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The History of Wolverine...Or Is It?

Clawing at the past of Marvel's most mysterious mutant

By Arnold T. Blumberg     June 04, 2001


Wolverine sans costume
© N/A

Fans of that claw-popping, cigar-chomping mutant adventurer known only as Logan (or Wolverine or Patch or Weapon X...hmm) are in for quite a treat. After years of fragmented memories, bizarre flashbacks, red herrings, and a plethora of writers attempting to graft new 'revelations' onto the past of this mutant with an attitude the size of Texas, the world is about to know the truth. Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert are about to present the definitive (or at least as definitive as it will be until something else comes along) origin of Marvel's most mysterious mutant. No amount of retroactive continuity or memory implants can prevent us from learning the full story once and for all.


However, before we discover where Logan came from, and what his past is truly all about, this seems like the perfect time to take stock and examine the facts we've been given to date since his explosive first appearance in INCREDIBLE HULK #180-181 in 1974. They represent a labyrinth of possibilities, half-truths, distortions, and outright lies on the part of dozens of writers, each adding their own touches to this distinctive character and his wanderings through the Marvel Universe. The history of Wolverine is confusing to say the least, but for what it's worth, here's a brief look back at his journey from birth to the present day. Please remember (if you're not also afflicted with amnesia or memory implants) that many of these bits and pieces have been culled from countless stories published throughout the last 27 years. All of this, of course, is subject to alteration by a new writer at any time, and the origin story itself may finally eradicate some of these so-called 'facts' from the record. So are ya ready, bub? Here we go...


A STAR IS BORN


The man who would one day be known as Wolverine was born in the Canadian Rockies sometime before the turn of the century. As he matured, he discovered his mutant abilities  heightened senses, a healing factor that also retarded his aging, and sharp fighting skills but was unaware of their true source. The bone claws that lay hidden within his arms would not be known to him for years, and even then he would believe them to be artificial for some time.


In this early period Logan made a lifelong enemy named Victor Creed, or Sabretooth, who also possessed similar mutant abilities. Some believe that Creed may in fact be Logan's real father, but this is still unsubstantiated. Despite their enmity, Logan managed to find some peace of mind with a young girl named Silver Fox. This peace was shattered when Silver Fox was attacked by Sabretooth, triggering what may be Logan's first berserker rage. Logan lost the fight with Sabretooth and left, embarking on a long lifetime of travel and regular rematches with Sabretooth. During an encounter with a demon in Blackfoot territory, the locals dubbed him 'Wolverine,' a name Logan will later use often.


Logan joined the Army and was flung into WWI, serving under a man known as Cyber, another figure in Logan's life who later betrayed his trust and beat him in combat, forcing Logan to regenerate an eye over a long period of time. In China, Logan then met a Japanese sorcerer named Ogun, a possible immortal who also figured prominently in Logan's long history. And at last we come to Madripoor, an island nation where Logan met a woman known as Seraph (notice how many people in Logan's life are 'known only by' mysterious names?). She offered him a few lessons in morality, but it was Japan that truly called to his spirit, and he returned to study under Ogun. This time of contemplation and peace cemented Japan as Logan's home away from home.


With World War II engulfing the world, Logan left Japan for Madripoor, where he fought alongside such adventurers as Captain American and Natasha Romanova (later the Black Widow) against Baron Strucker. He then re-enlisted in the Canadian army, participated in the invasion of Normandy, and encountered another familiar Marvel character with a habit of aging slowly: Nick Fury, future director of S.H.I.E.L.D.


INTERLUDE: APRÉS LA GUERRE


Logan returned to the East after World War II, wandering about in the 1950s and performing a variety of covert tasks for various governmental organizations in Canada and the US before returning to Japan in search of ways to govern his wild tendencies. Still later, Logan sustained a severe injury that required medical attention, and a Dr. Giloski treated him. Giloski noted Logan's preternatural healing ability and passed the information along, leading to Logan's observation by Team X. He was then recruited by this intelligence group, also known as Weapon X, who had a reputation for manipulating the memories of their operatives to suit their purposes. Also serving on this team with Logan was, surprisingly, Sabretooth and Silver Fox. Due to memory alteration, Logan was able to work alongside Sabretooth despite their past, and indeed the other two may also have been unable to remember the full truth of their shared history. Silver Fox later betrayed them in the field and went rogue, and a subsequent adventure finally revealed to Logan (now using the Wolverine code name) that he was a mutant with an advanced healing factor. This revelation shook Logan and led to his resignation from Team X.


Continuing to work for secret Canadian interests, Logan operated under aliases like 'Wolverine' and 'Agent Ten.' Events soon led him to uncover something dubbed the 'Mutant Agenda' and Department H, yet another in a series of top secret Canadian government agencies. Bringing him into conflict with old enemy (and sometime colleague) Sabretooth, this new development also inspired Logan to investigate his mutant nature, which troubled him greatly. He withdrew from society entirely and sought to escape the coming war between humanity and Homo Superior....but instead, he found himself right in the heart of it.


SHARPENING CLAWS AND PURPOSES


Logan was abducted by the Team X/Weapon X project and  in what may be the most infamous chapter in his history was subjected to a bizarre experiment in which his entire skeleton was laced with the indestructible metal known as adamantium. This was also the first time that Logan's claws made an appearance in his life, although he believed them to be a byproduct of the experiment and not a natural attribute. In fact, Logan only recently learned that his claws were actually a part of his skeleton after the adamantium was ripped from his body by Magneto.


Logan escaped his captors and was reduced to living a savage existence in the Canadian Rockies. He was found by James and Heather Hudson, both of whom were destined to lead the Canadian super-team, Alpha Flight. Working for Department H, Hudson recruited Logan for the embryonic team and later wished Logan to lead the group. Logan underwent therapy and attempted to bring his bestial side under control. Soon enough, he emerged in his first actual Marvel comic appearance, pitting himself against the Hulk and Wendigo. Before too long, he faced yet another turning point, one that brought him into contact with a certain Professor Charles Xavier and a team of mutant heroes known as...the X-Men!


So after all that, do you feel you known Logan a little better? Not really? Well it's not surprising: the story of Logan's life is a farrago of conflicting anecdotes and memories, many of them blatantly contradictory. We've done our best to give you a quick run-down of where the not-so-merry mutant may have been and what he might have done prior to his more publicized work with Alpha Flight and the X-Men in anticipation of the new origin story. Now you're ready to tackle his most exciting adventure to date, one that will take readers back to the beginning and unlock the darkest secrets of Logan's life. Ready or not, bub, here it comes.

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