As some may know, I’m a moderator over at The Comic Board. A new member asked about where to start reading comics for Wolverine, to learn of the character and his history and whatever great stories there are. So I answered his query and gave him quite a list, but with explaining them as I went along. Just looking at the list may be seem daunting, but I assure you that it’s quite the opposite. What I have here is exactly what I posted and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the ol’ Cannucklehead or that wants to read great stories with him that they haven’t.
First and fore most: “ORIGIN” by Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert. It’s Wolverine’s true origin tale. Six issue miniseries from 2001-2002.
To see where Wolverine first began, “HULK” #181 has Wolverine’s first appearance in full. You see him at the end of #180, though that is a cameo (first) appearance. This was by Len Wein, Wolverine’s co-creator (the other being Herb Trimpe, the artist on Hulk at the time).
Some years ago there was a series called “WOLVERINE: ORIGINS” by Daniel Way and Dougie Braithwaite that explored Wolverine learning his origins after getting his memories back following the event series “HOUSE OF M“. This ran for 50 issues.
One of the most important stories to read with Wolverine is definitely Barry Windsor Smith’s “MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS: WEAPON X” #72-84.
One of the best stories for Wolverine is by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which is just “WOLVERINE,” a four issue limited series that ran from September 1992 to December of that year. It’s what THE WOLVERINE movie is loosely based on.
From the many volumes the Wolverine series has had, the third one is arguably the best. It starts off amazingly with Greg Rucka writing the first 19 issues, 3 story arcs. “THE BROTHERHOOD,” “COYOTE CROSSING” and “RETURN OF THE NATIVE,” pictured above.
Following that, Mark Millar has had two great, if not the greatest, runs on Wolverine. His first one, collected as “ENEMY OF THE STATE” (just above, left) in two volumes as well as an Ultimate Edition, which was Wolverine (Vol. 3) issues #20-32, and was released back in 2005. His second one, my favorite Wolverine story of all time, was “OLD MAN LOGAN” (just above, right). That was also in the third volume and ran from issues #66-72 with art by Steve McNiven.
Now getting to the Jason Aaron works, which ran for the last 5 years or so, there are quite a bit. One of his best Wolverine stories was “GET MYSTIQUE,” also part of volume 3, in issues #62-65 (just before the OLD MAN LOGAN arc), drawn by Ron Garney. Aaron also wrote a great “WOLVERINE: WEAPON X” series that ran 16 issues. Aaron started Wolverine’s volume 4 run and wrote it until just after the renumbering. Volume 4 starts with #1-20, with the story arcs:
- WOLVERINE GOES TO HELL (#1-5)
- WOLVERINE VS THE X-MEN (#6-9)
- WOLVERINE’S REVENGE (#10-16)
- WOLVERINE: GOODBYE, CHINATOWN (#17-20)
After that vol. 4 gets renumbered as Wolverine gets its 300th issue published, which was Aaron’s last arc on the series with “WOLVERINE: BACK IN JAPAN” (#300-304).
Other great stories with Wolverine to read:
- X-MEN: SCHISM (also by Jason Aaron) #1-5 (mini-series), telling the story about Cyclops and Wolverine splitting up and setting up their own X-Men teams. The collected edition also has the one shot X-MEN: REGENESIS where it shows Wolverine and Cyclops choosing who goes with them and which takes place right before the last couple pages of Schism #5.
- WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN (vol 1. #1-42 plus Annual) is also by Jason Aaron. Wolverine sets up the new Jean Grey School (this follows SCHISM).
- WOLVERINE by Paul Cornell, which was the series that ran last year (2013) with issues #1-13 and currently now (#1-12) leading up to DEATH OF WOLVERINE in September (#1-4) by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven.
- There’s also SAVAGE WOLVERINE, the anthology series, where each arc is by a different creative team. This is currently ongoing and as of this writing, is up to #21.
So there you go. These are the big bullet points in Wolverine’s publishing history. This of course doesn’t mean what isn’t listed is not important, rather that these are the most important. There are still plenty of other good/great Wolverine tales out there, but when it comes to being the best and/or important at reading Wolverine, these stories are it.