Death of Wolverine #4

Issue Date: 
December 2014
Story Title: 
Death of Wolverine part four: History

Charles Soule (writer), Steve McNiven (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Steven McNiven, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor (cover artists), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Katie Kubert (consulting editor), Mike Marts (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)


Brief Description: 

Wolverine arrives at the facility in Nevada that Professor Cornelius is operating out of. He finds a laboratory where several men are hooked up to a contraption. Cornelius watches from an observation booth nearby, and reveals that he has followed Wolverine’s exploits over the years, and how he has continued his experiments to create the perfect weapon, such as he is doing here, only there is a problem - the subjects always die without a healing factor, which is why Cornelius plans to steal it from Wolverine. Wolverine demonstrates that he no longer has his healing factor, so Cornelius instructs one of his living weapons to kill Wolverine. They battle, while Cornelius starts to inject his other subjects with adamantium. Wolverine isn’t having it though, and eventually takes his opponent down, and as Cornelius flees, Wolverine pops his claws and cuts the cables to the adamantium, before it is pumped into the subjects - resulting in the adamantium pouring over Wolverine’s body. Wolverine slowly follows the route Cornelius took to escape, and as Cornelius collapses as a shard of glass was thrown into his body when a window was shattered, he cannot make it to the helicopter waiting for him. Wolverine, covered in the adamantium, arrives, and looms over Cornelius - several memories flash before him, and he takes Cornelius out, before walking to the edge of the facility rooftop, and watches the sun set as the adamantium solidifies around him.


Full Summary: 

Paradise Valley, Nevada, a determined Logan a.k.a. Wolverine speeds across the scorched, barren landscape towards a concrete structure jutting out the side of a large rock formation. He gets out of the jeep, and claws outstretched rushes towards the three soldiers guarding the facility. He detects their fear, but lunges towards them - and swiftly past them, he rushes towards an open door. ‘Cornelius’ Wolverine snarls as he grabs a soldier by his neck. Carrying on up the stairs, Wolverine leaves a trail of blood-stained bodies, until he reaches the doors to a room identified as Lab Ten. He has a blood-splattered ID card and swipes it through the access slot. The large metal doors open, and Logan goes wide-eyed, ‘No’ he gasps - and his mind flashes back to seeing himself trapped inside a tank in a similar lab, overseen by Professor Cornelius.

‘No’ Logan gasps again, as he sees Professor Cornelius through a window, to an observation booth looking out over the lab, where three men lay motionless, strapped to tables, hooked up to a ventilation system, large needles hooked up to a contraption, poised over their bodies. ‘Finally’ the aged Professor Cornelius remarks. Logan strides across the lab, past tanks with bodies inside them, he stands before the window as Cornelius calls out ‘Ogun said you’d be coming. I appreciate that very much. It saves me an enormous amount of money’. Logan just asks Cornelius what he is doing. But when he gets no response, he slams his fist into the glass and shouts ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’ The Professor’s eyes are obscured by his large, thick glasses, but he tells Wolverine ‘I’m getting it right, Logan. I’m taking everything I’ve learned in my life… all of my failures… and I’m getting it right’.

Cornelius continues, declaring that he deserves to be known for something other than helping to make a killer unkillable. ‘Who are they?’ Wolverine asks, motioning to one of the men on the tables. Cornelius grins and announces that they are his great hope, his latest great hope - the best he can find. ‘You wouldn’t believe how difficult it has been to find suitable subjects. Athletes, military personnel…my agents have brought me fodder from all over the world’. Logan grits his teeth and asks Cornelius how many he has. ‘As many as I need, Mr Logan. As many as I have to. Hundreds. It’s been years’ Cornelius replies, adding ‘Not enough. Because I haven’t solved it yet. It doesn’t matter’. He declares that in a decade the number of people who care that they ever lived will be in the single digits. ‘When I made you -’ Cornelius begins, but Logan, claws at the ready, replies ‘You didn’t make me’. Cornelius reminds Logan that he gave him his adamantium skeleton, made his claws unbreakable.

Cornelius continues, revealing that he has kept up with what Logan has been doing. ‘You think you would ever have become a super hero without me?’ he asks. ‘Brightly colored costumes, all that pageantry. You don’t belong in bright colors. They do. My children. My pretty, deadly children’ Cornelius exclaims, referring to the men on the tables. Cornelius announces that they are conditioned, that they will do what they are told - not like Logan. He reveals that he has enhanced every system - neurological, endocrine, muscular - they are now perfect. ‘All they need…is the adamantium’ Cornelius declares, as a large vat of the precious metal sits untouched in the laboratory. ‘That’s why…you want my skeleton’ Logan declares. ‘No. I have enough of the alloy. Not easy to find. Crushingly expensive. But I’ve gathered an adequate amount. Even cracked the method to smelt it’ Cornelius boasts, adding, that as Wolverine knows, the process to bond the metal to a person is invasive.

A needle filled with yellow liquid sits on a tray, as Cornelius explains that he tried to duplicate his abilities, to let his subjects survive, the adamantium bonding, so he developed a regenerative formula, which is effective, but not quite good enough. ‘They all die, and then I just have to extract the alloy from their corpses. Messy. Time Consuming. But I let nothing go to waste here’ Cornelius announces. He grins and declares that is why he is so glad Wolverine has come to him, as he can turn all of this around. ‘You’re the reason I’ve spent so much money. Expended so much effort’. He asks Wolverine if he doesn’t want to be part of something better. ‘You can play the hero again. You can save lives’. He tells Wolverine to just stop fighting them. ‘All I need…is that marvellous healing factor of yours’.

‘Heh’ Wolverine laughs, putting one of his claws to his hand, he scratches the palm and lets the blood flow. He puts his hand to the glass, and the blood continues to seep out of the wound. ‘Why isn’t it -?’ Cornelius asks, confused. ‘Sorry, Bub’ Wolverine replies. ‘I always did have a problem with tunnel vision.

Kill him, please’ Cornelius calls out. ‘All right’ a voice responds, and Wolverine spins around, seeing someone in a blue jumpsuit with a metal mask covering his face, and a glow radiating from his body stands before him. ‘Got no quarrel with you, pal’ Wolverine tells his opponent. ‘That doesn’t matter. Nothing really does, anymore’ the man in blue replies. Cornelius introduces him as Major Sharp, and explains he is a searcher, that he was looking for something, and came to him. ‘He’s my proof of concept. My financial backers love him. Every critical enhancement I could think of. In his head, he’s always fighting’.

‘Always’ Major Sharp declares as he moves forward and punches Wolverine in the face, drawing blood. Cornelius watches, and presses a button on the console before him. ‘You know my mistake?’ Cornelius asks as the contraption above the men on the tables moves closer, blades, knives and needles lowered towards one of the men. ‘I’ve thought about it a lot. I used an animal. You’re an animal’ Cornelius tells Wolverine, as one of the men on the table opens his eyes, as a blade saws into his chest, and a scalpel cuts at his forehead. ‘They call you Wolverine. I know they do. I kept tabs’ Cornelius remarks, before asking Logan if he knows the taxonomic name for Wolverine. Wolverine’s doesn’t respond, as he raises his claws towards Major Sharp, as Cornelius continues: ‘Gulo Gulo. Latin for gluttonous glutton. They’re thirsty, horrible creatures’ he points out. ‘Thirsty for killing. They’re one of the only creatures that kills for pleasure. Other than man, of course’, deciding that it is a good name for Logan.

Major Sharp’s hand slides forward, and cuts through Logan’s makeshift claws strapped to his body. ‘But look at Sharp. Look at him. Conditioned. Perfect. Better’ Cornelius announces, while Wolverine is punched in the stomach by Major Sharp. Cornelius remarks that the AK-47 is arguably the most successful invention in the history of mankind, and asks Wolverine to name another sophisticated machine in constant use for more than seventy years unchanged. ‘You can’t. It’s perfect. Make something perfect, and you’re immortal. You matter’. He admits that he did it wrong, the first time around. ‘My mistake. You. You’re a Wolverine. A glutton for death. A plague upon the Earth’ Cornelius points out, as Major Sharp phases through Wolverine’s body. ‘But I’ll figure it out’ Cornelius remarks‘, as another man on the table starts to cry as the blades and knives and needles invade his body.

‘I’ve got the contracts. The funding. Imagine - thousands upon thousands of you…without conscience, without desire, just…conditioned. Cornelius declares, boasting that he will change the world for the better - before he does. ‘I will’ he declares, as one of the men on the table has sole of their foot sliced open. Wolverine comes to a stop, leaning over, near the window, ‘Just…end it’ he calls out, as Major Sharp readies to continue his attack. ‘All right’ Major Sharp responds, lunging forward, fist ready - only Wolverine ducks down, and Major Sharp shatters the window to the observation booth, startling Cornelius. ‘I’m sorry, Dr Cornelius. I -’ Major Sharp begins, as glass flies about everywhere.’ you fool, you - look out-’ Cornelius exclaims, as Wolverine leaps up and smashes Major Sharp across the back of his head. Major Sharp falls to the ground. ‘The machines. Turn. Them. OFF’ Wolverine demands, as he crushes the metal helmet around Major Sharp’s face, while motioning to the machines that are busy dissecting the men on the tables.

‘No’ Cornelius replies as he presses a button on the console, and a red light clicks on. A computer’s voice can be heard: ‘Caution. Adamantium infusion process commenced. Maintain safe distance’. A red light glows in the room, as adamantium in the vat starts to pump into the contraption that the men on the tables are connected to. ‘No’ Logan gasps, looking back into the room, while Cornelius turns and rushes from the observation room. Logan feels immense pain as he pops his real claws, blood spurts from his knuckles. Logan charges towards the contraption above the other men and slashes it - causing adamantium to spill out of it, and start to cover his body - engulfing him, knocking him to his knees. Logan stands up, and reaches for the syringe of serum on the tray, while the contraption above the men injects them all with the serum at the same time, Logan turns to the observation booth and slowly walks towards it.

Outside, on top of the compound, ‘Go! Go! We can’t wait!’ Cornelius calls out to a soldier who is standing near a chopper. ‘I’ll spin it up…but you…what the hell happened, Doctor? You’re…bleeding’ the soldier responds, while elsewhere in the compound, Wolverine picks up the blood trail. ‘So…so I am’ Dr Cornelius realizes as he pulls his white coat open, revealing a large piece of glass embedded in his side - pierced intestine. Cornelius collapses, ‘Easy, Doc!’ the soldier calls out as he rushes over to the old man. ‘What the hell?’ the soldier suddenly gasps, and Wolverine detects fear. ‘Just go! Now!’ Cornelius exclaims, as Wolverine, covered in slowly solidifying adamantium emerges onto the rooftop. The soldier reaches for his gun - but he is frozen in fear, so he turns and rushes for the chopper. ‘No!’ Cornelius calls out.

Wolverine’s shadow emerges over Cornelius, who looks up and exclaims ‘At least I tried! I tried to make something! I tried to change the world!’ Cornelius asks Wolverine what he ever did but kill people. ‘What did you ever do?’ he asks again. Wide-eyed, enraged, he shouts ‘What did YOU ever -’ Cornelius shouts, as memories rush into Wolverine’s mind. Fighting warriors. Being “Patch” in Madripoor. Kissing Jean Grey. Fighting in the Canadian winter. Teaching at the Jean Grey School. Marrying Mariko. Professor Cornelius lies motionless, as Wolverine slowly moves to the edge of the compound roof. ‘Nngh’ he utters, as he drops to one knee. ‘Enough’ he decides, as he looks out over the setting sun, dropping to his other knee, his hands and claws resting on his knees, Logan hangs his head - his body gives in to the adamantium that has engulfed him.

Characters Involved: 



Professor Cornelius

Major Sharp




In Wolverine’s memories

Wolverine at various stages

Jean Grey

Mariko Yashida

Genesis II & Kid Omega


Professor Cornelius

Story Notes: 

This issue comes with a card-stock holo-foil cover and exclusive bonus material such as five pages depicting all of the variant covers for Death of Wolverine #1-4 and listing the artists, as well as a page of reflections from the creators.

The Death of Wolverine aftermath can be read in Wolverine and the X-Men (2nd series) #10-11, Deadpool & Captain America #1, Storm (3rd series) #4-5, Nightcrawler (4th series) #7, Life After Logan #1, the Weapon X Program #1-5 and The Logan Legacy #1-7.

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