In the Limelight

Known for slashing his way through his enemies, Wolverine made his first comic book cameo appearance in Incredible Hulk #180 (Oct. 1974). The Marvel mutant was created by writer Len Wein and art director John Romita, Sr. With an anti-authority persona, Wolverine quickly became popular with his readers and even had his own limited series, Wolverine. Many know that Wolverine, also known as Logan has much pent up aggression, but what about his traumatic childhood, which is the cause of his anger?

The son of wealthy parents, James Howlett grew up with poor health, therefore did not leave the confines of his parents’ estate. James mostly spent his days playing with his friend Rose and the groundskeeper’s destructive son, Dog. In a fit of rage, Dog killed James’ canine and sequentially the groundskeeper, Thomas Logan, and his son were banned from the Howlett’s estate. Emotionally distressed and drunk, Thomas Logan broke into the Howlett’s house and attempted to take James’ mom and shot James’ dad. James’ watched as his father died and his mother then took the gun and killed herself. In shock, James body mutated for the first time and three one-foot long claws extended from each of his hands and he killed Thomas Logan and slashed Dog’s face.

Rose and James immediately fled the estate and James changed his name to Logan in order to hide his true identity. After many years Dog hunted for Logan, and battle ensued between the enemies. With an unconscious Dog on the ground, Logan was ready to end Dog’s life, but Rose interfered and Logan accidently impaled her with his claws. After having Rose die in his arms, Logan fled again and lived with wolves for many years.

In an attempt to leave his traumatizing childhood behind him, Logan was fully transformed into Wolverine upon joining the Canadian Weapon X assassin program. Dr. Cornelius, of Weapon X, added the indestructible element, adamantium, to Logan’s body to strengthen his sharp claws that retracted into his forearms. The program also implanted memory chips into his brain, providing him with the memories of being a Samurai in Japan and a CIA operative. His first mission as part of the program was to destruct the Incredible Hulk; this fight occurred in Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov. 1974).

Soon after, Logan was approached by Charles Xavier to help teach the professor’s mutant students and to become part of the X-Men team. The anti-hero accepted the position, but it was mostly believed because of his infatuation with Cyclops’ girlfriend, Jean Grey, as was demonstrated on the page of Uncanny X-Men. As an X-Men, Wolverine fought battles with enemies, including Magneto, Hornet, and Northstar. Wolverine was able to defeat others, not only because his claws could penetrate almost anything, but because he is able to heal rapidly, extending his lifespan. This also makes him immune to most diseases, drugs, and poisons. Wolverine's other enhanced physical abilities include greater endurance, quick reflexes and enhanced hearing, seeing, and smell, enabling him to track down his enemies more quickly.