X-Men 2 Prequel: Wolverine

Issue Date: 
May 2003
Story Title: 

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Tom Mandrake (artist), Paul Tutrone (letterer), Dan Brown (colorist), Mike Raicht and Nova Ren Suma (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

At the school, Xavier tells Wolverine he intends to keep his promise to help uncover his memories. He points Wolverine towards an abandoned installation at Alkali Lake in Canada. Wolverine leaves the X-Men but, before he goes, he gives Rogue his dog tag and promises her he’ll be back. He travels to the snowy mountains of Canada and, whilst filling up fuel at a fuel station, he smells a familiar scent. Sabretooth dives out of the shadows and the two start fighting. Sabretooth overpowers him but Wolverine coats him in fuel. Sabretooth does the same but Wolverine ignites his lighter and sets fire to them both. He beats Sabretooth down and extinguishes the flames. He is about to kill Sabretooth when he notices he is also wearing a dog tag. He changes his mind and offers to get him a drink. Unbeknown to them, they are being watched by a soldier who radios his base to say he has found the mutant they were looking for. Wolverine and Sabretooth head to a bar where they talk about their pasts. They tell each other they can’t remember much past the last five years. Sabretooth says he has nightmares about stuff that possibly happened before his amnesia. A group of soldiers enters the bar. They are after Sabretooth but, when they see Wolverine, they recognize him as an experiment that escaped many years before. A fight breaks out with the mutants taking out many of the soldiers, but Sabretooth is tranquilized and Wolverine knocked unconscious by a sonic disruptor. They are captured and put onto a plane. Sabretooth wakes up and breaks his restraints. He frees Wolverine, who subsequently rips open a hold in the side of the plane. Sabretooth grabs him by the neck and holds him out of the plane. Wolverine realizes that he is actually trying to save him but Sabretooth pretends he is doing it for much more selfish reasons. Sabretooth ends up dropping Wolverine and then keeping the soldiers occupied long enough for them to lose track of him. Sabretooth is sent to a military installation where he is experimented on. When the experiments are deemed a failure, he is put down. Meanwhile, Wolverine survives the landing and makes his way to Alkali Lake in search for more answers.

Full Summary: 

Special Ops Military Installation – Location Unknown

A man runs down a darkened corridor and bursts through a door. He begins to say they have found someone but a voice cuts him off. Another man, cloaked by the shadows, addressing him as “Mr. Norris” and says if he ever barges into his office again he will cut off his right hand and use it as a door knocker. Norris apologizes and says that he thought he should know that there has been a sighting. Their field agent thinks they have spotted one of the failed experiments. He’s tracking it now and he’s pretty sure it’s 1033… one of the superhumans. The other man tells Norris to calm down and says they will celebrate if and when the mutant is returned to them. He tells Norris to assemble a recovery team and to do whatever it takes to get the filthy animal back.

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Westchester, New York

Wolverine walks into the office of Charles Xavier. Wolverine asks Xavier what he wants with him and then guesses it might be about his “excessive behavior.” Xavier tells Logan that, when Wolverine agreed to assist the X-Men, Xavier promised him to help piece together what he lost from his past. That’s a promise he intends to keep. Logan asks if he’s found a way to give him his memory back but Xavier tells him he hasn’t. He says he does believe his amnesia and skeletal enhancements are connected. He says he doesn’t know how or why but he believes someone experimented on him. They laced his skeleton with adamantium, taking advantage of his healing factor. Xavier says he searched for remnants of the rare alloy and he believes one particular deposit may shed light on his past. Xavier shows his a holographic display of a military compound at Alkali Lake, in the Canadian Rockies. There isn’t much there but he might find some answers.

Logan stares at the display for a few seconds and then thanks Xavier. Xavier asks if he’s going to say goodbye to them. Logan asks if he means the X-Men and then says it isn’t what he does best. Xavier says he understands, the world in which mutants live in is a lonely one. He wishes Logan luck and Logan turns to wish his the same. As the door closes behind him, Xavier mutters to himself that he hopes he’s done the right thing.

As Logan walks through the halls of the school, a voice calls out to him. Rogue comes up to him and asks if he’s running away again. He says he isn’t really; he’s just got some things up north to take care of. Rogue stares at him devastated. She quietly says that she doesn’t want him to go, as he has been like a big brother to her. He takes off his dog tag and says it’s the only thing he has left from whatever he used to be. He’s always had it but he can’t remember how he got it. He places it in her hand and tells her he’ll be back for it. She asks him if he crosses his heart. As he walks out the door, he says he hopes to die.

Alberta, Canada. Four days later

Logan rides his motorbike through the snowy mountain forest. He passes a sign that reads “Last chance for gas, we mean it.” As night time arrives, he comes to a service station. He fills his bike up and then goes in to pay. He walks up to the counter with his money and the woman behind it looks at him and asks if he’s having a bad hair day. Logan leans forward and says he bets that smart mouth… He suddenly stops and sniffs the air. He looks out the window and says there’s trouble; he can smell it a mile away. She asks how he can smell that and he replies that he has unusually keen senses. He tells her to stay down out of sight as he leaves the building.

He shouts out that he knows someone’s out there and calls them out. A voice comes from behind him and asks if he’s only just catching a whiff of him now because he has been tracking him for days. Wolverine turns to see Sabretooth walking towards him through the snow. Wolverine says that he thought he took care of him last time they fought when the X-Men knocked him off the Statue of Liberty. Sabretooth asks if he wants a medal and Wolverine unsheathes his claws and says he has enough metal already.

Sabretooth says he’ll let Wolverine draw first blood. But he doesn’t finish the sentence before Wolverine slashes him across the face. He tells Wolverine that it wasn’t bad but he isn’t the only fast healer in town. Wolverine watches as the slash marks on Sabretooth’s face heal up until there is no trace of them left. Wolverine says they both heal fast; big deal. If he wants to go, then go already. With that, Sabretooth picks him up and throws him into a nearby tree with such force it snaps in half.

Sabretooth yells at Wolverine that he and his X-pals with the stupid costumes ruined his only chance to find out who he is. Wolverine says he doesn’t know what he’s going on about but he hasn’t got the right to make fun of anyone’s fashion sense. He says the fur coat Sabretooth is wearing is the lamest thing he’s ever seen. He’ll be doing him a favor when he rips it to shreds. Sabretooth picks up a log and jumps at Wolverine, who dives towards Sabretooth at the same time. Sabretooth hits Wolverine with the log, sending him catapulting through the air and into the windshield of a nearby truck.

Sabretooth runs towards him and says it’s déjà vu all over again but this time he hasn’t got his little friends to save him. He’s nothing but raw meat for him to tenderize. Sabretooth says that when he is done eating Wolverine’s heart he will go to their not-so-secret hideout and finish off his X-buddies. He’s going to scalp them all starting with that tasty little girl who looks up to him. When Sabretooth says Rogue name, Wolverine leaps off the truck and shouts at Sabretooth that he’s dead. Wolverine lunges at him and misses, stabbing the fuel pump instead.

Sabretooth mocks him for missing but Wolverine says he wasn’t aiming for him. He pulls out his claws and fuel sprays all over Sabretooth. As Sabretooth drips with fuel, he says he’s going to tear Wolverine apart. Wolverine pulls out his lighter and says if he makes another move he’ll light him up like a cheap cigar. Sabretooth says he wouldn’t and Wolverine asks why not. Sabretooth pulls out a fuel pump and sprays Wolverine with fuel too. Sabretooth says that now he’d light them both up. Wolverine grins and says if he can’t take the heat… With that, he clicks his lighter. Sabretooth screams at him but it’s too late and both of them catch fire.

As both men burn, Wolverine says the typical human body will give up after the first layer of skin has been removed. But his will keep going till there’s nothing but bones left. Even if it does hurt like hell. As Sabretooth writhes in pain, Wolverine attacks him and says he may be bigger and stronger but he isn’t the best. They both collapse into a snow drift, which extinguishes the flames. Wolverine hauls an unconscious Sabretooth out of it and prepares to kill him. However, before he does, he spots a dog collar around his neck. He angrily asks the weary Sabretooth where he got it from. Sabretooth says he doesn’t know and Wolverine yells at him to tell him as he had one just like it. He says he doesn’t know; he’s had it as far back as he can remember. Wolverine holds his claws to Sabretooth’s head for a few seconds and then retracts them. He holds out his hand to him and says he’s buying him a beer. Still sitting on the floor, Sabretooth seems confused.

Unknown to them, they are being watched by a soldier perched in a tree. He has Wolverine in the crosshairs of his sniper rifle. He radios to someone else and says it’s field agent Lyman. He tells them he’s acquired the target but he’s been joined by another mutant. He says to converge on his coordinates and come loaded for a bear.

Wolverine and Sabretooth make their way to a bar. As they walk across the car park, Sabretooth says that Wolverine should have killed him when he had the chance. Wolverine says he will still pop his claws in him if he wants. But right now all’s he wants are answers. He says he’s lucky that the bike he “borrowed” off Cyclops is still in one piece. If it was so much as scratched he would have flown here in the X-jet to finish him himself. Sabretooth sneers at Wolverine and says that Cyclops is a dork. Wolverine says that the first drink is on him for that comment.

Many beers later, the two men sit in a booth in the bar. Sabretooth seems intrigued that Wolverine’s name is just Logan. Wolverine asks his name and he says that it’s Victor Creed or at least he thinks it is. Wolverine asks how far his memory goes back and Sabretooth says that everything after five years ago is gone. And there are a few things he does remember doing that he really hopes he didn’t. Wolverine asks what that means and Sabretooth tells him he has nightmares about stuff he did.

Wolverine pushes further and asks what kind of stuff. Sabretooth says he remembers being on missions where men made him do bad things to people. Wolverine says that if he is trying to convince him that he is some kind of gentle giant then he can save his breath. A minute ago, he was threatening to skin his friends alive. Sabretooth snarls at him and says the X-Men are mutant soldiers. They’re on the wrong side but they still know the score. The things he remembers doing he did to old people and even babies. He wants to believe that his dreams are just that but now he will never know thanks to Wolverine.

Wolverine asks what he has to do with figuring out his past. Sabretooth tells him Magneto was going to help him uncover the truth in exchange for helping out with his Brotherhood. He would have done it if the X-Men hadn’t defeated and imprisoned him. Wolverine asks how dumb he can be. Magneto was just stringing him along so that he would do all his dirty work for him. He doesn’t know anything about Sabretooth’s past. Sabretooth says that Magneto told him that he and Wolverine share a history and Wolverine would remember even less than he does. Wolverine mutters under his breath that it was a lucky guess. Sabretooth asks what Xavier promised him to get him to work with him. Wolverine says Xavier didn’t lie to him… or at least he doesn’t think he did.

A voice bellows out and yells for everyone to get out of the bar. A group of armed soldier stands in the doorway and Mr. Norris calls Sabretooth and Wolverine “muties” and says for them to raise their hands. He says that “subject 1033” is officially government property and he is coming with them. Instead of talking to Wolverine, though, he is talking to Sabretooth. Wolverine unsheathes his claws and asks if they called him mutie. Norris whispers in amazement to Agent Lyman that the other mutant is Wolverine. Lyman asks who he means and the soldier says that Wolverine was one of the first experiments that escaped years ago. Lyman doesn’t seem too concerned and tells his soldiers to take them both.

One of them fires a laser beam at Sabretooth but Wolverine pushes him out of the way. Sabretooth is surprised Wolverine saved him but Wolverine tells him that he only did it as he figured he could use a hand with the soldiers. Sabretooth asks what the plan is and Wolverine suggests “maneuver 355.” With that, Sabretooth picks him up and throws him at the soldiers. Wolverine lands in the middle of them and after a brief fight they are all laying on the floor. Wolverine suddenly asks what maneuvre 355 is. As Sabretooth is dealing with two other soldiers, he has says it feels familiar. Like the two of them have been fighting together before. Some more soldiers hit Sabretooth with tranquilizer darts and he collapses on the floor. Norris says that Sabretooth is tranqued and, when Lyman asks about Wolverine, he says he’s unstoppable. He tells Lyman to try hitting the metal skull of his with a sonic disrupter. Lyman fires the disrupter at Wolverine and the pain causes Wolverine to pass out.

Norris smiles and says to load them both in the cargo hold. Lyman asks if they are dead but Norris says they are merely unconscious but they should get them back to HQ quickly before one of them wakes up. Sabretooth and Wolverine are chained up in the cargo hold. Their hands are locked in place and they have numerous chains holding them in place. Sabretooth wakes up and starts to struggle. He says that chains can’t hold him and smashes out of them. He walks over to Wolverine and asks if he’s still alive. Wolverine starts to come around slowly, so Sabretooth slaps him. Now awakened, Wolverine pops his claws and breaks out of his confinements.

Wolverine asks where they are but Sabretooth says he has no idea. He can smell guards coming though. Wolverine slashes at a door in a bid to find a way out. When he looks outside, though, he sees he is miles up in the air. He says they are in transit, flying off the radar in some kind of… Sabretooth suddenly grabs him around the neck and thrusts him out the plane. He holds him in midair and Wolverine asks what he’s doing. Sabretooth tells him he’s throwing him out. He’s going to ride the plane back to the people that experimented on him and he’s going to get answers. Answers that Wolverine doesn’t deserve.

Wolverine turns to Sabretooth and says he’s helping him escape; he can smell it on him. Sabretooth stares at him for a few seconds and then says not to flatter himself. Wolverine says not to do him any favors. He says to Sabretooth that he thinks he can keep the soldiers busy long enough for Wolverine to get away but he will be dead without his help. Sabretooth says that this isn’t a favor. They are twice as high up as the Statue of Liberty. So consider this payback. One of the soldiers comes up behind them and orders Sabretooth to put Wolverine down. Sabretooth says he was hoping he would say that. With that, he lets Wolverine go. As Wolverine falls to the ground below, Sabretooth turns to the soldiers and asks who’s up for round two.

Wolverine crashes down in the middle of a snowy forest. He hits the ground but thankfully it’s actually a layer of ice over a pond. He emerges from the water a few seconds later gasping for breath. As he walks out of the pond, he watches the plane fly off and he mutters to himself that there are more questions than answers.

Special Ops Military Installation – A few days later

Mr. Norris walks along a corridor and knocks on the door at the end. The man inside commends Norris for knocking. Norris enters and says that he has some bad news… the experiment was a failure. After restraining Sabretooth, his body rejected the adamantium they grafted to his bones. The man is annoyed but he says they will have to go on without him. They already have one new adamantium success story and that will have to be enough. He holds a set of files marked “Project: Deathstrike.” He orders Norris to put Creed down like the dog he is. Norris asks if they should continue searching for Wolverine, but the man says not to bother as he’s sure they will be seeing more of him soon enough.

In the snowy mountains of Canada, Wolverine continues his trek to Alkali Lake.

Characters Involved: 



Charles Xavier, Rogue (both X-Men)

Agent Lyman
Mr. Norris

Mystery man in military installation

Woman at fuel station
Patrons at bar


Story Notes: 

As the title suggests, this is a comic prequel to the X-Men 2 film. The film was released in cinemas in May 2003.

At the end of the first X-Men movie Wolverine and Rogue had joined the X-Men. They had defeated Magneto and his Brotherhood. Magneto was detained in a plastic prison and Sabretooth had been blasted off the Statue of Liberty and into a boat by Cyclops’s optic beam.

The X-Men Origins: Wolverine film released in 2009 would be a prequel to the X-Men trilogy and it would flesh out Wolverine’s back-story and show how he and Sabretooth really know each other.

As depicted in the films, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men First Class, Charles Xavier had actually met Wolverine before they crossed paths in X-Men 1.

Presumably the mystery man in the military installation that Mr. Norris was taking orders from was William Stryker. Stryker would go on to be the main antagonist for the X-Men 2 movie as well as the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. The Deathstrike folder he is carrying at the end is obviously referencing Lady Deathstrike, who was working for Stryker in X-Men 2.

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