Q & A 25: What’s your favorite Wolverine moment?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Q & A 25: What’s your favorite Wolverine moment?

Anika

This is easy. I love Logan for one main reason: Jean Grey. Logan and Jean are my X-Men One True Pairing. I never ever never want them to be happy ever after, or even together, but as far as unrequited love stories go theirs is one of my favourites. I compiled a list of favorite Logan and Jean moments a couple years ago. While I am a fan of the bittersweet side of their not-quite-romance, the majority of those moments take place under DIRE CIRCUMSTANCE. The tragedy of Logan and Jean’s relationship is the key element for me. Phoenix must die in order to be reborn and Logan is the one who can kill her. And so he does over and over and over. And the idea of someone strong enough to handle that — that is one hundred percent my favorite Wolverine moment. Every single time.

Caroline

Hugh Jackman and Anna Paquin made me the nerd I am today. Note that I’m not saying they made me a nerd. I was obviously wired to be one of those and in the (extremely unlikely) event that you require evidence of that: the only reason I saw the first X-Men movie in 2000 is that it got a good review in the New Yorker. I was a movie buff, and one with a bit of a weakness for a memorable leading man — whether that meant Cary Grant or Bruce Willis — but it never occurred to me I could be a fan of superheroes. I didn’t hate them, they just weren’t a thing I ever thought about. I sat down to watch X-Men because I had been told it presented an interesting allegory about how our society dealt with difference, and also because, hopefully, some things would explode in cool ways. (I said I was a nerd, I didn’t say I was a snob).

And then Wolverine happened. Suddenly I was watching this angry, half-naked man fighting in a cage in a bar in the Canadian wilderness, with an animalistic snarl on his face. I didn’t know anything about this guy, whether he was going to be a villain or a hero, or some combination of the two. But hey — cage fighting, shirtless. How could this be bad? The scene that captured my imagination, though, was the one after that. Wolverine found Rogue, the sympathetic runaway who was scared of her own powers, stowed away in his truck and — with a look on his face that told us this was against his better judgment — invited her to ride along. Because this was a superhero movie, it only took a few minutes before they are attacked by (duh) supervillains. But in those few minutes, I got to know Wolverine and Rogue — Logan and Marie — as two equally lost souls, in turn defensive, and prickly, then cautiously, almost silently, warm with each other. It was the first time it struck me that superhero stories could really be stories about people as much as they were about powers, and it was the strength of their friendship that carried me through the movie. It was also a pretty damn good introduction to Wolverine, and as much as I enjoy many of his appearances in comics, that will always be the Logan I love best.

Jennifer

As I sit on my Wolverine bedsheets in a room with at least 6 Wolverine action figures (mostly gifts), I wonder when, exactly, I became a Wolverine fan. And while I’m sure I could give several deep and thoughtful answers about storylines that showed me the character’s heart and loyalty and inner conflict, my mind returns, inexorably, to one moment:

“I’m the best at what I do. And what I do… is so terribly pretty!”

I owe Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men many things, but not least among them is my appreciation for Wolverine as a character who, despite his seriousness, can be mocked with more glee and cleverness than I’ve seen accomplished with any other character. Whedon’s transformation of Logan into his 10-year-old self — “Percy Dovetonsils,” as it were — was a pitch-perfect example of how this mockery functions. Sure, the words themselves are funny — Logan’s “prayer” in a tree would be amusing in any character’s mouth, because Whedon has such a gift for dialogue. But they wouldn’t work nearly as well if we didn’t know what a departure they are for the berserker bruiser we all know and love. The contrast of Logan’s scenes as a scared little boy with his usual personality creates the humor, and also shows the absurdity of how much Logan has changed from his poncy 19th century childhood, as revealed in the Origin miniseries. Now, I’m probably the only person in the world who loves Origin (and it was actually Whedon’s comic that made me pick it up to begin with), but there’s a strong argument to be made that it takes itself a bit too seriously. Whedon takes the piss out of it, and simultaneously reminds us that comics don’t have to be dumbed-down to be good, giggle-inducing fun.

Sigrid

The Wolverine I love more than anything is the guy who says “pun’kin.” The mentor, the teacher. The one who says “darlin’,” and likes to terrify the new students just a little, for fun. The Wolverine I love isn’t Wolverine, he’s Logan. And to one little girl, he’s Mr. Logan.

In Uncanny X-Men #195, Logan meets Katie Power for the first time. Her brothers and sister have been kidnapped by the Morlocks, a rescue party comprised of my four favorite X-Men ever, Rachel Summers, Logan, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde, sets out, shenanigans ensue, the Power kids are rescued and restored. It’s in this story that Logan tells Katie, “The hardest part about growing up, Katie, is understanding — accepting — that every action is a mix of both good and bad. It ain’t nice sometimes, but that’s the way of things.” (It occurs to me, reading this issue, that I may have discovered the source of my persistent use and abuse of the em-dash in writing. Another thing to attribute to Claremont. And to my favorite letterer ever, Tom Orzechowski.) Ten issues later, in Uncanny X-Men #205, Logan is badly hurt. He’s alone and is not in control of his mind. He’s an animal. And it’s Katie Power who wraps him in a blanket, Katie who walks him to cover in a snowstorm, Katie who gives him time until he can recover enough to fight Lady Deathstrike (in her first appearance!) and her cyborg Wolverine-killers. Katie is, it must be noted, terrified throughout this. But she believes in Logan’s heroism despite his animal behavior. And Logan, when he recovers his mind, is grateful for her trust.

What I love about this Logan — what I love about all his mentoring relationships, with Kitty and Rogue and Jubilee and Hisako — is that it’s not one-sided. Logan isn’t the one who knows everything, the one to always save the day. No, sometimes he needs saving. Sometimes he needs the teenage girl he’s been training to come save his ass, to save the day. To save the planet. It’s a mentoring relationship that doesn’t stifle. The protege doesn’t need to break away from Logan in order to grow. No, he wants, he demands that they live up to their potential while he can see them. Logan wants to make the world wider for the kids, the girls, he mentors. He wants to prepare them for the worst yet not frighten them. Logan wants his students to be as strong and confident and powerful as he knows they can be. And they, in turn, don’t want to let him down. They want to be the hero he makes them see. But not every lesson is one of butt-kicking and combat. Halfway through Uncanny X-Men #205, Logan recovers his mind. And he asks Katie Power to do something incredibly hard. We don’t hear his request and he spends the next six pages or so ripping Deathstrike and her men to pieces. On the final page of the issue Logan returns to where he left Katie. To where he had asked her to cover her eyes and ears and not peek. She did it, too. Trusted him. And didn’t see or hear the berserk carnage Logan inflicted on those trying to kill him. It’s these moments that reveal Logan for the incredibly gifted, intuitive mentor that he is. Katie is far too young to see the fight. But she’s old enough, and brave enough, to follow a difficult instruction in a combat situation. She’s old enough to trust Logan, and strong enough for Logan to trust her to do as he asked. Trust begets trust, strength begets strength, and both Katie and Logan are better people for what they have given each other.

This is my Logan. This is my Wolverine. And it’s my favorite moment.

So what about you? What’s your favorite Wolverine moment?

  • As a Jubilee fan, I feel that my answer should be similar to Sigrid’s – I love the mentor relationship and everything it entails, and Jubilee tagging along with Wolvie (no disrespect intended there, to either of them) is always awesome. I started caring about the X-Men because of the cartoons, so if I had to choose one Wolverine moment it would probably be from the 90s cartoon.

    But then I thought about it, and I realized that no, I just have to agree with Jen. Seriously, that entire issue is amazing. *loves*

  • Ooh, that’s where I was going: I love his relationship with Jubilee and though the issue escapes me now, the one where he’s leaving and he writes her this letter, and she wakes up, watched him go… yeah, that’s the best moment.

  • sigrid

    @Caroline I just wanted to mention *how very very much* I love that scene. 😀

  • UXM #205 is one of my favorite single issues of all time, Sigrid. Yay.

    And it goes without saying that Anika and I are practically BFFs on this subject. Did I just say BFFs?

  • Third comment filled with Jubilee love. That’s about where I started reading X-Men, and I really loved the stories with those two.

  • sigrid

    @Jeff You totally said BFFs. I actually had a hard time with my answer. I mean, do I pick UXM #196? UXM #173? UXM #207? UXM #183? The choices are endless. But, really, Katie Power exemplifies the thing of which I speak.

  • Dan

    Since I prefer my Wolverine to be the gruff, cantankerous grouch he was in the beginning, I pretty much love every scene in WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS. I especially love the sheer number of times he mentions hockey.

    There’s also his line towards the end of Whedon’s run on ASTONISHING, after he falls through Breakworld’s atmosphere, when he tells Armor to wait until his “face grows back.”

    But, the moment I fell in love with that hairy little SOB was probably the “Wolverine: Alone!” chapter of the DARK PHOENIX SAGA.

  • @Dan Those are all great answers. It’s so hard to try to pick a best moment of Wolverine: First Class, because he’s just so… Wolverine.

    Caroline, Sigrid, I really love your answers, too. Logan’s relationships with his girls are some of the best things Marvel’s created, and they’re always handled so well, regardless of the writer.

  • Caroline

    @Anika One of the great things about comics is that you can be like, “Their love is so pure! He’s constantly stabbing her!” and it makes total sense. I remember when you posted that list the first time and I was all, “Jean/Logan, really?” And now I’m all, “OMGYESTHEHOTNESS.” The longer you stay in comics the more sense this makes.

    @Jennifer MOOSE! That still and always makes me laugh.

    @Sigrid In a lot of ways you and I are talking about the same thing. I excised a line from my post where I referred to him as, “everybody’s perpetual grouchy uncle and collector of teenage girls” because I couldn’t make it sound not creepy. But I think you got it.

    I’m loving all these answers because they bring home how much Wolverine awesomeness there is to choose from.

  • Wonderful picks, all. I love how these are all so different, yet all sort of iconic moments for the character.

    I adore Wolverine the Mentor and Wolverine the Lovah, but I have to say: I think my favorite Wolverine is Hugh Jackman Wolverine. After years of reading X-Men comics, he somehow made me see that character in a completely new way. And yeah, the Logan-Rogue relationship is really amazingly done.

    Jen: How are those Wolverine sheets working out? Comfy?

  • wiredferret

    @sigrid And that very mentoring, parental, give-the girls-wings nature is what SHOULD be driving the Daken story line, instead of the tedious triple-cross duplicity.

  • sigrid

    @wiredferret I am not reading the Daken story, so I can’t speak as to that.

  • @wiredferret Total agreement there. Though I can buy that Logan relates to men — and to someone who reminds him of himself, especially — differently than he does to women and girls, the Daken storyline has been handled poorly from the beginning and hasn’t gotten any better.

  • Re: Dakken, I kind of wish they’d given Logan a daughter instead of a son. It would make more sense with his history. (I think there was a plan at one point for X23 to be his daughter? That’s certainly what was implied when she showed up in ‘Uncanny’.)

  • Caroline,

    He certainly treats Laura like a daughter when he’s not trying too hard not to (ie, every page of X Force).

  • Anika

    @ Jeff MY BFF — we should both get t-shirts that say what Caroline suggested: “Their love is so pure! He’s constantly stabbing her!”

    I do also love Logan & his girls. And when he sometimes treats Alex Summers like he’s one of his girls.

  • @Anika I’m not sure if “like one of his girls” describes the way Logan and Alex interacted on their vacation in Mexico. Ahem.

  • Selena

    Jennifer – MOOOOOOOSE. I will love that sequence for ever ‘n ever. I also love the details of the art, because it took another look for me to realize that Cassandrafied Logan has in fact cut his own image as the links of the paper chain.

  • sigrid

    @Jennifer @Anika MELTDOWN. The Logan and Havok roadtrip spectacular!

  • @Sigrid Where they are compared to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker!

  • Wolverine is such a great and beloved character, this article is only further proof of how he, in many different ways, has captivated the X-men readers. Because of that, I’m constantly annoyed at how Marvel is shamelessly plugging him into every single cover/story in that company’s universe, just to ride the upcoming movie. I think he deserved better.

  • Dan

    For what it’s worth (and I’m not sure who does and doesn’t know this) 23 is Logan’s clone…so, in some ways, she is his daughter.

    The real question is: Have Laura and Daken come face to face yet?

  • Hmmmm… One of my favorite bits is a one-liner, early in AXM.

    What stage of grief is this, Summers? Denial?

    I love that bit. It shows that those two have a certain… comfort with each other. The sort of rough-housing only those who have had a chance to really get to know their boundaries can really do. And they keep going. Because, it just is. That bit was great.

  • @talkswithwind Oh, YES, I know that’s a favorite scene of Jennifer’s and mine, at the very least. I actually started reading X-men comics because somebody described that scene to me and I thought *God, I have to see that!*

  • @Caroline @talkswithwind Oh, yes. That moment came very close to being the one I talked about, but in the end the moose won out by a narrow margin. Still, that scene, and what it showcases about Scott and Logan’s dynamic, thrills me every time.

  • Menshevik

    Great answers, and my gut reaction (Wolvie is of course one of those characters where it is best to follow your gut instinct) is to go with Sigrid here. A lot of people like to make fun of or read squicky sexual undertones into Logan’s mentor/surrogate parent relationships with his young ladies, but I love them. One thing I like is that they are not all the same, that there are differences between the way the way he interacted with Kitty, with Katie, with Jubes depending on their age, personality and background. (For instance how in UXM #195 he already began grooming a fourteen-year-old Kitty for a future role as team leader by thrusting the mantle of leadership of their impromptu group on her).

    BTW, I think that in the mainstream Marvel Universe Logan’s relationship with Rogue actually falls out of this Mentor/Telemachus pattern, possibly because Rogue was already too old and independent-minded to let Wolvie become her mentor figure – in contrast to the more deferential attitude she came to adopt towards Storm during the mid-1980s. Rogue and Logan became buddies, IMO helped by the similarities between their personalities (one of which is that Rogue also had a tendency to, well, she’s too young to mentor, let’s say befriend or bemother (is that a word?)).

    To finish, three other favourite Wolverine moments. One is obviously the final panel of UXM #132: “Okay, suckers — you’ve taken yer best shot! Now it’s my turn!” And two more are from the first Rogue/Logan team up: The conversation in UXM #172, where Kitty slowly realizes what Logan meant when he said that he stopped Shingen Yashida and Logan looks at her feeling uncomfortable (“Moments like this, I feel sorry for the kid. She cares for me, believes in me – but every so often, she gets reminded – hard – that we come from two different worlds. An’ that mine isn’t very nice.”) And the moment in #173 where he decides by repay Rogue for saving Mariko’s life by making her absorb his healing factor, with a beautiful switch from close-ups to a monochrome wide shot on white.

  • Jesse Post

    My favorite is from the movies, as well — the scene in X-Men 2 when the mansion is invaded, Wolverine is the only one there, and he just blows his stack and slaughters everything he sees in a rage. We’ve seen him be tough before in the movies but that’s the first time he really lets loose, I think. And of course, the thing that makes him let loose is the threat to the kids under his care.

    In that way I think it speaks to the same thing that appeals to us about his relationships with Kitty, Jubilee, etc. — he’s a protector, a true hero but without any schmaltziness or self doubt or angst.