OPEN THREAD: Wolverine: Origins #33 & First Class #12: A Tale of Two Comics

Some issues are easy to review without giving away spoilers.

Unfortunately, ‘Wolverine: Origins’ #33 is not one of those, so…

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Wolverine: Origins #33 coverWolverine: Origins #33 (preview)
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Doug Braithwaite
Inker: Bill Reinhold

I am of two minds on this issue.

There is one wonderful revelation. Genuinely wonderful revelation.

But it gets obscured, at least for me, by some serious chronological confusion that I will do my level best to chronicle.

In other words, SPOILER ALERT, WILL ROBINSON, SPOILER ALERT!

–Nick Fury suggests that the reason the Canadian government allowed Logan to work for the CIA was because the U.S. government knew about Weapon X and blackmailed the Canadian government into using Logan. But the accompanying visual shows Logan as part of Team X — BEFORE he received his adamantium at Weapon X…

–Nick Fury also talks of Frederick and Elias Hudson, the owners of the Hudson Bay Company. Slight historical problem here as the Hudson Bay Company was named for the Hudson Bay (think East India Company), not any owner named Hudson…

–The revelation of Logan’s mother is a genuine stunner and quite artfully done. Kudos to Daniel Way for pulling that one off (though the flashback suggests young James also walked in on his naked mother, apparently the mansion didn’t employ locks in the 1890s)…

–Hudson secretary Caitlyn MacDonald, however, is the revelation that causes the biggest confusion. From earlier issues in the series, it is revealed that Frederick Hudson ran the Canadian paramilitary camp from at least 1912 until approximately 1959, a staggering 47 years. And at the end of this run (as shown in ‘Wolverine: Origins’ #27), Frederick Hudson is virile enough to impregnate his secretary…

–She gives birth to Frederick Hudson II in 1960 who dies at age 30 after fathering three sons by three different women. So to be generous, all three sons are born between 1980 and 1990. One of those is Truett Hudson, the Professor from Weapon X. Another slight problem. Only five years ago in Weapon X #23, the Professor was revealed to have been a man by the name of Thornton who discovered the notes of Nathaniel Essex, the basis for Experiment X, in the final days of World War II! But even if we do take Nick Fury at his word, then Weapon X must have occurred only a few years ago for Truett would be 29 years old at present given the best of circumstances…

–Victor Hudson, the second son, is left a mystery. Guesses anyone?

–And the final son, is revealed to be James MacDonald Hudson, the man who found Logan after Weapon X, the man who created Department H and the man who founded Alpha Flight. Again having accomplished all that in the past few years before the tender age of 25.

In the next few weeks as I try to update the Wolverine chronology with the above “facts”, I will endeavor to explain away any inconsistencies. Such as Nick Fury was mistaken or willfully lied to Logan. The Professor was much like Benjamin Button and aged backwards into Weapon X. Marvel time blows chunks.

But I must give Daniel Way credit. The concept of imbuing Daken’s claws with metal from the Muramasa Blade is pretty awesome. And would make him the deadliest threat Wolverine has seen in a long time.

Wolverine: First Class #12 coverWolverine: First Class #12 (preview)
“The Substitute”
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Scott Knoblish

So why am I also reviewing ‘Wolverine: First Class’ #12?

Because for my money, Fred Van Lente is the best at creating terrific stories that respect the source material. Albeit, this is his final issue, but it is a doozy, artfully playing Wolverine and Cyclops off each other and touching an emotional nerve that is sorely lacking in ‘Wolverine: Origins’.

Plus, there is a wonderful exchange in this issue showing how Wolverine views his superhero gear as a uniform, and not a costume. It’s a very large part of the story and carries a surprising amount of weight.

And there on the first page of ‘Wolverine: Origins’ #33, Nick Fury talks about Daken wearing Wolverine’s costume. And Wolverine doesn’t bat an eye.

I know it’s a minor point, but to me, that is the difference in these two series. One is about nuances and the other is about sledgehammering home a point.

As always, please jump in with your thoughts below or join the discussion on the Wolverine Files Forum

Facebook comments:

  1. Great job with WO 33 review. I left my opinions in the forum, I’d like to know what do you think about the possibility of Wild Child being Victor Hudson.

  2. Especially as they are now more than ever on opposite sides.
    It’s nice to know that Way isn’t bias, he’ll disregard his own chronology as much as anyone elses. Especially as he very clearly showed Wolverine with bone claws before his last Team X Mission. Going to stop now before I get my throat jumped down by the Wolverine Origin’s fans

  3. Wild Child?

    Well, that would work quite well except for Jeph Loeb putting him in a World War II sequence.

  4. Could Victor Hudson be the blind torturer we saw whipping Daken in Wolverine: Origins #15, and later reffered to as “Victor” by Daken in Wolverine: Origins #32?

  5. Great catch! I totally agree. Very impressive.

  6. I have a few theories of my own in regards to Wolverine: Origins #33. I’ll go over them matching them point by point to the original post:

    1) There’s a lot of give and take in regards to Wolvie’s past with Team X and Weapon X. Namely that the sliding time scale may or may not be in play.

    Some would say Wolverine’s time at Weapon X happened at a set time period, regardless of the time scale. For the purposes of the example, lets say the 70s.

    Whereas I personally believe that his time at the Weapon X project happened 15 – 20 years ago from the current date (between 11 and 13 years have passed since the Fantastic Four set off the age of heroes, in Marvel time).

    A lot of the continuity is flexible if you keep in mind that there are two possible time frames for the original version of the Weapon X project.

    However, you will ALWAYS run into continuity issues when it comes to trying to figure out most of that general period. Why? Because of Carol Danvers. In some stories she’s worked with Logan, in some she doesn’t remember who he is (even though those clearly take place afterwords).

    She also worked with Nick Fury in the CIA, before the formation of SHIELD. When SHIELD as it stands in current continuity is fairly old (Spider-Man’s parents were SHIELD agents, after all, making it AT LEAST 30 years old taking into consideration Spidey’s age of around 26 – 28).

    But wait, then there’s the fact that regardless of how you pull it Carol Danvers is over 50 years old. She was clearly at least 20 during her time with Nick and Wolvie in the CIA, before the formation of SHIELD, which again, was at least 30 years ago. Yet to look at her now, she’s 33 at most.

    I know that’s a bit off-topic, but it’s the largest issue in Wolverine’s history. It’s the one plot thread that contradicts everything.

    2) I think the Hudson Bay Company can be interpreted any way one wishes. We PRESUMED it was named that because of the locale, but now it’s been retroactively written that there was a deeper meaning.

    3) It was the revelation of his mother’s maiden name that really sold the concept. They already had the bare bones, James Hudson, the Hudson Bay Company, the more recently added character who ran the military training camp. But it was this one that really connected all the dots.

    4) This is actually a strong point, and something I overlooked. There could be any number of explanations, but we only really need one: men never stop producing sperm (in common circumstances). Age has nothing to do with male potency or virility.

    5) This one takes some clever skewing. Before writing up this reply I re-read the issue in question and “The Professor” is ONLY called Thorton during the post-WW2 scenes. From that point onward they simply call him by his nickname.

    What this opens up is the possibility that “The Professor” or found Essex’s diary wasn’t in fact the same Professor who we see in Wolverine’s life. He may be, for all we know, an original “Professor” who mentored the one we know and loath.

    That’s creative continuity, I know, but the wording of the issue leaves the possibility open for future writers to explore. Again though, it’s an assumption on our part that they’re one in the same (though at the time I’m sure it was intended that they were).

    6) Come on, VICTOR Hudson? It’s clearly another alternate Sabretooth oirigin. Or more specifically, they want us to think it is. So far we have Dog Logan, Victor Hudson, and the current origin, Victor Creed.

    I think they’re going to continue playing up these red herring origins for a good long while until they finally (if ever) write that Wolverine and Sabretooth are in fact related on some level.

    7) Not much to add here, just that the above methods were a clever way to tie James into the mix.

    I really liked this issue. I think it was hands down one of the most important issues of the series. Right up there with the annual where we found out Romulus has been systematically murdering Logan’s ladyfriends in order to control him. And the issue where Logan finally calls in his favor from the Winter Soldier, connecting the dots of over 20 issues.

    I love the idea of Daken, for lack of a better term, being built as a “Wolverine killer”. I always thought the muramasa blade was a bit silly. A magic sword that just happens to kill healing factors? But it seems like they’re putting it to good use.

    It’s been a long time coming, but finally Wolverine: Origins isn’t just a good book for continuity (with terrible art and mediocre storytelling). Finally it’s ascended to a level where the art is gorgeous, the continuity is outstanding, and the stories are enjoyable. I look forward to future issues.

    – Ace

  7. Ace, this is really good. You should consider posting in the forums under Origins.

    I agree with the challenges of the ever moving Marvel timeline, but I think writers should be clever enough to avoid using hard dates to avoid exactly these problems. And the primary reason I bring it up is that I have a sneaking suspicion that Daniel Way may have inadvertently mixed up WWI and WWII in his original timeline.

    Why do I think that? Well, because he originally had Winter Soldier at Jasmine Falls BEFORE World War II.

    So I wonder if his timeline is all messed up based on a computational error. I mean, why have so many generations of Hudson after 1959? Why force the issue on continuity?

    That said, there is a building consensus that the second Hudson (Victor) is the blind attendant of Daken’s from earlier in the Origins series.

    As for the Hudson Bay Company ownership being named Hudson, maybe it’s the historian in me. It’s named after Hudson BAY. Similar to suggesting the Hoover dam is owned by the Hoover family.

    Anyway… I really like and appreciate the thought that went into your post.

    And please do check out our forum at http://forums.wolverinefiles.com/site/

  8. It’s very possible that Daniel Way mixed up the continuity, very possible indeed. I do think there’s a bit of give and take in all of this, however.

    We know that Wolverine’s memories were more than a bit jumbled before he regained them, and I believe afterwords as well. I believe regaining his true memories didn’t eliminate the false ones, hence the need to go on his various journeys in Origins to confirm what’s true and what’s false.

    (One example of this would be how he has two sets of memories about his time in the tank at Weapon X. One where he’s being watched only by the Weapon X staff, and one where Romulus is clearly there beside them).

    The reason I bring this up is because due to that jumbling, the original memories as we knew they may have been altered or incorrect to begin with. He was confused and conditioned and may have gotten dates and places mixed up.

    That’s the give and take, that’s both of the beauty and the curse of writing a character such as Logan. Because his history is so jumbled, because the character’s memories of his history were so disjointed and often times false… that leaves the door open to a re-interpretation of when/if certain things happened from writers.

    I’m not implying that that is exactly how it is, merely that Daniel Way may not be incorrect but rather openly trying to re-sequence Wolverine’s history as we know it. Of course, as you stated, DiG, he may just have gotten confused.

    That said, there is a building consensus that the second Hudson (Victor) is the blind attendant of Daken’s from earlier in the Origins series.

    I read that in an above post directly after I posted my reply, and it makes a lot of sense. I had actually overlooked that line and character to some degree, so I went back and read those two scenes over and I believe the fan consensus is the correct one.

    That said, I also still feel that it was intended as a red herring Sabretooth origin. Any Wolverine writer would know that the second you say “Victor” in a Wolverine comic, fans will automatically assume Sabretooth. I believe Daniel Way wants us to be looking in the direction of Victor Creed so that when he says it’s not it will come as a surprise.

    Perhaps I’m thinking a bit too much into it, but I merely feel that writers don’t use the name Victor lightly in a Wolverine comic.

    As for the Hudson Bay Company ownership being named Hudson, maybe it’s the historian in me. It’s named after Hudson BAY. Similar to suggesting the Hoover dam is owned by the Hoover family.

    That’s a perfectly logical assumption, and I have no doubt in my mind it was originally intended that way. It’s a fairly passive retcon and really work on either level. Both naming origins could be true in reality.

    Thanks for the kind words in regards to my reply, and I’ll gladly check out the forum.

    – Ace

  9. Interesting concepts as it pertains to Wolverine’s memories, but I do think the intent of ‘House of M’ was to give Wolverine his full memories back, and to eliminate all of those memory implants/false memories that had plagued the character.

    Which is why the Jeph Loeb Romulus flashbacks are so irksome. They contradict known chronology without adding anything.

    But what I was specifically referring to were the dates captioned in the comics (such as 1946 and 1959), which are seemingly presented as “The Truth”.

  10. That may have been the intention, but I don’t think that’s the reality. If you read Wolverine: Origins (as well as Origins & Endings) as a whole, especially the early parts, it’s all about Logan revisiting locations from his past to try and connect the dots.

    Why would he need to do that if he knew the absolute truth about his past? Then factor in Loeb’s memory additions and it becomes even more apparent. That says to me that he’s looking for clarity, to distinguish between the false and the real.

    The very fact that he needs to confirm details means he’s unsure about many elements of his past. If not, Wolverine: Origins wouldn’t exist as Logan easily could have written it off and said “Hey, I know my past. Now I can take it easy.”

    I also don’t believe it would outright eliminate any implants. The two aren’t necessarily connected. As an example, if you remember where you left your keys, do you suddenly forget an episode of Cheers? The answer, of course, is no.

    Especially since many of the false memories are in fact actual things he saw/heard. Elaborate plays and ruses he was subjected to. The false Silverfox’s, for example. So those would still be memories in the traditional sense. A web of lies he’d need to work to untangle.

    Semi-related, but there’s something most people have likely overlooked. He doesn’t just have his true memories, and possible the implants. He likely also has the memory of his entire House of M lifetime, as all the characters who were protected by Dr. Strange and Emma Frost still remember their House of M experiences.

    So in theory he also remembers a whole alternate life time. And while I’m no expert, I expect that would be difficult to tell apart from his real memories as well.

  11. In Origins and Endings he says that the restoration of his memories is painful and it actually causes him a lot of discomfort. It’s quite possible that it’s something that hasn’t been explored yet. And who knows if his healing factor is starting to erase his most painful memories already. That might happen down the road too. And we wonder why Logan is such a crazy bastard.

    Ace couldn’t of said it any better. Bravo.

  12. I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  13. So what is Wolverine’s real name, this whole Hudson thing has me confused. Is it James Howlett, James Hudson, Logan Hudson, what?

  14. His birth name is James Howlett.

    Currently and much like Sting or Bono, he goes by Logan.

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