Life In Four Colors # 23: The Best At What He Does.....Bub!
My Top Ten Favorite Wolverine Stories
Okay. It's May 1st. Are you planning on checking out the new Wolverine film? I am. With mixed X-Pectations. Every time I see a trailer for this movie I become overwhelmed with mixed feelings.
Seeing scenes from the back story with Cyclops, the (Young) Blob, Deadpool (whatever), Emma Frost, and Gambit (whatever x2) I can't help but cringe. Call me an old fuddy duddy but that has got to be the weirdest version of Alpha Flight I have ever seen.
What? That's not Alpha-Flight? That's not the very first super-hero organization that Wolverine belonged to? Oh I see that's just random characters picked by .....somebody....that this same....somebody thought would be cool. Just like the random cast of X-Men that was put together for the very first film.
Oh that's right I forgot. That's life in Hollywood.
But there are times when I see the same trailer....the scenes with Wolverine fighting in WWI and WWII, the Weapon X Project, the death of Silver Fox and scenes right out of Origin....bone claws and all and I think to myself....man that really looks good.
Guess I find out in a few short hours during Free Comic Book Day Eve if I end up liking the film or not. Although I find myself whining at times about the liberties taken with comic films (and believe me I try hard not to, but I know it still happens and I thank you for putting up with it), there has been just a handful of Comic Related films that I didn't care for.
Superman III and IV
Steel (I couldn't even bring myself to watch that one).
All other comic book films I liked in varied degrees, yes even Batman and Robin...and I own a copy of them all. So I'm sure I will also like the new Wolverine film as well ....to some degree.
But I still wish Alpha-Flight was in it.
Wolverine himself has truthfully never been one of my favorite characters. I enjoyed him the very best during the hey days of the Claremont/Byrne/Austin run on Uncanny X-Men when we got only glimpses of Wolverine's past. Like him picking up a Japanese newspaper and being able to read it and Cyclops stating...
"I never knew you could read Japanese."
And Wolverine replies. "You never asked."
I think we know way too much about Wolverine nowadays. We know who he slept with on Prom Night, how often he trims his toe nails, and how old he was when he had his first beer.
Nowadays he can shake off machine gun fire like a dog shaking of the rain, survive a nuclear assault at ground zero and survive literally being torn in half. Gone are the days when a .45 slug would drop the guy and actually hurt like Hell and when a Sentinel could actually kill him.
The price we pay for asking...."give us more Wolverine."
But back before he was actually a member of every super-hero group ever created by the House of Ideas except Power Pack... (what's that? Oh. Really? Issues #7-9. I did not know that. Scratch that remark....moving on)...there was a few Wolverine stories I did like.
So just in case you never ran across any of these true adamantium laced classics....I wanted to draw some attention to what I thought was the 10 best Wolverine stories I ever read.
Yeah I know. There are parts of this story that adds to the whole confusing ball of wax that Wolverine's extremely layered back story has become but you can't deny the elements that do work. Great interior art and fabulous covers. A nice story that despite being the beginning of some very heavy extra baggage the character really didn't need to bring along with him on the trip...the story did shine the light on some very interesting aspects that explain a lot about who the character is and where he originally came from.
#9. Iron Fist # 15
Great story. Back in the days when Logan....I mean James...Wolverine...whatever the guy's name is could still make an honest mistake. Yeah you will notice a lot of the stuff on this list was written by a certain writer.
#8. Wolverine: Enemy of the State (Wolverine vol. three issues # 20-31 which also ran into the Wolverine: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Once again there were aspects about this story I didn't care for (the whole getting "killed" and being used as a pawn for the Hand along with so many other characters in the storyline) but I can easily over look that thanks to a story full of razor sharp action and incredible art work by Romita Jr. and Janson.
And there's that one line from issue #24 when Logan....James...Wolverine...whatever his name is slowly comes to his senses after battling Daredevil. When he looks at ol Horn Head and says...
"You may have loved a lot of other women in your life, Murdock. But Elektra only ever loved one man. You."
That may be a little mis-quoted...but it's close and for me really solidified the first Wolverine story I was excited about in years.
#7. Alpha-Flight #13 (vol. #1)
Okay...besides Claremont, Byrne also wrote a very decent Wolverine. I loved this story when Logan (that's what I'm gonna call him from now on) travels back to Canada to comfort one of his oldest friends and love interest after she recently lost her husband.
#6. Wolverine #17-23 (vol. one)
The late Archie Goodwin teamed up with the before mentioned John Byrne to tell a remarkable multi-part story which in my opinion turned out to be the very best part of the "Acts of Vengeance" Marvel cross over event that ran that summer. I loved the Wolverine and Tiger-Shark throw down and vote for another round or two.
I mean I for one would much rather see Logan battle Tiger Shark than Stryfe (cough) any day.
#5.Uncanny X-Men #139-140.
One of the very last of the Claremont/Byrne pairings in the X-Men books. Wolverine and Nightcrawler travel to the Great White North so Logan can finally make amends with his former team mates in Alpha-Flight and run afoul of the Wendigo. A creature that Logan is all too familiar with.
Some really incredible characterization in this book....especially centering on the now missing friendship between Logan and Kurt.
Speaking of the Wendigo. He's back and so is Wolverine in Spider-Man #9-12 written and drawn by Todd McFarlane. Story #4 on this list.
This story is my favorite to appear in the McFarlane Spider-Man spin off series. I thought Todd did a great job of telling a story in which the monster is not always the most horrific aspect of the tale.
#4. Uncanny X-Men # 127.
I really loved this whole Mutant X/Proteus storyline the highlight of which for me was seeing for the very first time Wolverine facing a foe that actually frightened him. It was great seeing him shaken to his metal laced bones and so unsure of himself. Unfortunately this type of story couldn't be written today....Wolverine fears nothing these days.
To quote Wilson Fisk. "A man without fear is a man without hope."
#2. Weapon X. Marvel Comics Presents # 72-84
Barry Windsor Smith really crafted an excellent story about the Weapon X project. Smith handled the writing and art on this story and it just blew me away. By the time this story came out I was already tired of Wolverine. He had been overplayed for years and I knew the situation was only going to get worse so I had no real interest in this story and made no attempt to pick it up.
About four years ago my wife picked up the trade paperback at a flea market....for a quarter. She knew Wolverine was not really one of my favorite characters but figured for a quarter....what the Hell?
She brought it home and seeing how she did shell out a whole 25 cents for it.....what the Hell....I'd read it.
How bad could it be?
It wasn't bad at all! Matter of fact I loved it!!!! Best damn quarter she ever spent!!!
#1. Wolverine (the first mini-series) #1.
This was of course the first issue of a four issue limited series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller and featured Wolverine is his first solo story. Also (at the time) Wolverine's first encounter with the ninja assassins known as the Hand.
All of that makes for a great limited series, but my favorite issue of the four has to be issue #1 when Logan is forced to hunt down and kill a grizzly bear in the Canadian Rookies due to a hunter's illegal use of poison laced arrows.
Later Logan hunts down the hunter.
There you have it my Top Ten Wolverine stories I ever read. (with no Sabretooth even....I always liked Sabretooth more when he fought Iron Fist anyway). I'm sure the list is a little different than most Wolverine fans, but I hope you enjoyed it...now get out there in enjoy the movie and Free Comic Book Day!
Until next time....see you in the funny papers.
Bill Gladman - Bill is a writer and illustrator and currently working on several different projects including the first issue of an ongoing comic book series (Prodigy), an illustrated fantasy novel (The Book of Noheim), and the first of four illustrated science fiction/fantasy novels (Jack the Rabbit, Living Legend of the Purple Plains) as well as a light-hearted on going mini-comic (Three Wise Men). Bill also pens a column for Comic Related and will be doing a mix of regional convention coverage.
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