WOLVERINE: Page 6 of 23


Sometime after, during what should have been two routine neo-mutant recruiting missions, the X-Men were attacked by costumed and armored agents of an organization calling itself the Hellfire Club, who seemed to have an intimate knowledge of their planning and weaknesses. [X-Men (1st series) #129-131] Learning of an allegedly-legitimate social club of the same name in Manhattan, Cyclops prepped the team to infiltrate the club and determine what sort of threat they posed. Wolverine and Nightcrawler were to make their entrance through the basement sewers while the rest of the team entered through the front door under assumed names. Unfortunately, the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle was not only prepared for the X-Men, they had a secret weapon in their applicant Jason Wyngarde, who had been subtly corrupting Phoenix over a period of months. Wyngarde turned Jean against her teammates, transforming her into the Club’s new Black Queen in the process. The rest of the X-Men were captured with the exception of Wolverine, who was smashed through three basement floors and into the sewers below by Harry Leland's power. Working alone, Logan began to re-infiltrate the mansion, carving his way through multiple Hellfire guards in the process. Following up a stealthy entrance with sheer brute force, Wolverine came crashing through the Inner Circle's sanctum in time to turn the tables on their captors. [X-Men (1st series) #132-134]

The X-Men fled into the night, but the worst kind of damage had already been done: Wyngarde's manipulation of Jean Grey irreparably upset her psyche, bringing the darkest elements of her nature to the surface, fueled by the cosmic power she wielded. Phoenix became Dark Phoenix, and turned against her friends and teammates. Fighting what she had become was not only nigh-impossible, but emotionally-devastating to all involved. Even Wolverine, pragmatic enough to realize the only way to truly stop her was to kill her, held back at the last second and couldn't strike a fatal blow. In the end, Phoenix committed suicide instead of letting her powers continue to drive her over the brink of madness. [X-Men (1st series) #135-137]

In the aftermath, Cyclops needed to leave the team in order to properly grieve, and Professor Xavier nominated Storm to replace him as field leader. The former X-Man named Angel also returned at this point to help fill out their ranks, along with a neo-mutant they had met weeks previously named Kitty Pryde, who officially joined as an X-Man-in-training named Sprite.

In the midst of all this change and regrouping, Wolverine decided it was high time he settled his business with Department H once and for all, to prevent any further backlash to him and his life with the X-Men. Taking Nightcrawler along for the ride, he headed up north and dropped in on the Hudsons' house in order to make amends. Heather was there, and informed him that Jimmy was off on a mission in the north country. Heading up to rendezvous with Vindicator and Alpha Flight, Logan offered a truce between them and his services in their hunt for the man-beast known as the Wendigo. After a few harrowing encounters with the Wendigo, the combined heroes managed to defeat the creature and rescue the mother and child it had taken hostage. Vindicator said Wolverine had done the country a commendable service, and agreed to smooth over his resignation with parliament so that no one would be hunting him anymore. [X-Men (1st series) #139-140]

Returning to the states, Wolverine began to get to know his new teammates. Kitty Pryde was remarkably well taken with Logan, despite the initial creepiness he caused her. He even took to calling her "pun'kin" and began a series of private training sessions to help her develop her martial arts skills. Not all of the X-Men's latest additions were as quick to get along with Logan as Kitty Pryde, though. Angel developed an instinctive dislike for Wolverine since the moment he caught him hitting on Jean on the mansion's grounds the day he arrived, and these feelings had never gone away. Spending a period of weeks fighting by Wolverine's side only increased his discomfort, as Logan's killer instinct and violent streak continued to make Warren leery of being around him at all. Finally, he grew so fed up with the situation that he actually quit the X-Men rather than continue to work alongside the "little psychopath." [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #148]

In the following months, the X-Men battled the Hellfire Club again, and Wolverine confronted three Hellfire guards he had brutally maimed in his infiltration of the club last time. These mercenaries, Reese, Cole and Macon, were rebuilt as cyborgs in order to save their lives and seek revenge on Wolverine. When Logan learned that they truly thought they had nothing left to live for but revenge, he refused to kill them, claiming they weren't worth the effort. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #151-152]

Around this time, Wolverine was reintroduced to Carol Danvers, who stayed with the X-Men after suffering a trauma. The Evil Mutant known as Rogue had attacked Carol in the latter's Ms. Marvel persona, badly beaten her and robbed her of her super-powers and memories of the past. Carol and Wolverine were soon involved in an X-Men mission to infiltrate the Pentagon: anti-mutant sentiment had grown to dangerous levels in the country, and Professor Xavier had once been strongly connected to the US government, sharing files and information about the X-Men and his search for other mutants with the FBI, among other agencies. Using Carol's Air Force credentials and Wolverine's ranking status in the Canadian Armed Forces, the two of them entered the Pentagon to install a tapeworm virus in the federal computer banks, erasing all files pertaining to the X-Men and their history and identities from the computers on-site, and all other computers that connected with them. The mission was nearly compromised when they ran into Rogue by purest coincidence in the halls (visiting her leader Mystique in her legitimate identity as Raven Darkholme), and a fracas broke out. Rogue earned herself a serious grudge from Wolverine -- not only had she stolen the life and mind of one friend already, but she now used her draining ability on both Storm and Wolverine himself, leaving serious emotional scars on the both of them. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #158]

Not long thereafter, the X-Men foiled a planned insurrection of the Shi'ar Empire by the exile Deathbird and her allies, the Brood -- a plot which would have destroyed the planet Earth in the process. Majestrix Lilandra then brought the X-Men aboard her spaceship for a banquet in their honor. But Deathbird wasn't finished yet, and captured the team for her Brood comrades using a stun grenade. When the X-Men awoke, they were caught up in a hypnotic hallucination that caused them to believe they were still at the banquet. Only Wolverine's enhanced senses could see the truth, flashing back and forth between the illusion lie, and the cold reality that they were surrounded by Brood and being implanted by the Queen Mother with Brood eggs. Despite his understanding of the situation, though, Logan was unable to act against the Queen during the infestation ceremony. Wolverine was only able to act hours later, when he awoke to a searing pain in his gut. His healing factor attacked the egg in a desperate attempt to cleanse it from his body. His escape attempt was noticed by the Brood, and a hunting cadre was sent after him. Logan spent the rest of the day fighting off the Brood, both inside and out, falling into the bowels of their Acanti city-corpse, until the egg finally attempted to metamorphosize him into its new body. The Brood embryo was destroyed by his healing factor and the fact that its genetic manipulation could not affect his adamantium skeleton. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #162]

He managed to make his way back to the other X-Men and help them break free, at which point the team split in two to recapture Lilandra's ship and rescue the empress herself. Logan could not yet bear to tell his friends of their fate and the Brood eggs within them. When he caught the Queen Mother's scent during the search mission, though, Wolverine forcibly led the X-Men into battle with her, hoping to score revenge in the name of his living dead friends. In bitter irony, the other team of X-Men managed to secure the starship and beam Wolverine and the others up just before he could strike the killing blow. He was furious and, when his friends innocently questioned his all-encompassing hatred of the Brood, Logan was forced to explain their fates. Horrified, they still persevered under pressure, and took the fight back to the Sleazoids’ homeworld. With the help of the pure soul of an Acanti prophet-singer, the X-Men succeeded beyond all possible hope -- cleansing themselves of the eggs, killing the Queen Mother, freeing the enslaved Acanti ships, and destroying the Broodworld completely. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #162-167]

After returning home, Logan chose to take a vacation in the Canadian Rockies for some peace and solitude. He was set to return home to the X-Men when he discovered all his recent post to Mariko had been returned to him and, upon further inquiry, that she left New York to go home to Japan without a word, and would not take his calls. Confused and worried, he booked passage on the first flight to Japan he could find. There, he was met by an old friend in the Japanese intelligence community, Asano Kimura, who informed him that Mariko's father had given away her hand in marriage to a business acquaintance, and she was bound by giri to accept. Confronting Mariko personally did nothing to dissuade her, and Wolverine was ready to leave her with her honor when her father, Lord Shingen, intervened. He had his master assassin render Logan insensate with poisoned shuriken and then, when he awoke, offered Logan a chance to prove his worthiness to his daughter in mock combat using wooden swords. Wolverine accepted, but Shingen was manipulating him from the start -- he used his sword to strike critical nerve centers that would kill a normal man if hit too hard, angering Wolverine into popping his claws to even the odds against the master swordsman. Unfortunately, to the untrained eye of Mariko, it looked like her father had done nothing wrong, and that Logan was the one cheating. Shingen defeated Wolverine easily, and tossed him out into the streets, with Mariko's disappointed stare lingering in his mind.

In his weakened state, Wolverine was saved from a gang of street toughs by Yukio, known as the Wild One. Bitter and heart-broken from Mariko's rejection, Logan was drawn into Yukio's life: she claimed to be at odds with a local crime lord who was eager to consolidate his power, and that he demanded she eliminate his chief rival or else face death herself. Wolverine agreed to help her with this assassination, and they succeeded, but in fact Yukio's "crime lord" was Shingen himself, and she was his master assassin. Shingen wanted Wolverine used as a weapon against his rival, and then disposed of. Yukio had grown too fond of Wolverine herself, however, and defied Shingen and the Hand to keep him alive. Unfortunately for her, she unwittingly killed Logan's friend Asano when he came looking for him, and this act led Wolverine to recognize her scent as the assassin whose drugged shuriken took him down days earlier. He was ready to kill her for what she had done, but an attack by Hand assassins interrupted him long enough for Yukio to get away. These events were enough to snap Wolverine out of his funk, and he became determined to take his revenge on Shingen and provide himself once more to Mariko. He began dismantling Shingen's criminal empire from the ground up, until finally challenging the man himself to a rematch. Even knowing that killing Mariko's father would make her honor bound to be his enemy, Wolverine held nothing back and killed Shingen in single combat. To his surprise, Mariko bestowed on him the Masamune honor sword of the Clan Yashida, thanking him for killing Lord Shingen to bring honor back to their lineage. Yukio was allowed to go free, for she saved Mariko's life and murdered her pig of a husband as penance for Asano's death, and Logan and Mariko officially announced their engagement to be married. [Wolverine (1st series) #1-4]