The X Lives and Deaths Of Wolverine is a new event series by writer Benjamin Percy that explores the past and future of the iconic X-Men character. The series is a great occasion for fans to revisit some of the best Wolverine comics ever along with the series, and follow Logan’s journey from a minor villain to one of the most important superheroes in Marvel Comics history.
Choosing the best comics in Wolverine’s long history is virtually impossible and with some exceptions, there’s no wrong answer. The best issues featuring Wolverine are those that contribute to his unique story and character, and also deliver iconic moments that fans will never forget, including some epic battles with both heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe.
10 The Incredible Hulk #181
The Incredible Hulk #181 is where it all begins (though some fans consider Wolverine’s first appearance to be issue #180). This landmark issue, written by Len Wein and drawn by Herb Trimpe, is key for introducing Wolverine and establishing much of his character and powers.
It’s also historically fascinating as many aspects of Wolverine’s look and character would evolve. At this point, his trademark claws are just part of his gloves and his iconic mask is not quite the look that fans will come to love in the years ahead.
9 The Uncanny X-Men #142
The Uncanny X-Men #142 is a standout issue for Wolverine in many regards. This is properly the first iteration of an ‘old man Logan,’ more grizzled and more willing to do whatever it takes in one of Marvel’s darkest timelines in the comics.
The second chapter of the iconic Days of Futures Past storyline is also key for showing Wolverine is not without limits. He is brutally killed by a Sentinel in one of the most iconic images from Marvel Comics, no doubt to be one of the deaths revisited in the new series.
8 Wolverines #36
Wolverines #36 is a great issue for boiling Wolverine down to the basics. He’s a classic action hero and an icon of an era where comics first started exploring what came to be known as ‘grim and gritty’ storytelling. This issue lets Wolverine off the chain.
Written by Larry Hama and drawn by Marc Silvestri, one of the best X-Men artists ever, it also adds to Logan’s backstory. He fights in the Spanish Civil War in the 30s, and has an interesting encounter with the author Ernest Hemingway.
7 Ultimate X Men #41
Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and Ultimate X-Men #41 is perhaps the most superb example of that. This shocking and sad issue has Logan wrestle with a mission to kill a mutant teenager. He has to, because the mutant is killing everyone else with his power from him.
It’s unintentional and Logan doesn’t want to kill the teen, but he’s the only one who can. His healing factor from him allows him to get close enough to have an unsettling conversation with the teen in a stark, haunting issue written by Brian Michael Bendis.
6 The Incredible Hulk #340
Wolverine and Hulk would get a number of rematches over the years. One of the best is The Incredible Hulk #340, one of the best Hulk comics of the 1980s. This epic fight features classic art by one of the hottest artists of the time, Todd McFarlane.
Beyond the all-time classic cover, which has been homaged endlessly ever since the story pits the two characters against one another during a blizzard in Dallas. Wolverine doesn’t want to fight, but the Hulk is out to smash everything, leading to an epic battle.
5 Wolverines #66
Wolverine #66 is the first appearance of Old Man Logan, and is one of the best Wolverine comics by giving fans a shocking and moving new take on the character. Old and alone in a future where most superheroes have died, Logan faces a grim reality.
Old Man Logan might not be one of the most powerful versions of Wolverine, but he’s one of the most determined, facing off against a demented, all-powerful future Hulk even as he tries to save a young Hulk baby in a dystopian setting.
4 Wolverines #10
There have been many classic battles between Wolverine and Sabretooth over the years and one of the best occurs in Wolverines #10. This issue gives fans one of their most vicious battles and also provides a key element of both of the characters’ backstory.
It’s this issue that reveals the reason for their bitter feud. Sabretooth had murdered Wolverine’s fiancee Silver Fox in the past, and never let him forget it. Though Silver Fox’s fate would be retconned, the issue remains key in Wolverine’s story about him.
3 Marvel Comics Presents #72
Marvel Comics Presents #72 is another seminal issue that adds another major element to Wolverine’s history. This issue reveals that Logan was a subject of the Weapon X program, and his claws and adamantium skeleton were products of cruel experiments.
The entire storyline by iconic comics creator Barry Windsor-Smith gives fans their first real insight into Logan’s mysterious past and also provides some of the most iconic images of the character, a few of which have been replicated in the movies.
two Uncanny X-Men #133
The Wolverine most comic book fans recognize properly begins to emerge in Uncanny X-Men #133. part of the legendary dark phoenix sagathis issue is one of the best for being the first real instance of Wolverine going berserk on a group of villains.
Wolverine unleashes on the Hellfire Club, who are as shocked as fans were reading this issue. Wolverine would later do much more damage in future comics, but this issue establishes the idea of Wolverine being the best there is at what he does.
one Wolverines #1 (1982)
That concept would be solidified in what is arguably the best Wolverine comic ever. In Wolverines #1, Logan battles endless ranks of ninjas as he tries to save Mariko, perhaps his greatest love interest, in a classic story that adds layers and layers to his complex character.
The 1982 mini-series by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont and artist Frank Miller leverages both of their talents, with Miller bringing his trademark sense of action and pacing (and love of ninjas) to a story that added significantly to Wolverine’s mystique.
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