Of a number of Marvel authors who pulled half-decade-or-longer runs on their titles in the 80s and 90s, Larry Hama’s run on Wolverine tends to be one that gets overlooked. Maybe that is because Hama wrote such a far-ranging, diverse take on Wolverine that saw him as both superhero and civilian, savage and strategic, and solo and surrounded by friends and allies.
While these initial years aren’t necessarily the best of that run, they might be the best looking thanks to increasingly flashy art from Marc Silvestri leading up to his departure to launch his own Cyberforce for Image Comics.
Wolverine Vol. 3 AKA Wolverine by Hama & Silvestri is tied as he #38 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017 on Tigereyes’s Secret Ballot. Visit the Marvel Masterworks Message Board to view the original posting of results by Tigereyes and visit Guide to Wolverine for details on how to collect every Wolverine issue, ever.
Probable Contents: Wolverine (1988) #31-57, along with at least the three OGNs, which stood in for annuals in this period – Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure, Wolverine: Bloodlust, and Wolverine: Rahne of Terra.
Since those issues have been recently recollected in paperback (and are just a modestly-sized book when combined), this volume could also include some or all of other contemporaneous Wolverine material including stories from Marvel Comics Presents #62-71, 85-92, & 97-100, Marvel Fanfare #54-55, and Marvel Collector’s Edition; plus any or all of Fantastic Four (1961) #347-349, Wolverine/Punisher #1-3, Spider-Man (1990) #8-12, and the original graphic novels Wolverine: Bloody Choices and Hearts of Darkness.
Creators: Issues of the main Wolverine series were written by Larry Hama with a single fill-in by Peter David.
The run was penciled by Marc Silvestri (with fill-ins by Larry Stroman and Jerry DeCaire and an arc by Andy Kubert) with Silvestri inked by Dan Green. The run was colored by Glynis Oliver, Mark Chiarello, and Steve Buccellato.
Can you read it right now? Yes! This omnibus will primarily be a collection of three paperbacks – Wolverine by Hama & Silvestri Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Weapon X Unbound. Unfortunately, only six issues of this run are on Marvel Unlimited at the moment.
There have always been two kinds of Wolverine runs – ones where he works adjacent to the X-Men being a superhero, and others where he’s entirely off on his own.
This initial two-year burst of Larry Hama’s lengthy run as writer is unusual because it contains both. The stories feel a little insubstantial today after 25 more years of Wolverine adventures and revelations, but some of the beats of these stories set the tone for Wolverine (and the shattered memories of his past) for years to come.
This run doesn’t start all that differently from what came before. Wolverine (as Patch, his “as obvious as Clark Kent” disguise) is ambushed in a Madripoor bar and abducted by his attackers. That winds up as bloody as you might expect. It’s of a piece with the prior run, as if Hama was feeling tentative about taking the book in a new direction.
That quickly changes with the next arc, with Hama cross-cutting the present day Wolverine (in costume!) with his sparse memories of a pre-WWII adventure while he is stalked by Lady Deathstrike. He also gains the pint-sized android sidekick Elsie Dee. The thread of Elsie Dee continues for the next 10 issues, which also see Sabretooth return and appearances from Storm, Cable, Nick Fury, and Jubilee.
People often forget that this run is where a lot of Jubilee’s early characterization was established. She really wasn’t in all that many issues of Uncanny X-Men, and when she was it was in this same Wolverine side-kick role (as in the “Acts of Vengeance” arc). After this, she was more of a footnote to the team when X-Men relaunched in 1991, and she was shipped of to Generation X three years later without many significant stories under her belt.
Next, the run detours to provide an ostensible sequel to the then-recent Weapon X saga in Marvel Comics Presents. This instance of Wolverine digging around in his past and probing his memories seems quaint when re-read in the modern day knowing what we know (and have retconned) above his history. But, at the time it was full of spine-tingling hints at Wolverine’s true past! Plus, it returned him to his original pre-Phoenix Saga costume!
If the revelations of the story have lost some luster over the years, the thrill of seeing Wolverine alongside Xavier, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Mystique in their full Lee-era regalia has not worn off.
At of #51 we get a brief fill-in arc from Andy Kubert just ahead of his work on X-Men, Vol. 2. He might be a little tighter and more distinct here aping Lee and Silvestri rather than with the broad faces that marked his X-Men work.
Silvestri really comes into his own over the course of this year and a half, transforming into something bolder and more distinct than he was on Uncanny X-Men prior to joining Hama on Wolverine (if also increasingly hard to distinguish from Jim Lee, the other half of his art rotation on UXM).
Will we see this omnibus in 2018? No.
We need Wolverine, Vol. 2 before we can get to this volume, and we don’t have Wolverine, Vol. 2 yet.
There have only been a handful of occasions of two volumes of an omnibus coming out within a single year, but they tended to be motivated by major media tie-ins or current popularity … which means 2017 would have been the year for this to occur.
Would I recommend buying it? If Silvestri is one of your favorite artists, then yes. However, purely for the quality of the material I think the recent trades suffice.
The 2017 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot Results
- #60 – What If? Classic Omnibus, Vol. 1
- #59 – House of M Omnibus
- #58 – Captain Marvel by Peter David, Vol. 1
- #57 – X-Force by Kyle & Yost
- #56 – Namor, The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1
- #55 – X-Force, Vol. 3 AKA Cable & X-Force, Vol. 1
- #54 – Conan The Barbarian, Vol. 1
- #53 – Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron
- #52 – Incredible Hercules by Pak & Van Lente
- #51 – Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day, Vol. 1
- #50 – Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch, Vol. 1
- #49 – Captain America (Silver Age), Vol. 3
- #48 – Doctor Strange by Roger Stern
- #47 – Marvel Horror of the 1970s
- #46 – Killraven
- #45 – Captain America by Mark Gruenwald, Vol. 1
- #44 – Runways by Brian K. Vaughan
- #43 – Superior Spider-Man
- #42 – The Punisher by Rucka & Checchetto
- #41 – Black Panther by Christopher Priest, Vol. 1
- #40 – Avengers West Coast by Roy Thomas
- #39 – Amazing Spider-Man by JMS
- #38 – TIE: Wolverine Vol. 3 AKA by Hama & Silvestri and Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2