Greetings from the Odinson,
He is a staunch loner, but he is also a team player. He is a berserker, but he is also a disciplined samurai. He scoffs in the face of authority, but he is also a loving father figure and mentor. He has been a soldier, an assassin, a government agent, a villain, and a hero.
Logan is a simple man with an extremely complicated past and an even more complex existence. He is a walking, talking contradiction.
With his mutant healing factor, super human senses, unbreakable Adamantium skeleton, and six Adamantium claws that can cut through almost anything, Wolverine is easily one of the most original and super cool super heroes in Comics History.
He has been gone for several years, but now he is back, and the Odinson celebrates his triumphant return with a look back at some of my All-Time favorite stories starring the ole Canucklehead.
The Odinson’s Top 10 Favorite Wolverine Stories: Part 1 of 2
10 – “Vicious Circle!”
Written by Peter David. Art by Todd McFarlane.
The cover for Incredible Hulk #340 is not just one of the Odinson’s favorite covers, it is one of the most iconic images in Comics History. The visual on the cover of Wolverine in full berserker mode with the reflection of the mighty Hulk cast in his Adamantium claws bearing down on him promises something spectacular within, and it delivers.
Wolverine exploded onto the scene in 1974 in the pages of Incredible Hulk #180-181. Right out of the gate, this diminutive brawler proved he has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Marvel Comics’ mightiest monster. Vicious Circle bookends Logan’s first fourteen years in comics beautifully with a rematch against the mighty Hulk and one of the most ferocious, bloodiest, knockdown, drag out throw downs in the history of the medium.
This issue has fantastic continuity, something that used to make the Marvel Universe truly unique. At this moment in Marvel History, Wolverine and the X-Men were on their way to Dallas, Texas and their destiny in Fall of the Mutants. Meanwhile, the Hulk and his companions, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain, were on their way to a fateful showdown with the nefarious Leader in Ground Zero. As these two factions headed toward their big payoffs for the year they crossed paths and provided one the most memorable moments of the decade.
Written by Fabian Nicieza and Larry Hama. Art by Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert.
In this storyline, Magneto makes a big move and as always, the X-Men stand in his way. In one devastatingly brutal harsh moment, Magneto uses his immense power to literally rip the Adamantium off Logan’s bones, leaving the mutant hero a puddle of ripped flesh, shattered bones, and burst organs. This probably would have been the end of him too if Jean Grey had not used her mental powers to keep Logan’s body together long enough for his mutant healing factor to save him.
This incident had a profound effect on Logan, both physically and mentally, and set up years of Wolverine mythos. In the aftermath of this traumatic caper, it was revealed that Wolverine’s claws were actually bone and part of him all along. Magneto’s vicious attack also kicked his mutant healing factor into overdrive!
In the nearly 20 years leading up to Fatal Attraction, Wolverine had always been shown to heal quickly, but even his healing factor had its limits. Severe injuries, especially near fatal ones, like those suffered in his showdowns with Ogun, the Hand, and the Reavers had taken him several days, even months, to fully recover from. However, once Magneto tore the Adamantium from his body and Logan’s healing factor no longer had to cope with the foreign substance, his super human ability to heal amped up to the Nth degree, as revealed in Wolverine #92.
Moving forward we have the Wolverine that can almost instantly heal from wounds that would prove fatal to most characters.
Written by Chris Claremont. Art by Alan Davis.
This is a tale that gives taking one for the team a whole new meaning.
Most of his life, Logan had been a self-proclaimed loner. Even in the early days with the X-Men, it took some time before he warmed up to the idea of being part of a team. This story not only shows that Wolverine has embraced his fellow X-Men as a family, but he is now their backbone, and their champion.
A seemingly invincible alien despot known as Horde kidnaps the X-Men, takes them to a mysterious locale somewhere between time and space, and forces them to enter a foreboding citadel to procure an artifact that can bestow ultimate power. The courtyard is lined with countless heroes from across the cosmos that have tried this, and failed. Unfortunately for the mutant heroes, they do not fare any better as one by one they fall until only Wolverine remains.
Broken, beaten, and on the verge of death, Wolverine manages to secure the ultimate prize and he is endowed with the power of a god!
Proving he is not only the champion of the X-Men but a champion for all mankind, even with the power of the infinite at his disposal, Logan refuses this divine gift. Ultimately, the readers learn that Logan’s sacrifice proves the human race worthy and qualified to continue on their path toward universal greatness.
It’s a fun science fiction tale with a moral, and on a side note, the statues that decorate the courtyard are revealed to be all the races of the cosmos that failed this universal test and damned their species to evolutionary stagnation. Among those statues stand the Kree and the Skrulls.
Written by Mark Millar. Art by John Romita, Jr.
This is the story that shows just how scary it would be if Wolverine was a villain.
Hydra has joined forces with Logan’s deadly foes the Hand. They set a trap and actually put Wolverine down. But, before his mutant healing factor can kick in, they use black magic to bring him back as a slave under their dark power. Now, Wolverine has a new mission, to assassinate the super hero population and bring them all under the dark control the bad guys.
No one is left unscathed as this new viciously evil Wolverine attacks the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and even his fellow X-Men, leaving the super hero Northstar and many other masked heroes and villains dead in his wake. It takes the combined efforts of the X-Men, SHIELD, and the Avengers to finally take Logan down.
After Wolverine is deprogrammed and brought back to the side of the White Hats, Hydra and the Hand quickly learn that there is one thing even more dangerous than an evil Wolverine.
A focused and determined Wolverine looking for payback.
There is a chilling “What If Wolverine…?” tale that shows what would have happened if the good guys were not able to save their friend from the clutches of the dark side.
Written by Larry Hama. Art by Marc Silvestri.
The death of Mariko Yashida is easily one of the most poignant and heart-rending moments not just in Logan’s life, but for the fans of Wolverine as well.
Wolverine first met Mariko back in Uncanny X-Men #118.
Logan is an unsophisticated, rugged, hard man with hard edges and more at home in a dive bar or in the mountains or even on the battlefield. Mariko is everything he is not. She is beautiful, refined, noble, and from a family of high standing. There is an instant attraction and Logan and the readers quickly learn that Mariko has a calming effect on Logan, an effect that brings out a side rarely seen, a softer side.
Mariko is the one true great reciprocated love of Logan’s life and most certainly in some alternate world they lived a long and lovely life together happily ever after.
But, not in this one.
When Wolverine’s enemies poison Mariko, sentencing her to a slow and painful death, Logan is forced to give the woman he loves a quick, merciful death.
It’s a tough read, and as you can imagine, Wolverine has gone on to make those responsible pay dearly.
We are halfway there.
Tune in next week when the Odinson finishes his Top 10 favorite Wolverine tales with a look at an epic saga, a super hero showdown, a chilling monster story, a prophetic tragedy, and the story that made him a Rock Star.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.