The Complete History of Wolverine: War, Love, and Espionage
Part 3 of Wolverine’s chronological comics history! Escaping the past is harder than it looks.
When we last saw Logan, AKA the X-Man Wolverine, he was acting as a spy for Seraph in World War II. It’s during this global blowout that he meets the “Star Spangled Man with a Plan,” Captain America. In Infinity Comics series LIFE OF WOLVERINE, unfolding now on Marvel Unlimited, dive deeper into the dark forces at play that make sure Logan remains on a “predestined” path.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Before becoming a spy, Logan is back with the Devil’s Brigade, doing what he does best, in WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #17. He loses his eye, not from an enemy, but from his own commanding officer! Logan is solo for a bit before Seraph drags him back into the war. If there’s anything good to grasp from this situation, he saves Natasha (again), kills the leader of the Hand, and gets the chance to fight with Captain America and future S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury during the next issue. He gets a taste at a “more heroic ideal” fighting alongside these American representatives… until Bucky Barnes ruins that vision for him in WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #19. Bucky doesn’t trust Logan, and what a coincidence, Logan doesn’t trust Bucky either! They’re too much alike, which may have been a factor in Bucky later becoming the Winter Soldier.
Logan remains oblivious to the fact that he’s being used by Seraph, and to a larger extent, Romulus. He’s dropped in to fight in various countries, such as Greece and France. At some point, he becomes a POW (prisoner of war) and is held in Hiroshima, Japan. Of course, he’s not a prisoner for long. A woman named Atsuko gives him refuge, but in LOGAN (2008) #2, Logan experiences being hit with a nuclear bomb. Noted by him as the moment when he “became a man,” Logan turns his back on his violent life and searches for hard-fought redemption.
TEMPORARY PEACE — ADAPTED FROM WOLVERINE (2003) #40
After the war, Logan travels to Jasmine Falls, Japan. He introduces himself to Bando Saburo and states that Sensei Ogun was the one who referred Saburo to him to seek “when [he] was ready.” Logan is welcomed to the community and literally builds his new home. He falls in love with a woman named Itsu and marries her after his fourth year of training. The happiest moment of Logan’s life happens not long after they get married: Itsu is pregnant! Celebration ensues.
Later, Saburo decides to test Logan, to see if he will not resort to violent measures. Logan defends himself expertly against his opponents until a distant explosion disrupts his focus. His claws pop out, and Logan is cast out of the village until he can prove he is “more man than beast.” To make matters infinitely worse, Logan finds Itsu has been slain and the baby has been removed from her womb. He spirals into grief and wants revenge. Logan wouldn’t find out what happened to his child, and who killed Itsu, until decades later.
While grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child, Logan encounters the legendary swordsmith Muramasa. In WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #35, he distills Logan’s rage into a single drop—which is impressive because Logan is rage personified—and binds it to metal, creating a supremely powerful sword, the Muramasa Blade. After forging the sword, Logan is discarded like trash, weak from the process. Sabretooth retrieves Logan, and the Canuck is brainwashed into being Romulus’s operative once again.
VENOM IN VIETNAM — ADAPTED FROM WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM (2018) #1
Just when you thought Logan’s life couldn’t get any stranger. Someone—Nick Fury—thought it was a good idea to extract an alien symbiote sample from a dragon and implant it in five American soldiers as a way to replicate Super-Soldiers. Not his smartest move. Called the Sym-Soldier Program, the soldiers are dropped in South Vietnam, but the plan to stop the enemy goes super sideways when the selected soldiers begin attacking their own. So, where does Logan fit in? He is the one asked by Fury to, for lack of better words, “put down” the affected soldiers.
Logan and Fury are transported to the symbiotic soldiers’ last location. They learn from Rex Strickland, one of the soldiers, that the symbiotes have traveled to new hosts. Unfortunately, “Rex” is actually a symbiote and tries to attack them and the actual Rex. The rest of the soldiers join in and attack Fury and Logan. The clawed man is taken over by a symbiote, but that doesn’t last long as the (actual) Rex saves him. Logan reveals that Fury is a Life Model Decoy (LMD, for short) and calls him out for not only failing to face his mistakes head on but for also trying to find a way to kill the symbiotes. (So that’s why the symbiotes are angry!) There’s not much time to think about anything else as the LMD starts a countdown to detonate. Obviously, Logan survives because then there wouldn’t be...
It is revealed in X-MEN (1991) #6 that Logan was once a recruit for Team X, a black ops unit. The team also included David North, AKA Maverick, and Logan’s eternal enemy, Victor Creed. Their codenames are Sabretooth and Wolverine, respectively. It’s teased in X-MEN (1991) #5 but further expanded in WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #8 that he and his team encounter Omega Red, Russia’s attempt at a Super-Soldier. They are in Berlin to extract a CIA mole, Janice Hollenbeck, and most importantly, to secure a carbonadium synthesizer. Logan finds it as Maverick rescues Hollenbeck. Sabretooth barges in with Omega Red on his tail, when he senses that Logan is breaking his programming. So, without hesitation, Sabretooth shoots and kills Hollenbeck to remind Logan who is in control. Did someone have to die to prove a point, Sabretooth? Really?
During WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #7, it’s further mentioned how Logan is kept in check as an operative. His memories are practically destroyed after each mission via modified electric chair, and alternate memories are implanted, which is not a great solution in the long run. When the scientists try to change his memories after a “test”—to see if Logan survives ingesting a carbonadium pill then being shot at—Logan wakes up. Not only that but his old memories return, and oh man, he’s not happy. Because of this betrayal, Logan quits Team X.
DEPARTMENT “OH NO” — ADAPTED FROM LOGAN: SHADOW SOCIETY (1997) #1
Logan is once again pulled into another situation that involves him working for others. He’s now an agent for Department K, a secret Canadian intelligence agency that even the Canadian Prime Minister doesn’t know about. His partner, Neil Langram, has recently been killed, and his death sparks Logan into investigating. He partners up with Carol Danvers (pre her Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel eras), who he has worked with previously and is the only person he trusts. That “trust list” is very small. Their search for the truth leads them to Department H where they discover the “mutant agenda,” making Logan secretly panic.
Next, they travel to New York City where the trail leads them to the mysterious Hellfire Club. The organization is not up to anything devious in the slightest. Not one bit! Logan snoops around, but the Hellfire Club’s security catches him in the act. Some punches, a broken window, a gas grenade, and a trip to the Canadian border later, Logan and Carol are confronted by Sabretooth. He announces to them that armies of mutants are being established and that he’s the one who killed Neil. Logan swiftly stabs Sabretooth, but his old nemesis has one last surprise: a bomb.
A month later, Carol is residing in a safe house, and Logan’s on the move. Perturbed by Sabretooth’s revelation, he decides to go to the Yukon to get away. “Teams of super-powered mutants.” Pshaw.
At some point, Logan returns to civilization. An unfortunate event—a ricocheting bullet hitting a “geek,” as Logan says, at a firing range—leads to him being put on leave by Department K. But the mysterious department is far from done with him. Logan’s life is about to be changed… forever.
READ PART 4!
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