Issue(s): Wolverine #10
I used to own an original copy of this issue and for a while when i, like the rest of the comics collecting world, had speculation fever, i used to be quite pleased at how much the issue was "worth". I swear i had a price guide that called this issue the origin of Wolverine. Then (i think?) it was later revealed that the revelations about Wolverine's early days were just memory implants, and either the value of this issue went down or i just assumed it did, and i got rid of it when i filled in my Wolverine collection by getting the trade reprints. Now, looking online, i see it still sells for like $20 which wouldn't exactly fund my retirement but it's not nothing.
The issue has Wolverine on his birthday in Madripoor, and we flash back to a previous birthday when Wolverine had his first fight with Sabretooth, thus establishing a tradition of Sabretooth attacking him on his birthday, as we saw in the back-up in Classic X-Men #10 (Jun 87 cover date).
Wolverine is in Madripoor and avoiding his usual hangouts to avoid getting any of his friends involved in the attack from Sabretooth that he thinks is coming. The story flashes back to "Then" (it's not said how long ago), with Wolverine walking into a different bar and lamenting the death of a woman called Silver Fox.
The woman was killed by Sabretooth, who makes no attempt to hide it.
Wolverine attacks him, despite the exhortation of someone that Silver Fox was "just an indian".
It's not certain that Wolverine actually loved Silver Fox, but he "thought so, at the time", and in any event a fight with Sabretooth, who hated Wolverine for reasons he doesn't know, was inevitable.
This was before Wolverine had adamantium bones or (knew he had) claws, and the fight didn't go well.
Wolverine ended the fight by jumping off a cliff and taking Sabretooth with him, but even after that it's Sabretooth who wakes up first. He walked away seemingly thinking that Wolverine was dead.
In the present, despite initially trying to stay away from his friends (presumably why he also isn't with the X-Men on his birthday), he does wind up running into his usual supporting cast. He helps a couple that was attacked by Madripoor thugs, takes them to Madame Joy for support, and then goes upstairs where Jessica Drew and Lindsay McCabe have been set up by Prince Baran.
They recognize that Wolverine is upset about something but he doesn't tell them what. He next goes to police commander Tai, who confirms to him that Sabretooth is officially dead (which reminds me that if Wolverine were really so worried about Sabretooth, he should have been more careful with his body during Inferno).
Tai also knows it's "Patch's" birthday, which will lead nicely into the upcoming Peter David arc when it's revealed that everyone knows that Patch is really Wolverine.
Wolvie next finds that he's been tailed by Jessica, who is concerned about him, and then they're both attacked by random goons.
The goons wind up getting killed by Sabretooth.
At the time this was an intriguing issue. But looking at it now, i wonder if Claremont really had time to be intriguing. Did he not feel the walls closing in on him? This is his last issue on this title. The friendly Ann Nocenti had been replaced by Bob Harras as his editor, and the times at Marvel were changing. The history between Wolverine and Sabretooth had been played up since at least the Mutant Massacre, and behind the scenes it was something that had been discussed since John Byrne was on X-Men. Now would have been a great time to come out with something. Instead, Claremont teases it further along but doesn't commit to anything, letting all sorts of convoluted things happen in the future, not just about Sabretooth, but Wolverine's backstory generally.
Still, good issue!
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has Wolverine #4-16 between Uncanny X-Men #243-245 (Wolverine doesn't appear in #244). Just to avoid breaking up my Wolverine Classic vol. 2 trade, i've placed this directly after the previous issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Wolverine Classic vol. 2
Inbound References (4): showLindsay McCabe, Madame Joy, Sabretooth, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Tai (Madripoor police), Wolverine
This flashback has gone from real to memory implant to real so many times I lost track. (I think it's currently real.)
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2014 4:01 PM
Like the New Mutants?
Posted by: ChrisW | September 26, 2014 5:49 PM
You've got the pic where Wolverine is carrying Silver Fox's body up there twice.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 28, 2014 1:57 AM
Excellent reference for the current status of Wolverine's history. I think they have just about all the major points compiled. It makes an awful story, but what can you do..
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | October 16, 2014 11:28 AM
In Fantagraphics' "X-Men Companion 2", John Byrne stated outright that Sabretooth was Wolverine's father, had the same healing power, and was over 120 years old.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 8, 2014 4:37 PM
In the Wolverine #10 flashback, Wolvie doesn't have his Adamantium yet. I'm pretty sure at this point Wolvie is just tight-lipped on his past and doesn't like to talk about it. As a kid I always assumed that Wolverine lost any memories he had prior to the Weapon X project. However, this was only established in the 1991 Weapon X storyline, and the character still had 15 years of history before that. How else could he remember getting into a brawl with Sabretooth pre-Adamantium if his memory was wiped? This adds a level of dimension to the character in that it's not that he doesn't REMEMBER his past, it's that he doesn't want to talk about it, preferring to remain stoic and mysterious.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 22, 2015 7:00 AM
I would guess Claremont left for time reasons. X-MEN went to two issues a month for the Summer and he was also writing EXCALIBUR. Two Summer issues of WOLVERINE in addition may have just been more than he could handle.
I had a look at his workload for the previous couple of years to see if I could tell what his limit was. Unless I've missed something, beginning with Jul. 86 (on sale) his features were UNCANNY X-MEN, NEW MUTANTS and the back-ups in CLASSIC X-MEN: two and a half issues (plus annuals). In Jul. 1987 he was down to UNCANNY X-MEN and CLASSIC X-MEN. But for Jul. 1988 he did two issues of UNCANNY X-MEN, EXCALIBUR, two Wolverine instalments for MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, and WOLVERINE. Possibly he got ahead during his post-NEW MUTANTS period, and his limit was three issues per month or at most four.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 11, 2015 10:24 AM
I flipped through an Essentials volume, and the Buscema/sienkiewicz team looked incredible in black and white.
Posted by: MindlessOne | May 29, 2017 9:30 PM
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