Wolverine is one of the most popular members of the X-Men and has been able to transcend comics into popular culture. By starring in countless video games, animated series, and films, he has become one of Marvel’s most recognisable characters.
Looking to read some of the best Wolverine comics? Check out these 12 picks that include a great mix of key issues, fan-favourites, and critically acclaimed stories that will scratch your Wolverine itch.
And Now… the Wolverine!
Written by Len Wein. Art by Herb Trimpe.
Before Wolverine was part of the X-Men, he excited fans in Incredible Hulk. In his debut tale, Hulk takes a trip to Canada and finds himself in a rematch with the Wendigo. Wolverine, who’s working as an agent for the Canadian government, is sent in to stop the pair.
We’re treated to a three-way battle between Wolverine, The Hulk, and the Wendigo. It’s the comic book equivalent of a Triple Threat Match. Sides are switched multiple times – much to Hulk’s confusion – as each competitor tries to take advantage of the chaos. What makes this fight exciting is Herb Trimpe’s high-energy art, which makes every smash and slash feel impactful.
Written by Paul Jenkins. Art by Andy Kubert.
Wolverine’s origin had been a mystery for decades but that all changed in 2001 with this miniseries. Set in the 19th century British Columbia, Origin details Wolverines early days and the events that shaped him into the man he is today. This includes happens to include how his mutant powers manifested and the consequences of it.
A special mention needs to go out Richard Isanove, whose colour work is way ahead of its time. While many were trying to use all the bells and whistles with digital colouring, Isanove uses colour to tell a rich story with a rich range of colours.
BONUS PICK: This miniseries received a sequel in 2014 called Origin II.
Written by Chris Claremont. Art by Frank Miller.
Based on his popularity, it was inevitable that Wolverine would receive his own comic book series. Fans wishes were granted in 1982 when Uncanny X-Men scribe Chris Claremont and Frank Miller (who was red-hot on Daredevil at the time) teamed-up for a four-part miniseries.
The tale operates more like a samurai story, with Claremont juxtaposing Wolverine against Japan’s culture of honour. To reach the woman he loves, he’ll need to take on ninjas and organised crime. But in doing so, he’ll question if he’s worthy of the woman he is trying to reach.
Frank Miller elevates the action to the next level with his strong storytelling abilities. Miller frames each panel to capture maximum impact while laying out the page so that they flow into each other. As a result, the action is exciting, fast-paced, and fierce.
BONUS PICK: While Wolverine (1982 series) has a conclusion, it does set-up for the next Wolverine-centric story. Check out Uncanny X-Men #172-173 to see where things go next.
Written by Brian K Vaughan. Art by Eduardo Risso and Dean White.
For the longest time, Wolverine past was a mystery to both the readers and himself. With the conclusion of House of M, Wolverine’s clouded past became clear and opened the door for Marvel to tell stories based on his long history.
Logan is one of the best, exploring love, loss, revenge, and the cruelty of man. Told through dual narratives, we see Wolverine return to Japan to settle an old score, while also getting glimpses of his time in Japan during World War II.
Eduardo Risso’s high-contrast style combines with Dean White’s painterly colours to make a visually appealing comic that has a lot of range. Together, they can portray a range of emotions and moods that take the comic to the next level.
Written and art by Barry Windsor-Smith.
Since his introduction in the late 70s, Wolverine’s past was a complete mystery. That’s until 1991 when Marvel pulled back the curtain to reveal details about his adamantium claws and animal rage. The story recounts Wolverine’s time at the Weapon X program, the procedure that fused the adamantium to his bones, and what happened afterwards.
The interesting thing about this classic is the majority of it is told through the perspective of Weapon X’s scientists – the same people who abducted and dehumanised him. As a result, it becomes a survival horror, with a rage-filled Wolverine looking for revenge.
Enemy of the State
Written by Mark Millar. Art by John Romita Jr.
Wolverine is kidnapped and brainwashed by Hydra, The Hand, and a mutant cult to become the world’s most dangerous weapon. Under their control, Wolverine goes on a rampage, cutting his way through friends and foes without any consideration to the consequences. Can S.H.I.E.L.D., the X-Men, and Fantastic Four stop him before it is too late?
Enemy of the State is ambitious storytelling told an international scale, with dozens of heroes and villains. Each issue out-does the previous, offering plenty of surprises and tense action. But within these big moments, there’s still time for smaller character moments that explore the consequences of everything that’s going on.
If you’re looking for a story told on a massive scale and not afraid to be outrageous then you’ve got to read this.
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Darick Robertson.
Wolverine goes on the quest to avenge the murder of a young girl who reached out for his help. Finding her cryptic diary, he’s led on a path of illegal gun sellers, crooked law enforcement, and cults.
Brotherhood is the first story of the 2003 relaunch and it feels much more grounded than other Wolverine stories. Instead of fighting Sabretooth or some muscle-bound villain, he’s facing real-world evils. As a result, he becomes a defender for those who can’t help themselves.
Artist Darick Robertson knocks it out of the park this story. He renders the savage and wild fury of Wolverine and does a great job at showing readers how he feels.
Written by Chris Claremont. Art by John Buscema and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Sabretooth is Wolverine’s greatest enemy and rival, with a bloodied feud going back decades. In this flashback story, we get glimpses into one of their earliest fights.
The issue explores Logan and Sabretooth’s relationship, showing the events that lead to their longtime feud. What makes this extra interesting is that we get to see an inexperienced Wolverine who is still learning his capabilities. He is certainly not the best at what he does at this point.
24 Hours looks fantastic. Buscema dishes up strong storytelling with energetic action. Bill Sienkiewicz’s dirty inks add to the viciousness to the action and a grittiness to the underbelly of Madripoor.
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Leo Fernandez.
After discovering a human trafficking operation gone wrong, Wolverine goes south of the border to avenge their deaths. In true Wolverine fashion, he hacks and slashes his way through Mexico until he finds the person in charge of the entire operation. In a great twist, he might not be able to go through with stopping the leaders without breaking his moral code.
Coyote Crossing covers many themes over 5 issues including human trafficking, the desperation of those in dire situations, and even a well-placed metaphor for the abortion debate. Through these themes, we get an insight into Wolverine’s moral code and the choices he has to make when faced with hard decisions.
Written by Peter David. Art by Todd McFarlane.
The X-Men run into the Hulk in a nasty blizzard in this done-in-one tale full of strong action and character moments. Through this chance encounter, Wolverine finally gets a rematch with The Hulk. The result is vicious, with plenty of damage done on both sides.
While this could’ve easily been a mere fight issue (with incredible art by a young Todd McFarlane), the comic has plenty of character exploration. We see a conflicted Wolverine who doesn’t know if he should be a proper hero or give in to his animal instincts.
Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine
Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Adam Kubert.
Spider-Man and Wolverine are not the best of friends. Even though they’re on the Avengers together they only tolerate each other at best. But when they’re stuck on a wild time-travelling adventure, full of dinosaurs, cowboys, robots, moon-sized villains, and even their past selves they might just kill each other. Or it could be a team-up for the ages.
Apart from being a crazy adventure, Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine also excels in the small character moments. It explores the rocky relationship between the two heroes and progresses it with moments that strike the right balance between emotional and humourous.
If you’re looking for a bombastic story, packed with crazy ideas, then this is the story you’ll want to read.
Old Man Logan
Written by Mark Millar. Art by Steve McNiven.
Old Man Logan is an alternate future tale in which the villains have finally taken over America. 50 years have passed since then and Wolverine, one of the few remaining heroes, has become a pacifist. He’d rather be a farmer and raise a family then pop his claws ever again. That all changes when he is forced to go on a cross country trip infested by villains.
The comic has an anything goes attitude, full of bombast. There’s Venom dinosaurs, hillbilly Hulks, and plenty of big action. Millar’s scripts give McNiven plenty of real estate to draw all of the crazy ideas in incredible detail. Every wrinkle and hair is rendered, with character expressions that tell volumes without saying a word.
BONUS: Want more Old Man Logan? Check out the Old Man Logan Reading Order Guide.