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Wolverine (comics)

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Wolverine (a.k.a. Logan) is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics superhero, and member of the X-Men. The character first appeared on the last page of Incredible Hulk #180 (October, 1974), with a full introduction in the following issue, Hulk #181 (November, 1974). In the 1990s, he rose from relative obscurity to become a household name; he may be Marvel Comics' second most-popular character, after Spider-Man.

A mutant, Wolverine heals quickly, possesses animal-like senses and reflexes, and has three foot-long claws on each hand that retract into his forearms. The claws -- and his entire skeleton -- are laced with the unbreakable metal alloy adamantium.

Wolverine's fierce nature helped forge the mold for comic book anti-heroes. His willingness to use deadly force, his efforts to come to terms with his questionable past and his angst-filled inner conflicts have become standard for anti-heroes. The character is an unparalleled master of combat who will not hesitate to meet lethal force in kind.

Wolverine was created by Len Wein and John Romita Sr., with some additional influence by Herb Trimpe. The character was further developed by the celebrated creative duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, popularly remembered for their work on the X-Men. Frank Miller, usually remembered for his revitalization of Daredevil and redefinition of Batman, deserves credit for establishing important nuances in the Wolverine limited series he co-wrote with Claremont, such as the memorable catch phrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice."

Wolverine joined the X-Men roster in 1975 and has been featured in his own solo series since 1988. He has been a central part of X-Men animated series and films.

Contents

Publication history

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Cover of Incredible Hulk #181, featuring Wolverine's first full appearance

Wolverine first appeared in Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974), in the final panel (enshrouded by darkness) of an issue written by Len Wein and illustrated by Herb Trimpe. His full introduction was in the next issue, #181 (November 1974. He appeared in a costume designed by John Romita, Sr: yellow-and-blue spandex which didn't particularly resemble a true wolverine, sporting foot-long metal claws. His introduction left an ambiguous impression, revealing little more than that he was an agent of the Canadian government with superhuman powers. The basic facts about the character had not been established.

Wolverine next appeared in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 (1975), in which he joined the X-Men. Written by Wein and drawn by Dave Cockrum (who altered Wolverine's mask), the issue was successful enough to revive the title, starting with #94 (August 1975), drawn by Cockrum but written by Chris Claremont. Wolverine was initially overshadowed by the other characters, and Claremont even considered dropping the character later.

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Cover to Uncanny X-Men #133. Art by John Byrne.

Cockrum's replacement by John Byrne resulted in Wolverine's character being brought into focus. Himself a Canadian, Byrne did not appreciate the suggestion of dropping a Canadian character. One of his ideas involved creating Alpha Flight, a group of Canadian superheroes, who tried to recapture Wolverine due to the expense the Canadian government incurred in training him. Wolverine's murky past was gradually established, as was his unstable nature, which he tried to keep in check. Wolverine had a brief crush on Jean Grey (later revisited), the team leader Cyclops' girlfriend, and the two men often clashed over Cyclops' more cautious approach. Byrne designed a new, brown-and-tan costume for Wolverine, keeping the distinctive Cockrum-designed cowl. The new look succeeded and the readers' interest began to climb.

Following Byrne's departure, Wolverine remained with the X-Men, written by Claremont. By this point he was becoming popular with regular comic book readers, and appeared in his own mini-series Wolverine (#1-4 by Claremont and Frank Miller, September - December 1982) and in Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (#1-6 by Claremont and Al Milgrom, November 1984 - April 1985).

Wolverine graduated to his own ongoing series with Wolverine #1 (by Claremont and John Buscema, November 1988). Since then he has remained an active member of the X-Men, has appeared in his own series, and in several side series. Notable side stories include Weapon X (by Barry Windsor-Smith in Marvel Comics Presents #72-84, 1991), and Origin #1-6 (by Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins and Adam Kubert, 2002), both of which filled in periods of his past.

Character biography

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The first issue of the 1980s Wolverine mini-series

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 manoeuvrability 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 over his superiors' objections. Over the following year, Wolverine was revealed to be a mutant whose skeleton 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.

It was revealed that he had forgotten much of his past: He had been transformed by a project called Weapon X, which had added the adamantium to his body. He had then been adopted by James and Heather Hudson into their project which eventually became Alpha Flight. Intended to eventually lead that team, when he departed to join the X-Men he precipitated James Hudson's adoption of the identity of Weapon Alpha (later Vindicator and then Guardian), and a lengthy and often hostile effort, wherein Alpha Flight tried to bring Wolverine back to Canada, while Wolverine attempted to retain his freedom. Wolverine would eventually make peace with Hudson and Alpha Flight, while remaining a member of the X-Men.

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.

Complexity to their character was subtly implied over time: He could read and speak Japanese, he had a strong sense of personal honour, and became close friends with his teammate Nightcrawler, despite their many differences. He went by the name "Logan", without a surname, but it was unclear whether this was his real name.

Wolverine briefly became interested in Cyclops' true love, Jean Grey, but the interest was never truly reciprocated. He later met and became engaged to Lady Mariko Yashida 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 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.

In X-Men #25 (1993), at the culmination of the "Fatal Attractions" crossover, the adamantium in Wolverine's skeleton was forcibly removed by the supervillain Magneto in a desperate battle. At first, having the adamantium removed was so traumatic that Logan's regenerative healing factor stopped working and as a consequence his senses, agility, and physical strength were temporarilly reduced to normal human levels.

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 accellerate 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. Finally, the villain Apocalypse kidnapped Wolverine, brainwashed him, and had the adamantium rebonded to his skeleton successfully. Wolverine 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 elimenate the old members of the Weapon-X program. However, we are told that during his assasination 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 introdued to the Shiver Man and Mauvais. Hints in this series point towards the opinion that Wolverine: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 The New Avengers alongside other famous Marvel Comics heroes such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man.

"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.

Finally, the story of his childhood was told in the miniseries Wolverine: Origin. He was born James Howlett, the son of wealthy Canadians John and Elizabeth Howlett. In 19th century Alberta, the frail boy was raised by the red-haired Rose, his companion and tutor which bore more than a passing resemblance to Jean Grey, since his mother was distant and remote. Elizabeth's first son had an untimely death and she took solace by having an affair with the Howletts' groundskeeper Thomas Logan. Logan, who resembled the adult Wolverine, had a son named Dog Logan. The boy would grow to attack Rose and Thomas Logan was then fired. However, John Howlett later found Logan with his wife. Thomas had returned to get his lover. In a twist of fate, Logan killed John. Wolverine's mutant powers -particularly his claws - chose this traumatic moment to emerge. With his new powers, James Howlett killed Logan and scarred Dog. Elizabeth lost both husband and lover. She 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 lad. Three years later, Dog tracked him down. Wolverine won the resulting battle but failed to kill Dog. Rose attempted to prevent the killing and was impaled by the claws of her mutant charge. Wracked with grief over the death of his true love, Wolverine spend more time in the woods with wolves, where he feels more at home. Whether or not the miniseries Wolverine: Origin should be part of official Marvel canon is apparently disputed by some Marvel editors.

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 Imposter"

A Skrull 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 imposter 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 imposter 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). His death was noble and heroic.

Powers and abilities

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Wolverine from Wolverine Unleashed
Jim Lee, artist.

Wolverine is a mutant with a number of both natural and artificial improvements to his physiology. He regenerates and heals hundreds of times faster than a normal human, and has recovered completely from injuries that would have killed most humans, even those with superhuman abilities. He can regenerate organs such as eyes and large portions of flesh, but not completely severed limbs.

This "healing factor" also grants immunity to most toxins (except in massive doses) and diseases, gives him enough stamina to exert himself at peak levels for days, and retards aging to an unknown degree. He is well over 100 years old, yet his appearance and physique are unchanged since the peak years of his life (apparently over a century ago). However, writers have suggested that the healing factor is also the cause of his amnesia.

Wolverine possesses hieghtened senses enabling him to see and hear distant objects more clearly than a normal human, and identify and track someone purely by scent. These heightened senses are only slightly less developed than those of Daredevil. They are actually a result of his constant cellular regeneration as are his agility and reflexes.

Wolverine's physical appearance also displays animal-like mutations, including sharper-than-normal teeth with two pronounced canines, and six retractable bone claws housed within his forearms, which he can release from behind his knuckles (causing bleeding that is rapidly healed).

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X-Ray depicting Wolverine's adamantium claws from the film X-Men

Wolverine's claws and skeleton have been molecularly laced with nigh-indestructable metal Adamantium. The adamantium coating keeps the claws sharp and mean that his ability to cut through things is limited by his strength, not the claws. The tensile strength and additional weight of his skeleton combined with his constant cellular regeneration grants him great physical strength; sufficient to rend steel manacles through great effort as he did in Uncanny X-Men Issue 111, or lift 7 full grown men over his head as he did in Wolverine Vol.2 Issue 1. His blows are weighted (similar to using brass knuckles) due to the presence of this metal.

Skills

Wolverine has extraordinary hand to hand combat ability, and, alongside Captain America and Taskmaster, is considered one of the finest combatants on Earth. He can use most weapons, long or close-range. He is also an accomplished pilot and extremely well trained in espionage and covert operations.

Though seemingly brutish, Wolverine is not unintelligent. Due to his increased lifespan, he has been able to travel around the world and amass an intimate knowledge of many foreign customs and cultures. This has endowed him with vast knowledge in literature and philosophy. He is fluent in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Lakota, and Spanish. It is also known that he has knowledge of several other foreign languages. In more recent stories it has been revealed that Wolverine has some skills at computer hacking.

Ultimate Marvel version

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Cover to Ultimate X-Men #29. Art by David Finch.

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Wolverine started as an assassin who worked for Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants and was sent to infiltrate the X-Men to assassinate Charles Xavier. In this continuity, he made very quick, very seductive, advances toward Jean Grey. He had an affair with Jean and fell in love with her, but she left him upon discovering how he was hired to assassinate Xavier. Wolverine changed sides and abandoned his original mission. Thinking it would allow him to continue his relationship with Jean Grey, he allowed (Cyclops) to seemingly fall to his death. Yet Scott Summers (Cyclops) survived and when Jean learned of this she again spurned Logan. Logan is currently in exile from the X-Men in this alternate universe and is accompanied by Storm.

This version of Wolverine has all of the abilities of the Wolverine in the normal continuity. However, a major plot point in this universe is that numerous criminals seek to obtain Wolverine's adamantium for thier own purposes as the formula is a government secret and the process for creating the substance is next to impossible to duplicate.

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity Wolverine killed his archnemesis, Sabretooth by decapitating him. Sabretooth was a high ranking officer of Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. This final battle between the two took place in Magneto's arctic head quarters.

Wolverine's origin is slightly different in the Ultimate continuity. According to Captain America's account, he was James Howlett, a soldier from a Canadian parachute regiment with whom the Captain made several jumps with during World War II. Sabretooth claimed that Wolverine had a wife and child, and proudly claimed responsibility for killing them. Whether or not he was telling the truth remains to be seen, but a wedding ring that belonged to Wolverine was recently discovered.

Television and film

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Actor Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

His voice was provided by Cathal J. Dodd in the X-Men animated television series, and in a series of video games through the 1990s. In the animated television series X-Men: Evolution, his voice was provided by Scott McNeil.

In the movies, he was played by Hugh Jackman, a 6'2" actor as opposed to Wolverine's traditional height in the comics of 5'3". However, forced perspective technique was used to depict the character at a similar height to that which is given in the comics .

In the movie tie-in computer game X2: Wolverine's Revenge, his voice was provided by Mark Hamill.

Enemies

A handful of Wolverine's more notable and colorful foes:

External links

pt:Wolverine fi:Wolverine fr:Wolverine sv:Wolverine

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