First, let me get it out there – Wolverine was one of my favorite, all time characters, ever when I first got into comics, which was Uncanny X-Men #121. (If you’ve got any doubt, just search the site for “Uncanny X-Men #121” and you will see I bring it up – quite a bit).
As a young nerd, in the 4th grade, Wolverine represented everything I ever wanted to be. I wanted to be that guy that could defend myself and get into any scrap and be a skilled fighter, and have virtually no fear of ever coming to harm or illness because of Wolverine’s healing factor (which wasn’t, back that, so insanely over the top as it’s become).
His bad boy attitude, his costume (his yellow and black is still my favorite) all made him very iconic looking – and as a result, he also got a bunch of very cool looking panels. But, despite his slice and dice attitude and appearance, what made Wolverine especially appealing is – he was more than just that. His relationship and friendship with Nightcrawler, despite their night and day differences in attitude, felt genuine and sincere. While he showed kindness to others back then, such as Storm, and Jean Grey – that friendship with Nightcrawler really stuck with me. Why? Because we all look for something in these characters that is a reflection of ourselves – or at least, something we can relate to. That dynamic between Nightcrawler and Wolverine, to me, was very symbolic of my own relationship with my best friend (way back in the 4th grade, who is still, to this day – eons later – my closest friend). He was tall (unlike Wolverine), but a scrapper. He stepped in once, when someone was threatening me, back in the… 7th grade? I am the far more reserved, kinder, gentler soul that you see in Nightcrawler. (And people do change; these days I am more inclined to be the scrapper, and my best friend is the more peaceful one).
I feel like things changed forever, for Wolverine in X-Men #25, when Magneto ripped the Adamantium out of Wolverine. Now, I admit, when it happened, I thought it was a very cool scene. However, the change that would come, because of it, I didn’t care for. If I could have only glimpsed the future to see what would become of Wolverine.
For years, Wolverine carried on about, how without his Adamantium, he could feel himself becoming more and more feral… but for years (almost 10 years, if I remember correctly), Wolverine went on being Wolverine, having Wolverine like adventures. That was until Wolverine #100, where Cable’s son (from some alternate time line – don’t even get me started – again – on the X-Men comics and how they love their effing alternate time line stories) – tries to re-bond the Adamantium to Wolverine, but Wolverine rejects it… and in the process… devolves?
I am not even kidding. His entire appearance changed – drastically. He basically looked like a furry version of Beast, if Beast still had his furry look, but decided to shave everything except parts of his beard, eye brows, and made a Mohawk out of his hair, along with some big patches of fur on his arms. He suddenly developed talons on his fingertips (Sabretooth called, he wants his talons back!) and toes. It’s as if, suddenly, all those years of saying that he was going to go feral, all caught up to him at one time.
Because as the stories progressed, Wolverine (similar to how Beast would suffer the same fate years later – recycle bad ideas, anyone?) continued to devolve further and further, until he kept looking more and more primitive, and eventually went as far as even pretty much losing his nose. (That’s got to be a bit of a bitch, for someone who has heightened senses and suddenly can’t smell anything).
Oddly enough, Wolverine, who has never given an inch about what anyone has ever thought of him, apparently got extremely self conscious about his devolved look, and would go on – get this – to put a bandanna over his head and cut out the eye slots, to wear as a mask. Because… you know, using his original mask was completely out of the question, and we just had to have a more edgy version of Wolverine. For awhile there, while wearing said bandanna, he was still wearing tattered gloves and pants (with no shoes or boots). He eventually combined the bandanna look with a variation of his traditional costume in Wolverine #110.
Unexpectedly, and perhaps for the best, in Wolverine #111, Logan is – without explanation, restored back to looking like his human self in an issue, ironically entitled Restoration.
I am not sure what invoked this change back to Logan’s normal looking appearance; if it was slumping sales in the Wolverine book and hopes of restoring his appearance would bring back sales or whatever; but I was happy to get a Wolverine that I was at least familiar with; not just because of his appearance, but even the story shifted to a more, character centered version of Wolverine. But that wouldn’t last forever. Nothing does.
The X-Men would eventually spin into New X-Men, where Grant Morrison was the main writer, and Frank Quitley was the primary artist. I am not sure if the attempt was to make the X-Men more relate-able by taking them out of their “ridiculous spandex costumes” – but I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t enjoy the story, in many regards, probably because I wasn’t enjoying the art. (And this isn’t a knock against Frank Quitley – to be clear – he can draw better than I can, probably using his toes, than I can with my hands – but his artistic styles was one that I didn’t feel fit the “superhero medium” – it was, however, something that reminded me of art that you would find in the comic, Saga, which is an enjoyable comic, because that art style lends to the weird stories found in Saga). And remember the feral Beast, I mentioned? There he is, smack on the cover too. By this point, I was collecting X-Men, solely because I had from Uncanny X-Men #60 and up, without any gaps, so the completionist in me was agonizing. I did this until around Uncanny X-Men #540, where I drew the line and cut the chord.
Since then, they’ve made Wolverine a teacher, running his own school, which included a mutant Brood (remember the aliens that planted eggs inside the X-Men and tried to turn them into Brood Queens?) named Broo, an alien named Doop, Kid Gladiator (a young version of Gladiator of the Shi’ar Empire race, the Strontian), a part, piece, or a mutant spin off of Krakoa (you remember the island that tried to eat the X-Men?) I mean, I get it. Professor Xavier gave Wolverine the chance, no one else really gave, right? (Well, you know, if you don’t count that Wolverine was in World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, he was a part of SHIELD, and was also a part of Department H, all before becoming an X-Men, apparently)…
Wolverine was eventually killed in a four issue limited series entitled The Death of Wolverine. (I bet you can’t guess what happens?) Did you say, “Wolverine dies?” Then you’re right! I’d like to offer you a prize for such incredible insight, but the only gift I have to give is my witty sarcasm (and some say I don’t even have that to give!)
In this series, his healing factor is pushed to the breaking point, where he literally can no longer heal himself – and in a final fight, ends up encased in Adamantium (the unbreakable metal) and manages to climb to a rooftop, covered in this metal, where it dries and hardens, leaving him forever a several thousand pound statue on this roof (which thankfully, apparently never buckled under the strain of this weight).
Now, you may have gotten this far and wondered – why I wrote this (and probably, how you got tricked into reading it this far). Well, as the title suggests, there’s a Hunt for Wolverine going on. That’s right – because in Marvel, if you’re a popular character, there’s a
good chance guarantee that Marvel is going to bring you back and make some kind of event out of it. (Remember when Jean Grey died, and then many years later, came back? And then remember when she died again? And then came back again? And then died ONE more time, but then came back? And then died, this time for the last time, but um, just recently came back? Remember when Captain America was shot in the head during Civil War? Or – remember when Bucky totally died, but then came back as Winter Soldier and killed Cap’s other partner, Nomad, and suffered no repercussions after he was free of the brain washing? If you know me, you know I had to put that slight in there). So, add Wolverine to that list of people who have apparently come back. And true to form, Marvel is making an event out of it. Is it a 4 issue limited series?
But. No, also.
In April, there will be a one shot of The Hunt for Wolverine #1. But the good times don’t stop there, no sir. Because from there, we go to:
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST (#1-4)
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Matteo Buffagni
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ADAMANTIUM AGENDA (#1-4)
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by R.B. Silva
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER (#1-4)
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Butch Guice
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR (#1-4)
Written by Jim Zub
Art by Chris Bachalo
So… not just one limited series… but…. four? (Why again?)
So aside from the changes done to Wolverine over the years, where he’s no longer even a character I know or understand – Marvel has gone out of their way to pollute the waters. Just what do I mean by that? They’ve flooded the Marvel Universe with Wolverine knock offs – follow me now.
First there’s Daken, deemed “Wolverine’s Son.” Now he’s different, because rather than three claws from the fist, he has two – oh, but look – one comes out of his wrist (because, that’s useful… how?) So what’s his story? Get this… In 1946 as Wolverine is living in Jasmine Falls, Japan with his pregnant wife Itsu, Romulus sends the Winter Soldier to kill Itsu. After Itsu’s death (remember when I said he had only killed Nomad – well, guess whose killing record goes even deeper – killing an innocent pregnant woman), a mysterious man cuts baby Daken from his mother’s womb leaving her body lying on the floor. Daken survives this incident due to his mutant healing factor. Hold up. Mutant abilities typically do not manifest until a mutant’s teen years; and I am to understand, that – a baby – not even completely born yet – has already developed a healing factor?
All right, let’s move on. Next we have X-23. You might think you know her from the Logan movie, but X-23 in the comics is slightly different. She’s a little older, for beginners. Now, aside from the fact that she appeared, she was wearing a Fang costume (which, maybe I am missing a piece of her backstory, but that doesn’t make any sense, since that costume originates from the Shi’ar Imperial Guard member, Fang – who is a race of known as Lupak). Wolverine once wore the same costume, briefly long before X-23, when they were – you know, fighting the Imperial Guard and he took it from Fang, to impersonate him and get the drop on the Shi’ar – so it at least made sense. I digress (I’ve done that a lot in this long rant, haven’t I?) The story behind X-23 is that she’s a clone of Wolverine – after 22 failed attempts (due to a damaged chromosome), X-23 is successfully made, and carried to term by one of the doctors. Now she’s different because she has two claws that pop out of her first (also laced with Adamantium – they just hand that stuff out on the corner these days!) – but hold on there’s a third claw that pops out from her foot also.
Still not convinced, huh, bub? How about this? Now that you know that X-23 was the 23rd attempt at cloning Wolverine… did you know that they made a clone of X-23? A clone… of a clone. And not just one. They made something like 10 of them. One of them just happens to be named Gabrielle. And sure enough, just like X-23, she can pop claws too – oh, but she’s different than Wolverine and X-23, in that she can only pop out one claw (I guess each time they clone they lose one claw in the process – so a clone of Gabby, would logically not be able to pop any claws right?) Gabby, as she is so affectionately called will also be featured as a part of the roster of X-Men: Red (led by the previously dead/alive again too many times to count Jean Grey), along side with her sister, X-23 (because having one claw member on the team – literally – wasn’t enough, that they needed to add X-23 to the team too).
We’re not done yet. Next, he first appeared in the Ultimates line, before he too was dragged into the “main time stream” of the Marvel Universe, and became a regular member of the current X-Men: Blue team – none other than Jimmy Hudson, Jr. In this Ultimates timeline Wolverine has a son with Magda, and gives the son to James Hudson, who takes and raises him. During a car accident, James is nearly fatally killed, when his mutant healing powers – just like dear old dad – kicks in. Kitty shows up and tells him he has claws too probably – and sure enough, he pops claws, and eventually develops a metal coating (how again?) over the claws. Now, as a part of X-Men: Blue he and (Teen) Jean Grey have feelings for one another, recycling the old story and conflict of Scott Loves Jean, but Jean is torn between Scott and Logan. Yawn. Been there. Was way better the first time, thanks.
You’d think, by now, we would have reached the end, right? Now. There’s still one more “Wolverine” to go. And it’s Wolverine himself. Except. Not himself. It’s him from a alternate future. (Remember when I said the X-Men and their alternate realities?) In the mid-2000’s, in Wolverine #66-72, there was a story that featured this futurist Wolverine. Well, because Marvel didn’t have enough Wolverines in the “main time line” – sure enough, they also dragged Old Man Logan into the regular Marvel Universe, where he’s been a staple member of the Weapon X and X-Men: Gold series.
So you can see why, I simply have not even the tiniest, remote, microscopic care about Wolverine and his return to Marvel.