014: Weapon X Origins

Version 3.00, last updated on January 8, 2008

Dr. Cornelius, the Professor and Carol Hines
Barry Windsor-Smith, Marvel Comics Presents #78.

Not surprisingly, Chris Claremont had developed his own plans for Wolverine’s origin. Unfortunately in 1991, Barry Windsor-Smith’s ‘Weapon X’ unwittingly stepped all over those plans. As Barry Windsor-Smith relates, “… he was upset that I had encroached on his territory. Chris had a specific person whom he was going to, in the far-flung future, have tell the story of how Logan became Wolverine, and this person did it to him.” As a result, Barry Windsor-Smith notes, “We never quite see who the main mover is in this series. There is another force at work. He’s never seen, you never hear him. I never explain who he is. There are clues as to who it might be.”[1]

Who exactly that person originally was intended to be still remains a mystery…

Marvel Comics Presents #61 (1990) – “On the Road, Part 8: Instant Karma”
Writer: Michael Higgens; Penciler: Dave Ross; Inker Dan Day
Doctor Ronald Rankin, father of Calvin Rankin (the mutant Mimic), seems to imply that he was involved in Experiment X when he comments to Logan, “I see, Wolverine, that at least some of my efforts paid off.”

Wolverine #50 (Jan 1991) – “Dreams of Gore: Phase 3”
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Marc Silvestri; Inker: Dan Green with Hilary Barta and Tom Palmer

Logan states that files from the NSA revealed that the United States Department of Agriculture, Pest Control Section was set up “20 years ago” as a front for a dirty tricks project, known as Project X. The CIA ran it in Canada through a dummy group with funding from the Pest Control Section. Professor Xavier later learns from the reams of data supplied by the NSA that the purpose of the Weapon X Program was to create a pool of super-soldiers, involving Wolverine, Sabretooth, Mastodon, Silver Fox, plus three other agents.

X-Men Declassified (Oct 2000)
Writer: Karl Bollers; Penciler: Pascual Ferry; Inker: Andy Owens & Rick Ketcham
In a federal database, Kitty Pryde learns that master mutant manipulator Apocalypse was behind Experiment X. This information, however, is considered to be false, planted by the mutant-hater Bastion. It is, however, believed to be what Chris Claremont had originally intended, Apocalypse being the person responsible for Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton.

Wolverine: Origins #1 (Jun 2006) – “Born in Blood, Part One”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
It is strongly suggested that the Secretary of State of the United States, a black woman very similar to Condoleezza Rice is part of the Weapon X conspiracy.

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #54 (Jul 2007) – “Wake the Dead”
Writer: Jeph Loeb

Pencils: Simone Bianchi; Inks & Washed Halftone: Simone Bianchi & Andrea Silvestri

The Professor managing the Weapon X experiment confirms that a mysterious figure, Romulus, is the sole reason the Weapon X program exists. As Romulus explains to the Professor and Sabretooth on site at the Experiment X labs while Logan floats in an isolation tank, “You… know how important Logan is to this project and to me personally. Years and years of evolution to get to this place. While fools like Essex (Mr. Sinister) and Xavier stumble around in the dark trying to understand genetics… what we accomplish together, Logan, will be truly revolutionary.”

…There were, however, other factions at work who took a different view of Weapon X…

New X-Men #129 (Sep 2002) – “Fantomax”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Artist: Igor Kordey
The mutant criminal Fantomax explains to Charles Xavier and Jean Grey that Logan was involved in Experiment X and dubbed Weapon X, as in Weapon 10. The original program, a product of the military-industrial complex, dates back to World War II and involved a thousand experiments on animals and humans. The program continued as the Weapon Plus program and eventually created Weapon XIII.

New X-Men #130 (Oct 2002) – “Weapon Twelve”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Artist: Igor Kordey
Fantomax further explains Weapon 0 was classified. Weapon I was a volunteer. “Weapons II through III were animals… IV to VI used various ethnic minorities. Then they found the ideal subjects for the VII trials onward… kidnapped mutants, the scum of the earth. Like I said, Weapon X wasn’t a letter, it was a roman numeral. X = ten. Your Mister Logan? The Wolverine? Only the tenth generation living weapon. They’ve gone far beyond that now.” Fantomax is then revealed as Weapon XIII.

New X-Men #145 (Oct 2003) – “Assault on Weapon Plus, Part 4 of 4: The Devil”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Penciler: Chris Bachalo; Inker: Tim Townsend with Vey & Sowd
Fantomax takes Logan to the Weapon Plus facilities where Logan reads through the Weapon X database. “…Since the dawn of the mutants, humankind has searched for ways to match their uncanny powers. The Weapon Plus Super-Soldier initiative has led the field in human enhancement technologies. “Displaying a photo of Captain America, the file continues, “…Weapon I trials still remain the most successful application of the technology to date, but the quest for the perfect soldier equipped to win the evolutionary war, goes on…” Further research yields, “…Use of criminals, psychopaths and violent mutations in later super-soldier trials yielded some experimental advances, but no reliable or repeatable procedure… Attempts to control the aggressive response of subjects using medications proved unsuccessful and beginning with the Weapon Ten trials, a radical new behavior modification technique was devised using false memory implants…” Finally, Logan sees a photo of himself with the information, “…Mutant test subject/’James’/lethal variant genetic anomaly/subject designate: Weapon ‘X’. First recipient of multiple memory implants…”

Weapon X #23 (Jul 2004) – “War of the Programs, Part 1: In the Beginning”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Artist Tom Mandrake
In the closing days of World War II, Nick Fury oversees the cleanup of a concentration camp liberated by the superhero group, the Invaders. A civilian by the name of Thornton, nicknamed the Professor by the troops, is in charge of categorizing the scientific laboratory. There he discovers the Journal of Nathan Essex, the master of genetic mutations later known as Mr. Sinister.

Marvel Comics #72 (1991) – “Weapon X: Prologue”
Writer/Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith
As Logan makes plans to go to the Yukon, a mysterious Professor hires Dr. Abraham Cornelius, an American doctor on the run from the FBI for illegal medical procedures, and Carol Hines, a NASA clerk, to help run the “Experiment X” program in Canada.

Logan kidnapped by Weapon X
Barry Windsor-Smith, Marvel Comics Presents #73.

Marvel Comics #73 (1991) – “Weapon X: Chapter One”
Writer/Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith
On his way to the Yukon, Logan, driving his Lotus 7, stops at a rural bar for drinks. On his way out, Logan is ambushed by three agents from Experiment X.

Weapon X #23 (Jul 2004) – “War of the Programs, Part 1: In the Beginning”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Artist Tom Mandrake
As the fight continues, the Professor, Dr. Cornelius and Carol Hines observe from a distance. The Professor claims that Logan will be the perfect candidate because he is a mutant. It is clear that much research has been done on Logan as the Professor has a file with the name, James Howlett, Logan’s true identity. It is further noted that the Professor toiled on previous Weapon Plus programs and that Weapon X is his chance to finally run his own program. As the Professor returns to the Experiment X facilities, there is a flare-up between the base guard (Private Malcolm Colcord later to become the head of the modern Weapon X program) and Dr. Cornelius’ assistant John Sublime (later to become the head of the modern Weapons Plus program).

Wolverine: The End #4 (Aug 2004)
Writer: Paul Jenkins; Artist: Claudio Castellini
One hundred years in the future, John Howlett, the older brother of Logan, claims to have been the initial Weapon X. “They explained to me that there had been an injustice, that I had been betrayed. That they were the only ones I could trust. They referred to me simply as ‘X.” When I was well enough, they began the tests and questions: What did I see and feel? How had I come by these abilities? I accepted it all and I began to evolve. And then, one day, they asked me one question too many. And so I left the program.” Since John’s abilities include becoming insubstantial, it is easy to understand how he could leave so easily. But since this is a futuristic tale and there is no evidence that these events happened, we cannot rely upon this recollection. If these events did happen, it would help to explain why James Howlett (Logan) was selected for Experiment X.

Marvel Comics #73 (1991) – “Weapon X: Chapter One”
Writer/Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith
Logan puts up a good fight, but is finally brought down by several doses of thorazine from a stun gun and a dislocated jaw.

Weapon X: First Class #1 (Jan 2009) – “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
Writer: Marc Sumerak; Artist: Mark Robinson
In a story that takes place in the 1981 timeframe, Professor Xavier helps Wolverine to uncover his memories. During this process, Wolverine confronts memories of being attacked and kidnapped by agents of Experiment X.

Wolverine #48 (Nov 1991) – “Dreams of Gore: Phase One”
Writer: Larry Hama; Penciler: Marc Silvestri; Inker: Dan Green
When Logan comes across his Lotus 7 in the Alberta, Canada location of Experiment X, he remembers being attacked and knocked out by three agents from Experiment X.

Wolverine #76 (Dec 1993) – “Northern Dreams”
Scripter: Larry Hama; Penciler: Tomm Coker; Inker: Al Milgrom
Logan has a dream of being a secret agent with a Lotus Seven and a Colt 1911A1, and being shot by three agents of Experiment X.

Maverick #1 (Jan 1997) – “The Sword Sung on a Barren Heath”
Writer: Larry Hama; Artist: Wilfred Santiago
John Wraith confirms that the Lotus Seven was in fact Logan’s car.

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[1] Will Murray, “Secrets of Weapon X,” Comics Scene #18.

Facebook comments:

  1. Personally I’m kind of tired of the Weapon X story line, especially after the Weapon Plus saga a few years ago. That is why I was happy when Origins came out and revealed there was another aspect to his mystery and past. I haven’t really enjoyed a Weapon X story in a long time, even the video games are all about the Weapon X stuff.

  2. Will the world ever know who Romulus is?

  3. okay the professor was revealed to be logan’s distant couisin but was he born after world war 2 confusing too masny stories contradict each other. in the original weapon x seriers the professor had no knowledfge logan was a mutant until he wass told by whoever he was talking to john sublime was supposed to be on the phone one time. come to find out it was romulus.

  4. The whole idea of The Professor/Horton being a “Hudson” is ridiculous. The whole lineage of James MacDonald Hudson as presented in Wolverine: Origins is ridiculous. If James Hudson was born in the 1950’s (as the illegitimate son of the MacDonald woman…as I though they were going to do), that would have been fine with me. But instead, they went on and added extra generations, including The Professor. It’s as if the writers of Origins erased John Sublime and the entire Weapon X regular series from Wolverine’s history….NEEDLESSLY I might add. The only way to legitimately explain away this lineage mess is the fact that Nick Fury is “telling” Logan this information….it doesn’t appear in a flashback as the events of Weapon X series tend to do. Therefore, Marvel can technically say that Fury was lying, and that Sublime was behind much of this mess. AND that The Professor was a Horton, not a Hudson. Just my thoughts.

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