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Apr 2

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2011

Posted on Sunday, April 2, 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 2011, we’re still in the Utopian era, and we’re midway through the “Wolverine Goes To Hell” storyline. The first arc in that storyline already took us through to January 2011. When we left off, Wolverine had just been summoned back to his body, which was still occupied by demons.

Oh, and brace yourselves, because this is an insanely busy year.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #6-8
“Wolverine vs the X-Men”
by Jason Aaron & Daniel Acuña
February to April 2011

While his possessed body fights the X-Men, Wolverine fights the (literal) demons inside his mind, who are “razing” parts of his personality to make room for themselves – something that seems to have no impact whatsoever in later stories, so evidently they don’t do that much damage.

Wolverine defeats the demons with help of Emma Frost, a “Phoenix” who appears to be part of his subconscious, and a ghost of Nightcrawler who’s strongly implied to be genuine. Basically, Logan can purge the demons if he finally lets Jean Grey go – and he does, but only so he can take revenge on the people who banished him to Hell. He regains control of his body just as Cyclops was about to kill him (on the logic that it’s probably what Wolverine would have wanted).

This is really an extended fight scene. It comes across as an oddly extended coda to the main event in the previous arc, but it’s quite fun on its own terms.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #9
“Get Mystique, Final Repose”
by Jason Aaron & Daniel Acuña
May 2011

Wolverine starts to hunt down his persecutors, the Red Right Hand. Maverick passes on some rumours about the group: “supposedly the only requirement for membership is hating you.” Maverick also manages to locate the group’s base, which has suddenly become suspiciously easy to find, in a Very Obvious Trap.

Meanwhile, Wolverine tracks down Mystique, who was also part of the scheme that sent him to Hell. (He catches up with her in the middle of a fight with Lord Deathstrike.) She thinks that Wolverine deserves what’s coming, but warns him that it’s a trap anyway. Wolverine won’t listen, kills her, and leaves. Don’t worry, kids, she’ll be resurrected by the Hand soon enough.

Jason Aaron’s original storyline is plainly intended to continue from here into the next arc. However, the Marvel Chronology Project places a massive gap here, which I think is to accommodate the fact that Kitty Pryde has to get out of her containment suit somewhere around here – at which point you might as well just make a longer gap. So let’s assume that the Red Right Hand taunt Wolverine with a few false leads before he finally catches up with them in issue #10… much, much later.

3-issue miniseries
by Stuart Moore, Shawn Crystal & John Rauch
January 2011

Another early digital comic. Wolverine and Deadpool fight the Stalker, a Shi’ar robot which is looking for Jean Grey. Deadpool distracts it by dressing up as Phoenix so that Wolverine can destroy it.

“The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”
by Rick Remender, Leonardo Manco & Chris Sotomayor
September 2010

This is a prologue to Uncanny X-Force, introducing the new line-up of Wolverine, Fantomex, Angel, Psylocke and Deadpool. Wolverine shows Fantomex around their Cavern X base, and argues that he and Fantomex are kindred spirits – both their memories have been tampered with, and both have tried to escape the role of living weapon. The new X-Force, he says, is for fundamentally good people who have a darkness inside them that they can at least point in the right direction. So that’s how Remender’s Wolverine likes to see himself.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 1 #1-4
“The Apocalypse Solution”
by Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña & Dean White
October 2010 to January 2011

X-Force try to stop Clan Akkaba from resurrecting Apocalypse, and fight the Final Horsemen – War (Decimus Furius), Famine (Jeb Lee), Pestilence (Ichisumi) and Death (Sanjar Javeed). The revived Apocalypse turns out to be a clone in the form of an innocent child. Psylocke insists that he can be raised differently this time, and refuses to let X-Force kill him. With some hesitation, Wolverine takes her side. Archangel argues for killing him, but can’t go through with it, and collapses in tears. Just as Wolverine is telling the team that they’ve made the right choice, Fantomex shoots the child dead. The shocked team leave in silence. (Fantomex will uses a sample of the child’s blood to clone Evan Sabah Nur, but we’ll come back to that.)

Uncanny X-Force is a great book. The art is glorious, and the designs of the new Horsemen, which depart entirely from superhero convention, are wonderful. The basic “nature vs nurture” argument is a theme that Remender keeps on developing throughout this arc, and Wolverine is the serious professional who anchors the book. He and Angel are co-leaders here, but the relationship is played as mutual respect, with an undercurrent of distrust.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 1 #5.1
by Rick Remender, Rafael Albuquerque & Dean White
March 2011

X-Force launch a pre-emptive strike on the Reavers, to stop them attacking Utopia. Psylocke is elated at the prospect of fighting the Reavers, but Wolverine warns her that “This is work, not revenge. No place for elation”. After the battle, he notes that she doesn’t look elated any more. This sits a little oddly with Jason Aaron’s concurrent storyline about Wolverine’s drive for revenge being completely self-destructive, but heck, Wolverine can be a hypocrite.

Lady Deathstrike helpfully explains part of Remender’s take on Wolverine: “Wolverine is a failed samurai. He could never meet the standards required of him yet is forever striving to. Paramount to him, above all else, is honour.”

(And yes, issue #5.1 takes place between issues #4-5, not between issues #5-6, which would be in the middle of a storyline. That’s Marvel numbering for you.)

There follows a barrage of minor appearances:

THUNDERSTRIKE vol 2 #2 and #4-5
5-issue miniseries
by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema & Bruno Hang
December 2010 to April 2011

In issue #2, the Avengers help the rescue effort after a battle between the Rhino and the new Thunderstrike (Kevin Masterson). In issues #4-5, they team with Thunderstrike and Gruenhilda the Valkyrie to fight Mangog.

“Big Time”
by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas & Edgar Delgado
November 2010

Spider-Man takes the lead as the Avengers fight Dr Octopus.

A flashback in X-Men: To Serve & Protect #1 is a one-panel cameo: Wolverine ignores Rockslide and Anole as they ineptly try to sneak out of Utopia.

HULK vol 2 #28 (second story)
“Things Best Left Unseen”
by Jeff Parker, Ben Oliver & Frank Martin
December 2010

Wolverine is one of several characters being observed by the Watcher.

by Brian Michael Bendis & Daniel Acuña
January 2011

A Luke Cage and Jessica Jones story. The other Avengers get debriefed in the epilogue.

FANTASTIC FOUR vol 1 #584 and #588
by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting & Paul Mounts
October 2010 to February 2011

Issue #584 is just a single panel cameo at a superhero poker game. In issue #588, the Avengers show up in the aftermath of the Human Torch’s death, and then attend his wake. Wolverine meets the Future Foundation here, including Bentley 32, Dragon Man, Turg, Tong, Korr, Mik, Vil and Wu. Presumably he goes to the funeral too, though we don’t see him.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN vol 1 #661 (second story)
“Just Another Day”
by Paul Benjamin & Javier Pulido
May 2011

A background cameo: the Avengers fight Fin Fang Foom as part of a montage.

The multiple flashbacks in Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda #1-4 are placed here. The Avengers (Luke, Jessica, Spider-Man and Wolverine) are called in to defuse a ludicrously contrived hi-tech bomb: it will destroy everything within a mile, but a switch can reduce the blast to only 200 feet, as long as a living person uses it. Naturally, Wolverine insists on flicking the switch and take the explosion. At the last second, he sees a Stark Industries logo on the bomb. When Iron Man arrives to help dig the horrendously injured Wolverine out of the rubble, Wolverine attacks him on sight, but eventually accepts Iron Man’s insistence that his designs were stolen. Wolverine agrees not to tell the other Avengers in exchange for Iron Man promising to make sure that nobody experiments on his body after he has died. Later, he tells the other Avengers that he has asked Iron Man to do this – but admits that he wasn’t thinking straight and that he doesn’t entirely trust Iron Man. So he asks the other Avengers to keep an eye on Iron Man too.

AVENGERS vol 4 #7-12
by Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson & Dean White
November 2010 to April 2011

When the Hood gets hold of two of the Infinity Gems, Iron Man runs off to consult with the Illuminati, leading to all three teams of Avengers (including the Secret Avengers) finding out about the Illuminati. Wolverine is among the Avengers who fail to stop Hood getting the Mind Gem, but then he drops out of the storyline. Oh, and he gets to meet Noh-Varr’s girlfriend Annie, who never gets a surname.

In a flashback in Age of Ultron #10, Wolverine, Beast, Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and Thor inadvertently reactivate Ultron while battling the Intelligencia. Thanks to a convoluted time travel plot, they use a virus to shut him down before anything much can happen, thus averting a timeline where he takes over the world.

4-issue miniseries
by Jonathan Maberry, Gianluca Gugliotta & José Villarrubia
October 2010

In Madripoor – yes, someone still remembers Madripoor at this point – Wolverine teams with Shuri to fight A.I.M. and Klaw as part of her investigation into black market vibranium. He gives her some advice on how to keep her violent impulses under control: she needs to live by a warrior’s code. “I find brooding helps. Lots of brooding.”

WOLVERINE #1000 (second story)
“The Legend of Crimson Falls”
by Jimmy Palmiotti & Rafa Garres
February 2011

While hiking in the Adirondacks, Wolverine visits a small town plagued by recent killings. The killers turn out to be the family of werewolves that own the hotel where he’s staying. They think they’re defending their home from developers. He winds up killing all of them apart from teenager Ava. Very boring.

WOLVERINE #1000 (third story)
“The Adamantium Diaries”
by Sarah Cross, João Lemos & Chris Chuckry
February 2011

Logan is approached by a teenage fan, who wants to be like him so that people will stop bullying her. He tells her that even Wolverine has to fight bad guys all the time, and that what she really needs is attitude and to believe that she’s worth standing up for. He tells her some war stories, and is generally nice to her. This is surprisingly good – the art is excellent, but it’s also a rare case of Logan just being a conventional inspirational superhero, playing against expectations that he won’t be.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 1 #5-7
“Deathlok Nation”
by Rick Remender, Esad Ribic, John Lucas & Matt Wilson
February to April 2011

In issue #5, Deadpool calls a meeting of X-Force to protest about being made complicit in the murder of a child. He complains that “this isn’t what I signed on for.” Wolverine replies that it’s “exactly what you signed on for – to the letter! We took on something terrible for the good of the entire world. You aren’t supposed to be able to sleep soundly afterwards.” Deadpool quite correctly points out that they all agreed they shouldn’t kill the child, but Wolverine has come round to the idea that it was the right thing after all, and that Fantomex saved them all from a moment of weakness. Psylocke suggests that he’s just trying to convince himself that he’s the good guy, but Wolverine rejects that and derides Deadpool as a mercenary (only to learn later that he’s working for Angel for free).

This is a really good scene which does a great job of presenting Wolverine rationalising himself as a hero, and sums up a lot of Remender’s take on the character. He didn’t think that killing the child was a good idea, but now that he sees himself as complicit in it, he’s convinced himself it was the right call.

As for the actual storyline: Deathloks from a future timeline travel back in time to steal the World, in an attempt to prevent their timeline from being eradicated. Inside the World is Father, one of the scientists who created it. In the future timeline, he was an architect of the Deathlok programe, which wiped out the world’s superheroes and resurrected them as Deathloks. Ironically, this ushered in a utopia for everyone else. X-Force fight the Deathloks, helped by the rebel Deathlok from Wolverine: Weapon X #11. Deadpool kills Father, which alters the timeline, causing all the Deathloks to disappear – except for the lone rebel, who effectively joins the team.

“Unintended Consequences”
by Rick Remender, Billy Tan & Dean White
April 2011

The Shadow King takes over a nuclear base and tries to start World War III. X-Force stop him, but Warren (in his Archangel persona) kills one of the possessed soldiers even after he no longer poses a threat. The rest of the team wrongly give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had no choice. Issue #10 has some flashbacks expanding on this story.

“High Art”
by Rick Remender, Billy Tan & Dean White
May 2011

As X-Force return home, Psylocke and Angel are both unsure what happened, but Wolverine just assures them that the killing must have been necessary, and that these sorts of things are best not thought about too closely. Hmm.

Back at Cavern-X, Magneto asks Wolverine to kill a Nazi officer. Wolverine initially refuses, on the grounds that X-Force exist to deal with legitimate threats, not to act as a “revenge squad”. But after a bit of mild persuasion, Wolverine compromises: he won’t involve X-Force, but he’ll do it solo.

Wolverine duly kills the Nazi. Before dying, the man warns Wolverine that nobody can outrun his past forever, and he hopes Logan will try to remember that when his own victims come for him. Once again, this series is really good, and a real high point of the year.

X-MEN: LEGACY vol 1 #244
“None So Blind”
by Mike Carey, Harvey Tolibaõ, Sandu Florea & Brian Reber
January 2011

A one-panel cameo among the X-Men who show up in the aftermath of a fight.

X-Men: Legacy vol 1 #245-246 by Mike Carey, Clay Mann, Jay Leisten & Brian Reber
New Mutants vol 3 #24 by Mike Carey, Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez & Brian Reber
February to April 2011

An attempt to cure Legion’s multiple personalities backfires, briefly transforming Utopia into the pocket reality of “Age of X”, where the remaining mutants are holed up in a fortress fighting off human attackers every day. Logan has been depowered after being forcibly injected with the mutant cure, and works as the team’s barman, unable to pop his claws due to the risk of blood loss. When the other mutants turn on Rogue, Logan helps cover for her; he also risks his life by joining the (apparent) final fight against the humans.

After this, we get another string of cameos.

X-MEN: LEGACY vol 1 #248
“Aftermath, part 1”
by Mike Carey, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung & Matthew Wilson
May 2011

Wolverine is at a meeting to discuss the psychological impact of “Age of X”.

NEW MUTANTS vol 3 #25
“Unfinished Business, part 1”
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Leandro Fernández & Andres Mossa
May 2011

The X-Men and the New Mutants deal with an outbreak of Nimrod A.I. technology in a car plant.

“The Fire Down Below, conclusion”
by Stuart Moore, Carlos Rodriguez, Terry Pallot & Lee Loughride
June 2011

The X-Men fight a sea monster that attacks Utopia.

5-issue miniseries
by Rob Williams, Brian Ching, Rick Ketcham and Guru-eFX
July 2011

Having been delayed by a force field, the Avengers finally make it to the Savage Land in time for the epilogue of this miniseries. Logan meets Phantom Eagle (Karl Kaufman), Kid Colt (Blaine Colt) and Moon Boy, as well as young Matthew Plunder.

NEW AVENGERS vol 2 #9-13
by Brian Michael Bendis, Howard Chaykin, Mike Deodato, Rain Beredo & Edgar Delgado
February to June 2011

The Avengers fight Superia (Deidre Wentworth) and her militia, which is made up of ex-H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Most of the story concerns the subplot about whether Avengers liaison and ex-H.A.M.M.E.R. agent Victoria Hand can be trusted. Mockingbird is injured in battle, and her life is saved thanks to a version of the Infinity Formula.

In a flashback in New Avengers vol 2 #14, Mockingbird returns to the Mansion after her discharge from hospital, and Spider-Man quits the team.

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #36-37, #39 and #41
#36-37 by Daniel Way, Jason Pearson, Karl Story, Sara Pichelli & Sonia Oback
#39 and #41 by Daniel Way, Nick Bradshaw & Rachelle Rosenberg
February to August 2011

When Armor’s mother and brother die, the X-Men accompany her back to Japan . They fight Mentallo (Marvin Flumm), who has built a power-booster that lets him mind-control Fin Fang Foom. Mainly a story about Armor reconciling with her unnamed father. (Issues #38 and #40 were part of a completely unrelated storyline.)

“Growing Up”
by Christos N Gage, Tom Raney, Scott Hanna & Jeremy Cox
March 2011

The Avengers team with the Avengers Academy students to fight Michael Korvac. Presumably Wolverine’s also present for the next issue, where the fight continues, but he doesn’t appear. He ticks a bunch of characters off his list here: Veil (Maddy Berry), Reptil (Humberto Lopez), Mettle (Ken Mack), Finesse (Jeanne Foucault), Striker (Brandon Sharpe), Hazmat (Jennifer Takeda) and Carina Walters.

“The Ward, part 1”
by Kieron Gillen, Salva Espin & Jim Charalampidis
April 2011

A cameo, sparring with Teon.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #534.1
by Kieron Gillen, Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith & Frank D’Armata
April 2011

The X-Men fight two A.I.M. scientists in the B-plot.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #535 and #537-538
“Breaking Point”
by Kieron Gillen, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson & Justin Ponsor
April to June 2011

Ex-Powerlord Kruun leads a contingent of Breakworlders (including his partner Haleena) to Earth to seek asylum from new Powerlord Colossus. The X-Men rather grudgingly agree to take them in on Utopia. Naturally Kruun betrays everyone, but winds up changing course to save Haleena’s life, and the Breakworlders set up home in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, they’re still there.

“Identity Wars, part 3”
by John Layman, Al Barrionuevo, Mark Pennington & Fabio D’Auria

A non-speaking cameo in action with the Avengers.

by Rob Williams, Ron Garney & Jason Keith
May 2011

Stung by accusations that he is merely reliving his father’s achievements, Daken lures the other Avengers away so that he can talk to Wolverine alone. Daken says that he has come to say goodbye and “live my own life”. This was part of a turning point in Daken’s arc where he tries to define himself in a way that isn’t just by reference to his father.

X-23 vol 3 #10-12
“Touching Darkness”
by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
May to July 2011

Issue #10 is worth a read. X-23 has recently obtained a long list of names of the people she killed in just one year, which has shaken her. Logan tells her to have faith; the list is nothing compared to what he’s done, after all. X-23 wishes that she still felt nothing about the deaths, but Logan tells her that the way forward is to make better memories, better actions and better friends.

More interestingly for our purposes, X-23 and Gambit both challenge Wolverine about the way he treats Jubilee as compared to X-23 – remember, Jubilee is a vampire at this point. The story treats Jubilee as a sort of inverted X-23, who wasn’t a killer but is now developing that instinct. Logan argues that putting X-23 on X-Force was the right call because she needed an outlet for her instincts, but Jubilee is different. Understandably, Gambit isn’t convinced. This is a very good issue in terms of the contrast of those relationships.

The rest of the arc involves the heroes going after arms dealers who are selling the trigger scent that makes X-23 lose control. Wolverine gets to help her calm down from one of her rages by letting her stab him, and tells her that he’s “not letting you go”. That bit’s less memorable, but it’s fine.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #539
“Losing Hope”
by Kieron Gillen, Ibraim Roberson & Jim Charalampidis
June 2011

The Crimson Commando kidnaps Hope and demands that she restore his mutant powers; Wolverine rescues her.

Afterwards, Hope asks Wolverine why he came for her alone, when he’s always treated her like a leper. At first, he simply tells her that she’s important, but when pressed, he explains that he knows people think she could be the next Phoenix, and he doesn’t want to get close to her in case he has to kill her.

9-issue miniseries
by Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales & Justin Ponsor
September 2010 to March 2012

When Magneto persuades the Young Avengers to help him find the missing Scarlet Witch, the Avengers step in. Wiccan asks the Avengers to help too, but Magneto says that the Avengers would just kill her if they found her – and Wolverine helpfully chimes in to agree. The Young Avengers and Magneto make a break for it, and when Wolverine fails to persuade the Avengers that Wanda must die, he sets out alone to tail the teens.

That leads him to Latveria, where an amnesiac Wanda is about to marry Dr Doom. Wolverine tries to kill her, insisting that he would want to be killed if he had become as big a threat as she is. Iron Lad rescues her, and the Young Avengers escape.

Once she gets her memories back, the X-Men demand that she’s handed over to them for mutant justice. Wolverine takes their side, while Magneto and the Avengers defend her. None of that matters, because she knocks out both teams and leaves with the Young Avengers. But Doom depowers her before she can reverse M-Day. There’s then a battle with Dr Doom, where Stature dies – the aftermath can also be seen in flashback in the Ant-Man story in Marvel Now! Point One. During that battle, Doom tries to claim credit for all the Scarlet Witch’s supposed wrongs, which nobody finds very convincing, and doesn’t stick.

There’s also an epilogue in issue #9, but that takes place much later.

by Brian Michael Bendis, Gabriele Dell’otto & Ive Svorcina
September 2011 & January 2012

The Avengers fight an insane Wonder Man and his Revengers – D-Man, Atlas (Erik Josten), Anti-Venom (Eddie Brock), Virtue (Ethan Edwards), Goliath, Devil-Slayer, Captain Ultra (Griffin Gogol) and Century. The Avengers win, but some of Wonder Man’s allegations about the team cause public disquiet.

In a flashback in New Avengers vol 2 #15, Wolverine spars with Iron Fist and then Squirrel Girl, who puts up a surprisingly even fight. Bendis tries to establish that they had a past romance, and seems completely serious about it having happened, even if the concept is played for comedy. We’ll all politely forget about that.

10-issue miniseries
by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Laura Martin
April & May 2011

The Avengers deal with a senseless riot. Iron Man announces his plan to rebuild Asgard on Earth, prompting an angry response from Odin. Some of this is also covered in flashback in Avengers vol 4 #13. After that, magic hammers fall from the sky, and the Avengers split up to investigate.

The crossover continues in flashbacks in New Avengers vol 2 #14-15, when the Avengers fight Sin and her forces as they attack New York. A one-panel vision of Wolverine during this battle also appears in Alpha Flight vol 4 #4.

3-issue miniseries
by Seth Peck, Roland Boschi & Dan Brown
July to September 2011

In the middle of the crossover, Wolverine stops S.T.R.I.K.E. – Croydon, Sutton, Harrow, Bexley and Brom, among others – from stealing a Helicarrier and nuking New York. The twist is that most of S.T.R.I.K.E. believe that they’re a genuine black ops agency working for legitimate governments, but in fact they aren’t the real S.T.R.I.K.E. at all – the whole thing is Sutton’s deranged fantasy. Sutton is yet another character driven mad by super-soldier experiments. Wolverine tries to persuade him that he still has agency over his life, but winds up having to defeat him anyway. This miniseries has almost nothing to do with Fear Itself, and it’s actually pretty good.

Wolverine then hooks up with the Avengers for another fight with Sin in flashback in Avengers vol 4 #17.

3-issue miniseries
by Rob Williams, Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
June to September 2011

X-Force deal with a splinter group of Purifiers led by Jonathan Standish, who believes that all superhumans and supernatural entities are helping to bring on the End Times. The general chaos of Fear Itself presumably explains why Standish is able to convince thousands of online followers to kill himself as part of the storyline, but other than that, the connection with the crossover is remote.

Standish is making the familiar arguments that superheroes just make the world a darker and more violent place, and he’s doing it while fighting the one team that might actually prove his point. X-Force are well aware of that. Untroubled by such concerns, Wolverine beheads Standish.

10-issue miniseries
by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Laura Martin
September 2011

Captain America briefs the Avengers on their mission to keep the Serpent‘s forces away from Yggdrasil for as long as they can. Just a cameo.

“Fear Itself, part 6”
by Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca & Frank D’Armata
October 2011

Another cameo. The Avengers greet Iron Man and Thor on their return from Asgard.

10-issue miniseries
by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Laura Martin
October 2011

The Avengers defeat the Serpent. Thor is killed. Later, the Avengers appear in Manhattan and promise to rebuild. Wolverine doesn’t have very much to do in any of this, though he does get to wear a set of magical armour. The final battle against the Serpent is also shown in flashback in Fear Itself: The Fearless #8. The aftermath of the battle, and the funeral of Thor, are also shown in Fear Itself #7.2, where Tanarus proclaims himself the new god of Thunder. Avengers Academy #20 takes place the day after the final battle, and includes a cameo by the New Avengers having dinner. And also in the immediate aftermath of the big fight…

ALPHA FLIGHT vol 4 #6-8
8-issue miniseries
by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, Dale Eaglesham, Sonia Oback & Jesus Arburtov
November 2011 to January 2012

Wolverine helps Alpha Flight to liberate Canada from a fascist takeover by the Unity Party, which is secretly run by the Master. They fight Alpha Flight’s Unity-sponsored replacements Alpha Strike – Vindicator, the Purple Woman (Kara Killgrave), a new WendigoRanark the Ravager and, of all people, Citadel. You know, the one-off villain from Wolverine: First Class #5. Citadel’s involvement seems to be the intended justification for Wolverine being in this arc, but nothing comes of it, and he might as well not have shown up.

In flashback in Deadpool vol 4 #37, a suicidal Deadpool meets Wolverine near Vancouver, and asks for help in dying. Wolverine refuses.

AVENGERS vol 4 #13-15 & #17
“Fear Itself”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo & various others
May to September 2011

The Avengers give separate interviews to a film crew for an “oral history” documentary about Fear Itself. It’s a framing sequence for the Fear Itself tie-in stories, none of which are very important for our purposes either. Wolverine’s participation is reluctant, dismissive and desultory. He is the one Avenger to clearly accept the Red Hulk as a teammate, on the basis that Captain America’s endorsement is good enough for him. He also comments that redemption can’t be achieved by one action, but depends on how you life your whole life. Wolverine also appears in literally one panel of the similar framing sequence in New Avengers vol 2 #16.

AVENGERS vol 4 #18
by Brian Michael Bendis & Daniel Acuña
October 2011

In the aftermath of Fear Itself, the Avengers gather at Avengers Mansion to decide on a new roster.

AVENGERS SOLO #1 (Avengers Academy story)
“Moving Daze”
by Jim McCann, Clayton Henry & Chris Sotomayor
October 2011

Wolverine helps with the repair work at Avengers Academy. A single panel cameo.

12-issue miniseries
by Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction, Chris Yost, Mark Bagley, Paul Pelletier, Danny Miki, Andy Lanning & Matthew Wilson
January to April 2012

This is basically a Valkyrie book in which she and Sin race to find the magic hammers from Fear Itself. In issues #6-7, the Avengers fight Sin’s Department of Occult Armaments when they try to steal a hammer from Project PEGASUS. In issues #10-12, Wolverine is among a large squadron of heroes who gather to fight the DOA. Sin manages to activate the Final Sleeper, that being her doomsday plan, but she gets defeated anyway. Among the obscure villains in the DOA line-up are Malpractice (Josef Pohlmann), Innards (Rupert Helona), Rotwrap (Ayla Ranefar), Host, Blackout (the Ghost Rider villain), Master Pandemonium (Martin Preston), two gargoyles, Sorrowful Maiden, Ogre and Hound.

WOLVERINE #310-313
“Sabretooth Reborn”
by Jeph Loeb, Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
July to September 2012

This is the less well known sequel to Loeb and Bianchi’s notorious “Evolution” arc, the one that introduced Romulus. It was published in 2012, but it expressly takes place in the past, presumably because it explains Sabretooth’s return after being beheaded in “Evolution”.

Sabretooth inexplicably returns from the dead and kidnaps Dagger. Cloak agrees to release Romulus from the Darkforce Dimension in order to get her back, but Romulus just keeps her. Wolverine and Cloak pursue Romulus to the cabin that Wolverine and Silver Fox once shared. The ensuing fight is interrupted by Romulus’s supposed twin sister Remus, who takes out Romulus with a sword and tells Wolverine that he’ll find answers at the old Weapon X facility. Wolverine collapses, and when he comes to, Romulus and Remus are gone.

At Weapon X, Wolverine finds a whole bunch of Sabretooth clones, one of which claims to be the original – the Sabretooth who got beheaded in “Evolution” was apparently another of the clones. Remus helps Wolverine to defeat the clones. She claims to want his help in killing Romulus, but Wolverine doesn’t trust her. According to Remus, she and Romulus have watched a succession of civilisations rise and fall; she believes that an all-mutant society will (for some reason) endure. She also tells Wolverine to ignore all the retcons in “Evolution” about homo lupus, and claims that the real reason why so many mutants have feral powers is because of Romulus’ tinkering in the bloodline.

Remus, Wolverine, Cloak and Dagger then head to Romulus’ Italian home, where Romulus is trying to give himself an adamantium skeleton in a Weapon X-style floatation tank. Wolverine and Romulus fight again, and Romulus claims that the Weapon X project was Wolverine’s idea all along. Romulus somehow prompts Wolverine to have memories of this event, but Wolverine dismisses them as false. Romulus is captured and sent to the Raft; Sabretooth escapes; and Wolverine goes on holiday with Remus for no apparent reason beyond the fact that she looks nice in a bikini. When she kisses him, he has another memory flash – according to this flashback, Remus was Wolverine’s lover, she objected to him submitting to Weapon X, and Romulus had her removed from his memory. Wolverine decides to just ignore that.

Every other writer since has felt the same way. This arc is more coherent than “Evolution”, and reverses some some of its more bizarre attempted retcons, while attempting to introduce others – but the end result is just a mess that everyone ignores. Romulus hasn’t appeared since (at least not in the present day), and Remus never appeared again. They just didn’t take and, while technically Romulus remains a large part of Wolverine’s history, this is the last point where anyone tries to sell him as important.

flashback in Amazing Spider-Man #665 contains a montage of Spider-Man’s recent exploits; one panel shows the Avengers fighting Arcade.

X-MEN vol 3 #7-10
“To Serve & Protect”
by Victor Gischler, Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend
January to April 2011

For PR reasons, the X-Men are trying to do a bit more conventional superheroing. As part of this project, Storm, Wolverine, Gambit and Emma Frost are sent to New York where they team up with Spider-Man to fight the Lizard, who is enthralling followers and luring them to the sewers to become lizard people.

All the victims are friendless, bullied loners, apparently because their emotional state makes them susceptible to the Lizard’s influence; one of the victims, Max O’Brien, gets named. The Dark Beast turns out to be behind it all, and the heroes defeat him. The big idea is that the X-Men start off rather smug about how they can deal with such pressures better than Lizard’s bunch of lowers, but turn out to be susceptible to his influence too.

Amazing Spider-Man #666 and #673 by Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli & various colourists
Amazing Spider-Man #667-668, #670 and #672 by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, various inkers & Edgar Delgado
Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger #1 by Nick Spencer, Emma Ríos & Javier Rodriguez
Herc #7 by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, June Brigman, Roy Richardson & Jesus Aburtov
July to November 2011

Ordinary New Yorkers start developing powers just like Spider-Man’s. Ultimately, they turn into spider-creatures under the control of the Queen (Adriana Soria). The X-Men are still in town from the previous arc, so they help to defend one of the spider-sense jamming towers that maintain a psychic barrier around the city and stop the infected New Yorkers from leaving. Wolverine shows up alongside both the Avengers and the X-Men and does nothing especially significant.

He does tick a few more names off his list: the Young Allies (Gravity, Firestar and Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon)); the NYPD’s largely pointless Anti-Spider Patrolthe Bride of Nine Spiders; the Olympian goddess Arachne, who shows up in the Herc issue; Agent Venom (Flash Thompson); Kaine (the clone of Spider-Man); and the Shroud (Max Coleridge). Wolverine also cameos alongside the Avengers in Spider-Island: Deadly Foes, Spider-Island: Avengers and Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1.

X-MEN vol 3 #11
“Blood Hunt”
by Victor Gischler, Al Barrionuevo, Michel Lacombe & Rain Beredo
May 2011

Jubilee’s birthday party. It’s a framing sequence for a flashback story about Professor X.

by Charlie Huston, Juan José Ryp & Andrew Mosa
December 2010 to May 2011

This series, which only lasted 12 issues, was an ill-advised attempt to produce a more bloodthirsty Wolverine book. The cover literally has a big red sign on it saying “Parental advisory! Not for kids!” It does have some decent ideas but a lot of it’s just tiresome and gratuitous. It’s also packed with the sort of characters that would make Steve Orlando say “blimey, that’s a bit obscure”.

After a prologue in which Logan fights and kills a couple of hillbillies and the Griz (Mac Garrity), he heads back to San Francisco and hitches a life with a woman called Reese. They go clubbing. After she introduces him to her friend Winsor (Contagion), Logan becomes uninhibited and suffers hallucinations. Beast diagnoses that Logan has been drugged with the same chemicals produced by the Iron Man villain the Corruptor (Jackson Day). Returning to the nightclub, Wolverine encounters the Unkillables, a bunch of characters united by the fact that none of them can die. The group consists of Harry Sikes, a one-off horror character; MadcapMortigan Goth, whose Marvel UK series ran for four issues in 1993; Vic Slaughter, a character from the 1990s Morbius title; Suicide (Chris Daniels), a 90s Ghost Rider character; Scavenger (Robert Nicolle) from 70s Man-Thingthe Snow Queen (Yi Yang), a Night Raven villain; and Marjorie Brink, who once met Dr Strange in an 8-page story in Marvel Comics Presents.

The Unkillables’ role is to overtax Wolverine’s healing factor, so that he can be captured using the Corruptor chemical. Contagion explains that his powers mean that he is infected with all manner of unimaginable diseases, so that disaster would ensue if Wolverine drew blood from him. Contagion’s son, Flip, has a grotesquely enlarged brain, supposedly through exposure to Contagion’s infections. But in fact, Contagion has transformed Flip in the hope of making him clever enough to cure Contagion’s own infections.

Still suggestible, Wolverine agrees to undergo a series of entirely gratuitous experiments on his healing factor, which drone on for a couple of issues. At Flip’s (rather bored) prompting, Wolverine finally gets back to his right mind, escapes, and finds the actual Corruptor held prisoner. He uses some of the Corruptor serum on Contagion, forcing the villain to cure himself and apparently rendering him harmless. Wolverine scapes, but Contagion gets away too. Better in summary than it is at six issues’ length.

“Broken Quarantine”
by Charlie Huston, Juan José Ryp & Andres Mosa
June to December 2011

Wolverine returns to Utopia to wait for his healing factor to undo all the damage that he’s taken, but he gives up on quarantine pretty quickly to hunt down Reese. She claims that she was under Contagion’s influence when they met before.

Suddenly, Monark Starstalker, Paradox and Monark’s robot falcon Ulysses show up and kill Reese. They work for mercenary outfit VEGS (Venture Executives for Galactic Security), and they’re trying to prevent an outbreak of a “technectrotic” infection which can create technarch zombies. There’s a brief detour to fight General Kosrouschaah (a Lunatik villain, of all things), who is accompanied by a P’Tah, a Pheragot and a Scatter (all pre-existing Marvel alien races). Wolverine, Monark and Paradox then wind up fighting Contagion again. His new control over his powers makes him safe to kill, and Wolverine disposes of him.

Logan’s healing factor is meant to be greatly reduced by all this, but the book gets cancelled at this point and nobody else is interested in picking up the storyline. So nothing comes of it.

Oh, and this arc tries to set up Dazzler as a love interest for Logan, but nothing comes of that either. They do appear to sleep together in the epilogue, though.

X-Men Giant-Size
 #1 and X-Men vol 3 #12-15

by Christopher Yost, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Dalabor Talajic, Marte Gracia & Wil Quintana
May to July 2011

In the prologue, the Neo’s Guardian Clan attack Utopia, belatedly demanding to know why most of them lost their powers on M-Day and why mutant births have now resumed. But the Neo are quickly wiped out by the Evolutionaries, a group of neanderthals who were assigned by the Eternals to protect evolution; the original X-Men met them once back in the Silver Age, but their memories were erased until now. The Evolutionaries want to protect evolution by wiping out humanity, leaving the way clear for mutants can prosper. The X-Men defeat them, and all but one of the Evolutionaries is killed; the lone survivor is furious that his protection has been rebuffed, but he never shows up again.

by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Jim Charalampidis
July 2011

When a new mutant is driven to suicide by a friend crassly posting his image on social media, Logan stops Zero from killing the friend in revenge. Logan insists that he understands the motivation – “that’s why I’m saying don’t do it”. Some people deserve to die, but this kid has just made a stupid mistake. The nihilistic Zero is not altogether convinced, but does agree to go for a drink instead of committing murder.

I do love the cover on this one.

X-MEN vol 3 #16-19
“Betrayal in the Bermuda Triangle”
by Victor Gischler, Jorge Molina & Guru eFX
August to October 2011

The X-Men and the Fantastic Four (currently including Dr Doom in place of the Human Torch) travel to another dimension to rescue Lee Forrester, who has been stranded there after going through a portal in the Bermuda Triangle. They team up with Skull the Slayer and a group of psychics called the Kaddak to help the locals fight off invading aliens, the Scorpius. It’s mainly a “can you trust Doom” story.

MOON KNIGHT vol 6 #4, #6 and #12
by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Matthew Wilson & Matt Hollingsworth
August 2011 to April 2012

This is the weird series where Moon Knight had Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America as his multiple personalities, and ran around pretending to be them. The real Wolverine has cameos alongside the Avengers in three issues, but nothing important happens.

4-issue miniseries
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tan Eng Huat, Andrew Hennessy & Wil Quintana
September to December 2011

The Avengers team up with the cosmic superhero group the Annihilators (Quasar, Gladiator, Beta Ray Bill, Ronan the Accuser, Ikon and Cosmo) to fight the Magus and his Universal Church of Truth, which has a cover organisation in the form of Colorado’s Life Science Institute Gated Community. Wolverine puts up a surprisingly good showing against Gladiator but otherwise doesn’t contribute much.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #10-14
“Wolverine’s Revenge!”
by Jason Aaron, Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhaes & Matthew Wilson
June to August 2011

Right, back to this arc. As I say, we’re assuming that the Red Right Hand have kept Logan busy with false leads on and off since issue #9 – but Aaron’s intention was plainly for the stories to follow on directly.

Wolverine arrives at the Red Right Hand’s base. To reach the group, he fights his way through the Mongrels – Cannonfoot, Shadow Stalker, Fire Knives, Saw Fist and Gunhawk (William Dowling) – one at a time, brutally killing them all. All this is basically a framing sequence for extensive flashbacks in which Red Right Hand members recall how they encountered Wolverine and grew to hate him.

Gunhawk, the last Mongrel to die, warns Wolverine not to go through with his revenge, and says the plan was never to kill him, but “only to make you hurt”. Wolverine ignores him, and charges through to face the Red Right Hand, only to find them all dead by suicide. A video message explains that they have denied him the satisfaction of revenge, and left a book explaining who they are, and which of his victims they related to. Wolverine is untroubled, claiming that he remembered all of the incidents in question already.

But the video goes on to reveal that the Mongrels are Wolverine’s own children, recruited and trained in the expectation that Wolverine would kill them. This seems to explain why they’re all made vaguely ridiculous, except for their leader Gunhawk, who has more dignity – he also seems to be the only one who’s in on the scheme. Having tricked Wolverine into killing five of his own children, the Red Right Hand end the message by welcoming him to their ranks. Wolverine is suitably appalled.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #15
“Wolverine No More”
by Jason Aaron, Goran Sudzuka & Mathew Wilson
September 2011

A shattered Logan takes the bodies of the Mongrels back to their home towns to bury them. Daken explains that he helped the Red Right Hand to find the Mongrels, and claims to have proved his point that they are both the same – “a brutally efficient killer who leaves naught but carnage and misery wherever he wanders”. Then he introduces Dog, to Logan’s understandable amazement. In despair, Logan tells Melita not to look for him, and tries to commit suicide by hurling himself repeatedly from a mountain.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #16
“Wolverine Forever”
by Jason Aaron, Goran Sudzuka & Matthew Wilson
September 2011

Having failed to kill himself, Logan decides to forget his humanity and live in the wilderness with a pack of wolves. He winds up saving some children from slavers anyway. Melita arrives with the X-Men and Avengers in tow, and he just decides to return with them. After sixteen issues, this is a massive cop-out.

The epilogue has Wolverine speaking to Melita for her biography of him, and the book ends with a lead-in to Schism. But first…

In a flashback in Thor vol 5 #5, Logan and Thor have a drink and fight some robbers.

by Chris Cosentino, Dalibor Talajić & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
July 2013

One for the “I promise I’m not making this up” file. Published in 2013, but clearly set while Wolverine is still living in San Francisco, it’s a novelty one-shot written by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, in which Wolverine teams up with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino to defeat the Bay Area Butcher, a regular old serial killer who happens to use classical butchery techniques.

It’s a very weird book, since it’s played basically straight and it’s actually quite competent – the celebrity angle is bizarrely at odds with the actual content.

4-issue miniseries
by Paul Jenkins, various artists and Lee Loughridge
May & June 2011

Inexplicable 4-issue miniseries in which, as a framing sequence for assorted character study flashbacks, the X-Men stand around on Utopia awaiting the arrival of an apparently devastating threat, which never shows up, and is never explained. Cyclops decides that they should stand their ground instead of evacuating, and Logan agrees.

On its release, this was understandably assumed to be some sort of teaser for the plot of Schism, what with its being called Prelude to Schism and the storyline not being resolved in any way. It isn’t. It’s just a weird, seemingly pointless, thing.

5-issue miniseries
by Jason Aaron and various artists
July to October 2011

This is important – it sets up the direction of the X-books for the next few years.

Cyclops drags an exhausted and overworked Wolverine along to an international arms control conference. Cyclops hopes to win hearts and minds with a speech, Wolverine is cynical about the chances of ever changing the world, and they talk about how they’ve come to mutual respect over the years. Kid Omega interrupts the speech and telepathically humiliates the diplomats. Then Sentinels attack, but the two X-Men easily defeat them. Meanwhile, Logan is growing more and more troubled by the way the teenage mutants are always training for combat, and clumsily attempts to deal with the issue by giving Oya a toy doll. She’s meant to be 14.

Kid Omega’s stunt prompts more governments to step up Sentinel programs, though the Sentinels turn out to be elderly and useless. When Kid Omega smugly asks for sanctuary, Wolverine wants to turn him over to the Avengers, but Cyclops insists that he face mutant justice. Wolverine reluctantly agrees, though he clearly thinks this amounts to little more than harbouring a criminal.

The opening of the San Francisco Mutant History Museum is attacked by the Hellfire Club, now led by a new Inner Circle comprised of child psychopaths: Kade Kilgore, Manuel Enduque, Baron Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen and Wilhelmina Kensington. The basic problem with these characters is that they’re tremendously goofy and stupid, and Schism wants them to be that, but also to function as proper villains, which they just can’t do. They’re meant to be the inversion of the X-Men’s students, but it doesn’t really work. (Gerry Duggan’s Marauders writes them a little older, and it helps.)

The Hellfire Club get the upper hand, and Oya is left as the only person in the museum to fight them. She telepathically asks Wolverine and Cyclops for guidance – Wolverine tells her to get out of there, but Cyclops tells her to do what she thinks is right, and she proceeds to kill some of the Hellfire soldiers. Wolverine is furious. (A version of this argument also appears in Generation Hope #10.) The Hellfire Club set off a bomb which wrecks the museum and turns the wreckage into a Sentinel, which starts to make its way to Utopia. Cyclops and Wolverine get into an argument about whether the kids should participate in the defence – Cyclops argues that mutantkind is on the brink of extinction, and can’t afford the luxury of non-combatants. Both Cyclops and Wolverine completely ignore the views of the kids themselves.

Convinced that the X-Men have gone completely off the rails in forcing children into action, Wolverine declares that he will blow up Utopia himself, so that the kids will have to abandon it. He and Cyclops argue about what Jean Grey would think about all this, and wind up fighting each other until Generation Hope and the other kids take over the fight against the Sentinel, at which point they come to their senses and help to destroy it. Afterwards, Oya declares that she has come to terms with being a monster, and she now knows what it means to be an X-Man. Wolverine is convinced that they have failed all the children, and declares that he is quitting, taking anyone who wants to come with him.

This does make sense as a direction for Wolverine – one of his recurring themes is wanting to protect others from getting sucked into his way of life, and his protectiveness towards the younger students. But it also leads us into a few years where the traditional roles of Cyclops and Wolverine are ironically inverted, with Wolverine trying to run the X-Men’s pacifist, non-combatant wing, and Cyclops running an increasingly radicalised force on Utopia. This is meant to be the final evolution of Wolverine’s character from brat to responsible adult, and it kind of works, though the wackiness of Aaron’s take on the school undercuts it somewhat.

by Kieron Gillen, Billy Tan & Andres Mossa
October 2011

Everyone picks their sides. Wolverine makes Iceman his first pick, because he’s “everything [Utopia] isn’t”. He also invites Psylocke, but while she’s willing to stay in X-Force, she refuses to come to the school. Havok and Polaris agree to come and get involved with X-Factor. And everyone agrees that Oya should go to the school, with Hope eventually relenting. (This scene also appears – literally, it’s reprinted – in Generation Hope #12.) Toad asks to come; Wolverine doesn’t really want him, but agrees to give him a job as janitor.

In the epilogue to Schism #5, Wolverine, Iceman and their students leave Utopia in the Blackbird and return to the ruined site of the Xavier School to start rebuilding. In a flashback in Wolverine and the X-Men vol 1 #2, Logan tells Iceman to step up, realise his potential, and help hold the new school together.

According to X-Men Legacy #260.1, Wolverine decides to remove all of the graveyards from the school grounds, since they’re too depressing for the students. Memorials are placed in the teachers’ areas instead.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #17-19
“Goodbye Chinatown”
by Jason Aaron, Ron Garney & Jason Keith
October to November 2011

Logan visits Melita to say goodbye; she’s annoyed that he didn’t actually ask her to come with him, but isn’t sure whether she wants to move anyway, since her career is taking off.

Logan then goes to Chinatown to tender his resignation as Black Dragon, but there’s a gang war he needs to sort out first. He teams up with Gorilla-Man, Fat Cobra and Master Po to fight the Jade Claw, who has a massive underground base and two enslaved dragons. Her henchmen include Razorfist, Soul Striker, Rock of the Buddha and Darkstrider. Soulstriker’s attacks (which are supposed to hurt the soul) prove less effective than they did the last time Wolverine fought him, as Wolverine’s experiences in San Francisco and his time in Hell have toughened him up. I guess? The problem with the “Wolverine Goes To Hell” arc is that it’s all very inconsequential, and immediately overshadowed by “Schism”, and so this doesn’t really convince.

The villains are all defeated, and Logan retrieves a sack of money which he can use to help fund the new school. Meanwhile, Melita decides to come to New York after all, and she gets a job at the Daily Bugle. This is basically a wrap-up for all the Chinatown stuff that went nowhere, and as a stand-alone arc, it’s good fun.

“They Keep Killing Madrox, part 2”
by Peter David, Emanuela Lupacchino & Guillermo Ortega
January 2012

Wolverine introduces Havok and Polaris to X-Factor Investigations.

In a flashback in Wolverine and the X-Men vol 1 #3, Wolverine persuades Captain America to give him one last chance to rehabilitate Kid Omega. In various flashbacks in Wolverine and the X-Men #17, Logan recruits Doop to work at the school. Doop initially refuses, but Wolverine sticks at it through increasingly bizarre adventures seen in montage, until Doop eventually gives in. Wolverine tells Doop that he is needed because of his underground connections, which will make him aware of possible attacks, and let him deal with them before they happen.

“Welcome to the X-Men! Now Die!”
by Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend
October to December 2011

The new Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is ready for opening; Professor X gives Logan his blessing. On opening day, Logan and headmistress Kitty Pryde show school inspectors Abigail Marigold and Eugene Clud around the chaotic building, which understandably horrifies them (the Toad is complaining about lava in his bedroom, for example).

Meanwhile, Kade Killgore shows up at the gates to proclaim himself the new Black King, claim credit for the events of Schism, and vow to shut the school down, because its ethos of co-existence is a threat to his family arms dealing business. The Hellfire kids turn the two inspectors into monsters, and send genetically engineered Frankensteins against the school. The X-Men defeat them, so the kids send their pet Krakoa in next – only for Kid Omega to persuade it to switch sides. The Hellfire kids retreat, and Wolverine instructs Matt Murdock to sue them. The Beast cures the two inspectors who, somehow, get charmed into giving the school a passing grade when he shows them round.

Despite the title, this isn’t really a Wolverine comic – it’s an ensemble book being sold on his name. A lot depends on your tolerance for Aaron’s wackiest tendencies, since they’re present in full force throughout this book; for me, it suffers badly from wild mood swings as it veers from general absurdity to occasional sincerity.

Students include Broo (who gets his name here), and Gladiator’s son Kid Gladiator (Kubark), who is accompanied by his bodyguard Warbird (Ava’Dara Naganandini). And the building is infested with Bamfs, who hang around in the background but won’t actually do anything significant for ages.

The first two panels of Wolverine and the X-Men #4 also take place here – they show Logan working at the school, then fighting ninjas as Wolverine by night – but panel 3 is a repeat of a scene from Uncanny X-Force #19. So…

“The Killer Among Us”
by Rick Remender, Billy Tan, Rich Elson & Paul Mounts
May 2011

The Shadow King leaks evidence of X-Force’s activities to journalist Harper Simmons, so Archangel tries to kill the poor guy. Psylocke and Wolverine stop him, and Archangel is imprisoned in Cavern-X.

X-Force break the Dark Beast out of prison in the hope that his knowledge of Apocalypse will shed light on what’s up with Archangel. Dark Beast quickly diagnoses that Archangel has been corrupted with a “Death Seed” and is “ascen[ding]” to take Apocalypse’s place now that Apocalypse himself is dead. According to Dark Beast, the only way to cure him is with a “Life Seed” – and he has one in his laboratory back on Earth-295, the Age of Apocalypse.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 1 #11-18
“The Dark Angel Saga”
#11-13 by Rick Remender, Mark Brooks, Andrew Currie & Dean White
#14-18 by Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña & Dean White
June to December 2011

X-Force and the Dark Beast travel to Earth-295, and see for themselves what a world ruled by Apocalypse would be like. Dark Beast actually does retrieve the Life Seed as he promised. But the Earth-295 X-Men (Nightcrawler, Sabretooth, Wild Child and Sunfire) think it must be some sort of doomsday weapon – so they steal it and destroy it. During the fight, Wolverine nearly kills Sabretooth until Psylocke vouches for him.

Dark Beast returns to the mainstream Earth, stranding X-Force on Earth-295. After fighting off some Earth-295 Sentinels, the X-Men take X-Force to their underwater base in Atlantis, where Logan is shocked to meet Earth-295 Magneto and Earth-295 Jean Grey. Since this Jean is single, she and Logan are instantly attracted. Also among the X-Men are Earth-295 Gambit, Rogue, Iceman, Silver Samurai, M.O.D.O.K. and X-23 (Kirika Yashida, apparently the daughter of Logan and Mariko – Logan is naturally moved to see what could have been).

X-Force and the AoA X-Men settle on two missions. First, they have to recover a second Life Seed from the body of a Celestial. Second, they need to break Earth-295 Gateway out of prison so that he can send X-Force home with the seed. Wolverine joins the squad who go after Gateway. During the mission, he tries to persuade Jean to give up on their world and lead her X-Men to the mainstream Earth. Meanwhile, the group fight the Black Legion – White Cloak, Grimm Chamber, Iron Ghost, Zombie Sentry, Earth-295 Blob, the Orange Hulk, Demon-Ock, Earth-295 Manphibian and Beta Red.

Logan’s counterpart, Earth-295 Weapon X, turns out to be the new Apocalypse, himself  corrupted by a Death Seed. He kills X-23, and Wolverine attacks him in a berserker rage. During the fight, Weapon X claims that he only took on the role of Apocalypse to save the world from Celestial judgment, and that he is not evil, but rather an amoral cosmic force. Part of the point is that Weapon X retains Wolverine’s speech patterns, his “end justifies the means” elements, and his tendency to rationalise his actions. When Jean rejects Weapon X, he abducts her, intending to implant her with another Death Seed. Aiding him in this exercise is Orordius (Earth-295 Ororo Munroe). Wolverine and co rescue Jean before that can happen.

The other team retrieve a single Life Seed, leading to a dilemma about whether to use it to cure Weapon X or to take it back to Earth-616. Jean offers it to Earth-616, but the vengeful Wolverine now wants to take his counterpart down. So Jean forces X-Force through the portal to Earth – and other than Wolverine, the team aren’t really resisting.

Unfortunately, while they were away, Archangel has become the new Apocalypse, and is now allied with Dark Beast and the Horsemen. His forces also include Genocide (William Rolfson, Apocalypse’s son by Famine). Like Weapon X, Archangel presents himself as a calmer, more reasonable Apocalypse. Archangel steals the Life Seed and uses the World to create Tabula Rasa, a time bubble where he plans to use the Life Seed to reboot evolution from scratch. X-Force and the AoA X-Men fight Archangel, and some of the X_Men are killed in action. Wolverine has the chance to kill Archangel, but hesitates. Finally, Fantomex produces Genesis (Evan Sabah Nur), the innocent Apocalypse clone that he has been raising inside the World; Genesis proclaims himself a hero and battles Archangel as a rival heir to Apocalypse. Archangel defeats Genesis, only to be killed in turn by Psylocke. His citadel collapses, and in the aftermath he is found as a complete blank slate, with no memory at all.

This whole arc is insanely dense and very good.

“Live With This”
by Rick Remender, Robbi Rodriguez & Dean White
December 2011

Most of the Earth-295 X-Men return home; Wolverine gives Earth-295 Sabretooth a sword that he received from Ogun, as a show of respect to this Sabretooth’s heroism. However, Earth-295 Nightcrawler decides to remain in this world and avenge his fallen teammates by taking revenge on the villains from his timeline. In the meantime, he joins X-Force.

Wolverine asks Fantomex why he cloned a new Evan after shooting the previous Apocalypse clone. Fantomex says that he had to prove that the child’s DNA wasn’t decisive, because they would prove that there was help for him. Fantomex also explains (not in quite so many words) that he has given Ethan the back story of Clark Kent. Logan decides to take Ethan on as a student, and figures that this is probably not the best time to tell him that his parents are fictional and that he’s a clone of a genocidal lunatic.

Wolverine then introduces Kitty and Hank to X-Force and the naive rebooted Angel – this is the scene that also appears in Wolverine and the X-Men #4. Beast is outraged that Wolverine has been running a hit squad behind everyone’s back (which, of course, is what he quit Utopia over in the first place), but Wolverine argues that X-Force will make sure no bad guys show up at the school.

In this period, Wolverine’s half of the X-Men are barely a superhero team; they’re a bunch of experienced mutants trying to run a school. You could question whether they’re really the X-Men at all, as opposed to some people who quit the X-Men, but Wolverine does insist in later stories that he never left the team.

“Just Another Day in Westchester County”
by Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw & Justin Ponsor
January 2012

Warren and Evan join the school as students, and Logan dodges Iceman’s questions from the other X-Men about what on earth happened to Warren, who now believes that he’s a real angel. Eventually Wolverine relents and explains the plot, and says that he hoped bringing Warren here might jog his memories. Iceman is unimpressed, and decides to take responsibility for his old friend.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 1 #20-23
by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini & Dean White
January to March 2012

AoA Nightcrawler is so cynical that even Deadpool loses patience with him, but Wolverine insists that this alt-Nightcrawler is a true hero who’s just been scarred by his experiences. Nightcrawler makes very clear that he isn’t, and that he’s in an alliance of convenience with X-Force while he hunts down the villains who killed his teammates, but Wolverine remains convinced that this Kurt is a good guy at heart.

Mainly, though, this is a Psylocke arc. The Captain Britain Corps abduct Psylocke and Fantomex, and the rest of X-Force follow to Otherworld, which is under attack from the Goat (an alternate future Jamie Braddock, possessed by the demon Horoam’ce). Wolverine also gets to meet Widget, which seems to be a first.

Eventually, Psylocke defeats the Goat by forcing her brother Captain Britain to kill the present day Jamie Braddock,, thereby averting the timeline in which he becomes the Goat – even though present day Jamie has done absolutely nothing wrong. Of course, this is an echo of Fantomex killing the Apocalypse clone. Psylocke is sure that she had no alternative, but angry that she had to take the responsibility of doing it, while Brian got to remain an untainted hero. As part of all this, Besty also gives up her ability to feel sorrow.

“Frozen Moment”
by Rick Remender, Phil Noto & Dean White
April 2012

X-Force track down Earth-295 Iceman (a villain) in Madripoor, and Nightcrawler kills him.

5-issue miniseries
by Brian Wood, Roland Boschi, Dan Brown, Mark Brooks, Andrew Currie, Jay Leisten, Norman Lee & Ronda Pattison
January to May 2012

Kid Omega – still being written at this point as a rather pathetic alt-right type – is still bitter about being dragged to the school against his will, and wants to show off his psychic powers. So he creates a telepathic “construct” – basically a virtual reality – and traps Wolverine and Armor inside it. Both of them believe themselves to be couriers in a dystopian future, and Logan defends Hisako until things start to unravel.

Meanwhile, Logan’s body wakes in a berserker rage and searches for Kid Omega, who has overstretched his powers and lost control of the construct. He enters the construct himself and winds up letting Wolverine “kill” him in order to turn it off. Afterwards, Logan is furious, but insists that this proves Kid Omega needs to stay at the school; Quentin is quietly pleased with how everything turned out. This is actually quite good, though running it so early in the ongoing series was an odd call.

And now, another run of minor appearances.

In a flashback in Wolverine #302, Rachel instructs Logan in psychic self-defence. Somewhat oddly, Logan is portrayed as being peculiarly vulnerable to psychic control due to the damaged nature of his psyche.

POINT ONE, fifth story
“Yin & Yang”
by Fred Van Lente, Salvador Larroca & Guru-eFX
November 2011

The Avengers are helped against AIM by the debuting Coldmoon (Wanxia) and Dragonfire (Zaoxing). These two characters got a high profile introduction in this anthology, but never appeared again – apparently they were intended for a project in the Chinese market that fell through.

by Zeb Wells, Joe Madureira & Ferran Daniel
November 2011

The Avengers defeat a giant robot.

X-23 vol 3 #17
“Misadventures in Babysitting, part 1”
by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
November 2011

Logan gives a sulking Hellion a spectacularly unsympathetic “tough love” pep talk.

X-23 vol 3 #20
“Girls Night Out, part 1”
by Marjorie Liu & Phil Noto
January 2012

X-23 decides to leave the school, and says goodbye to Logan.

NEW AVENGERS vol 2 #16.1
by Brian Michael Bendis, Neal Adams, Tom Palmer & Paul Mounts
September 2011

The Avengers supervise Norman Osborn’s transfer from the Raft for his trial, but loyal H.A.M.M.E.R. agents help him to escape.

by Zeb Well, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Sunny Gho
March 2012

A Spider-Man/Captain America team-up. In the background, the Avengers capture Copperhead (Davis Lawfers), Anaconda and Cottonmouth.

4-issue miniseries
by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines & Morry Hollowell
November 2011 to March 2012

The Avengers fight the Lethal Legion – Radioactive Man, Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Whirlwind (David Cannon) and Living Laser. Cable returns and kidnaps Falcon, as part of a scheme to alter history that doesn’t affect Wolverine at all. Wolverine shows up later to fight Cable; Blaquesmith also appears. Eventually Cable collapses from his techno-organic virus infection, and gets carted off to Utopia.

AVENGERS vol 4 #19
“Avengers Assemble!”
by Brian Michael Bendis & Daniel Acuña
November 2011

The New Avengers cameo as Storm and the Vision join the main Avengers team. Wolverine and Storm exchange a few awkward words. “You here now?” “I suppose.”

NEW AVENGERS vol 2 #17 and #19-23
“The New Dark Avengers”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato, Will Conrad & Rain Beredo
October 2011 to March 2012

The New Avengers fight Norman Osborn and his H.A.M.M.E.R. forces, including a new Dark Avengers – Skaar, Wolverine (Tomo Shishido, better known as Gorgon), Trickshot (Barney Barton), Spider-Man (Ai Apaec), Ms Marvel (Deidre Wentworth, better known as Superia), the Scarlet Witch (June Covington) and Thor (the clone from Civil War, also known as Ragnarok). The Dark Avengers are defeated, but Osborn escapes. Liaison Victoria Hand turns out to be a triple agent who was ultimately working for the good guys all along.

AVENGERS vol 4 #24
by Brian Michael Bendis & Daniel Acuña
March 2012

The Avengers, the New Avengers and Skaar defeat Norman Osborn, who goes into a coma. His aide Dr Carolina Washington also appears, and is arrested.

FF vol 1 #11
by Jonathan Hickman, Barry Kitson & Paul Mounts
October 2011

Wolverine is a face in the crowd among the many superheroes assembled to face an invading Kree armada.

by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting, Rick Magyar & Paul Mounts
November 2011

And here he is fighting them.

WOLVERINE vol 4 #20
“And Then There Was War”
by Jason Aaron, Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhaes & Matthew Wilson
December 2011

Wolverine stumbles upon a Central Park meeting between the Kingpin and Yakuza crimelord Mr Takenaka. At this point, the Kingpin is the leader of the Hand, and Takenaka wants to negotiate a peace deal. Kingpin is happy to do that, but then both crimelords are attacked by the Buzzard Brothers. The criminals are bundled to safety by Seraph’s Angels, a group comprised entirely of Wolverine’s ex-girlfriends – Seraph, Lynx and Cassie Lathrop. (Don’t ask how Seraph is alive.) According to Seraph, the Japanese government has hired them to protect Takenaka, and stop a Yakuza/Hand war breaking out. The Buzzards are captured and claim to be working for “ninjas”, which Kingpin knows nothing about. Takenaka heads back to Japan, but on his way back, he’s assassinated by Sabretooth.

Next time, Avengers vs X-Men.

Bring on the comments

  1. […] Next time, the second half of this arc, and Schism. […]

  2. Maxwell's Hammer says:

    Uncanny X-Force, X-Men Legacy, and Wolverine & the X-Men were such a palette cleanser after the previous several years of X-book garbage. I loved the deep, character driven stories of the first two, and I actually enjoyed the bonkers free-for-all of the later.

  3. Chris V says:

    Yes, after marvelling at all the sub-par, mediocre, or outright terrible product that Marvel was churning out the last year, this year saw Marvel actually putting effort into their books again. I started reading a lot more Marvel books during this year. Uncanny X-Force was an absolute highlight, one of the best books Marvel published in the 2000s. Aaron’s Wolverine, Wolverine & the X-Men, and Mike Carey on X-Men: Legacy were also excellent. Carey’s X-Men: Legacy is the only core X-Men title I fully enjoyed between Morrison and Hickman.
    I could have done without the “Fear Itself” crossover, but that seemed to have little effect on the ongoing Marvel Universe and was just a hiccup in the midst of a very strong year for Marvel Comics.
    Unfortunately, the next year sees the unreadable drivel of A vs. X, which I loathed. It started a quick and unrelenting downhill turn in the X-line which lasted until

  4. Drew says:

    “Beast is outraged that Wolverine has been running a hit squad behind everyone’s back (which, of course, is what he quit Utopia over in the first place), but Wolverine argues that X-Force will make sure no bad guys show up at the school.”

    Ah, for those halcyon days when Beast considered a covert assassination team to be morally repugnant.

    As poorly as it was handled in practice, I do sympathize with one element of Bendis bringing the Silver Age 05 into the present — at a certain point, crazy storylines and poor creative decisions do start to mount and you need to reboot characters to their most recognizable forms — Cyclops needs to become a square heroic type, Beast has to become cheerful and ape-like, Warren has to get his feathered wings and playboy persona back, etc.

    The problem is those most recognizable versions rarely stem from the exact same publishing time, so you can’t just, for instance, replace them with their Silver Age versions. (Occasionally there are social progress reasons too — Marvel’s obviously not going to make Iceman straight again, for instance.) As Paul has pointed out throughout this project with all the Romulus stuff, a lot of the time it just comes down to ignoring the bad stories and pretending they never happened. (That’s basically what they did with Cyclops, right?) But you can’t really do that with physical changes, like Warren’s metal wings or Beast being a cat, or when the character goes COMPLETELY off the deep end, like Krakoa-era Beast.

  5. The Other Michael says:

    “ nothing comes of it, and he might as well not have shown up.”
    The official Wolverine cameo motto.

    What an exhausting year when you put it all together like this.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    I have never read Fear Itself nor any of the tie-ins, but that seems to just make me this much more puzzled by the event. It somehow feels both inconsequential and very consequential. It certainly had plenty of tie-ins and secondary series.

    This whole period gives me a sense of ambition and over-reach. By this point stories seem to have given up on attempting to be approachable by the uninitiated. I’m not sure they are even supposed to have workable continuity anymore.

  7. Chris V says:

    It’s true that by the Marvel NOW linewide relaunch, Marvel had given up on any pretence of using continuity. We’re not quite to that point yet, but the seeds making the break necessary were probably already sown by 2011.

  8. Daibhid C says:

    Beast is outraged that Wolverine has been running a hit squad behind everyone’s back

    Ah, those were the days, eh?

  9. wwk5d says:

    Shit, that’s a lot of things Wolverine did before he found the Red Right Hand’s base…

    Didn’t care much for Aaron’s work on Wolverine and Wolverine & The X-men, but Uncanny X-Force and X-Men: Legacy were both very good.

    ““ nothing comes of it, and he might as well not have shown up.”
    The official Wolverine cameo motto.”

    Imagine how much shorter this list would be if you cut out all the cameos, background appearances, and pointless one or two page appearances.

  10. Omar Karindu says:

    Unfortunately, the next year sees the unreadable drivel of A vs. X, which I loathed.

    And that on the heels of Fear Itself and not too far before stuff like Age of Ultron and Battle of the Atom.

    This was the era of well-regarded creators at Marvel getting their shot at big crossover events and ending up somewhere between forgettable and dreck.

  11. ASV says:

    I remember thinking I must have been missing something in Prelude to Schism, but if anything there’s less there than it even appears on the surface.

  12. SeanW says:

    Heh, I actually remember grousing about the Red Right Hand epilogue right here on this site.

    I didn’t like RRH in the first place, a bit too overly dark for my taste. But it was the biggest mind-screw Logan had received since Weapon X, and his reaction was to go live with wolves until his friends told him, “Enough of this, just come back”, and he just did. With a reaction that perfunctory, I’d almost rather he shrugged, buried his kids, and went on with his life.

  13. Ben says:

    One of the oddest features of the MCU is their inclination to take 40 or 60 years worth of comic book stories and take the most recent ones out of sheer convenience. Is Namor simply a Black Panther villain because of AvX when he was possessed by the Phoenix?

    Why did they all have to be Phoenixes, historically that was a Jean Grey and maybe Rachel Grey thing, now it can be Cyclops, Emma Frost, The Sub-Mariner, Magik, and Collossus but he’s also Juggernaut. Who pitched this nonsense?

    The MCU got away with Civil War pretty well by framing Iron Man as the asshole the whole time. I just wonder if any of their writers have done a deep dive of any comic series ever. It looks like their Thunderbolts movie will ignore the entire concept of the original book and just be the Suicide Squar ripoff version.

    And when will they ever get to the fireworks factory??

  14. Chris V says:

    I doubt it had any influence on the movie, but the Namor/Atlantis vs. Black Panther/Wakanda rivalry dates back to the Ed Hannigan run on Defenders. In one issue, there was almost a nuclear war between the two nations.

  15. neutrino says:

    “Kid Omega – still being written at this point as a rather pathetic alt-right type – ”

    People lately have been calling Quire alt-right, but Morrison wrote him as an aimless anarchist type.

  16. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I agree that the MCU seems to focus on the last decade of comics – I’d say Namor’s role in World of Wakanda is due to his conflict with T’Challa in Hickman’s New Avengers.

    As for the Red Right Hand – I shrug at this now, but at the time I was incensed that Aaron plagiarized himself. He did the ‘Hero unknowingly kills own children’ thing with Fat Cobra, of all people, a year or two before writing the RRH arc.

  17. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    …Wakanda Forever, not ‘World of Wakanda’. Where did I get that from?

  18. Joe I says:

    “People lately have been calling Quire alt-right, but Morrison wrote him as an aimless anarchist type.”

    While “alt-right” is a little ahistorical, I got the vibe Morrison was very much tapping into the burgeoning proto-fascism and “ironic” reclamation of bigotry that was happening in the generation growing up on 4chan at the time (and subsequently broke containment and spilled over the entire internet). The Omega Gang were at least posturing at being the world conquerors who would put the lesser races in camps (and their outfits were references to that old story about mutant fascists), and I believe Quire is the first sighting of someone wearing the “Magneto Was Right” shirt (and part of the message of Morrison’s run is that Magneto was Definitely Wrong).

    Ultimately, while the Omega Gang and Quire were just acting out, I think downplaying the specifically fascist and bigoted way they were doing it misses part of the point.

    I recall GM making comments at the time about the coming “Age of Horus” vibe, and the Noh-Varr Marvel Boy was another version of this (as is the rhetoric of the U-Men, to a lesser extent).

  19. Joe I says:

    Actually I might be being a little ahistorical, given that 4chan proper doesn’t start until 2003, which actually might be right around when Riot at Xavier’s is being published, but then 4chan was a continuation of things happening on Something Awful at that time…

  20. Chris V says:

    Yes, Quire was upset that Xavier was actually pushing ahead with his dream of peaceful coexistence by allowing baseline humans to enrol in his school. Morrison also foresaw the accelerationism of Nick Land, by Quire attempting to start a race war between humans and mutants. It wasn’t an aimless anarchism.
    Plus, being Grant Morrison, they were influenced by Jack Kirby’s original presentation of Magneto, where his “master race” ideology was equated with Hitler. Hence, when Morrison used Magneto, it was the raving, loony Silver Age version rather than the nuanced version seen under Claremont.

    The “aimless youth” aspect ties in to Morrison’s wider point about how ideas need to evolve. Aimless young people will grasp on to old, outdated ideologies which are best left forgotten if these ideas left over from earlier generations don’t evolve with the same rhetoric continually regurgitated from generation to generation, offering nothing new or better for youth to look for as their future. “The first time as tragedy, the second as farce”. There’s also a meta-commentary within the comic with Morrison’s final story-arc which is a regurgitated alt-version of “Days of Future Past” again, as the same applies to the fiction.

  21. The new kid says:

    Uncanny xforce is a bit of a darling around here but I found it all a bit…. grimdark.

  22. Andrew says:

    Luis Dantas

    Fear Itself is easily among the worst line-wide Marvel events of the post-Avengers Disassembled era.

    It and Original Sin just don’t work at all, either as stories on their own, or in terms of what they actually achieve.

  23. Nu-D says:

    My rough count is 209 individual issues covered in this post. Granted, several series extend back into 2010 and/or up into 2012 —e.g. Children’s Crusade—but even accounting for those it appears Logan averaged more than three issues per week in 2011.

  24. Nu-D says:

    Pretty sure we had a very involved and lively discussion of Quire’s ideology and how best to label it just a few months ago, probably on one of these Incomplete Wolverine posts.

  25. Aro-tron says:

    I read the full run of Uncanny X-Force, years after it was published, without having really read any other X-Men books since New X-Men, and found that it was generally comprehensible in isolation for the first 18 issues. I was aware that there were references in the Age of Apocalypse stuff that were going over my head, but the character work was good enough to carry the story anyway. The opening arc is very good, and the Dark Angel Saga was thrilling and tragic.

    After those first 18 good-great issues the book lost me, though, and I found the Otherworld/Captain Britain stuff particularly confusing. I read the rest of the series, but it never really recaptured what I liked about the first run.

    I subsequently tried to read other Marvel comics from the 2010s, and realized that most modern monthly superhero books are far below the standard set by what I thought were mediocre issues of Uncanny X-Force, and that was even more disappointing.

  26. neutrino says:

    “alt-right” has become what Orwell said about fascism, its meaning diluting into “something undesirable”. As for Quire, it has been discussed before. He considered himself part of a marginalized group under attack by a genocidal majority. His group were radicalized by the apparent murder of Jumbo Carnation and attacked the U-Men, more like Antifa than the Proud Boys. Ironically, his policy of self-segregation and mutant supremacy is expressed in Krakoa and supported by a lot of readers who wouldn’t consider themselves alt-right.

  27. Thom H. says:

    Oh! I actually read some of these.

    Uncanny X-Force started out so strong that it was sort of inevitable that it didn’t meet expectations later on. Personally, I wasn’t thrilled when the art went from beautifully “painted” to more conventional and back again. But it’s undeniable that none of the characters had been written that well in quite a while.

    Children’s Crusade was hyped as a big deal, looked gorgeous, and kind of fell flat. “It was Doctor Doom all along!” just wasn’t convincing.

  28. Nu-D says:

    Here’s a link to the prior discussion of how to put Quire’s politics into a neat little box:

    his policy of self-segregation and mutant supremacy is expressed in Krakoa and supported by a lot of readers who wouldn’t consider themselves alt-right

    Advocates of an ethno-state are generally regarded as falling on the far right side of the traditional political spectrum. Perhaps some readers don’t see that in Genosha, but I do.

  29. Maxwell's Hammer says:

    But it’s undeniable that none of the characters had been written that well in quite a while.

    I was always in awe of the way he wrote Deadpool such that he was still kind of off-the-wall bonkers, but more filtered through the lens of an actual, grounded human being. It was a tricky balance, but he nailed it.

  30. Mike Loughlin says:

    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Uncanny X-Force and Uncanny Avengers v1 were written by different people. The former is mostly great, full of interesting character development and plotting. The latter is… well, we’ll get there.

    As for Quentin Quire, I don’t know if alt-right is the exact label, but the character is definitely a proto-incel. I think his philosophy, such as it is, involves being a provacateur and being against both authority and those he views as inferiors. Wearing a T-shirt equating Magneto to Che Guevara muddies the waters a bit, but I think that’s done more to piss off Preofessor X than to express a clear ideology. Given that the character is a teenager, that tracks.

  31. Luis Dantas says:

    Uncanny X-Force sure feels grimdark, as do most other incarnations of X-Force. The concept itself is questionable at best.

    But Rick Redemer gave it far better characterization than it was usual for for the time. Lampshading how hypocritical Wolverine was instead of glossing over it was the right call. If nothing else, it made the character more believable, even though nothing came of it.

    Also, one has to love how he was part of two Avengers Teams, a Black Ops Team, and some sort of school master while also presumably balancing a busy schedule in the guest star circuit and being targeted by very convoluted and traumatizing schemes by the side. Sometimes being a X-Man as well. It defies all reason and common sense.

  32. Thomas Williams says:

    Today I realized kid Hellfire was supposed to be thematic rather than arbitrary absurdity.

    Was wreckage sentinel meant to be the threat of the prelude? I think Schism would be more profound if Cyclops ordered Oya to act as a soldier

  33. Josie says:

    God, Uncanny X-Force was SO GOOD and still is an incredible book, at least the first half anyway (it immediately suffered a drop in quality with the Otherworld arc). It is easily one of my favorite Marvel runs of all time, and weirdly the only Rick Remender series I really like (there are a few I find to be okay, but his writing just never really clicked with me again the way it had on UXF).

    Everyone who worked on that title did the work of their careers.

  34. Josie says:

    “Is Namor simply a Black Panther villain because of AvX when he was possessed by the Phoenix?”

    Wakanda Forever was a very loose adaptation of Priest’s Sturm Und Drang arc, which prominently featured Wakanda nearly going to war with Atlantis. Instead of Riri Williams, the character at the center of the conflict was a capital-D Deviant child who, unlike the Deviants, resembled a perfectly normal black human infant.

  35. Josie says:

    “People lately have been calling Quire alt-right, but Morrison wrote him as an aimless anarchist type.”

    Morrison wrote him as the weak nerd becoming the fascist bully. If that’s not a description of the alt right, I don’t know what is.

  36. Josie says:

    “Uncanny xforce is a bit of a darling around here but I found it all a bit…. grimdark.”

    No, that was the previous Kyle/Yost X-Force. Grimdark describes dark angsty stories that are dark and angsty for their own sake, to languish in that specific aesthetic. Uncanny X-Force wasn’t grimdark, it was BLEAK, because no matter how many ways they tried to prevent Apocalypse from ascending, it seemed inevitable that various heirs would take up the mantle anyway. This is not grimdark specifically because the bleak settings and stakes served the story at hand, not the aesthetic itself.

  37. Josie says:

    ““alt-right” has become what Orwell said about fascism”

    No, it’s really just synonymous with fascism, but then so has the general rightwing in most countries lately.

  38. Josie says:

    “Uncanny X-Force started out so strong that it was sort of inevitable that it didn’t meet expectations later on. Personally, I wasn’t thrilled when the art went from beautifully “painted” to more conventional and back again.”

    Phil Noto is a wonderful artist, but he seemed terribly miscast on Uncanny X-Force. His style is way too clean.

  39. Mike Loughlin says:

    I’ve described Uncanny X-Force to people as “like ‘90s X-Men, but actually good.” I was being glib, but I don’t think I’m wrong.

  40. Josie says:

    “I’ve described Uncanny X-Force to people as “like ‘90s X-Men, but actually good.””

    It’s pretty accurate. It makes use of lots of concepts that became popular in the ’90s, if not over-representative of ’90s comics, and actually manages to string them into a coherent and compelling narrative.

    If we want to get technical, most of the major concepts come from the period between 1986-1990.

    Apocalypse: 1986
    Apocalypse’s horsemen: 1987
    Archangel: 1988
    Psylocke as ninja assassin: 1989
    Deadpool: 1990

    Of course, Wolverine, Deathlok, Fantomex, Shadow King, and the Age of Apocalypse are from various other years, but thematically it feels like it’s drawing from that 1986-1990 period.

  41. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Josie: “… it feels like it’s drawing from that 1986-1990 period.“

    I never thought about how much ‘90s X-stuff got its start in that four year period. Funny how that era had such an outsized effect on the next decade.

    In addition to those characters & concepts, I like how Uncanny X-Force improved the trappings of ‘90s X-comics: the grim & gritty tone (but done well), a dude with guns being on the team (but conflicted about it), the presence of Wolverine (but in a logical way), AoA elements (but better drawn than the Roger Cruz stuff), Psylocke’ & Archangel’s romance (but no Crimson Dawn), etc.

  42. Josie says:

    Great points, the Betsy/Warren stuff really didn’t have any chemistry to it during the ’90s. It felt like such a random pairing and I don’t remember it really going anywhere. After Warren became Archangel and then sort of “calmed down” eventually, it felt like nobody knew what to do with him. There was that brief moment, I guess in Uncanny #350, where he got mad at Gambit for his role in the Mutant Massacre, but that also never went anywhere.

    Arguably, Warren’s NEVER been interesting, and giving him a makeover as Archangel only gave the brief illusion of giving him a personality and an agenda, but it was just the empty grim and gritty aesthetic.

    Whereas the first ten issues of Uncanny X-Force made Warren genuinely terrifying as a guy who could lose control at a moment’s notice, and the Dark Angel Saga made him more terrifying as . . . a sociopath who was perfectly in control.

    It’s almost a shame how brief both status quos were, but better to be brief and excellent than drawn out past the point of being able to sustain interest (like, for example, the second half of Uncanny X-Force itself).

  43. Mike Loughlin says:

    I was intrigued by the Evan/ Brotherhood stuff- even though I found it deeply unpleasant- but, yeah, post-Dark Angel Saga the book loses a step.

    Re: Archangel- Warren Worthington III is the most boring major character in X-Men history, except for when he turns blue and metallic. Even Claremont had no”in” with the character, and wrote him out a few issues after Byrne (who wanted him on the team because he was a fan of the original X-Men) left the title. I think Joe Casey got closest to making the character work as an out-mutant CEO, but that’s one of the only times he’s been remotely interesting. I wish X-Corp had been better, as there was potential in his and M’s “good CEO/ bad CEO” routine, but the series fell flat.

  44. Thom H. says:

    I always thought Warren was pretty interesting during his New Defenders days. If you put him on a team of generally lower-powered characters with a distributed leadership model, then he’s got a lot to offer: money, a big house, ideas, he can fly.

    In the context of the X-Men, he’s entirely redundant because everyone’s either rich (Xavier), a leader (Cyclops, Storm), or a genius (Beast, Kate). And both Jean and Bobby can basically fly now, not to mention Rogue, Cannonball, and a hundred other characters.

    To make the O5 interesting these days, you have to power them up to absurd levels (Jean, Iceman, Warren) or turn them evil (basically all of them). Otherwise, there’s no way they’ll stand out.

  45. The Avengers (Luke, Jessica, Spider-Man and Wolverine) are called in to defuse a ludicrously contrived hi-tech bomb: it will destroy everything within a mile, but a switch can reduce the blast to only 200 feet, as long as a living person uses it.

    Does the story explain why the indestructible Luke Cage doesn’t do it?

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