Skip to content

The Origins of Wolverine, Before he joined the X-Men!

Created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita Sr.–but first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe–in the pages of The Incredible Hulk #180-181 in 1974, Wolverine is not your typical Canadian of small stature, he is a fierce character with retractable claws, a mysterious past, an iconic design, and a popularity that surpassed most of the other Marvel superheroes.

After being introduced as an agent of the Canadian government, Wolverine made a quick comeback. In his second appearance, in the classic Giant-Size X-Men #1, he joined the new team of X-Men but stayed a mystery for a long time. In fact, the mystery past is a big part of the character as it offers a lot of space for the writers to build stories full of twists–and not told in chronological order.

Who was Wolverine before being transformed by the mysterious Weapon X program? How many lives did he have as his healing factor keeps him young and healthy?

To answer those questions and many more, Marvel published multiple stories (as miniseries or as part of bigger narratives) developing the mythology surrounding the origins of Wolverine. Here is what you need to know:

Before Wolverine: The Origin Story

Originally named James Howlett, Wolverine came into the world in northern Alberta, Canada, during the late 19th century. He was allegedly born to wealthy farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett, but Thomas Logan, the Howletts’ groundskeeper, was really his biological father. After his other son, Dog, attempted to rape someone, Thomas was expelled from the Howlett estate.

Sadly, Thomas went back to the Howlett mansion and killed John Howlett. Young James killed Thomas in retaliation by using his newly manifested mutation, bone claws that sprang out from the back of his hands. Along with his childhood companion Rose, he ran away from the estate.

He grew up while working in a mining community in the Yukon, going by the name “Logan.” Because of his strength and combat prowess, he earned the nickname “the Wolverine”. Dog ultimately found them, which prompted a conflict during which Logan experienced memory loss and accidentally killed Rose.

As a result of this accident, he decided to live with wolves in the forest. A circus run by Hugo Haversham and his companions Clara and Creed managed to catch the “animal man” after reports of his existence attracted interest. Clara felt sorry for him since he was frequently electrocuted there for the amusement of the crowd. After it was alleged that Wolverine was a fraud, Dr. Nathaniel Essex offered to do an experiment on Logan to dispel any false claims that he was a fake.

Logan was set free by Victor Creed’s brother Saul, who eventually turned on both of them by turning on Nathaniel Essex. In retaliation, Logan submerged Creed in Essex’s potion. Logan then returned to civilization and lived with the Blackfoot people. After his Blackfoot lover, Silver Fox, was killed by Victor Creed, later known as Sabretooth, Logan began working as a mercenary for the Hudson Bay Company. As World War I got underway, Frederick Hudson recruited Logan into the Devil’s Brigade, an elite group of the Canadian military.

From Samourai Wolverine to Spy Logan

Once World War I was over, Logan traveled to Shanghai where he met Ogun, a captain in the Japanese Army. Ogun agrees to train him at his dojo in Kanazawa after Logan breaks up a fight between several of his men and some locals. Logan declines and carries on with his journey.

In 1921, Logan arrived in Mexico where he met a blue woman named Raven Darkholme as they were about to be shot by a firing squad. Logan saved them both and they made their way to Kansas City. Raven convinced him to join her “family” of thieves but a betrayal will put an end to this career.

After being arrested for stealing chickens in Tennessee, Logan eventually found himself on display in a circus once again. There, he met the lion tamer’s assistant Olga, and they fell in love, but their relationship didn’t endure. Olga dies in childbirth. Wolverine sets out on the road after experiencing another heartbreak. He spent some time in Madripoor throughout his journey before returning to Japan to accept Ogun’s offer and study the way of the samurai.

Logan departed Japan after Ogun was killed battling an enemy. He returned to Mandripoor after temporarily taking part in the Spanish Civil War and began training with Taras Romanov to learn about espionage alongside the young Natasha Romanov. However, as usual, catastrophes and betrayals happened. And another War was coming.

During World War II, Logan teamed up with Captain America and pursued a career as a mercenary. But once the conflict ended, it was a (short) time for Peace.

Peace & War For The Wolverine

Following the war, Logan made his way to Jasmine Falls, Japan, where he enrolled in the Bando Saburo community to complete his training. After his fourth year of instruction, he married Itsu, a lady he had fallen in love with, and she became pregnant.

Logan was expelled from the tribe after failing a test and had to show that he was more human than an animal if he wanted to come back. He didn’t have the opportunity to do so as he found that Itsu had been slain and the baby had been removed from her womb–he wouldn’t find out what happened to his child, and who killed Itsu, until decades later.

Logan met the famous swordsmith Muramasa while lamenting the death of his wife and unborn child, but Sabretooth retrieved him and brought him into the black ops unit Team X.

The Weapon X Program

Logan was part of Team X and received false memory implants. He ultimately managed to escape this mental restraint and joined Department K, a clandestine Canadian intelligence service. However, he was later kidnapped by the Weapon X program. The program that produced the first Super-Soldier, Project: Rebirth, has been renamed Weapon Plus, and the tenth version under Weapon Plus is referred to as Weapon X. The program included a notable change as Adamantium was forced fused to his bones while he was imprisoned.

Wolverine broke free of Weapon X’s conditioning after undergoing yet another round of testing. He succeeded in making his way into the Canadian bush despite having a damaged psyche and being afraid of who he has become.

Logan reclaimed his humanity with the aid of James and Heather Hudson, taking on the name “Wolverine” as one of Canada’s first superheroes. He then started working as an intelligence agent for Department H of the Canadian government. He was sent on his first assignment to put a stop to the mayhem brought on by a fight between the Hulk and the Wendigo.

Not long after that, Professor Charles Xavier recruited Wolverine to join a new incarnation of his superhero-mutant team: the X-Men

Wolverine Logo

More Articles About Wolverine:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *