He came out of the Canadian wilderness with ridiculous whiskers. This short, squat man-beast had sharp claws, and for his first act in the public eye, he wanted to take down none other than the Green Goliath, The Incredible Hulk. Crazy became impassioned, berserk, pained, thoughtful, complicated, really complicated, deep, shallow, calculated, impulsive, and yeah, stayed a bit crazy too. Without a doubt, Wolverine has been through a lot in his 35-year comic book career, to say nothing of his animated, live action, and video game adventures.
On the eve of the release of his first solo big-screen adventure, FOX's X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman, here’s Wolverine’s chronological (from his point of view) history, in exactly 1000 words … well, 1002 ...
Originally named James Howlett, he took the name Logan from the caretaker of his family estate, who it turns out was likely his birth father, thanks to an adulterous moment on the part of his mother. Growing up in the 19th Century with his friends “Dog” Logan (who may or may not be arch-rival Sabretooth) and Rose (the first of several redheads Wolverine would fall for), his mutant powers manifested in a horrible way; he witnessed his “father” get shot and killed, and had his first berserker rage, killing his birth father and injuring Dog. He was ostensibly amnesic of the incident soon after.
After some time in a mining town and the subsequent death of his first love, Rose, Logan took his first (of several) wilderness sabbatical, living in the mountains of Canada. His second romance, with Silver Fox, seemingly ends in, you guessed it, her death. This lead to his first military bout, and a little world travel.
He served in WWI and had another lover killed. He spent some time in Mexico with Mystique and in Russia with Natalia Romanova, the eventual Black Widow, before serving in WWII alongside the Canadian military and none other than Captain America, Steve Rogers. As it turns out, Captain America was in fact Weapon I (one) in the same line that would make Logan into Weapon X (ten).
In China and later Japan, Logan learned the way of the Samurai, did most of the martial arts training that he has since kept with him all these years, and even married (his first of many Japanese loves) and had a son, Daken, currently “Dark Wolverine” in Dark Avengers. Shock, surprise, the lady dies, and Logan moves on once again.
Now with Team X, a special ops group featuring standbys like Sabretooth, John Wraith, and Maverick, Logan gets his first military issue mind-wipe, allowing him to work side-by-side with this killer of his women/possible brother of his, Sabretooth. After regrowing his conscience (upon the death of…a woman…at the hands of Sabretooth…), Logan quits Team X. He works for the Canadian military again for a time before being kidnapped and forced into the Weapon X program.
Here, Dr. Cornelius and company bind the adamantium to Logan’s skeleton (and throw in a free mind wipe) that he is so well known for. He escapes, and retreats to the mountain wilderness once again. The Weapon X program, meanwhile, splits off as its own unit, creating and augmenting several others. He joins a Canadian agency called Department H (leading to the aforementioned battle against Hulk), but before he can join their new super-team, Alpha Flight, he gets a visit from one Charles Xavier.
He joins the all-new all-different X-Men to save the old ones from Krakoa, the living island. He starts to fall for Jean Grey (another red head) almost immediately. Jean dies (didn’t see that coming, did you?), he fights Alpha Flight a couple of times, then returns to Japan. A girl he met briefly before there, Mariko Yashida, almost becomes his wife. Wolvie gains two surrogate daughters in a short time: Amiko, a Japanese orphan who winds up in both Mariko’s and eventually his friend Yukio’s care, and Kitty Pryde. After a brief stint as leader of the X-Men and their relocation to Australia, he gains his third surrogate daughter (another running theme with him), Jubilee.
A stop at Weapon X reveals to Logan that he’s not who he thinks he is. He heads back to Japan and Mariko, where…wait for it…she dies! Between the false-memory-reveal and Mariko’s death, Wolverine sinks deeper into his own darkness. He reunites with Silver Fox, only to have her get killed again.
During a massive “final battle” with Magneto, thanks to a joke in a meeting by Peter David, Wolverine’s adamantium was ripped from his body. It’s news to him and his teammates that his claws are in fact bone. He goes feral again, and lives for a time in the wilderness, then on his own travelling the world. After a failed attempt at re-bondage with adamantium, Apocalypse is successful in giving Logan back his metal as he becomes Death. After killing Skrull-verine I (an imposter of the shape-shifting alien variety), he breaks free of Apocalypse’s control.
A journey back through Weapon X & Weapon Plus reveals quite a bit of his past to Logan, including a massacre he hadn’t remembered. Jean dies again, and he kills Magneto (who wound up being an imposter). Wolverine is briefly brainwashed by terrorist organization Hydra, and kills several people including Northstar, formerly of Alpha Flight and the X-Men. He shortly thereafter joins the New Avengers as their wetworks (willing to kill) operative. In the world-altering House of M, Wolverine suddenly wakes up with all of his memories from his 150 years or so of life. Since then, he’s searched to fill those memories out on his own in-between missions with multiple X-teams and the Avengers.
During these journeys, he finds out he has a special link to all the other “feral” mutants, and kills Sabretooth with the Muramasa Blade, a supernatural sword designed to kill those with healing factors.
Wolverine’s own healing factor found its limit, death, soon after this. Thanks to a revealing battle against the angel of death, Wolverine can no longer let himself get to the point of death, or he’ll die for good.
Logan continues adventuring on his own, discovering more about his past, and also currently serves as a member of the New Avengers, the X-Men, and the covert X-Force (alongside his partial clone, X-23…but that’s another story). He can be seen in anywhere from 5-20 monthly comics, tons of collected trades, the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie and game, and somehow never looks tired. Must be the healing factor. We know we’ve missed some bits (like a couple of dead lovers) but we only had so much space. One thing’s for sure, with all this history, there may be clones, children, and pretenders, but there’s only one Wolverine.