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   NEW! Wolverine Files Blog
   000: The True Origin
   001: Wild Child
   002: The Origin
   003: Young Logan
   004: The Amazing Skunk-Bear
   005: Sabretooth and Silver Fox
   006: The Lost Years
   007: The Thirties
   008: Ogun
   009: World War II
   010: Landau, Luckman and Lake
   011: Team X Beginnings
   012: Logan, Creed and North
   013: Secret Agent Man, eh?
   014: Weapon X: The Origin(s)
   015: Weapon X: Adamantium
   016: Memory Implants
   017: The Ultimate Warrior
   018: Weapon X: Escape
   019: The Hudsons
   020: License to Kill
   021: Department H: Weapon X
   022: Department H: The Flight
   023: The Best There Is
   024: The Wolverine
   025: The X-Men
   026: Death in the Family
   027: The Phoenix
   028: Where No X-Men Has Gone
   029: Missing, Presumed Dead

The Wolverine Files

025 - The X-Men

 

X-Men #1

Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman, X-Men #1.

© and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

     With the success of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and other superhero titles of the early sixties, Marvel Comics decided to unveil a new off-beat superhero book, The X-Men, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. Originally entitled The Mutants , the book introduced the concept of beings born with special abilities brought on by genetic mutations in the nuclear age. While genetic anomalies were nothing new in the history of mankind, these mutations spawned superpowers that caused fear and whole-scale persecution of the mutant populace.[1] Throughout the course of the first 66 issues, The X-Men tells the story of Professor Charles Xavier, a powerful telepathic mutant confined to a wheelchair. At his school for young mutants, Xavier teaches these outcasts how to control their new powers and to believe that mutants and humans share a common destiny based on peaceful coexistence. Xavier recruits Scott Summers, a mutant capable of transforming energy into powerful optic blasts, held in check only by a pair of ruby quartz sunglasses; Hank McCoy, who possesses superhuman agility, dexterity and strength; Warren Worthington, III whose giant wings enable him flight; and Bobby Drake who can transmute his body into ice. Each student is given a codename - Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman - and trained in the use of his powers. The true adventures begin with the introduction of Jean Grey, codename Marvel Girl, who possesses telepathic powers on a slightly lesser scale than Xavier does. The teenagers fight a host of evil mutants - Magneto, the Blob, Mastermind, Juggernaut, the Sentinels, Sauron, Mesmero, and Count Nefaria - to name but a few. As time passes, Scott and Jean fall in love. Later in the series, Scott's brother, Alex, and Lorna Dane join the X-Men. Alex possesses the ability to transform energy into plasma blasts and Lorna the ability to control magnetism. They, too, are given codenames - Havok and Polaris. As the series came to a close, Hank McCoy leaves the X-Men to take a job with the Brand Corporation. Chronicled in Amazing Adventures #11-16, Hank attempts to remove his mutant abilities in a chemical experiment. As is wont to happen in these circumstances, the experiment has the reverse effect, and Hank is transformed into a blue-furred Beast. He soon joins the Avengers, a government-sanctioned superhero team, leaving the X-Men continuity for a time.

     With sales declining, The X-Men series endured 27 issues of reprints, and the remaining X-Men characters were forced into cameo appearances in other books. Finally, in May 1975, the X-Men were given a second chance, Giant-Size X-Men #1. By the time the issue hit the stands, Roy Thomas had left Marvel Comics, but he had been very much involved in the origins of the new series. While the Wolverine may have been created for the Canadian market, the full international team was created to help penetrate the lucrative foreign market at the behest of Marvel President Al Landau and editor Stan Lee. Fortunately, Thomas' original idea of a flying headquarters hidden in the clouds was ignored and the final result was "Second Genesis."[2] Interestingly, the Wolverine's new mask was created inadvertently by Gil Kane when penciling the cover for Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and the look was retained by the regular X-Men artist, Dave Cockrum.[3] In fact, Cockrum had to alter his original Wolverine pencils throughout the issue when he inked the pages to match the preferred cover version.[4] As Cockrum notes, “Kane drew it more like a Batman mask and it really looked better."[5]

Original pencils for Giant-Size X-Men #1

Gil Kane, Giant-Size X-Men #1.

© and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

 

Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975) - "Second Genesis"

Writer and Co-Creator: Len Wein, Illustrator and Co-Creator: Dave Cockrum

     After meeting the Wolverine at the top secret military base in Quebec, Professor Charles Xavier successfully recruits several other mutants. Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) is a German mutant whose demonic appearance causes fear and hatred amongst humans. His prehensile tail aids his natural acrobatic ability, but his true mutant power allows him to teleport with a puff of brimstone. Banshee (Sean Cassidy) is a former Irish Interpol agent whose sonic scream enables him flight and a potent offensive weapon. Storm (Ororo Monroe) is revered as a goddess in Africa and is able to manipulate the weather, even allowing her flight. Sunfire (Shiro Yashida) is a Japanese mutant who can generate blazing firebursts, as his name would suggest, and capable of flight. From Arizona comes Thunderbird (John Proudstar), an Apache Indian endowed with great strength and amazing speed. And from the Soviet Union is Colossus (Peter Rasputin) who is capable of transforming his body into a nearly indestructible form of organic metal, gaining superhuman strength in the process.

 

Giant-Size X-Men #3 (2005) – “Teamwork”

Writer: Joss Whedon; Artist: Neil Adams

     In the Danger Room of Professor Xavier's mansion in Westchester, New York, Wolverine, sans costume, welcomes Ororo Munroe, Peter Rasputin, John Proudstar, Nightcrawler and Sunfire, suggesting that the Professor only intends to keep five of them for the X-Men, and the sixth one will leave dead. Tempers flare and a fight ensues. John Proudstar begins pummeling Wolverine until Wolverine catches him in the gut and sends him flying. Banshee breaks up the fight and asks for an explanation. Wolverine smiles and tells them that they will need to know each other better if they are going to become a team. And for his money, John Proudstar might be the best of the bunch.

     On the heels of his successful run on Astonishing X-Men, Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity fame) adds his touch to the earliest days of the new X-Men, showing that like many of us, he became a fan during this time period.

X-Men: Liberators #2 (Dec 1998) - "Home Is Where the Heart Is"

Writer: Joseph Harris Artist: Phil Jimenez

     At Xavier's mansion, during the unveiling of costumes, the Wolverine brashly climbs atop Peter Rasputin's shoulders, flashing his claws menacingly. Colossus transforms into his steel form, grabs the Wolverine by the neck, and throws him to the ground. Surprisingly, the Wolverine does not respond in kind, but merely expresses satisfaction that Colossus has what it takes to back him up.

     Published 23 years after Giant-Size X-Men #1, X-Men: Liberators sought to flesh out some of the earliest moments of the new X-Men. As will soon be seen, this is to become a very common occurrence. Refreshingly, many of these early vignettes dovetail quite nicely with the original stories.

 

Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975) - "Second Genesis"

Writer and Co-Creator: Len Wein, Illustrator and Co-Creator: Dave Cockrum

     Xavier introduces the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops, who explains that the rest of the original X-Men were kidnapped while investigating an unidentified mutant on the island of Krakoa . Cyclops was also on the expedition but was mysteriously returned to the X-Men's Strato-jet while still unconscious. When Cyclops awoke, the Strato-jet's course was set for the X-Men's headquarters, and his powers were gone. Cyclops' optic blasts eventually did return, stronger than ever, and, while Cyclops retrained himself, Xavier recruited the new team of mutants to rescue the kidnapped X-Men. After much squabbling, the new X-Men depart for Krakoa aboard the Strato-jet, later revealed to be a converted SR-71 spy plane. Cyclops divides the group into four assault teams. Landing on the sandy beach, Banshee and the Wolverine, the east assault team, are attacked by two gigantic crabs. The battle is brief with each of the new X-Men destroying one of the crabs. Before long all eight mutants reach a temple in the middle of the island and find the older X-Men being fed upon by tubes. Quickly freeing them, the X-Men, new and old, discover that the mutant is the island itself. With the help of Xavier's telepathy, the X-Men attack the giant beast until Polaris is able to reverse the island's magnetic field and catapult the living island into space. Creating a giant ice sphere, Iceman is able to protect the X-Men from the ensuing vortex. With the maelstrom over, the X-Men recover their Strato-jet and all thirteen mutants return to Westchester .

Wolverine with the new X-Men

Arthur Adam, Classic X-Men #1.

© and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

 

     By 1986, The Uncanny X-Men had established itself as the top selling comic in the industry. This success led to the reprinting of these early issues of the “new X-Men” as Classic X-Men, which Chris Claremont, the primary X-Men writer, oversaw. Instead of simply reprinting the older stories, Claremont added several new pages of story on a monthly basis to flesh out sections that had been limited previously by space. Claremont also wrote new backup stories chronicling previously untold adventures of the new X-Men's early days, beginning with “First Night” in Classic X-Men #1.

 

Classic X-Men #1 (Sep 1986) - "First Night"

Writer: Chris Claremont, Artist: John Bolton

     After returning from the Krakoa adventure, the X-Men, old and new, find themselves at odds with each other. Wolverine, though, decides to explore the outside and finds Jean Grey, alone. Catching her by surprise, Wolverine, now in his civilian clothes, notes that he can sense that she has strong feelings for him. Before the conversation can continue, Angel, in the air above, gets suspicious and slams Wolverine into a tree, warning him that Jean is spoken for. Wolverine gets up slowly, replying that Jean is a grown woman and can make decisions on her own. Popping his claws, Wolverine lunges at Angel, missing only because of Jean's telepathic shield. Storm creates a monsoon to cool off the tempers, while Angel declares Wolverine a dangerous nut. Storm fires back that Angel was the one to strike first. Jean ignores Angel and tends to Wolverine who warns her to stay away. "I really am bad news. As crazy as they come. And I do kill." Jean ignores his warnings and welcomes him to the X-Men.

     This story in particular illustrates Chris Claremont's attempt to flesh out characters, motivations, and interactions from the earliest days of the new X-Men. As Claremont explains, “…I didn't have a handle on what the book was… I was trying to figure who these people were, what they did, how they reacted to each other—the who, what, where, when, and why of The X-Men."[6]

Logan and Jean Grey

John Bolton , Classic X-Men #1.

© and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

 

X-Men: The Wedding Album #1 (1994) - "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue & Gold"

Writer: Scott Lobdell, Penciller: Ian Churchill, Inker: Jason Minor, Randy Elliot and Harry Candelario

     Later that evening, Jean Grey writes in her diary that she feels “…almost giddy…” after her initial meeting Wolverine, intrigued by his mysterious nature and, despite his ferocity in battle, “…it is clear that underneath it all he has a very gentle soul.”

 

Classic X-Men #27/2 (Nov 1988) - "Backlash”

Writer: Ann Nocenti, Artist: John Bolton

     Even later that same night, Wolverine (still in civilian clothes), Scott and Jean go out for a short drive, stopping at a greasy spoon for a late night snack. While Scott goes to buy burgers, Wolverine and Jean discuss their future. He tells Jean that though she loves Scott, she wants him. Jean reluctantly agrees, adding that one of them must leave the team. Before they can decide who should depart, a very oblivious Scott returns with the food. Suddenly, Jean senses trouble at a nearby factory and carries the threesome there telekinetically. As they begin to investigate, the floor beneath Jean and Wolverine gives way. Deep inside the factory, Jean searches for the trouble she sensed previously, while Wolverine talks to her in a very provocative way. Jean rebukes him for touching her, but soon realizes that a small alien-like creature is wrapped around her arm. Wolverine slices it up with his claws, but each piece comes back to life. While Jean backs away from the creatures, Wolverine seems to enjoy the horror film atmosphere. Jean creates a telekinetic bubble against the creatures, but they continue to attack. As the creatures completely cover the ever-shrinking bubble, Jean and Wolverine are forced into each other's arms. As Jean begins to give into her desires, the chemicals in the factory ignite, destroying the creatures. As Scott watches, Wolverine and Jean, still within the now flaming telekinetic bubble, land at his feet. When Scott asks how Jean how she is, Wolverine interjects, "Best time I've had in months..."

     This is an excellent example of why it is so hard to create an accurate chronology for Wolverine. “Backlash” was written in 1988, but the events take place during story lines written in the mid-1970s. In order for the story to fit properly, we are required to create time between “First Night” and the events of X-Men #94. One can argue that Jean might have the power of the Phoenix on the final page of the story, and hence this should take place just prior to X-Men #111. But that creates another slew of continuity problems. I have chosen to place it here where it dovetails nicely with Jean's decision to leave the X-Men and explain the vaguely Phoenix-like flames as foreshadowing in the form of ignited chemicals dripping off of her telekinetic bubble. Jean's reference to Wolverine as Logan during this episode is especially inaccurate, as there is much information that suggests no one in the X-Men learned of his real name until after the death of Phoenix .

 

Classic X-Men #1 (Sep 1986) - "First Night"

Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: John Bolton

     In the early hours of the following morning, Jean concedes to Professor Xavier that her attraction to Wolverine is problematic and that she has decided to leave the X-Men.

 

X-Men #94 (Aug 1975) - "Chapter One: The Doomsmith Scenario"

Writer: Chris Claremont, Plotter: Len Wein, Artist: Dave Cockrum

     Later that morning, Xavier assembles all thirteen X-Men to discuss the future. All of the new mutants announce their intentions to remain, except for Sunfire who finds Xavier's dream to be a fool's errand. To Xavier's surprise, the complete older group, save Cyclops, decides to leave. They explain that they have matured and that it is time to move on with their lives. The Wolverine, scoffing at such sentimentality, comments that if they want to leave, go, and just spare them the soap opera treatment. This gets a rise out of Iceman, but Cyclops stops them before a fight can begin. By the following morning, Xavier's school boasts only the Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, Banshee, Thunderbird, and, of course, Professor Xavier. The ensuing few weeks revolve around Cyclops training the new X-Men in the Danger Room, a simulated combat room that tests and challenges the mutants.

     Roy Thomas felt that although Professor Xavier was still the mentor of the X-Men, Cyclops needed to remain with the X-Men to establish a bond between the newer and older teams.[7] This issue also shows the beginning of the feud between Wolverine and Cyclops. Wolverine seems to take pleasure in challenging Cyclops' leadership, showing a marked lack of respect for Cyclops by sarcastically calling him "Boss-Man." Wolverine also seems to resent Cyclops and his leadership, but this could simply be his inherent problem with authority and Cyclops' relationship with Jean Grey.

 

Classic X-Men #10 /2(Jun 1987) - "Tag, Sucker!"

Writer: Chris Claremont, Artist: John Bolton

     A week after arriving in Westchester , Wolverine decides to explore New York City. While wandering the streets as a civilian, Wolverine lights up a cigar only to have it snatched away from behind. His senses on high alert, Wolverine spins around to find... nothing! Then a voice whispers in his ear, "Tag, sucker ---You're it!" Deciding to turn the tables on his seemingly invisible pursuer, Wolverine sprints off on a maze-like path across town. Convinced that no one has followed, he enters a saloon in Chelsea and takes a corner table with his back to wall and a view to the entire establishment. A smile in the window sets him off, but when he reaches the empty street, Wolverine begins to question his own sanity. A woman's scream breaks through his self-doubts and, as he rushes towards the sound, Wolverine finds a dead body and voice laughing on the wind telling him that he is next. Following his desire to run, he slips down a subway access tunnel and rides the outside of a train to Battery Park. Donning his costume, Wolverine, with his back to the sea, waits for his opponent, tossing all rationality away and letting the animal inside of him out. Unfortunately, the attack comes from the sea. The result, his throat torn out. An hour later, Wolverine drags himself aboard a Staten Island ferry, his mutant healing powers barely saving his life. Too late, Wolverine puts together the pieces: Sabretooth. It is interesting to note the retrospective feel of this story. Claremont effectively conveyed Len Wein's early vision of the Wolverine's heroism, the constant inner battle to fight against his animal instincts and his battle to maintain his sanity.[8]

Logan in New York City

John Bolton , Classic X-Men #10.

© and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

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[1]  James Van Hise, X-Men Files, 1986.

[2]  James Van Hise, "The Roy Thomas Interview," X-Men Files, 1986.

[3]  Brian Cunningham, "Dressed to Kill," Wizard Tribute to Wolverine, 1996.

[4]  Craig Shutt, “Secret Origins,” Wizard's Wolverine Special, 1999.

[5]  Brian Warmoth, “Claws of Attraction,” Wizard #157, Nov. 2004.

[6]  "Interview with Chris Claremont," The X-Men Companion, 1982.

[7]  James Van Hise, X-Men Files, 1986.

[8]  "Interview with Len Wein," The X-Men Companion, 1982

 
 
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Wolverine and other Marvel Comics' characters © and ™  by Marvel Characters, Inc.

Contents of "Wolverine Files" © by Joel "DiG" DiGiacomo