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Jul 3

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2002

Posted on Sunday, July 3, 2022 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 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001

We’re in the Frank Tieri run, and we left off with Wolverine teaming with Alpha Flight against Mauvais. Meanwhile, thanks to all the books being miles out of synch with one another, we’ve only had a single issue of the Morrison and Casey runs on New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men

WOLVERINE vol 2 #173-175
“The Logan Files”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Norm Rapmund & Raymund Lee
February to April 2002

As per Mauvais’ warning in the previous arc, bad things do indeed start happening: Sabretooth, Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike start going after Wolverine’s loved ones, and use a hacked Weapon X device to shut down his powers. Sabretooth has escaped the Weapon X project and stolen a copy of all their data on mutants – which he keeps on, er, single floppy disc. (Even at the time, this was a bit much, and Weapon X #1/2 retcons it to make this just a part of what he took.) Deathstrike and Omega Red are working with Sabretooth in exchange for access to the data and Weapon X’s money, but Sabretooth is just stringing them along, since what he really wants is to lure Wolverine into yet another cat and mouse game.

Sabretooth takes Amiko hostage and gives Wolverine a choice: either they can fight directly, or Wolverine can run for it and try and rescue Amiko before Sabretooth gets to her. He also claims to have Weapon X’s “Logan Files”, which contain everything they know about Logan’s lost memories. Naturally, since Wolverine doesn’t have his powers and isn’t about to risk Amiko’s life, he runs for it. But he outwits his pursuer by setting traps. Sabretooth lures Wolverine to the Weapon X compound, where he finds a mortally injured Amiko and a “Logan Files” case that turns out to be empty. Sabretooth explains, apparently truthfully, that this really is everything that the current Weapon X project knows about Wolverine’s lost memories – the gaps are due to his healing factor erasing his traumatic memories (as established in Origin). Weapon X show up, Sabretooth escapes, and Wolverine collapses from his injuries. A Weapon X doctor declares him dead.

The idea that Wolverine’s remaining memory gaps are self-inflicted is quite a good idea, and Chen’s seventies-gambler take on Sabretooth is quite cool. On the other hand, Deathstrike’s motivation for being involved in this story is never really explained, beyond Tieri wanting to use Wolverine’s three greatest enemies for the anniversary issue #175; apparently we’re just forgetting that she reformed as recently as 2000.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #175 (second story)
“The Vow”
by Frank Tieri, Georges Jeanty, Ray Snyder & Raymund Lee
April 2002

Matsuo Tsurayaba readies himself for Logan’s annual attack, and is baffled when he never shows. Logan appears only in the final two panels, as his body bag is zipped shut.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #176
“The Logan Files: Epilogue”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Norm Rapmund & Raymund Lee
May 2002

Logan has an out of body experience, in which he and a redheaded woman (whom he assumes to be Jean) watch the Weapon X medics save Amiko. The woman tells him that in order to move on to the afterlife, he needs to come to terms with his feelings, instead of just lashing out or withdrawing. She challenges him about his childish refusal to show up for Scott and Jean’s wedding or for Colossus’s funeral, and questions why he hasn’t formed another meaningful relationship since Mariko died – all of which is actually perfectly reasonable. She also confirms that his healing factor erases painful memories, just in case we didn’t take Sabretooth’s word for it. Despite her advice to move on, Logan winds up fighting the spirits of assorted dead enemies; “Jean” tells him that by getting suckered into this fight, he’s lost his chance at peace, and will now return to life. It’s very much a state-of-the character speech, and since Tieri disappears for a few issues after this, before returning with some unrelated stories, you have to wonder if this was meant to be the capstone for his run.

As she departs, the woman tells Logan that she isn’t Jean. She’s presumably meant to be Rose from Origin, but if so, the relationship is botched; she calls Logan “my love”, but the plot of Origin turns on the fact that his love for Rose was unrequited. I guess you can argue that she loves him as a little brother. Also, none of this fits very well with the Lazaer arc that Marc Guggenheim will do in a few years time, but that’s hardly Frank Tieri’s fault. The basic idea of this issue is perfectly sound, and surprisingly sentimental for this particular run.

Anyway, Logan wakes up and fights his way out of the Weapon X Project. Later, Amiko shows up at the Mansion with a letter from the Director, who claims that her return is a show of good faith. The Director (truthfully) blames Sabretooth for acting without authority and offers apologies “from one father to another”; Logan rightly dismisses the olive branch as complete nonsense.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #175 (third story)
“A Good Man”
by Jason Aaron & Udon Studios
April 2002

Alabama. Logan is on the run from unspecified pursuers when he comes across a woman with a flat tyre. She asks him if he’s ever prayed, and he remembers times of pain and despair when (by implication) he has done so. When his pursuers catch up, she gets killed in the crossfire, and tells him not to die without knowing God. Logan kills the bad guys, then reflects that the woman only died because she crossed paths with him, and that he’s going to hell.

This 8-pager was Jason Aaron’s first published work; it was his prize for winning a talent search contest. Religion is a bold angle for a talent search story, to put it mildly, though it reads very much like atheism from the perspective of a believer who doesn’t really understand the mindset.

Time to double back now and pick up on some other stories. First, a flashback in Avengers vol 3 #51. This is just a one-panel cameo showing Wolverine as one of the heroes on the run, while Kang is briefly ruling the world. There’s also passing mention in issue #52 that the X-Men join the fight against Kang.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #114-116
“E for Extinction”
by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Tim Townsend & Brian Haberlin
May to July 2001

We’ve finally got to the Grant Morrison run. Wolverine and Cyclops rescue low-powered mutant Ugly John from a Sentinel, then bring him along as they investigate an energy spike in Ecuador. It turns out to be a new Master Mold, making Sentinels for the debuting Cassandra Nova. John gets killed. Wolverine and Cyclops capture Cassandra, but she’s already despatched her Sentinels, who destroy Genosha. Once back at the Mansion, Cassandra escapes, but the X-Men and Emma Frost defeat her again. (Emma then joins the team.) Later on, however, we’ll learn that Cassandra actually wins here, by swapping bodies with Professor X and taking his place, while the real Professor X is the one who gets stuck in suspended animation. As Professor X, Cassandra swiftly takes the X-Men public, launching the era where the X-Men are openly running a school for mutant teens.

Morrison’s first use of Wolverine is an emblematic break from the past – Wolverine tearing into an already defeated Sentinel, while Cyclops says “Wolverine. You can probably stop doing that now.” It’s basically a classic Wolverine portrayal, done somewhat tongue in cheek. His healing factor has him recovering rapidly from ridiculous injuries; he’s drinking beer while he waits for burns to heal. He likes the new costumes, because “Suddenly I don’t have to look like an idiot in broad daylight.” And as in Joe Casey’s first issue, he’s needling Scott about signs of trouble in his marriage. Even so, they’re paired together in the first issue and played with a mixture of rivalry and respect. (“You know what I admire most about you, Summers? Your icy calm lunacy under pressure.”)

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #395-398
#395-396 by Joe Casey, Ian Churchill, Art Thibert, Norm Rapmund & Avalon Studios
#397 by Joe Casey, Sean Phillips, Mel Rubi, Danny Miki & Hi-Fi Design
#398 by Joe Casey, Sean Phillips, Ashley Wood & Hi-Fi Design
June to September 2001

Wolverine comes to England partly to help Nightcrawler, Iceman and Angel investigate the slaughter of a colony of mutants by Mr Clean, and partly to knock some sense into Chamber, who is attracting tabloid attention as the paramour of mercenary careerist teen-pop star Sugar Kane. Wolverine defeats Clean by setting him on fire, and Chamber returns home with the other X-Men upon realising how Sugar Kane and the press are exploiting him. Not a very good story, but at least the Chamber plotline was about something. Casey keeps Wolverine very much on the margins of his book; he only has cameos in the first two chapters, and seems to be here mainly for star power and an air of familiarity. This run also has some very odd artistic style shifts – Ian Churchill and Ashley Wood on the same arc?

Wolverine appears in one panel of a flashback in X-Men Unlimited vol 2 #6, which is the point where sparks first fly between Scott and Emma. It’s a non-speaking background cameo.

“The Man From Room X”
by Grant Morrison, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Hi-Fi Design

Presented in Marvelscope! Remember Marvelscope? Probably not, unless you were around for that very short window of time. They were comics published in landscape format, with the staples on the short end.

In Hong Kong, the X-Men help Domino to investigate the murder of Risque (Gloria Muñoz), who had been working with the new X-Corporation to investigate an illegal trade in mutant organs from mainland China. The clues lead to pharmaceutical CEO John Sublime, founder of the U-Men – a cult who want to graft mutant organs onto their human tissue in order to become a “third species”. Sublime has bought the mutant Kuan-Yin Xorn from his Chinese prison warder. Xorn’s power is a black hole in his head, which he is about to release to destroy the world, rather than fall into the hands of Sublime. But Cyclops talks him down and offers him a job with the X-Men.

Logan and Domino sleeps together during this story, which we don’t see, but Emma confirms it in issue #139. In a fairly remarkable piece of quality control, “Muñoz” is written as  as “Mu~Oz” throughout the issue. Morrison intended Xorn to be a disguised Magneto (we’ll come to that), but Marvel eventually incoherently retconned him into a separate character. The present state of continuity is that the character in Morrison’s run is the real Xorn, who eventually impersonates Magneto. No remotely coherent or satisfying explanation as to why has ever been presented, and writers seem to have long since decided to give it up as a lost cause and stop digging.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #117
“Danger Rooms”
by Grant Morrison, Ethan van Sciver, Prentiss Rollins & Hi-Fi Design
September 2001

By now, the Mansion has become a full-scale school. So, somewhere around here, Wolverine must meet everyone in the first wave of mutant students, such as Glob Herman and all five Stepford Cuckoos. In issue #117 itself, Logan only appears in a subplot. Jean comes to talk to him; she feels that she’s lost her connection with Scott. Logan kisses her, but tells her that it would never work between them, and that she and Scott have always belonged together.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #118-120
“Germ Free Generation”
#118 by Grant Morrison, Ethan van Sciver, Prentiss Rollins & Hi-Fi Design
#119-120 by Grant Morrison, Igor Kordey & Hi-Fi Design
September to December 2001

Everyone in the Mansion has flu. (In issue #123, this turns out to be due to Cassandra’s nano-Sentinels, and Xorn cures everyone by zapping them.) In Wyoming, Wolverine rescues Angel Salvadore from the U-Men. She hates her new insectoid powers and wants to be turned back to normal by plastic surgery, but he encourages her to stick it out and learn from others. Eventually he feigns walking out on her due to her endless whining. Finally, he takes her back to the Mansion just in time to see the tail end of Jean and the students defeating the U-Men. Wolverine is disturbed to see Jean with the Phoenix effect, but she feels great. The Beast then reveals that Professor X is trapped in Cassandra’s body.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #121
“Silence: Psychic Rescue in Progress”
by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely & Hi-Fi Design
January 2002

This is the issue from “Nuff Said” month, where the whole Marvel line had no dialogue. Jean and Emma enter Professor X’s mind and report back to Cyclops and Wolverine that he tried to kill Cassandra when they were both in the womb. Wolverine’s role is basically to sit around and wait.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #122
by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Tim Townsend & Hi-Fi Design
February 2002

Wolverine cameos as Emma addresses the pupils. Later, he joins the X-Men in discussing Cassandra, but doesn’t contribute much.

PUNISHER vol 6 #16-17
“Vertical Challenge” / “Aim Low”
by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson & Matt Milla
October 2002

Logan and the Punisher team up – kind of – to fight a group of midgets led by Tony Casino. The group are helping Tony to avenge himself on his gangster family by cutting off their legs. Naturally, Wolverine’s legs cannot be cut off, but the Punisher traps him under a steamroller in order to make his escape.

This is a notorious parody story, where Wolverine is written insanely over the top, keeps up a near-constant monologue throughout (“Come get yer kicks on Route Snikty-Snikt!”), and spends most of the story with his skull exposed after the Punisher shoots him in the face. It’s interesting that Ennis seems to have such a low opinion of Wolverine as a character, considering that you’d think he was one of the Marvel Universe characters who lent himself best to some of Ennis’s favourite themes. He obviously sees the character as missing the mark in some crucial ways.

We’ll get to Wolverine‘s answer issue in due course, more’s the pity.

NEW X-MEN vol 1 #123-126
“Testament” / “Superdestroyer” / “Losers” / “All Hell”
#123 by Grant Morrison, Ethan van Sciver, Tom Derenick, Tim Townsend, Danny Miki, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea & Hi-Fi Design
#124-125 by Grant Morrison, Igor Kordey & Hi-Fi Design
#126 by Grant Morrion, Frank Quitely, Tim Townsend & Brian Haberlin
February to July 2002

This kicks off with a bit more mentoring for Angel. Morrison seems to be setting her up as the new Kitty or Jubilee here, but nothing really comes of that.

Then the Imperial Guard attack, convinced that the X-Men are under Cassandra’s control. Wolverine gets to fight a few D-list Guard members here – Neosaurus, Monstra, Blimp and Schism – before Plutonia and Smasher convince Gladiator that Cassandra hs tricked them. Wolverine fights Cassandra, and is unfazed by her attempts to psyche him out, claiming that he can outwit telepaths by fighting on pure instinct. As is tradition, Morrison writes him as smarter than he looks, when it really matters. Cassandra sets some of the students on Wolverine – including Beak (Barnell Bohusk) – but the Stepford Cuckoos free them. Cassandra is tricked into returning to what seems to be her original body, but is actually the body of Shi’ar scout Stuff, serving as a prison; Xavier gets his real body back, and he can walk again.

Wolverine’s role in the middle chapters is marginal, but there’s some interesting stuff here. He sees Emma’s persona as ironic (and recognises that the kids don’t always get it). Cassandra calls him a “man broken down by torture into a screaming, mindless, unfeeling killing machine”, whose healing factor “made you a perfect, reusable experiment in vivisection” – all of which is fair enough. Less convincingly, Cassandra also claims that he “torture[s]” himself “over and over again just to feel that same intensity of sensation you once experienced on the racks of the scientific inquisition.”

by Jean-David Morvan & Philippe Bouchet
September 2008

A framing sequence, in which (despite the publication date) Morrison-era Wolverine tells some of the students how the damaged Mexer wound up as school caretaker. We covered that flashback back in 1991.

THE ORDER vol 1 #5-6
“Blinded by Science”
#5 by Jo Duffy, Kurt Busiek, Ivan Reis, Jose Pimentel, Gregory Wright & Color Arts
#6 by Jo Duffy, Kurt Busiek, Matt Haley, Dan Panosian & Color Arts
June & July 2002

Wolverine is among the superheroes who gather to fight the Order – the original Defenders, being manipulated by Yandroth to generate conflict that he can exploit for his own purposes. Naturally, the Order break free and Yandroth is defeated. (Professor X is still in his wheelchair here, but let’s assume that, like the last time around, he takes a little time to adjust to walking.) Also showing up for the big finale are the Masters of the Mental Arts, a group led by a blatant Adam Strange pastiche called Christopher Ganyrog and his partner, Romantic Objective Pamela.

BLACK PANTHER vol 3 #41-44
“Enemy of the State II, parts 1 to 4”
#41-43 by Christopher Priest, Sal Velluto, Bob Almond & Jennifer Schellinger
#44 by Christopher Priest, Sal Velluto, Steve Seiger, “Justin Thyme” & Jennifer Schellinger
February to May 2002

This has nothing to do with the better known Wolverine arc “Enemy of the State”, which we won’t reach for another few years. It’s a sequel to an earlier Black Panther arc.

The Black Panther enlists Wolverine’s help against XCon, an alliance of rogue intelligence agents whom he claims have secretly seized control of the Canadian government. The duo seize a floating casino which serves as XCon’s North American headquarters, infiltrate their computer systems, and get into a fight with Iron Man. Wolverine then recedes into the background of the story; it eventually turns out that XCon has actually subverted the USA, and has itself fallen under the influence of the White Wolf, but Wolverine doesn’t get involved in that bit. Really, Wolverine doesn’t need to be in this arc at all, but over-complicated plotting is a signature feature of the book, and throwing him in works better than you might think. The plot also involves such things as an insane Black Panther from the future searching for a magic frog, the Panther laying claim to a Canadian island on the basis of a supposed treaty with a French nobleman, and the people of Paolo Santera having a record harvest of gravelberries. Part of the point is that the Panther is the only one who can follow what the hell is going on.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #400
“Supreme Confessions”
by Joe Casey, Cully Hamner, Ashley Wood, Eddie Campbell, Javier Pulido, Sean Phillips, Matt Smith & Hi-Fi Design
December 2001

It’s an anniversary issue – let’s bring in some perversely uncommercial guest artists for a jam! The Jemas/Quesada era could be really odd at times.

The X-Men and Stacy X (Miranda Leevald) fight the Church of Humanity. Wolverine gets to interrogate a captive, in parodically brutal fashion, and is rewarded with a highly questionable account of the origin of the Church’s Supreme Pontiff. Later, he helps rescue Stacy from the Church, and discusses the plot with Nightcrawler. Not an especially notable issue for our purposes.

DEADPOOL vol 3 #69
“Healing Factor, part 3”
by Gail Simone & UDON
September 2002

Just a one-panel cameo as one of a string of characters getting phone calls from Deadpool.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #177-178
“The Shadow Pulpit”
by Matt Nixon, Dan Fraga, Lary Stucker & Raymund Lee
June 2002

Back to fill-ins, with four issues by Matt Nixon. We start off with this inexplicable misfire. Wolverine’s priest friend Father Braun alerts him to a scheme by a corrupt faction of the Vatican, led by the Shadow Pope (Cardinal Panzer), to usurp the papacy and use mind-control waves called ELVES to take control of New York. Wolverine fights Dogma, a strange energy creature billed as “Bishop of Assassins, the Enlightened Soul”, who brings him to the Vatican. Braun is killed, but Wolverine escapes, and threatens Panzer a bit before leaving. Truly awful – one of those rare stories so bad that you genuinely wonder how on earth it made print.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #179
“Of Lesser Demons”
by Matt Nixon, Ethan van Sciver, Lary Stucker & Avalon
July 2002

To be fair to Nixon, his other two issues are better. In this one, Wolverine and Shaman free Alpha Flight from demonic possession. The plot is routine, but the art is much improved, and Nixon has some unusual ideas about how Shaman’s magic might work – lizards with mouths sewed shut, ordinary insects being used to break possession. There are at least memorable images in this one. Shaman’s new protégé Chuck Moss debuts at the end of the issue – a big guy in T-shirt and jeans who doesn’t resemble any genre-conventional magic character.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #180
“Everything’s Zen”
by Matt Nixon, Jorge Lucas & Avalon Studios
August 2002

This is Moss’s proper introduction issue – really quite an odd thing to do in a fill-in. Logan takes him out into the wilderness to teach him to be a warrior and help him to find his totem; after initial panic and inexperience, Moss learns that his totem is a worm, and develops his powers. He’ll show up in later Alpha Flight stories as Earthmover before being quietly dropped.

VENOM vol 1 #6-10
by Daniel Way, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Guru eFX
October 2003 to January 2004

Voici, Northwest Territory – I think the story is placed wildly out of sequence because of events later in the series, and this happens to be a point where Logan is in Canada.

Logan happens to be passing when Ararat Corporation agents Frankie and Vic arrive in town, looking for a clone of the Venom symbiote which has escaped from their employers. Logan winds up fighting everyone: the symbiote attacks him, Frankie and Vic have to be stopped from killing the townsfolk, and a mysterious G-Man guy called the Suit is also hunting for the symbiote. And the book’s protagonist Patricia Robertson is running around as well. The symbiote kills Frankie and Vic, who are promptly replaced by clones of Frankie and Vic, who don’t realise that they aren’t the originals. Until they find their predecessor’s bodies. Robertson uses a device provided by the Suit to capture the symbiote, and leaves with it.

It’s a very weird comic, a mixture of the painfully slow and the insanely OTT, such as Logan surviving a tactical nuke. There’s no good reason for Logan to be in this story, except to lend it some star power. And yes, correct, the real Venom isn’t even in this series.

“Absolute Progeny”
by Joe Casey & Ashley Wood

Havana. Wolverine and Iceman investigate designer drugs based on mutant DNA that give people temporary mutant powers. It’s basically the same idea that will resurface as MGH in a few years’ time. The Vanisher turns out to be behind the scheme, and for some reason he’s now a self-proclaimed entrepreneur seeking new markets for mutant-ness. It’s all very moody and beautiful but it’s pretty much visually impenetrable.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #401
by Joe Casey, Ron Garney, Mark Morales & Hi-Fi Design
January 2002

This is another silent issue from “Nuff Said” month. Wolverine argues with Stacy X after she (apparently) breaks into Bill Clinton’s home to have sex with him. But later, Wolverine covers for her when Nightcrawler shows up to yell at her. Just plain stupid.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #181-182
“Chasers” / “Three Funerals and a Wedding”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Tom Palmer & Edgar Tadeo
October & November 2002

In issue #181, Logan tracks down three mobsters from the Pazzo family who have abducted a girl after her father defaulted on a debt. Logan kills them all, and rescues her. It’s a framing sequence for the three mobsters to tell each other war stories. It feels like a repurposed Punisher story, but that aside, it’s actually quite good. It’s also a prologue to the Pazzo family arc, which certainly wouldn’t work with the Punisher. In issue #182, Logan confronts Pazzo boss Freddo Pazzo (who is out of his depth but too dumb to realise it) and his underboss Johnny Delacavva (who plainly ought to be running the place, but is respecting the previous boss’s dying wish that his son should take over). Logan offers to take out their rival, the Roman, if they agree to wipe out the father’s debt. Despite Johnny’s reservations, Freddo accepts.

The main drawbacks in the Tieri run are an overreliance on sadist villains and a tendency towards misfiring comedy; neither of those applies to this standalone crime arc, which is the best thing in his run. It’s a better fit for Sean Chen, too. Logan will spend some time dealing with the mobsters before the next issue, and we’ll pick up on that next time. But first, he fits in some other appearances.

by “X” [Howard Mackie], Sean Phillips, Kent Williams & Dan Kemp
January 2002

The X-Men have a single panel appearance, in a montage of heroes attacking Brotherhood cells.

4-issue miniseries
by Sam Kieth & Richard Isanove
February to May 2002

Logan’s plane crashes in a mountain snowstorm. He meets Po, a little girl who insists that she and her dad have crashed their plane and are trapped underwater, and that her uncle Bruce Banner can free them. Po leads Logan first to the Hulk, then to the plane, which has actually been underwater from 20 years. Logan and the Hulk retrieve the bodies from the plane, and Po, still believing that she’s being rescued, moves happily on to the afterlife. It’s a sweet little ghost story, if you can live with the fact that the presence of Wolverine and Hulk seems to be sheer coincidence, and the landscape seems to change from snowstorm to desert during the story.

X-TREME X-MEN vol 1 #18
“Day of the Dead”
by Chris Claremont, Salvador Larroca & Liquid!
October 2002

Wolverine shows up with some of the core X-Men to help with the relief effort in Madripoor after the X-Treme X-Men’s battle with Khan in the previous issue. He meets Lifeguard (Heather Cameron) and her younger brother Davis Cameron (later Slipstream) here.

X-MEN UNLIMITED vol 1 #35 (third story)
“X-Men: The Untold Story!”
by Gail Simone, Kevin Maguire, Wade von Grawbadger, Andy Troy & Avalon Studios
April 2002

A comedy story about the making of an unlicensed X-Men film. The real X-Men appear on the final page, watching the end result with bemusement.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #408
“Identity Crisis”
by Joe Casey, Sean Phillips & Hi-Fi Design
July 2002

Wolverine encourages Stacy X to stop falling back on her hooker persona – he says that when he first joined the X-Men he played the “loose cannon” because he was afraid to step out of the role everyone was used to seeing him in, and suggests that Stacy is falling into the same trap. Later, Wolverine, Iceman and Chamber watch Stacy use her ecstasy powers to ease the pain of dying mutant billionaire Jason Treemont.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #409 (part 1)
“Rocktopia, part 5 of 8”
by Joe Casey, Sean Phillips & Hi-Fi Design
August 2002

This is the final Joe Casey issue, complete with quirksome title – there are no other parts of “Rocktopia.” This story is actually split in half on the timeline, and we’ll get to the other half next time. In the first bit, the X-Men discuss plans to deal with the Vanisher’s drug cartel; Logan doesn’t care for corporate Warren’s plan, but accepts being outvoted with relatively good grace.

by Frank Tieri, Killian Plunkett, Terry Austin & Avalon
August 2002

Wolverine has a brief cameo when Agent Zero (the former Maverick) shoots at him with a sniper rifle, but deliberately misses. Wolverine realises he’s been shot at, but can’t see anyone to go after.

Next time, the end of the Tieri run and the relaunch under Marvel Knights.

Bring on the comments

  1. heartstone says:

    I think “and this happens to be a point where Logan is Canada.” is missing an ‘in’
    That, or Logan is really impressive 😉

  2. James Moar says:

    “ Sabretooth has escaped the Weapon X project and stolen a copy of all their data on mutants – which he keeps on, er, single floppy disc.”

    It was probably being kept in the same discbox as Optimus Prime’s brain.

  3. Paul says:

    I’ll fix the Canada line – thanks.

  4. What makes Tieri’s “u r gay” response to Ennis so baffling is that it’s not as though the Punisher is difficult to parody. He may not have a healing factor but he’s still ludicrously unkillable and likewise talks to himself all the time.

    Whereas Ennis actually did his research before parodying Wolverine. I mean, his Wolverine calls himself “Canucklehead.” Ennis doesn’t respect the character but he did his homework.

  5. DaibhidC says:

    Huh, I must dig up my UK reprint back issues and check how Panini handled Marvelscope. I suspect it was probably by just printing everything sideways and leaving us to figure it out.

  6. K says:

    Paul: I read NXM Annual 2001 in TPB and there was no “Muñoz” printing glitch. Could this be a digital-exclusive display error?

  7. Daniel T says:

    I don’t remember that glitch in print—single or collection—either.

    Also, Jason Aaron has been around for 20 years?!? I still have him in my head as a “new guy.” I used to much younger than I am now…

  8. Nu-D says:

    The recent Hickman-Deuterman homage to the Morrison-Quitely “Nuff Said” issue really brought home just how good Quitely is. Deuterman’s issue was pretty, but Quitely was able to communicate the story at a much deeper level with the body language and facial expressions of the characters. The final panel where Jean emerges and says “we need to talk” is a masterpiece. Quitely’s Jean is striding past Logan and Scott, her shoulders thrown back, commanding the scene. Scott and Logan are waiting for her, deferentially, because she has the information and expertise they lack in this situation. Emma is sheepishly hanging back, since she was more or less useless in that mission.

    In contrast, Deuterman’s Jean has her shoulders dropped, and she’s blocked by Logan and Scott who are standing in front of her. The men have their feet apart and planted, as though they’re stopping her and demanding answers. Emma is standing weirdly in Jean’s path, and it’s hard to see how she got there without being in Jean’s way.

    There may have been other “Nuff Said” issues that did the gimmick well, but that issue really showcases both Quitely’s talent and Morrison’s confidence in Quitely to do the story justice,

  9. Chris V says:

    Jason Aaron is definitely not a new guy, but it took a few years before he got to write a comic series after he won that contest. I believe his next comic was The Other Side mini-series from Vertigo Comics and that was from 2006.

  10. Thom H. says:

    @Nu-D: So true. I didn’t read a lot of the “Nuff Said” issues, but I’d wager that New X-Men delivered more meaningful content in that one issue than most of the others combined.

    Morrison and Quitely were able to convey that Jean’s powers were being augmented by the Phoenix, Emma was a badass while in diamond form, Emma and Jean had an antagonistic relationship, Emma’s powers couldn’t compare to Jean’s, Charles had a twin, and Charles and his twin had a serious falling out in the womb in one (mostly) wordless issue.

    That issue contributed to the forward momentum of multiple storylines while also giving us grace notes like the difference between Logan and Scott (reading v. listening to music) without breaking a sweat. Just…the best comics experience communicated in subtle but unmistakable images.

  11. Luis Dantas says:

    @Daniel T: it may be that your perception of the passage of time is influenced by the current trends of long-lasting storylines.

    For instance, the time-displaced team was introduced in late 2012 and returned to their original point in time in late 2018. The current Krakoa setup dates back to almost three years ago.

    The perception of things in comic books as “new” may linger for a while longer than they used to.

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Krakoa has been around longer than the Outback Era lasted and in a few months will overtake Utopia.

    That’s not even considering how many single issues actually came out during each of those eras.

  13. JD says:

    Similarly, I hadn’t realized that Tieri only stayed on Wolverine for about two years (18 issues for the “main” run, + 6 issues of the “crime” coda)…

  14. yrzhe says:

    Did it get confirmed at some point that Brotherhood was written by Mackie? I know he was always one of the main names speculated, but if anybody outright admitted it I missed it.

  15. Allan M says:

    Mackie did confirm that he was “Writer X” in 2018 in a feature interview for ComicBookResources, where he runs down the how and why of it.

  16. The Other Michael says:

    Wow, The Brotherhood is a series I haven’t thought about in ages. That was a wild era for X-Men tangent storytelling.

  17. Dave says:

    “The Jemas/Quesada era could be really odd at times.”
    I think it has to be my least liked Marvel era. Including X-books, as I was never a fan of the Morrison run. I also thought JMS Spidey was boring. Even the cover layouts were bad.

  18. K says:

    My lifelong dour outlook on Spider-Man is probably coloured by starting during the reboot and having nothing better than Jemas/Quesada Spider-Man to look back on as a high point.

  19. Chris V says:

    I absolutely loved the Paul Jenkins Peter Parker: Spider Man series that was published concurrently with the JMS Amazing issues.
    I agree that the JMS stories did nothing for me, but I rank Jenkins Spider Man comics very highly as to what I consider the best of said character.

  20. Scott B says:

    I love the first half of JMS’s Spidey. The second half reads like Editorial Mandate: The Comic and permanently killed my affection for Spider-Man.

  21. Andrew says:

    We’re deep now into one of my favourite comic eras.

    Some thoughts:
    * The Logan files is where we get the first of multiple instances where Tieri uses references Users from the now-defunct X-Fan site where he, Claremont, Chuck Austen, Mark Millar the X-books editor Mark Powers and many other figures interacted with at the time.

    On the second last page of Wolverine 176 you can see a sign on Logan’s trunk which says “2 Tum Tom” who was a prominent poster there.

    Others can be found in Weapon X 1/2 (Eric Moreels who ran the site) and Weapon X No.1 which features my name!

    * I’m delighted we’ve got to the Morrison era at long last. Their take on Wolverine is excellent. I quite like Joe Casey’s short, aborted run which holds up much better than it did at the time (when it suffered from comparisons to Morrison and even Claremont’s strong fanbase).

    * The three X-men annuals in Marvelscope were fun. The art, if nothing else, looks great in that format, particularly Salvador Larocca. Ashley Wood’s work has grown on me in a big way since that time.

    * I’ve always loved the absolute delight that is the Punisher two-parter. It’s one of the best of the black comedy era of Ennis’ work on the character.

    * Finally, the Cardinal Panzer storyline is genuinely one of the worst (and most unintentionally hilarious) comics ever published.

  22. Andrew says:

    One last X-Fan username I forgot to note – The 7th Parallel’s username can be seen on page 1 of Wolverine 183 on a flier placed under the windscreen wiper of a car outside the gangster hideout.

  23. Jenny says:

    I find Tieri’s response to Ennis so embarrassing. It would be extremely easy to make some sort of meta commentary about how for all of Ennis hatred of superheroes he also indulges in making his own heroes seem like unstoppable badasses, and yet Tieri goes for the lowest hanging fruit possible.

  24. Omar Karindu says:

    Ennis strikes me as easier to parody for his Ennis writing tics than on the basis of a particular character.

    Ennis protagonists are usually rough men doing the unspeakable to preserve order at the cost of their own humanity, and when they aren’t, they’re drinkin’ buddies with guns and guts but also adolescent flaws that can tip characters over from roguishly charming to immature, emotionally stunted, and self-destructive.

    Ennis always seems to suggest that maybe these protagonists the kind of thing to outgrow or grow beyond, since they’re ultimately addicted to conflict, or that they’re genuinely not the kind of people you’d want around unless the world was already going to hell. In interviews, he explains his hatred of superheroes more in terms of the idea that they’re “silly” or “sheltered” takes on “fighting evil” and that they never have to make the “hard choices” because the writers bail them out and let them make Care Bears speeches instead.

    A spoof of Ennis might point out that this is eating your cake and having it too, indulging in puerility while pretending to know better and chiding the reader. Basically, you’d point out that he’s calling superheroes a child’s idea of a cool tough guy but that he can only offer a more cynical, but equally childish idea of the same.

    It’s interesting that there was a writer who arguably did find a way to criticize and dismiss the Punisher around this time: Brian Michael Bendis pretty much always portrayed the character as a gun nut with an overly simplistic, overly violent view of “fighting crime.

    In separate stories, Bendis had both Marvel Knights Daredevil and Ultimate Peter Parker take the Punisher down in a couple of pages in separate stories. In both cases, Bendis has his protagonists treat the Punisher like he was psychopathic but inconsequential and ineffectual. That might be the best way to go: treat the Punisher as somewhere between an amateurish nuisance and a wannabe fascist.

  25. Luis Dantas says:

    Ennis’ Punisher is the only take on the character that I ever enjoyed.

    Because it is so gloriously over-the-top and does not even attempt to pretend that it is not biased towards protecting the optics of the title character.

    Truly, it is self-parody with no shame whatsoever. Part of it is mercilessly using any and all guest stars, opponents, rivals and support cast as punching bags to callously make Punisher look cool by contrast.

    I don’t think Punisher can work as a protagonist in any other way. For me, at least.

  26. Taibak says:

    In terms of taking the Punisher at face value, I thought the Netflix series did about as good a job as can be done, largely because of how ridiculously good Jon Bernthal’s performance was.

  27. Jenny says:

    I should add a disclaimer that while I’m not a big fan, I do appreciate Ennis’ work. I just think it’s possible to criticize him in a more deep way than Tieri did.

  28. Nu-D says:

    treat the Punisher as somewhere between an amateurish nuisance and a wannabe fascist.

    You mean like Stewart Rhodes?

    I like that idea. A Punisher run that’s a satire of the nutters that tried to overthrow the American government.

  29. Jenny says:

    Only tangentially related, but I would absolutely recommend Al Ewing’s run on the Dynamite book Jennifer Blood. It’s a run that takes one of the lesser Garth Ennis originals (a housewife who is secretly a master assassin out to punish criminals) and takes the story to what it would logically end up in the real world: with her being revealed to be a dangerous sociopath that eventually gets taken down by her own hubris.

  30. Absolutely agree with Scott B on JMS and Spidey. The first half was the best the comic had been for years, but then it all goes very wrong indeed.

  31. I found my copy of the NXM annual this morning, and I can confirm that the “Mu~Oz” glitch is in the good old fashioned paper original.

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