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Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 23

By: NLogan

 

The Wolverine! Art by Herbe Trimpe

Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 23

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!

Uncanny X-Men 157

May 1982

Writer: Chris Claremont

Penciller: Dave Cockrum

The Shi'ar Empress Lilandra has been rescued last issue. The Starjammers race to get her back to her fleet but have to repair their ship first.

This time the wording is slightly altered, as Wolverine extrudes his claws listed are the aforementioned housings in his forearms but this time we read about the apertures in the backs of his hands.

Wolverine has been in space a few times* now but just as Colossus is the first probable Russian, he is the first probable Canadian to see the Milky Way from that angle.

*In Uncanny X-Men 98-101, 107-108, and 137 -NLogan

An explosion causes Wolverine's space suit to malfunction setting him adrift out to space. He is rescued by Hepzibah. If you thought that Kitty Pryde was the first one to use the diminutive term of endearment Wolvie*, you would be wrong. That is the second time he is called Wolvie, this time by an alien Starjammer no less!

*The very first time that I have been able to find was by Nightcrawler back in Uncanny X-men 151, but I'll keep looking! -NLogan

Colossus still recovering from his wounds disobeys the doctor's orders to rest and reopens his wounds while helping with the ship repair. Bleeding internally as well Colossus is in need of emergency surgery. Wolverine refuses to leave his side until he is forcibly removed. Even among the X-Men that he considers by now family and friends, he has his best friends one of whom is Colossus at this point the other would be Nightcrawler. Possibly an effect of working so closely together in their training sessions with Colossus' fastball special and the one on one training and camaraderie with Nightcrawler.

Marvel Team-Up 117

May 1982

Writer: J. Mark DeMatteis

Penciller: Herb Trimpe

Logan is one with nature. We see him doing his version of hunting again.* His tracking ability is such that he can sneak up on the buck completely unawares and touch it. Unlike last time hunting the doe when he was interrupted.

*Last time was in Uncanny X-Men 109. See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 6. -NLogan

I believe this is the first time we learn specifically that he was born in Canada from the expository narration. We have always known since his very first appearances in the Incredible Hulk 180-182 that he was from the wilderness reaches of Canada. He also corrected Lady Mariko when in Japan and she called him an American, quickly he told her, "I'm Canadian". It happened in Uncanny X-Men 118.*

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 1 and 9- NLogan

His razor sharp senses detect scents from the air. Even civilization has a stink unlike the pure wilderness to Wolverine. But no human can creep up on him, at least not unless they were downwind. His hearing also picked up the horse's hooves galloping from a distance. Wolverine has some knowledge of history as he is able to distinguish by armor type the difference between a Roman Legionary soldier and a commanding officer Centurion. Also the Centurions carried their swords on the left and daggers on the right, and legionnaires carried their swords on right and their daggers on the left. We also know that Wolverine likes movies with earlier references to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Casablanca. This time he references Flash Gordon so either he is a fan of the serials in 1936,1938, and 1940 or he has seen the 1980 Flash Gordon movie!

The centurion orders him to come with him so his master can punish him personally even though he is on public land and the fence and no trespassing sign appeared out of nowhere. Of course Wolverine responds in the usual fashion, "You and what army?" When an army comes pouring out of the woods. Wolverine faced with overwhelming odds immediately attacks with the first, and hopefully last ever, front flip claw attack.

Wolverine quickly decimates the Roman Legionnaires in a one hundred to one odds fight. The Centurion (leader of a century or 100 soldiers) realizes he is on the losing side and deploys gas against Wolverine which along with the gas mask and Flash Gordon pop gun are new pieces of equipment for the Roman army. We saw Wolverine also succumb to a gas attack (albeit a magical one) along with the Hulk in Incredible Hulk 181.* Also it is presumed but not seen at least in Wolverine's case that the X-Men were captured using a nerve gas by Arcade in Uncanny X-Men 123.

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 1 and 11 -NLogan

Captured Wolverine awakens in the middle of what appears to be a medieval arena and fights a knight on horseback in plate armor in place of the Romans soldiers. His senses again tell him that this is all a ruse.

When he defeats the knight it is revealed to be an unwilling participant. Again Wolverine knows the difference between a human and a robot. Just as he did when he faced the X-Sentinels in Uncanny X-Men 100, robot Hulk in Uncanny X-Men 124, or robot Storm in Uncanny X-Men 147* The play on his sympathies has no sway over his trust of his senses.

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 3, 11, and 18 -NLogan

Next he stumbles into a Roman Bacchanalian orgy?! With women in heat apparently giving off a wild scent of pheromones. Again Wolverine the historian recognizes a scene of Bacchus (the Roman version of the Greek god Dionysus, god of wine and fertility) worshipers getting down! The animal in him responds to the pheromones but the logical side overrules his base nature and he goes with his intellect over instincts.

Pheromones aside Wolverine is not tempted by the visually sumptuous women when all of that wild musky aromatic perfumery isn't enough to cover up the smell of their gears, machine oil, and robotics!

Wolverine says that nothing in his life comes easy. Up to this point, I'd have to agree with him! Spider-Man who had also been wrangled into dealing with these clowns but escaped capture followed a Spider-Tracer to their base. After avoiding several traps he falls into Wolverine's robot-dismantling demonstration. Spider-Man also calls Wolverine - Wolvie, before Kitty does!

Wolverine always an attack first ask questions later kinda guy nearly skewers the web-head until he gets close enough to catch his scent and realize that it is the real deal. Wolverine met Spider-Man way back in Marvel Team-Up King-Size Annual 1. He met Dr. Doom in Uncanny X-Men 147.* It would later be retconned that the Doom that the X-Men met was actually a Doombot. As far as the reader was aware it was the real Doom at the time. That is the problem with retcons, they mess everything up. Wolverine readers would already know that a Doombot would never have passed Logan's smell test.

*See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Part 4 and 18 -NLogan

Wolverine and Spider-Man are confronted with a towering robot. Wolverine then drops another film reference albeit incorrect this time, to The Day the Earth Stood Still. In the film Klaatu was the small alien ambassador, Gort was the towering robot destroyer. It is also misspelled as Klatuu in the lettering. When faced with a forced moral choice, Wolverine expresses his displeasure by leaping at least 25 feet* into the air and skragging the robot. Not sure why he doesn't use that leaping ability against Sentinels more often. I guess a fastball special is easier, or maybe the current situation really pissed off Logan. Remember Hulk described Wolverine as jumping around like a big rabbit in their first encounter. Like a Wolverine if you don't mind Hulk! Moving is one of the things that Wolverine does best!*

*Based on scale of the robot in the panel against the known heights of Wolverine 5'3" and Spider-Man 5'10", jumping, moving and Wolverine's original height of 5'5" established in Incredible Hulk 181, his retconned height of 5'3" in Uncanny X-Men 108. As for Spider-Man, well I relied on my Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe volume 1 issue 10 that had yet to see print as of the time of this issue and had a cover date of October of 1983. This is a history of Wolverine after all. If you want to find out which issue tells us Spider-man's height ask a Spider-Man historian! Just think in the future you won't be able to guess at a height at all when comic artists of the 90s decide not to draw anything to scale with huge hulking heroes and even bigger shoulder-pads! See Wolverine a Reader's Perspective Parts 1 and 6 -NLogan

From the introductory splash page we learn that Wolverine was hunting on the fringes of a state park a few hours out of New York City in Putnam County. The robot says that the prison is several miles south of the castle where they are presumably nearby where Wolverine was hunting. The robot also says that there is a small town of Ivy four miles to the north. The picture of the prison resembles historical photos of the Sing Sing correctional facility with its smokestacks. Sing Sing houses maximum security male prisoners (hardened criminals). Sing Sing is about 15 miles south of Putnam County. The only other prison south of Putnam county is Bedford Hills and it only houses women (later on the text of the issue tells us it is a men's prison). The only other prisons nearby are north of Putnam county. There is no town or city called Ivy in New York state. There is a Mount Ivy just south of Harriman State Park but it is on the other side of the Hudson River in Rockland County. There is a Fahnestock State Park in Putnam, County.

Immediately our heroic team-up is faced with a duplicate towering robot. When faced with the moral decision Wolverine tells Spider-Man to save the inhabitants of the town of Ivy while he gets revenge against the person responsible for this mess they are in. He is willing to sacrifice the hardened criminals in the prison to save time catching the bad guy before he can get away. He even states he knows that joint (slang for prison). We know that Wolverine may be familiar with prisons because of his response to Nightcrawler in Uncanny X-Men 116 where he tells him "likewise" to Nightcrawler's comments about having seen prisons with more personality and warmth. Whether in both instances he is speaking rhetorically is unknown, he may literally be familiar with prisons or Sing Sing Prison in particular.

part 8

Spider-Man forces Wolverine's hand going to save the men in the prison knowing that Wolverine being a hero will go to save the town. Wolverine isn't happy about it and leaping skrags another robot.

These professional men from several para-militaristic agencies are prepared to deal out death but not to meet it. Wolverine is likened to death and indeed we see several of the soldiers flying in the air as Wolverine attacks before leaping at the Centurion leader. The C.I.A., F.B.I., and S.H.I.E.L.D. really need to do better background checks. A.I.M. I can understand as they were always villainous. Actually it probably refers to recruits from those agencies that had been fired, discharged, washed out, or retired from those agencies.

The attacking soldiers vanish and the town turns out to be a ghost town. Hot footing it back Wolverine finds out that the castle has up and disappeared as well. His senses tell him that the ground is false and he discovers a tunnel system that collapses before the heroes can investigate. For now the villain escapes.

 That is all for now. Until next time troops, this is NLogan signing off.

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