Wolverine is hands down one of the most popular members of the X-Men and has been able to transcend comics into popular culture. Along with characters like Spider-Man he has become one of the most recognisable characters in the Marvel Universe. By doing so, Wolverine has starred in countless video games, animations and films – along with thousands of merchandise items.
With Logan coming to cinemas I thought it would be appropriate to spotlight some of the best Wolverine stories. Below are the Wolverine stories you should read. This list includes seven of the best Wolverine comics – ranging from key issues, fan-favourites and critically acclaimed stories to scratch any Wolverine itch.
And Now… the Wolverine!
In what began as a story about the Hulk going over the Canadian border and incidentally running into magic and a rematch with the Wendigo became a story that debuted Wolverine. In this debut with get a three-way battle between Wolverine (who is working for the Canadian government), The Hulk and the Wendigo which forces the Hulk to change sides multiple sides – much to his confusion. Herb Trimpe offer some great action in this story, especially in the three-way battle with plenty of smashing slashing.
And Now… the Wolverine! is told in Incredible Hulk #180-181 and is collected in Incredible Hulk Masterworks Volume 10. It’s also available digitally.
A four issue mini-series, “Wolverine” acted as the first volume of solo adventures for the character and was created by industry heavyweights Chris Claremont (Uncanny X-Men) and Frank Miller (Sin City, Daredevil). This story sees Wolverine fight his way through Japan in order to stop the woman he loves marrying another man. Plenty of big action, ninjas, organised crime and, of course, Wolverine.
The Wolverine (the 2nd solo film) borrows many aspects from his classic story and is very much worth a read for the great story. The art by Frank Miller is also top-notch with it being in a similar ballpark to his classic Daredevil work.
Wolverine is available in trade paperback and hardcover and is collected along with Uncanny X-Men #172-173.
For the longest time Wolverine’s origin was very much unknown, not even he knew much about his past. In 2001 that all changed with Wolverine: Origin when Wolverine was given an origin. Set in the 19th century British Columbia, Wolverine: Origin tells the story of how childhood friends become bitter rivals. It also includes how Wolverine’s mutant powers manifested and the consequences of it.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine borrowed many ideas from this mini-series, especially at the start of the film.
This miniseries received a sequel in 2014 called Wolverine: Origin II. This was written by Keiron Gillen with Adam Kubert on art.
Wolverine is available in trade paperback, on Comixology as well as being easy to track down on eBay.
Wolverine: Old Man Logan
Set 50 years into the future, Wolverine is now an old ma vowed never to use his claws again. In this future all the heroes have been killed by the villains and parts of the country are ruled by inbred descendants of the Hulk. Then one day an old friend appears wanting his help. Wolverine must now travel through a villain-infested America and be a hero once again.
The series was well received by critics and fans and is great self-contained read. Although, if you want to read even more of this interpretation of the character then you can find out more in the Old Man Logan Reading Order Guide.
Old Man Logan was told in Wolverine (2003) #66-72 and has been collected in trade paperback, hardcover and on Comixology.
After the reality warping events of House of M (2005), Wolverine regained all his memories of past. This opened the door for some great Wolverine stories and Wolverine: Logan was definitely one of the best. Writer Brian K Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Saga) and artist Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets) were able to take this new found freedom and used it to create a new take on the character.
Wolverine returns to Japan to settle an old score with someone that he met during his time in World War II. The mini-series has many references to Wolverine’s time in Japan during the war and there’s even a scene that was used in The Wolverine. Although, I wont spoil which one it is.
Wolverine: Logan is a 3 issue mini series that is collected in trade paperback and available on Comixology.
Written and art by Barry Windsor-Smith.
Even though Wolverine had been around since the late 70s it wasn’t until 1991 when Marvel finally explained Wolverine’s metal claws and animal rage.
The story details his time at Weapon X and the procedure to fuse adamantium to his bones that took place against his will. Due to the extreme nature of the procedure Wolverine has become pure rage and is desperately wanting revenge. The interesting thing about story is the majority of it is told through the perspective of three members of the Weapon X program. With this in mind the story takes on a slasher film formula with a berserk Wolverine looking for revenge.
Weapon X explains how he became the person he is today, which has been influentual enough to have elements of it incorporated into two different movies.
Weapon X was serialised in Marvel Presents #72-#84 and is also collected in trade paperback, hardcover and on Comixology.
Enemy of the State
In what is the biggest and most ambitious story on this list, Wolverine is kidnapped and brainwashed by Hydra, The Hand and a mutant cult to become the world’s most dangerous weapon in the world. Wolverine then goes on a rampage, cutting his way through friends and foes without any consideration to the consequences. Can the S.H.I.E.L.D., the X-Men and Fantastic Four stop him before it is too late? And can anyone stop these evil groups from destroying the world?
Enemy of the State is a massive story. It’s storytelling on a massive scale, pulling in dozens of heroes and villains, in locations all over the world. Mark Millar and John Romita Jr offer big surprises and twist throughout ramping up the action and tension to dizzying heights, out-doing each other with each issue. But with all these big moments and action there is still time for smaller character moments based on the consequences of their actions.
If you’re looking for a story told on a massive scale and not afraid to be outrageous then this story is for you.
Enemy of the State was told in Wolverine (2003 series) #20-31 and is collected in trade paperback and available digitally.
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Trevor Van As
Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he's not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.