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Oct 2

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2005

Posted on Sunday, October 2, 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 | 2002 | 2003

We’re midway through the Mark Millar / John Romita Jr run. It already carried us through the first couple of months of the year, and when we left off, Wolverine had just been captured by the good guys after his brainwashed rampage on behalf of the Hand. If you haven’t read this storyline, you can probably guess what happens in the second half.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #26-31
“Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson & Paul Mounts
March to August 2005

S.H.I.E.L.D. deprogram Wolverine by putting his mind through repeated simulations in which his normal personality can finally reassert itself. When the Hand attack with a bunch of brainwashed villains, Wolverine has to be woken ahead of schedule to fight them, but his normal personality is indeed restored. The attackers include a bunch of minor villains that Wolverine hasn’t encountered before – Slyde (Jalome Beacher), S.H.O.C. (Todd Fields), the Spot (Johnny Ohnn), Vibro (Alton Vibereaux), Poison (Cecilia Cardinale) and Leap-Frog (Buford Lange). In a completely random bit of continuity, the scientist who cures Wolverine, Dr Weinberg, is the former Rabble-Rouser, a one-off Human Torch villain from 1964.

Naturally, Wolverin sets out for revenge and atonement. In practice, this means killing everyone he can get his hands on from HYDRA, the Hand or the Dawn of the White Light cult. Basically it’s a mirror of the first half, except now he’s going after the villains. S.H.I.E.L.D. also fret about whether he’s really deprogrammed, but nothing really comes of that.

In the course of his casual slaughter – and this arc is really casual about having Wolverine kill large number of bad guys – the brainwashed Northstar is captured. As for Elektra, she was never under Hand control after all, and she was just playing along. Finally, Wolverine and Elektra lead SHIELD against the bad guys. Elsbeth is apparently killed in a missile strike, while Gorgon is turned to stone by his own powers and shattered. His ridiculously OTT powers are better suited to being a one-off villain, which is how Millar seems to have conceived him.

There’s a somewhat maudlin epilogue in which Wolverine brings Ichiro and Fukuko to their child’s unmarked grave (the same child he was trying to rescue back at the start of the storyline). It’s very much at odds with the insane story that precedes it, and feels a bit unearned. But that aside, the Millar/Romita run is full of scale and momentum. It’s nuts but it does what it sets out to do.

Again, there are a few tie-ins to this arc:

  • flashback in Irredeemable Ant-Man #3 shows Logan recuperating after fighting off the villain army; he tells S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Eric O’Grady that he did well. (Eric is the new Ant-Man, but Logan doesn’t know that.)
  • Cable & Deadpool #13 has a cameo of Wolverine fighting HYDRA agents as part of his crusade.
  • The Marvel Chronology Project lists a flashback in Wolverine vol 4 #13 as taking place during this rampage. It’s not explicitly a tie-in to this arc, but it’s as good a place as any for it. It shows Wolverine slaughtering a bunch of black-clad ninjas, from the perspective of an unnamed young woman who has already encountered Wolverine as a girl, and who was already yearning for revenge on him. He kills her too. She’ll be resurrected by the Hand, and eventually return as a member of the Wolverine revenge crew Red Right Hand.
  • A flashback in Wolverine vol 4 #14 shows Logan attending the funeral of the innocent SHIELD doctor that he killed under Hand brainwashing in Wolverine vol 3 #21. This doesn’t really make sense, because it would mean that her funeral didn’t take place until months after she died, but… maybe there was a national security thing…?
  • The MCP also lists a flashback in issue #59 here, which seems to be just a generic panel of Wolverine fighting anonymous bad guys.

Mark Millar’s run concludes with issue #32, but that’s an unrelated story set during World War II, and we’ve covered it already. And now, a backlog of appearances in other books.

X-FORCE vol 2 #4-6
6-issue miniseries
by Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza & Matt Yackey
November 2004 to February 2005

Wolverine, X-Force and Deadpool team up against the Watchtower, then team with an alternate-future Mutant Liberation Front (comprising alternate versions of Domino, Cannonball, Forearm, Thumbelina and Jon Spectre) against the mutant-eating Skornn and its Shepherd, and Cable seemingly sacrifices himself to defeat the Skornn. An incoherent barrage of plot points which really didn’t need Wolverine or the Watchtower in it at all.

5-issue miniseries
by Brian Michael Bendis & Gabriele Dell’otto
March & December 2005

That’s not a typo – these issues really did ship nine months apart. A bunch of tech-based villains, previously funded by the Latverian government, stage a revenge attack on heroes who helped to overthrow that government the year before. But since Fury wiped their memories of the mission, none of the heroes remember it. Wolverine – whose involvement in the present-day sections is largely off-panel – is particularly enraged that Fury would interfere with his memories, given everything Fury knows about what he’s been through. Naturally, when Wolverine attacks him, Fury turns out to be an LMD.

“Secret War, part 4”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano & Pete Pantazis
June 2005

This is a Secret War tie-in issue. Reporters Jessica Jones, Ben Urich and Kat Farrell stumble upon a drunken and angry Logan, who laments his long history of being abused, and wonders aloud whether he brings it on himself somehow. A flashforward to this scene also appears at the start of issue #6.

flashback in G.L.A. #2 is listed here – it’s a one-panel cameo in which Wolverine turns down Doorman‘s invitation to join the Great Lakes Avengers. In a cute gag, he brushes Doorman off by claiming that he “work[s] best alone”. Sure you do, Logan.

5-issue miniseries
by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Matt Ryan & Justin Ponsor
January to April 2005

The Shi’ar force the Phoenix to reconstitute itself ahead of schedule, hoping that it’ll be weaker and that they’ll be able to destroy it for good. It escapes to Earth and exhumes Jean’s corpse as its new host. Wolverine is first to encounter this depowered Dark Phoenix, and dreads the prospect of having to kill her again. The X-Men’s attempts to confine her are also disrupted by a returning Kid Omega. Eventually Jean’s persona takes control, fights off a Shi’ar doomsday weapon, and seemingly discorporates in order to return to the afterlife; the Phoenix turns into some fireflies.

This isn’t too bad, especially when you know it isn’t bringing Jean back (which would have been way too early). But it suffers from garbled plot mechanics in the last act, and the usual failings of Land’s art – he’s dreadful at selling emotion, so he’s hopelessly miscast on this melodrama. Wolverine’s main contribution is to argue with Cyclops, but in a nice twist, they both agree that Dark Phoenix has to be destroyed. What they disagree about is whether she’s really Jean; Cyclops argues that she must be just an echo, since she still seems obsessed with him, when the real Jean had moved on before she did.

“The Healing”
by Stuart Moore & CP Smith
January 2006

I assume this story has been placed here because of Wolverine’s passing comment that he had headed to the far north to get over Jean. It’s a vignette in which Wolverine delivers an inner monologue while he recovers from devastating injuries inflicted by an unspecified villain who’s been defeated before the story begins. Wolverine rejects Sabretooth as a personification of the pain, preferring to visualise it as the less-personal Brood, and to visualise Jean as a protective guardian angel. Pretty good.

X-MEN vol 2 #167-170
“Golgotha, parts 2 to 5”
by Peter Millgan, Salvador Larroca, Danny Miki & Liquid!
February to May 2005

The X-Men discover an alien, Golgotha, with apparent psychic abilities that cause madness and arguments. After realising what’s going on, the X-Men lock down in the mansion for 24 hours to “sweat out” the madness. Eventually they get to grips with their insanity and destroy Golgotha. Then, in the final part, they go to space and defeat a whole horde of invading Golgotha aliens (during which they meet Gazer, a mutant working for NASA because his body makes him suited to be on a space station).

Peter Milligan’s first arc is a mess. The madness sequence in issue #169 is strong, but everything else is choppy and random, and the religious imagery associated with Golgotha doesn’t add much. The escalation to an invasion comes out of nowhere, too. But at least the art is good. Milligan writes Wolverine as someone who thinks he’s already put his demons behind him, which is questionable. Wolverine is somewhat stung by the criticism that he’s an old man hanging around with the kids, and reassured by Havok telling him that he’s being taken into space – despite his powers being basically useless in that environment – because they value his cool head and experience. When you’re praising Wolverine for his “cool head”, you’re basically going with the reading that Wolverine’s arc has been completed and that he’s just here to add familiarity to the X-Men brand.

5-issue miniseries
by “Akira Yoshida” [CB Cebulski], Shin Nagasawa and Guru-eFX
March to June 2005

Oh dearie me. Wolverine has to protect the Mark of Mana, a 600-year-old necklace which is connected with ancient Japanese twins Mana and Hana Yanowa. Mana is still alive in a magical sleep, protected by the Servants of Shosei; Hana’s worshippers, the Followers of Ashurado, are hunting for the necklace. Wolverine wakes Mana by giving her the necklace, only to learn that this has freed a demon called Ryuki. Wolverine has his claws temporarily gold-plated in order to take advantage of Ryuki’s magical weakness, and the villains are defeated. In a bizarre coda, Amiko turns out to be a descendent of the Shosei line, and agrees to train as one of their priestesses. Presumably she changes her mind, because this is never mentioned again.

Not only is Soultaker not especially good – Wolverine attacks the Servants of Shosei in issue #2 for no apparent reason, the art struggles with the title character (though it’s much better with the flashbacks), an inordinately long scene is devoted to Wolverine walking silently around a shrine – it’s CB Cebulski’s Akira Yoshida persona at its most problematic. It’s not simply that he adopted a Japanese pen name; several of his stories, including this one, were actively sold on his supposed understanding of Japanese culture.

by Joss Whedon, John Cassaday & Laura Martin
December 2004 to August 2005

The X-Men’s student Wing (Edward Tancredi) commits suicide in the Danger Room. Then, the Room itself turns out to be a sentient AI that has been trapped in the Mansion by Professor X for years. By holding students hostage in the Danger Room and causing assorted chaos, the Room tricks the X-Men into blasting its “command core” free of the building, allowing it to create a new robot body for itself and become Danger.

Danger fights off the X-Men and heads to Genosha to confront Professor X. The X-Men catch up in time to fight a Wild Sentinel that Danger has reanimated; Shadowcat drives it away by confronting its own AI with the horror of the genocidal attack on Genosha. Afterwards, Professor X admits that he knew Danger had become sentient, and ignored its cries to be freed so that the X-Men could use it for the greater good. Wolverine and Colossus, both of whom have been victims of extended experimentation, are suitably appalled.

Wolverine is mostly peripheral to this story, but he gets a couple of moments. I’m not convinced Whedon really gets the character. Issue #7 has a cute gag where we get everyone’s inner monologue in turn, and Wolverine’s just reads “I like beer.” But… does that really work with Wolverine, who’s been doing first person narration in his solo stories for going on 20 years by this point? Fabulous art, though, and it reads well in collected format. As a serial, it really doesn’t need to be six issues, especially when delays added another three months on top of that.

While he’s doubtless met them before as a teacher, Wolverine definitely meets students Armor (Hisako Ichiki) and Blindfold (Ruth Aldine) on panel here.

“Dead Man Walking”
by Matt Fraction, Sam Kieth & Sotocolor
August 2005

Logan attends the funeral of his old friend Johnny, who got hurt protecting Logan in a fight, and who helped give Logan perspective on life. A serviceable vignette, but not the best fit for Kieth’s art.

“Piece of Cake”
by Andrew Farago, Shaenon K Garrity, Lou Kang, Craig Yeung & Chris Sotomayor
December 2007

Wolverine and Spider-Man team up to fight an embittered department store Santa Claus and his refurbished Sentinel. Spider-Man helps Wolverine keep his self-control so that he doesn’t disembowel Santa in public. Afterwards, Wolverine takes Spider-Man to the X-Men’s Christmas party, and is irritated when a photo appears in the Daily Bugle the next day.

This doesn’t really fit anywhere – Wolverine is in his Astonishing X-Men costume but he’s doing a mission for Professor X and he doesn’t seem to be a regular team-mate of Spider-Man. Still, this is as good a place as any for it (which is to say, not very good at all).

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #4-6
“Breakout!, parts 4 to 6”
by Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch, Danny Miki & Frank D’Armata
March to June 2005

When the Scorcher (Steven Hudak) tips off the X-Men that Sauron has escaped jail, Wolverine heads to the Savage Land to investigate. He runs into the new Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, “Spider-Woman” and Luke Cage), who are investigating a mass breakout of supervillains. Wolverine doesn’t initially recognise Spider-Woman’s scent, which is explained away for the moment. Much later, in issue #42, it turns out that she’s actually a Skrull impostor, Queen Veranke.

Sauron and the Savage Land Mutates try to kill the heroes to cover their tracks, but Sauron is shot by the Black Widow (Elena Belova, but strongly implied with hindsight to be another Skrull impostor). The villains and the Widow escape. The heroes then discover a “S.H.I.E.L.D.” vibranium mine using slave labour, which is promptly wiped out by an attack from genuine S.H.I.E.L.D. forces led by Maria Hill. Hill likewise refuses to explain herself, beyond saying that she was wiping out a renegade faction. Another version of that sequence also appears as a flashback in issue #41.

This is all better than I remember, particularly since it makes a lot more sense on re-reading. At the end, Iron Man invites Wolverine to join the Avengers. Captain America initially dismisses him as a murderer – apparently he’s willing to team with Wolverine but draws the line at actually making him an Avenger – but quickly gets talked round to the idea that Wolverine is a “samurai warrior”. A flashback in issue #8 shows Wolverine actually joining – at first he cites his commitments to the X-Men and his recent traumatic experiences with HYDRA as reasons for declining, but Iron Man persuades him that joining the Avengers could help to restore his good name, and argues that the Avengers have helped him through dark times in the past. And, as the most morally flexible Silver Age Avenger, Iron Man thinks the team needs someone like Wolverine who can do things that other heroes won’t.

flashback in issue #42 shows the Avengers having their first meal in Avengers Tower. Without realising it, Wolverine meets “Edwin Jarvis”, yet another Skrull impostor.

So, from this point on, Wolverine is an Avenger. All this ties to Bendis’s idea that the Avengers should have the big solo heroes on the roster, like the Justice League, and honestly, Wolverine never really does all that much on the Avengers. He’s there mostly to add a bit of banter, to make the Avengers look different, and to send a message that the Avengers is a team of Marvel’s top characters.

He’s also massively overexposed at this point, and the timeline is about to get jammed up with a blizzard of cameos in which he’s a generic Avenger, or just hanging around in the background at Avengers HQ. Writers also get more willing to use him outside the X-books in general. Oh, and on top of all that, the X-books spawn a bunch of spin-off solo titles that don’t last long, but keep having the X-Men guest star. And so…

MARVEL TEAM-UP vol 3 #7 and #10-13
“Master of the Ring, parts 2 and 5-6” / “Titannus War”
#7 and #10 by Robert Kirkman, Scott Kolins & Studio F
#11-13 by Robert Kirkman, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Studio F
April to October 2005

Issue #7 is just a brief cameo on a monitor screen. After that, Wolverine is one of a number of heroes who team up against a cosmic-powered Ringmaster, and then he joins a bunch more heroes to fight the rampaging Titannus. Titannus claims to need the heroes’ help to rescue his love Amissa, but when she shows up and denies the whole story, he kills himself. Afterwards, Wolverine gets to listen in as an alternate Tony Stark explains how things went on his world.

ROGUE vol 3 #7 and #11-12
“Forget-me-Not, parts 1 and 5-6”
#7 and #12 by Tony Bedard, Karl Moline, Rick Magyar & Transparency Digital
#11 by Tony Bedard, Derec Donovan & Transparency Digital
January to June 2005

Issue #7 is just Wolverine leaving a voicemail message for Sunfire. In issues #11-12, Wolverine shows up as one of the X-Men to help an amnesiac Rogue against Mystique and the memory-stealing Blindspot.

GAMBIT vol 4 #2 and #4-6
“House of Cards, parts 2 and 4-6”
#2 and #4-5 by John Layman, Georges Jeanty, Don Hillsman II & Tom Chu
#6 by John Layman, Roger Robinson, James Pascoe, Don Hillsman II & Tom Chu
September 2004 to January 2005

Issue #2 is just another security camera cameo, but the other issues are more substantial appearances:

Gambit steals a deck of magical tarot cards from occultist Morgan Penrose, thwarting rival Jack Jessup and his employer Orlean Cooper. Gambit is captured by Cooper’s henchmen Stone and Alphonse; his friend Dan Down calls the X-Men for help, but by the time Wolverine shows up in response, Down is dead. Wolverine rescues Gambit and after meeting Gambit’s friends Camille d’Aubigne and Ginny d’Aubigne – there were a lot of characters in this book – the two X-Men work up an implausible scheme to set Penrose and Cooper against each other. It involves attacking various criminal dens while impersonating the other X-Men. Convinced that he’s massively outnumbered and out of his league, Alphonse surrenders the tarot cards to Gambit. Wolverine then views the various tarot cards in order to identify the one that will magically blind anyone looking at it (the blindness itself isn’t magical, so he just heals), and departs the plot so that Gambit can take his revenge on his own.

Gosh, that was dense. Wolverine’s really just a gratuitous guest star in a story that’s got enough moving parts already, but at least he’s fun as the surly companion to Gambit’s cheerful anarchism.

X-MEN vol 2 #171 and #174
“Bizarre Love Triangle, parts 1 and 4”
by Peter Milligan, Salvador Larroca, Danny Miki & Liquid!
June to August 2005

A couple of brief background cameos in a story about Mystique trying to break up Rogue and Gambit by posing as sexy teenage student “Foxx”. Wolverine does show up for an X-Men meeting to vote on Mystique’s application for membership, and he seems to be leaning towards admitting her. But he doesn’t get to vote before she gets into fight with student Onyxx and runs away.

NEW X-MEN vol 2 #14
“Year’s End, part 1”
by Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Pete Pantazis
May 2005

Just another couple of background cameos, helping to set up the school dance, and then hanging around as a supervisor.

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #7-10
“The Sentry”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Mark Morales & Morry Hollowell
July to September 2005

The Avengers and various other heroes deal with the Sentry, who has resurfaced in suburban Connecticut. Emma Frost stabilises him and he joins the Avengers, with his Watchtower merging into Avengers Tower. Wolverine is there, but he’s already nothing more than a face in the crowd.

GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS vol 2 #1 (fifth story)
“Memorial Day”
by Matt Yocum, Paul Neary & Stephane Peru

A brief opening cameo, as Spider-Man irritates him with pranks before being taught an important lesson about Avengers history.

HERCULES vol 3 #4-5
5-issue miniseries
by Frank Tieri, Mark Texeira, Jimmy Palmiotti, Raul Trevino & Tatto
July 2005

As part of a modern Twelve Labours, Hercules tries to steal Captain America’s shield (the supposed equivalent of stealing Hippolyta’s girdle). The other Avengers show up, and Hercules is understandably put out to realise that he didn’t even get an invitation to join a team that accepted Wolverine. It’s a surprisingly rare case of characters outright questioning what the heck Wolverine is doing in the Avengers. In issue #5, Hercules throws a party to celebrate completing his tasks; the Avengers show up to get the shield back.

YOUNG AVENGERS vol 1 #11-12
“Family Matters, parts 3-4”
by Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, various inkers & Justin Ponsor
April to June 2006

The Avengers team up with the Young Avengers – Hulkling (Teddy Altman), Wiccan (Billy Kaplan), Patriot (Elijah Bradley), Stature (Cassie Lang), Kate Bishop, Tommy Shepherd and the Vision – to fight Kree and Skrull forces who each claim that Hulkling is the heir to their race’s throne. The fight ends when Hulkling agrees to spend  time in space with both races.

IRON MAN: KISS & KILL (second story)
by Karl Kesel, Eric Nguyen & Andy Troy
June 2010

Sebastian Shaw hires amnesiac thief Glitch to steal Iron Man’s new Solargen device. Wolverine and Iron Man team up to get it back. But Wolverine is secretly repaying a favour he owes to Glitch, by helping her to retrieve genealogical data from Shaw that might help her find out who she really is. Iron Man is furious that Wolverine didn’t let him in on the deal, but Wolverine simply replies that he doesn’t know Iron Man well enough to trust him yet. By the end, Iron Man trusts Wolverine less than before, but Wolverine trusts Iron Man more. This is the sort of character development they should have been doing in New Avengers.

GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS vol 2 #1 (fourth story)
“Emperor None”
by Daniel Merlin Goorbey, Brian Denham & Guru eFX
December 2007

Logan heads out to get beer, and returns in time to summarily kill multiversal conqueror Emperor None, who had been vexing the other Avengers with nightmares while he was away.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN vol 1 #519-522
“Moving Up” / “Acts of Aggression” / “Unintended Consequences” / “Moving Targets”
by J Michael Straczynski, Mike Deodato Jr, Joe Pimentel & Matt Milla
April to July 2005

More background cameos, mostly. Peter Parker, May Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker move into Avengers Tower. Wolverine is either instantly smitten with the new redhead, or pretends to be in order to wind people up – it’s hard to say. He doesn’t get on with the matriarchal Aunt May, either (since she’s the regular character, she gets to tell him off a lot). In the final chapter, Logan is thuddingly unsympathetic about press coverage suggesting that Mary Jane is having an affair with Tony Stark, and gets thrown out of a window for his trouble. Straczynski basically uses Wolverine for comic relief, but that’s fair enough given the fish out of water story that he’s telling with Spider-Man.

“Wild Blue Yonder, parts 1-2 and 6”
by Reginald Hudlin, Billy Tan, Jon Sibal & Ian Hannin
April to September 2005

Meanwhile, in this Spider-Man book, Wolverine is bonding rather better with Mary Jane, and Spider-Man gets jealous about it. That leads to Wolverine drawing blood during a sparring session (which he dismisses as “just a scratch”). Wolverine adamantly denies hitting on Spider-Man’s wife, and is a bit put out when the other Avengers instinctively side with Spider-Man – he sulks in the corner and says that if the other Avengers want him out, they just have to say so. It’s a very 1970s Wolverine and, again, it’s the sort of storyline you’d have expected to see in New Avengers.

All that is just subplot. Wolverine shows up again as a face in the crowd for the finale, involving confused alien Ethan Edwards, who is calmed down by Aunt May and decides to pursue a career in faith healing.

If you think this sort of thing counts as an appearance, then Wolverine contributes to some of the profiles in New Avengers: Most Wanted Files #1 – including one for the Mandrill, who he’s never actually met on panel. And in Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame #1, we’re specifically told that Logan declined to tag along on a trip to Japan.

NIGHTCRAWLER vol 3 #8-11
“The Winding Way, part 2 to 5”
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Darick Robertson, Jimmy Palmiotti & Matt Milla
July to November 2005

Prompted by recent dreams, Kurt Wagner returns home to his circus in Winzeldorf. Logan and Christine Palmer both tag along. They find the circus wiped out by attackers who were looking for Kurt. The trio then head to Kurt’s other former circus, owned by Amos Jardine, to try and pre-empt the next attack. That leads to a fight against a horde of zombies, the Man-Thing and Carrion, as well as Hive, a demon which was possessing Jardine. The demon is actually looking for the Soulsword, which Amanda Sefton hid inside Kurt without telling him.

For the final issue, Hive possesses Wolverine and makes him fight Nightcrawler. Partly because of their close friendship, this is meant to echo Nightcrawler’s fight with his brother Stefan just before Giant-Size X-Men #1. Since Hive is unfamiliar with Wolverine’s body, Nightcrawler beats him pretty easily by … er, breaking his neck. Somehow. The real Wolverine’s spirit spends this time sitting around irritably in a bucolic pastoral landscape which he describes as “my idea of hell”. That final issue at least explains what Wolverine was doing cluttering up the earlier chapters, where he doesn’t contribute much at all.

“Happy Birthday, Kurt!”
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos & Matt Milla
November 2005

Wolverine and Nightcrawler spar in the Danger Room. Later, Logan shows up as a guest at Nightcrawler’s birthday party.

X-Men vol 2 #175-176 by Peter Milligan, Salvador Larroca, Danny Miki & Liquid!
Black Panther vol 3 #8-9 by Reginald Hudlin, David Yardin, Jay Leisten & Dean White
September & October 2005

Investigating reports of animal-based mutants in the African nation of (ahem) Niganda, the X-Men team up with the Black Panther to deal with Dr Erich Paine. Paine has developed a Rogue-style ability to copy mutant powers, and has formed an alliance of convenience with the Red Ghost and his new Super-Apes. But when Paine realises that the Ghost is a true believer who wants to stage a Communist revolution in Niganda, he switches sides and the Ghost is defeated. It doesn’t sound like much when you put it like that, but this is probably the most entertaining story in Peter Milligan’s run, and certainly the most… well, Milligan. Here’s the Red Ghost on Communism: “The dream simply requires a new arena in which to flourish. A new country ripe for Communist rule. A country on its knees. A country riven with strife and anarchy! A country where a new form of Marxist-Leninist Socialism can grow, based on the purity of the ape world. And built around a strong leader with an unshakeable belief in dialectical materialism.”

The other plot thread is that the Panther is thoroughly unimpressed by this particular X-Men team, complaining to Storm about what a useless bunch she’s brought with her, and grumbling about whether “the troll, Wolverine” is her boyfriend. Panther and Wolverine both pick up on each other’s attraction to Storm, and neither of them much likes it.

5-issue miniseries
by David Hine, Jorge Pereira Lucas & Tom Chu
September 2005

The X-Men come running when Colossus has a nightmare.

X-MEN UNLIMITED vol 2 #12 (second story)
“Pain is Necessary, Suffering is Optional”
by Christopher E Long, John Lucas & Raúl Treviño
January 2006

Logan talks down a drunken Puck after a bar fight and persuades him to start rehabbing. A bit simplistic, and it only really makes sense on a meta level based on the comparative profile of the two characters.

X-MEN UNLIMITED vol 2 #14 (second story)
“How to be an Artist”
by Neil Kleid, Mike Oeming & Pete Pantazis
April 2006

Logan attends a showing of Colossus’s paintings. A regular art critic finds them banal, but Logan understands that they’re about Peter’s feelings of lack of purpose.

8-issue miniseries
by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Tim Townsend & Frank D’Armata
June 2005

The Avengers, the X-Men and other heroes gather at Avengers Tower to discuss what to do about the Scarlet Witch, who at this point is both vastly powerful and dangerously mentally ill. (The attendees include “Yellowjacket”, who’ll eventually turn out to be another Skrull impostor.) Wolverine argues for killing her, and dismisses accusations of hypocrisy by saying that he’d want to be killed too in her position. The heroes go to Genosha to see her in person before making a decision, but when they arrive, a reality warp transforms the world. It results in a world where humans are the oppressed minority and mutants rule the world via the royal family of the House of M. In this world, Wolverine works for the S.H.I.E.L.D. Red Guard alongside his partner Mystique.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #33-35
“Chasing Ghosts”
by Daniel Way, Javier Saltares, Mark Texeira & Paul Mounts
September & October 2005

It’s debatable whether Wolverine actually appears in these issues at all, since he’s only seen in flashbacks that form part of his House of M back story. And since House of M is meant to show a temporarily transformed world, it follows that none of this back story ever happened. More to the point, Bendis clearly intends House of M #2 to show Wolverine waking up for the first time in the transformed world, and immediately seeing through it. However, other books like Exiles treated House of M as involving a free-standing universe and Marvel Index ignores Bendis’ intent rather than just jettison three issues of Wolverine. So… here’s what may or may not have happened.

Two weeks before House of M #2, Wolverine and Mystique fight human resistance fighters. Later, the resistance steal a Sentinel from the Mexican puppet government. Logan tracks it down alone, while Mystique tails him. She catches up with him just as he’s confronting a hologram of House of M Nick Fury; Logan pledges to kill every human in the world if he has to in order to stop Fury. In the present-day segments, Mystique and Sebastian Shaw pore over the back story. Shaw eventually figures out that “Fury” was a fake and that Mystique engineered the whole thing to give Logan a sense of purpose in a world where the mutants have nobody of importance left to fight.

It’s a strange story, which teases the idea that Wolverine was always a good guy even within the House of M set-up, only to reveal that he wasn’t. But it chimes with the portrayal of the character in Way’s Wolverine: Origins, and makes some sense as a thematic prequel.

8-issue miniseries
by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Tim Townsend & Frank D’Armata
June to November 2005

Logan wakes up on the Helicarrier with his memories restored. Not only does he know that the world has been altered, but he also now recalls his entire past. (This doesn’t stick, since later stories start talking about memory gaps again after a while. You can square this away on the basis that some of his memory gaps had previously been attributed to his healing factor suppressing traumatic memories; presumably it does so again.)

Logan goes on the run, and tracks down a non-human resistance group led by Luke Cage. This group includes Layla Miller, who can restore people’s memories of the real world (and will go on to be a regular in X-Factor). The group trail around restoring various heroes before heading to Genosha for the climactic battle against Magneto, which ends when the Scarlet Witch decides that mutants are just a destructive force that always go wrong. She announces “no more mutants”, and the world is restored to normal, but with the vast majority of mutants losing their powers. By a happy coincidence, virtually all the X-Men are among the exceptions, including Wolverine – you’d think people would ask awkward questions about this, but very few ever do.

At the end of House of M #8, the remaining X-Men confront a depowered Magneto in Genosha. Wolverine threatens him, but then decides that he deserves his fate. Despite his major role at the start, Wolverine fades into the background as the story goes on. And there’s just not enough plot in this series to merit eight issues.

A few other tie-ins connect to this arc:

  • In Captain America vol 5 #10, the heroes decide not to bother disturbing Steve Rogers, who is a genial pensioner in the House of M timeline. This scene is also shown in House of M #5.
  • In New Avengers vol 1 #45, there’s an alternate take on the final battle with Magneto.
  • In a flashback in Generation M #1, Wolverine and Cyclops hand over the depowered (and thus maimed) Chamber to medics.
  • In Wolverine: Origins #1, we’re told that Wolverine’s new memories appal him; he thinks they reveal him as the worst person he can imagine. More of that to come.
  • And the next two entries also overlap with the final issue…

NEW X-MEN vol 2 #20
“Childhood’s End, part 1”
by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Mark Brooks, Jaime Mendoza & Brian Reber
November 2005

More scenes from the school on M-Day. Logan retrieves the corpse of a student called Hydro from the pool; he overhears Scott and Emma arguing about what to do with the depowered students; and he tries unsuccessfully to persuade X-23 to come back to the Institute.

by Chris Claremont, Randy Green and various others
November 2005

And more reaction. Wolverine tries to call Jubilee (who is now depowered), but she doesn’t pick up. Later, he watches regretfully as the depowered students depart for home – which he thinks is a mistake – and laments that the X-Men have never been hurt this badly before. He also regrets what he’s learned about his own past.

Mutants who still have powers start showing up at the X-Men Mansion looking for shelter, and the X-Men defend them from the Sapien League. Finally, the US government’s new manually piloted Sentinels, Sentinel Squad O*N*E, show up on the lawn (a scene also shown in Sentinel Squad O*N*E #5).

The individual members of the Squad were meant to have personalities, but in most stories they’re completely interchangeable. For what it’s worth, the team consists of Jim Rhodes, Alexander “Lex” Lexington, Tracy “Sky” Skylark, Nathan “Bulletproof” Briggs, Jake Slayton, Joni Shama and “Professor” Emil Winston.

X-MEN vol 2 #177-179
“House Arrest”
by Peter Milligan, Salvador Larroca, Danny Miki & Liquid!
November & December 2005

The X-Men and the Sentinel Squad get off to a singularly bad start, but team up together to fight the Sapien League and its leader the Leper Queen. Wolverine’s role is peripheral. Also, Deadpool supporting character Outlaw (Inez Temple) arrives at the Institute as one of the surviving mutants.

NEW X-MEN vol 2 #21
“Childhood’s End, part 2”
by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Mark Brooks, Jaime Mendoza & Brian Reber
December 2005

Wolverine introduces Laura to some of the remaining students: Elixir, Icarus, Prodigy, Surge (Nori Ashida), Wind Dancer, Dust, Hellion (Julian Keller), Mercury (Cessily Kincaid), Rockslide (Santo Vaccarro) and Tag (Brian Cruz). On Logan’s vouching, Scott accepts Laura as a student, despite Emma’s objections that she’s too dangerous to have around the precious few students that are left. Wolverine refers to Laura as his “sister” here, which is not accurate, but reflects how their relationship was being written at this point.

RUNAWAYS vol 2 #10-12
“East Coast / West Coast, parts 2-4”
by Brian K Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Craig Yeung & Christina Strain
November 2005 to January 2006

Cloak is wrongly accused of attacking a girl. The Avengers track him down to the church of Father Lantom, where they find him talking to Runaway Molly Hayes. Wolverine attacks in a misguided attempt to save her, and she punches him out of the building. He drops out of the plot after that, and doesn’t meet the other Runaways just yet.

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #14-15
“Secrets & Lies” / “Public Relations”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Frank Cho & Jason Keith
December 2005 & January 2006

The Avengers listen as “Spider-Woman” explains her apparent divided loyalties (from the previous arc, which Wolverine wasn’t in). Wolverine thinks she’s telling the truth, but not the full truth, and he isn’t even entirely sure about that. So he’s given an out, at least.

After that, the Avengers finally have their first press conference to announce the new team. Wolverine refuses to take part, insisting that someone with his past should not be getting on a stage and waving. A background cameo in a flashback in Mighty Avengers vol 1 #14 also takes place here.

“Play to Win, part 1”
by Karl Kesel, Carmine di Giandomenico, Robert Campanellaa & Pete Pantazis
October 2005

Just a brief cameo of the Avengers on TV, shortly after the new team has been announced to the world.

MARVEL TEAM-UP vol 3 #14
by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker & Bill Crabtree
November 2005

Invincible (Mark Grayson) visits the Avengers in a rare inter-company crossover. Wolverine is there, but doesn’t say anything.

“A New Light”
by Jim McCann, Alex Chung & Udon
October 2006

Another improbable team-up, as the Avengers team up with Guiding Light (Harley Davidson-Cooper) – a character from the daytime soap opera of the same name – against the Sinister Six. This story is currently missing from the Unlimited edition of the book, probably because it features other characters from the TV show and has nothing to do with the Civil War crossover.

SENTRY vol 2 #1-2
8-issue miniseries
by Paul Jenkins, John Romita Jr, Mark Morales & Dean White
September & October 2005

More cameos. In issue #1, the Avengers fight Attuma. In issue #2, they’re just part of a montage of the Sentry’s life.

by Joss Whedon, John Cassaday & Laura Martin
February 2006

Logan resumes combat training in the now-empty Danger Room with the remaining students – the New X-Men (Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide and Surge), Armor, Match (Ben Hamill), Anole (Victor Borkowski), Indra (Paras Gavaskar), Pixie (Megan Gwynn) and Wolf Cub (Nicky Gleason). Wolverine is rather over the top in terrorising the students, but that’s par for the course for him, and Scott does assure us that it’s all an act. Still, the wisdom of further traumatising the trauma victims seems… debatable even by his standards.

5-issue miniseries
by Paul Jenkins, Ramon Bachs, John Lucas & Art Lyon
May 2006

A brief cameo as the X-Men protect journalist Sally Floyd from serial killer the Ghoul.

NEW X-MEN vol 2 #24
“Crusade, part 1”
by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Brian Reber
March 2006

Logan attends the funerals of students killed by Reverend Stryker’s followers.

DOC SAMSON vol 2 #1-2
5-issue miniseries
by Paul Di Fillipo, Fabrizio Florentino, Jimmy Palmiotti, Val Staples & William Mural
January & February 2006

Two more cameos on monitor screens.

4-issue miniseries
by Frank Tieri, Juan Santacruz & Moose Bauman
March to June 2011

Wolverine brings Hercules along for his annual attack on Matsu’o Tsurayaba. Matsu’o has formed an alliance with the river god Achelous and assorted Greek mythological characters such as Eurytheus, the Minotaur, the Nemean Lion, Odyssues, the Kraken and Medusa. Wolverine gets turned to stone, but Pluto restores him so that he can do more killing. Eventually Wolverine kills Matsu’o and puts him out of his misery, only for the Hand to resurrect him, to his utter horror. (This has to be a flashback story, since Matsu’o had already been killed off in the 2009-10 Psylocke miniseries.)

There are a couple of nice ideas about Wolverine being a modern immortal hero from a modern version of mythology, but the story doesn’t really work them into the plot.

“The Promise”
by Daniel Way, Ken Knudtsen & Jose Villarrubia
March 2006

Wolverine visits the grave of Lukas Maier, a Nazi scientist that he pledged to kill in 1943, in a framing sequence for a flashback story. The gravestone shows that Maier died in the year of publication, and it’s left ambiguous whether Wolverine killed him or caught up with him just too late.

Marvel Unlimited has this comic listed as I (Heart) Marvel #2, despite the clear #1 on the cover.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #36-40
“Origins & Endings”
by Daniel Way, Javier Saltares, Mark Texeira & JD Smith
November 2005 to March 2006

In practice, this is the first arc of Way’s ongoing series Wolverine: Origins, which launched the following month.

Now that he remembers his full past, Wolverine starts hunting people down for revenge. When word gets round that his memory has returned, a lot of dodgy people start killing themselves or desperately shredding records. Like a lot of Origins stories, much of this is framing material for flashbacks which we already covered in the back story instalments – in this case, it’s the origin of the Muramasa Blade, and the involvement of the Winter Soldier in the death of Logan’s wife. Finally, Logan reclaims the Blade from Muramasa himself, who tells Logan to “wield it like an angry god”. A version of that last scene also appears in flashback in All-New Wolverine #25.

At this stage Way seems to be setting up a straightforward spy conspiracy story; there’s no sign at this point of the dreaded Romulus, which is hardly surprising because he won’t be created until issue #50, in a story that doesn’t seem to have much to do with Way’s initial plans at all.

But more on Origins next time, when that series gets underway, and Marc Guggenheim takes over the main book.

Bring on the comments

  1. Allan M says:

    I think Bendis’ X-Men isn’t talked about much since it’s pretty inconsequential aside from introducing Goldballs/Egg and Eva, and outing Iceman as gay. The big storylines are that Cyclops becomes radicalized (he goes back to normal), and the potential impact of the O5 being brought to the present (nothing, as it turns out!). I can recap X-Men history and just plain skip the Bendis run. It’s not even laughably terrible. It’s just not worth thinking about.

    Whereas BendisVengers post-Siege is textbook, all-timer “writer should have left the series and kept going despite having no ideas or plan” poster child alongside Wolfman on New Titans and Gruenwald on Captain America.

  2. Thom H. says:

    The giant roster was absolutely Bendis’ worst problem with his Legion. If you’re not going to do any work to establish or build the concept, then you can’t start with basically every Legionnaire ever (with a few exceptions) *plus* a handful of new mystery characters.

    I’ve been a fan of the Legion since the ’80s and I was rooting for this reboot to work, and even with that amount of investment I would still have trouble telling you who some of the redesigned characters were supposed to be. That’s how much Bendis neglected some of them. So why did he include them in the first place? Either start with fewer characters and introduce new ones gradually or go the Levitz route and focus on a handful of them every issue. Honestly, it’s like the guy had never read the series before.

    And I have a lot of forgiveness for Sook — he may not be the greatest at enormous group shots, but he’s not the one who wrote enormous group shots into every issue for no reason. If I were an artist and a Legion fan, I’m not sure I could pass up the chance to redesign the team from the ground up regardless of how iffy the ensuring project might turn out.

  3. GN says:

    Chris V> Speaking of the Avengers as the Justice League, Hickman’s Avengers fit that template better than Bendis.

    I’d actually argue that Hickman’s Avengers was based on the Legion of Super-Heroes as opposed to Bendis’s Justice League inspired Avengers. It’s no secret that Hickman was a huge LoSH fan so I suspect when he got the Avengers book, he decided to write a thinly-veiled Legion fanfiction.

    If you look at the roster for Hickman’s Avengers Machine, you can map every member to a corresponding member of the Legion. Some of them are obvious (Hyperion > Mon-El, Smasher > Ultra-Boy, Shang-Chi > Karate Kid, Captain Universe > Star Boy), others are more obscure, but I feel like we can come up with a full list if we had the time.

    The Illuminati are a sinister version of the United Planets – leaders of various nations / planets come together to solve an unsolvable problem; the Illuminati are the true power behind the Avengers Machine / the Legion.

    The substitution-cipher Builder Code language used during the run is a reference to the Legion’s Interlac.

    Infinity is based on The Great Darkness Saga, with Thanos being the Darkseid equivalent and the Black Order being the Fatal Five equivalent.

    Time Runs Out is based on Five Years Later, with a ‘eight months later’ time skip instead of a ‘five years later’ time skip.

    Secret Wars is based on Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour, with the Multiverse being destroyed and then restored, and with the current iteration of the Avengers collapsing, giving way to a new roster.

  4. The Other Michael says:

    Thom’s nailed it with regards to what went wrong with Bendis’ Legion. Too many characters doing nothing, new characters who never got developed, and a story that went nowhere. (And after introducing the concept of the shoulder tags who identified characters IN UNIVERSE, as inspired by comic book captains, they were never used for the benefit of READERS. WHHHYYYY.)

    I love the Legion of Superheroes, but man, they’ve just been done dirty for a long time now. Is it so hard to do a series about future teens, each of whom hails from a different planet and who has a unique power, working to make the universe a better place?

    I’d start small with half a dozen or so, and build the team up gradually… or else do single issue stories or short arcs that focus on specific members. Spend a year getting to know the team, then have a big storyline where they all get to shine. (Like, an issue with the original three, an Espionage Squad storyline, something where Brainiac 5 has to team up with Mon-El or another punchy-person, a Shrinking Violet/Colossal Boy teamup…)
    And yeah, introduce all of the old favorites over time, because lord knows just about every Legionnaire is someone’s favorite, even Quislet. No need to introduce new ones when there’s such a deep roster to draw from.

    GN: I hadn’t looked at it like that. Mind blown.

  5. YLu says:

    Hickman also all but confirmed on his Substack that the DC book he was set to do before Marvel lured him back with the Head of X offer was the Legion. No, he didn’t outright name it but he said it was a DC book that took place in the future, and as GN said, he’s made no secret of his Legion fandom. Two and two together, right?

    It’s made me wonder if the 10 lives of Moira thing originally started, in a significantly different form, as part of his Legion pitch, as a way to make ALL the reboots count as parts of one giant saga.

  6. Mike Loughlin says:

    Wow, I had no idea Hickman was a Legion fan (I don’t read a lot of creator interviews, also not subscribed to Substack) but that makes so much sense.

    YLu: “It’s made me wonder if the 10 lives of Moira thing originally started, in a significantly different form, as part of his Legion pitch, as a way to make ALL the reboots count as parts of one giant saga.”

    I could see the Moira part being played by R.L. Brande. He has to ensure the Legion is formed in every timeline, so he makes sure the three founders are around to stop a crime in his presence over and over across lifetimes.

  7. Luis Dantas says:

    That sounds like something of a thematic follow-up to the 1990s largely ignored story that established that R.J. Brande had been displaced in time from the 30th to the 20th century and assumed the identity of the Durlanian to be present at the founding of L.E.G.I.O.N.

  8. Dave says:

    “Sure, Marvel keeps pulling out new groups of characters for the X-men to butt heads with (Avengers, Inhumans, Fantastic Four, Eternals, Avengers again), but what story is happening in the X-books themselves? Practically nothing besides “Krakoa!” and “Resurrection!” and the yearly “New team!””.

    X-Men badly needs new villains, and has done for a long time now. Then one of the big ideas of HoXPoX is that all of the major villains become allies, which makes it even MORE of an issue.

    Bendis’ X run was pretty terrible. The Cyclops ‘revolution’ story was laughably under-developed, the whole O5 bit was pointless, the Original Sin tie-in that didn’t tie in to Original Sin went on way too long (with Wolverine just disappearing in the middle because he’d DIED in the meantime) and at the end the big flop of the climax of the revolution took up the space where it was supposed to set up Cyclop’s situation going into Secret Wars. Also, Mystique and Sabretooth just become crime bosses, because Bendis ALWAYS has to have crime bosses as major villains.

  9. Thom H. says:

    @Dave: Too true about the need for new X-villains. Once every major villain has had their own alternate universe story, it’s time for something new.

    @The Other Michael: I would read all of that. Also, how about a recruitment drive to give the creative team an excuse to thoroughly introduce new characters? P.S. I adore Quislet.

  10. YLu says:

    That was part of Duggan’s stated goal for his first year of X-Men: Create a new bench of X-villains to replace all the folks who have now allies in the Krakoan era.

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Oh wow, I haven’t thought his run was a horrible failure, but jugded by that metric… Oof.

  12. Moo says:

    Meh. A writer would have to keep coming up with god-level villains to replace the old foes. The X-Men have an island full of reservists. It’s bloody ridiculous. Best thing that could happen to the X-Men right now is for that stupid island to swallow them whole (excluding about a dozen or less of the OGs).

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I keep thinking about that. He wanted to create a new rogues gallery for the X-Men? It’s hard to believe looking at the results. Bringing Cordyceps Jones, MODOK and High Evolutionary into conflict with the X-Men doesn’t make them x-villain. I mean, nobody else is using Cordyceps, so maybe he’ll stick (once he revives from a spore or something), but MODOK and HE will go back to their usual roles. Doctor Stasis is just a wonky Sinister clone/original – hardly a new archenemy.

    So what we’re left with is… Feilong. Who hasn’t actually confronted the X-Men yet.

    That’s a pitiful result if your mission statement was to create new antagonists.

  14. Dave says:

    We had Genesis/Annihilation (and the whole of the Arakki) as new villains…who all became non-villains almost instantly.

  15. Chris V says:

    Hickman’s run was supposed to set up post-humanity, AI, Orchis, and Moira as the gravest threats to mutants. Since Hickman left, the books do feel aimless again.
    The overarcing theme of the X-Men for years was a select group of mutants secretly fighting for a “world that fears and hates them”, while following Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence. With Morrison, the overarcing theme was mutants living a world where Xavier’s dream seemed achievable. After Morrison, the books were stuck with the theme of mutants as an “endangered species” and mutants as their own worst enemy. Now, with Hickman gone, there doesn’t seem to be any point to the stories again. The major theme is all mutants living on an island.

  16. YLu says:


    I’d say it’s mutants dealing with the growing pains and pushback of becoming a nation.

  17. ASV says:

    The good news is this will all turn on a dime again once it’s decided how mutants will be handled in the MCU.

  18. Mike Loughlin says:

    The Krakoan era has been about how a mutant nation is formed, its processes & problems, and how it relates to the rest of the world. Due to the mutants’ new political power, other forces have opposed them (hostile nations, Orchis). Internally, mutants have been beset by interpersonal strife (various QC member squabbles, Onslaught) and roadblocks (what to do about children and schooling, establishing and enforcing laws). They also have to reconnect with or battle other fantastical nations (Otherworld, Shi’Ar, Arakko).

    The post HoXPoX E-books haven’t been perfect, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say practically nothing’s been happening.

  19. Josie says:

    “I think Bendis’ X-Men isn’t talked about much since it’s pretty inconsequential”

    Well, there were basically no stories in all those issues, were there? Every single arc just reiterated the same premise. “Here are these characters from the past coming to terms with some characters in the present.” That’s not a story. I think Bendis got a bloated head from his first Spider-men miniseries that was just Peter Parker and Ultimate Aunt May et al crying over and over, and spent three years on X-Men rehashing that story.

  20. Si says:

    It’d be interesting if this era ends with the bad guys taking over Krakoa, and the X-Men become refugees in New York. Everyone hates and fears them because X-Men are mutants, mutants are Krakoans, and Krakoans are evil.

    The ending will be a lot more final than that though. It’s obvious that the nation of Krakoa will end with the end of Hickman’s arc, because otherwise they’d just end it and add stories after that, instead of stretching out the middle as they have.

    But what if there’s a whole new generation of bad guys from the X-Men’s own stock. Nature Girl turned. Hellion and whatsisname the gold healer guy traditionally walked the line and might still go the wrong way. Who else might embrace mutant superiority, or turn to evil out of disaffection or sheer boredom? Rictor? Prodigy? Boom Boom?

  21. Andrew says:

    Bendis’ career in the past decade has been so odd.

    He left the Avengers books a few years after he probably should have (with Siege), did the X-books but while it sells decently, nobody seems to particularly like it all that much.

    He kept going with his Ultimate stuff but that ended up flying under the radar a bit.

    Then he goes to DC with plenty of fanfare and takes over Superman but ends up leaving that much earlier than expected.

    Likewise his Justice League run appeared to get cut short too.

    What happened?

  22. Moo says:

    “The Krakoan era has been about how a mutant nation is formed.”

    Yeah, but it’s time to wrap it up already. First it was Claremont doing this sort of thing (poorly) in Excalibur v2, then we got Utopia, now we have this. Wish they’d get it out of their system.

    As far as mutant communities go, I much preferred the Mutant Town concept. Too bad it was wasted on a mediocre police procedural series before getting gutted by Decimation. I loved Mutant Town because it was a “fixer-upper” version of Xavier’s dream. It wasn’t just mutants living there. Humans lived there too. Granted, they were bound together moreso by poverty than tolerance and understanding, but hey, it’s a start. Figured Xavier would’ve been more inclined to help out in Mutant Town rather than depart for a dead island, but oh well.

  23. Thom H. says:

    Yeah, I guess it’s unfair to say that nothing’s happening in the X-books these days. It’s just that most of it seems to be political maneuvering, which I don’t find particularly compelling.

    I don’t care who decides the fate of Arakki, for example. Or who exactly is on the Quiet Council at the moment. Maybe it’s too close to the political reality in the U.S. right now for my tastes, but it’s just not for me.

    I’d much rather see the X-Men fight a thematically relevant villain who has a dastardly plan. I guess Mr. Sinister is the closest we’ve got to that right now. And I hold out some hope that his forthcoming big move will be interesting.

    It’s too bad that Orchis and Nimrod basically came to nothing in the end. I mean, that organization consisted of multiple other evil Marvel groups like AIM and Hydra, right? And Nimrod was self-replicating in Inferno, if I recall correctly. Where are they and why have they been so quiet for so long?

  24. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It’s not that Orchis is made up of AIM and Hydra in their entirety, it’s just that Orchis personnel came from / was still working undercover in AIM, Hydra, SHIELD etc.

    And Orchis remains a looming threat. They still control Phobos via Feilong, still have innumerable bases all over Earth. But after XDoW/XLoW… X/DoWLoW? Anyway, Orchis’s main active agent is now Murderbot Moira, unfortunately.

    I don’t think we’ve even seen her interact with Nimrod?

    On the other hand Nimrod declared in Inferno his disdain for humanity. The human members of Orchis don’t know that, but maybe it’ll be explained he’s already moved on to the ‘eliminate mutants AND humans’ part of his plan and stopped caring about Orchis. Or something like that.

    Tldr – we’ll probably see the main Orchis plot in Duggan’s X-Men, since that’s where Feilong was making his moves, MODOK was brought into Orchis etc.

  25. Mike Loughlin says:

    I totally get not liking the Krakoa era. Right now, I love two of the main books (Red & Immortal) but most of the rest of the line has petered out. I will grant that X-Men & Marauders might improve post-A.X.E., but I doubt they will become better than B-tier.

    Anyway, I actually like the political intrigue and character spotlights. I want to see Nimrod & Orchis make their moves, too, but I also want to see Destiny’s conflict with Sinister play out and the ongoing mixing of cultures on Arakko. When Gillen & Ewing leave, I’ll be ready for a new status quo.

  26. Josie says:

    Now I’m reading Bendis’s creator-owned series Scarlet and . . . christ this is so bizarre.

    So this is like . . . leftist political fan fiction? But as if a normie or a libertarian was writing it.

    A white woman’s white boyfriend is wrongly murdered by a cop and is framed as a drug trafficker. The woman is fed up with police corruption and begins kidnapping and murdering three police, and then she and a friend snipe police from a rooftop.

    She is supposed to be just a normal human woman in a world with no fantasy elements. She has no training, no tech savviness. Even though the police know her full name, at no point do they investigate her, her family, her associates. There are no police on other rooftops or helicopters pursuing her. It’s Bendis’s worst habits of jumping from big scene to big scene without actually telling the story of how the characters got there. This woman just keeps singlehandedly outgunning the police because the story requires it.

    It’s a good concept for a story, but Bendis is the last person who should be writing it.

  27. Josie says:

    “Then he goes to DC with plenty of fanfare and takes over Superman but ends up leaving that much earlier than expected.”

    Uh, did he? He wrote at least 70 issues altogether (more than 30 issues of Superman and Action, the Man of Steel miniseries, two Leviathan miniseries and a Checkmate series). His last couple arcs on both Action and Superman were completely pointless. It felt like he’d said everything he wanted to say after the first 12 issues of each.

  28. Thom H. says:

    @GN: I enjoyed that analysis of the Phoenix Force more than I have any actual Phoenix story since Morrison. Thank you for sharing!

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