Wolverine the End #4

Issue Date: 
August 2004
Story Title: 

Paul Jenkins (writer), Claudio Castellini (pencils & cover), Paul Mounts (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Sumerak, Schmidt & Wiley (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Logan heals, and his brother, John, reveals to Logan what happened to him. John wants revenge and needs Logan’s help with that. Logan doubts, but goes with John to a mountaintop. There, Logan spends some time thinking and arguing with Charles Xavier’s ghost, believing that Xavier knew all those years about his missing past, but lied about never telling him. Xavier apologizes but couldn’t hurt Logan and tries to convince Logan not to go along with his brother’s plan. Logan has made up his mind, just like he did two hundred years ago. His brother is happy and triumphantly stands on the edge of the mountain. Logan sneaks up on him, and snikts his claws in his brother’s back, who then falls off the mountain.

Full Summary: 

While his brother hugs him, Wolverine thinks. But in his other voice, it tells Logan that he has spent a lifetime chasing this dream. A lifetime… only to find he was there every step of the way. Logan’s brother, John Howlett. The voice tells Logan that John and he are a couple of dead hearts, colliding after a two-century run-up. The voice knows that John could have saved Logan the trouble. Two hundred years of blindly searching for a connection to his shadowy past. The voice knows that Logan wants to hate his brother for this. But it also knows that Logan can’t.

Logan tells John that they told him that he died when he was a baby. John knows that. He says that a lot can happen to a couple of old geezers like them. That there are so many secrets about him that nobody knows. But John promises James that he wants to tell him all of them. But first, John has something for his brother. Logan looks surprised. John hands him over a picture of… their mother! And Elizabeth is holding Logan like a just-born baby.

Wolverine realizes that he’s looking at his mother, but can’t remember what happened to her. John reveals that the picture was taken a few days after she returned from the hospital. John remembers their father actually pointing the camera at her, just below a willow tree near a pond with geese in it. John tells Wolverine that their mother loved him. But unfortunately, things did not go well for the woman. Logan gets sad. He wants to know everything. John promises James that he will, but first he has one more thing to show him first.

Logan, still bleeding, asks John to wait for him. They descend many stairs. Along the way, John confesses that he has watched Logan for many years. John knows that James was wounded very deeply by a lot of people. But he tells James that he wasn’t always as alone as he thought he was. They enter a lab. John claims to have felt the same things Logan did. That he has been to the same dark places and knows how much it hurts. They go deeper into the lab. John stops, and shows Logan the container he was in when Weapon X placed the Adamantium skeleton into his body.

Wolverine asks John where he got it. John claims to have helped build it, in a way. John says tells Logan that the dreams he has been having are a residual effect of his immersion in this tank. John knows this because he has the same dreams. But he wants James to understand that Weapon X doesn’t exist anymore. That he and John are the only ones who remain. Logan can’t believe that.

John explains that the tank is a relic of a bygone age. A time when he and James were circus freaks and their own government was their ringmaster. John says that the experiments failed. He reveals that Weapon X was closed down over a hundred years ago, and the men went responsible went home, cashed their big, fat government pension checks, grew old and died. Logan feels that it was all for nothing. He remembers the Adamantium feed. He gets out of control and destroys the tank, and cries over what has been done to him. John tells his brother to calm down, as it happened over a decade ago.

Logan asks John how he found out about this. John says because they did it to him, too. John tells James that he managed to dodge the full force of the trauma because he can’t remember. That his version of their healing factor forces his mind to forget the trauma. And in a way, John envies Logan. John explains that the tank was James’ womb for a while. And that he died the day he emerged from it and was reborn. But John himself died the day he was born.

John remembers that their father was a camera buff for a time. Back in those days, one had to stand in place for two minutes while the film exposed on the plate. John remembers how their mother always chided their father about it, but in a good-natured sort of way. They seemed so happy and young; the world outside their cocoon seemed so far away. John remembers touring their new estate and seeing the builders on the scaffolding and not quite comprehending at all. As John understood it, he was getting a new playground. That same day, his parents informed him that he was going to have a new brother or sister to share with.

John saw their father as a cheerful individual, if a little short on awareness of his surroundings. His father was a mean old buzzard; always circling the place looking for something to pick at. The Old Man had made a fortune in copper and he used that fact to bully them all whenever he visited. John thinks that would have been the way of it. They would have lived and died and no one would have been any the wiser. But then James came along.

John says that their mother suffered greatly with melancholy after James was born. She would never let John hold James or play with. But John was curious. Almost compelled to make James’ acquaintance, as tiny as he was. John found it to be so very strange to be near little James. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt like James was just like him. James even smelled like his kind. But something else happened to John that afternoon.

All of the strange feelings he had been having began to well up inside him. He found her mother giving her fancy to the gardener! John began to tremble with anger. More than anger. Something else. He was covered with a kind of manic euphoria. John remembers confronting his mother by the maze that stood under her bedroom balcony. And the next thing John knew, there was a terrible scream and a flash of light. And blood. Bone claws merged from under the skin of his hands!

The rest remains a blur to John. He remembers the servants running out of the vestibule. One of the women fainted. But there was a stable hand named Charlie. His hands were big, like a grizzly bear’s paws. The Old Man was there, too. He told John’s father to listen carefully to him. He told his son that what happened could never be known to anyone. Not if he wanted to continue in the “circles” to which he had become accustomed. The Old Man promised to take care of John, to give him the very best medicine available. He gave his word. John’s father agreed.

John remembers his state of agitation began to subside. He remembers being taken away in a carriage and later on get locked up in a dungeon. But nobody ever explained why. The days passed in that cursed pit. John didn’t hear from his parents at all. He was certain that they would come and find him when word got out where he had been taken. But no one came. And the days became weeks, and the weeks became years. And eventually John wouldn’t remember how or when he had come to the place.

But he found out to have been put in a lunatic house. Doctors would visit him daily and ask him questions. John explains that, in those days, lunatic asylums were a place to store the social embarrassments and the dead-before-their-timers. Eventually, every lost soul blended into every other lost soul. John and the other inmates decayed in that place, like rotten meat. Every one of John and the other inmates, sane or insane, knew it: once one would come in the asylum, you hardly ever stood a chance of getting out.

John was the first, although in his mental state he had no understanding of it. The doctors explained to him that there had been an injustice, that he had been betrayed. That they were the only ones he could trust. They simply referred to John as “X.” When John was well enough, they began the tests and the questions, like: what did John see and feel? How did he come by of the abilities he had? John accepted it all and began to evolve. And then, one day, they asked John one question too many. He fought back, realizing the potential of his powers, and killing all of the security guards in his wake. And so, John left the program.

Logan tells John that he could have come and told him. He wants to know why John didn’t do that. John tells his brother that he’s lucky to be still alive! John tells James that he would have killed him for what they did to him. He would have killed Logan’s children and their parents and the Old Man too, if Logan wouldn’t have done it for him. Logan jokes and tells John to relax, as he was just along for the ride. John explains that he simply couldn’t do it. He says that he and James are the same man. John has grown to respect Logan over the years. He says that they even crossed paths many times before, but James simply doesn’t remember it.

Logan asks if John took those memories away, to make him forget. John says no and reveals that Logan’s healing factor did that for him. John explains that the reason why Logan doesn’t remember is because his genetic mutation won’t allow it; which John describes as yet another gift from their loving mother. Oh, and he continues to tell Logan; there is an anger in him and Logan shouldn’t deny it. John says that their wonderful family wasn’t so bloody wonderful after all. They abandoned the both of them and lied. John tells Logan that everyone lied to him. Even his mentor, Professor Xavier.

What?! Logan says. Xavier lied? How, he asks. With a serious look, John explains that Xavier knew about him but wanted Logan for himself. John says that Xavier played Logan against him, and he never knew it was happening. John says that a man can’t accept his brother’s hand or friendship if he doesn’t know his brother exists. And because of that, John decided to make Logan the offer one more time: join him and he will give Logan all the pieces he had been missing, all the pieces he ever wanted to make himself complete.

Logan wants to know in what he has to join his brother. John is surprised that James doesn’t remember it: this is the payoff. They walk away from the lab, and John explains that this is a journey. A voyage that he and James have been on since the beginning. And for the sake of a few insignificant lives, a few hundred gambling palaces Logan always denied him. John says that was Xavier’s handiwork: he brainwashed Logan to make him forget about his own brother.

Logan doesn’t know what John is talking about. John knows that he’s going to fast, but he has waited two hundred years for James to come back to him. And James still needs to get his bearings. John opens a door and widely spreads his arms. John explains to Logan that it’s them both against the world, just like it always has been.

They arrive back at the mountaintop in front of a statue. John prepares his magic while Logan meditates. He wonders why “you” didn’t tell him. The voice tells Logan that he wouldn’t have understood it. Angry, Logan asks the voice why? Because everyone’s brain is inferior to his? Logan’s breath materializes into a body. It’s the body of the voice, and it tells Logan that he didn’t mean it that way. The voice needs to see Logan and explain it to him. Logan asks the voice to wait, but it won’t. The voice changes into a projection of… Professor Charles Xavier!

Xavier begs Logan to understand his position. Xavier tells Logan that he didn’t lie to him, but could never tell him the truth. Logan doesn’t believe that. All he knows for sure is that Xavier lied to him for all this time. Xavier says that it’s never as simple as that. Logan doesn’t buy that and tells Xavier what he thinks. He think that Xavier is so amazed at how clever he is that even though he is dead, he still figures the rest of them are just around for the scenery.

Wolverine tells Xavier to get lost and go be with the other dead people. Logan is through with him. Xavier explains to Logan that he’s bond to him and can’t abandon him just like that. He can’t just leave him just for the sake of his brother. Xavier thinks it’s just a hollow offer and that John can’t really give him what he says. Logan confidently tells Xavier that he has made up his mind, just like it was two hundred years ago and Xavier can’t change it. Xavier, almost vanishing, tries to make Logan understand that this life isn’t for him: he’s too old and has come to far for this. Xavier doesn’t want to see Logan lose all that just for the sake of a brother he never knew. Logan thinks and Xavier vanishes.

John approaches Logan and asks him to whom he was talking. “Myself,” Logan answers. Logan stares at a statue, and John says he knows that Logan likes places like these. He remembers when Logan first claimed to become a Buddhist, just to impress a girl in a bar in Saigon. But in some ways, John thinks it helps to calm the turmoil. John asks James what his decision is. Logan still doubts. John tries to convince him by telling he can give James himself back, plus the world.

Logan has heard enough. John stands triumphantly on the edge of the mountain, and says he never doubted his brother. Logan sneaks up on John and snikts his claws in his back, and John falls down. Logan looks at him, and confidently says: “Not James. My name is Logan.”

Characters Involved: 


John Howlett Jr. (Wolverine’s brother)

Professor Charles Xavier (in spirit form)

In John’s flash-back:

John sr. and Elizabeth Howlett (Wolverine’s parents)

James Howlett (as a baby)

John Howlett jr (as teenager)

Thomas Logan (the Howlett’s gardener)

Through-out Wolverine’s brief flash-back:

Dr. Cornelius, Dr. Carol Hines, the Professor (Weapon X scientists)

Story Notes: 

Wolverine’s brother’s real name is revealed. John calls Logan “James” throughout the entire story, to anticipate he knows about him.

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