Wolverine: Where Do I Start?

Although Superman, Batman and Spider-Man might be have a long history in comics and film, Marvel’s mutant hero Wolverine has risen through the ranks to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any heroes. Wolverine came about at a time where the idea of ‘anti-heroes’ were on a rise: heroes with a dark past who would be willing to do whatever it takes for the greater good. Whereas some heroes might be crime-fighters or crusaders, Logan’s adventures primarily come about after someone pisses him off or does something to one of his friends. Retribution.

Introduced as an agent for the Canadian government in Incredible Hulk, it wasn’t until his debut as an X-Men that his fame really started to congeal. Mysterious past + bezerker rage + an untraditional personality, and he was tailor-made for success. Wolverine expanded from the X-Men to his own solo series as well as numerous guest appearances in various series. Now he’s one of Marvel’s most popular, and most present, heroes, appearing in several X-Men series, his own series, miniseries, as well as members of two Avengers titles. But with all that, fans keep coming back fro more.

Finding the best place to start with Wolverine might be as shadowy as the mutant hero’s past once was, but iFanboy has dug through the longboxes and consulted the experts to find the choice stories to start with. Although some of the better Wolverine stories has yet to be collected in an easy way (such as Larry Hama’s), we’ve got a knock-down-drag-out 6 pack of stories to get your Logan fix on.

Wolverine: Although he first appeared in Incredible Hulk and rose to some fame as a member of X-Men, it wasn’t until Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s 1982 miniseries Wolverine that Logan turned from team player into solo star. This solo series (Wolverine’s first) took the mutant into the heart of Japan after a woman and into a bed of ninja.

Wolverine: Get Mystique: Get Mystique is one part western, one part revenge story, and all parts cool. Jason Aaron is shaping up to be the the modern scribe for Wolverine’s adventures, and this first real storyarc capitalizes on Logan’s long past, his friends, enemies and his deadly relationship with Mystique.

Wolverine: Logan: Although an overlooked recent addition to Logan’s ouvre, this three-part series by Brian K. Vaughn and Eduardo Risso into the heart and soul of the man upon his first recollection of long-buried memories of his past. This is really a tour-de-force of two creators at the top of their game, giving Marvel’s mutant a real run into his past and present.

Wolverine: Not Dead Yet: Wolverine goes against a enemy from his pre-hero past calld the White Ghost, and this enemy uses the very same metal that Logan has to attempt to kill the mutant. This story shows Logan’s loner spirit at his finest. Although out of print for years, this storyline by Warren Ellis and Leinil Yu has been on numerous top ten lists of Logan stories, and was thankfully brought back into print in 2009.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan: Wolverine’s past has been the mystery on everyone’s mind since his debut in 1974, but Mark Millar and Steve McNiven see what would happen in a future where Logan was a shadow of his former self. After being tricked into  massacring all his X-men teammates and friends, Logan renounces his super-hero life to become a simple farmer. Meanwhile, all the world falls under the control of villains. Old Man Logan is the story of how a disillusioned man can turn himself around and save the world in the process.

Wolverine: Weapon X: Although Origin might be Wolverine’s true origin, it’s the Weapon X storyline by Barry Windsor-Smith that has increasingly defined the character over the years. This storyline showed how a secret enclave turned a simple mutant into a weapon that is one of the world’s biggest killers. Previous subjects were bred to be super soldiers, but Logan as Weapon X was bred to be an assassin. This story-arc has been referenced numerous times in comics as well as in both X-Men 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


  1. Wolverine, volume 3, issue #6 has always been one of my favorite issues.  You can read the ones leading up to it if you want, but it’s not required.  It shows Logan with his best-friend Nightcrawler (back when he was alive and Colossus was the dead one) talking about weither Wolverine is good or evil.  Great stuff.

  2. Jungle Adventure by Mignola! Awesome art in that.

  3. Also maybe THE most defining Wolverine moment is in Uncanny X-Men #132 and #133 Dark Phoenix saga where Wolverine is thrown through five or so floors into the sewer and left for dead or so they thought until…. THE MOST BADASS PANEL IN COMICS HISTORY.

    He then procedes in the next issue to OldBoy his way through the entire Hellfire club.



  4. Dude, I really appreciate what you’re doing here.  Keep it up!

  5. I share your lament about the powers that be not collecting Larry Hama’s run yet. It’s quite extensive and comprehensive, and while I’ve only read about a fraction of it so far, it’s a great showcase for the character (especially those Mark Texiera drawn issues!)

  6. cool list. Great resource! I’ve only read the Claremont/Miller for Wolvie solo books…thought that was great. Weapon X is on my list…TOO MANY TRADES!!! haha. 

  7. Mark Millar’s first run on Wolverine is the one I recommend to people who aren’t terribly familiar with the character. Not only is it a great summer-blockbuster style of story, it also showcases the many sides of the character and is a good book to give you a tour of the Marvel Universe and all it’s characters.

    Delighted to see Risso and Vaughan’s Logan on the list. It really passed people by when it came out and it easily deserves it place here.

    Even though it splits opinion I’d add Wolverine: Origin to the list. It’s a very different origin story than anyone expected when it was released and has just as much relevance to the backstory of the character as Weapon X.

    It’s probably just me but, does anyone else really hate Weapon X? I’ve never warmed to the story or the art on this one despite it being such an integral part of the Wolvie mythos. 

  8. Ugh I hate Origin. The most never needed to be toldest story ever.

  9. Uncanny #205 is a great story.

  10. This is the first time I actually own every book in one of these “Where Do I Start”s. Good list, but I would definitely include Origin here. Especially if the purpose is to prep new readers. It’s not exactly crucial but it is important to understanding the tragedy of Wolverine, and becomes more relevant as the years go by. I’d swap Old Man Logan with Origin. If ya wanna see the story of OML, just watch Unforgiven. It’s better.

  11. @ResurrectionFlan: I agree that it never should have been told but at least it was told in a way that no-one expected. Once I got over that I enjoyed it. The follow-up series Origins is a different kettle of fish though…..

  12. Also where is the story where someone gives Wolvie a Magneto helmet so he can stop getting effing mind controlled all the time.

  13. Straight up – you need some Greg Rucka on this list.

  14. I have to say, this is a great article and covers most (if not all the stories) I would have pointed out to someone if they had asked me. I haven’t read the Ellis story so I’ll have to seek it out.

  15. Wolverine: Weapon X is sooo good. I got it half off at my local shop and after reading it I felt like I got the deal of the decade. More a brief review of the story in tpb form, check out 365DaysofComics.com

  16. I really liked the Wolverine: Enemy of the State storyline. Fantastic John Romita, Jr. art, wacky Mark Millar story telling, Wolverine taking on half the heroes in the Marvel U, plus a body count in the THOUSANDS! A ton of fun! 

  17. @vadamowens  Not only do I appreciate these “where do I start” guides, I think they should be archived someplace on the site and easily accessible. This is so helpful when you want to read something but have no idea where to begin.

  18. Great list! I agree with everything on it. I’m right there with you davidtobin100 & WheelHands about Wolverine: Origin, but more for the fact that it cemented my theories on his past (unlike OriginS) the only surprise was that Sabertooth wasn’t around back then.

    The first issue Peter David wrote in Wolverine Vol. 2 was excellent, even if it has little to no Wolverine in it. Wolverine: Dangerous Game was actually a good collection of stories that just let creators tell Wolverine stories for 32 pages. It can be a mixed bag, but really shows him being the best there is at something something.

    And then there are some great Wolverine moments in Uncanny X-Men and such, but those aren’t really solo.

    The first two volumes of Rucka’s run were pretty good too in my book the final one is a little… odd…, though I admit I’m kind of ashamed I’ve never read Larry Hamma’s run.

    And anything else I’d recommend is either out of print or never collected. ::cough:: Manifest Destiny ::cough:: 

  19. I’m glad you guys mentioned Not Dead Yet, that’s always been one of my fave Wolverine stories..