BIOGRAPHY - page 1
In the Ultimate Universe, mutants were made not born. Two soldiers during World War II were caught looting from the battlefield and turned into experimental test subjects instead of standing trial. The American Nick Fury was the first successful "super-soldier" created by Abraham Erskine. The Canadian James Howlett was subjected to similar experiments by his own country's Weapon X Program (in association with America), but leading to a different result. Doctor Cornelius' tinkering produced a new nano-engineered genome, the mutant genome, capable of causing varied but potent effects in a host. Howlett became "Mutant Zero" and Cornelius released the mutant genome into the environment as a genetic virus, creating the mutant sub-species, Homo superior. [Ultimate Origins #1-5]
Decades later, Mutant Zero was known as Logan, or Wolverine. He was pursuing a terrorist organization known as Mothervine for S.H.I.E.L.D. when he became reacquainted with a freelance spy named Magda, the "Witch of Wundagore." Mothervine had recreated the original work of Weapon X, modifying it to induce weaponized mutation in subjects and create mutants who could be activated and controlled with a code phrase. Magda tried to smuggle a sample of the Mothervine virus past Logan by injecting herself with it first. Thoroughly satisfied Magda didn't have anything on her person, Logan and Magda had sex in a hotel room before she went on her way.
Magda unexpectedly became pregnant from this encounter and met up with Logan again nine months later while he was still pursuing Mothervine. They both understood their duty as parents superseded loyalty to other organizations. The baby was the only known child of "Mutant Zero" and also carried in his blood a pure sample of the Mothervine virus, making his genetic material a gold mine for bio-weapon programs. In order to keep the boy safe and undiscovered, Logan had his son placed with a war veteran buddy of his that owed him a favor, James Hudson. Logan's son grew up as Jimmy Hudson, Jr. in Port St. Lucie, Florida. [Ultimate Comics Wolverine #1-4, Ultimate X #1]
Dark days for mutantkind began with the Ultimatum Wave. In response to the death of his daughter Wanda, Magneto of the Brotherhood Mutant Supremacy tilted Earth's axis, causing a tidal wave that flooded New York and killed millions. The response that followed led to the death of most of the Brotherhood and the X-Men. Magneto killed Xavier and Wolverine, after which he was in turn killed by Cyclops, who was then killed by Magneto's son Pietro. Fearing his death was imminent, Wolverine gave a set of mementos to Kitty Pryde before leaving on his final mission. This box included details about his son. In the aftermath of Ultimatum, Executive Order 3144 made it a crime to be a mutant. Law enforcement in America was authorized to shoot on sight or apprehend mutants and turn them over to the government. [Ultimatum crossover]
Sixteen year old Jimmy Hudson, Jr. manifested his mutant powers in the weeks following the Ultimatum Wave. While street racing on the highway with his friends, Jimmy blew a tire and flipped his car, a spectacular burning wreck from which he nevertheless walked away unharmed. The next morning, Kitty Pryde showed up with Wolverine's box of mementos and told Jimmy the truth about his father. A holographic message recorded by Logan played for Jimmy, where Wolverine said both hello and good-bye to his son, promising he never regretted having him. Already aware of his healing factor, Jimmy tried to summon claws like his father and, sure enough, sprouted a set of bone claws from his hands. With a second thought, he discovered he had the power to coat the claws at will with metal, biologically producing his own Adamantium for the blades. Jimmy's adopted father came in and told Jimmy the rest of what he knew about his biological father. [Ultimate X #1]
Jimmy went searching for other mutants, and found Jean Grey living in Baltimore under the assumed name Karen Grant. Together, the two of them recruited Derek Morgan (Guardian) and Liz Allan (Firestar), but they learned Quicksilver was still active and recruiting for the Brotherhood too. [Ultimate X #2-4] Jimmy was caught off guard when Sabretooth came looking for the son of Wolverine. Creed had apparently decided to eliminate Jimmy before he became skilled enough to pose a threat. Karen's team and the Brotherhood nearly went to war over this, and she recruited the Hulk to dish out revenge on Sabretooth. Pietro showed a cooler head, though, and insisted Sabretooth was a rogue actor. Creed and Jimmy had both been beaten, so he let in end there. Karen revealed she had made a deal with Nick Fury, allowing their unit to operate freely but covertly in the country. They received some government support, but only off the books. [Ultimate X #5]
Jimmy remained with Karen and the others for several months, living out of motel rooms and helping the mutants they could. All that changed when the news went public that mutants were not the next stage of evolution, but deliberately created in a lab by the American and Canadian governments. Jimmy suspected Karen already knew about the news before it broke, and he decided to leave and find out for himself what was true and what wasn't.
He came across an anti-mutant militia being run by William Stryker, Jr., hunting down and capturing mutants to be purged by God's will. Jimmy broke free from their prison camp, leading an escape where several mutants were killed, and taking heavy fire himself to shield the others. These mutants moved into the old Morlock tunnels where they found Kitty Pryde living in secret with Bobby Drake and Johnny Storm. Kitty helped Jimmy recover until his healing factor put him back together, and Jimmy alerted them about the other mutants Stryker was holding that he had failed to save.
Stryker initiated a mob riot in New York City, executing mutants in full view of the public. Jimmy and his friends were joined by Rogue as they confronted Stryker. It turned out that Stryker was a mutant himself with the power to control machines. The President of the United States made the fateful decision to send the Nimrod Sentinels to attack Stryker, only to lose control of America's entire mutant-hunting robot fleet. Kitty Pryde killed Stryker, but the ghost of his final command to kill all the mutants remained in the Nimrods’ programming. They began hunting and killing mutants without any oversight, making their way out west to the mutant concentration camps set up by Executive Order 3144, shooting fish in a barrel. [Ultimate Comics X-Men #1-6]
The United States was in dire straits at this point. The president abdicated responsibility for the Nimrod attacks in the west, officially declaring New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma no longer part of the union. He then went to war with the thousand year old Maker and his City for the Children of Tomorrow, leading to an anti-matter bomb being detonated in Washington D.C., killing the president and nearly all of Congress. With all this happening, Kitty decided to leave New York and go help the mutants dying in the Southwest. Jimmy, Iceman and Rogue went with her.
Jimmy and the others soon became revolutionaries, leading the fight against the anti-mutant militias and the Nimrod controlled camps. Jimmy was strongly attracted to Kitty, and became her strongest supporter, mostly in an effort to get closer to her. Kitty was focused on the mission, though, and had little time for romance at first. In the desert outside the camps, they found Nick Fury and a small band of escapees from the camp. Kitty and Jimmy forged these survivors into a mutant resistance with Fury's guidance. They freed the camps and killed the surviving consciousness of William Stryker in the Nimrod Sentinels. Meanwhile, the rest of the country rallied around Captain America in an election as the new president of the fractured states of America. [Divided We Fall, United We Stand event]
Captain America sympathized with the mutant plight but was also forced to play politics now that he was in office. Mutants in America were therefore given two options. First was a cure for the mutant condition, the SEAR virus that disabled and reversed the bio-engineered nano-machines that made up the X-Gene. Any mutant who took the cure would receive amnesty and citizenship. Those who chose not to take the cure, however, would receive a reservation set aside for them to live in southwestern Utah. This would be sovereign mutant territory, with independence from the USA guaranteed by the office of the President. These would be the only two options for mutants in America. Jimmy, Kitty and roughly two dozen other mutants took the latter option. [Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1]
In times of peace, the warlike turn upon themselves. Kitty and Jimmy struggled to maintain a united front among the remaining mutants. They had basically been tossed into the middle of a slightly radioactive desert and told to make do. Nomi Blume, Mach Two, was a young girl interested in overthrowing Kitty's authority, but a vote among the mutants went Kitty's way. Barely. Jimmy remained Kitty's chief supporter and occasional bodyguard, for Kitty had decided to abandon the ways of the revolutionary and become a pacifist in order to sustain what remained of mutantkind. Despite their small numbers, the remaining mutants had those among them who could truly build something. Storm's weather control, Blackheath's plant control, Magma's geo-sculpting and Zero's molecular powers helped them shape their landscape to become livable. Jimmy performed a survey of the land, using his healing factor to help locate radiation hot spots from military testing in the desert. He and Kitty began a genuine relationship as they helped establish this mutant "Utopia."
Utopia faced its first challenge when Blackheath, Storm and Zero created a "sentient seed," capable of adapting to any environment or soil, making it a potential solution for world hunger. Through Captain America, Kitty and Jimmy reached out to Tony Stark for backing and they brought the sentient seed to the world as a gift, intended to show mutantkind was not the enemy. Instead, their threat to the status quo brought out assassins and mercenaries of various stripes. Stark privately confided in Jimmy that, if Kitty was going to be the pacifist leader, Jimmy would have to be her general, ensuring Utopia's defense. They ultimately faked the destruction of the seed to take the spotlight off Utopia, while secretly selling it through Stark to build a treasury for their new nation. This was the final straw for Mach Two, however, who led some of the mutants away from Kitty's camp in protest of her actions. [Ultimate Comics X-Men #19-22]
Jimmy occasionally listened to the holographic message from his father Wolverine to feel a connection with the man. One day in Utopia, the technopath named Black Box overheard the message and sensed a hidden data cache inside the projector, which he drew forth for Jimmy. Jimmy and Black Box uncovered the trail of Mothervine, which Logan had been tracking decades before. Not knowing the details, Jimmy was sure Mothervine must be important for Wolverine to leave him the information like this. The two left Utopia to investigate the Mothervine sites encoded in the projector.
During their search, Jimmy and Black Box ran into Quicksilver, who revealed to Jimmy they were half-brothers. Pietro was on his own quest to re-ignite Mothervine, hoping to repopulate the mutant people in penance for some of his past acts. Pietro had no respect for the lives of innocents, however, willing to kill humans or weaponize mutants with Mothervine as he saw fit. Jimmy opposed Quicksilver's plans, so Pietro made it clear he didn't need Jimmy's cooperation, only the pure strain of the Mothervine virus in his blood. The brothers got into a brawl with one another until they were interrupted by the surprisingly alive Magda. She spirited away the injured Pietro, but told Jimmy she was proud of the man he was becoming. Back at Utopia, Jimmy decided he was ready to accept his destiny as James Hudson: Wolverine. [Ultimate Comics Wolverine #1-4]
[Note: Despite this, Jimmy never actually adopted the costume or identity of Wolverine on-panel. He was occasionally referred to as "Wolverine" in caption boxes and intros, but not directly in continuity.]