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Jun 4

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2013

Posted on Sunday, June 4, 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
2010 | 2011 | 2012

We’re still in the phase when Wolverine is running the Jean Grey School. The end is drawing near, but you wouldn’t know it just yet, as Marvel continue to launch new books.

by Frank Cho & Jason Keith
January to May 2013

Savage Wolverine ran for 24 issues with rotating creative teams, but most of the stories are set at various points in the past, so it won’t generally be troubling the timeline. In this first arc, Wolverine and Shanna the She-Devil team up to deal with a mysterious island in the Savage Land which causes technology to fail. Amadeus Cho and the Hulk show up too. The island’s temple turns out to be a containment unit for an evil space god, the Dark Walker (Morrigan); they accidentally wake it, and in the epilogue it flies off into space to encourage its creator Visher-Rakk to attack Earth. Which never happens.

Wolverine and Shanna have met multiple times before but the script seems entirely unaware of that. The story is little more than an excuse for Cho to draw stuff, predominantly Shanna’s arse. Awful.

“Dying Wish, Prelude: Day in the Life”
by Dan Slott, Richard Elson & Antonio Fabela
November 2012

The Avengers accompany Spider-Man to the Raft so that he can visit the dying Dr Octopus. This is where Otto swaps minds with Peter, and Otto becomes the new “Superior” Spider-Man.

“Dying Wish: Suicide Run”
by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba & Edgar Delgado
December 2012

The Avengers have a one-panel cameo fighting Octobots.

X-FACTOR vol 1 #253
“Hell on Earth War, part 4”
by Peter David, Leonard Kirk, Jay Leisten & Matt Milla
March 2013

The Avengers have a background cameo among the many heroes fighting a demonic invasion of Earth.

by Chris Yost, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Dave Curiel
January 2013

The X-Men team up with “Spider-Man” to deal with a giant spider which is part spider, part mutant. Everyone realises that Spider-Man is acting oddly, but he’s earned enough goodwill over the years for everyone to follow his lead anyway. Wolverine does immediately suspect that something is wrong, but nobody else buys it.

Once defeated, the giant spider turns into a girl, who joins the Jean Grey School – she won’t appear again until the 2023 X-Men Green stories in X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic, where she’s going by Gwen Warren.

“Direct Action”
by Daniel Way, Phil Noto & Guru eFX
March 2013

Another one-panel cameo. The Avengers fight AIM.

by Marjorie Liu, Gabriel Hernandez Walta & Cris Peter
February 2013

Wolverine orders the X-Men to find the missing Age-of-Apocalypse Nightcrawler – but refuses to explain why it’s so urgent. Eventually he admits to being upset that he made a mistake in trusting this Nightcrawler, and ignored the warning signs because he wanted so badly to believe that it was the Nightcrawler he knew. Wolverine says he wants the X-Men with him when he catches up to AoA Nightcrawler, so that he won’t kill the guy.

Ostensibly, Wolverine wants to bring in Nightcrawler because he killed the AoA Iceman. But Nightcrawler also contributed to the sequence of events that led to Wolverine killing Daken, which is probably meant to be the core of it.

Anyway, this story is a prologue to…

X-Termination #1-2 by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Park, David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdes, Matteo Lolli, Don Ho, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Carlos Cuevas, Allen Martinez & Andres Mossa
Astonishing X-Men vol 3 #60-61 by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak, Matteo Buffagni, Renato Arlem, Klebs de Moura, Raul Valdes, Carlos Cuevas, Christopher Sotomayor & Lee Loughridge
Age of Apocalypse vol 1 #14 by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak, Andre Araujo, Renato Arlem, Cris Peter & Lee Loughridge
X-Treme X-Men vol 2 #13 by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Park, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdes, Ed Tadeo, Carlos Cuevas Don Ho, Walden Wong & Lee Loughridge
March & April 2013

Until I reached this in the reading list, I had genuinely forgotten that two of these books even existed. Age of Apocalypse was a series about the heroic human resistance in the Age of Apocalypse timeline, the twist being that they’re the counterparts of all the anti-mutant lunatic villains, but in the AoA timeline they were right. X-Treme X-Men vol 2, despite the name, was basically another run of the alternate reality-themed series Exiles. Both books were being cancelled as part of this crossover.

The X-Men catch up with AoA Nightcrawler in San Francisco, where he and the Dark Beast are trying to use the Dreaming Celestial to return to their own world. Naturally, things go wrong, and the portal threatens to destroy the world. Going through the portal to the Age of Apocalypse world (Earth-295), the X-Men meet the X-Terminated – Earth-295 Jean Grey, the Red Prophet (Earth-295 William Stryker), Deadeye (Earth-295 Zora Risman), Horror Show (Earth-295 Graydon Creed), Goodnight (Earth-295 Donald Pierce), Fiend (Earth-295 Francesca Trask) and Earth-295 Sabretooth. Moments later, another portals and a second X-Men team emerges, comprising Dazzler, Sage, Earth-12025 James Howlett, Earth-12025 Hercules, Earth-24135 Kurt Waggoner, Earth-70213 Scott Summers and Earth-16111 Charles Xavier.

Three Exterminators then show up and kill Xavier, having been released from a Celestial containment cell thanks to the “X-Treme” X-Men’s antics. The Exterminators are the Celestials’ first attempt at creating their own opposites, which they rejected in favour of the Apocalypse Death Seed from X-Force. Nightcrawler redeems himself during the battle, and Wolverine tacitly accepts his apology. Other than that, Wolverine plays very little role in the storyline, and gets marginalised early on. In the epilogue, he invites Dazzler to join the school.

A string of minor appearances follows

AVENGERS vol 5 #7 and #9
“The Last White Event” / “Star Bound”
by Jonathan Hickman, Dustin Weaver & Justin Ponsor
March & April 2013

In issue #7, Wolverine is at Avengers Mansion as the White Event occurs. In issue #9, he’s among the Avengers who contain Nightmask and Starbrand (Kevin Connor). Both are non-speaking cameos.

“Joking Hazard”
by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba & Edgar Delgado
March 2013

The Avengers discuss the increasingly brutal behaviour of “Spider-Man”. Unlike in Avenging Spider-Man #16, Wolverine is sympathetic – he points out that Spider-Man is still saintly compared to a lot of his teammates, and argues for waiting to see how things play out.

5-issue miniseries
by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Nuno Plati
April 2013

A non-speaking cameo as part of a montage in which Alpha (Andy Maguire) is overloading his super-senses. Logan is just going about his business.

“Troubled Mind”
by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba & Edgar Delgado
April 2013

“Spider-Man”‘s brutality persists, so the Avengers stage an intervention. But their tests show that he isn’t an impostor, so they decide to let him carry on for now.

NOVA vol 5 #7
“Away Game”
by Zeb Wells, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & David Curiel
August 2013

A cameo on a video screen. He’s behind Nova’s elbow.

In a flashback in A+X #5, Wolverine takes delivery of a pizza at Avengers Tower.

A+X #6
“Captain Marvel + Wolverine”
by Peter David, Camuncoli, Michele Benevento, Dan Brown & Andres Mossa
March 2013

While playing poker, Wolverine and Captain Marvel argue about whether astronauts would beat cavemen in a fight. Wolverine is on the cavemen’s side. Obviously, it’s a proxy for them to argue over their respective approaches to life. In a really weird meta ending, a random villain called the End attacks, settles the argument by pointing out that the astronauts did beat the cavemen in Planet of the Apes, and then joins the poker game.

“The Enemy Within”
by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matteo Buffagni & Jordie Bellaire
June & July 2013

The Avengers fight the Brood, and Wolverine fights a Kree Sentry, as backdrop to a story about Captain Marvel.

by Warren Ellis, Mike McKone & Jason Keith
October 2013

British military contractor Hereward tries to control the Ice Harriers – mixtures of Nazi technology and mystical creatures – which naturally go rogue. The Avengers deal with the threat. Wolverine kills the key individuals involved, then gives Thor and Captain America a dressing down for leaving the dirty work to him.

Ellis’s thesis is that Wolverine is in the Avengers so that he can do the things that the rest of the team secretly want to see done, but like to believe that they’re above. Logan gets to point out that Steve Rogers surely must have killed people during his military service in World War II, but there’s also a bizarre bit where Steve claims that the Avengers “taught [Logan] how to stand for something”, which… um, the X-Men, Warren?

GAMBIT vol 5 #9
“A Man Walks into a Bar…”
by James Asmus, Clay Mann, Seth Mann & Rachelle Rosenberg
February 2013

A non-speaking cameo in the background of Avengers Mansion.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #2 and #4-5
by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Marte Gracia
November 2012 to January 2013

The Beast brings the Silver Age X-Men to the present day in a bizarre plan to alter history by showing the past Cyclops what he became. Everyone else agrees that this is a terrible idea and that the teens must go straight back. But the Silver Age team take headmaster Wolverine to be  the main sign that they’re in a dystopian future and head off on their own.

After the team are reined in, Wolverine suggests that they alter history and save Professor X by  murdering the junior Cyclops – presumably he’s just winding the kid up – but the Silver Age team insist on staying in the present and setting things right themselves. Jean insists that the timeline will be preserved because their memories can be wiped, and Kitty decides to serve as their mentor. Wolverine does seem to be shaken by the return of a Jean Grey, but all writers seem to steer well clear of having him try to hook up with her, no doubt for the obvious reason that she’s a teenager.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #6-7
by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez & Marte Gracia
January & February 2013

The next day, Cyclops steals Wolverine’s motorbike and rides off to get some space. Wolverine catches up with him and they have the obligatory argument. Cyclops to demands to know who Wolverine thinks he is, and Wolverine replies that “I’m the guy that Xavier put in charge of the school before you murdered him.” But when Cyclops protests that he’s being blamed for things he hasn’t done yet, Wolverine does get a bit more sympathetic. He still hopes that the Silver Age team will see sense and return home.

Instead, Cyclops gives him the slip (which gives him the chance to be approached by Mystique, unknown to Wolverine). When Wolverine catches up with him again, Cyclops asks Wolverine why he doesn’t just kill the present day Cyclops; Wolverine basically replies that that would be the easy option and that he wants to save Scott, as Xavier would have wanted.

This is pretty good. The main problem with the Bendis era is that he writes two different X-Men teams – Cyclops’ revolutionaries and the time-travelling Silver Age group – but nobody seems to be steering the actual regular X-Men team, who drift badly throughout this phase. But on its own terms, All-New X-Men works well in the early days.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #8
by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez & Marte Gracia
March 2013

The Avengers find out about the Silver Age X-Men and demand to know what the hell the X-Men think they’re doing to the timeline. Junior Cyclops makes a nice speech, and Wolverine congratulates him on it. Meanwhile, teen Angel tries to return home, but Marvel Girl won’t let him.

“Ain’t No Sin to Be Glad You’re Alive”
by Jason Aaron, David López, Alvaro López & Morry Hollowell
January 2013

Wolverine is feeling overwhelmed with his responsibilities running the school. Storm, who takes over Kitty’s role as headmistress, tells him “to stop being afraid that you’ll break these kids and get in there and help them, the way only you can”. Sounds like terrible advice to me, what with Wolverine being, well, Wolverine. But we’re clearly meant to agree. Anyway, they kiss.

This issue revives the Storm/Wolverine romance that Chris Claremont had been setting up until Storm was traded to Black Panther to become a supporting character; it’ll stick around for a while without going anywhere in particular.

In a prologue, where Wolverine doesn’t appear, Black Panther wishes Storm well in finding new romance, but begs her to choose anyone but Wolverine. She eventually tells Wolverine about this conversation, since he mentions it in Wolverine vol 5 #8.

X-MEN LEGACY vol 2 #11-12
“Invasive Exotic”
by Simon Spurrier, Paul Davidson, Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung, Rachelle Rosenberg, Jay Leisten & Cris Peter
May & June 2013

Two minor cameos. In issue #11, the X-Men discuss what to do about Legion; in issue #12, Legion announces that he’s decided to accept Marcus Glove‘s mutant cure pill, and Logan watches the coverage on TV.

SCARLET SPIDER vol 2 #17-19
by Chris Yost, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong & Rex Lokus
May to July 2013

The Scarlet Spider (Kaine) has agreed to kill someone for the Assassins Guild in exchange for the Guild leaving his friends alone. They send him to kill Wolverine. Scarlet Spider and Hummingbird (Aracely Penalba) duly attack Wolverine in the Jean Grey School and get defeats. Scarlet Spider then persuades Wolverine to team with him against the Guild, so they go to New Orleans and fight Guild members including Belladonna, Harvest, Flower and Smithy. They everyone teams up against Candra, who now calls herself Red Death. All this turns out to be of a convoluted scheme by Scarlet Spider to get out of his favour to the Guild, and Wolverine is generally irked at being dragged into it all.

A+X #9
“Animal Cruelty”
by Nathan Edmondson, Humberto Ramos & Victor Olazaba 
June 2013

Captain America, Wolverine and Dr Strange retrieve a magic staff from a chimp.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #10 and #11 (part 1)
by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia & Rain Beredo
April & May 2013

Cyclops’ rival X-Men team show up at the school to recruit students for their “New Xavier School”, and Wolverine is understandably outraged. (A version of this scene also appears in Uncanny X-Men vol 3 #4.) The Stepford Cuckoos and the Silver Age Angel accept the offer.

“Let the Good Times Roll”
by Rick Remender, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales & Laura Martin
March 2013

Wolverine recruits Sunfire to join the “Uncanny” Avengers team. He also shows up at the press conference where Captain America announces the new team, and Havok gives a speech rejecting identity politics. The Grim Reaper attacks, and Rogue seemingly kills him on camera.

In a flashback in Howard the Duck vol 5 #8, the Uncanny Avengers destroy some Sentinels, one of whom will later resurface as the Iron Punisher.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #11 (part 2) to #14
by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia & Rain Beredo
May to July 2013

Wolverine, Kitty and the remaining Silver Age X-Men go looking for Mystique, but get sidetrack by the Avengers, who demand that the Silver Age team go back to their own time. It turns out that a fake Silver Age X-Men team has been committing crimes, which is obviously one of Mystique’s schemes, so Wolverine persuades the Avengers to go away.

Wolverine, Kitty and the Silver Age X-Men then track down Mystique, who is in the middle of bargaining with Madame Hydra (formerly Viper) to “buy” Madripoor. During the ensuing fight, Marvel Girl creates an illusion of herself as Phoenix in order to intimidate the villains, and Wolverine responds by trying to kill her. The heroes win, but some of the villains escape.

ALL-NEW X-MEN vol 1 #15
by Brian Michael Bendis, David LaFuente & Jim Campball
August 2013

A cameo – Marvel Girl destroys Logan’s bike while practising her telekinesis, and he isn’t pleased.

GAMBIT vol 5 #17
“All In”
by James Asmus, Clay Mann, Jay Leisten, Ed Tadeo & Rachelle Rosenberg
September 2013

Another cameo. Wolverine and Kitty talk to Gambit in the epilogue as he returns to the school.

“Savage Learning”
by Jason Aaron, Ramón Pérez & Laura Martin
February to April 2013

Apparently prompted by Storm’s pep talk in the previous issue, Wolverine takes a class of students to the Savage Land for a survival class expedition, and pretty much leaves them to fend for themselves. These kids, he says, were chosen as the ones who had the most to learn, and who would need to work as a group in order to succeed together. The hapless bunch are Broo (currently in a completely feral state), Oya, Kid Omega, Evan Sabah Nur, Glob Herman, Shark-Girl, and the debuting Sprite (Jia Jing) and Eye Boy (Trevor Hawkins).

A series of flashbacks throughout the arc show him speaking with each of the group during the flight down. Wolverine is blatantly trying to steer Kid Omega into taking responsibility and living up to his potential, and cast the deciding vote to make him Student Council President. (Quite how the vote was tied, when the main story presents Quentin as hopelessly unpopular with his classmates, is hard to fathom.) He also apologises to Evan for not telling him the truth about his origins, and gives the overenthusiastic Sprite her codename (to give her a legacy to live up to, since she’s already obsessed with proving herself to be a great X-Man).

Wolverine repeatedly claims that the kids’ lives are actually in danger on this expedition, which is the sort of thing that people say a lot in this book. Unusually, it’s directly contradicted – Wolverine tells us in a flashback that he’d never let anything happen to them, and that the Savage Land isn’t really that dangerous at all. And Kid Omega outright tells the others to ignore it. Once it gets going, this is a relatively sane story.

Unfortunately, Wolverine’s attempts to monitor the group are derailed when he comes under attack from Dog Logan, who was brought to the present in Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine. Dog is convinced that he’s the real hero, that Wolverine is still the little rich kid he remembers as a child, and that the kids need to learn from a real man like him. In theory this ought to be a good angle for a Wolverine villain, offering another counterpoint to him, but it didn’t really catch on, probably because nobody really thinks Origin is all that important. Anyway, Dog uses his time travel diamonds to bring random threats to the Savage Land, and then offers to help the students against them. These baffled villains include Roxxon Human Resources Droids of the 53rd century and the Silver Age western villain Iron Mask (Don Hertz). Eventually Dog realises that he’s been a failure and sends all the villains back home. Wolverine takes most of the class home, but Glob Herman quits the school and joins the Hellfire Club instead. Wolverine assures the remaining kids that means he failed, not them.

In a flashback in issue #29, the X-Men track down Dog’s cabin in the Canadian Rockies, but find it abandoned. They retrieve a box, which won’t open.

AVENGERS vol 5 #10
by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Deodato & Frank Martin
April 2013

The Avengers and Department H agents Porter and Robert Michaud enter the transformed city of Regina, Saskatchewan to rescue Omega Flight. They find a race of dwarf-like primitives who worship the one surviving Omega Flight member, Validator (Michaud’s daughter). She teleports the Avengers and Michaud away, and Michaud kills himself.

“Key to the Future”
by Jason Aaron, Ramón Pérez & Laura Martin
May 2013

Wolverine gets the kids to put things in a time capsule to be opened in 25 years time. In the future, an older Logan opens the capsule and is inspired to send a message back to the present, along with a key to the box that the X-Men retrieved from Dog’s cabin; it contains a toy boat that Logan and Dog played with as children.

A+X #12
“Wonder Man + The Beast”
by Christos Gage, David Williams & Veronica Gandini
September 2013

Cameo in a montage. Beast and Wonder Man shave half of Logan’s head while he’s asleep. He’s not happy. (As Wonder Man points out, it’ll grow back  by morning.)

CABLE & X-FORCE #1, #3, #6 and #14
by Dennis Hopeless, Salvador Larroca & Frank D’Armata
December 2012 to September 2013

Mostly just cameos. In issue #1, the Avengers show up in the aftermath of a battle between the latest version of X-Force (Cable, Colossus, Domino, Dr Nemesis and Forge) and some seemingly unarmed men; X-Force refuse to explain their actions. In issue #3, Wolverine stands in the background as Havok questions Hope about Cable. In issue #6, Wolverine visits Colossus in jail (he’s turned himself in by this point), but Colossus still won’t explain what happened in issue #1. And in issue #14, Wolverine stays neutral while X-Force fight the rest of the Avengers.

In a flashback in Uncanny X-Force vol 2 #1 – yes, there were two different X-Force teams this year – Wolverine fires Psylocke as a teacher for assaulting the students, but gives her a lead about Spiral and strongly hints that she should follow it up.

UNCANNY X-FORCE vol 2 #4, #6 and #13
#4 by Sam Humphries, Ron Garney, Scott Hanna, Adrian Alphona, Christina Strain, Marte Gracia & Israel Gonzalez
#6 by Sam Humphries, Adrian Alphona, Dexter Soy, Chris Sotomayor & David Curiel
#13 by Sam Humphries, Phil Briones & David Curiel
May to October 2013

Issue #4 is just a cameo of Wolverine reading the news about the last few issues. In issue #6, Wolverine protests to Psylocke about the attention she’s been drawing and tries to get her to abandon her mission and come back to the school. Psylocke essentially accuses him of trying to get her to kill Spiral, the idea being that he’s now gone all the way to making other people do his dirty work for him – a nice idea, but weirdly unrelated to anything else in the story. She says that her team won’t side with him or Scott. When Psylocke turns out to be guarded on the astral plane by the Demon Bear, Wolverine backs down and leaves her to it.

Issue #13 is just a single panel of him sleeping.

UNCANNY AVENGERS vol 1 #7-11, #13 and #21-22
by Rick Remender & Daniel Acuña
April 2013 to July 2014

This sprawling storyline matches the ambitious of Rick Remender’s X-Force, but unfortunately not its success – it’s basically a sprawling diatribe against separatism. It includes a 7-issue detour into a self-cancelling alternate timeline, which doesn’t appear in the list above because, as far the mainstream Wolverine is concerned, it didn’t happen. It’s not a particularly important storyline for Wolverine either.

The Apocalypse Twins (Eimen and Uriel) make their debut, killing a Celestial and destroying SWORD’s orbiting space station. They claim to be the rightful heirs of Apocalypse, now that Wolverine and X-Force have killed everyone higher up the list. Wolverine ducks awkward questions about what exactly he knows about the Twins, and what exactly X-Force did; ultimately, this leads to the Avengers learning that X-Force killed the child Apocalypse clone. Wolverine stands by that decision (even though, in the original story, it wasn’t actually his decision). Naturally enough, some of the regular Avengers are appalled by this, though Thor is a more sympathetic. The Twins are trying to drive a wedge between the X-Men and the regular Avengers, but only Havok figures that out, and nobody listens to Havok.

After much squabbling, Wolverine, Thor, Sunfire and Rogue quit the team and go after the Twins on their own. They encounter the new Four Horsemen of Death, who include a resurrected Daken. Daken guilt-trips Wolverine, claiming that he was sure his father would draw back from killing him at the last moment. While Wolverine is distracted by angst, Daken defeats him and takes him prisoner. According to Daken and the Twins, the Red Skull is going to use footage of Wolverine killing Daken to help spark a race war. But they plan to save mutantkind by essentially staging a rapture and taking the mutants to their own planet, whether they like it or not. Issues #13-20 consist of events in that timeline, where the mutants do go to their own world, Earth is destroyed by the Celestials, and the Avengers eventually figure out how to go back in time to change history. This leads to both events being averted. Kang, who figures into the Twins’ back story, then shows up at the last minute to try and steal the power of a Celestial, and the whole Avengers team work together to stop him, though Havok gets horribly scarred in the process. Wolverine only appears in a single panel of the finale.

Somewhere around here, as mentioned in Wolverine vol 5 #3, NYPD Detective Chieko Tomomatsu introduces Wolverine to the Guernica Bar in New York, “a pub for people in our line of work”. In a flashback in Wolverine vol 5 #4, Logan has a drink in the Guernica Bar with Victoria von Frankenstein, and they discuss ways that he could use his powers to achieve short bursts of speed, albeit in an extraordinarily painful way. (I confess that I’ve read this scene several times and still don’t understand how it’s meant to work. But there are a number of stories that have previously suggested that Wolverine is just slightly superhuman in general.)

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #62-65
by Marjorie Liu & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
May to August 2013

Iceman is corrupted by a fragment of Apocalypse power that he picked up in the “X-Termination” storyline and goes on a rampage for a bit until Dark Beast builds a machine to sort it out. Wolverine is there as a member of the X-Men, but it’s not his story.

ASTONISHING X-MEN vol 3 #66-67
by Marjorie Liu & Amilcar Pinna
August to September 2013

The X-Men investigate an infant alien which is possessing people. Wolverine and Gambit catch up with it in Indiana, and also encounter a fan, Wendy. The alien’s parent shows up to reclaim its child, satisfies itself that the two X-Men are heroes by reading Wendy’s mind, and departs in peace; the heroes congratulate Wendy on her courage. Logan gets to make a speech in part one about the importance of the X-Men making time for some normalcy and just hanging out together – it’s the macho pragmatic version of a “sensitive leader” speech. Logan and Storm’s relationship is also picked up here.

by Marjorie Liu & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
October 2013

This is the last issue of the series, and it’s a Warbird spotlight. The X-Men capture the Dark Beast after his latest atrocity, and Wolverine refuses to let Warbird kill the prisoner in cold blood. Warbird can’t understand this, and briefly walks out. Later, Wolverine tells her that they should have killed Dark Beast, and that if he wasn’t an X-Man, he’d have done it himself. This is the interpretation of Wolverine where he’s deliberately setting himself higher standards because of the need for the X-Men to be symbolic.

“The Hellfire Saga, Prelude”
by Jason Aaron, Pasqual Ferry & James Campbell
May 2013

Wolverine and Rachel Grey attack the Hellfire Club Mansion, so that Wolverine can send a message that he’s going to hunt them down and take revenge for their recent actions – i.e., shooting Broo and luring Oya and Glob away from the school. The Inner Circle aren’t in, and couldn’t care less.

“The Hellfire Saga”
by Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw, Walden Wong & Laura Martin
June to August 2013

This arc is mostly about the Hellfire Club’s rival school, the Hellfire Academy, which Kid Omega joins in an attempt to rescue Oya. It’s completely ridiculous, which works better when it’s the evil version – but the Jean Grey School is so absurd to start with, in Aaron’s stories, that there’s really nowhere much to go in terms of escalation. Anyway, the X-Men spend most of the arc following up leads in the B-plot, which is really just busy work to keep them away until the finale. It’s also the arc where 14-year-old Oya is dressed in a Black Queen costume, which might politely be described as “ill-advised”.

Wolverine also spends much of the arc grumbling that he’s failed as a teacher, and that once he’s rescued the kids he’s going to call it a day and shut down the school. (He quietly drops this as soon as the mission is over.)

Eventually the X-Men and Krakoa attack the Hellfire Academy. As the Academy starts to collapse, the rest of the teen Inner Circle turn on Kade – Max and Manuel view the whole project as a ludicrous waste of time, while Wilhelmina is just furious that it’s distracting attention from her. However, Kade has a convoluted plan of his own, involving the Siege Perilous, and is dementedly convinced that everything is going fine. Dog Logan, working as one of the teachers, bundles Kade through the Siege to start a new life; everyone else escapes before the building explodes. All the Hellfire Academy students are apparently brought back to the Jean Grey School, along with non-mutants Max and Manuel.

At some point here, Wolverine presumably meets the Hellfire Academy staff, who include a new WendigoPhilistine and Madame Mondo, as well as students Mudbug, Infestation, Snot and Tin Man (Owen Backes), who (together with Oya and Broo) make up a shortlived new version of the Hellions.

AVENGERS vol 5 #14-17
by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer, Stefano Caselli & Frank Martin
June to August 2013

Little more than background cameos as a face in the Avengers crowd. He’s present in Perth when Pod is activated, and he’s there when Manifold tells the Avengers that Captain Universe wants the team to “get bigger”.

X-MEN LEGACY vol 2 #15
“The Place of Broken Things”
by Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung & José Villarrubia
August 2013

Another cameo, as a distraught Legion visits the school following his mother’s murder.

13-issue miniseries
by Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, Yves Bigerel, Paco Diaz, Ale Garza, Marte Gracia & Israel Silva
July to October 2013

This is an early Marvel digital comic, published under the “Infinite Comics” imprint – not to be confused with today’s vertical-scrolling “Infinity Comics”, the “Infinite Comics” were basically designed to be read in panel view, and used storytelling techniques designed to take advantage of that format. It’s much less throwaway than you might think – it does nothing of any great importance for Wolverine, but it’s a significant story for the new Silver Samurai. (Issue #3 is a Silver Samurai story, in which Wolverine doesn’t appear.)

In Tokyo, Wolverine fights Sabretooth’s Hand, and gets manoeuvred into killing Councillor Masayoshi Fujita, a corrupt politician working for the Hand. Retired ninja Hiromichi refuses to help Wolverine. Commander Kojima Haruki, head of the Japanese secret police (and a former Hand agent himself), tries to take Wolverine in, but Wolverine escapes. The Silver Samurai then attacks, leading high-tech ninjas – he says that Wolverine’s decimation of Hand traditionalists has cleared the way for people like him and Sabretooth to reinvent the Hand in their image. The Samurai also plans to destroy the Hon (Osen Ono), a living repository of Hand tradition, who has a history book tattooed on her body. Wolverine rescues her, and they reluctantly team up – in Wolverine’s view, a Hand led by Sabretooth will be far worse than the traditional version.

They go to Hell’s Wind, the ancestral home of the first Hand clan, where the remaining members of the First Clan of the Hand are led by seemingly insane ferrywoman Masako. The Samurai and his men follow, and Wolverine and the Samurai fight. The Samurai derides Wolverine for meddling in Hand affairs, claiming that he hates his life as a father and teacher so much that “you’ll look for any excuse to be free of it”. (Aaron clearly thinks this is a core point since he repeats it in the next issue.) Wolverine later concedes that the Samurai is right about this. But he accuses the Samurai of inheriting his father’s money and power without any of the respect. He challenges the Samurai to abandon his technology and fight using his father’s blade. Wolverine defeats the Samurai (cutting off his hand in the process), then refuses to kill him, leaving him to report back to Sabretooth. In fact, Sabretooth never expected the Samurai to win – he just wanted the rookie to be scarred by Wolverine so that he would be bound to seek revenge on him in future. Wolverine leaves the Hon in charge of what remains of the traditionalist Hand, and leaves Japan feeling that he hasn’t achieved a great deal.

X-MEN vol 4 #4
by Brian Wood, David Lopez, Cam Smith & Cris Peter
August 2013

Logan joins Jubilee and her newly adopted baby Shogo Lee on a trip to California. They visit Santa Monica Beach, her childhood home, and the mall where Jubilee used to live. He tells her that she’ll be a good mother, and secretly buys her childhood home for her, in case she wants it one day.

“Come Conquer the Beasts”
by Phil Jimenez, Scott Lope & Rachelle Rosenberg
November & December 2013

Logan visits the Kruger National Park in South Africa for his annual check on his favourite herd of elephants, and is shocked by the rhinos who have been mutilated for their horns. He tracks the trade to Madripoor and confronts Tyger Tiger, who is currently running the place.

Thus far, it’s a less than subtle story about the ivory trade, but it gets more interesting in the second half: Wolverine assumes that Tyger must not know about this trade, but in fact she knows all about it, couldn’t care less about animal rights, and maintains that this is just part of the price for Madripoor’s way of life. It’s basically an attack on the whole idea of Tyger as a “good crimelord”. Wolverine yells at Tyger and cuts his own face open to make a point about what’s happening to the animals, before leaving in fury.

5-issue miniseries
by Brahm Revel & Christiane Peter
November 2013 to March 2014

Wolverine, Kitty and Rogue travel to a small town in Western Virginia, where Cerebro has detected two mutants, and a remarkable number of local kids have gone missing. The two mutants are Krystal, who claims to be a precog but actually has psychic suggestion powers, and Darla, who can bring memories to life. Chaos ensues, since Krystal drugs Darla (who promptly summons up an array of X-Men villains), and uses her suggestion powers to make Wolverine turn on the others (he starts deriding Rogue as an ex-villain unfit to be on the team). The story also involves the Cooks, an isolationist cult who used to kill mutants to make drugs, but whom Krystal has turned into rabid pro-mutant cultists.

There’s a rather sentimental ending which depends on everyone summoning up their good memories to fight the illusory villains, and Krystal accepting responsibility for her actions, but on the whole it’s remarkably good.

WOLVERINE vol 5 #1-4
“Hunting Season”
by Paul Cornell, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Matt Hollingsworth
March to June 2013

With that, we finally come to the Paul Cornell run, which will take us through to Death of Wolverine. This being 2013, the book renumbers to issue #1 again during his run, despite it being a single storyline that runs through the whole of volume 5-6. The thirteen issues that make up volume 5 run through without interruption – honestly, the whole Cornell run rather ignores the fact that the character is meant to be appearing in other books – so we’re going to get them all in a block here.

In “Hunting Season”, a mysterious alien weapon starts possessing ordinary people who touch it, and sends them on spree killings. We’ll find out later that the aliens in question are a sentient virus from the Microverse, which never gets a name. Wolverine has to kill poor possessed Robert Gregson in front of his young son Alex Gregson. The gun then possesses Alex, and Wolverine manages to save the boy without killing him – but Alex is still understandably traumatised by the sight of the “superhero” who killed his father. During this sequence, the gun shoots Wolverine with a mystery bullet – we’ll find out in issue #7 that it contains a virus infection, which lies dormant for now.

Wolverine discusses the affairs with Nick Fury Jr and more Guernica Bar regulars – Officer Tomomatsu, Victoria von Frankenstein, Damage Control’s Anne-Marie Hoag, bookmaker Robert Templeton, comic book write Marcus Harold, and superhuman cataloguer Dr Jason Rivera. This crew were evidently intended to be a new long-term supporting cast. When Fury tells Logan that “You found another team. Some ‘loner’ you are”, Wolverine replies that he isn’t a loner at all. He likes people. By 2013, when Wolverine’s been a persistent team player for years, not to mention having random friends popping up on a regular basis for one-off stories, that’s clearly the more natural reading of the character.

The virus, acting through a range of possessed pilots and scientists, has a plan to infect thousands of people at Yankee Stadium by blowing up a plane overhead, but Wolverine manages to steer it harmlessly into the sea. At the end, Nick Fury shows up to inexplicably announce that Dr Doom was behind it all, and demand that Wolverine comes with him for debriefing. Wolverine immediately figures out that Fury is possessed by the virus, but plays along.

This is a good solid action arc, with Wolverine getting to be a relatively straightforward superhero – aside from the bit where he kills someone in front of his son. Cornell’s basic theme is to explore how much of this is an act, so it’s the sensible place to start.

WOLVERINE vol 5 #5-6
“Drowning Logan”
by Paul Cornell, Mirco Pierfederici, Karl Kesel & Andres Mossa
June & July 2013

On the Helicarrier, Wolverine confirms that the whole crew are infected with the virus, and winds up teaming with a handful of uninfected agents who were stuck in a decompression chamber (including Sophia McDougall). They escape an attempt to drown them – the narrator actually remembers that this is how Wolverine killed Daken, and plays that up – and learn about the virus’s origins in the Microverse. Sophia frees everyone from the virus by flooding the ship with stun gas. But in the aftermath, Wolverine collapses, realising that the aliens are inside him, and that he isn’t healing.

There’s a bit in issue #5 which seems important to Cornell’s approach: Wolverine is trying his best not to kill the possessed SHIELD agents, but not to the point of actually risking defeat. We’re told that although he doesn’t identify with the aristocratic elements of samurai culture, he does identify with the idea that a samurai has to be “willing to shoulder the sin of killing”. At this stage, it’s presented as a serious piece of samurai lore; however, volume 6 #11 informs us that it’s actually just a throwaway line from an anime.

WOLVERINE vol 5 #7
by Paul Cornell, Mirco Pierfederici, Karl Kesel & Andres Mossa
July 2013

The Beast confirms that Logan’s healing factor is gone – and it’s going to stay that way through to Death of Wolverine. He provides a drug to counteract Wolverine’s adamantium poisoning (which the healing factor normally handles), but pledges to look for a cure. Logan claims that that would just be a cure for death, but privately he’s deeply shaken by his new vulnerability. He struggles with his new ability to get drunk, and doesn’t know how to shave properly (because he never had to avoid cuts before). Meanwhile, a series of minor villains with virus-control powers come under attack. Fury reports that the last remaining virus controller is thought to be the Host, currently imprisoned in Wakanda – but they suspect that the Black Panther has been compromised.

WOLVERINE vol 5 #8-13
by Paul Cornell, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Matt Hollingsworth
August 2013 to January 2014

Wolverine distracts the Black Panther while Storm, Fury and Victoria rescue the Host. In fact, Panther is playing along because he knows the Wakandan authorities have been compromised too, though we get a lot of mutual taunting about Storm, and Wolverine failing to keep his cool. Mystique breaks into the school, trashes Wolverine’s room, and steals his sword. Deciding that the virus threat isn’t the sort of thing he can really help with – and determined to prove that he deserves his sword back – Wolverine changes tack entirely and starts focussing on the sword (while Fury continues to deal with the virus in the B-plot).

Wolverine goes after Mystique, and Kitty tags along. Along the way, they fight mercenaries Batroc and Fiber, whose “weaponised acupuncture” causes pain but doesn’t seem to cause any real damage. The trail leads to Logan’s childhood home, which has apparently been knocked down and turned into a shopping mall since we were last there in Wolverine: Origins. Thanks to a force field, Wolverine and Kitty wind up trapped in the mall along with a bunch of innocents – along with Mystique, Lord Deathstrike, the Silver Samurai and the 13 Ninjas. (As near as I can make out, the 13 Ninjas are the Pointing Finger, the Testing Finger, the Curled Finger, the Little Finger, the Thumb, the Tattoo, the Sinew, the Nails, the Meat, the Reflex, the Form and the Will, plus one that never gets a name.) Wolverine finds that Fiber’s attack has made him feel more pain after each new wound, and some sort of illusion means that all escape routes just lead back to the centre of the mall.

Despite being in a state of fear and panic, Wolverine tells Kitty to rescue the innocents while he heads off to face the villains alone – which, without his healing powers, is suicidal. Kitty is busily telling a sympathetic security guard, Kathy Stubbs, that Wolverine’s biggest problem right now is self-hatred – only for an injured Wolverine to return, and announce that he’s just killed a ninja. Kitty is horrified. The head security guard, who is awful, yells at Wolverine, who responds by lashing out and cutting off his hand. The guard turns out to be Mystique, but she’s made her point. Poor Kitty protests that Wolverine would never hurt an innocent and must have known subconsciously, but Wolverine simply ignores her and demands that Sabretooth face him in person.

Sabretooth then shows up wearing a suit, and easily defeats the battered Wolverine, before explaining the moral as he sees it: Wolverine abandoned all his values when faced with fear of death, the same thing most people live with all the time; Wolverine joined the Avengers and the X-Men so that he could take credit for their code of honour without actually living by it; he’s a rich kid who pretends to be a regular guy; and everything about Wolverine is a lie, while Sabretooth is authentic. Satisfied that Wolverine is crushed, Sabretooth gives him the sword back (calling it an empty symbol) and leaves, declaring that he will spend the next few decades watching Wolverine grow old.

Right at the end, the A-plot returns: the virus, which is on the verge of being eradicated by the Host, offers to give Wolverine his powers back if he turns off his anti-virus shield and lets them back in. He refuses, and the Host finishes eradicating the virus. Wolverine breaks the sword over his knee, and declares that “the Wolverine is dead now.”

A very strange year-long arc in which Wolverine heads off on an honour-obsessed side quest of his own and completely abandoned the A-plot – but that’s the point, which is why it works.

According to Wolverine vol 6 #1, Wolverine spends three weeks in the school infirmary, with Kitty not speaking to him. In a flashback later in the issue, Logan and Storm go to the Guernica bar; Logan now has a scar over his right eye. He claims he was just being melodramatic when he said the Wolverine was dead. He’s not at all happy that everyone knows about his position, and rejects Beast’s idea of an armoured costume. (He’ll change his mind on this soon.) He does agree to look at some training options, and does some shooting practice with Black Widow.

Wolverine kind of wants to just continue straight into the next arc from here, but a bunch of other stories show Wolverine without his healing factor and sort of have to go in here, even though he isn’t showing the sort of existential angst that’s central to his solo title.

DEADPOOL vol 5 #15-19
“The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”
by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire
August to November 2013

The Butler (Bartol Utler) kidnaps former Weapon Plus subjects Deadpool, Wolverine and Captain America and takes them to his base at a North Korean prison camp, where the inmates include some rather baffled North Koreans who have been turned into versions of Thunderbird, Banshee, Cyclops, Sunfire, Colossus, Storm and Wolverine, despite knowing little or nothing about the originals. Despite the premise, these characters are actually written fairly straight. Butler is trying to find a cure for his unnamed sister‘s cancer. The heroes help to destroy the camp and escape.

6-issue miniseries
by Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales & Justin Ponsor
August 2013

A single-panel cameo at the X-Men Mansion.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Frank Cho & Marte Gracia
All-New X-Men vol 1 #16 by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Marte Gracia
X-Men vol 4 #5-6 by Brian Wood, David López, Cam Smith & Laura Martin
Uncanny X-Men vol 3 #12 by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, various inkers & Marte Gracia
Wolverine and the X-Men vol 1 #36-37 by Jason Aaron, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie & Matt Milla
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Andrew Currie, Tom Palmer & Ive Svorcina
September & October 2013

This is the X-books’ big summer crossover for 2013. It’s not particularly important to Wolverine, who doesn’t even appear in every chapter, but he meets a bunch of new characters, so…

Beast’s time machine activates and a new team appears, who claim to be the X-Men of an alternate future (later numbered Earth-13729). In fact, they’re the Earth-13729 Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,  comprising Charles Xavier II, Beast (Hank McCoy), Deadpool (Wade Wilson), Molly Hayes, Xorn (Jean Grey), the Ice Hulk (just an ice golem) and a character initially pretending to be Kate Pryde, but who’s actually Raze Darkhölme, the son of Wolverine and Mystique. They insist that the Silver Age team must return home to protect the timeline; the Silver Age team promptly make a break for it. The school X-Men and the future “X-Men” eventually tack them down in the company of Cyclops’ team from the New Charles Xavier School – himself, Emma, Magneto, Magik, Silver Age Angel, the Stepford Cuckoos, Tempus (Eva Bell), Goldballs (Fabio Medina), Hijack (David Bond), Triage (Christopher Muse) and Benjamin Deeds. Wolverine is not impressed by Cyclops taking these trainees into the field, and a big fight ensues until Marvel Girl reads the mind of her future self and persuades the Silver Age team to stand down.

Back at the Mansion, Silver Age Beast and Iceman travel into the future to see it for themselves, thus exposing the future X-Men as impostors. This leads to yet another fight where the fake future X-Men fight Logan’s team, Scott’s team, the Silver Age team and the real Earth-13729 X-Men: Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), Iceman (Robert Drake), Colossus (Piotr Rasputin), Phoenix (Quentin Quire), Wiccan (Billy Kaplan), Kymera and Sentinel-X (Shogo Lee). Future Quentin explains that the Silver Age X-Men literally can’t go home just yet, because “something won’t let them”. The Brotherhood then attack Cape Citadel, and all the X-Men go to fight them. S.H.I.E.L.D. respond, and the Brotherhood activate their hidden Sentinels, horrifying both Cyclops and Wolverine. During the battle, future Jean berates both of them for their schism, and explains that she comes from the timeline where the Silver Age X-Men never managed to return home. Wolverine and Cyclops squabble some more about moral authority; the Brotherhood escape; the future X-Men go home; and the Silver Age team, along with Kitty, quit the Jean Grey School and defect to Cyclops’ camp.

4-issue miniseries
by Matt Kindt, Steven Sanders & Jim Campbell
September & October 2013

Wolverine attends Avengers Academy to announce the Contest of Champions, a competition for students from metahuman schools around the world. As well as the Academy, the Jean Grey School and the Future foundation, other participants include Braddock Academy, the Wakandan School of Alternative Studies, the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted and the Latverian School of Science. Before anything much can happen about this, the Black Order’s Invaders attack and the whole thing gets sidetracked by the crossover.

NEW AVENGERS vol 3 #8-9
“What Maximus Made” / “The Cull Obsidian”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Deodato & Frank Martin
July & August 2013

More of the Infinity crossover. It’s just cameos of the X-Men fighting the Black Order, including Corvus Glaive and Supergiant. A single panel of Infinity #2 also shows this.

4-issue minseries
by Frank Tieri & various artists
January 2014

A single panel cameo. The Avengers capture Taskmaster.

by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matteo Buffagni & Nolan Woodard
November 2013 to March 2014

We’re now in the period where latent Inhumans are gaining powers around the world, as Marvel begins its doomed effort to try and make them a big deal. AIM arms dealer Kashmir Vennema steals a terrigen cocoon and sells it on to June Covington. The Avengers and Spider-Girl (whose teacher Richard Schlickeisen was in the cocoon) team up to stop Covington. Along the way, Spider-Girl teams up with various individual Avengers; Wolverine’s main contribution is to decide that she’s hopeless inexperienced, demand that she follow his orders to the letter, and tell her to wear something more practical.

by Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw, Walden Wong, Karl Kesel, Victor Olazaba & Andres Mossa
November 2013

This is a Kid Gladiator story. Wolverine has a cameo in the epilogue, where Kid Gladiator delivers a class presentation.

by Jason Aaron, Pepe Larraz & Matt Milla
November 2013 to January 2014

Twins Joseph and Josephine Bricklemoore join the school – they’re actually SHIELD infiltrators with fake mutant powers, but Wolverine misses that bit of the story.

Wolverine gets Kid Omega to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s central database and locate their hidden Sentinel storage facilities. But it’s a trap left by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Dazzler (actually a disguised Mystique). When Wolverine shows up, Cyclops is already there, and they figure out that they’ve been lured together in the hope that they’ll kill each other. Seems a bit of a tenuous plan, but hey, it got them there. Instead, the two team up to defeat the Sentinels and have a relatively civilised conversation. Cyclops continues to protest that he wasn’t responsible for his actions when he killed Professor X, and points out that everyone forgave Jean for doing something far worse; Wolverine points out that Jean at least took responsibility. He tells Scott that “you don’t hate yourself nearly enough”, and that they need the old Scott back.

Next time, Death of Wolverine.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    Even at the time, I found problems with Millar’s UXM which didn’t hamper The Ultimates. All of the characters did sound the same. The series suffered from Millar’s “I’m too cool to be writing superheroes.” shtick. His “Weapon X” arc was so over the top that it was obvious Millar didn’t care.

  2. Andrew says:

    Chris V

    Yes, the Weapon X arc is probably the worst offender on that front. On my last re-read of it, I found Millar dials it back a lot after that point but that arc is just so cynical and over the top. It makes for absolutely bizarre reading now.

  3. Nu-D says:

    …only Havok figures that out, and nobody listens to Havok.

    That seems like it could be Havok’s defining character trait. Now that he’s out of the “shadow of my brother” era, he could be the Cyclops who could have been if Scott hadn’t been destroyed as a character, yet who nobody listens to because he’s not Scott.

  4. Josie says:

    “The Ultimates is a much, much better piece of work from Millar.”

    I guess . . .? I reread that around the same time I reread Ultimate X-Men. There’s a lot more worldbuilding, which is something Millar rarely seems interested in doing.

    But there are two major problems. The characters still shout too-clever sarcasms at each other constantly, even if they’re a bit better delineated in terms of personalities. The second problem is that the first half is the more interesting chaos dynamics of the team members, and the second half is . . . nazi skrulls. It’s so incredibly dull.

  5. Josie says:

    I will give Millar props for Ultimate Comics Ultimates vol 3, the Steve Dillon arc. Although Dillon is, for me, the least interesting artist out of him, Yu, and Pacheco, and not the best suited to Millar’s type of storytelling, the story was a lot of dumb fun that started to capitalize on all the concepts that had been introduced over the multiple volumes.

  6. Mike Loughlin says:

    Ultimates v1 is a better comic than Ultimate X-Men, but it’s still a rough read. The characters are mostly jerks. The then-topical references are forced. The Hulk was irredeemable, but brought back anyway. Some of the interesting bits, like a Thor that’s very different from his 616 counterpart and Iron Man still an active drinker, go undeveloped. Bryan Hitch is one of the best at cinematic, widescreen action. If an artist less skilled in that area drew the book, it would probably be remembered about as well as Ultimate X-Men (which was well-drawn, but the Kubert bros. weren’t doing anything as eye-catching as Hitch).

  7. Josie says:

    Speaking of Ultimate Thor (and Hawkeye), I found it really weird what Hickman ended up doing with those two characters in their respective miniseries. He basically recaps their entire history? Which . . . if you read the Ultimate Captain America miniseries published around the same time, it’s just a story (not a good story, but not a recap). But Hickman is trying to explain everything that leads Thor to joining the Ultimates in the first series, and Hawkeye too, and explains Hawkeye is actually superpowered (his eyes).

    Just . . . not what I expected from those series. “Explaining stuff” seemed to be one thing Ultimate books stayed far away from.

  8. .Mike Loughlin says:

    @Josie: I haven’t read any of Hickman’s Ultimate comics (at least as far as I remember), but I’ve heard and read plot recaps of post-Ultimatum comics. They all sound really out there. I’d be interested in reading the Thor book, provided it’s not “the Norse gods were actually invented by SHIELD then sent back in time” or something stupid like that.

  9. Josie says:

    It sounds like you’re referring to Ultimate Origin? I guess I was wrong when I said Ultimate books didn’t try to explain anything. That one did. It was weird.

    Ultimate Thor is just weird. Something about back in the day, Loki hatched a plot that caused all the Asgardians to die except Thor, and Thor realized his godhood was uh connected to the World Tree? And also the memory of Asgard? Or something? And then he comes to earth and meets Nick Fury and joins the Ultimates.

    This is vaguely related to Hickman’s Ultimate Comics Ultimates, where Thor loses his god powers but then Tony Stark makes him a suit that’s basically identical to his old suit and Thor has all his old powers again?

    I dunno.

    Ultimate Comics Ultimates explains why Hickman loves the evil Reed Richards so much, kind of.

    Weirdly, Hickman bows out early in his 12-issue run, and the last few issues are cowritten by Sam Humphries I think, and illustrated by Not Esad Ribic, and evil Reed Richards is defeated by the cancerous tumor of Tony Stark, who manifests as a boy named Anthony.

  10. Mike Loughlin says:

    Yeah, I was making a slight joke about Ultimate Origins, possibly the last Ultimate comics I read.

    I’m sure everything you just wrote was published as you describe it, and it still sounds like a fever dream.

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Great, you made me remember Anthony. Joy.

    …now here’s a thought, I don’t know how serious this Ultimate revival is going to be – whether there are any long-term plans. But… imagine they do an Ultimate Ms Marvel?

    Worse, imagine they try to do an edgy Ultimate Ms Marvel, the way every other Ultimate version was extremely edgy.

    She wouldn’t be able to live in Ultimate New Jersey, though, as Galactus ate that before Kitty Pryde kicked him back into 616.
    (It was the 616 Galactus).

    Also Ultimate Central and Eastern Europe don’t exist, The Maker’s Children of the City ate that.

    …and now I’m thinking about things that got eaten in the Ultimate Universe, and that made me remember Wasp.

  12. CalvinPitt says:

    I have this weird memory of Ultimate Tony Stark’s entire body being made of brain tissue or brain cells or something similar. Which sounds too nuts to be true, but it’s the Ultimate Universe so I can’t rule it out.

    I bought Ult. X-Men for a while, some time in Millar’s run until issue 75, but I basically got rid of all it. I remember generally liking Brian K. Vaughn’s run better than Millar, Bendis, or Kirkman.

    I mostly stuck to Ult. Spider-Man, but I dropped it around issue 120. I still have ~40 issues, most from before Bendis had Ultimate Carnage kill/absorb Ultimate Gwen Stacy.

  13. Josie says:

    “Galactus ate that before Kitty Pryde kicked him back into 616.”

    She didn’t actually kick him back to 616. I think she kicked him to . . . not the Negative Zone, but some interdimensional void. In any case, I don’t think it was ever addressed or followed up, and it didn’t have to be, because of Secret Wars. But boy was that garbage. Fialkov did some pretty decent comics that led up to Cataclysm, and then just . . . left comics? Or at least he left Marvel and DC suddenly and completely. I don’t think that’s why Bendis write the main Cataclysm series, because I think Fialkov’s tie-in miniseries were coming out concurrent with the Bendis series. Just . . . big yikes all around.

    And while it was nice of Marvel to hire Michel Fiffe post-Cataclysm, they really saddled him with a dying franchise . . . and a crappy artist.

  14. Josie says:

    “I have this weird memory of Ultimate Tony Stark’s entire body being made of brain tissue or brain cells or something similar”

    You are correct, this was established in Orson Scott Card’s two Ultimate Iron Man miniseries. I only read them for the first time recently. Not terribly written, but boy, almost none of those concepts are any good and it seems every other writer ignored them.

  15. Josie says:

    “I remember generally liking Brian K. Vaughn’s run better than Millar, Bendis, or Kirkman.”

    It’s so interesting to this day that Kirkman openly badmouths his time at Marvel. I don’t like any of the work he did at Marvel, but I wonder if that’s because they kept putting him on books he wasn’t passionate about writing, or saddling him with plots that stifled his creative impulses.

    To be fair, the only thing I like of Kirkman’s is all of Walking Dead, and I like it a lot. I read Outcast a couple years ago and just hated it.

  16. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Ultimate Spider-Man is a book of very high highs and very low lows, but to Bendis’s credit, he kept reinventing it over and over again every time things got stale. Some of my favourite parts come from quite late in the run (Aunt May’s halfway home for teenage superheroes and the stuff Immonen draws). And of course there’s Ultimate Fallout and everything with Miles Morales.

    There is stuff that sucked, and sucked really terribly, but it’s clear Bendis was always passionate about that title.

  17. Josie says:

    I remember really liking the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man stuff when David Lafuente was pencilling. It was a brief run, but I remember thinking it all really worked really well.

  18. Matthew says:

    ylu: Happen to know where that Mark Waid interview is? I can’t seem to find it.

  19. Luis Dantas says:

    I wonder what Marvel is about to do involving the Ultimate Universe. Bringing it up isn’t an idea that excites me, to say the least.

    It has far too much of a 1990s “grim-and-gritty” feel, and having Millar create its version of the Avengers and name them “Ultimates” did not help at all.

    I just don’t get Mark Millar. He seems to insist on writing all his characters so that I won’t want to read them if I have the choice. They’re all so cynical and self-entitled. I can’t stand them.

  20. James D says:

    Yes the Lafuente issues of Ultimate Spider-Man are really overlooked. The manga influenced style and Bendis leaning back into the teen soap opera really works.

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