishes into smoke and dust.

Apparently Ogun was trying to attack Wolverine by turning a part of himself against him, but it didn’t work because of the mental balance techniques that Wolverine learned long ago from Ogun himself. Or something. It’s all rather cryptic – it’s not really clear what Ogun is trying to achieve here, if indeed he has any goal in mind other than playing his role in a pre-ordained loop. Hama does come back to Ogun later, so the main aim may simply have been to get him back into play.

Oh, and Wolverine mentions in this story that he’s given up smoking.

X-MEN vol 2 #40
“LegionQuest: The Killing Time”
by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert & Matt Ryan
January 1995

With the X-Men off dealing with Legion, Wolverine shows up at the Mansion to guard Sabretooth. It’s a cameo that serves as a trailer for…

WOLVERINE vol 2 #90
“The Dying Game”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Mark Farmer, Dan Green & Marie Javins
February 1995

While the X-Men are gearing up for 1995’s megacrossover, Hama and Kubert give us a psychodrama with Wolverine and Sabretooth. Wolverine wants to talk, but Sabretooth tries to provoke Wolverine into releasing him, so that they can fight for the death. Sabretooth has distinctly masochistic tendencies at this point, and apparently wants Wolverine to kill or badly hurt him so that he can recapture the “glow” he used to get from his psychic sidekick Birdy. Wolverine won’t let him out of the cell, so it’s a psychological standoff.

In the meantime, Wolverine and Sabretooth both watch news coverage of the arrest of serial killer Linus Dorfman, who has been brutally beaten by the police. The police claim that they were provoked when Dorfman tore out an officer’s throat during his arrest; an obnoxious TV psychiatrist argues that Dorfmann’s masochism has left him conditioned to pain. The story doesn’t labour the point, but Dorfman is the same guy who was stalking the Central Park Zoo back in issue #44. His encounter with Wolverine in that issue seems to have turned him into a wolverine-obsessed murderer, which suggests it was satisfying at the time, but ultimately counterproductive.

An increasingly paranoid Wolverine starts sleeping in different rooms just in case Sabretooth escapes. Finally he gives in and lets him out. At first Wolverine wavers about whether Sabretooth is a victim of his abusive parents, or a monster whose parents had the right idea all along. But when Sabretooth threatens Kitty and Jubilee (playing directly into the idea that there’s something a bit unhealthy about those relationships), Wolveirne snaps, and claws Sabretooth through the brain, much to his delight. Moments later, the world is turned to crystal as the “Age of Apocalypse” crossover begins, thanks to events over in X-Men.

This is a much more interesting issue than I remembered. Wolverine is written as having rather unfortunate views on police brutality, but the story as a whole seems to find that attitude understandable without actually agreeing with it. Hama seems to view the X-Men’s treatment of Sabretooth, which has indeed been pretty abusive in the run-up to this story, in the same light. Ultimately, it’s Sabretooth who wins here by provoking Wolverine; in the light of where Hama is going next, it’s apparently meant to be part of Wolverine’s mental decline.

Oh, and there’s a single panel of Wolverine watching the news in the Mansion in Ghost Rider vol 3 #61 (May 1995), which works best if you put it in this issue.

The next four months are “Age of Apocalypse”, in which Wolverine is replaced by Weapon X – but that book features an alternate reality Wolverine, so it’s outside the scope of this project. Nor do the X-Men make any guest appearances during that time (well, aside from that Ghost Rider cameo). The regular X-books resume in July 1995; as the characters are concerned, the crystal thing passes immediately, and two weeks have passed by the time we rejoin the action. By this point, Wolverine is refusing to remain in the Mansion with the puppy-like, brain damaged Sabretooth, and is sleeping rough in the grounds. Why? Well… yes, good question.

by various creators
July 1995

This was a one-shot to kickstart the post-AoA storylines, with creators contributing scenes for their own books. Wolverine has been living outside for over a week, and insists that he’s staying there “so long as you keep that psycho-killer alive and in the house.” Jean fails to talk sense into him, and is generally disturbed by his behaviour. Later, the X-Men arrive too late to save young mutant Dennis Hogan from a mob. Professor X rounds off the issue by arguing that if this is the alternative, then they would be insane not to fight for a better world, and Wolverine agrees.

This is the issue where the Legacy Virus becomes public knowledge, though Wolverine doesn’t feature in those bits. X-Force also move into the Mansion here.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #322
“Dark Walk”
by Scott Lobdell, Tom Grummett, various inkers & Steve Buccellato
July 1995

Wolverine appears in a subplot where he talks to Storm. This time, he gives a completely different explanation for living in the grounds. He says he didn’t choose to do it; that he’s not sure he still has a place with the X-Men after what he did to Sabretooth; and that he can feel his grip on humanity slipping. Storm tells him not to give up himself now. This doesn’t bear much resemblance to what he said in X-Men: Prime.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #91
“Path of Stones, Wood of Thorns”
by Larry Hama, Duncan Rouleau, Joe Rubinstein & Marie Javins
July 1995

Larry Hama’s take, then. In this version, Wolverine isn’t sure whether he meant to kill Sabretooth, but kind of brushes it off, since the guy’s alive, so what does it matter? He feels bad about losing control and letting his wild side take over, but he’s not too bothered about hurting Sabretooth and thinks the other X-Men should cut him some slack. We’ve completed dumped the idea that the loss of his adamantium has damaged Logan’s healing factor, and instead we’re now being told that it makes him more primal and feral – there’s a blatant retcon in which Storm assures us that this has been happening ever since he lost it, which is just not what happened in the stories published in 1994.

In fairness to the other writers, you can see how they’re all taking elements from Hama’s approach, which has quite a bit going on. It seems as if Wolverine’s motivations for living in the grounds are supposed to be obscure to everyone, even himself – and that he keeps sliding back to simple thoughts instead of thinking about it too hard. He’s not irrational, he just doesn’t do introspection very well any more. (By  issue #94, Wolverine will claim that his feral instincts simply make him feel uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, which is yet another different reason for living in the grounds. Depending on how charitable you’re feeling, this is either a mess, or a deliberate exercise in making Wolverine an unreliable explainer of his own behaviour, or a bit of both.)

Storm is worried about Wolverine’s mental decline. Professor X and the Beast see him as still basically rational and pragmatic, just with unusual urges tied to his mutant nature. The Professor’s latest theory is that the adamantium was actually inhibiting Wolverine’s powers, and he’s now turning into the true Wolverine. Wolverine more or less agrees, and claims that he was suffering all sorts of hallucinations until he got his adamantium. This is very much a retcon that didn’t take.

All of that is the B-plot. The main story  involves Logan discovering a local family with an abusive father, and nearly intervening, but being persuaded by his other X-Men to respect the wife’s wishes – she claims that her husband “doesn’t mean it” and “really loves us”. Wolverine specifically warns the X-Men that the husband is likely to kill the wife one day, and argues that by indulging his own erratic behaviour, the X-Men are making exactly the same mistake.

To be fair, this story is meant to be uncomfortable, but it’s still unlikely that in 2021 you’d get the X-Men taking an attitude of “well, it’s a private matter”. (Gerry Duggan would probably have the Stepford Cuckoos blow up the house.) The father returns next issue; the rest of the family will show up again in issue #132, where they’re named as Bob Higgins, Linda Higgins, Jane Higgins and Richie Higgins. That story, by Fabian Nicieza, is pretty unambiguous in saying that the X-Men got it wrong here. Nonetheless, this is another issue that has more nuance than I’d remembered.

“Lair of the N’Garai”
by Larry Hama, J H Williams III, Mark McKenna & Kevin Somers

Wolverine and a visiting Nightcrawler team up to fight the demonic N’Garai, after their cairn shows up in the Mansion grounds again. The focus is on Nightcrawler’s alarm about his friend’s mental state, and his concern that the X-Men are far too willing to just play along (basically the same concern Wolverine himself raised in the previous story, but Wolverine doesn’t repeat it here). Nightcrawler also gets to challenge a lot of the standard tropes: he accuses Wolverine directly of engineering an excuse to stay and fight the N’Garai forever because he just wants to revel in the violence. After Kierrok and co are defeated, Wolverine does in fact decide to fight his way back to Earth, with Kurt’s intervention tipping the balance. Nightcrawler remains very distressed about the whole thing, and Wolverine privately fears that he was on the verge of succumbing to his regression.

This is presumably the point where Wolverine rampages through the N’Garai dimension and brings about the uprising of the Ru’tai, as seen in X-Men vol 2 #75.

WOLVERINE ’95 (backup strip)
“What the Cat Dragged In”
by Chris Golden, Ben Herrera, Vince Russell & Ian Laughlin

Maverick enlists Wolverine to rescue Deadpool from evil scientists. They want to exploit Deadpool’s healing factor to make a cure for the Legacy Virus (which they can then use to hold mutants to ransom). Wolverine takes a bit of persuasion to care about any of this, given his current state. They fight Slayback (Gregory Terraerton), defeat the bad guys, and hand them over to G.W. Bridge of S.H.I.E.L.D.

X-FORCE vol 1 #46
“Behind Closed Doors”
by Jeph Loeb, Adam Pollina, Mark Pennington & Marie javins
September 1995

In a two-page subplot, Wolverine shows up in Boomer’s room at night uninvited to warn her against hanging around with the childlike Sabretooth. She tells him to get lost. This is all part of a storyline where we ultimately learn that Sabretooth is irredeemable and Boomer is a gullible liberal moron, all of which was rather tiresome.

“Notes from the Undergrounds”
by Scott Lobdell, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham & Steve Buccellato
August 1995

Generation X – Jubilee, Synch (Everett Thomas), Skin (Angelo Espinosa), M (Monet St Croix) and Chamber (Jonothon Starsmore) – visit the Institute, along with Leech and Artie Maddicks. Jubilee is upset by Wolverine’s condition and offers to stay. He tells her to stay in school and learn about her powers properly so that nothing like this ever happens to her.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #323-324
“A Nation Rising” / “Deadly Messengers”
#323 by Scott Lobdell, Bryan Hitch, Cam Smith & Steve Buccellato
#324 by Scott Lobdell, Roger Cruz, various inkers & Steve Buccellato
August & September 1995

Wolverine shows up at the start to grumble that Sabretooth is probably faking his brain damage and can’t be trusted. Storm reminds Wolverine  that assaulting Sabretooth will not be tolerated (though Wolverine never actually does attack him). Despite yet another warning from Wolverine that he’s unfit to be in the field, Storm drags him along to New York to watch a Graydon Creed anti-mutant rally, and then meet NYPD officer Charlotte Jones (Archangel’s girlfriend). Charlotte is investigating a mass murder committed by mutant terrorists Gene Nation, and the X-Men fight Gene Nation members Sack and Vessel. Wolverine flies into a berserker rage at relatively little provocation during the fight.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #92
“A Northern Exposure”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert & Dan Green
August 1995

James and Heather Hudson drop by to help investigate Wolverine’s condition. Wolverine has convinced himself that Sabretooth is faking his new innocent persona, but the Hudsons think it could be genuine. This story also draws a very direct parallel between Boomer’s protectiveness towards Sabretooth, and Wolverine’s relationship with Jubilee, with Wolverine written as jealous – “In all this time, did Jubilee ever take my hand like that?” When the Hudsons try to re-enact their first meeting with him in the Danger Room, he goes crazy and races off into the woods. He stops to avert a car crash, but by a ludicrous coincidence, one of the drivers is the wife-beater from the previous issue, who runs him down. Without his adamantium holding him back, Wolverine’s healing factor is now apparently supercharged, and he gets back up at once – it’s from this point on that Wolverine’s healing powers start being written as crazily fast. Once again, Wolverine resists the temptation to kill the guy.

As he leaves, Wolverine vaguely senses two cloaked people watching. They’re Zoe Culloden and her Landau Luckman & Lake colleague Noah DuBois.

Four-issue miniseries
by Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale & Gregory Wright
July to December 1995

Arcade is even madder than usual after accidentally killing his longtime aide Miss Locke. He comes up with a convoluted plan to frame Wolverine for the murder. The plan involves a string of other Jack the Ripper style killings, and psychic manipulation by the debuting Mastermind (Martinique Jason, daughter of the original) that leaves Wolverine unsure whether he did it or not. Wolverine and Gambit team up to figure it all out, and defeat Arcade. It’s an inconsequential story with very nice art. Although it expressly takes place while Wolverine is living in the grounds, that seems more of a nod to continuity than anything else – however, there’s a scene where Logan is given an illusory married life with Mariko and tries to stay in it, in the belief that it’ll help him retain his humanity.

You may have noticed that we’ve got miles into 1995 without hitting a single story from outside the X-books – well, other than that Ghost Rider cameo. This was a period when the various Marvel editorial groups were rarely interacting, but there are a few exceptions this year.

“Funeral Story”
by Peter David, Justiniano, Al Milgrom & Glynis Oliver
October 1995

Nick Fury has died (honest), and Logan shows up for his funeral. Awkwardly, he’s used here to validate Fury’s death with his senses, though of course it turns out to be an LMD in the end. Mourners that Logan hasn’t met before include Fury’s younger sister Dawn Fury, the surviving members of the Howling Commandoes (Gabe Jones, Dino Manelli, Izzy Cohen, Eric Koenig and Reb Ralston, along with Dum Dum Dugan), Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, Leiko Wu (a supporting character from Master of Kung Fu), and Deathcry of the Avengers. It’s also his first meeting with Force Works, though he’s met all the individual members before.

4-issue miniseries
by Ron Marz, Peter David, Dan Jurgens, Claudio Castellini, Joe Rubinstein, Paul Neary & Gregory Wright
February to May 1996

The Marvel and DC Universes briefly merge when the Brothers – the embodiment of the Marvel and DC Universes – detect each other’s presence and pit their respective superheroes against one another in a battle to determine which universe will survive. It’s Contest of Champions as an inter-company crossover, basically. Wolverine’s contribution is to defeat Lobo in a three-page bar fight. The contest ends in a draw, and the brothers briefly merge into the Amalgam Universe, in which Wolverine and Batman become Dark Claw. The real universes are restored by Access (Axel Asher), and Captain America and Batman get the Brothers to settle their differences with a show of mutual respect. Because that’s the ending everyone wanted to see, isn’t it?

During the initial chaos, Wolverine also meets Batman characters Killer Croc and Nightwing. His Marvel Universe teammates, alongside the usual suspects, include the Ben Reilly version of Spider-Man. And he gets at least a glimpse of Lobo’s DCU teammates: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Catwoman, Captain Marvel, Robin, the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and Superboy.

SAVAGE HULK vol 1 #1
by Peter David, Mike McKone, Mark McKenna & Electric Crayon
January 1996

Logan attends the trial of a class action lawsuit against the Hulk – it’s just a framing sequence for some other stories. A horde of villains attack and disrupt the trial.

Logan probably doesn’t register the Hulk supporting characters who are in the public gallery, but chances are that he does notice Betty Banner (who briefly turns into the Harpy) and Howard the Duck (who is a duck). Thanks to the attacking villains, Wolverine ticks quite a few names off his list: Vector of the U-Men, Dragon Man, Chondu of the Headmen, the Executioner (Skurge), Ringmaster and Human Cannonball from the Circus of Crimethe Missing Link, Madman, Hammer and Anvil, Tyrannus, the Awesome Android, Piecemeal, Man-Bull, Zarrko the Tomorrow Man, Annihilus, Fin Fang Foom and Glob (Joseph Timms).

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #325
“Generation of Evil”
by Scott Lobdell, Joe Madureira, Tim Townsend, Paul Ryan & Steve Buccellato
October 1995

For their anniversary issue, the X-Men team up with Callisto and Colossus to defeat Gene Nation – Sack, Vessel, Reverb, Hemingway and Marrow, who’s the only one of the bunch that really matters. The focus is on Storm’s fight with Marrow, which is a callback to the Storm/Callisto fight from the 80s, and ends with Storm killing Marrow in order to stop a bomb that’s wired to her heart. Marrow will be fine, of course. Wolverine’s role is to grumble about what a bloody nuisance the Morlocks are, which seems a bit out of character, and to reassure us at the end that the X-Men are definitely the heroes. His regression is mentioned, but he’s here to be an elder statesman in an anniversary issue, so it’s downplayed in practice.

by Ian Edington, John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, Rick Magyar & Tom Vincent

Unnecessary sequel to Wolverine: Rahne of Terra. Wolverine is brought back to Geshem, and asked to fight the Beast, an embodiment of wild magic that ruled Geshem until the royal family tamed it. The Beast plans to reverse that by killing the current queen (i.e., Rahne’s counterpart), and Wolfsbane is swapped in as a decoy to keep the queen safe. Rahne engineers the real queen’s return, Wolverine defeats the Beast, and everyone goes home.

It’s more a Wolfsbane story, with Wolverine’s segments consisting of a tour of local counterparts of X-Men characters. It’s also pretty lousy. Wolverine’s regression is nowhere to be seen, but the story has to take place around here since it mentions current events in Excalibur.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #93
“Tavern in the Town”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Dan Green, Matt Ryan & Joe Rosas
September 1995

Logan takes Sam Guthrie out drinking, and Sam gets into a drunken fight with the Juggernaut – who leaves after dropping some hints about the upcoming “Onslaught” crossover. Logan’s still living in the grounds, but his regression is dialled back a bit here. We’re in the build to issue #100, where the “regression” direction goes into much-derided overdrive, so it’s more a case of easing off on the throttle because there’s still five months to go. Also, this story only really works if Logan is serving as a conventional, if dodgy, father figure.

There are some nice bits with a drunken Sam in admiring awe of Logan’s machismo, delighted that Logan is (as he sees it) “treat[ing] me like a man for the first time”. Logan justifies himself to Ororo in the same terms – “just trying to treat the boy like a man, instead of coddling him” – only for her to retort that he’s the one being coddled. Presumably, what she means is that Logan’s macho antics are being tolerated and indulged far too much by the X-Men, which is a theme Hama keeps returning to in this period. Hama generally relishes Logan’s absurd hypermasculinity, but his run gains from having characters like Storm undercut it from time to time.

All this, by the way, assumes you’re prepared to overlook the fact that Sam is written as a naive hick. This was standard in X-Men stories of the time, but it was hugely irritating to anyone who’d been following his development into a leader in New Mutants and X-Force. Of course, he’s going from being the senior team member in that series to the most junior on a team filled with A-listers, but he seems to become more junior in absolute terms, not just relative ones, and it was a definite misfire.

by Steve Englehart, Kyle Hotz, Jimmy Palmiotti & Micky Rose
August 1995

While fighting Arcade, Wolverine meets the Night Man (John Domingo), who has been mysteriously transported to Earth from the Ultraverse. They fight, they team up, they escape. It’s a remarkably strong creative team for such a pointless comic. There was a lot of this stuff in 1995, since Marvel had acquired the Ultraverse on buying out Malibu Comics at the end of 1994, and were trying to shore up the imprint with crossovers. Speaking of which…

RUNE vol 2 #2 (backup story)
“Red Shift: Rune”
by Ian Edington, Brian Murray, Philip Moy & Robert Alvord
November 1995

Gemini is randomly transported from the Ultraverse to the grounds of the X-Men Mansion, and meets Logan. This is one of several pointless back-up strips supposedly leading in to “Phoenix Resurrection”. It’s little more than a trailer.

Two-issue miniseries
by Ian Edginton, Dan Abnett, four pencillers, five inkers and Rob Alvord
December 1995

The Entity, which was responsible for creating superpowers in the Ultraverse, brings the Phoenix Force there; Gateway sends the X-Men after it. The Phoenix is very angry about being dragged to another world, and wants to destroy Earth-Ultraverse. Fortunately it’s less powerful in that universe, so it hops between various hosts before winding up in Rex Mundi and the Alternate, two characters who are tied in with the Entity’s back story. Wolverine kills them, the Phoenix is freed, and the X-Men join forces with various Ultraverse heroes to send it back home. You know something’s gone wrong when that many artists are credited for a supposed event, and it’s as appalling as you can probably imagine.

A whole bunch of Ultraverse characters get ticked off Wolverine’s list here. In ascending order of name stupidity – and I promise you these are all real characters – we have Ultraforce (Black Knight, Prime, Ghoul, Prototype and Topaz), the Exiles (Juggernaut, Amber Hunt, Shuriken, ‘Strike, Reaper and Siena Blaze), MantraRose Autumnthe Solution (TechShadowmageOutrage and Drop Kick), Quattro (MeathookGateBook and Death Dance) and Gun Nut.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #94
“The Lurker in the Machine”
by Larry Hama, Chris Alexander, Mike Sellers, Al Milgrom & Joe Rosas
October 1995

Wolverine visits the Massachusetts Academy for a bit of teaching. Although he does insist on hiking the whole way there, he’s back to wearing normal clothes, and generally acts fairly normal. Then again, he appals Sean by teaching Generation X that they should always be willing to kill in a fight. To be fair, he’s not actually encouraging them to kill; his point is that they don’t have the right mindset for combat and should stay out of it.

Wolverine’s animal senses detect a Token hiding in the Academy’s terrarium, and he scares it away. Wolverine seems dispirited by the encounter; Sean explains that Tokens are wraiths which cannot abide their own kind, the implication being that Wolverine himself has become a wraith, presumably as part of his regression. A strange little issue, which doesn’t really fit very comfortably into anything that’s going on around it.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #95
“Manhattan Rhapsody”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Dan Green & Matt Ryan
November 1995

Logan decides to head into the city (“take a walk through the jungle”), while the Hudsons nervously keep an eye on him from a discreet distance. When he gets into a fight with a petty criminal, the Hudsons are appalled, but Logan insists that something was wrong about the guy. And he’s right, because this is the debut of Dirt Nap, a weird creature that consumes people and copies their body. In Venom: Tooth & Claw #3, Dirt Nap’s original host body is identified as Daryll Smith, an agent of the NSA’s Mutant Task Force. Dirt Nap is also working for Genesis (Cable’s evil son), but we’ll come to that next year. At any rate, Logan sees all this as vindication of his instincts, and winds up telling the Hudsons that he’s happy that the wild side he kept under control for so many years is now taking over.

During the issue, Dirt Nap consumes a small boy, and then a rat, which will be his default form for most of the Hama run. The significance of the kid is that he might still be recoverable, so Wolverine can’t just kill Dirt Nap as he wants to. Dirt Nap is a bit of a gimmick in search of a personality, and never really worked to my mind, but Hama was keen on the idea and he’ll show up quite often from here on.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #96
“Campfire Tales”
by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Luciano Lima, Dan Green & Joe Rosas
December 1995

Logan, Ororo, Sam and Caliban go camping. Asked for stories about the X-Men, Logan passes up the chance to tell a war story, and instead recounts how Ororo supported him emotionally when Mariko dumped him. There’s a brief encounter with an injured grizzly, the moral being that the mutants resorted to violence first. It’s hammered home that just because Logan is becoming more feral, that doesn’t mean he’s becoming more violent: killing is bad; wise hunting societies have cleansing rituals for a reason; civilisation makes people forget that. Logan is, apparently, going to “a place at the beginning of consciousness where all the rules of society mean bupkis”, but it’s now presented as a change of perspective rather than a loss of intelligence or self-control.

GHOST RIDER vol 3 #68
“Brood Feud II: A Hunting”
by Howard Mackie, Salvador Larroca, Sergio Melia & John Kalisz
December 1995

Wolverine and Gambit show up in the final issue of a storyline for no particularly good reason, to help Ghost Rider fight the Brood. He meets Ghost Rider supporting cast members Stacy Dolan and James “Ski” Sokolowski.

2-issue miniseries
by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Joe Rosas
October & November 1996

This didn’t come out until the following year, but it expressly precedes Wolverine #100 (and thus #97, so it goes here). The demon Synraith engineers a battle between the X-Men and the ClanDestine (Crimson Crusader, Imp, Wallop, Argent, Hex, Newton Destine, Gracie GambleCuckoo and Adam Destine). Wolverine gets a brief spotlight, recognising Adam from an encounter long ago, and Adam suggests that both are relics of a bygone era. It’s mainly a ClanDestine story with guest stars.

“Horse Latitudes”
by Larry Hama, Val Semeiks, Bob McCloud & Tom Vincent
December 1995

An extra issue of Wolverine, but not a great one. Wolverine shows up in Florida, after another extended hiking trip, and kicks off the issue by fighting off a bunch of feral wild pigs (?!?). Wolverine, Psylocke and Lee Forrester then venture into the Bermuda Triangle to investigate reports of recent weird happenings there (relayed, in particular, by Lee’s loyal crewman Paolo). Bloodscream has raised an entire Spanish Galleon, crewed it with mind-controlled captives, and set himself up as a pirate captain. Bloodscream is also now aiming for redemption, and has formed an alliance with Belasco, believing that they’re going to repel an N’Garai invasion. In fact, Belasco plans to turn the N’Garai into a private army. Bloodscream winds up turning on Belasco and hurling both of them through the portal to the N’Garai dimension. Island M appears in this story and is seemingly destroyed, but magic is involved, so don’t think about it too closely.

“Growing Pains”
by Terry Kavanagh, Bryan Hitch, Bob McLeod & Glynis Oliver
November 1995

The X-Men help to rescue Cannonball’s little sister Joelle Guthrie from the survivalist cult Humanity’s Last Stand. Joelle has fallen in love with the eccentric visionary Preacher, who believes he’s having prophetic visions of an apocalyptic mutant-dominated future, but is actually seeing the parallel timeline of Age of Apocalypse. This is mainly a Cannonball story, but Wolverine gets to meet the whole extended Guthrie family: mother Lucinda, and siblings Joshua, Elizabeth, Melody, Jebediah, Cissie and Lewis.

Next time… Marvel really double down on the whole “no adamantium” thing.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] So… yes. That’s how 1994 ends – with the whole plot about Wolverine’s healing powers failing and his body dying just being dropped out of the blue. It’s a bad omen for years to come. […]

  2. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    “Howard the Duck (who is a duck)” made me laugh.

    Yes, there are places in America where wild feral huge ass pigs are a thing.

    Florida, there’s a reason Man Thing lives there.

    We’re getting so close to when I properly get into comics, I can’t wait to revisit the insanity and get mad defending all the silly horseshit of my childhood.

  3. Adam says:

    This stuff was my childhood and I ain’t gonna defend a lick of it.

    What strikes me as I read this post and remember reading these issues off the newsstand (yes, that’s where I got them) is how I didn’t even like them at the time, though. Nevertheless!

  4. Chris V says:

    Feral hogs are considered an invasive species in areas of the southern United States and are considered to be quite a problem.
    It’s not unexpected that Wolverine eventually came upon this issue.

    It would be funny if the Preacher from Uncanny X-Men ‘95 (not Garth Ennis) were to now be revealed to have been seeing glimpses of Krakoa.
    There will be humans walking around wearing “Humanity’s Last Stand Had It Right!” T-shirts.

    Adam, welcome to the world of collecting Marvel Comics.
    I had rarely enjoyed the X-Men titles since 1989, but I ended up continuing to buy these books.
    This was a period of time where I wasn’t buying most of the X-titles…after quitting all the X-titles for a time, but coming back to reading a few of the X-titles…the next new issue of Wolverine I would buy would be issue #100.
    In 2001, I came across a comic store trying to get rid of most of their inventory of 1990s X-title overorders in 25 cent boxes.
    So, I decided it would be a good time to catch up on what I missed at the time. Which would end up being nothing. Somehow that didn’t surprise me.

  5. Dave says:

    Wolverine #95 was the first issue I bought from Forbidden Planet when I finally had a local Forbidden Planet. And because of then-recent back issues I’ve got nearly everything listed here (not Ultraverse).
    It was a better period than the feral Wolverine which followed.

  6. Keith says:

    Wolverine #89 was one of the last comics I bought for 4 and a half years. I can’t remember how I felt about it at the time but I re-read it last year and hated it. From what I’ve read about upcoming storylines, I think I’m glad I got over Wolverine in 1995.

  7. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    X-Men fans hate the X-Men more than the Friends of Humanity!

  8. Dave says:

    We’ve come a long way from ‘Claw to the brain could be fatal and does cause lasting damage’ to Wolverine and kids playing claw roulette in the green lagoon and getting over it almost instantly.

  9. Si says:

    Poor Cannonball. Echoes of his hick phase could even be found in Age of X, where he was the leader, but way out of his depth.

  10. Taibak says:

    And amazingly Taika Waititi dusted off Topaz and used her in Thor: Ragnarok.

  11. Chris V says:

    This Topaz isn’t the same one as the sorceress introduced in Werewolf by Night #13?

  12. Luis Dantas says:

    The Topaz that co-founded Ultraforce is not the one from Werewolf By Night, Dracula and Doctor Strange. She is _slightly_ similar to the one from Thor: Ragnarok, but still not very much.

  13. Si says:

    Oh Topaz, Rachel House. Love her acting, great fun. She’s in pretty much all of Waititi’s movies.

  14. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    The MCU movies are pretty full of weird pulls from the skipped pages of the old Handbook that the writer/director just slaps any old garbage onto.

    Hell, the MCU is full of main characters they slap any old garbage onto.

  15. Neil Kapit says:

    Nice Before They We’re Famous bit for J.H. Williams in Wolverine ‘95. You’d never know it was him based on how involved and barqoue his pages look these days.

  16. Bob B says:

    Thanks Paul, great job as always

  17. Nu-D says:

    When they “cancelled” all of the X-books for Age of Apocalypse, I decided that would be a good jumping off point, and I dropped comics completely for 10+ years. I came back after stumbling across some trades at the local library, first reading independents like Strangers in Paradise, and then finding Grant Morrison’s run. I bought a bunch, of this stuff from the $.25 bin, perused it once, and then dumped it back in the second hand market at or below what I paid for it.

  18. SanityOrMadness says:

    ISTR something slightly weird happened to Adam Kubert’s art style between two issues of this year (I think it was #92 & 93, but I’d have to look at the actual issues to check). Never liked it quite as much again.

  19. Daniel D says:

    I remember that Hulk issue feeling like a big deal at the time, because X-Men characters really didn’t show up in other books anymore. I’d come in too late for the Wolverine cameo frenzy of just a couple years earlier.

  20. Adam Farrar says:

    It’s odd that Wolverine didn’t meet Charlotte Jones until she was practically out of the X-books already. But I do find it charming how many fellow Marvel characters he meets in crossovers with other publishers like Ben Reilly and that Exiles group of mostly unused X-villains.

    “It’s mainly a ClanDestine story with guest stars.”
    That’s all ClanDestine stories. And I love them for it.

  21. Nu-D says:

    Speaking of Kubert, I was looking at that cover for #90, and it seems really odd to me. The foreground of Logan and Creed looks like one of the Kuberts, but the large background image of Logan’s face looks like Joe Mad or one of those other mid-90’s manga-influenced artists.

    Is it a team-up image, or did Kubert try something different?

  22. Josie says:

    @Nu-D, the Hildebrandt brothers, who were famous for their various Marvel card series at the time, painted over Kubert’s pencils on that cover.

  23. Person of Con says:

    We’re almost at the era of Wolverine comics where I started reading, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

    So that’s the Dirt Nap origin. Like DoA over in Generation X, my pre-teen self mentally filed him away as “weird hench-ish character who never gets any explanation.”

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