003: Days of Whine and Roses

Version 4.00, last updated on March 15, 2011

Young Logan
Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove, Origin #4

Wolverine: The Origin #3 (Jan 2002) – “Part III: The Beast Within”
Plotter: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada; Scripter: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Andy Kubert; Digital Painter: Richard Isanove

Following the deaths of John Howlett and groundskeeper Logan, local constables arrive at the elder Mr. Howlett’s house to break the news of the killings. When the elder Howlett arrives at the estate, Dog, under much duress, suggests that Rose instigated the whole thing and kidnapped James. By evening, Rose returns to the estate with a now amnesiac James and explains what actually happened. The elder Howlett orders her to take the abomination that is his grandson on the next train out of Alberta, Canada, giving them money for transit (the year 1900 is barely legible on the currency) and warning them to never return. The train takes James and Rose to British Columbia where they finally stop at a quarry town along the Northern frontier, south of the 1896 Yukon gold rush territories. James’s wounds have miraculously healed along the way and they are hired by the tough, but fair quarry foreman, an imposing man by the name of Smitty. When asked for James’s name, Rose, in a panic, blurts out, “Logan.”

Wolverine: The Origin #4 (Feb 2002) – “Part IV: Heaven and Hell”
Plotter: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada; Scripter: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Andy Kubert; Digital Painter: Richard Isanove

At first, James Howlett, now known as Logan, struggles to keep up with the work at the quarry and finds an enemy in the immensely overweight camp cook, Cookie Malone. But within a year, Logan begins to exhibit a grittiness that earn him the admiration and respect of both Rose and Smitty. Logan soon learns to hunt on his own, taking down deer with only a wooden spear. Logan also shows a remarkable level of compassion, perhaps passed down from his father, and shares the spoils of his hunts with a grieving widow in the camp. As Logan pushes his past behind, he begins to take after Smitty, drinking, smoking and even talking in the same manner. One night, Cookie picks a fight with Logan and beats him to a pulp. Smitty drops Cookie with one punch and admonishes Logan for not standing up for himself. Logan flees in a panic, trying to hide the fact that his claws popped out during the fight. Running into the woods, Logan finds himself face-to-face with a savage wolf who seems to accept Logan as a fellow feral beast.

Wolverine: The Origin #5 (May 2002) – “Part V: Revelation”
Plotter: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada; Scripter: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Andy Kubert; Digital Painter: Richard Isanove

As time passes, Rose and Smitty begin to fall in love, while Logan, blissfully unaware, takes to running with the wolves and killing deer barehanded with the pack. At the quarry, the camp has come to view Logan as a tremendously hard worker who digs like ‘a wolverine.’ Cookie, jealous of Logan’s popularity, trims the fuses on the dynamite that Logan has just learned how to use. The result is a cave-in at the mine that kills five miners, but Logan is found alive under the rocks with his body shielding a young boy. The following day, Smitty gives Logan a book on Japanese samurai, all the while suspecting that there is more to Logan than meets the eye. During the funerals, Logan catches Cookie stealing from the cabins and finally summons the courage to deck Cookie. Excited by his victory, he runs to tell Rose, only to find her in an embrace with Smitty. Enraged, Logan pops his claws, races to the forest and challenges the alpha wolf. Within minutes, Logan has defeated the wolf and is accepted by the pack as their new leader. Meanwhile back in Alberta, the elder Howlett, on his deathbed and regretting his earlier actions, requests that the now full-grown Dog find his grandson, James.

Young Logan's bone claws
Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove, Origin #4

Wolverine: The Origin #6 (Jul 2002) – “Part VI: Dust to Dust”
Plotter: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada; Scripter: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Andy Kubert; Digital Painter: Richard Isanove

When Rose accepts Smitty’s proposal for marriage, the couple decide to move away from the quarry, and to raise money for their train fares, Smitty enters a bare-knuckles competition. Logan takes the engagement especially hard for he had dreams of spending his days with Rose and enters the competition as well, earning the nickname of ‘wolverine ‘ for his ferocity during his first few bouts. However, Dog tracks Logan down and secretly gives brass knuckles to his next opponent and nemesis, Cookie Malone. Even at a disadvantage, Logan makes mincemeat of Cookie setting up the final bout between Logan and Smitty. To everyone’s surprise, Logan easily manhandles Smitty, but at the last moment, Logan throws the fight, allowing Smitty to collect the money to start a new life with Rose. As Smitty and Rose prepare to leave, Logan is attacked by Dog, who, with his height and size advantage, beats Logan senseless.

While I am attempting to present this chronology in publication order as much as possible, it is interesting to note that one of the earliest references to Wolverine’s past fits perfectly with Logan’s brutal fight with Dog…

Iron Fist #15 (Sep 1977) – “Enter, the X-Men”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: John Byrne; Inker: Dan Green
Logan notes, after being dropped by Iron Fist with one punch, that he has not been hit like that since he was a kid.

Wolverine: The Origin #6 (Jul 2002) – “Part VI: Dust to Dust”
Plotter: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas & Joe Quesada; Scripter: Paul Jenkins
Penciler: Andy Kubert; Digital Painter: Richard Isanove

As Dog stands over Logan, he mockingly mentions James’ father, causing Logan to lose control and knock out Dog. Logan pops his claws to kill, in his mind, his father’s murderer, but Rose runs to stop him and impales herself on his claws, dying instantly. Devastated, Logan flees for the wilderness and joins the wolf pack, ignoring Smitty’s pleas to return. Rose’s diary chronicling the events of James Howlett’s earliest days is destroyed in a fire as Cookie Malone ransacks Rose’s quarters looking for valuables.

With that, Wolverine: The Origin came to an end. And what a disappointment it turned out to be. Filled with one-dimensional characters and cheap melodrama, this ‘epic’ tale seemed more intent on trying to fool readers than entertain them. And the over-the-top superhero art styling of Andy Kubert clashed in stunning fashion with the turn-of-the-century tone of the story. Worse were the shockingly inconsistent character depictions, shifting from the childlike features of frail James Howlett in one panel to his demonic visage with rippling muscles in the next. Simply put, this was not a story that needed to be told. And that it was so at odds with what we knew of Wolverine’s earliest days, I can only surmise that misdirection and shock value was deemed more important than entertainment and continuity.

Wolverine #175 (Jun 2002) – “The Logan Files: Conclusion”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Penciler: Sean Chen; Inker: Norm Rapmund
Sabretooth reveals that Logan’s mutant healing ability not only works on his body, but also on his mind. In other words, Logan’s mind was able to block out especially painful memories, such as the deaths of his father and Rose, which would explain why Logan had little or no memory of these events.

Wolverine #176 (Jul 2002) – “The Logan Files, Epilogue”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Penciler: Sean Chen; Inker: Norm Rapmund
In a near-death experience, Logan realizes that he does, in fact, block the memories of especially traumatic events, and when he has a vision of Rose, he does not recognize her.

Despite this memory block, Logan does seemingly start to remember a little of his past…

X-Men #74 (Apr 1998) – “Rituals”
Writer: Joe Kelley; Penciler: Carlos Pacheco; Inker: Art Thibert
Logan carries credentials from the Nassau Police Department, identifying himself as Detective Jim Logan. While the ID is undoubtedly a forgery (or a professional courtesy), it is interesting that Logan unwittingly chose the name he was given as a child.

Deadpool #27 (Apr 1999)
“It’s a Barbarian Bunny – Busty Broad Bonanza in My Brainpan…”

Writer: Joe Kelly; Penciler:L McDaniel; Inker: McFarland
A familiar scent in San Francisco’s Chinatown sets off a flood of memories for Logan including “my tricycle.” Note that Model introduced the ‘three-track tricycle’ in 1883, hence prior to the events of Wolverine: The Origin.

New X-Men #137 (Apr 2003) – “Riot at Xavier’s”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Artist: Frank Quitely
Quentin Quire, a young mutant telepath at the Xavier Institute, attacks Wolverine, psychically trapping Logan in his past where he is called James.

New X-Men #148 (Dec 2003) – “Planet X, Part 3 of 5: Survivor Type”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Penciler: Phil Jimenez; Inker: Andy Lanning
In a telepathic conversation with Jean Grey, Logan reveals that he has been having flashbacks of a woman with red hair calling him James, screaming for help. Though Logan believes these might be memory implants from Experiment X, it shows that he is slowly remembering his past.

Daredevil (Vol. 2) #55 (Feb 2004) – “Echo, Part 5”
Writer/Artist: David Mack
Logan tells Maya Lopez, “When I was young I was the runt. A weakling. A misfit.”

There is also evidence that others were aware of Logan’s identity as James Howlett long before he regained his memories…

New X-Men #133 (Dec 2002) – “Dust”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Penciler: Ethan Van Sciver; Inker: Norm Rapmund
In referencing Wolverine’s past, Fantomax drops the name of James in passing, showing that he knows more about Wolverine’s past than Logan does. In fact, Fantomax seems to imply that the Weapon X program knew quite a lot about Logan’s past.

New X-Men #143 (Aug 2003) – “Assault on Weapon Plus, Part 2 of 4: The World”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Penciler: Chris Bachalo; Inker: Tim Townsend
Fantomax reveals details from the Weapon Plus files, such as Logan’s real name listed as James Logan.

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
Logan reads through the Weapon X database and learns that he was listed as test subject ‘James.’

Weapon X #23 (Jul 2004) – “War of the Programs, Part 1: In the Beginning”
Writer: Frank Tieri; Artist Tom Mandrake
Prior to Logan ‘s involvement into the Weapon X program, the head of the program, the Professor, has a file with the name, James Howlett.

…The events of House of M more firmly established Logan’s identity as that of James Howlett, ushering in a stream of memories…

House of M #3 (Sep 2005)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis; Penciler: Olivier Coipel; Inker: Tim Townsend
Logan specifically remembers confronting a wolf with his bone claws. This is a clear indication that Logan remembers the events of Wolverine: The Origin.

House of M #8 (Dec 2005)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Olivier Coipel; Inker: John Dell, Scott Hanna & Tim Townsend

After the reality-changing events of House of M come to a close, Logan finds that he remembers his entire past.

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #37 (Feb 2006) – “Origins and Endings, Part II”
Writer: Daniel Way; Breakdowns: Javier Saltares; Finishes: Mark Texeira
With his memories intact from the events of House of M, Wolverine dreams of Rose.

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #48 (Jan 2007) – “Vendetta, Epilogue: Knocking on Heaven’s Door”
Writer: Marc Guggenheim; Penciler: Humberto Ramos; Inker: Carlos Cuevas
Enduring a near-death experience, Logan has visions of his childhood as James Howlett and the death of Rose at his own hands.

Civil War Files (2007)
Head Writer: Anthony Flamini; Writers: Stuart Vandal, Ronald Byrd, Madison Carter, Michael Hoskin, Chris Biggs, Mark O’English & Mike Fichera
As part of the President of the United States daily intelligence briefing, Tony Stark (Iron Man) includes a dossier of Wolverine that reveals his name as James Howlett.

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #59 (Jan 2008) – “Logan Dies (Part 3 of 5)”
Writer: Marc Guggenheim; Artist: Howard Chaykin
In a near-death experience during an involuntary trip to Purgatory, Logan is forced to ‘fight’ his past incarnations to return to the land of the living. His first foe is young James Howlett who Logan describes as “…a scared boy terrified of what he just became. A killing machine. A savage animal. That’s why, when pressed for an alias, Rose called me Logan. ‘Logan’ was the name of the only savage she’d ever known.”

Wolverine: Origins #24 (Jun 2008) – “The Deep End, Part 4”
Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
After an especially bloody confrontation with Deadpool, Logan flashes back to the moment he killed Rose with his claws.

Weapon X: First Class #1 (Jan 2009) – “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
Writer: Marc Sumerak; Artist: Mark Robinson; Inker: Robert Campanella
When Professor Xavier probes Wolverine’s mind to help him regain his memories, Logan has a flash of running with the wolves.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1 (Jun 2009) – “Birth of a Weapon”
Writer: Chris Yost; Pencils: Artist: Mark Texeira
Wolverine dreams of his past several times shortly after the events of Weapon X: killing a deer with his claws as leader of the wolf pack while preparing for a mission as Wolverine and twice of Rose, first when he meets Heather shortly after Weapon X and secondly when Heather talks to him after a particularly nasty mission.

Wolverine: Origins #49 (Aug 2010)
Writer: Daniel Way; Art: Will Conrad
Wolverine remembers running with the wolves.

Wolverine: Origins #50 (Sep 2010)
Writer: Daniel Way; Art: Will Conrad
On an especially emotional birthday, Wolverine has a hallucination of Rose.

Previous: The Howletts <<< Wolverine Chronology >>> Next: Dog, Sabretooth and Silver Fox

Facebook comments:

  1. “We don’t want him to be under control — we want him to be what he is: an animal, born and bred to kill. The only measure of control we want to establish — the one thing we want him to learn and never forget… is that if he ever stops being the predator he is meant to be, if he ever tries to be anything else, like a man… if he ever tries to reach out to anyone… that person will die.”

    Logan spent all of his life being a weapon for someone else. Never being able to confide in others, because those he cared for would die. He could never escape, he could never find peace. Every time he tried to resist, someone else would pay the penalty and he would be forced to endure it. This is the burden Logan had to carry all of his life, for being born as a mutant with special powers.

    But when was he discovered ? When was this life chosen for him ? And why did they release him from slavery ? If I had to guess I would say it was around 1910, when they found him with Silver Fox. Romulus probably has a special mind control over Logan, just liked how he ripped the remaining humanity from Sabretooth.

    If anything at least Wolverine Origins explains why Logan was always fighting all of his life. He didn’t participate in both World Wars because he wanted to. He was forced by someone else, being constantly tested and experimented on for another person’s sadistic satisfaction.

  2. Poor Logan, the man never catches a break *sighs*

  3. Just wanted to say I lost interest in the character, but only came back to him because of the Origin book. I blame the memory implants and over told Weapon X stories, that made me see Logan as one dimensional. But it was the Origin mini series that made me see Logan from a different perspective.

  4. what got me was in origins the last issuer rose seemed to know dog was coming to town was this why her and smitty was ready to leave I mean rose heard some fight and she mentioned logan like she kn ew dog arrived and when she died she said she should have told logan, tell logan what that dog was coming. cyber once said every girl wolverine had was part of the program. was rose a handler like seraph. was the purpose of rose existence for her to die to screw up logan’s head which it did. when rose told smitty logan was a killer she knew too much information about logan’s mutant abnilities since thomas logan was the only man logan killed and rose was his se4cond victim logan must have unleashed some serious demons when they was alone by taking it out on animals for her to make that claim or was romulus giving her the scoop on logan and her role in keeping him under control.

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