I have not read every Wolverine comic ever written. I doubt anyone has. I doubt there are enough hours in a lifetime for anyone to read every Wolverine story ever written.
So for this edition of “Read More About It” I’m just going to focus on the few Wolverine tales that are on my bookshelf and that I feel are worthwhile. There may be more good stuff that I haven’t read but that’s up to you to discover on your own.
As always, if you want to start at the beginning, pick up the Essentials volumes of Uncanny X-Men or Wolverine.
Chris Claremont (writer), Frank Miller and Paul Smith (artists)
This book collects the first 4-issue Wolverine mini-series from 1982 (drawn by Miller) and the two followup issues of “Uncanny X-Men” (drawn by Smith). Wolverine goes to Japan where he must take down a crime-lord who is also the father of his beloved Mariko.
It’s wordy, as usual for Claremont, but a classic Wolverine story with nice early artwork by Miller. Smith’s art on the X-Men issues is also sharp but in a very different style.
This is probably my favorite Wolverine story, in which we learn how Logan got the adamantium grafted to his frame. Originally published in 1991 as a serial in “Marvel Comics Presents” 72-84.
“Weapon X” is not a superhero story, it’s a science fiction horror story. Logan spends most of the book an incoherent lab experiment with the focus on the scientists who recreate him into a living weapon. Then it all goes horribly, brutally, chillingly wrong. Beautiful art by Windsor-Smith, as always.
Mark Millar (writer) and Steve McNiven (artist)
Originally published in 2008-9 as “Wolverine” 66-72 and “Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan,” the story takes place in a dystopian future where super villains have taken over the world. Logan is now a dirt-poor farmer and family man who has vowed never to pop his claws again.
Unfortunately, Logan owes a lot of money to the hillbilly HULK clan so when Hawkeye shows up with a large amount of cash asking for a favor, the old man is forced into a dangerous cross-country adventure. Terrific art and a compelling, at times disturbing, story.
Jason Aaron (writer), Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw (artists)
All the previous Wolverine stories mentioned are pretty dark so I thought I’d throw this in for those looking for something more light-hearted. Launched as a new series on 2011, this comic follows Logan and some of his fellow mutants as they return to New York (they had been living on an island off the west coast) and reopen the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, only this time under the name Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. The first collection covers the first four issues.
If the thought of Wolverine as a schoolmaster sounds absurd and amusing, that’s the tone the book is going after. Almost everything is played for laughs here, which is unusual for an X-Book, but it works more often than not. Bachalo’s art can be hit-and-miss but when he’s good he’s very good. It’s pretty hard to follow unless you’ve been reading comics for decades. And even then it can be hard to follow. Bradshaw (who drew issue 4) is equally cartoony but cleaner and easier to digest.