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Jan 1

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2008

Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2023 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
2004 |2005 | 2006 | 2007

For once, the start of this year makes a nice break point for Wolverine. Last time we went up to the January 2008 issue of his solo book, which completes the Marc Guggenheim run. His new regular writer is going to stick with him for several years and several books.

At this point, Wolverine is a regular character in WolverineWolverine: OriginsUncanny X-MenAstonishing X-Men and New Avengers. So clearly something’s going to give… right?

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #38
“The Breakup”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos & Jose Villarrubia
February 2008

Danny Rand gives the New Avengers one of his apartments as a new base. Wolverine shows up for that bit, in what’s otherwise a Luke and Jessica story.

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #39
by Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack & Jose Villarrubia
March 2008

This is an Echo spotlight story, but Wolverine is in it prominently. She thinks the Skrull conspiracy theory is just a way for the New Avengers to justify to themselves the disastrous state of their lives, but Logan points out that this theory doesn’t explain why he’s there, as “my life’s about the same level of disaster it always was”. Later, he saves her from a Skrull who tries to replace her, proving the conspiracy theory right. There’s a suggestion in here that Logan and Echo have slept together at some point, which is probably best forgotten about.

“The Mutant Hunter”
by Christos Gage & Mario Alberti
March 2009

The X-Men and Spider-Man team up against Xraven, a clone of Kraven the Hunter who was created by Mr Sinister to hunt down surviving mutants and collect their DNA.

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #14-18
“Torn, parts 2-6”
by Joss Whedon, John Cassaday & Laura Martin
April to November 2006

Bizarrely, we now jump back to Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men from two years previously. This is partly due to ludicrous delays, but also because of a lack of break points in the run, and a number of 2008 stories in other books that reference Whedon’s finale.

The X-Men are seemingly attacked by a new Hellfire Club – a treacherous Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Cassandra Nova, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Perfection – whose psychic attack leaves Logan as a frightened child. The idea is meant to be that he’s reset to his little Victorian rich kid persona from Origin. Even in this state, Logan tries to help Kitty Pryde fight the bad guys, on the grounds that it would be wrong to hide behind a girl – but he’s not much use to her. It turns out that the Hellfire Club are all just illusions projected by Emma, who is acting under a psychic suggestion once placed in her by Cassandra Nova, and is trying to create a distraction so that Cassandra can escape. Supposedly Emma is confronting the X-Men with their worst fears, though Logan’s regression to childhood is a weird take on that idea. Anyway, before any of this can be fully tied up, Abigail Brand shows up and drags everyone off to the Breakworld.

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #19-24
by Joss Whedon, John Cassaday & Laura Martin
December 2006 to January 2008

This is where the delays really set in – a six-issue arc in a “monthly” comic that somehow took over a year.

Brand and S.W.O.R.D. (including Agent Deems and Sydren) take the X-Men to the Breakworld, where Powerlord Kruun plans to fire a planet-destroying weapon at the Earth. The team get scattered around the Breakworld, and Logan winds up with Hisako – still being written as a schoolgirl rookie, but she takes the name Armor during this arc. Whedon is obviously setting her up for a reprise of Logan’s relationships with Kitty Pryde and Jubilee, and some later writers try to follow through on that, but it kind of peters out.

Despite taking the usual tough love stance with Armor, Wolverine is clearly impressed by her, and unilaterally declares her to be a new X-Man. Finally, the X-Men, Danger and rebel leader Aghanne battle Kruun’s forces. The prophecy that one of the X-Men will destroy the Breakworld turns out to have been engineered by Aghanne, who is so dispirited by Breakworld’s brutality that she’s trying to engineer a conflict to destroy the place. Kitty phases into the planet-destroyer weapon as it launches, planning to disarm it, only to find that there’s nothing to disarm, because it’s just a giant bullet.

by Joss Whedon, John Cassady & Laura Martin
May 2008

Again, yes, that really is the date.

Ord defeats Aghanne and saves the Breakworld. When Kruun confirms that there’s no way of saving Kitty, Wolverine cuts off his arm. Colossus takes advantage of his reputation from the prophecy, and declares himself ruler of the planet. (As usual when X-Men make this sort of decision, he won’t stick around to actually do it.)

For reasons that elude me, the bullet somehow crosses the interstellar distance to Earth in a remarkably short timescale. Kitty saves Earth by phasing the giant bullet through the planet, but remains stuck inside as the bullet flies off into space. Back at the Mansion, the X-Men lament her loss, but – continuing Whedon’s  attempt to position Armor as his next sidekick – Logan is snapped out of his funk when she challenges him to spar.

And that was the Joss Whedon run. Very pretty, but really quite slow even when read in one sitting.

X-Men: Messiah Complex by Ed Brubaker, Marc Silvestri, Joe Weems & Frank D’Armata
Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #492-494 by Ed Brubaker, Billy Tan, Danny Miki & Frank D’Armata
X-Factor vol 3 #25-27 by Peter David, Scot Eaton, John Dell & Frank D’Armata
New X-Men vol 2 #44-46 by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas & Edgar Delgado
X-Men vol 2 #205-207 by Mike Carey, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend & Brian Reber
October 2007 to January 2008

For the first time since M-Day, Cerebro detects a powerful new mutant signal in Alaska – a newborn who will eventually be named Hope Summers. By the time the X-Men arrive, Hope is gone, and the town has been wrecked by a battle between the Marauders and the Purifiers (both of whom also know about Hope). The X-Men conclude that the Marauders have abducted Hope and must have brought her Mr Sinister. They turn out to be wrong, but this is a 13-part crossover and busy work is needed, so Wolverine’s squad of X-Men spend several issues tracking down former Acolytes (including Gargouille (Lavinia Lablance)) and confronting Sinister before discovering that Cable had the baby all along.

Sentinel Squad O*N*E get turned into human-Sentinel hybrids by nanotech and destroy the X-Men Mansion. This later turns out to be part of Bishop’s scheme to kill Hope, but it’s the end of the Mansion for a few years, and the last we’ll hear of Sentinel Squad O*N*E, who never really did anything other than loom.

Despite the devastation, Cyclops decides that recovering Hope is the top priority, and sends the new X-Force to get her back: Wolverine, Hepzibah, X-23, Warpath, Wolfsbane and Caliban. Wolverine is surprised that Cyclops is sending a bunch of killers after his own son, which is a bit odd since at this stage X-Force is just a bunch of characters with tracking skills. Wolverine is team leader from the outset, a role that he’s always avoided up to this point; maybe he’s  more willing to take the job when it doesn’t involve holding himself out as a hero. He doesn’t trust Warpath to fight his former team leader Cable, which is fair enough, but for some reason he thinks Wolfsbane is a good choice to keep an eye on Warpath for him.

X-Force track down Cable but wind up fighting the Marauders again. During the fight, Wolverine warns Warpath and Wolfsbane – the two nicest members of the new X-Force – that they will die if they aren’t prepared to use lethal force against the Marauders. A distorted version of this fight also appears in flashback in Deadpool vs Gambit #4, which conflates it with the Mutant Massacre; and another version the fight is in flashback in X-Men Legacy vol 1 #208. Complicating matters further, the New X-Men kids show up, on the run from a mutant-hunting Predator X  creature. Since it has indestructible skin, Wolverine lets it eat him and then destroys it from the inside.

Cyclops agrees that Cable should take Hope into the future and raise her there. Bishop, who believes that the baby is guaranteed to cause disaster, tries to shoot her, but winds up shooting Professor X instead; the Marauders spirit the Professor’s body away, as seen in flashback in X-Men Legacy #208. The X-Men are shocked, and Cyclops announces that without the Professor, there are no X-Men. As we’ll see, this doesn’t last long.

This juggernaut 13-part crossover is surprisingly coherent, though it does feature quite a bit of padding. It introduces the new X-Force, who’ll get their own series shortly. It’s also the turning point where things start looking up for the X-Men, at least in plot terms – in tone, Astonishing was already lighter. In fact, “Messiah Complex” is bleak and rainy in comparison, except in the New X-Men issues, which are drawn by Humberto Ramos in a style wildly at odds with the rest of the arc.

WOLVERINE vol 3 #62-65
“Get Mystique!”
by Jason Aaron, Ron Garney & Jason Keith
February to May 2008

Welcome to the Jason Aaron run, which will take us into the 2010s. There’s actually a lengthy interruption after this first arc, but the Aaron run basically starts here.

Immediately after “Messiah Complex.” Cyclops sends Wolverine to kill Mystique, who has slipped away in the confusion. (A version of this scene also appears in flashback in Cable vol 2 #6.) Wolverine chases her through Iran and Afghanistan, while she impersonates him in order to turn the locals against him in advance. Intercut with this are extended flashbacks to Logan and Mystique’s first meeting back in 1921. He finally catches up to her in a bar in the Baghdad Green Zone, where she claims to have no regrets and questions why Wolverine suddenly cares so much about her betraying the X-Men for the umpteenth time. Naturally, she escapes again.

While Mystique kills off the visiting Senator Miles Brickman and takes his place, Logan hooks up with Mordad, a guerrilla fighter who helped him against the Russians in 1986. Logan blows himself up in a car bomb in order to get taken into the high security part of Baghdad, fights Mystique again, and winds up chasing her into the Syrian desert for a final battle. During that fight – where Mystique seems to be fighting naked for no terribly clear reason – Mystique argues that Logan resents her because she never settled down and “bec[a]me a reservation Indian, like you”. She argues that he sees the X-Men as his last shot of redemption, that he can’t deal with the fact that she walked away from that opportunity, and that in reality it’s in both of their natures to betray the X-Men. (That ties in with Logan betraying Mystique in the flashbacks.) They fight to a standstill, but Wolverine naturally recovers first. He insists that he’s nothing like her, and spends every waking hour atoning for his mistakes – then abandons her in the desert to bleed to death, in order to make a point that nobody will come for her. Thoughtfully, he does leave her a gun to shoot herself with.

Obviously, as an interpretation of Mystique, this is highly questionable. Mystique’s relationships with Destiny and to Rogue are defining traits, albeit that both were severed at this point in time. And she’s spent much of her career working in teams. But that aside, it’s a strong start to the Aaron/Garney run, harking back to the tongue-in-cheek machismo of Larry Hama’s stories.

The rest of the 2008 Wolverine issues are part of the “Old Man Logan” storyline by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, which runs through to issue #72. That takes place in an alternate future timeline, and the “real” Wolverine doesn’t appear at all.

“Sometimes it Snows in April”
by Zeb Wells, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend & Antonio Fabela
April 2008

When the DB (as the Daily Bugle is currently called) accuses Spider-Man of a string of killings, Logan tells him that it obviously isn’t true, since “You don’t have it in you.” When Spider-Man comments that Logan says that like it’s a bad thing, Logan kind of shrugs. He helps Spider-Man fight a bunch of mysterious ninja types and has to be talked out of killing one of them. There’s a clever bit when Logan points out how much damage he took in the fight, and Spider-Man basically accuses him of deliberately taking damage so that he’ll have an excuse to retaliate. Logan just smirks, then drops out of the plot.

“Lights Out”
by Mike Carey, Scot Eaton, Andrew Hennessy & Frank D’Armata
May 2008

A cameo, giving the Beast a lift to the ruins of the Xavier Institute.

“The Animal Man”
by David Lapham, Stefano Gaudiano & Matt Milla
May 2008

Logan saves a Bronx bus driver from a stabbing, unknowingly inspiring the mentally unstable man to become a local vigilante – who gets himself killed on his first night.

“Coney Island Baby”
by David Lapham, Stefano Gaudiano & Matt Milla
May 2008

Logan hunts down a vigilante who has been gunning down gangsters, as well as innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. As tends to be the case in Lapham stories, there’s a horror twist on the seemingly familiar premise, as the gunman turns out to be a series of people all possessed by a tiny mutant child parasite. Even though he fears it’ll grow into a monster, Logan lets it go.

FANTASTIC FOUR vol 1 #556-557
“World’s Greatest, parts 3-4”
by Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch
April & May 2008

Wolverine is among the many superheroes who help the Fantastic Four battle the out-of-control robot C.A.P.

by Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch, Cam Smith, Andrew Currie & Paul Mounts
December 2008

Wolverine attends the funeral of an alternate future Invisible Woman. Specifically, she’s from the timeline of Millar’s “Old Man Logan” arc.

Mourners that Wolverine hasn’t met before include Valeria RichardsGauntlet (Joseph Green) and the deceased’s team the New Defenders – Hulk Jr (Robert Banner), Natalie X, Alex Ultron, Lightwave, Psionics and the Hooded Man. The Hooded Man is the alternate Wolverine from the original “Old Man Logan” timeline, and Wolverine does realise who he is, but the Hooded Man simply replies “Don’t even ask.”

Just to be clear, there are two “Old Man Logan” timelines. The first is Mark Millar’s original story, and his own later stories expressly picking up on the same characters. The other is the one seen in the Old Man Logan series of the mid 2010s. The events of the original “Old Man Logan” arc are basically canon to both. It’s all needlessly confusing.

X-FORCE vol 3 #1-6
“Angels and Demons”
by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost & Clayton Crain
February to July 2008

Just what Wolverine needs – another ongoing series!

Cyclops asks Wolverine to reassemble X-Force and take down the Purifiers. Wolverine is willing to work with Wolfsbane and Warpath (who wants revenge on the Purifiers anyway, for killing Caliban during “Messiah Complex”). But he objects strongly to including X-23, arguing that she doesn’t have the ability to make her own decisions yet, and that he brought her to the X-Men in order to be deprogrammed and learn to be a real person. Unfortunately, Cyclops has already sent her on the Purifiers’ trail, so Wolverine doesn’t get a say.

The Purifiers quickly capture Wolfsbane, and drug her with heroin because it’s that sort of book. The Purifiers are notionally led by Matthew Risman, but they’re also getting conflicting orders from Stryker and Bastion. On top of that, they’re working with Rahne’s loathsome father Reverend Craig, despite the fact that he was previously just a small-time civilian bigot. Wolverine, Warpath and X-23 go after the Purifiers, despite Wolverine’s incessant warnings to them both to walk away before they kill anyone and cross a line. Neither of them takes the hint, and Warpath does indeed kill people (to protect X-23), which is basically his arc in this series. X-23, meanwhile, is blithely setting off incendiary bombs without warning her teammates, on the grounds that they can take it.

After Wolfsbane is rescued, Elixir is brought in to heal her, dragging another innocent into this supposed black ops group. Wolfsbane has been brainwashed to attack Angel on sight, and she cuts off his wings and takes them to the Purifiers. Again, it’s that sort of book. Cloned wings are grafted onto assorted  Purifiers, who become the Choir; meanwhile, Warren turns into Archangel. In a rather bizarre finale, X-Force discover that Bastion has used the techno-organic virus to resurrect assorted villains, including Graydon Creed, Stephen Lang and Bolivar Trask. And Wolfsbane kills Reverend Craig when he stands in front of a picture of some wings and accidentally triggers her hypnotic prompt by looking vaguely angelic.

Oh, and somewhere in here, there’s a Purifer called Eli Bard, who is secretly trying to trick all his teammates into sacrificing their souls to Death. Wolverine does meet him, but he probably doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

There’s an awful lot going on in this arc, and some of it is quite good. The basic angle for Wolverine is that he’s always defined himself as the guy who protects the other X-Men from having to do this sort of thing, and now finds himself forced by circumstances into a role where he’s dragging them into it instead. That’s quite a strong idea. Some of the internal manoeuvring of the Purifiers works too. But the grimdark elements drag it down, and Clayton Crain’s murky art has never appealed to me.

X-FORCE: AIN’T NO DOG (second story)
“Hunters & Killers”
by Jason Aaron, Werther Dell’edera, Antonio Fuso & Andrew Crossley
June 2008

Wolverine talks to Warpath about the handful of opponents he’s killed thus far; Warpath is determined not to forget them, and Wolverine replies that “you won’t.”

3-issue miniseries
by Brian K Vaughan, Eduardo Risso & Dean White
March to May 2008

Following House of M, Logan has regained his memory of fighting Ethan Warren at the site of the Hiroshima bomb. Logan returns to Hiroshima to confront Ethan, who has been stuck haunting the area ever since. During the fight, Ethan tears out Wolverine’s heart and eats it, which somehow restores him to human form; Wolverine promptly beheads Warren to kill him for real. While he heals, he has a vision of Atsuko, the woman he met in Hiroshima first time around, offering to remove his traumatic memories again. Presumably he turns down the offer, but we’re not directly told.

by Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña & Michelle Madsen
June 2008

Logan spends some time in Bangkok, helping a monk called Klahan to curb drug gangs and traffickers, without resorting to violence. Still, Logan thinks the crime syndicates are out of control and there’s a limit to what he can do without force. When an apparent victim, Dao, turns out to be the crimelord herself, and her thugs have Klahan killed, Logan rejects Klahan’s dying pleas for him to keep to the moral high ground, and kills Dao instead.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #495-499
“X-Men: Divided”
by Ed Brubaker, Mike Choi & Sonia Oback
February to June 2008

With Professor X gone, the X-Men have disbanded at least for the moment. Logan and Kurt join Peter on a trip home to Russia, where they fight the Red Room and Omega Red in what amounts to a subplot. At the end, they get a call from Scott inviting them to join him in San Francisco for the X-Men’s new direction.

4-issue miniseries
by Jason Aaron, Stephen Segovia & John Rauch
October 2008 to February 2009

The X-Men move in to their new home in San Francisco. Logan only has three boxes, and claims that by his standards, it’s quite a lot.

Thanks to House of M, Logan now remembers the mess he created in Chinatown 50 years ago when he turned down the role of Black Dragon (again, covered in extensive flashbacks in this mini). In his absence, Lin has become the new Black Dragon and still runs Chinatown as its top crimelord. As soon as he shows up, she sets the Black Dragon Death Squad on him: the Rock of the Buddha, the First of Fire, Storm Sword and Soulstriker. Wolverine retreats into the sewers where Master Po trains him in Chinese martial arts – Po claims that his healing factor has made him complacent and that his fighting has been getting worse. Despite the X-Men’s working relationship with the San Francisco authorities, Logan wants to deal with Chinatown himself. Even though everyone there hates him for spurning his responsibilities, the Sons of the Tiger (Lin Sun, Abraham Brown and Bob Diamond) lead the local tongs in an uprising while Logan defeats Li. Logan then belatedly takes up the role of Black Dragon after all.

I’m not wild about this series; it probably requires you to have more affection for martial arts films, and it feels a string of Chinese clichés to me. The Black Dragon thing is clearly intended as a regular set-up for Wolverine stories, but it hardly ever gets mentioned again, and winds up as Wolverine’s equivalent of Storm leading the Morlocks; Aaron will at least quietly tie it up before Wolverine leaves San Francisco.

“Pixies & Demons”
by Mike Carey, Greg Land, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor
April 2008

Pixie has returned home to Abergylid in Wales, which is lucky, because the N’Garai are stalking the town and only her magical abilities can detect them. The X-Men help her defeat them, and then bring her back to San Francisco with them.

by Charlie Huston, Jefte Palo & Lee Loughridge
June 2008

Despite the title, this is a Wolverine solo story. Wolverine tracks down and kills a man who has created a computer chip implant that is designed to trick Cerebro into thinking someone is a mutant. The title refers to the phrase “lying like a dog” – the idea is that Wolverine, for all his faults, is honest about the sort of man he is.

by Simon Spurrier, Ben Oliver & Nestor Pereyra
June 2008

Logan fights mad fox hunter Sir Damien Spencer, who has relocated to New Orleans following the prohibition of fox hunting in England. Desperately unsubtle and not especially timely even when it came out – the hunting ban had been in force for four years by this point.

by Christopher Yost, Koi Turnbull, Sal Regla & Beth Sotelo
August 2008

Wolverine rescues Trance (Hope Abbott) from Nanny (Eleanor Murch) and the Orphan-Maker. The core of the story is Trance thinking that Wolverine is unkillable, and Wolverine giving her some examples of how he can die, which isn’t really enough of a premise to hang an issue on. Uniquely, Orphan-Maker removes his mask in this issue, but we’ll all pretend that didn’t happen.

“Disturbing Consequences”
by Todd DeZago, Steve Kurth, Swerge LaPointe & Joel Seguin
August 2008

An Antarctic research facility is wiped out by a virus, and Wolverine goes in to clear it up, since his healing factor can kill the virus before he returns home. That’s about it, really. Quite weak.

by Marc Guggenheim, Ben Oliver & Jose Villarrubia
September 2008

Wolverine takes Donald Pierce away after his defeat at the hands of the Young X-Men – Rockslide, Blindfold, Dust, Ink (Eric Gitter) and Graymalkin (Jonas Graymalkin). Later, Wolverine also shows up for the meeting where Dani Moonstar and Roberto Da Costa are put in chargeof instructing the youngsters.

by Duane Swierczynski, Mike Deodato Jr & Val Staples
September 2008

Wolverine fights a massive coyote-like creature with a deafening scream, recently unearthed in New Mexico, and apparently animated by the spirit of a Navajo child who has been screaming since a colonist massacre. A rather odd story that feels more interested in the novelty of Wolverine being deaf than it is in the moral.

For reasons best known to Marvel, this issue is listed on Unlimited as Wolverine: Roar #2. (Yes, #2.) Why it was singled out to be called an annual at a time when Marvel was spewing Wolverine one-shots is anyone’s guess.

12-issue miniseries
by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, Steve Sadowski & inLight Studios
June 2008 to June 2009

The demon D’Spayre uses a Cosmic Cube to feed on humanity’s misery resulting from the death of Captain America. As a side effect, the Cube brings the Invaders – Captain America, Bucky, Namor, the Golden Age Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Toro (Thomas Raymond) – to the present from 1943, along with soldier Paul Anselm. The two Avengers teams fight over what to do with the Invaders. The New Avengers defeat D’Spayre and recover the Cosmic Cube. Anselm grabs the Cube and tries to return to 1943 to defeat the Nazis with it, but gets shot almost immediately, leading the Cube to fall into Nazi hands. Avengers from both teams (including Wolverine) travel back in time to sort it out, impersonating local superheroes for cover – Wolverine is Captain Terror. They get to meet the 1940s Black Panther (T’Chaka), and fight the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) and Super-Axis – U-Man (Meranno), Baron Blood (John Falsworth), Thor, Master Man (Wilhelm Lohmer), Warrior Woman (Frieda Ratsel) and Iron Cross (Helmut Gruler). The villains are defeated, the Cube is retrieved, and everything goes back to normal.

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that – it’s 12 issues long – but it’s barely relevant to Wolverine, who’s only here because he was in the cast of New Avengers at the time. Issue #7 even does the schtick where D’Spayre goes through all the heroes telling them about their fears, and skips Wolverine entirely.

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #25-30
“Ghost Box”
by Warren Ellis, Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
July 2008 to June 2009

This is the high point of Marvel being completely indifferent to scheduling, because genius takes time and all that, and Astonishing X-Men under Warren Ellis is especially bad for it.

The X-Men are now living in a San Francisco hotel while building their new base on the Californian mainland. (They won’t be there long.) At this stage the X-Men are being funded by Mutantes Sans Frontières, which in turn is funded by the Black Panther, and they’re “official consultants to the San Francisco Police Department”. That doesn’t fit at all with New Avengers, where the whole team are supposed to be outlaws, and nobody ever really tries to explain it. At a push, you can rationalise it on the basis that all of the X-Men are in fact registered superheroes, so that Logan is not in fact on the run in the same way as the other New Avengers are – but it doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny.

Anyway. The X-Men discover two factions of mutants from alternate realities who are using something called a Ghost Box to travel from world to world, and who seem to be planning an invasion. An insane Forge is planning a pre-emptive strike, and when the X-Men are reluctant to help, he opens the portal to force their hands. A Sentinel starts to come through, but Abigail Brand annihilates everything with a particle beam. Painfully decompressed even when you read it in one sitting. Wolverine does get paired up with Armor, so Ellis at least follows through on that.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #500
“SFX, part 1”
by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Greg Land, Terry Dodson, Jay Leisten, Rachel Dodson & Justin Ponsor
July 2008

Artist Guy DeMondue uses three decommissioned Sentinels in an art installation; San Francisco mayor Sadie Sinclair disapproves, but defends his freedom of speech. The X-Men show up at the opening night, only for Magneto to attack, using a battlesuit to simulate his lost powers. It’s actually a distraction, while the High Evolutionary and the Eternal Kingo Sunen carry out experiments on the Dreaming Celestial – which has been standing in Golden Gate Park since Neil Gaiman’s Eternals series. Logan tracks down De Mondue, intending to find out where he got the Sentinels from, but finds him already dead. Meanwhile, the X-Men declare San Francisco to be a sanctuary for all remaining mutants.

X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #2 (third story)
by Chris Yost, Paco Diaz & Matt Milla
October 2008

This is an Emma Frost story. Wolverine gives her a pep talk about the need to forgive herself for her past crimes.

X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #5 (second story)
by Frank Tieri, Ben Oliver & Frank D’Armata
January 2009

Avalanche is now running a bar in San Francisco. The X-Men tell him that his recent good behaviour doesn’t excuse his past crimes, but since they’re so short of mutants, they’ll turn a blind eye to him as long as he stays out of trouble.

by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Kalman Andrasofszky, Cam Smith & J Roberts
December 2009

This story was published in late 2009 but expressly takes place “circa the mutant migration to San Francisco”. Wolverine appears in one panel, being interviewed alongside the other X-Men about the event.

“The Deep End”
by Daniel Way, Steve Dillon & Matt Mila
January to May 2008

Time for another lengthy block of Origins issues, since it’s another series that lacks natural break points.

Deadpool captures Wolverine after an extended slapstick fight scene that drones on for three painful, abysmal, laughter-free issues. Apparently Deadpool is bitter about the thought that he might be just a failed attempt to re-create Wolverine, but also resents the fact that the X-Men accepted Wolverine’s attempts to redeem himself while rejecting him. Wolverine dismisses Deadpool’s whole schtick as an act.

It turns out that Wolverine hired Deadpool to attack him in the hope that it would draw Daken out. Which makes no sense at all, because Wolverine gets into fights all the time without Daken showing up. But this time he does show up, and as per Wolverine’s plan, Winter Soldier shoots Daken in the head with a carbonadium bullet, interfering with his healing factor and allowing Wolverine to capture him. Wolverine tells Deadpool that he won’t be getting paid, and that nobody should care who would have won the three issue fight. Well, don’t write it, then.

This is terrible. It serves mainly as a trailer for Way’s Deadpool series. It’s also Steve Dillon’s final arc, and once again utterly fails to play to his strengths.

“Son of X”
by Daniel Way, Stephen Segovia & Matt Milla
June & July 2008

Wolverine takes Daken to a hidden base near Newell where he killed some Japanese internees in 1943. He tries to leave Daken there in suspended animation, but instead they come under attack from internees who have survived as cyborgs. Wolverine and Daken escape, but Daken is now amnesiac.

X-Men: Original Sin by Daniel Way, Mike Carey, Mike Deodato, Scot Eaton, Andrew Hennessy, Rain Beredo & Jason Keith
Wolverine: Origins #28-30 by Daniel Way, Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo
X-Men: Legacy #217-218 by Mike Carey, Scot Eaton, Andrew Hennessy & Jason Keith
September to November 2008

Daken remains homicidally violent when faced with any possible threat, but at least he’ll back down when ordered, which Wolverine takes  as a hopeful sign that he can be deprogrammed. He drops Daken off with his Tibetan monk friend Tso Ren Wu, then approaches Professor X (who has just turned up alive and well after all). Logan argues that, based on his recovered memories, Professor X was responsible for creating his current personality – and asks him to do it again for Daken. After some persuasion, Professor X agrees to try.

Meanwhile, Daken has apparently been kidnapped by the Hellfire Club. Wolverine and Professor X fight the ultra-obscure new Inner Circle – Castlemere, Leonine (Peter Scholl) and Tithe (Sandra Morgan). But Daken turns out to be in the hands of the rival faction of Sebastian Shaw and Miss Sinister (Claudine Renko), who are planning to recapture control of the Club.

Professor X’s attempts to enter Daken’s mind simply result in his memories returning, and Daken attacks Wolverine yet again. Daken appears to have false memories of Wolverine killing his mother, and Wolverine seems willing to play along with that to give Daken the closure he needs. But Professor X spells out to Daken what actually happened to her. Daken turns on Shaw, then declares his intention to seek revenge on Romulus. Wolverine offers to team up so that they can kill Romulus together – he claims that while Professor X made him into a proper hero, both he and Daken are now reverting to their true personalities.

“Family Business”
by Daniel Way, Yanick Paquette, Michel Lacombe & Nathan Fairbairn
December 2008 & January 2009

Daken claims that the best way to find Romulus is to follow the trail of blood to the most pointlessly brutal conflict they can find. So they head to the wartorn African nation of Halwan, where a peace agreement has just broken down. Daken makes it abundantly clear that he sees this as purely an alliance of convenience.

Cyber shows up with child soldiers in tow, claiming that he too wants revenge on Romulus. Wolverine and Daken team up against Cyber, but Daken switches sides. He’s meant to be faking, but he changes his mind. Instead, he kills Cyber, and decides to overthrow Romulus and seize control of his organisation, abandoning the whole idea of teaming with Wolverine.

There’s an epilogue which comes much later. We’ll get back to that.

by Marc Sumerak, Sanford Green, Victor Olazaba & Chris Garcia
September 2009

Another story expressly set a year or so before it was published. The X-Men investigate a powerful mutant who has shown up in San Francisco, and deal with an earthquake. Mainly an Iceman and Archangel story, so far as the X-Men’s contribution is concerned.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #501-503
“SFX, parts 2-4”
by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Greg Land, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor
August to October 2008

The X-Men fight the Hellfire Cult, street level anti-mutant thugs. Wolverine is now playing the mentor role with Pixie, who is living with a bunch of art students in Oakland rather than staying with the other X-Men, and trying to live a normal life.

The Cult’s leader turns out to be Empath, who is defeated with Pixie’s help. Wolverine’s role in the finale is marginal. The whole thing is heavy-handedly sex-positive and Greg Land’s art doesn’t help. Still, there’s a definite tone shift to sunny optimism, which is a welcome change after recent years.

CABLE vol 2 #7 and #9-10
“Waiting for the End of the World”
by Duane Swierczynski & Ariel Olivetti
October 2008 to January 2009

Wolverine also appears in a flashback in issue #6 which leads in to this story. Bishop shows up in the present day again, and X-Force capture him. Naturally, he escapes.

The MCP has a flashback in All-New Wolverine #1 around here. While on an X-Force mission, X-23 is knocked out when a drug runner shoots her with a bazooka. When she comes round, she apologises for not killing the guy when she had the chance. Wolverine tells her that for them, the hard bit is fighting the hate that was programmed into them, and resisting the urge to kill. He says he’s impressed that she’s still not as mean as he is, even after everything that has been done to her. He tells her that he’s sorry for all the character traits that she inherited from him, but she replies “I’m not.” It’s a nice little father-daughter scene.

X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #3 (Colossus story)
by Chris Yost, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas & Edgar Delgado
November 2008

Wolverine and Nightcrawler try to cheer up Colossus, who can’t get over the loss of Kitty.

by Robert Kirkman, Jason Pearson & Dave Stewart
December 2009

X-Force abduct HYDRA general Tod Kaufman so that he can provide a sample to save the life of his mutant daughter. Kaufman lets Wolverine cut off his hand to provide the “sample”, and Wolverine is duly impressed. I’m not quite sure why the MCP has this here, but it certainly can’t go in publication order, since this version of X-Force had split by the time the story came out.

SECRET INVASION #1-2 and #4-8
8-issue miniseries
by Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Yu, 
April to November 2008

Tipped off by “Spider-Woman”, both groups of Avengers investigate a Skrull ship which has crashed in the Savage Land. The inhabitants are purportedly real superheroes who have been abducted and replaced by Skrulls over the years. Wolverine is unable to tell which are real, and a massive fight breaks out. Most of the newcomers are in fact Skrull impostors, but have been brainwashed to believe that they are real.

All this is just a distraction to sideline the Avengers while the Skrull army attacks New York. The Avengers make it back in time to join the big fight, which also includes the new Captain America (Bucky Barnes), Norman Osborn (in his role as leader of the Thunderbolts), the Secret Warriors – Nick Fury, Slingshot (YoYo Rodriguez), Quake (Daisy Johnson), Phobos (Alexander Aaron), Hellfire (JT James), Stonewall (Jerry Sledge) and Druid (Sebastian Druid) – and Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr), as well as a rare in-costume appearance by Jessica Jones as Jewel. “Spider-Woman” is finally exposed as a Skrull impostor and the leader of the Skrull forces.

During the fight, Wasp is killed, and Norman Osborn gets the credit for killing the Skrull leader. That leads to him being put in charge of the Fifty State Initiative, which is the premise of “Dark Reign”. Everyone who was replaced by a Skrull is now rescued, including the real Spider-Woman, Invisible Woman, Dum Dum Dugan, Yellowjacket, Mockingbird, Elektra and Edwin Jarvis.

As usual for an Avengers story, Wolverine contributes very little to any of this. There are alternate versions of some of these scenes, all of which are just cameos as far as Wolverine’s concerned, are as follows. The New Avengers’ theft of the Quinjet can be seen from street level in Secret Invasion: Front Line #1. The fight in the Savage Land is shown in the third story in Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust? and in New Avengers vol 1 #41. And the battle in New York is shown in Secret Invasion: Front Line #4-5Avengers: The Initiative #19Thunderbolts vol 1 #125 and the “History of the Marvel Apes Universe” story in Marvel Apes #4 (where the Marvel Apes Watcher has it on a video screen).

NEW AVENGERS vol 1 #48
by Brian Michael Bendis, Billy Tan, Matt Banning & Justin Ponsor
December 2008

In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, the New Avengers gather at the new Captain America’s safehouse; Wolverine is able to verify that it’s the Winter Soldier. Wolverine also invites the real Spider-Woman into the team. Baby Danielle Cage has been abducted by the Skrulls and the Avengers try to track her down without success, which leads to Luke Cage asking Norman Osborn for help.

X-FORCE vol 3 #7-10
“Old Ghosts”
by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Mike Choi & Sonia Oback
September to December 2008

Wolfsbane and Archangel are still addled from the previous arc, and programmed to attack each other on sight. Wolverine wants to bring in Emma Frost to sort them out, but Cyclops won’t let her have anything to do with X-Force, so they settle for the Stepford Cuckoos instead.

X-Force (now including Domino and Elixir) hunt down the Vanisher, who has stolen a sample of the Legacy Virus. He explains that the Virus has already been stolen back from him by Mr Sinister. Because this is a grimdark book, Elixir gives him a brain tumour in order to force him to help the team. X-23 gets the sample and tries to destroy it by heroically hurling herself into a vat of molten metal, but Elixir stops her, and they destroy it in a more sensible way instead.

The new cast members and the change of art style do lighten the mood a lot.

Next time, in 2009, Wolverine gets relaunched, and the Utopia era begins.

Bring on the comments

  1. Zachary Q Adams says:

    I’m not sure WHY, but that first arc of X-Force was one of the first things I read on Marvel Unlimited. Absolutely deranged levels of misery in that series.

  2. Evilgus says:

    Could never cope with the grimdarkness of X-Force! It was so self serious too.

    Was it ever really revealed why Bishop thought Hope would doom everyone? It would have been an interesting story beat if he was proved right.

  3. Omar Karindu says:

    There’s a suggestion in here that Logan and Echo have slept together at some point, which is probably best forgotten about.

    There was a period in the 2000s/early 2010s when writers seemed to revel in casually dropping in this kind of revelation about lots of characters.

    The nadir has got to be Paul Jenkins revealing that his co-creation the Sentry slept with Rogue back at the beginning of her heroic career.

  4. Jenny says:

    @Evilgus: I’ve never actually read through Messiah Complex in full, but Peter David’s X-Factor run has Madrox and Layla Miller encountering Bishop as a young child in the future and him blaming the resurgence of mutants after M-Day for why his future is the way it is. I dunno if the other books bring this up at all but it seems to be the justification there.

  5. Chris V says:

    It seems like it could tie into the Krakoa-era now. The original Moira-Life Ten timeline leads to a suitably bleak future.

  6. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Evilgus & Jenny – it’s specifically said somewhere in the kid Bishop section that the not yet named Hope Summers was responsible for ‘the Six Second War’. This I remember, and after googling I can add that she apparently used her powers to kill a million humans in the span of six seconds, which once and for all set all of humanity against mutants.

    Well. At least for 10 to 20 years, since – per David’s X-Factor – this still leads to Summers’ Rebellion and the usual Bishop timeline. I think.

    As for this section of Wolverine’s history – Messiah Complex is a bright spot for me, as is the whole Carey run. Even when it crosses over with Way’s Wolverine in the Original Sin crossover, which was probably the worst x-book coming out at the time?

    I mean, it had nothing on Way’s Deadpool – now that was horrendous – but that hasn’t started yet.

    Speaking of Original Sin – has it been overwritten later, or is it actually canon that Xavier constructed Wolverine’s X-Man personality?

  7. Paul says:

    Never officially reversed but it depends on how literally you want to take it. The thrust of Wolverine’s claim is that Professor X breaks Romulus’s hold over him and reprograms him in various ways to make him a viable member of the X-Men. Arguably, it’s intended to explain why his behaviour in his early appearances is out of character with later stories.

  8. JD says:

    I had forgotten how many random Wolverine one-shots Marvel published that year.

    (Which might be a step up from the slew of random Wolverine miniseries from before, but barely.)

    With Manifest Destiny bridging over most of Old Man Logan, Aaron’s run barely got interrupted at all… although it’s clear he wouldn’t know he’d become the regular writer until he’d get his new ongoing. (And wow, was that a botched relaunch that killed the book’s sales until Krakoa…)

  9. Ronnie Gardocki says:

    Am I misremembering or wasn’t it heavily implied Wolverine and SQUIRREL GIRL of all people had had a fling?

  10. Paul says:

    It was. We haven’t reached that yet.

  11. MasterMahan says:

    The Hope Summers in Bishop’s timeline supposedly killed a million humans in something called the Six-Minute War, and this was the impetus for the government to toss mutants into concentration camps. The whole thing was very vague – as I recall, we never even got a name for that version of her.

    There was a period in the 2000s/early 2010s when writers seemed to revel in casually dropping in this kind of revelation about lots of characters.

    It really was. Emma Frost got retconned sexual histories with both Tony Stark and Namor. I don’t think anything can top The Sentry/Rogue nonsense, but second-worst had to be Bendis implying Wolverine and Squirrel Girl used to be lovers, written at a time when she was most definitely a teenager. We don’t need Logan to creep on teenage girls – that’s what Ultimate Wolverine was for.

  12. Rhett says:

    So, Wolverine’s friend Mordad in “Get Mystique” is a guerrilla fighter from Afghanistan who fought the Russians in 1986… which likely means he’s a member of the Taliban right? And he helps Wolverine out by giving him a suicide bomb vest. I remember that plot element feeling like it should be controversial in 2008, but as far as I remember it wasn’t.

  13. Josie says:

    Astonishing X-Men: “Danger,” “Torn,” “Unstoppable,” “Gone.”

    God I hate these kinds of pretentious sounding story titles. I feel like Whedon could get away with “Danger,” because of the twist of villain, but not the rest.

    While Morrison was a lot better (or at least, more Morrison-y) with the titles of New X-Men stories, “Imperial” is similarly a terrible title.

  14. Josie says:

    “There was a period in the 2000s/early 2010s when writers seemed to revel in casually dropping in this kind of revelation about lots of characters.”

    I can’t remember who said it . . . I want to say Greg Rucka, in the back matter of one of the big 2000-era Batman collections . . . anyway, he said something to the effect of, Batman doesn’t sleep around, Batman doesn’t do hookups, because as soon as you have him do this, writers will just keep doing this. And sure enough, that happened quite a bit around the same time as the Chuck Austen and Bendis sex comments.

    Ugh, didn’t Bendis imply Wolverine slept with Squirrel Girl? How does this make the stories any better?

  15. Josie says:

    “Clayton Crain’s murky art has never appealed to me.”

    Slight tangent, while I agree with this, I recently picked up the Infinity Countdown collection from 2018, and I was surprised that some of the covers of the tie-in books were done by Crain. They’re all very bright and kind of shiny, I never would’ve guessed they were by him. I’d be glad to see more of that style.

  16. Ryan T says:

    I feel like when Bendis was writing Doreen, she wasn’t definitively a teenager. I think the Slott reinvention of the character seemed more like an overlooked hypercompetent early 20something. But now the more relevant run with the character has made her a definite teenager and it colors things.

    This isn’t to say Wolverine hooking up with her was totally Kosher either way but I think the thing it was playing at was ‘this person is overlooked by most but your favorite character sees that she’s actually quite impressive’. It’s obviously problematic that this is conveyed through a sexual relationship but I understand the intent. Much like Kate and Wisdom, though, the later recontexualized, and perhaps reconned to an extent, age makes what was marginal (in this case even moreso) into something that feels much more unfortunate.

  17. Josie says:

    I’m not even talking about the weird underage implications of Wolverine/Squirrel Girl. I just don’t understand what Bendis wanted to achieve with any of this from a storytelling and character perspective.

    Didn’t his first issue of Avengers Disassembled open with Hawkeye talking about villains he’s slept with? How is that a remotely relevant opening for a non-story about death and destruction, and in which Hawkeye bites it?

  18. Nu-D says:

    We don’t need Logan to creep on teenage girls

    And by implication, it would be a horrific retcon of Logan’s relationships with Kate, Jubilee, and Hisako, among others.

  19. Drew says:

    “I can’t remember who said it . . . I want to say Greg Rucka, in the back matter of one of the big 2000-era Batman collections . . . anyway, he said something to the effect of, Batman doesn’t sleep around, Batman doesn’t do hookups, because as soon as you have him do this, writers will just keep doing this. And sure enough, that happened quite a bit around the same time as the Chuck Austen and Bendis sex comments.”

    I remember in some old Wizard Batman special, someone — I *think* Denny O’Neil, though I’m not positive — said that in his mind, Batman doesn’t have sex at all, that any sexual urges he might feel he just redirects into crime fighting.

    In the real world, that’s obviously incredibly unhealthy and leads to someone like Rorschach, but I always thought it was an interesting take from the guy who was guiding Batman for so many years. Obviously that’s not a philosophy that’s carried over to modern Batman stories.

  20. Mark Coale says:

    You also used to have Bruce Wayne romancing all these women to keep up his playboy image. Presumably, in a modern, non Code world, you’d see him sleeping on-panel with Silver St Cloud, Julie Madison, Vicki Vale and the like.

  21. Jenny says:

    TBH even if Squirrel Girl was being written as a teenager at the time I somehow doubt Bendis would have noticed/cared considering everything else his run made up or ignored. Remember when the Beyonder was a mutant Inhuman? No? Probably for the best

  22. Chris V says:

    Drew-It was Denny O’Neil who introduced Talia and portrayed Batman as having feelings for her.

  23. Jim says:

    I feel like more people in the MU should sass Hawkeye for sleeping with a Doombot.

  24. Thom H. says:

    Even if Squirrel Girl is/was in her 20s when she slept with Logan, isn’t he like 100 years her senior?

    I’m not saying he should only sleep with people who are his own age — that would be very limiting — but that’s quite the age difference.

    I suppose Jean isn’t that much older than SG in universe, but at least she’s died and come back a few times. She’s got life experience, is all I’m saying.

  25. Chris V says:

    Wolverine has a tail fetish.

    That would be hilarious if Wolverine only dated in his own age bracket. He’d be bringing people from the retirement home back to the mansion.

  26. Nu-D says:

    isn’t he like 100 years her senior?

    I’m not saying he should only sleep with people who are his own age — that would be very limiting — but that’s quite the age difference.

    I’m a 45 year-old male. I have a hard time imagining a relationship with anyone under 35.

    But we’re talking about a one night hookup, right? If everyone’s sober and the expectations are clear, I think a 20-something can make a voluntary and knowing choice to sleep with a much older person.

  27. Mike Loughlin says:

    Squirrel Girl reads to me like a teenager. Her best comics, the North/Henderson series (which I haven’t read all of) has a YA feel to it. I don’t care how Bendis intended it, even a casual hook-up with Wolverine seems wrong.

    As for Batman, he often comes off as dangerously repressed. Not allowing him any sort of romantic or casual sexual relationships fits how he’s been written since the ‘90s. I think it’s torturing a character unfairly, however, and want to see him have more healthy relationships of all sorts with other people. Let the guy find a new Silver St. Cloud or Julie Madison.

  28. Matthew says:

    Thom: Jean’s mentally in at least her late 30s since her and Cyclops spent 12 years as Redd and Slym raising Cable in the future.

  29. Ronnie Gardocki says:

    Here’s a question: how old is Wolverine supposed to be physically? 40, maybe?

  30. The Other Michael says:

    I’ve always figured that Batman would be a fantastic lover, but in a technical sense–he studied the amorous arts in case he ever needed to use them as part of his war on crime, but there’s rarely any true passion… unless he’s doing it to maintain the Bruce Wayne, playboy image. But he doesn’t do casual sex–he sends them home with a hug and an excuse. He saves the true intimacy for the very very few women who actually capture his heart–Selina or Talia depending on the continuity. But for him to actually relax enough to be vulnerable emotionally and physically in bed takes a miracle.

    When Bruce dates as part of the social scene/image, it’s all surface and performative. He needs to be seen with a partner on his arm at major events, perhaps, but it’s all part of the act.

    My conclusion: he’s not repressed, just intensely focused. I might even argue that he’d be a great candidate for being on the asexual and aromantic spectrum–demisexual, perhaps, given that he’s not one for casual hookups but forms deep, intense bonds with a very few like Selina, and then he gets wild on rooftops and stuff.

    Wolverine and Doreen? Ew, no. There’s no way in which that makes any sense for either of them. Mind you, Doreen as portrayed in her series had some strong queer vibes, especially when partnered with her friend Nancy…

  31. Si says:

    In the Avengers story, Squirrel Girl was hired as a babysitter. That’s typically a teenager’s job. She was always portrayed as a super-naive child before that. I can’t see how she could have been meant to be anything but a teenager in that scene.

    In North’s comic she eventually celebrated her 20th birthday. But that’s neither here nor there.

  32. Josie says:

    I’m not saying I prefer Batman as a pent-up brooding loner, but I also don’t see him ending a day’s crimefighting by coming home to (or with) a girlfriend/wife. If he’s single-minded in his war against crime, broodily or otherwise, I don’t see him have relationships or casual flings. He was surrounded by family during Morrison’s Batman Inc., and there was really no implication that he was dating around.

    I mean he was really “getting around” (the world), but just to fight Leviathan.

    On the flipside, I would enjoy a short story by Garth Ennis explaining Batman’s rationale for staying away from relationships as regret over Talia/Damian.

  33. Mark Coale says:

    For some reason, my post earlier got eaten.

    I was bringing up for surprising it is in hindsight that DC introduced Damian, after years of pretending that Mike Barr story did not happen. I wonder if it was Denny not wanting it. Canon or maybe DC/WB not wanting Batman to have a kid out of wedlock.

  34. Jenny says:

    Reasonably sure it was something Denny insisted upon after he used Zero Hour to get Batman into that dumbass period where he was “an urban legend” despite being a JLA member.

  35. Josie says:

    I think one reason people hated Tom King’s engagement of Batman and Catwoman (the engagement, not the “wedding” issue) is where do you go with it? If they get married, what stories do you tell? If they call it off, what stories do you tell?

    It turns out, if they call it off, you tell 40 more issues of Batman angrily brooding.

  36. Josie says:

    “I was bringing up for surprising it is in hindsight that DC introduced Damian, after years of pretending that Mike Barr story did not happen.”

    If Grant is to be believed, Damian was intended to be killed off in that opening four-issue arc. Not sure I really buy that, but that could be what editors at the time were told, which could explain why Damian was greenlit.

  37. Drew says:

    The first issue of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has her starting her freshman year of college, so she was probably 18-19.

    In fairness to Bendis, his issue preceded her solo series, so theoretically maybe he thought she was older. But as Si noted, nannying is typically a job held by young women in their late teens or early twenties. Technically old enough to consent, but still super gross, Logan. Definitely a “we as fans all agree that never happened” moment.

  38. Mark Coale says:

    I’ve never cared for Damian, but introducing him just to kill him off soon after sounds like a bad idea.

  39. Josie says:

    I think this was the midst of Grant’s “throw out crazy ideas” period. One thing I never paid attention to in all the times I reread Batman and Son, but just found out, is that the second issue of the run has a single panel referencing Bruce’s Aunt Agatha, whose first and only appearance was in 1955. And let’s not forget that the Spook was killed off in the same arc. Basically, it seemed at least for the first year of Grant’s Batman that any idea was fair game to be brought up and quickly disposed of.

  40. Josie says:

    It’s weird to think about given how popular she is today, but Harley Quinn’s only appearance in Grant’s entire run was in The Clown at Midnight prose story.

  41. Andrew says:

    Grant’s Batman is one that I’ve read twice – when it was coming out and then eventually in TPB form.

    It’s full of interesting ideas but I don’t know if I actually enjoy it much. Final Crisis is probably the highlight but I’ve got little to no interest in the International Club of Batman concept, so all of that is a bit lost on me.

  42. Mike Loughlin says:

    I like Morrison’s “Black Casebook” and “sci-fi closet” concepts. Every Batman story ever told could have happened in some fashion. We aren’t stuck with post-Miller grim & gritty asocial loner Batman if we don’t want to be.

    Morrison’s stories were hit & miss, though. The art was inconsistent until Chris Burnham became the regular artist on Batman, Inc. Some of the concepts weren’t strong or developed enough – whatever happened to Simon Hurt? I didn’t really care for a lot of Morrison’s Batman until the Batman & Robin series. Dick & Damien as Batman and Robin was a fun pairing, and it gave the Morrison run a needed shot in the arm.

    As for King… I could buy Batman & Catwoman as married crimefighters, until their differences drive them apart.If King had cut down on the “Bat. Cat,” and written them better, he might have been able to pull it off. The Batman/Catwoman series wasn’t great, but I found that to be more of a plot structure problem than a characterization issue. I’m probably of the minority opinion, and it’s probably better that a marriage didn’t happen. After reading Catwoman: Lonely City, I think Cliff Chiang could do a great married Batman & Catwoman story.

  43. Ryan T says:

    Yeah – I know in the North comics she’s 18-19 but I think the GLA/Great Lakes Avengers Slott run presented her as an adult, more or less. I still would say early 20s possibly but not a teen at least insofar as she’s presented as an independent adult, even if we never see any of her home life.

    She also was involved in a relationship with Speedball, who I’d presume had moved past being a teen in Marvel continuity by that point.

  44. Omar Karindu says:

    Mike Loughlin said: I like Morrison’s “Black Casebook” and “sci-fi closet” concepts. Every Batman story ever told could have happened in some fashion. We aren’t stuck with post-Miller grim & gritty asocial loner Batman if we don’t want to be.

    This was the big appeal for me, as well, along with Morrison playing with the trauma metaphor behind Batman. Simon Hurt is initially presented as both a warped father figure, the proof that Batman
    ‘s parents were corrupt, and as “the hole in things,” the bit of original trauma you can’t fix.

    And then the story has Batman (and, not incidentally, the Joker) pretty viciously tear apart the idea that this is what Batman stories and villains should be about.

    Morrison’s stories were hit & miss, though. The art was inconsistent until Chris Burnham became the regular artist on Batman, Inc.

    This is true, though I give quite a bit of credit to DC for at least making sure each arc had a consistent artist overall. For me, at least, this made the shifts less jarring.

    Some of the concepts weren’t strong or developed enough – whatever happened to Simon Hurt?

    Isn’t he pretty well dealt with by the end of Batman and Robin? Bruce returns, Hurt’s true origin as side effect of Darkseid’s tampering is revealed, and the immortal Hurt is left Joker-poisoned and buried alive in the Wayne family plot.

    More generally, once Hurt’s true nature is revealed — he’s the whiny, self-important, asshole who really does think Batman is reducible to vicious grimness and parental trauma — he’s a pretty “nothing” villain, for all his resources and scheming. Morrison’s idea here seems to have been that Hurt was the emblem of Batman done wrong, Batman reduced to nothing but “hurt” and daddy issues.

    Morrison’s point is especially visible in all of Hurt’s pawns. It’s there in the “Three Ghosts of Batman,” who are literally created by someone who tries to replicate Batman’s origin by inflicting horrific trauma, only to get nothing more than pathetic, self-pitying monsters. And it’s there in the trying-too-hard Wingman in the Black Glove/Club of Heroes story, who wants so badly to be even grimmer and noir-er than Batman himself.

    There’s even a bit in Batman and Robin where Hurt, in his guise as El Penitente, engages in literal self-flagellation specifically to justify being horrible in the future, which is hard not to read as Morrison venting their frustrations at what they seem to see as the “bitter, cynical, adolescent”‘s version of Batman.

    This is all without mentioning Morrison’s takedown of Jason Todd’s Red Hood — “rebel Batman with guns” — as a pathetic, brand-obsessed wannabe whose primary achievement its to bring to Gotham an even more one-dimensional, over-the-top sadist villain, Flamingo.

    As such, Morrison unsurprisingly chooses to systematically dismantle Dr. Simon Hurt and, quite literally consign Hurt to the graveyard of the past. And he has this happen through the Joker using the oldest, silliest slapstick joke of all — the banana peel. Simon Hurt and the kind of Batman Hurt demands can’t survive that kind of absurdity and levity.

    I didn’t really care for a lot of Morrison’s Batman until the Batman & Robin series. Dick & Damien as Batman and Robin was a fun pairing, and it gave the Morrison run a needed shot in the arm.

    I liked the pre-New 52 stuff by Morrison, but you can really see where the New 52 and its doubling down on 90s shallow gore and grimness just sort of broke them.

    The New 52 volume of Batman, Inc. winds its way around to bashing the inevitable return to the post-Miller Batman formula, so that “Batman and Robin can never die!” goes from a triumph at the end of “Batman RIP” to a depressing comment that the character will never evolve or change.

    And pretty much every Morrison project at DC since has had Morrison lamenting the state of the characters.

    They did so in the “Blackstars” mini in The Green Lantern, where every character is presented as a broad parody of their current writers’ worst tics, and in the way an older Superman admits this isn’t his world or his methods anymore at the end of Superman and the Authority.

  45. Josie says:

    Excellent overview and analysis, Omar. I’ve got nothing to add at the moment.

  46. Josie says:

    “She also was involved in a relationship with Speedball”

    Seems pretty appropriate to pair two teen Ditko characters.

  47. Si says:

    Squirrel Girl idolised Speedball, but they didn’t have a relationship. I think the first time they actually met was when Speedball was being Penance, and Squirrel Girl broke in to call him a big dumb emo loser.

  48. Andrew says:

    That’s really good analysis Omar.

    Perhaps I should revisit that run again. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more third time around.

    I’ve always been curious why Morrison has stuck with DC and hasn’t made any move to work with Marvel again, despite not being exclusive anymore and the people had the big fall-out with having left.

    Obviously about a decade ago they let them use their unpublished Miracleman script but nothing since then.

  49. Chris V says:

    I just don’t think Morrison is that interested in writing Marvel characters. They felt they had something to say with the X-Men, but otherwise, Morrison has talked about growing up reading Silver Age DC comics and how formative those comics were on them. Morrison is tired of the current DC Universe (understandably), and I feel as if Morrison would rather work on their own projects rather than get involved with another comic universe they don’t relate to in the same way as the DCU.

  50. Andrew says:

    That makes sense.

    It’s interesting, I saw that Frank Miller has done a cover or two for Marvel coming up, which is the first time he’s done anything for the company in more than 20 years.

    Who knows, maybe we’ll see Morrison come back again at some point.

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