WOLVERINE: Page 5 of 23


That night, after things begin to settle down, Logan approached Jean Grey, Marvel Girl, in the mansion's yard. His romantic advances were cut short when the over-protective Angel dive-bombed him from the sky, starting a long-standing grudge between the two men and a prolonged flirtation with Jean. [Classic X-Men #1] Despite this incident, and the departure of both Jean and Angel along with the other original X-Men, Wolverine elected to stay on the team for the long term under Cyclops and Professor X's direction, along with his fellow new recruits Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee, Thunderbird and Colossus. They began training under Cyclops's direction, working tirelessly in the Danger Room to hone their individual skills and teamwork. Their first mission came sooner than expected, when Count Nefaria and his Ani-Men assumed command of Valhalla Mountain and NORAD. Despite Wolverine's familiarity with the complex due to his time in the military, they were only able to reassume control of the mountain, not stop Nefaria's escape. What's worse, their own member Thunderbird died in a last ditch attempt to capture the evil count. [X-Men (1st series) #94-95]

Time passed, and though Logan came to feel more at home in the mansion, he was still subject to the occasional berserker rage, lashing out at friend or foe alike with unthinking animal ferocity. Still, he managed to befriend his fellow X-Men despite his wild ways, especially the "misfit" called Nightcrawler. The two of them set up a reoccurring game of "tag" out on the mansion's grounds -- loser buys the beer. After one such match, they went out for brews at Harry's Hideaway in nearby Salem Center. The two got to talking, and Logan pushed Kurt to stop hiding his face behind an image inducer's "normal" holograms. Enough alcohol had passed through their systems that Kurt agreed to take a walk down Main Street as his true self. Excluding one meathead, the pedestrians he passed didn't scream, or attack, or chase him with pitchforks... they saw him as odd, but nothing more. Even this little bit of acceptance was more than Kurt had ever hoped for, and Wolverine gained a friend for life by forcing Nightcrawler into taking his dare. [Classic X-Men #4] Logan also developed a more than healthy respect for Storm, for she was able to bring him down from a berserker rage once when he and Cyclops got into an argument, sheerly by the force of her will and the steel in her voice. [X-Men (1st series) #97]

That Christmas Eve, the X-Men were enjoying the holiday festivities in Rockefeller Center when a new model of Sentinel attacked. Wolverine was captured, along with Xavier, Banshee and Jean Grey, and taken to Stephen Lang's orbital platform. They managed to escape temporarily, only to plunge into the vacuum of space when they unknowingly broke through the outer wall of their prison. [X-Men (1st series) #98] They were forced to allow the Sentinels to retrieve them, and remained prisoners until their fellow X-Men arrived to save them. During the ensuing fray, Lang unleashed his X-Sentinels -- robotic duplicates of the original X-Men. It was against these foes that Wolverine and Colossus first employed the now-legendary "Fastball Special" in combat. It was also Wolverine who, employing his enhanced senses, revealed that the X-Men they were fighting were robots to begin with.

As their adventure came to an explosive conclusion, however, the X-Men were faced with bleak prospects for getting home alive. The space station was a total loss, and the shuttle they arrived in was little better, having had its computer knocked off-line in the entry crash. The need for manual piloting combined with the lethal radiation storms between them and Earth left only one person present capable of flying them home -- Jean Grey. As much as they tried to talk her out of it (and Cyclops and Wolverine both gave it their all), only Jean could draw upon the piloting knowledge from Corbeau's mind AND stood a chance of surviving the radiation thanks to her teke shields. Wolverine and the others locked themselves in a radiation-proof lifepod and, miraculously, they all made it through the storm and subsequent crash intact. Even Jean emerged from the shuttle, though she had apparently been possessed by a new cosmic power as the Phoenix, only to fall into a coma moments after bursting forth from Jamaica Bay. [X-Men (1st series) #98-101]

The next day, Logan planned to surprise Jean at the hospital with a bouquet of flowers, maybe get to know her better on his terms. His years as an ill-tempered loner left Wolverine completely surprised, however, when he walked into the emergency ward to find the entire roster already sitting and waiting for news on Jean. He quietly tossed out the flowers and joined the group. [X-Men (1st series) #101] In the months to come, the X-Men would face all manner of foes, thrown at them by Eric the Red, agent of the Shi'ar Empire -- Black Tom & Juggernaut, Magneto, even the former Herald of Galactus, Firelord. They persevered, and ultimately ended a threat to the entire universe brought on by the Shi'ar's mad emperor, D'Ken. [X-Men (1st series) #102-108]

The next day after they returned to Earth, Logan hitched a ride with some of the others to the local forest in order to do his own brand of hunting -- he would test himself by moving so smoothly, so quietly, that he could reach out and touch a deer before they knew he was there. During his sport, however, Wolverine was greeted by the sudden appearance of an old friend: James MacDonald Hudson, fully decked out in his revised electromagnetic battle suit, and answering to the name "Weapon Alpha." It seems Department H and the Canadian government decided not to respect Wolverine's resignation, and activated Hudson as a field agent to bring him back, one way or another. Their fight eventually carried over to where his fellow X-Men were having a picnic. Finding himself outnumbered and accidentally injuring Moira MacTaggert with a ricochet, Hudson decided to cut his losses and make a getaway without Weapon X in his possession. [X-Men (1st series) #109]

Not long afterwards, an old foe of the original X-Men named Mesmero came a’ calling, and managed to surprise and subdue all of the team with his ultra-hypnosis, save Wolverine. Logan's will proved too indomitable for Mesmero while he was splitting his attention among the others as well. However, after using the entire X-Men team to soften him up with a serious beating, even Wolverine fell. Mesmero's hypnotic grip was tenuous at best, however, and when the Beast came searching for his friends and broke into Mesmero's camp to rescue them, his capture was enough to prod Logan's mind back to normal. Wolverine escaped and, after forcing Jean Grey's mind back to the surface as his had been, was able to revive all the X-Men. They came after Mesmero with a vengeance, only to find Magneto had beaten them to the punch, and was eager for a rematch with the new team. [X-Men (1st series) #111]

Magneto shanghaied the team to his Antarctic base, and subjected them to a process which reduced their motor control to the level of infants while leaving their minds fully capable -- a form of slow torture to recreate the months Magneto spent as an infant in MacTaggert’s care.

This was particularly agonizing for Wolverine who, in his frustration, felt himself slipping further and further into his berserker rage and animalistic nature. Storm ultimately managed to free the team, and they struck back against Magneto. Perhaps they struck a little too well, for in the melee they damaged the control computers keeping the raging volcano around the base at bay. The complex began flooding with molten lava and the team was separated: Beast and Phoenix made it to the surface, while Wolverine, Cyclops, Banshee, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler had to tunnel their way out in order to escape. Each group was left believing the other had died in the chaos. [X-Men (1st series) #112-114]

Wolverine and his teammates eventually surfaced in the Savage Land, and made their way to friendly camp with Ka-Zar and the Fall People. After taking time to recuperate and deal with the twin threats of Sauron and Garokk the Petrified Man, the X-Men began the long trek back to civilization. [X-Men (1st series) #115-117] Their makeshift raft weathered some of the worst storms on the planet in the Drake Passage, until a Japanese freighter picked them up. Since the captain had a mission of his own to fulfill, the X-Men remained guests on-board the ship for the next six weeks, splitting their hours between training exercises and spending time with the crew.

In the meanwhile, they tried not to think too much about the friends they had lost. Wolverine had the most difficult time of them all with this: he and Cyclops both loved Jean, but on a subconscious level Scott's rapport with her prevented him from fully accepting her death... Logan had no such comfort. When they finally pulled in to Japanese shores, the X-Men made contact with Sunfire at his ancestral home. Logan made the first steps towards getting past Jean when he met Shiro's cousin, the young Mariko Yashida. This was just the comfort he needed, and Logan was very taken with the young woman, gifting her with a white chrysanthemum to remember him by as they departed. [X-Men (1st series) #118-120]

The X-Men continued their months-long journey home, but were ambushed by a freak storm over Canada, which herded their plane with a driving intelligence to land at Calgary. There, they were confronted by Weapon Alpha, now called Vindicator, who once again tried to recover Weapon X for the Canadian government. Slimly managing to escape capture at the airport, the X-Men moved on into the city itself, becoming temporarily lost in the crowd. Hudson had help this time with the newly prepped strike team known as Alpha Flight, which managed to lure the X-Men into a battle at the Calgary Stampede grounds. The fight raged for some time, with neither team getting the upper hand, until the storm Shaman created to force their landing in the first place grew to uncontrollable levels, threatening to consume all of Canada and beyond. Storm used every last bit of her power to disperse the storm front, and this brief lull in the fighting led to a cease fire between the two teams. Wolverine agreed to go back to Department H in order to avoid any further problems for the X-Men. Of course, this didn't stop him from breaking out of the "escape-proof" armored transport they put him in the moment it got out of sight, and making his way back aboard the X-Men's plane before it even took off. Thus, Department H's claim on Weapon X was postponed yet again for another day. [X-Men (1st series) #120-121]

Upon returning to New York and finding the mansion all but boarded up in their absence and presumed death, the X-Men began re-establishing their roots. To his surprise, Wolverine spotted Mariko Yashida arriving at the Japanese embassy in Manhattan, and renewed their friendship with great pleasure. [X-Men (1st series) #122] Even better was when the X-Men finally reconnected their phones and utilities and reunited with all their friends, letting everyone know they were alive and learning Beast and Jean were alive as well. However, this joyful news came on the onset of one of their greatest battles -- the entity known as Mutant X had escaped from Muir Island, and their friends were in jeopardy. Mutant X, who came to call himself Proteus, was the son of Moira MacTaggert and was a mutant capable of possessing host bodies and altering the fundamental nature of reality. After hooking up with the Muir Isle staff and tracking Proteus to the Scottish mainland, the team split up into smaller teams. Wolverine and Nightcrawler were the first to encounter the villain. Proteus devastated them – as a man who lived so fully by his senses, Logan's mind was driven to the brink of madness by Proteus' power to distort reality so completely. In the aftermath, Wolverine could barely hold himself together and, as they regrouped, Cyclops could clearly see this. In order to snap Wolverine out of his funk, Scott forced him into a confrontation, taunting him, even throwing hot cocoa into his face to get him riled up. The two of them sparred long enough for Logan to shake off the damage Proteus had done to his spirit. Once he realized what it had been about, Wolverine was quite impressed at Cyclops' sneakiness and guts, building his respect for Scott. After all his questioning of Cyclops and his leadership decisions, not to mention his unspoken competition for Jean's affections, this could honestly be seen as the moment Wolverine accepted Cyclops as his friend and leader. Revitalized as a team and unit, the X-Men were able to successfully defeat Proteus and end his threat seemingly forever. [X-Men (1st series) #125-128]