012: Team X

Version 4.00, last updated on April 24, 2011

Logan as Emilio Garra
Marc Silvestri, Green and Barta, Wolverine #49.

Starting in late 1991, stories across Wolverine and X-Men began to reveal Logan’s past involvement with the CIA as part of a black ops team with Sabretooth…

Wolverine #48 (Nov 1991) – “Dreams of Gore: Phase 1”
Writer: Larry Hama; Penciler: Marc Silvestri; Inker: Dan Green
While investigating an abandoned nuclear research facility in Alberta, Canada, Wolverine flashes back to when he was a secret agent and partnered with Sabretooth and a man codenamed Mastodon. The three break in on a group of terrorists, one of whom looks like Silver Fox and another like the Professor from the Weapon X experiment that will later result in Logan’s adamantium skeleton.

Wolverine #49 (Dec 1991) – “Dreams of Gore: Phase 2”
Writer: Larry Hama; Pencils: Marc Silvestri; Inks: Dan Green & Hilary Barta
Professor Xavier and Jean Grey mind-probe Wolverine’s memories to assist him in remembering his past. His memory of being a secret agent continues but questions about Silver Fox and the Professor in the flashback cast doubt on their authenticity. Later memory flashes seem more genuine as Logan remembers being on a mission in Palma Soriano, Cuba on November 24, 1963, Creed going under the codename El Tigre and Logan as Emilio Garra. In a local cantina, Creed expounds on the conspiracy surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination when Cuban soldiers burst in to arrest them. The memory ends with Logan trying to escape through a backdoor.

Wolverine #50 (Jan 1991) – “Dreams of Gore: Phase 3”
Writer: Larry Hama; Pencils: Marc Silvestri; Inks: Dan Green with Hilary Barta and Tom Palmer
The 50th issue of Wolverine opens with a special two-page cover fill with Logan’s memories, complete with claw marks. One photo in particular is of interest as it shows Logan and Creed (Sabretooth) posing in front of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, seemingly as partners.

Creed and Logan in Egypt
Marc Silvestri and Dan Green, Wolverine #50.

Inside the issue, Logan confronts Nick Fury about his mission with El Tigre in Cuba during 1963. Nick Fury’s and the CIA’s rapid response to Logan’s queries suggests that the 1963 mission did occur. Logan subsequently finds a warehouse in Windsor, Ontario used by Experiment X to create and alter his memories as well as those of Sabretooth and a woman who believes herself to be Silver Fox. The nature of these sets seem to indicate that genuine memories were altered first before false memories were created to replace them. The existence of a 1950s-style senior prom set for Silver Fox further suggests that the program may have selected a relatively young woman to serve as a replacement Silver Fox.

X-Men #4 (Jan 1992) – “The Resurrection and the Flesh”
Plot: Jim Lee; Script: John Byrne; Pencils: Jim Lee; Inks: Scott Williams
A Soviet mutant Omega Red is resurrected and confronts Wolverine. It is quickly evident that they know each other from a long time ago as Arkady and Logan, with the latter believing the former to be dead.

X-Men #5 (Feb 1992) – “Blowback”
Plot: Jim Lee; Script: John Byrne; Pencils: Jim Lee; Inks: Scott Williams, Art Thibert, Bob Wiacek & Joe Rubinstein
Based on dialogue between Omega Red and Logan, it is obvious they know each other quite well. Logan subsequently has a memory of preparing for a mission in Berlin thirty years previous, a mission to steal a carbonadium synthesizer with an agent known as Maverick, Creed and a woman scientist. Trapped on a high floor of building, the foursome is pursued by Omega Red, a Soviet Super Soldier capable of killing instantly with his “death pheromones.”

Logan and Team X
Jim Lee and Art Thibert, X-Men #6.

X-Men #6 (Mar 1992) – “Farther Still”
Plot: Jim Lee; Script: Scott Lobdell; Pencils: Jim Lee; Inks: Art Thibert
Maverick (West German Sgt. David North) confirms that Logan has little memory of being part of a three-man CIA team comprised of Creed, Logan and North. Logan then remembers being trapped on the tenth floor of the building in Berlin with the stolen carbonadium synthesizer and Janice, a female double agent who helped acquire the synthesizer. As Logan argues with Creed and Maverick, Creed shoots Janice in the back. A newly activated Omega Red, the first Soviet super soldier, pursues, forcing the team to leap from the tenth floor window, barely surviving due to their battle armor. The CIA team is picked up by helicopter and debriefed 24 hour later where it is revealed that the carbonadium synthesizer was lost at the end of the mission. Logan accuses Creed of shooting Janice in a panic, causing a nasty fight between the two. Creed is dragged off threatening Logan who simply walks away. Logan further remembers Creed stating that he had saved Logan’s life numerous times while working for the CIA.

X-Men #7 (Apr 1992) – “Inside…Out”
Plot: Jim Lee; Script: Scott Lobdell; Pencils: Jim Lee; Inks: Art Thibert
Logan memories continue as he surveys the Soviet Super Soldier project in Berlin in a mission organized by someone in the CIA referred to as “The Major.” Logan is assigned with stealing the carbonadium synthesizer, North with securing the double agent Janice Hollenback, and Creed with disabling the Super Soldier program. After escaping, Logan hides the carbonadium synthesizer in Janice Hollenback’s dead body, while Creed suggests that setting back the Soviet Super Soldier program thirty years is at least some consolation.

Wolverine #60 (Early Sep 1992) – “Counting Coup”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Penciler: Dave Hoover; Inker: Keith Williams
Logan recalls after leaping from the window during the Berlin mission with Sabretooth and Maverick that they were picked up in a jeep by another agent named Wraith who was filling in for Mastodon. Logan pulls Janice’s body into the jeep, while Wraith attacks their pursuers with a very large gun. Wraith stays behind while the infiltration team heads for the Havel River and a helicopter waiting to extract them.

Wolverine #61 (Late Sep 1992) – “Nightmare Quest”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Artist: Mark Texeira
Wolverine tells Wraith that he has a recollection of Sabretooth driving the team off in the jeep as Wraith hit Omega Red dead center with his massive gun. When Omega Red merely shrugs off the shot, Wraith vanishes without even a wisp of smoke. Wolverine experiences other new memory flashes including being in the jungles of Southeast Asia (presumably Viet Nam) with John Wraith and Creed, who kills a local girl because she could have compromised their mission. Finally after the Weapon X robot Shiva triggers another memory backlash, Wolverine remembers being in Cuba in the early 1960s as Emilio Garra with Creed (codenamed El Tigre) and two other agents: Mastodon (as Elefante) and John Wraith (as Halcon). Their mission is to disable the final missile in Cuba that Castro kept after the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962). As Cuban soldiers attack, Mastodon claims that a former member of their team and Logan’s one-time lover, Silver Fox, has turned traitor and is now known as Zora de Plata, the Silver Fox of Sierra Maestra. Wolverine’s memory ends with the entire team being attacked by bizarre long tentacles at the behest of Silver Fox.

Wolverine #62 (Oct 1992) – “Reunion”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Artist: Mark Texeira
Things get even more complicated when Silver Fox appears in the present, still young, still very much alive and proclaiming to Wolverine, “You don’t have a right to anything after what you did to me.” What he did to suffer Silver Fox’s enmity is left unsaid.

Wolverine #64 (Dec 1992) – “What Goes Around”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Pencils: Mark Pacella; Inks: Dan Panosian
Before the secret of Silver Fox can be resolved, Sabretooth kills Silver Fox… again.

This bizarre series of events and memories, not to mention the jargon-heavy and ridiculous dialogue from Larry Hama, does little to clear up the mystery of Silver Fox. Her sudden reappearance is never explained, nor are the confusing mixture of memories and memory implants. One is left to wonder whether this was the same Silver Fox from sixty years earlier or an ingenious replacement (or clone) intended to facilitate memory alterations as this iteration of Silver Fox is never heard from or referenced again.

Wolverine #65 (Jan 1993) – “State of Grace”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Artist: Mark Texeira
Using a virtual reality program with Professor Xavier, Logan vaguely remembers an assassination mission, “the Terry Adams kill,” associated with Creed and John Wraith but the mission was scrubbed before he could complete it.

Wolverine #66 (Feb 1993) – “Prophecy”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Artist: Mark Texeira with Steve Biasi
When Professor Xavier taps into Wolverine’s mind to recover details of the “Terry Adams” mission, Wolverine flashes back to the past and starts to relive his mission and makes his way to the former Soviet Union. Other details revealed are that this mission seemingly took place before Berlin and that Logan was staying at the Prophecy motel in Ottawa, with fake IDs, money and weapons stored under the floorboards in his room. Separately, John Wraith asserts that Sabretooth was backup and Maverick the control on the “Terry Adams” mission.

Wolverine #67 (Mar 1993) – “Valley o’ Death”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Penciller: Mark Texeira: Inker: Mark Texeira & Palmiotti
Maverick discloses that “Terry Adams” was an internal term for Tyuratam, the location of a former Soviet Space Center, and that Logan was sent there on an assassination mission in 1967. Wolverine, still reliving the past, attempts to fulfill his mission and discovers his assassination target was Epsilon Red, the Soviet Super Astronaut.

Logan in his Team X uniform
Mark Texeira, Wolverine #68.

Wolverine #68 (Apr 1993) – “Epsilon Red”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Artist: Mark Texeira; Backgrounds: Steve Biasi
Epsilon Red confirms that Logan was sent in 1968 to assassinate him at the Tyuratam Space Center. As the Wolverine of the present continues to believe that he is on the “Terry Adams” mission of 1968, he suddenly remembers Epsilon Red begging to be killed. The genetic engineering that allowed Epsilon Red to live in space without artificial life-support rendered him incapable of tangible pleasures on Earth, such as feeling the touch of another human being. Epsilon Red’s wife, however, begs Logan to spare her husband’s life. When Wolverine shakes off his time-slipping delusion, Epsilon Red telepathically frees Wolverine’s true memories of the events. It’s 1968 and when Logan arrives to assassinate Epsilon Red, his wife does beg for her husband’s life. But before Logan can pull the trigger, Sabretooth arrives on the scene informing Logan that the mission has been scrubbed, ordering him to leave immediately. Epsilon Red’s daughter, Elena Ivanova, further reveals that after Logan’s departure, Epsilon Red begged Sabretooth to take his life. Sabretooth refused but, on a whim, shot his pregnant wife instead. Elena was subsequently born by Caesarian, imprinted with memories of the brutal events.

The “Terry Adams” saga doesn’t fair much better than other Larry Hama stories, as the year seems to shift between 1967 and 1968, as well as the contention that these events took place before Berlin — an event consistently placed in the early 1960s. As mentioned before, the concept of Marvel Time, the ever present dilemma of the Marvel Universe originally beginning in 1961 versus eternally starting ten to fourteen years from the present, will always wreak havoc with any timeline. Suffice it to say that this chunk of Logan’s past takes place during the Cold War before the appearance of the Fantastic Four…

X-Men Unlimited #3 (Dec 1993) – “The Whispers Scream”
Writer: Fabian Nicieza; Penciler: Mike McKone; Inker: Mark McKenna with Mike Gray
As Professor Xavier psychically walks through Sabretooth’s psyche, he comes across a memory of Sabretooth, Logan and Maverick working together on the mission in Berlin.

Wolverine #87 (Nov 1994) – “Showdown in Lowtown”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Penciler: Adam Kubert; Inker: Farmer, Green, Townsend, Rubinstein
Wolverine tells of a time when he, Maverick and Creed were on an especially hairy mission. As the team contemplates splitting up to shake their pursuers, Creed is gravely wounded by gunfire. Logan scoops Creed up and carries him towards the extraction site despite Maverick’s protests. As they reach a dead end in the industrial site, Creed wakes up, good as new, and urges them to take on their pursuers in a fierce firefight, something that apparently succeeded considering all three survived the mission.

Logan with Team X
Steve Epting, Team X/Team 7.

Team X/Team 7 (Nov 1996) – “All Sold Out”
Writer: Larry Hama; Penciler: Steve Epting; Inker: Klaus Janson
In the desert known as the Anvil of Satan in the Sultanate of Numidia, Logan, Creed and North travel 50 miles on foot to infiltrate and destroy a secret super-soldier lab covertly financed by the Soviets. On the way, Logan gets a whiff of landmines and prevents Creed from blowing himself up, guiding the team to a secret tunnel entrance. Once inside, Logan quickly kills two guards without a sound. Creed then bypasses the tunnel temperature sensors by dousing himself in fire-extinguishing foam and turns off the alarm system, killing another two guards with his razor sharp claws. Omega Red appears and Creed is quickly overpowered by death pheromones. Logan and North drive off the Russian super-soldier with a barrage of gunfire, and Logan drags the unconscious Creed into the ventilation system. Before long, Spetznaz commandos force them into a dead end, cornering them against a deep shaft. Logan and North jump into the shaft, carrying Creed, and their body armor takes the brunt of the impact, though Logan breaks his leg in the fall. Creed recovers and they fight through more opposition before again facing off against Omega Red. Independently, another American black ops team has also entered the complex and helps Logan, Creed and North fight off Omega Red. Arriving at the super-soldier laboratory, the squadron of agents set charges to destroy the super-soldier program. Unfortunately, Omega Red releases the super-soldiers, and the agents are forced to retreat into the launch bay of an ICBM. John Wraith, working surveillance, steals a Soviet helicopter and rescues the agents, just as the missile is launched. The second team of five black ops agents link up mentally and destroy it with a psionic blast. Wraith then picks up his inside operative, Mystique, who introduces herself as Leni Zauber. As they head back to civilization, all agents agree to forget what has transpired, so as not to compromise any special talents on display during the mission.

Clearly this mission takes place after the events of Berlin, but the prominence of Creed’s claws, Logan’s superhuman healing ability and Mystique’s overt shapeshifting suggests this adventure might not quite fit with existing continuity. As this was a Marvel/Image crossover, one can easily question its authenticity. That said, the following entry might lead us down a more sensible path.

X-Men/WILDC.A.T.S: The Dark Age (May 1998)
Writer: Warren Ellis; Penciller: Mat Broome; Inker: Sean Parsons
In the year 2019, in an apocalyptic future dominated by the evil alien Daemonite race, a group of mutants (including Logan) and former members of the covert action team WILDC.A.T.S. (including Cole Cash from Team 7 in the previous story) succeed in altering the distant past, eliminating the Daemonite (and Image Comics’) influence from Earth’s history. So while the events in the previous entry potentially could occur, they are no longer a part of current continuity.

Maverick #1 (Jan 1997) – “The Sword Sung on a Barren Heath
Writer: Larry Hama; Artist: Wilfred Santiago
Maverick dreams of the mission in Berlin, specifically of Creed shooting the double-agent Janice in the back, then heaving a thermite grenade at Omega Red as he closed in on the quartet on the tenth floor. As the grenade went off, they lept through the window hoping their body armor would absorb the impact. Further, Maverick seems to confirm that John Wraith did muster a helicopter for them while on a mission in the Middle East. At the very least, some variation of the last mission seems to have taken place. Separately, Elena Ivanova dreams about Logan on his mission to kill her father Epsilon Red. Before Logan can complete his mission, Creed arrives to call off the assassination. But as Creed lingers, he decides to shoot Epsilon Red’s wife instead of putting Epsilon Red out of his misery.

X-Men Unlimited #15 (Jun 1997) – “Second Contact”
Writer/Artist: Duncan Roleau & Howard Mackie
Wolverine relates a memory concerning a mission he was on. “It was back in the good ol’ days of the Cold War. Maverick, Sabretooth and I were working black ops for a joint NATO operation. It was supposed to be a simple extraction of a foreign national, but things went sour. The heat was on and Sabretooth and I took some heavy metal. We were practically crippled. Maverick dragged the two of us halfway across the country. Now in those days the standing order was to leave behind all casualties with a bullet behind the ear so they wouldn’t go over to the other side. Maverick wouldn’t do it. He ain’t even a big fan of Sabretooth. Even then we all knew he was a bloodthirsty whacko. But still he wouldn’t leave a team member behind. But there was only so far he could run with us dragging him down. We were cornered. The leader of the team that nailed us was willing to give Maverick an out of here. Turn Sabretooth and I over to him and he could walk across the border. Maverick didn’t even think. He took some hits himself, but he killed them all and dragged our butts home. The mission we were on was in East Germany, Maverick’s native soil. The leader of the team that nailed us, the guy he shot… that was his… brother.”

Maverick #2 (Oct 1997) – “Truth and Consequences”
Writer: Jorge Gonzalez; Penciler: Jim Cheung; Inker: Andrew Pepoy
Maverick admits that he was a West German freedom fighter, Christoph Nord, before joining a select group of operatives under the aegis of the CIA including John Wraith, Victor Creed and Logan. Maverick further confirms that he saved Creed and Logan from a team of assassins led by his estranged brother Andreas, killing them all without a shred of remorse. After the mission, Logan takes North out for beers, and as the two converse, Logan attempts to break through the bitterness apparent in Maverick’s voice. Finally, Maverick reveals that shortly after saving Creed and Logan in East Germany, the group was disbanded.

Again, we are confronted with issues of continuity with Team X, issues that unfortunately will only get worse with time…

Maverick #6 (Feb 1998) – “Hunters”
Writer: Jorge Gonzalez; Penciler: Jimmy Cheung & Leo Fernandez; Inker Andrew Pepoy
Elena Ivanova dreams in more detail, remembering that Sabretooth fought his way past elite KGB border guards and internal security to deliver the abort mission order, killing her mother just to cause Epsilon Red more pain.

Wolverine #129 (Oct 1998) – “Whatever It Takes…”
Writer: Todd Dezago; Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu; Inker: Edgar Tadeo
Wolverine refers to Sabretooth as his old “Army buddy.” This is most likely a reference to their time together as intelligence agents working for the CIA.

Wolverine #176 (Jul 2002) – “The Logan Files, Epilogue”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Penciler: Sean Chen; Inker: Norm Rapmund
In a near-death experience, Logan remembers seeking a family environment with the other members of Team X.

As with Jasmine Falls, writer Daniel Way revisited Logan’s days with Team X…

Wolverine: Origins #6 (Nov 2006) – “Savior, Part One”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
With his memories fully restored following the events of House of M, Wolverine remembers being held in a cell in Dallas, Texas in 1963 following a successful mission and is ordered to ingest a pill, a pill made of carbonadium. When Logan collapses from the poisonous effects, operatives quickly enter the room and gun him down as a scientist calmly observes the effects of carbonadium on his mutant regenerative abilities.

Wolverine: Origins #7 (Dec 2006) – “Savior, Part Two”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
21 hours and 38 minutes after being shot, Logan returns from the dead, still unconscious, while the scientist overseeing the experiment notes that the carbonadium slows Logan’s regenerative process threefold. The scientist further explains that an electric chair with diodes capable of penetrating Logan’s brain are responsible for destroying his short term memories of recent missions, and dictation under similar conditions are used to create “memory implants.” Unfortunately for the scientist, Logan is awake and learns not only that he has bone claws, but that the mercenary operation is run by unknown individuals who order Logan’s brainwashing after every mission. The cover story is the same every time, Logan was seriously injured during the mission, but survived because he the best there is at what he does. Logan escapes from the lab with the orders for his next mission — in Berlin.

Logan brought back to life
Steve Dillon, Wolverine: Origins #7.

Wolverine: Origins #8 (Jan 2007) – “Savior, Part Three”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
Wolverine explains that he had broken free of his programming just prior to the Berlin mission. His job was to locate the carbonadium synthesizer, Creed’s to recruit Omega Red for the mysterious organization run by Romulus, and Maverick’s to rescue the CIA double-agent Janice Hollenback. Unsure of Maverick’s loyalties, Logan is able to confirm that Maverick is working only for the CIA and asks him to hide the carbonadium synthesizer. Sabretooth, sensing something is up, kills Janice to remind Logan that “pretty things die” when Logan doesn’t follow his orders.

As with other stories by Daniel Way, we find the existing and established canon under assault. Logan’s first known mission with Team X takes place the day after the Kennedy assassination and is confirmed, at least circumstantially by Nick Fury and the CIA. And yet Daniel Way unmistakably implies that Logan was involved in the Kennedy assassination and then immediately places him on his last Team X mission (Berlin) the following day.

Wolverine: Origins #15 (Aug 2007) – “Swift and Terrible, Conclusion”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
Cyber explains to Wolverine that women in his life were killed to shut him up, as was the case with Janice Hollenback.

Wolverine: Origins Annual #1 (Sep 2007) – “The Deep End, Part 4”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
Wolverine has a memory of standing over the body of Janice Hollenback, dead because he wasn’t properly under control.

Wolverine: Origins #24 (Jun 2008) – “The Deep End, Part 4”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
Wolverine has a flash of killing soldiers as a member of Team X.

Weapon X: First Class #1 (Jan 2009) – “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
Writer: Marc Sumerak; Art: Mark Robinson; Inker: Robert Campanella
As Professor Xavier helps Wolverine to regain his memories, Wolverine sees flashes of his time with Sabretooth including fighting Omega Red, being in Team X and Sabretooth showing him a completed Rubik’s cube, the appearance of which is troubling as they were not available until 1977 at the earliest.

At long last, X-Men Origins: Sabretooth presents the sequence explaining how Logan and Sabretooth could have worked together on Team X despite the fact that they were bitter enemies…

X-Men Origins: Sabretooth #1 (Apr 2009) – “Sabretooth”
Writer: Kieron Gillen; Artist: Dan Panosian
When Logan and Victor Creed are first recruited for Team X, they come to vicious blows, seemingly over the murder of Silver Fox many, many decades earlier. Their memories subsequently wiped, the two become close comrades with Creed saving Logan’s life during a mission two years later. When Logan mentions it’s his birthday, the two get into a fight simply because it feels right. Several more years pass, and Logan confronts Creed in West Berlin over his killing of the extraction target Janice Hollenbeck. A savage fight later and Logan storms out as Sabretooth wishes him a happy birthday.

Wolverine: Origins #33 (Apr 2009)
Writer: Daniel Way; Pencils: Doug Braithwaite; Inks: Bill Reinhold
Nick Fury confirms that Logan worked for the Canadian military while with Team X and that the United States kept quiet about their existence in return for using them on missions.

Wolverine: Origins #50 (Sep 2010)
Writer: Daniel Way; Art: Will Conrad
While hallucinating about all the women who have been killed to keep him under control, Wolverine sees a vision of Janice Hollenback.

While not in strict publication order, it seems likely that Logan would seek to get away after his time with Team X…

Wolverine #26 (Mid-Jul 1990) – “Memory”
Writer: Jo Duffy; Penciller: Klaus Janson; Inker: Tom Palmer
Logan visits his friend Bando in Japan “before my adamantium bones and claws… When I was Logan and my spirit was sick and weary and I went to my friend seeking peace.” Bando and Logan partake in a Japanese tea ceremony, a ritual that helps to relax Logan. Whether this is the same Bando from Jasmine Falls is unknown.

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