In Part I of this post, I shared the issues that introduced the indestructible metal, Adamantium, and the fact that Wolverine’s claws come from his body, not his gloves. In this post, I will cover three more important Wolverine character concepts and the issue they debuted in.
Incredible Hulk 180 – Wolverine referred to as “Weapon X”.
Right from the get-go, in his cameo first appearance, Wolverine is called Weapon X. The alias alludes to his dark past. It was fleshed out by Barry Windsor-Smith over 15 years later in Marvel Comics Presents 72 – 84. Early on in Hulk 180, the Canadian military sets the stage by preparing the mysterious Weapon X for dispatch against the Hulk. Then, on the very last panel, we get our first look at Wolverine, and the caption reads “Well, now you know what–er–who Weapon X is, faithful one.” Afterward, the next time Wolverine is referred to as Weapon X is in X-Men 109 when Vindicator is dispatched to capture him and bring him back to the Canadian military.
X-Men 103 – Wolverine’s real name revealed to be “Logan”.
Firstly, this classic issue features the X-Men fighting Juggernaut and Banshee’s cousin, Black Tom Cassidy. The fight takes place in an old Irish castle that overlooks the ocean high up on a cliff. Colossus and Wolverine are at the bottom of the cliff and need to get up to the castle. Colossus throws Wolverine up to the castle with too much strength. Wolverine flies over to the other side of it, not knowing how to get in.
Then, a leprechaun greets him by his real name “Logan”, and shows him the way into the castle. This is the first time Wolverine’s real name is revealed. None of his fellow X-Men will know it, however, until much later. The next time is in X-Men 139 when Wolverine and Heather Hudson (Vindicator’s wife) have a reunion, and Nightcrawler (the only other X-Man there) is surprised to learn that “Logan” is his real name.
X-Men 116 – debut of Wolverine’s healing factor.
The X-Men travel to the Savage Land to help Ka-Zar stop the cult of the Petrified Man, who’d built a massive citadel that threatening the ecosystem. Along the way, Wolverine gets his arm chomped down on by the jaws of a Velociraptor. Wolverine unsheathes his claws in the dinosaur’s mouth killing the creature. When Storm checks in to see how badly hurt he is Wolverine responds that there is nothing to worry about. He can “heal real fast”. In X-Men 133 his healing factor is on display more dramatically as he is shot in the torso by an automatic weapon at point-blank range. The guards think he is dead and approach cautiously, but Wolverine jumps to life and tears them apart. Also, as a side note, X-Men 133 also features Wolverine’s first solo cover.
My idea behind the importance of these issues is in comparing Wolverine to the established heroes like Superman and Batman. For instance, Superman collectors may go after the issue with the first appearance of Metropolis, the Daily Planet newspaper, the first use of super-breath, etc. In addition, for Batman collectors, it might be the first use of the Batarang, or his utility belt, the origin of the famous giant penny in the Batcave, etc. Wolverine is well-loved, arguably on a comparable level to Superman and Batman. These issues introduced concepts that were milestones in the character’s development.