Comic book sales are on the increase. And anyone who loves reading comics and has seen the popular X-Men movies should be familiar with the Wolverine series - one of the most popular comic characters. Brilliantly portrayed by Hugh Jackman, Wolverine is a mutant superhero. He looks like a man but has retractable knife-like claws on his hands. He also has an impressive, animal-like temper, heightened instincts, and physical abilities. What sets him apart is his the power to quickly heal himself of injury.
Wolverine craves a peaceful coexistence between mutants like himself and regular humans. His past is mysterious and Wolverine’s memories seem incomplete and fractured. Long before the justice league and X-Men superhero team movies. Wolverine story was a Marvel comics character featured alongside other superheroes (like The Incredible Hulk) in graphic novels. He is also the title character in a variety of his own comic books.
In this article, we will discuss what we deem to be the top 7 best Wolverine comic books for your reading pleasure.
In his first appearance, Logan is actually not a single marvel comic book but a three part mini-series. It is written by Brian K. Vaughan who is one of the writers responsible for the brilliant plot line in TV’s Lost series. Eduardo Risso and Dean White illustrate it. Bare in mind that this is not the book the new Wolverine movie Logan is based on even though it shares the same name.
This series is set both in the present and during World War 2. In this comic mini-series, Wolverine (or Logan), regains full access to his memories and travels to Hiroshima, Japan. the site of one of his first ever battles. In the WW2 setting of the comic, Logan, who is Wolverine, is a prisoner of war in a Japanese war camp, trying to escape. Logan falls in love with a Japanese woman in the camp. When Logan and a fellow inmate escape the camp, he learns a dark secret about this new companion. Remember that this Wolverine story is set in Hiroshima, so to prepare yourself for the horrors that will take place in this mini-series.
Logan is well written and gorgeously illustrated and manages to give fans a little bit of an idea of how Wolverine became who he is as we, the public know him. It is a short, easy to read series and the audience doesn’t need to know everything about Wolverine or to have seen any of the movies in order to understand it. The story is vivid, saddening, and gives important insight into what shaped the character we know and love today.
#6: Old man Logan
Old Man Logan is an eight-part series released in 2008/2009. This series is written by Scotsman Mark Millar and illustrated by artist Steven McNiven. While it is a slightly different story, this is the foundation for the new Wolverine movie titled Logan. In this story line, the U.S.A has been taken over by powerful super villains who have divvied the country up between them. Most of the superheroes have been murdered and the few survivors have to live in hiding. Wolverine is old and defeated. He is not fighting the super-villains. Old Man Logan follows the journey of Wolverine and (in this series) sidekick Hawkeye as they travel undercover to deliver a secret package.
Logan and Hawkeye encounter many distractions during their exploits and when they finally arrive and deliver the package, they are betrayed and killed. Of course, Wolverine heals, but when he returns home, he comes back to a great and unexpected tragedy. The remainder of the story focuses on Wolverine attempting to right this injustice.
This post-apocalyptic Wolverine story is full of violence, gore, and sadness. It is an exciting read and the fantastic illustrations really bring the story to life.
Origin is a six-part graphic novel series written by Paul Jenkins, Bill Jesma and Joe Quesada. It is illustrated by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. As its name would suggest, Origin tells the story of Wolverine’s background.
Origin reveals that Wolverine was born in Canada and that his name was James Howlett. James was sickly and suffered from serious allergies. Origin describes James friendships with an orphan named Rose and the groundskeeper’s son Dog Logan.
Dog Logan is abused by his father and his inappropriate and violent behavior ends up getting himself and his father kicked off the Howlett’s property forever. The evil father returns, intending to rob the estate and convince James’s emotionally fragile mother to leave with him. However, things quickly go south and a devastating catastrophe occurs. This event causes James’s powers as Wolverine to manifest themselves and result in his first appearance as Wolverine.
In following events, Rose and James run from the law, James assuming the name “Logan” as a cover. As they become adults, further misfortunes befall them and enemies seek to destroy them. Leading to Logan’s final manifestations of power and eventual loss of memory.
The movie X-men Origins: Wolverine is based on the events of this Marvel comic.
#4: 24 Hours
24 Hours is a Wolverine comic written Chris Claremont. On his birthday, Wolverine sits at a bar in Madripoor and has flashbacks about events that took place when he was still living in Canada. Pushed into painful memories spurred by a bar fight, Wolverine thinks back to the time he and his love, Silver Fox were attacked by a villain named Sabretooth. This evil man killed Silver Fox and although angry, Wolverine was utterly defeated and pulverized by Sabretooth. Although he managed to escape with his life, in present day Sabretooth leaves him a nasty note and a reminder that he will continue hunting Wolverine.
Wolverine’s consciousness moves seamlessly between the past and present in this comic and we see him not only heartbroken by the loss of his love but also defeated. This comic adds depth to the mystique of Wolverine’s past.
#3: Wolverine/The marriage of Wolverine
Written by Chris Claremont, this Wolverine comic book series is referred to as the Japan Saga. In this series, Wolverine is engaged to his longtime love Mariko Yashida. Her family is trying to keep them apart and has married her to an evil man who physically abuses her. Wolverine kills her husband in anger.
Subsequently, Wolverine is poisoned and forced to fight Mariko’s father to prove his worth. Wolverine loses the fight as his opponent cheats and the poison weakens him. Later Mariko discovers this and, disgusted by her father’s crimes, pledges to destroy his entire organization. Sadly, Mariko is poisoned before she is able to marry Wolverine. She begs him to kill her so that she does not have to suffer a long, painful death and he reluctantly agrees.
#2: Kitty Pryde and Wolverine
Written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Al Milgrom. This 6 part Marvel comic book series depicts a quest undertaken by Wolverine and another popular mutant, Kitty Pryde. This series chronicles the efforts of Kitty and Wolverine to save Kitty’s father from an evil Japanese mob family.
Kitty is captured and brainwashed. Unbeknownst to Wolverine, she has been ordered to murder him. Her attempts are thwarted and Kitty is terrified at the prospect of having no control over her own actions. Wolverine helps her to channel her inner strength to overcome the brainwashing.
In the end, Kitty is able to prove to Wolverine that she has overcome this outside power and is herself again. Kitty Pryde and Wolverine is a stimulating adventure series that is well worth a read.
#1: Weapon X
Weapon X is a comic book both written and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith. This Wolverine story chronicles Wolverine’s capture by the Weapon X program and their attempts to turn him into a weapon. While completely ignoring the fact that he is a living, thinking, independent being.
This series depicts the horrors and medical aberrations that Wolverine endured at Weapon X to transform him into the indestructible powerhouse he is the character we know. The story takes place mostly in a secret lab and ends with Wolverine committing a mass murder in an attempt to escape.
What makes Wolverine such an entertaining and engaging character is in part, the secrets of his past. Through comic books, artists and authors are able to make Wolverine’s history come alive in their best and most creative efforts. The Marvel comic books above vary greatly in style, some serving purely as entertainment. While others will tug at your heartstrings and provide a further understanding of Wolverine’s character.