Wolverine: First Class #5

Issue Date: 
September 2008
Story Title: 

Fred van Lente (writer), Clayton Henry (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Espin & Guru eFX (cover), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Joe Sabino (production), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Some time ago, Wolverine, Snowbird, Aurora and Shaman, all heroes in Canada’s Department H, were sent on a mission to stop a group of terrorists at La Citadelle De Quebec, where the Governor General was being held captive. While Aurora argues with Snowbird for much of the mission, Shaman is rather nervous as this is his first official mission, and he doesn’t like his costume. Snowbird uses her post-cognitive abilities to replay the recent events that happened at La Citadelle De Quebec, enabling the team to plan their entry after getting a harsh word from Kinney of the Intelligence Branch. During their entrance though, Shaman is shot - protected only by the Kevlar lining of his suit. Snowbird then makes an important discovery after one of the terrorists‘ masks is removed, and the trio wonder how to tell Wolverine. Wolverine, meanwhile, has made his way through the facility, taking down several of the terrorists, until he almost finds the Governor General, when a super-human opponent attacks Wolverine - who is shocked to discover that his attacker’s outer body is completely covered in adamantium. He reveals his name is “Citadel” and that his cipher-code is “Weapon Y”. Wolverine instantly realizes there is a connection, and Citadel drops hints at his past, before his fellow terrorists unmask themselves, revealing that they have adamantium attacked to various parts of their bodies, after sustaining injuries in a war, they were sent back to Canada and “repaired”. Citadel is about to do some serious damage to Wolverine, not listening to him when he offers to try and help, when, suddenly, a goat enters the room. Believing it to be the mascot which was kept with the other hostages, Citadel gets a surprise when Snowbird shifts to her default form and smacks him over. Wolverine tries to get more information from Citadel, but Kinney enters and shoots Citadel with a neuro-taser, rendering him unconscious. Kinney doesn’t offer Wolverine any information either, and leaves with the Police who arrest the terrorists. Later, Wolverine learns where Citadel is being kept, and with Shaman, goes to visit him, but Citadel seems a lost cause, as the adamantium is slowly poisoning him, and Shaman suggests to Wolverine that he may also be getting poisoned. Wolverine is infuriated by this, and proceeds to quit Department H, severing his ties with the Canadian government and joining the X-Men. Much later, Wolverine takes the Blackbird - and Kitty Pryde - to Canada, when the X-Men find out, they believe that Wolverine is going to rejoin his old team, Alpha Flight, and have Kitty join the team too, which the X-Men are not happy about. En route to Canada, Wolverine tells Kitty about the Citadel story, but when they arrive at the facility where he is being kept, it’s too late, as Citadel has died. When the X-Men arrive, Kitty explains that Wolverine thought her intangibility may have been able to help Citadel, and is concerned that now Wolverine has lost another piece to his past.

Full Summary: 

‘To me, my X-Men!’ comes the telepathic call of Professor Charles Xavier at the home of the Uncanny X-Men in Westchester, New York. As Storm, Angel, Colossus and Nightcrawler rush to where Xavier is waiting for them, Xavier informs them that a day he has long dreaded has arrived at last. As the four mutants enter the meeting room, Xavier reminds them that, as they know, Wolverine came to them from the Canadian government, which was grooming him to be the leader of their national champions - Vindicator! Snowbird! Sasquatch! Northstar! Aurora! Shaman! Who are known as…Alpha Flight!

Xavier tells the X-Men that, according to Cerebro’s internal monitoring of the mansion, at approximately 0530, Logan received a call from the military base in Quebec where he recruited him from, then, without permission, Wolverine promptly commandeered the Blackbird to fly North, on a course Cerebro has calculated will lead him directly back to that base. Xavier announces that he fears Wolverine has elected to return to Alpha Flight. He points out that although Logan, like any of the X-Men, are free to come and go as they please, he has not only stolen their jet, but he has taken Kitty Pryde with him. ‘That is unacceptable!’ Xavier declares, before telling the four X-Men that he needs them to pursue and intercept Wolverine - if they are not too late already.

‘Meanwhile, heading to Canada, the X-Men’s jet streaks across the sky. And, inside it… ‘Hey, when we join Alpha Flight…will I get a better costume?’ Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Sprite asks. ‘Cause I got to tell you. This generic x-hoodie is really stifling my individuality!’. Wolverine ignores Kitty’s comment and remarks that it wasn’t so long ago the only thing he could expect from Alpha Flight was a punch in the mouth. ‘Oh. Wow. So you managed to totally tick off the other hero team you were a member of too? What a shock!’ Kitty replies sarcastically.

Wolverine explains that it is a little different in this case, and points out that Charley will be miffed for a while over this, but one day he will get over it, ‘I’m just one of a dozen X-Men’ Logan points out. ‘With Alpha Flight, though, I wasn’t just the top dog…I was first of the litter!’

(Shown with Flashback Illustrations)

Wolverine informs Kitty that Jimmy Hudson, the head of Canada’s superhuman program, Department H, found him while he and his wife, Heather, were on their honeymoon. ‘Nothing like finding a stark raving wild man with no memory at all - not even of how his bones got laced with adamantinum - to ruin a romantic evening, huh?’ Logan jokes.

Logan explains that Department H took him in, tamed him, trained him and gave him a purpose. ‘Defending the country from monsters like Wendigo - and the Hulk!’. Logan remarks that it takes one to beat one, and reveals that because of his experience, it was decided he should lead a whole team of super-Canucks that they were trying to put together. ‘And, dumb as I was back then, I thought that might actually be a good idea…’.

(Flashback, takes place between Alpha Flight Special: First Flight & Giant-Sized X-Men #1)

The Barn, near Thunder Bay, headquarters of Department H, and home to a select handful of super powered beings. ‘We got a bonafide red ball on our hands, Logan!’ James MacDonald Hudson tells his friend as they walk through the command center of Department H. Mac explains that there is a hostage situation at La Citadelle in Quebec City, and that early reports suggest that at least some of the perpetrators are superhumans. ‘Sounds like my kinda scrap!’ Logan replies. They approach a large monitor with nine headshots of super beings on it, one marked Resigned and the other K.I.A.

Mac remarks that he knows Logan likes to work solo, but the Ministry of Defense is insisting that he bring a strike team on this assignment. ‘For once I agree with them!’ Logan replies, pointing out that a hostile extraction with multiple targets needs plenty of warm bodies. He looks at the monitor and decides to take Snowbird, pointing out that, aside from him, Narya has the most operational experience. Logan decides on Aurora, and admits that she is a little flighty for his tastes, but she is a speedster and they will need to hit these jokers fast. ‘And…um…gimme the Doc. What’d they end up calling him? “Shaman”?’. Mac asks Wolverine if he is sure, pointing out that Michael Twoyoungmen has never been in the field before, he has always been the mystical advisor.

‘That so? Well, when innocent lives are at stake Jimmy…never hurts to have a little magic on your side!’. Logan jokes, before he and Mac approach Snowbird, Aurora and Shaman, who are already assembled, and Logan tells them to saddle up, and that he will give them the situation report en route. Logan is taken aback as Aurora places a hand on his face and tells him that she is so grateful he selected her for his team. ‘If you have some free time afterward, I’d like to show you how much…’ she tells him, ‘Er…thanks, Jeanne-Marie’ Wolverine replies, addressing her by her true name, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier. The sultry Snowbird tells Aurora that it would be best for everyone if she simply kept her mind on the mission, to which Aurora frowns, ‘Oh, pardonnez-moi, Ice Queen’ she replies with a mocking tone. ‘Snowbird’ the Goddess corrects her. ‘Mais naturellement…’ Aurora replies.

Soon, the four heroes are en route to La Citadelle De Quebec, which was built in the mid-19th Century to protect the St. Lawrence from a possible American invasion. Inside the Department H helicopter, Twoyoungmen tells his teammates that the only thing he doesn’t get is the costume. ‘It’s so…garish. Is it really necessary?’ he asks. Logan tells him that he would look even dumber in hospital scrubs, before turning to the beautiful women, and exclaiming ‘Showtime, ladies!’ with that their cue, Snowbird and Aurora leap from the chopper and fly towards La Citadelle De Quebec, with Wolverine telling them to be careful, that as the recon team they have to see what can be seen.

Aurora tells Snowbird to be very careful. ‘Or you might actually start enjoying yourself!’ she exclaims. ‘Don’t talk to me!’ Snowbird snaps back as she shifts her form into that of an ookpik, a giant arctic owl, one of the many abilities possessed by the Arctic Goddess. In her owl form, Snowbird lands on a telescope down in the facility, near where some destruction has been caused, and uses her post-cognitive powers to replay any event that is up to six hours old - in this particular case, Narya witnesses a large armored figure smash the wall down, with several masked soldiers at his side.

Wolverine and Shaman have met up with some Police officers who are keeping check of the situation, and one of them remarks that whoever the hostiles are, they are definitely not amateurs, revealing that the minute they secure La Citadelle, they hunkered down behind its fortifications, and now his men have no idea where they are inside the fortress, or even how many there are. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Aurora appears, speeding onto the scene, startling the Police officer, and announcing that she counted fourteen. Aurora remarks that it took her about two and a half minutes to case the entire fortress. ‘And you know, in that entire time, I didn’t see Snowbird anywhere. Tsk, tsk, dereliction of duty pas bon!’, Aurora exclaims.

Aurora informs everyone that the terrorists have herded the garrison, all the tourists and staff into the museum - along with a goat, for some reason. Suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘That’d be Baptiste, the regimental mascot’, and addresses Wolverine as “Weapon X”. Wolverine turns to the man in the suit and points out that he knows his cipher-code, which means he must be from the Intelligence Branch of the Canadian Military Intelligence. Logan asks the man what he is doing here, as he thought this was strictly a law-enforcement deal.

The man in the suit introduces himself as Kinney of the Intelligence Platoon from Ottawa, and announces that this is a matter of national security now, ‘Straight from the Ministry!’ he exclaims, announcing that the Governor General is inside as a prisoner. ‘She is? When were you planing on telling my Department H crew that?’ Wolverine asks, to which Kinney angrily shouts back ‘Whenever I bloody well felt like it! We’re just luck the media’s kept their noses out of it!’. Kinney adds that Wolverine may be the leader of this travelling freak show, but now it is the Intelligence Branch’s circus. Kinney tells Wolverine that he and his weirdos’ number one priority I to find where the terrorists are keeping the Governor General.

Suddenly, a small voice, low to the ground exclaims ‘They took her to the cellar in her residence on the grounds!’. Aurora screams as a white mouse rushes by her feet, of course the mouse is actually Snowbird, who advises Wolverine that they should proceed with caution, explaining that she managed to get inside the facility undetected in her mouse form, and used her post-cognition to witness the terrorists with the Governor General.

Snowbird shifts to her default form as Wolverine remarks that there is a reason they were called in and not the Mounties, before asking Kinney if he is all right for them to cut to the heroics now. Kinney replies that he supposes so, but wants constant reports. He begins to threaten Wolverine, but Logan just brushes him off as he tells his three teammates to synchronize their watches, explaining that he will rescue the Governor General, while the three of them stick together to secure the museum. Logan adds that they will strike simultaneously in thirty minutes and asks Shaman if he has any hocus-pocus that can get them inside all stealthy-like.

Twoyoungmen replies that he is not comfortable with Wolverine referring to his grandfather’s sacred Sarcee medicine pouch as “hocus-pocus”, before reaching inside the medicine pouch and pulling out a fog of invisibility, which he then envelops Narya, Aurora and himself in. ‘Yeah, like I said: hocus-pocus’, Wolverine mumbles, while making his own stealthy way into the facility - with a more conventional approach though, smashing through the wall, claws outstretched.


‘Wait, wait, back up…what is a Governor General?’ asks Kitty. Wolverine explains that the Governor General is the representative of the Queen of Canada. ‘Whoa! There’s a Queen of Canada?’ Kitty replies excitedly. Wolverine replies ‘Sort of’ and explains that the Queen of Canada is whoever happens to be the Queen of England. ‘Huh? You guys are part of England?’ Sprite asks, confused. ‘No. Well, we used to be. But now we’re not -’ Logan replies, as Kitty interrupts, asking why the Queen can push them around. ‘She can’t!’ Logan exclaims, before remarking ‘I mean…she can, since the Governor General can veto, as her rep, any Government decision’. ‘And you’re trying to save this person?’ Kitty asks. ‘Just shut up and listen, yank!’ Logan tells his companion.

(Flashback continues)

Logan ambushes one of the terrorists, and breaks his next to get past him - then disposes of several more as he makes his way across the grounds to the Governor General’s residence.

Outside, the invisible heroes wait near a door, and checking his watch, Shaman announces that it is time, but warns the girls to be careful, explaining that if they make any sudden movements the enchantment will be broken. Too late, as Snowbird shifts into a polar bear, lunging into the room and frightening several of the terrorists inside. Shaman follows Snowbird inside and blows some dust from the realm of dreams over the terrorists and hostages to put them to sleep, hoping that will give he and the girls a clearer view of the situation, when, suddenly, he is shot in the back.

Aurora calls out to her teammate, and flies over to the terrorist that shot him, admitting that she is not terribly strong, but that when she can land fifty punches in one second, she doesn’t need to be strong. With the terrorist unconscious thanks to Aurora, the flighty heroine speeds over to Shaman, exclaiming that the Kevlar lining his outfit saved him. ‘I change my mind. I like the costume’ Shaman whispers. Snowbird stands over the man who Aurora knocked out, holding his mask and alerts Shaman and Aurora to what she has discovered. ‘This is a development…is there anyway to warn Wolverine?’ Shaman asks.

Wolverine meanwhile has managed to get to the wine cellar, where the Governor General is being watched by some more of the terrorists. Pumped with adrenaline, Logan doesn’t notice when someone sneaks up on him - and grabs him by the head, pulling him back and throwing him into a wine rack. Logan realizes there is an odor which his enhanced senses haven’t picked up yet - a scent almost undetectable to him - because it is so close to his own. Logan, sprawled on the floor, broken wine bottles all around him, looks up and sees an armored figure standing over him. His body full of adamantium, just like Logan’s - except this “armored” person has adamantium on the outside.

Logan lunges upwards at his opponent, the first time his claws have never been able to cut anything, and the vibration which ensues after his claws clang with his opponent feels like somebody has set him on fire. The adamantium-skinned foe trips Wolverine up then throws him into some wooden crates exclaiming ‘I knew it! We try to negotiate, like civilized people…but the scum send assassins to silence us!’. From where he lies on the floor, Wolverine asks his opponent where he got the exoskeleton from. ‘They didn’t tell you anything about “Citadel”, huh? No surprise. They like docile sheep!’ the opponent, identified as Citadel, exclaims. ‘Like me and my men - wounded serving our country overseas!’ Citadel adds as he kicks Wolverine hard.

Citadel turns to his fellow terrorists who are standing by the Governor General and exclaims ‘They told us they were shipping us back home - to a clinic where we would get the latest in cutting-edge medical treatment!’. Citadel’s fellow terrorists remove their masks, revealing their faces, scarred and laced with shards of adamantium. Citadel exclaims that the government Frankensteins grafted the synthetic metal onto their bodies, and now, it is slowly eating them from the inside.

Citadel goes over to the Governor General and declares that he was their biggest success, revealing that he was cipher-coded “Weapon Y” - and their biggest nightmare! He explains that he busted out of his prison where they kept him, and now he is not leaving his name-sake until they get compensation for their suffering. ‘Or maybe we’ll just demand a televised press conference so the public can hear where their tax dollars go, huh, Ms. Governor General?’ Citadel asks, intimidating the Governor General, who turns away from him, unable to look at him.

Wolverine tells Citadel that he is on his side, and informs him that he was cipher-coded “Weapon X”. Logan explains that he has an adamantium-laced internal skeleton, but that he doesn’t know how he got it. ‘I can help you, just tell me what you know!’ Logan exclaims, but Citadel picks Logan up by his neck and holds him high in the air, telling him to shut up and stop trying to confuse the others. ‘You work for them!’ Citadel exclaims, before shouting ‘Well, when we throw your body over the walls of La Citadelle, they’ll know we mean business -’ Citadel is suddenly interrupted by a baaaaa!, so he turns, and sees the goat looking up at him.

‘Alright. Who let the goat out!’ he demands to know, when, suddenly, Snowbird shifts to her default form and uses her enhanced strength to smack Citadel in the face, knocking him off his feet. ‘Wolverine - quickly! While I have him off balance!’ Narya urges her friend. Logan stands over Citadel, telling him that he must listen to him. ‘You’re right - the public needs to hear your story - and so do I!’ Logan asks where the clinic is that he was taken to, and who operated on him. ‘Could you recognize any of them if you saw them again?’ he asks.

‘I ain’t telling you jack except my name, rank and serial number!’ Citadel retorts. ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s a start’ Wolverine replies, before asking what his real name is, and what unit he was assigned to. Snowbird stands at Wolverine’s side, both unaware as someone else enters the wine cellar - and shoots Citadel with a neuro-taser. Citadel screams in agony, and falls to the ground, unconscious. ‘Good work, Weapon X. Distracting him long enough for me to get in close!’ Kinney announces as he steps out of the shadows. Kinney explains that the neuro-taser is about the only weapon that has any effect on him.

Wolverine tells Kinney that Citadel said the government made him like this, that the process is slowly destroying him. ‘Did he now? Well. The man is clearly delusional’ Kinney replies quickly. Wolverine asks if he is telling him that there is nothing to Citadel’s claims, to which Kinney snarls ‘I’m not telling you a thing, Weapon X. Because I was never here. And you don’t have the clearance to know otherwise!’. With that, Kinney leads the Police officers out, with the captured Citadel and other terrorists - and all Wolverine and Snowbird can do is watch, as a piece of Wolverine’s past falls from his grasp.

Much later, James Hudson discovered that Citadel was moved to the same secret base that Wolverine used to get deployed from, north of Quebec City, and Hudson even managed to twist enough arms in the Intelligence Branch to let Wolverine and Shaman visit Citadel. At the facility, Citadel is kept in isolation, in a bed behind a clear sheeting, hooked up to monitors. Shaman tells Wolverine that as near as he can ascertain, Citadel’s vital signs are deteriorating - slowly, but gradually, and that there is nothing they can do but watch, as no needle can pierce his impenetrable skin, and they cannot even pry his jaw open to administer medicine orally.

Shaman informs Wolverine that he has been told that scientists are trying to develop an aerosol to spay through Citadel’s eyelids that will bind and inactivate the toxic metal in his bloodstream. ‘But until then…it will continue to slowly destroy his nervous system…just like lead poisoning’. Wolverine supposes that his mutant healing factor is what keeps him spry with the adamantium in his bones, to which Shaman explains that Wolverine’s healing factor merely keeps him alive, and that his brain and spinal column are still under constant attack by metallic toxins. ‘In fact…your bestial rages, your memory loss - all could be explained as long-term adamantium poisoning’ Shaman reveals, shocking Wolverine.

(Illustrative Flashback, links to Giant-Sized X-Men #1, narrated by Wolverine)

Wolverine feels like he has just been pushed off a cliff - the same unbreakable claws and skeleton that had saved him more times than he cared to remember were actually trying to kill him. What’s more, the government he trusted and that gave him a reason to live could be behind it - or was refusing to tell him who was, which Wolverine decides is just as bad. Logan frowns as he decides that playing the good soldier was starting to look not so good anymore. ‘Citadel and his guys took orders and kept their yaps shut - and look how they turned out’.

Wolverine arrives at Kinney’s office, as Kinney had arranged a meeting with the two of them and some “braniac” from America who might be advising Department H on the recruitment of mutants - Charles Xavier. That is the moment Xavier made the pitch for Wolverine to join the X-Men. ‘Somehow, he knew I’d be in the mood to listen’. Of course, Kinney wasn’t too thrilled to hear Wolverine was joining the private sector - too bad though, and Wolverine sliced his tie as he severed his own ties with Department H - at least for now….


Storm and Angel fly over the top secret facility, and Storm alerts Angel to where Kitty is, down below, waving at them. ‘She’s alright!’ Storm exclaims with relief. Storm and Angel fly down to Kitty, who informs them that Shaman called Wolverine this morning and told him that Citadel’s condition took a turn for the worse. Colossus and Nightcrawler land their plane and rush over as Kitty explains Wolverine realized that there was one thing that could pierce Citadel’s adamantium hide and get him medical treatment - ‘My phasing power!’. As Kitty leads the X-Men into the building, she explains to them that Wolverine grabbed her and they raced here as fast as they could, and there was no time for explanations.

‘But…we were still too late!’ Kitty announces as she steps into the room where Shaman is pulling a sheet over Citadel, and a forlorn Wolverine sits and watches him. Shaman informs Wolverine that Citadel never regained consciousness. ‘I’m sorry, Logan’ he tells his friend. The X-Men watch and Angel remarks that it looks like Wolverine lost his best friend. Kitty remarks that it is worse than that. ‘He lost a link to his past!’ she exclaims, adding that a guy like Wolverine doesn’t know how many of those that he has left….

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine, Professor X (all X-Men)


Flashback / Main Story:

Aurora, Shaman, Snowbird, Wolverine (all The Flight)

James MacDonald Hudson


Police Officers

Tourists and Staff at La Citadelle De Quebec

Governor General

Baptiste the goat



On View screen (part of the main flashback story)

Aurora, Groundhog, Marrina, Saint Elmo, Shaman, Smart Alec, Snowbird, Stitch, Wild Child (all The Flight recruits)

In Illustrative Image:

Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Vindicator I (all Original Alpha Flight)

In Illustrative Flashback Image:


James MacDonald Hudson

Heather McNeil Hudson

In Illustrative Flashback Image:




In Illustrative Flashback Image:


Professor X


Story Notes: 

Wolverine was found by James and Heather Hudson in flashback scenes that took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #33-34.

Wolverine fought the Incredible Hulk and Wendigo in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #181, his very first appearance.

Wolverine was recruited by Xavier to join the All-New, All-Different X-Men in Giant-Sized X-Men #1, which is the issue he severed his ties with the Canadian government and Department H, though no Alpha Flight related characters were mentioned or appeared in that issue.

Alpha Flight history is very tight this issue, and in keeping with all previously established stories - the early headquarters, Wolverine’s costume, and the super humans currently involved with the Flight program - Snowbird, Smart Alex, Stitch, Groundhog and Saint Elmo were all seen working with Wolverine in the Alpha Flight Special: First Flight, during which Groundhog resigned and Saint Elmo was killed. There are numerous references to Wild Child being involved in Department H from the early years, while Shaman was seen as a support staff in the First Flight special (as was Walter Langkowski - but it has already been established that he did not become Sasquatch until much later). The placement of Aurora fits in well, as Northstar joined long after her, and there is nothing to contradict Marina’s early involvement either.

Mais naturellement translates to “But naturally”.

The illustrative flashback scene where Wolverine meets with Xavier and Kinney ties directly into Giant-Sized X-Men #1.

Wolverine was reunited with James Hudson in Uncanny X-Men #109, then the rest of Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #120-121.

Issue Information: 
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