The Wolverine Crash Course: 5 Comic-Book Facts You Need To Know
Though Wolverine has appeared in hundreds of thousands of comic book issues dating back to 1974 – when he made his debut in The Incredible Hulk Nos. 180 and 181 – the four-part Japanese storyline depicted by writer Chris Claremont and penciler Frank Miller in 1982 still holds claim to being the most popular arc in the hero’s history. For this reason, it is the story Hugh Jackman swears he has been pursuing for years, promising it to fans in a clunky coda to his X-Men Origins: Wolverine and, finally, delivering it with James Mangold’s The Wolverine.
But let’s say you only know Jackman’s silver screen version of Wolverine, and you’ve never picked up an issue of The Uncanny X-Men in your life. Not to worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are five important plot points pulled from Claremont and Miller’s essential limited series that will help you appreciate Mangold’s The Wolverine, opening everywhere on Friday, July 26:
1. Haunted by his past actions, Wolverine is an isolated, feral loner.
In his own words, Logan -- aka Wolverine -- is “the best I am at what I do.” And while he often works as a member of a mutant team, the hero usually prefers to fly solo on a mission. So it was surprising that it took all the way until 1982 for Marvel to break Wolvie out and give him his own, standalone mission.
Like the comics, Mangold starts his story deep in the Canadian woods, where a grizzled Wolverine seeks solitude following some harrowing adventures. In The Wolverine, the hero is lamenting the loss of his lover, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who appears regularly to guide him from the afterlife. Claremont and Miller separated Logan from his teammates in their Wolverine story to create distance and allow themselves breathing room to explore emotional characteristics of this battering-ram of a fighter. The decision works similarly in The Wolverine, giving Jackman two full acts of a film to tap into a smoldering hurt in the character that we haven’t yet seen on screen.
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