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Mar 5

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2010

Posted on Sunday, March 5, 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 | 2008 | 2009

It’s 2010, we’re in the Utopian era, and Jason Aaron’s run is in full swing. The final Wolverine: Weapon X arc of 2009 already took us through to January 2010, so we pick up with…

by Frank Tieri, Paul Gulacy & Thomas Mason
January 2010

Wolverine saves a low-rent TV crew from the Wendigo. Despite the title, this is really a story about the TV crew and the Wendigo myth; Wolverine himself only cameos.

by Tom Beland, Miguel Sepulveda & Jorge Maese
January 2010

After ducking the job for ages, Wolverine grudgingly allows Sunspot to tag along for a solo mission to the Brazilian jungle, where they stop Bloodscream from building an army of zombies. Ultimately, Sunspot impresses Wolverine.

This is a continuity trainwreck. It’s obviously meant to go during the original New Mutants run, but it also has Bloodscream as an established Wolverine villain, and he didn’t debut until years later. With a bit of squinting, it can be shoehorned in roughly in publication order, since Sunspot was back in the New Mutants at this point and wearing the same costume. Or you could just disqualify the whole thing as non-canon, which would be perfectly reasonable too.

This was an early digital comic; the only print version is in the Amazing Immortal Man trade paperback, which collects assorted Wolverine oddments. Despite the title, the story has nothing whatsoever to do with carnivals.

“Love and the Wolverine”
by Jason Aaron & CP Smith
February 2010

Logan settles into his new relationship with Melita Garner, as they talk about their pasts and he brings her to Utopia. He warns her that women who get involved with him have a tendency to wind up dead, but Melita already knows about his past from her investigations, and she isn’t deterred. But she doesn’t want to get sucked into his world and wind up as a sidekick, and plans to carry on her journalism career. This is a good character issue building the idea that Logan is now in a relationship with a civilian, not someone on the fringes of the superhero world or organised crime or whatever. By the end of the issue, Mystique is quietly keeping an eye on Melita.

Logan’s answer to “You ever been married?” is “Not really”, which at the time was basically a way of kicking Viper into the long grass. An obscure Claremont story has since indicated that he had a wife in Japan decades ago, but we don’t really know much about that.

by Ryan Dunleavy, Richard Elson & Veronica Gandini
February 2010

After smashing up a Japanese restaurant while fighting the Lizard, Wolverine helps the struggling chef to complete her order for the night, then rescues her missing father from a sea monster that ate him while he was hunting for a special ingredient. Pretty dreadful.

6-issue miniseries
by Jonathan Maberry, Scot Eaton, Andy Lanning, Robert Campanella & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
February to April 2010

Despite the title, this is a Black Panther miniseries. T’Challa and the Black Panther (Shuri, at this point) ask for the X-Men’s help against the Desturi, a reactionary group aligned with Dr Doom who have taken over Wakanda. Cyclops won’t get officially involved, but he lets Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler go in a personal capacity. They help to put down the insurgency and the plot then moves on without them for the moment. We’ll come back to this mini later.

Oh, and in the scene on Utopia, Wolverine meets Cipher (Alisa Tager), though he’ll doubtless have been introduced to her off panel.

Assault on New Olympus #1 and Incredible Hercules #138-139 and #141
by Greg Pak, Fred van Lante, Rodney Buchemi & Guillem Mari
November 2009 to February 2010

Wolverine is among the array of allies who help Hercules to stop Hera from rebooting creation into something more congenial. Also helping out are Amadeus Cho, Hebe, Athena, Zeus, the Wasp (Hank Pym), Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, USAgent, Quicksilver and Jocasta. All these allies are really just there to add some scale to the climactic battle at the headquarters of Hera’s Olympus Group. The opposing forces include Typhon, Huntsman, Argus, Delphyne Gorgon, Thanatos, Eris, Arachne and Lamia. Eventually, Hercules sacrifices himself to defeat Hera, and the other heroes arrive too late to help. (That bit is also shown in the Agents of Atlas story in Incredible Hercules #141.)

Issue #138 has Athena argue that superheroes are modern myths. She specifically compares Wolverine to Cernunnos, the Celtic Gods’ leader of the Wild Hunt, on the basis that his hairstyle is a bit like Cernunnos’ antlers. Which is a bit of a stretch.

Wolverine’s also on the cover of Incredible Hercules #140, but he’s not in the issue.

2-issue miniseries
by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente & Ariel Olivetti
March 2010

A non-speaking cameo at Hercules’ wake. Presumably Wolverine is also off-panel in issue #2, which takes place at the same event.

4-issue miniseries
by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman & Elizabeth Breitweiser
January and April 2010

The Avengers – yes, Wolverine’s still in the Avengers – fight the Growing Man, but a timeline disruption makes them vanish for most of the series. In their absence, the Silver Age Avengers team up with the Agents of Atlas to defeat Kang.

WOLVERINE: WENDIGO!, second story
“Wolverine vs Thor”
by Frank Tieri, Paco Diaz, Guillermo Ortego & Ulises Arreola
January 2010

Loki makes Wolverine believe that he’s surrounded by villains, so that he lashes out at people; Thor shocks him back to his senses, and they drive Loki off. Loki’s motivations are entirely unclear. From the abrupt ending and the chapter breaks, this one looks a lot like an aborted serial that got dumped somewhere.

Siege #3-4 by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales & Laura Marten
New Avengers: Finale #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch, Butch Guice & Paul Mounts
Avengers: The Initiative #35 by Christos Gage, Jorgé Molina, Andrew Hennessy & Edgar Delgado
New Avengers vol 2 #1 (part 1) by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Laura Martin
March to June 2010

Siege is the big event that ended “Dark Reign”, with Norman Osborn losing power, and Steve Rogers taking over. Even though it’s principally an Avengers story, Wolverine somehow manages to sit the event out almost entirely – he misses the main plot entirely, and watches the final battle on television with the X-Men in Siege #3. All the other appearances listed above are part of the epilogue. In New Avengers: Finale #1, the New Avengers hunt down Madame Masque, the Hood and John King. Then, the good news comes down that Steve Rogers is in charge and Everything Is Fine Now. After a bit of reminiscing about their exploits, the New Avengers go for a stroll in Central Park, which is presented as their final victory and vindication after spending so long on the run. Curiously, Wolverine isn’t in that closing moment, despite being a regular throughout the series.

In Siege #4, Initiative #35 and the opening of New Avengers #1, Wolverine is at the post-Dark Reign celebration party at Avengers Tower. Thor arrives with a group of other Asgardians – Sif, Balder, Heimdall and the Warriors Three (FandralHogun and Volstagg). Steve decides that there should still be two separate Avengers teams, and assigns Luke Cage’s squad to Avengers Mansion. A cameo in Avengers vol 4 #1 of Wolverine agreeing to stay on the Avengers presumably takes place here.

INCREDIBLE HULK vol 2 #606-608
“Fall of the Hulks”
by Greg Pak, Paul Pelletier, Danny Miki & Frank D’Armata
January to March 2010

Bruce Banner recruits Wolverine and others (including Rick Jones as A-Bomb) to help him rescue top scientists from the Intelligencia. But Banner’s real aim is to rescue Betty Ross – who, unknown to him, is actually working for the Intelligencia as the Red She-Hulk. At any rate, the team  attack the Intelligencia’s base, and Wolverine gets to fight Klaw and the Trapster (Pete Petruski). That fight also appears briefly in Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #2.

The Intelligencia’s plan is to create an army of Hulks. Banner’s attempt to stop them goes horribly wrong, turning Wolverine and the rest of the team into Hulks themselves. Don’t ask how that works with adamantium. For what it’s worth, the Hulked-out Wolverine seems to have bone claws. Anyway, this leads to…

Hulk vol 2 #22 by Jeff Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Mark Farmer, Morry Hollowell & Chris Sotomayor
World War Hulks: Wolverine & Captain America #1-2 by Paul Tobin, Jacopo Camagni, Chris Sotomayor & Joe Sabino
Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #3 by Jeff Parker, Salva Espin & Guru eFX
Incredible Hulk vol 2 #610 by Greg Pak, Paul Pelletier, Danny Miki & Frank D’Armata
May to July 2010

Wolverine and the other Hulked-out heroes really just lumber around in the background of this crossover. There’s also the World War Hulks: Wolverine & Captain America 2-issue miniseries, which completely contradicts the rest of the storyline by showing Wolverine with his normal personality, supposedly due to his healing factor. The mini is an extended fight between Hulk-Wolverine and Hulk-Captain America (Bucky, at this point), but it’s used as a framing sequence for some lengthy flashbacks which do tell a proper story, loosely justified on the basis of “hey, here’s another occasion when I met Bucky and our minds were being distorted”. Anyway, because Wolverine has more experience of controlling rage and resisting mind control, he wins the fight. All the Hulks get turned back to normal off panel at the end.

“The Extremist, part 2”
by Fred Van Lente, Pat Oliffe, Javier Rodriguez, Nick Dragotta & Andres Mossa
June 2010

Just a one-panel cameo at Avengers Tower.

“A Dame to Get Killed For”
by Ivan Brandon, Sanford Greene, Nathan Massengill & John Rauch
April 2010

This series was numbered backwards starting from #900 – it’s actually issue #7. Wolverine appears right at the end, protecting mob widow Despina Hawthorne from Deadpool and Frank Castle, who is currently the lumbering undead cyborg Franken-Castle.

1 MONTH 2 LIVE #3-4
5-issue miniseries
#3 by Stuart Moore, Shane White & John Rauch
#4 by John Ostrander, Graham Nolan, Mark Pennington, Ian Hannin & John Rauch
September 2010

A curious miniseries with rotating creative teams. It is on Marvel Unlimited, but it’s filed under Heroic Age: One Month to Live for some reason.

Flux (Dennis Sykes) gets superpowers that let him be a superhero very briefly before he dies. When he’s injured helping the Fantastic Four, Wolverine takes him, his wife Kelly Sykes and his daughter Abbey Sykes to the Savage Land in search of a lily that might save his life. They fight mercenaries who are also looking for the flower, Abbey gets hurt, and Dennis gives up the lily to save her life.

AVENGERS vol 4 #1-6
“Next Avengers”
by Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson & Dean White
May to August 2010

The new Avengers team – or rather, the main Avengers team, because of course Wolverine is on both squads – consists of Captain America (Bucky), Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine. Steve Rogers claims to have picked Wolverine for his “ruthlessness and selflessness”. Spider-Woman isn’t sure she belongs, but Wolverine tells her that if Cap has asked her to join, then that proves she earned it – and that if she still doubts it, she should put in the work to earn it now. He kind of implies that this was his experience as an Avenger, though it wasn’t really something we saw on the page.

On to the actual story, then. I’ll warn you now – what follows is both convoluted and irrelevant.

Kang shows up at Avengers Tower, claiming that reality is going to come to an end because of the actions of the Avengers’ children in a future timeline where they overthrow Ultron. At Wolverine’s suggestion, the Avengers enlist Noh-Varr, now calling himself the Protector, to build a space-time continuum viewer so that they can see this future timeline for themselves. (Wolverine isn’t bothered by the thought of knowing his future: “What difference could it make? Would you live your life any different?”) The viewer shows an image of Earth-10071’s Next Avengers – Hawkeye (Francis Barton), Torunn Thorsdóttir, Azari T’Challa, the Wasp (Henry Pym Jr) and James Rogers – who kill Immortus. After that, an image of Earth-10071 Maestro appears before the vision collapses. This apparently means the timestream has broken, but the Avengers still can’t figure out if their kids had anything to do with it.

Wonder Man shows up briefly to yell at the Avengers for existing – we’ll get back to that later – before the timeline breakdown causes a  baffled Earth-10082 Apocalypse and his Horsemen to appear. The Horsemen comprise Earth-10082 Wolverine, Red Hulk, Spider-Man and the Scarlet Witch. Everyone fights for no particular reason until the villains suddenly vanish again. While the rest of the Avengers deal with the mounting timeline chaos in New York, Iron Man, Protector, Captain America and Wolverine travel to Earth-10071 to investigate the cause of the problem.

They arrive in time to catch the end of the climactic battle between Kang and Earth-10071 Ultron, but decide not to risk making matters worse by intervening. Instead, they meet the Next Avengers, their mentor Maestro, and an elderly Earth-10082 Iron Man (Tony Stark) and Spider-Girl. It turns out that time at this point has been weakened by Kang’s repeated efforts to defeat Ultron by replaying the battle over and over. For some reason, Protector is a new factor who might change the outcome. The heroes then travel back in time to just before the battle and… um, well, they persuade Ultron to let Kang win, since Ultron doesn’t want the timeline to collapse either. Ultron is terribly unconvincing at throwing the fight, and Kang is disappointed by his anticlimactic victory. You and me both, mate. Kang then tries to betray his allies and gets killed, which is what the Avengers saw in the viewer.

Back at Avengers Tower, everyone celebrates another victory. A sprawling mess.

Wolverine: Origins #46 by Daniel Way, Scot Eaton, Andrew Hennessy & Andy Troy
Wolverine: Origins #47-48 by Daniel Way, Will Conrad & Andy Troy
Dark Wolverine #85-86 by Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu, Stephen Segovia, Cam Smith & Marte Gracia
March to May 2010

For the purposes of this story, Logan doesn’t seem to live on Utopia, but has a room in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. It also has a cross on the wall, because this is the Jason Aaron period. Maybe he likes having some space for himself; Utopia’s a bit crowded, after all.

Logan is feeling guilty about Mariko’s death again. Specifically, he thinks he shouldn’t have let her deal with her family’s criminal links alone, despite her wishes. And he’s convinced himself that there must have been a way of saving her from being poisoned – he suggests that maybe he didn’t try hard enough to save her because he was attracted to the melodrama of a doomed love that could endure forever as a memory. Nightcrawler quite rightly retorts that he’s really just struggling to deal with the fact that Mariko lived and died on her terms rather than his.

Anyway, Logan and Daken team up to go after Romulus. Daken is impressed by Logan’s plan, but also disdainful of his willingness to ask for help. Just as Logan planned, Daken quickly betrays him and leaks his location to Romulus. Daken claims to be motivated by hate for Logan, but Logan argues that Daken is really acting out of love for his father figure Romulus. Either way, Romulus does show up, and Wolverine teams up with Skaar to fight him, but he escapes. Daken warns Romulus that Wolverine’s plan is to expose him to the world, remove his mystique and destroy his mythos – which is a really, really weird angle for Wolverine: Origins, an entire book devoted to spelling out Wolverine’s supposedly hidden back story in painful detail. I can’t quite decide whether it’s a clever twist or a dazzling lack of self-awareness. Daken claims later to be lying about this, anyway.

Wolverine and Daken fight again, but Cloak drags Wolverine off so that he can focus on dealing with Romulus instead of getting distracted yet again by Daken. Daken tries to kill Romulus, but Wolverine and Cloak spirit him off to the Howlett Estate. They then banish him to the Darkforce Dimension.

And now the moral. Wolverine wanders the grounds of his abandoned family mansion, and reflects on how his desire for revenge has driven him for over a century. He’s learned that that path is destructive, and that he needs to acknowledge himself as a victim, and forgive himself for what has been done to him. Armed with this insight, he defeats Daken, then cuts out his claws, to stop him from presenting himself as Romulus’s symbolic heir. Finally, he buries both the Muramasa Blade and Daken’s severed claws, on the grounds that they’re all symbols of hate, and hopefully he has at least averted Daken following in Romulus’s footsteps.

This actually isn’t bad, at least within the logic of Wolverine: Origins. The book does deliver a solid finale to its own story.

“What I Do”
by Daniel Way, Will Conrad & Andy Troy
June & July 2010

Logan goes to the wilderness of British Columbia to build a cabin and start a new life under his own control. Nick Fury drops by for Logan’s birthday. Since Sabretooth is dead at this point, there’s no attack. But Logan has nightmares and hallucinations about Sabretooth and other villains, which leads to him clawing Fury in his sleep. Fury uses a healing injection to recover, and points out that it was based on Wolverine’s own powers, an example of how some of his suffering over the years has produced something useful along the way.

Finally, Logan hallucinates about confronting Romulus in the Darkforce Dimension and facing his past head on, before deciding to return to his regular life. A nice little coda in some ways, saving Sabretooth to the end of the run and using him as a symbol of everything repetitive that Wolverine needs to move past. But the hallucination stuff feels random and underexplained.

And that’s Wolverine: Origins. Daken the only element of the 50-issue run that stuck, and frankly, he’s unrecognisable from the version that appears in Origins. In terms of its broader agenda of establishing a cohesive back story and arch villain for Wolverine, Origins has been politely ignored by every writer since, since they all recognised that Wolverine’s past is better when it’s messy and it isn’t all subsumed within an overreaching conspiracy around a villain that nobody finds very inspiring. Ultimately, Origins‘ central project wasn’t a failure because it didn’t stick – it didn’t stick because it was a failure.

Franken-Castle #19-20 by Rick Remender, Tony Moore & Dan Brown
Dark Wolverine #89 by Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu, Stephen Segovia, Paco Diaz, Craig Yeung, Guillermo Ortego & Antonio Fabela
July to September 2010

If you’re unfamiliar with this bizarre era of the Punisher, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: the Punisher has been killed by Daken and resurrected as a Frankenstein cyborg. Not unreasonably, Franken-Castle wants revenge. Wolverine intervenes to protect “my boy” – a bit of a weird angle coming right on the heels of Origins, but okay. Daken steals the magical Bloodstone that’s keeping Castle alive, and Wolverine has the gall to try and guilt-trip Castle over letting Daken near it in the first place. Castle responds by telling Wolverine that he’s a “delusional mutant freak” protecting a “ruthless , blood-soaked monster”, which is indeed how Daken is written in this arc. Wolverine has no answer to that, so they team up to fight Daken – though Wolverine persists in trying to make excuses for his behaviour. In the event they retrieve the stone, and Daken and Castle both escape. The art on the Franken-Castle issues is wonderful.

In a flashback in X-23 vol 3 #2, Logan and X-23 go to the fairground, and he offers to formally adopt her. She tells him that she already is his family, and he answers “Good.”

5-issue miniseries
by Rick Remender, Jamie McKelvie & Nathan Fairbairn
September 2010

The Avengers team up with Flux against Hammerhead, and make him an Avenger minutes before he dies.

“Tomorrow Dies Today”
by Jason Aaron, Ron Garney & Jason Keith
March to May 2010

Logan takes Steve Rogers for an international pub crawl, with Nightcrawler acting as designated driver in the Blackbird (in exchange for Logan promising to go to church in the morning, of course – there really is a lot of this stuff in the Aaron run). Despite his initial reservations, Steve is glad that Logan became an Avenger: “You helped hold them together, even if you didn’t realise it. You give people strength, you know, just be standing alongside them.” Which, I suppose, is one way of trying to find meaning in Wolverine’s virtually zero contribution to Bendis’s Avengers stories. Logan grudgingly admits to losing hope during Dark Reign, but says that it’s a new day now, and that Melita and Utopia both make him hopeful for the future.

In New York, Logan is approached by Miranda Bayer, who is plagued by dreams of Deathloks from a Roxxon-dominated future. According to Bayer, the Deathloks are trying to alter history by killing superheroes or their parents before they can even start their careers, in the hope of eliminating the mystery leader of their world’s resistance movement. It’s Terminator with Deathloks, in other words. Logan is sceptical, but Bayer does indeed lead him to some Deathloks attacking Captain America. One of those Deathloks corners Miranda, but resists its programming long enough for young Evan Wakowski to bundle her to safety. Wolverine, Captain America and Miranda take a captured Deathlok to Dr David Heimerdinger, a former HAMMER scientist whom Miranda has identified as the future designer of the Deathloks. But he hasn’t designed the Deathloks yet, and has nothing useful to contribute. Wolverine and Cap seriously discuss just killing the guy before he creates any Deathloks, but Miranda persuades them that the impact on the timeline is too unpredictable.

The “nice” Deathlok turns out to be the future version of Bayer’s own son, who grows up to become a murderer and to be experimented on by Roxxon. Instead of its human side resisting violence, this Deathlok is fighting back because of its AI, which eventually seizes control and switches sides, declaring that it wants to embrace emotion. The reformed Deathlok leaves and eventually goes on to become the resistance leader; to preserve the timeline, he (or rather, the AI) specifically asks Miranda to abandon him. Not at all bad, but it reads more like a backdoor pilot for a Deathlok series.

WOLVERINE #900, first story
by CB Cebulski, David Finch, James Asmus, Danny Miki & Guru eFX
May 2010

While fighting some ninjas and a Yakuza, Wolverine reflects generically on his dark side.

WOLVERINE #900, second story
“The Curse of the Yellow Claw”
by Dean Motter, Greg Scott & Val Staples
May 2010

Wolverine helps Chinatown resident Mai Ling against the Ibis Corporation, whose hidden underground facility is growing Yellow Claw poppies more addictive than opium. He and Nightcrawler bring down the operation and bring the building’s dark history to light. A very rare case of a story that uses Jason Aaron’s Chinatown set-up, and actually very good.

WOLVERINE #900, fifth story
“Worst There Is”
by Matt Yocum, Jake Bilbao, Rick Ketcham & Ikari Studios
May 2010

Logan helps a little girl called Maya to find her missing father; she’s unimpressed by Logan’s lack of conventional heroic behaviour. The father turns out to be violently abusive, Logan saves Maya and her mother from him, and Maya finally acknowledges Logan as a “very nice man”. Exceedingly forgettable.

WOLVERINE #1000, fourth story
“Development Hell”
by Mark Simmons, Mike Ryan, Victor Olazaba & Marth Martinez
February 2011

Mojo tries to force Wolverine to make films for him, but Wolverine refuses to co-operate and escapes. Just a generic Mojo story, really. I’m not sure why the Marvel Chronology Project has it a year out of publication order, but I assume it’s to do with the wider chronologies of Mojo and Spiral.

Once again, Marvel Unlimited has interesting ideas about how to file these books. Wolverine #900 is filed as issue #900 of the 2010 Wolverine series – but Wolverine #1000 is filed as Wolverine 1000 #1000.

X-23 vol 2 #1
by Marjorie Liu, Filipe Andrade, Nuno Alves, Jay Leisten & SotoColor
March 2010

This is the “Women of Marvel” one-shot, not the other X-23 #1 from later in the same year. It’s a nightmare to find on Marvel Unlimited, but it is there – it’s mis-filed as a second #1 in the 2010 series.

Logan and X-23 investigate when a series of depowered mutants go missing from Jubilee’s outreach centre; they stumble upon X-23’s former castmates from NYXKiden NixonCatiana (Tatiana Caban), Bobby Soul and Lil’ Bro. The NYX kids initially mistake Logan for X-23’s latest abuser and try to defend her from him. The story has some nice material contrasting Logan’s relationship with Jubilee with his much more distant relationship with X-23, a theme which Liu will come back to in the X-23 ongoing.

GIRL COMICS vol 2 #3, second story
“Things That Never Change”
by Marjorie Liu, Sara Pichelli & Rachelle Rosenberg
July 2010

Wolverine and Jubilee team up to rescue depowered mutants from unnamed villains. Afterwards, Jubilee talks about how it feels to be depowered, Logan apologies for not being there to support her, and they share ice cream.

GIRL COMICS vol 2 #3, fourth story
“A Moving Experience”
by Lea Hernandez
July 2010

A gag strip where Wolverine helps Magneto fetch his furniture from storage.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #309
by Ivan Brandon, Rafael Albuquerque & Jason Latour
July 2012

This fill-in story was published in 2012 (by which point the book had returned to vol 2 “legacy numbering”). But it’s set during the period when Wolverine and Elixir were teammates on X-Force.

Trying to understand Wolverine, Elixir tags along with him to bars and on missions. After fighting a splinter group of Morlocks called the Dregs, they encounter a group of depowered mutants who believe that their power loss has made them sick, and are receiving “help” from a mysterious Russian. Since depowered mutants just become ordinary humans, Wolverine knows this can’t be right. The Russian turns out to be Meltdown (from Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown), using his powers to drain energy from the depowered mutants under the guise of healing them. Outraged by such behaviour, Elixir now understands how Logan can be motivated to kill, but still leaves it to Logan to kill Meltdown again.

X-Men: Second Coming #1 by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, David Finch, Matt Banning & Peter Steigerwald
Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #523-525 by Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson & Justin Ponsor
New Mutants vol 3 #12-14 by Zeb Wells, Ibraim Robertson & Brian Reber
X-Men Legacy vol 1 #235-237 by Mike Carey, Greg Land, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor
X-Force vol 3 #26-28 by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Mike Choi & Sonia Oback
Second Coming: Prepare by Mike Carey, Stuart Immonen, Michael LaCombe & Justin Ponsor
X-Men: Second Coming #2 by Zeb Wells, Mike Carey, Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Matt Fraction, Ibraim Roberson, Esad Ribic, Greg Land, Terry Dodson, Jay Leisten, Rachel Dodson, Matt Milla, Matt Wilson, Frank Martin & Brad Anderson
February to July 2010

Cable and teenage Hope finally return to the present day, but immediately have to go on the run from anti-mutant groups organised by Bastion. Several issues of chasing across America follow, with the X-Men trying to reach Cable and Hope first, and the bad guys trying to take out the X-Men’s teleporters. Magik is injured, and Ariel is killed. During this, the other X-Men finally find out about X-Force, and they’re not happy – not that any real consequences follow.

Wolverine’s team of X-Men finally catch up with Cable and take Hope off his hands, since it’s Cable’s techno-organic virus that the bad guys are using to track him. But when they get back to Utopia, they learn that Nightcrawler has been killed fighting Bastion. Wolverine is furious, and plainly blames Hope for getting people killed defending her – or at least Cyclops for making everyone treat Hope as a big deal. Hope doesn’t think she’s anything special either, and is alarmed by the expectations everyone has of her.

Bastion traps Utopia and part of San Francisco within a dome, planning to flood the place with Nimrod. Hence the attack on all the teleporters. But Cable and X-Force travel to the future and shut down the Nimrods’ A.I. network. Cable sacrifices himself to provide a portal back to Earth for X-Force, thus removing him as a father figure for Hope. Back in the present, Hope’s powers finally emerge, and she personally defeats Bastion. (The aftermath of this fight is also shown in a flashback in Uncanny X-Men: Heroic Age.) The X-Men hold a funeral for Cable. (This is also shown in the one-shot Deadpool & Cable #26.)

Wolverine tells Storm that Nightcrawler was the only one who treated him like he wasn’t an animal – but Nightcrawler died having just learned about X-Force, and thus “knowing that’s exactly what I am”. He also says that he regrets having involved anyone else in X-Force, but not his own involvement – “maybe if I had killed more of them, Kut would still be alive”. Needless to say, Storm does not agree. Afterwards, Wolverine officially disbands X-Force, and tells Laura that she has to find her own way instead of just letting the X-Men use her as a weapon. Cyclops agrees that X-Force can now be wound down… but in reality, Wolverine just sets up a new X-Force that even Cyclops doesn’t know about, consisting of himself, Fantomex, Archangel, Psylocke and Deadpool. At least he’s sticking with characters who are already corrupted this time. If all this seems wildly inconsistent in terms of Wolverine’s attitude to X-Force… well, that’s kind of the point, but we’ll get to that when we reach the new X-Force series next year.

After all that, Cerebro finally detects five new mutants, but that’s in an epilogue where Wolverine doesn’t appear. We’ll get to that in a bit.

NEW MUTANTS vol 3 #20-21
“Rise of the New Mutants”
by Zeb Wells, Leonard Kirk & Guru eFX
December 2010 & January 2011

The X-Men fight Project Purgatory, who have spent 26 years in Limbo experimenting on the babies who were gathered for Madelyne Pryor’s sacrifice way back in “Inferno”. Project Purgatory are defeated, as are the Elder Gods of Limbo, mainly thanks to Legion; he also purges Magik of her corruption.

WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #50, second story
“And the End is Always Near”
by Daniel Way, Antonio Fuso & C Garcia
July 2010

A weird coda to the series, with Logan and Hope talking in an alley. She’s uncomfortable about the expectations on Utopia and yearns to go back to living rough; Logan doesn’t believe in her supposed messiah status but implies that he accepts her.

“The End of the Beginning”
by Jason Aaron, Davide Gianfelice & Dave McCaig
August 2010

In his will, Kurt asks Logan to transport a $20,000 concert grand piano to a church on the top of a remote Venezuelan mountain; Logan accepts the challenge, and hauls the thing to the mountain top while reflecting on the many discussions about religion that he and Kurt had over the years. When he reaches the top, he finds that nobody there can play the piano – but Kurt has left them a gift for Logan. It’s a piece of wreckage from one of their early Danger Room sparring sessions, when he had made fun of Kurt’s faith. “Okay, elf,” Logan says, “you win.” This is another chapter in Aaron’s efforts to get religion into Wolverine’s character, but a pretty good issue on its own terms.

This is the final issue of Wolverine: Weapon X, which got rebooted alarmingly quickly by the standards of the period.

by Matt Fraction, Whilce Portacio, Steve Sanders, Jamie McKelvie, Ed Tadeo, Jaime Mendoza, Brian Reber, Ian Hannin & Chris Sotomayor
July 2010

A single panel cameo as the X-Men are welcomed back to San Francisco after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #526, second story
by Allan Heinberg, Olivier Coipel, Mark Moreals & Justin Ponsor
July 2010

A prologue for Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. Wolverine warns Magneto off getting involved with his grandchildren Wiccan and Speed.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #526-527
“The Five Lights, parts 1-2”
by Matt Fraction, Whilce Portacio, Ed Tadeo & Brian Reber
July & August 2010

The X-Men split up to monitor the five new mutants, who for the moment just seem to be sick. Logan and Scott are in Japan, and go for a drink while they wait for developments. Logan challenges Scott about whether he’s allowing his emotions to come out now that the emergency is over.

“The Future is a Four Letter Word”
by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Espin & Jim Charalampidis
November 2010 to February 2011

The new Japanese mutant, Kenji Uedo (soon to be Zero), is an avant-garde artist. His powers rage out of control to create a giant cyborg monster. Wolverine and Cyclops fight it alongside Rogue, Hope and the other four “lights” – Gabriel Cohuelo (soon to be Velocidad), Idie Okonkwo (soon to be Oya), Laurie Tromette (soon to be Transonic) and Teon Macik (soon to be Primal). Why does nobody use any of these characters except for Oya? Anyway, Hope manages to calm Zero down and bring him back to Utopia.

Once they’re back on Utopia, Logan also has the inevitable fight with Primal, who has a weird animal instinct personality; Teon quickly defers to him as an alpha, and Logan is immediately able to understand and communicate with him.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #530-534
by Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Greg Land, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor
November 2010 to March 2011

A power-dampening mutant-tailored flu virus breaks out on Utopia, and the island goes into lockdown. Because his healing factor is no longer cancelling out his adamantium poisoning, Wolverine is particularly badly affected, and unable to go defend Chinatown against the Collective Man. (Some X-Men who were still on the mainland deal with him instead.)

The virus is the creation of Lobe, who wants to blackmail the X-Men into selling him the intellectual property rights to their genome in exchange for the cure. Lobe also has an impostor X-Men team: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel (Penny Newsom), Iceman and Beast. Once it becomes apparent that the virus is harmless to ordinary humans, the X-Men stop self-isolating and defeat Lobe, who is forced to release his cure in order to save himself from infection. A weird story to read in the post-Covid era.

6-issue miniseries
by Jonathan Maberry, Scot Eaton, Robert Campanella, Jaime Mendoza, David Meikis & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
August 2010

Just a background cameo in the aftermath of Doom’s defeat.

I AM AN AVENGER #1, Young Avengers story
by Jim McCann, Chris Samnee & Matt Wilson
September 2010

A single-panel cameo as the Young Avengers visit Avengers Mansion.

I AM AN AVENGER #5, Ant-Man story
by B Clay Moore, Filipe Andrade & Chris Sotomayor
January 2011

Another non-speaking cameo, as Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady) gets caught sneaking into Avengers Mansion.

“The Daddy Issue”
by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson
March 2011

Hope tries to turn to Logan as a substitute father figure, not least because he’s one of the first X-Men that she met. But he sends her away, telling her to make her own decisions. After she leaves disappointed, he tells himself that “it’s for the best”. Logan’s very ambivalent attitude to Hope is going to be a theme running through to Avengers vs X-Men, on and off.

Chaos War #1-2 by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, Khoi Pham, Tom Palmer & Sunny Gho
Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1 and #3 by Fred van Lente, Tom Grummett, Cory Hanscher & Andy Troy
September 2010 to January 2011

Back from the dead already, Hercules gathers a whole bunch of superheroes, including Wolverine, to battle the Chaos King. They all head off to Nightmare’s realm to fight him (as also shown in Chaos War: Chaos King), but the Chaos King just uses Nightmare’s power to put them all to sleep. They remain gently slumbering for the rest of the storyline, while the Dead Avengers protect them from Nekra and the Grim Reaper. Hercules saves the day.

I AM AN AVENGER #2, Edwin Jarvis story
“The Journal of Edwin Jarvis”
by Paul Tobin, David Lopez, Álvaro Lopez & Nathan Fairbairn
October 2010

A two-page short in which hard-working Jarvis is finally taken out for a drink.

I AM AN AVENGER #2, D-Man story
“Pie of the Tiger”
by Jacob Cabot
October 2010

A one-page gag strip. D-Man wins the pie-eating contest at the annual Avengers Picnic. Wolverine congratulates him on his “nice mask”.

NEW AVENGERS vol 2 #1-7
by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Gawbadger & Laura Martin
June to December 2010

Steve Rogers assigns Norman Osborn’s former aide Victoria Hand as the New Avengers’ government liaison; after a bit of interrogation, Wolverine and Luke Cage are broadly convinced of her bona fides. Cage then assembles his new team: himself, Wolverine, Mockingbird, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, the Thing, Spider-Man and Ms Marvel.

The Eye of Agamotto appears, accompanied by a demonically possessed Dr Strange and Hellstorm. Wolverine drives the demons out by pinning them down and stabbing them – Strange congratulates him on his mystical knowledge that trauma could have this effect, but by all appearances Wolverine was just stabbing them because that’s what he does. Anyhow, the actual villain is Agamotto himself, trying to recover his Eye. Dr Strange casts a merging spell that allows all the Avengers to merge into Wolverine as a host, so that Wolverine can face Agamotto in single combat – yes, at last, it’s a Bendis Avengers arc where Wolverine actually does something. But the spirit of Daniel Drumm tries to assist, which is against the rules, so Agamotto wins by disqualification. The new sorceror supreme, now going by Doctor Voodoo, defeats Agamotto, and they both vanish in a mystical explosion. Dr Strange rejoins the Avengers .

Oh, and Squirrel Girl moves in as the new nanny for Danielle Cage. Wolverine recognises her immediately, and there’s an awkward exchange which implies that they’ve had a previous relationship. This comes up periodically in this run of New Avengers, and let’s just say the idea has yet to commend itself to any other writers.

I AM AN AVENGER #4, Thing story
“Everything Will Change Soon (In Bed)”
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sara Pichelli & Emily Warren
December 2010

Just a background cameo, as the New Avengers fight a monster in Asbury Park.

BLACK WIDOW vol 6 #1-2 and #5
“The Name of the Rose”
by Marjorie Liu & Daniel Acuña
April to August 2010

When Black Widow is hospitalised after an attack, Wolverine, Iron Man and Captain America (still Bucky, remember) race to the hospital. Logan tracks down the attacker, who turns out to be just a hired gun. Logan then hangs around the hospital for a while, and he pops up again later in the arc to help the Widow escape from Imus Champion.

6-issue miniseries
by Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert, Mark Morales, Mark Roslan & Justin Ponsor
May 2010 to May 2011

I didn’t like this miniseries at the time and nothing has changed. The art is lovely, but it’s Aaron’s absurdist mode, which never works for me. It’s a self-indulgent mess, it took a year to come out, and the whole “Wolverine can’t stand Spider-Man” angle doesn’t work when they’ve been Avengers for years. But here’s what happens anyway.

A bank robbery by the Orb attracts Spider-Man and Wolverine’s attention. A bag of glowing diamonds from the bank’s vault transports the heroes to prehistoric times. All this is apparently engineered by Czar and Big Murder, two thugs who stumbled upon the magic diamonds at a different point in their timeline, and are now working for Mojo to generate the usual insane content for his TV channels.

Months later, Logan is living with the ape-like Small Folk when Peter returns to let him know that they’re about to be killed by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. The asteroid has the same glowing diamonds in it, and somehow the impact transports Spider-Man and Wolverine to a post-apocalyptic future. There, they encounter a future Small Folk and a robot Devil Dinosaur. Apparently, Logan’s past interaction with the Small Folk led to them replacing humanity. Doom the Living Planet attacks Earth, but Wolverine fires a Phoenix-powered gun to stop it, knowing that the gun will kill him too. Spider-Man uses a Cosmic Cube to revive Logan – who is furious, as he was about to be reunited with loved ones in the afterlife.

Czar and Big Murder send Logan and Spider-Man into each other’s pasts: Logan encounters Spider-Man during the brief period before Uncle Ben died when he hadn’t learned any responsibility yet.  More time travel shenanigans follow, and eventually Wolverine steals the diamonds from Czar and uses them to travel to the planet that they originally came from. There’s a bit here where Wolverine nearly becomes Dark Phoenix but Spider-Man talks him down. Because they’ve bonded from their shared experiences, you see. Eventually Mojo and Czar are bundled away by the Minutemen, and the Time Variance Authority hit the cosmic reset button on the whole mess, though they leave Spider-Man and Wolverine with their memories.

In a flashback in Wolverine vol 4 #1, Logan visits John Wraith, who is now – you guessed it – a pastor. They discuss whether government experiments really made them into weapons, or just brought out who they always were. Wraith encourages Logan to find God. Logan is sceptical that better times are coming, but admits that a corner has been turned, and says that he’s scared of this sense of hope. In another flashback in the same issue, Logan gives Melita various weapons to defend herself with if she’s attacked by villains.

5-issue miniseries
by Andy Diggle, Billy Tam, Victor Olazaba & Guru eFX
October to December 2010

Wolverine, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the Punisher, Spider-Man, Elektra, Shang-Chi and Master Izo join forces to defeat a Hand-possessed Daredevil.

“Empire: Prelude”
by Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu & Mirco Pierfederici
August 2010

In a San Francisco bar, Daken briefly approaches Melita, but Logan doesn’t notice him.

X-Men vol 3 #1-6 by Victor Gischler, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Marte Gracia
Curse of the Mutants: Storm & Gambit #1 by Chuck Kim, Chris Bachalo and various
Curse of the Mutants, X-Men vs Vampires #1, 4th story, by Rob Williams, Doug Braithwaite & June Chung
Curse of the Mutants: Smoke & Blood #1 by Si Spurrier & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
July to December 2010

A vampire blows himself up in San Francisco, infecting those around him and making them susceptible to vampiric influence. One of the victims is the depowered Jubilee, who is brought to Utopia so that the X-Men can investigate. The X-Men discover vampire safehouses in the city, with vampires wearing light-bending medallions that protect them from the sun. With Dracula dead, the vampires are now led by his son Xarus. Blade shows up to help, but despite his very strong advice to the contrary, Cyclops and Wolverine agree that the X-Men should resurrect Dracula to fight his son. The X-Men duly retrieve Dracula’s body (Wolverine also meets his other son Janus here).

Jubilee is drawn to the vampires, and Wolverine goes after her. Unknown to Wolverine, Dr Nemesis has dosed him with nanobots that will let him briefly turn into a vampire if bitten, all as per Cyclops’s plan. As Cyclops guessed, it’s a trap; Jubilee has become a full vampire and she tries to turn Wolverine. Wolverine hangs around with the vampires for a bit, claiming to feel more alive than ever (“Hell, I’m thinking about smoking again”), and declares that he’ll dethrone Cyclops as the leader of the mutants, once they’re all vampires. Wolverine apparently isn’t faking during this bit. When the vampires attack Utopia, Cyclops deactivates the nanites, and Wolverine returns to normal. He’s not very happy, but he sides with the X-Men anyway. Dracula defeats Xarus, and Cyclops insists on letting him go; in return, Dracula leaves Jubilee with the X-Men, and they place her in a holding cell. Naturally, Blade wants to kill her, but Wolverine insists that he won’t give up on her.

We were three films into the Twilight series by 2010, so naturally it was time to see if the comics market was interested in vampires. (It wasn’t.) This volume of X-Men was launched with tremendous fanfare and contains little or nothing of any wider importance. But “Curse of the Mutants” itself is better than it gets credit for – it was just massively overhyped.

4-issue miniseries
by Kathryn Immonen & Phil Noto
January to April 2011

Blood transfusions from Wolverine moderate Jubilee’s vampiric urges, but only go so far. Wolverine persuades Scott and Emma to let Jubilee out anyway, so he can help her come to terms with her change. But she escapes into town, and when he catches up, she’s in a shipping container with a pile of corpses. She pleads innocence, so he takes her to Siberia – partly because it’s remote and has five hours of daylight, but mainly because it’s where the shipping container comes from. When they encounter another vampire, Jubilee realises that Wolverine regards vampires in general as being beyond redemption, and protests that she is no different from any other vampire. Then she gets carted off to an abstract plane as payment for some sort of mystical debt, but Wolverine tracks her down and frees her. Finally, Wolverine and Jubilee defeat a dragon, which somehow shows that her self-control has reasserted itself.

The first three issues of this are great, and really build off the old Wolverine/Jubilee relationship without going for nostalgia. It does sell the vampire direction as viable. The final issue goes off the rails, veering too far into outright weirdness.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #5.1
by Jason Aaron, Jefte Palo & Nathan Fairbairn
February 2011

On his way to meet Melita at a cabin in the Canadian wilderness, Logan gets sidetracked by dealing with the insane, cannibalistic serial killers the Buzzard Brothers (Boyd and Bufford Buzzard). As soon as he actually starts hunting, he becomes completely focussed on them. But he remembers where he’s going, and decides to hand them over to the police instead of killing them. As a result of all this, he shows up hopelessly late for what Melita had planned as a surprise birthday party, since all the guests have gone home. Logan is confused, since it isn’t his birthday – but Melita has traced his birth certificate, and apparently he’s had the date wrong all these years.

The “point one” issues were meant to be self-contained jumping on points, and this does deliver on the brief – it’s a straightforward, well executed statement of the character.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #5, second story
“Scorched Earth, conclusion: How it Started”
by Jason Aaron, Jason Latour & Rico Rinzi
January 2011

“Scorched Earth” is a series of back-up strips that ran alongside “Wolverine Goes to Hell”; this one finally fills in the set-up for the arc. Logan is meeting Melita for a date when kidnappers bundle her into a truck. Logan furiously pursues, determined to send a message to all of his enemies that Melita is off limits. Naturally, it’s a trap orchestrated by Mystique (who is disguised as Melita) – she lures him into a mystical circle, and a sorcerer casts a spell to send him to hell.

by Jason Aaron, Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhaes & Matthew Wilson
September 2010

More prologue. Images of Logan’s past violence flash before his eyes as he falls into the Pit of Hell. The spirits of the dead warn him that Satan will break him. Logan grabs onto the side of the pit, but an image of his “brother” (apparently Dog?) tells him that he needs to keep falling. Then the severed head of Sabretooth bites Logan’s hand so that he lets go.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #1-5
“Wolverine Goes to Hell”
by Jason Aaron, Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhaes & Matthew Wilson
September 2010 to January 2011

In Hell, Satan pits Logan in endless battles with Hand ninjas and other people that he has killed, patiently waiting for Logan to beg for defilement as an alternative. Naturally, Logan continues to fight, so Satan produces a broken Sabretooth in order to show that he always wins in the end. Then he produces Mariko Yashida, who is apparently in Hell because, well, she was the head of a Yakuza crime family. Then he cuts the spirit of the Silver Samurai to pieces – preventing the Samurai from warning Logan that his friends are all being attacked back on Earth. Meanwhile, Logan’s body, possessed by a demon, attacks Wraith’s church, then Yukio and Amiko, and finally the X-Men.

With Puck’s encouragement, Logan battles Satan, who is apparently weakened by the mere act of defiance. Logan defeats Satan and Puck leads an army of the damned to help. During all this, Logan is approached by the ghost of his late father Thomas Logan. Thomas seems to be proud of Logan, but for all the wrong reasons. Logan prevents Sabretooth from claiming the throne of Hell, but winds up being recognised by the demons as the new leader himself, as a result of taking Satan’s sword. Realising that Thomas was using him to seize control of Hell, Logan throws the sword away and decides to leave. Mariko refuses to go with him, insisting that she belongs in Hell. Fortunately, all this coincides with an exorcism being carried out on Earth by Melita, Hellstorm, Mystique (who’s had second thoughts) and both Ghost Riders. Wolverine returns to his body, fighting for control with the demon. He stumbles onto the street outside, where the X-Men – still expecting the demon – are waiting for him.

I don’t like this arc at all. It’s unrelentingly bleak. Part of the point seems to be to present Wolverine with incontrovertible proof of the existence of Hell, and to further the long term goal of driving him towards God. In issue #4, Logan says that he has always “wanted” to believe, but that it has never come naturally to him (though really, given his upbringing, he probably ought to be a lapsed Christian).

Next time, the second half of this arc, and Schism.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] Next time, the end of Dark Reign, the end of “no more mutants”, the end of Wolverine: O… […]

  2. Drew says:

    “Wolverine isn’t bothered by the thought of knowing his future: “What difference could it make? Would you live your life any different?””

    I mean… yes? Of course? If you could tell Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “Hey, you’re going to die a month too early, and as a direct result millions of people will think they can deny basic human rights to others,” you don’t think she’d do anything differently? If couples knew they were going to get divorced, you think they’d still get married in the first place, Wolverine? If you knew you were going to become a mind-controlled pawn of the Beast, you’d make the exact same choices? What the hell are you talking about, Logan?

  3. Mark coale says:

    Is this the longest entry so far? So many booms.

  4. Mark Coale says:

    Oops. Not only a typo, but premature posting.

    Amazing how of these I don’t even remember.

    I tried reading Aaron’s run, but soon gave up.

    Have we already hit a year when you guys are now doing the podcast?

  5. Jon R says:

    Yeah, it makes Logan out to be a philosophical meathead who can’t understand the difference between “would you stay true to yourself” and “would you fight smarter with more information”.

  6. Chris V says:

    It seems that way to me, Mark. I got tired reading this entry. So many poor books.
    I did enjoy Aaron’s run on the various Wolverine titles at this time.

  7. Nu-D says:

    I’ve read none of this, and nothing written here makes me want to at all.

  8. Dave says:

    Those Buzzard Brothers were rednecks, right? Redneck villains is another of Aaron’s recurring things – he even had ATLANTEAN rednecks in his Hulk run, which was generally not good (comedy Doombots, gah).

  9. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I stand by Aaron’s Wolverine stuff, though I agree trying to turn him religious is a bit weird.

    But then again I’m a dirty atheist.

  10. Chris V says:

    The Buzzard Brothers were Canadians, so they’d have to be hosers rather than rednecks. Aaron is from a small city in central Alabama though.

    Aaron would often write characters who were dealing with religious themes or issues in his plots, at least until recently. I get the feeling he is a Christian attempting to deal with certain things pertaining to his faith. It’s a lot more palatable than Garth Ennis, at least.

  11. Mark Coale says:

    I wish they had finished Southern Basterds (if they did, I missed it) but I guess all the WFH may have gotten in the way.

  12. Rob says:

    That Thor vs. Wolverine story from Wendigo! was actually a digital story first. It’s on Marvel Unlimited as “Thor vs. Wolverine” and was also reprinted in the Wolverine vs. the Marvel Universe TPB.

    I think the “brother” Wolverine meets in hell is meant to be John Howlett Jr, from Origins and Wolverine: The End since Dog doesn’t have claws.

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    Garth Ennis? When has he written anything unpalatable relating to religion?

  14. Josie says:

    “This apparently means the timestream has broken”

    Oh god, I remember how characters in basically every Bendis book from 2010 to 2015 kept repeating this refrain without it ever meaning anything or leading to anything.

    Yes, Hickman eventually “broke” the multiverse (not the timestream), but that seemed to have nothing to do with whatever Bendis had been alluding to.

  15. Dave says:

    Heh, now the MCU seems to be treating the multiverse and timestream as being interchangeably broken.

  16. ASV says:

    Bendis: Hey, I want to do a story where people travel to the past to change the present.

    Editor: Can’t. Time travel doesn’t work that way.

    Bendis: [writes impenetrable story in which characters learn that “time is broken”] OK, how about now?

  17. Alexx Kay says:

    Please do not use the phrase “post-COVID” to refer to the present moment. Perhaps you just meant “after the beginning of COVID. But to use the phrase “post-COVID” gives support to people who are in denial about the still-very-present plague. Said denial helps spread this plague, which continues to kill and permanently maim people at horrific rates.

  18. Alex Hill says:

    Just to prove even further that that Avengers story is needlessly convoluted, according to the Kang that shows up in the present is actually Immortus pretending to be Kang, fighting the Avengers so that they’ll get involved in the plot and stop the actual Kang from destroying the timeline. I happen to think the first volume of New Avengers post-Civil War isn’t actually that bad, but man did Bendis stay on Avengers way after he actually had any decent ideas. There’s what, another two years of both titles left after this?

  19. Andrew says:

    Re-reading this entry, it’s wild to see all of these books, many of which I bought at the time but have little to no memory of.

    I’d totally forgotten about that silly Death of Dracula/X-men Vs Vampires thing that Marvel hyped up enormously and it went absolutely nowhere.

    I’ve said it before but it truly felt like Bendis burnt out on Avengers with Siege because everything after that point is such an anticlimax and by-the-by.

    Bryan Hitch was posting about his work on that run of Avengers recently and commenting on how much he hates it (his own work on it).

    The one thing I’ll say about Wolverine Weapon X is that I liked Ron Garney’s artwork.

  20. smokyfolk says:

    I thought Curse of the Mutants was pretty fun and the Vampire!Jubilee plotline was kinda interesting, if eventually just kinda swept under the rug. Plus it gave us that ridiculous Cyclops quote about not bringing back Hitler to kill Bin Laden or whatever dumb point they were trying to make. Scott’s fall into hubris as an uber-prepared Xavier protege around the Utopia era is one of the most interesting takes on the character imo.

  21. Adam says:

    @Mark Coale: SOUTHERN BASTARDS’s artist, Jason Latour, was accused of sexual harassment / assault back in 2020 and disappeared. Might be that Jason Aaron wouldn’t even want to work with him again. So I doubt SB is coming back.

  22. Dave says:

    “Time travel doesn’t work that way.”

    But it did when Legion did it.

  23. Jenny says:

    I’m very ambivalent on Aaron as a whole but I remember thinking “wow this is decent” the few times I checked out his Wolverine run at the time. It’s not my favorite of his-PunisherMAX takes that place, largely as a result of Dillon’s work on it-but I still think it’s probably one of the better X-Men related comics post Morrison’s run.

  24. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Jenny: I have a hardcover omnibus of the first 1/2 of Aaron’s Wolverine run that I bought for $20. I don’t regret buying it, and found most of his work on the title entertaining. My favorite Jason Aaron comics are his Thor run (which I’ve read about half of), Scalped (raw, bruising storytelling), and, unfortunately, Southern Bastards. I don’t see SB being continued due to the artist’s (alleged) abuse/ awfulness as a human being. If Aaron brings it back with another artist, though, I’m all in.

  25. Mark Coale says:

    I think I prefer his Ghost Rider and Scalped over the other,bigger projects.

  26. Nu-D says:

    ”Time travel doesn’t work that way.”

    But it did when Legion did it.

    Sort of. That was the conceit at the time, but we all knew they would eventually retcon the whole think into Marvel’s standard multiverse schema.

    I’m equally confident that ten years from now the Exiles will hop between the lives of Moira II and Moira VII, or whatever, once we have enough distance and some writer gets the idea to build out the timeline that caught his/her fancy as a reader.

  27. Mark Coale says:

    Funny. My brain that as “when the Legion did it.”

    So i was picturing time bubbles and the TIme Trappers Iron Curtain of time.

  28. Adam says:

    SCALPED is probably my favorite thing Aaron’s done too. I’d be fine with another artist doing SOUTHERN BASTARDS if that’s even possible.

  29. Andrew says:


    Wasn’t the time being broken thing leading up to Age of Ultron?

    That’s how I took it at the time but admittedly I haven’t re-read any of that stuff in a long time.

  30. Jenny says:

    Should get around to Aaron’s Thor run someday. I’m not a fan of the character and it takes a writer I like a lot to get me motivated to read anything to do with him so it’s always been on the backburner.

  31. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Did it lead to Age of Ultron, or was AoU another story where time was still broken? And didn’t the Watcher dress down Beast for breaking the timestream (by pulling the O5 to the present) years after AoU?

    Time was/is/was being broken in many of Bendis’s stories, but I don’t think it actually led to anything.

    I mean, in the end it led to Bendis’s X-Men doing something completely different than the X-Men were supposed to be doing in Hickman’s head (and in their cameos in the Time Runs Out period pre-Secret Wars) (remember Cyclops-Phoenix?), so yes, you could say the timeline was completely broken. But narratively speaking, nothing came out of it.

  32. Thom H. says:

    Bendis’ Legion of Super-heroes was similar. Lots of declarations of things happening or possibly happening with no context or consequences. I think that’s just his style now.

  33. Chris V says:

    Yes, it seemed like all of the “Time is broken” talk was meant as foreshadowing for Hickman’s “Time Runs Out” and the Secret Wars event. Then, immediately after Secret Wars ended, I read, “time is broken” in a Marvel comic. My thought was, well, what was the purpose of any of what I just read from Hickman if it didn’t fix anything? So, apparently, all of those references to “time being broken” had absolutely nothing to do with the looming end of the Marvel Universe, which just happened to be called “Time Runs Out”.

  34. Nu-D says:

    The broken timeline handwaving was definitely invoked in Bendis’ X-Men run to try to persuade us these events were Very Important, since Marvel’s multiverse rules didn’t apply.

    I stand by my position that Bendis’ X-Men was the worst run ever. Worse than Austen. Austen’s stories were dopey, but generally coherent. Bendis’ stories made no sense even from a plot standpoint.

    Thinking back, I realize Bendis’ X-Men was the last time I tried to read an ongoing series, and may be the last time ever. I limit myself to trades now, where the delay gives me time to screen for quality and coherence.

  35. Josie says:

    “Bryan Hitch was posting about his work on that run of Avengers recently and commenting on how much he hates it (his own work on it).”

    Where did he post this? I’d be thrilled to read a Hitch blog or whatnot.

  36. Josie says:

    “Wasn’t the time being broken thing leading up to Age of Ultron?”

    You would think that, wouldn’t you? It would be something a thoughtful writer would be building to, but unfortunately we’re talking about Bendis and I have my Age of Ultron copy right here. From the final issue, after Wolverine completes his time travel stuff and Ultron is defeated:

    Hank Pym: “Well, Dr. McCoy, my substantially educated guess — and it’s still just a guess . . . to destroy Ultron, Wolverine repeatedly abused the space-time continuum.”

    Tony Stark: “We broke the space-time continuum.”

    Hank Pym: “Yes, and I think we’re lucky we still exist in a cohesive linear reality.”

    Hank McCoy: “If that’s true…why now? We’ve altered the space-time continuum before. Time travel has been part of our–”

    Hank Pym: “But THIS–this may have been one time too many.”

    Tony Stark: “Dear god.”

    Hank Pym: “What happens now?”

    Tony Stark: “These readings are insane. We’re teetering on multiversal chaos.”

    Hank McCoy: “Plus, we know we’re not alone in the universe. Imagine these tears in time and space reaching out through ALL of time and space.”

    And then we cut to 616’s Galactus in the Ultimate universe, and Angela appearing.

    To be fair, this is a nearly explicit reference to what was going on in Hickman’s Avengers books at the time, but the only two consequences we see – Galactus and Angela – are relevant only to future Bendis books.

  37. Andrew says:


    Hitch is quite prolific on Twitter and often discusses his artwork and career.

    A while back he talked about the long delays on The Ultimates which was due to then-undiagnosed mental health issues.

    Since he got treatment a few years ago, he’s back to being able to do a monthly schedule again for the first time since the first year of The Ultimates.

    He’s not a fan at all of his post-Ultimates work – Captain America, Avengers, Age of Ultron or his Justice League run.

    He’s talked about being really happy with his Hawkman and Venom runs, The Ultimates (despite the delay issues) and StormWatch/The Authority.

  38. Josie says:

    “He’s not a fan at all of his post-Ultimates work – Captain America, Avengers, Age of Ultron or his Justice League run.”

    That’s really interesting. I would agree with his assessment that it’s subpar in comparison with his usual stuff, but it’s not really all that bad at all.

    “Since he got treatment a few years ago, he’s back to being able to do a monthly schedule again for the first time since the first year of The Ultimates.”

    That’s absolutely incredible. Super happy for him and his powerhouse return.

  39. PsychoAndy says:

    Boy, I remember every single one of these coming out.

    This was when Marvel was like, “we’re not gonna do any more big events anymore, just small ones!” And then DoomWar, ShadowLand, Fall of the Hulks/World War Hulks, and Siege all came out on overlapping schedules, which was maybe even worse.

    Then when Siege was finally over, they were all, “No more events for a long while!” Less than a year later, Fear Itself happened.

    And then I closed my comic store, because if I can’t believe the publishers, then how am I going to instill any trust in my customers? There were a myriad of other reasons, but Marvel taught me that as a retailer, I could never trust their announcements again.

    Literally the day after we closed our doors, the New 52 was announced. And I was relieved that I didn’t have to deal with that mess.

    I later ended up working at another comic store for a couple of years, but I was just staff, not in charge of ordering, so I got to be honest about what was good and what wasn’t. I sold so many Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye trades during that time…

  40. Andrew says:


    His biggest criticism of his work from that era is that it looks rushed and stiff.

    While I agree it’s not his best work, it’s far and away above so many other top-level artists.

    But yeah it’s fantastic that he’s got help and that things are going well for him.


    Fear Itself was just terrible. Easily among the worst events Marvel have run in the past 20 years. It’s right up there with Original Sin in how wrong-headed and nonsensical it was.

  41. Josie says:

    “Then when Siege was finally over, they were all, “No more events for a long while!” Less than a year later, Fear Itself happened.”

    It was over a year later. Siege was like January/February 2010. Fear Itself was summer 2011.

  42. Josie says:

    “I got to be honest about what was good and what wasn’t.”

    I kind of hate this about human cashiers. The last time I went to a comic shop, I picked up two trades that were roughly a decade old. The guy rung up the first one and gave me a big thumbs up, and then was expressionless for the second. Granted, the second did turn out to be pretty awful. Still, I don’t enjoy being judged on my purchases.

  43. Nu-D says:

    Still, I don’t enjoy being judged on my purchases.

    Odds are most of the time they’re not thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are.

  44. Josie says:

    I’m not concerned with what they’re thinking. The example I provided was not about thoughts.

  45. Luis Dantas says:

    It seems to me that judging the merits of the merchandise comes with being bought and sold comes with being a comics store worker. Or should have, anyway.

    Your preferences are yours alone, as are theirs. They are no more nor less entitled to judge yours as you are to judge theirs.

    For what it is worth, I am sorry that they made you unconfortable. I hope they did not mean to.

  46. Josie says:

    A retailer is free to make any judgments they want. I am equally free not to shop there.

  47. Bendis writing incoherent garbage that never goes anywhere?

    Shocked, I am. Shocked.

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