The first issue of the 1980s Wolverine
mini-series. Art by Frank Miller
Wolverine first appeared as a Canadian
superhero and government agent fighting The Incredible Hulk
and the Wendigo
, in order to halt the destruction in the wake of their battle. His speed and maneuverability proved to be a match for the two plodding powerhouses of vast superhuman strength, and he was able to fight both creatures to a standstill.
Soon Professor X
recruited him to join a new team of X-Men
, and he resigned from his position in Canada, disregarding his superiors' objections. Over the following year, Wolverine was revealed to be a mutant
had been laced with the unbreakable metal adamantium
. Initially misanthropic and a loner, Wolverine often clashed with the X-Men's leader Cyclops
. Given to berserker rages in combat, he slowly learned how to control his feral instincts. However, Wolverine is the X-Man most likely to permanently
deal with adversaries who dispense lethal force. Despite his quick temperament, he has been described as a warrior poet with an iron will.
Various writers have subsequently fleshed out and revised Wolverine's mysterious past. Within the current continuity
of Wolverine's background, it has been revealed that he joined Nick Fury
, Captain America
, and the Black Widow
fighting the Nazis in Madripoor
during World War II
and afterward, he joined the Canadian Army
and participated in D-Day
and the liberation of Holland
. He may have also been a spy for the allies and it was recently revealed that he may have been captured and spent time in the Sobibor
concentration camp. What is for certain about his past is that he was part of a project called Weapon X
; it was this project which added the adamantium to his body. He was then adopted by James and Heather Hudson
and co-opted into their superhero work with the Canadian government, which eventually became Alpha Flight
. There was an intention for Wolverine to lead this team, and his abrupt departure from the team precipitated James Hudson's adoption of the identity of Weapon Alpha (later Vindicator and then Guardian
), and saw a number of typically hostile confrontations in which Alpha Flight tried to bring Wolverine back to Canada, whilst Wolverine attempted to retain his freedom. Wolverine would eventually make peace with Hudson and Alpha Flight, while remaining a member of the X-Men. He was also on a government Black-Ops team which consisted of him, Maverick
, Sabretooth, and Silver Fox
. The team was apparently disbanded after a botched mission concerning Omega Red
Wolverine and Mariko
. Cover to Uncanny X-Men
#172. Art by Paul Smith
Claremont and other writers have added layers of complexity to the character over time. For instance, it was revealed that Wolverine can read and speak Japanese
and that he has a strong sense of personal honor
. Wolverine has also developed a close friendship with his teammate Nightcrawler
, a character whose personality seems written to diametrically oppose Wolverine's. Comics from the early and mid nineties saw Wolverine nurturing a mentor-like relationship with the character Jubilee
, who is regarded as his unofficial sidekick.
As mentioned previously, early in their run together on The Uncanny X-Men
Claremont and Byrne created a subplot wherein Wolverine became interested in Jean Grey
. However this interest was never consummated, and it was unclear whether Wolverine's feelings were reciprocated by Grey. Eventually a new love interest was introduced, with Wolverine becoming engaged to Lady Mariko Yashida
, a daughter of a Japanese
crime family. He was forced to kill her father in a duel and single-handedly destroyed his crime cartel. Mariko and Logan became estranged due to the strange honour customs of her family, and the manipulations of the villain Mastermind
. Once they were finally reunited she was poisoned by Reiko, an assassin for the Yakuza
. She requested Wolverine to end her life quickly rather than let her die a slow and painful death from the toxin, and he obeyed. This changed Wolverine's character significantly, making him more disciplined and emotionally distant.
Mariko's death. Art by Marc Silvestri
), at the culmination of the "Fatal Attractions" crossover
, the adamantium in Wolverine's skeleton was forcibly removed by the supervillain Magneto
. The act inflicted devastating injuries to Wolverine's body, so devastating that his mutant healing factor burned itself out in order to keep him alive. As a result, many of Wolverine's other natural mutant abilities, such as his heightened senses, strength, stamina, and agility, were burned out. In the Weapon X serial, then in Wolverine Vol. 2 issue 75 and the Origin mini-series, it was revealed that Wolverine's claws were actually made of bone and part of his mutant powers, and not created by the Weapon X program.
However, it was revealed in Wolverine Vol. 2 issue 91 that after sufficient time had passed enabling his body to recover from this severe trauma his mutation actually began to accelerate and as a consequence Wolverine not only regained his superhuman abilities, they actually increased from what they had been when he had the adamantium in his skeleton. Unfortunately, this also made Wolverine more feral.
Some time later, in Wolverine
#100, another maniac, Genesis
, kidnapped Wolverine and attempted to re-bond the metal to his skeleton. This was unsuccessful and caused Wolverine's mutation to accelerate out of control. He was temporarily changed into a semi-sentient beast-like form in which he knew greater physical power than ever before, at the price of part of his humanity. Genesis did not survive the battle following his failed experiment. Wolverine found a way to reverse his form to what it had been just previous to the time when Genesis captured him.
After several years of continuing to exist without the benefit of the adamantium to reinforce his skeletal structure, Wolverine was kidnapped by the villain Apocalypse
, who set up a contest between Wolverine and his arch nemesis, Sabretooth, with the victor to become one of Apocalypse's new group of Horsemen. Wolverine barely emerged victorious, and as a result Apocalypse extracted the adamantium from Sabretooth and had it bonded to Wolverine. Although initially brainwashed into serving Apocalypse, Wolverine eventually overcame Apocalypse's programming and returned to the X-Men.
Recently, Wolverine was recaptured by the Weapon X program, which is under new leadership. It was then revealed that the mental implants installed by the original Weapon X program were still functional, because the new director had used Wolverine as a sleeper agent to track down and eliminate the old members of the Weapon X program. However, we are told that during his assassination of Senator Drexel Walsh (the previous director of the Weapon X program), the mental implants were destroyed under the stress. It was in this incident that we were introduced to the Shiver Man
and Mauvais. Hints in this series point towards the opinion that Origin
is in fact the true story of Wolverine's past.
Today, Wolverine remains an integral part of the X-Men, He is also an officer of the mutant law enforcement agency the X-Treme Sanctions Executive
(XSE), and he recently joined the reformed Avengers
alongside other famous Marvel Comics heroes such as Captain America
, Iron Man
, and Spider-Man
At the conclusion of Marvel's 2005 event, House of M
, Wolverine's memories of his entire life have been restored. How this will affect the character remains to be seen.
- Note* In the alternate future depicted in What If II #114 Logan married and had a daughter with follow X-Man Storm and named her Kendall Logan. This daughter became the hero known as Torrent, having her mother's control over weather as well as his father's feral abilities. In the M2 series of comics Wolverine and Elektra had a daughter named Rina Logan, who became the super heroine called Wild Thing. In the alternate future that the Guardians of the Galaxy come from his great-great-granddaughter is the evil mutant queen called Rancor.
] Early life
Wolverine's early life has been revealed gradually over time. Wolverine's time as a captive and subject of the Weapon X
project has been revealed as a period when he was entirely at the mercy of feral instincts due to severe physical and psychological trauma inflicted upon him by the program. He was their agent, their ultimate weapon, along with his future archnemesis Sabretooth
. Next, Wolverine lived on a Native American reservation with his former girlfriend Silver Fox
, whom he thought had been killed by his enemy.
Wolverine first uses his claws in Origin
#2. Art by Andy Kubert
Finally, the story of his childhood was told in the miniseries Origin
. He was born James Howlett, the son of wealthy Canadians John and Elizabeth Howlett in 19th century Alberta
. He was a sickly youth, therefore his father hired a girl named Rose to take care of him. They were joined by a third youth, Dog Logan
, who will later become James' bitter enemy.
Elizabeth's first son was believed to have been born a mutant and killed by the Grandfather Howlett. This traumatic experience caused Elizabeth to be locked away in the attic of the Manor for some time. It is revealed that she had an affair with the groundskeeper
of the Howlett estate, Thomas Logan
, a man who look exactly like the adult Wolverine. Years passed and she eventually gave birth to James Howlett.
Thomas Logan's son, Dog, would later attack Rose and cause Thomas to be fired. John Howlett, however, later found Thomas with his wife and questioned him. In retaliation, Thomas Logan killed John Howlett. James' mutant powers, particularly his claws, emerged when he discovered his dead father and the murderer. With his new powers, James killed Thomas Logan and scarred Dog. Elizabeth, having lost both her husband and lover, chose to commit suicide
Due to his alleged killing of his parents, James was exiled by his grandfather and became a nomad
. He was brought to a British Columbia
mining colony, where he grew into a strong and ferocious worker. He also adopted the name Logan and acquired the nickname
Three years later Dog tracked him down. Forced to remember his painful childhood, Logan fought Dog savagely. Logan had gained the upper hand in the fight but as Rose attempted to prevent the killing of Dog she was impaled by Logan's claws. Wracked with grief over the death of his true love, Logan spent more time in the woods with wolves
, where he feels more at home.
Much of Wolverine's origin still remains a mystery. It is unclear how much Wolverine recalls about his past, as his memories have been extensively tampered with, both by the Weapon X program and his healing powers.
] Skrull impostor
working for Apocalypse briefly replaced the real Wolverine to allow the real one to be kidnapped and brainwashed. Due to mental programming to allow him to take the place of the real Wolverine without alerting the X-Men's telepaths, he believed himself to actually be Wolverine.
The Skrull impostor of Wolverine was initially created as part of a program initiated by the Skrulls to impersonate Earth's heroes en masse, at the cost of the shapeshifting abilities of those used - instead they would be physically locked into the forms they were imitating, in addition to mental programming designed to make them believe they were the hero in question. Due to the limitations of the process and their technology, however, they could not duplicate most of the respective abilities (e.g., the fake "Nightcrawler" could only pretend to teleport by becoming invisible). After the Skrull homeworld was destroyed by Galactus
, Apocalypse found some skrulls and put them to use, including using this process on one of them to cover while they kidnapped the real Wolverine. The limitations meant, however, that "Skrullverine" had no "healing factor" or enhanced senses.
The impostor took on Wolverine's heroic qualities and saved several members of the X-Men and the Mannites
(super powered children) from being eliminated by Apocalypse's acolyte of Death. The Skrull impostor was killed by the acolyte of Death (who turned out to be the real Wolverine who had been brainwashed).
Original costume, designed by John Romita, Sr
Herb Trimpe, Art
Second costume. Original costume with minor modifications (mask has bigger wing-tips, no whiskers). Designed by Dave Cockrum, first appeared in Giant Size X-Men
Cover to Uncanny X-Men
#133, art by John Byrne.
Brown and tan suit first appeared in Uncanny X-Men
#139, designed by John Byrne.
Cover to Wolverine
#17, art by John Byrne.
Wore team's uniform along with fellow X-Men beginning in Uncanny X-Men #275 for a brief while. Art by Jim Lee
Reverted to the yellow suit, with a blue mask in the early 90's.
Art by Joe Maduirera
Short-lived leather-jacket no-shirt look, created for New X-Men
Promotional art, by Frank Quitely
Short-lived maskless inversion of his "classic" suit, intended to keep his appearance consistent across both Ultimate
comics, merchandising, X-Men Legends
, and the X-Men: Evolution
Cover to Ultimate X-Men
#33, art by Adam Kubert
Current costume, a slight variation on the Romita Sr/Cockrum costume.
Cover to New Avengers
#3, art by Oliver Coipel