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Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 20

By: NLogan

 

 

The Wolverine!

Art by Dave Cockrum

Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 20

Continuing our journey to understand the Wolverine character as was revealed to the reader issue to issue, month to month through his publication history. So from a reader's point of view, here is Logan's history, who he was, and how and when we learned it!

1981

King-Size Annual X-Men 5

Writer: Chris Claremont

Penciller: Brent Anderson

Alien Badoon hunters on a mission to kill the Shi'ar scout D'Syndri find and execute her on the doorstep of the Baxter Building in front of the Fantastic Four who cannot see the invisible enemy. Quickly the Fantastic Four are incapacitated and all but the Invisible Woman are taken captive. Sue seeks out the help of the X-Men based on the dying words of the Shi'ar alien. 

Wolverine being a tactician doesn't mind dying for a cause but doesn't think it is a good idea to be sacrificed for a hopeless one against overwhelming odds and superior forces. Earlier he stated he was a realist* and against the sheer numbers of the enemy there wasn't a hope of succeeding.

*Much like his point of view going against Dark Phoenix in Uncanny X-Men 135. See part 15- NLogan

Wolverine states that night time is more his element. Wolverine's senses have been compared to the heightened ability of animals this may be the first reference that he can see well in the dark but it is not spelled out so plainly. We saw him sneak up in the dark on Cyclops in the Hellfire Club during the blackout, and track the Wendigo at night without the aid of a flashlight however in both of those cases he may have been reliying on his sense of smell to guide him.*

*Uncanny X-Men 134 in Part 14, and Uncanny X-Men 140 in Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 16 respectively- NLogan

This also seems like a continuation of the conversation about killing that Nightcrawler and Wolverine had in that same issue Uncanny X-Men 140. Nightcrawler throws Wolverine's honor at him in an attempt to influence his views when Wolverine acknowleges that even if killing is justified that doesn't necessarily make it right and he considers himself too old to change.

Ironically enough Nightcrawler is shown killing Badoon with a blaster along with Sashia and Wolverine who are also racking up a body count.

This is the first time the housings in his gloves are mentioned specifically although they have been visible since his first full appearance in Incredible Hulk 181. Normally when he pops his claws and it is explained in a expository narration it just says extends from the back of his hands...until now. This does not refer to the bionic housings in his forearms that have yet to be mentioned but were seen in a possible alternate future in the charred skeleton of Wolverine in the Days of Future Past storyline of Uncanny X-Men 142. Also we know that the glove housings are only in his gloves and he does not have them when not wearing them, the claws extruding directly from the flesh in the backs of his hands as shown from Uncanny X-Men 98 when we find out the claws are part of him and on.*

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 1, 17, and 3 respectively- NLogan

No longer the loner, Logan considers the X-Men his family and worries about them.

Uh, I guess when in Rome do as the Romans do!? Logan and Kurt dress in local garb from the world of Polemachus while they vie for the attention of Sashia. Even though the narrative says Logan is vying for her attention Kurt is the one with the arm around her, and Logan already has a lady, Lady Mariko!* Maybe they are not exclusive yet? Pretty sure Kurt also has a girlfriend or did he just forget about Amanda Sefton? Don't worry Kurt will remember her next issue.

*Wolverine introduces Mariko as his lady in Uncanny X-Men 143, see Part 17- NLogan

Nov 1981

Uncanny X-Men 151

Writer: Chris Claremont

Penciller: James Sherman

 

 Kitty Pryde is forced to leave Xavier's school by her parents. While saying goodbye to Logan he tells her his friends call him by name. He is fond of Kitty calling her pun'kin and was the first to welcome her as an X-Man in King-Size X-Men Annual 4. Nightcrawler learned Logan's name in Uncanny X-Men 139 and presumably has told the other X-Men but this is the first time Logan has directly spoken his name to any other X-Man or asked to be called by it. However he had already told Mariko his name and it was implied that he wanted her to call him by it in Uncanny X-Men 120.*

*See parts 10 and 16 -NLogan

Storm's mind was transferred to the body of the White Queen and vice versa. When she awakens she realizes something is wrong. This is the first outright mention that Wolverine has night vision.

Here we see a major retcon for the character. Back in Uncanny X-Men 126 we learned that Wolverine's skeleton was made of adamantium. We saw a peek at this retcon in Uncanny X-Men 141 when Chris Claremont described an alternate future Wolverine's skeleton as being laced with adamantium.* But it could not be considered canon as it was not the direct future of Earth 616 only a possibility that was altered and negated by the actions of the in-story X-Men in those issues of the Days of Future Past storyline. This is the first canon appearance of this retcon in real time of the character. His bones are now laced with adamantium instead of made from them, but still they are virtually unbreakable. What does laced mean? It is debateable. I do not think it means that his bones are candy striped with ribbons of metal or coated with it. Instead when mixing two substances on an atomic level they are blended and the molecules of the different substance mixed throughout, this is the scientific definition of laced used in chemistry. Bones are not solid and are made of different structures. The hardened outside of the bone is cortical bone and is a dense compact sheath basically. Inside is trabecular bone that has a dense matrix of a honeycomb like (but not hexagonal) open porous network of bone. It has a higher surface ratio then the outside cortical bone because of the many facets and walls of each open portion of the structure like a sponge. With bone marrow on the inside of these structures. A possible reason for the retcon is that without bone marrow or if his bones were solid metal he could not produce red blood cells and his skeleton could not flex making movement very jerky or robotic and that his muscles would have no points of attachment for his tendons to connect to the skeleton. I believe that when the adamantium was fused to his bones in liquid form it vaporized portions and covered each new surface as his healing factor regenerated them coping with the damage that was occuring from the molten liquid metal. The end result was that his bones are molecularly bonded with the metal at every level including the surfaces of each trabiculae in the spongy bone and the outer cortical sheath retaining the porosity and functions of normal bone with the production of red blood cells in the marrow and maintaining the flexiblity while being strengthened to the near indestructable status as described by Chris Claremont many times. The reader will not see this process for several years and it is left up to their imagination for now.  Also if you ever wondered why his teeth are not metallic along with his skeleton, it is because teeth are made of dentin and covered with cementum at the root level and enamel where they protrude from the gums and are not made of bone. As of now his claws are still made from pure adamantium.  This is also the first specific mention of the bionic housings built into his forearms that house the claws.

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 12 and 17 -NLogan

While Wolverine's senses have been compared as keen as those of an animal this is the first time his super sensitive eyesight is mentioned specifically and that even if blinded his other senses make up for it so that he is able to still fight.

Wolverine next appears in Dazzler issue 10 in one panel non-speaking in his old costume in a brief recap of Dazzler's mutant powers and when she has had to use them defensively.

Dec 1981

Uncanny X-Men 152

Writer: Chris Claremont

Penciller: Bob McLeod

The Hellfire Club has inflitrated the mansion's defenses and the White Queen has stolen Storm's body. Sentinels have attacked the X-Men. The White Queen using Storm's powers has incapacitated the X-Men catching them unaware. The X-Men have been captured by the Hellfire Club.

Yet another dreaded retcon this time courtesy of Jim Shooter Editor-in-Chief for Marvel at the time. He demanded yet again after the Phoenix debacle that heroes don't kill or when they do they have consequences. He wanted the dead characters resurrected. We clearly saw Wolverine kill the Hellfire Club mercenaries in Uncanny X-Men 133 in a sub basement of the Hellfire Club.* Yet now they are back along with presumed deceased Harry Leland the Black Bishop.

*See below and Part 14 for more- NLogan

Angelo was the first to die.

Murray was next to die and then Cole was third. It showed it clearly on panel and in the text, "The little runt lives...Which is more'n I can say fer you." The dialog says that the mercenaries react with deadly speed but it doesn't save them. Rosen was spared as was shown on panel.

The Black Bishop Harry Leland was presumably killed in the next issue Uncanny X-Men 134.

With dialog that heavily inferred that he did in fact die.

So why is this retcon bringing back dead or presumably dead characters a problem? Wolverine in the text is said to be doing what he does best in a frightening display of destruction. If he did not kill them as was his intentions it means that he is not the best at what he does and is at odds with the expository narrative and dialog; meaning he was sloppy or inadequate which diminishes his skill level. It cheapens the Wolverine Alone storyline and what he was willing to accomplish to rescue his friends the X-Men against all odds. It irrevocably softens and changes the character.

Earlier In Uncanny X-Men 133 Wolverine channeled Clint Eastwood in the 1971 movie Dirty Harry when he confronted the last surviving Hellfire Club mercenary Rosen. Harry's famous line was, "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or five? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But this being a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?" See Below.

This time it is the Hellfire Club mercenaries time to turn the tables with a, "Felt that didja, Punk."  Wolverine uses the momentum of the punch knocking back into Cole. Which then causes Cole to respond by pushing him forward while holding his arms. Wolverine quickly uses a Nage Waza Judo throw, a Soto-Makikomi or outer wraparound throw that is is also common in Jiu-Jitsu as a basic standing defense against a bear hug with arms wrapped over or someone holding your arms like Cole was. As Cole pushed him back forward his balance is moving forward as Wolverine is pushing back then suddenly goes foreward breaking Cole's balance as his body wraps around his he falls forward at the waist getting under Cole's body weight then flexes and extends his legs while straightening throwing Cole over his shoulder to the side clobbering and taking out the other mercenary that had thrown the punch as well. See above.

 

Again we see Wolverine only kills in kill or be killed situations. One of Logans own worst demons is the fact that he has been irrevocably changed and he his constantly in mind of the battle for his humanity in light of his situation. He himself has bionic man made parts claws, skeleton, and bionic housings in his forearms and yet he is still knows what it means to be human.

 

Can't say it better than he did so I won't. 'Nuff said!

 

Until next time true believers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 16, 2020 at 04:03 AM

Glad to see the series return from hiatus! Fascinating discussion about what "Adamantium Laced" could really mean.

NLogan Posted on Mar 10, 2020 at 12:23 AM

Also in reviewing the wording in X-Men Annual 5,"Wolverine extends his unbreakable Adamantium claws from their housings in the backs of his hands" it is open for interpretation as to whether or not it is referring to the glove housings acting like a casing that covers the openings on the gloves or to actual bionic housings meaning a niche or built-in-structure (cavity with frame)in his actual hands that permit the claws to extend from his forearms into his hands and then extend out. Either way it is the first time it is mentioned. Because bionic has yet to be used as the describing adjective for the housing, I lean towards the housings described being in the gloves (for now); as it does not have the artificial mechanical component inserted into the body as bionic specifically implies (that will be used later in the next chronological issue, Uncanny X-Men 151.) In 151 it specifically says, "He also possesses Adamantium claws which extend through openings in the backs of both hands from housings built into his forearms." The housings in the forearms are the very definition of bionic being built into his arm and providing a cavity or recess with a structure to house his claws. But from that sentence it still does not mention whether or not the same channel or structure is in the back of his hands only that the claws extend through openings. Since no visible wounds or openings have been seen (because his healing factor would seal them) the openings may be a bionic channel built into his hands.

NLogan Posted on Mar 09, 2020 at 11:55 PM

Well I guess that is what I get for taking a nearly 3 year break from this series. I have made an error. I state that the retcon about Wolverine's skeleton being laced with Adamantium in issue 151 is the first time it appears in canon. However I had already found an instance in the previous issue 150 in dialog that Nightcrawler says that it is "laced" instead of made of Adamantium. See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 19.

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