Wolverine is one of those characters that is actually difficult to lock down because he is in SO many comics that different writers all have a hand in shaping his character. Some have done very well with him (e.g. Chris Claremont), while some have crashed and burned (e.g. Garth Ennis).
But there is still something compelling about this character who was just supposed to be a colorful diversion in yellow spandex for the Hulk to smack down.
So here are Wolverine's Top Ten Stories
10. Logan's Wedding
The followup to Frank Miller's iconic mini-series, we find Logan ready to settle down with his love, Mariko Yashido. Of course things go wrong, but what makes this story amazing is the very last panel of the very last page of the wedding issue. Perfect.
- Morlock MassacreThis is actually a brutal storyline in which many innocent people are murdered by a savage group called the Marauders But it is significant because it has one of the best knock-down, drag-out fights between Wolverine and his nemesis, Sabertooth.
- Wolverine #9
This is a strange issue, almost like a horror movie, where a group of men go hunting in the woods and are slowly killed one-by-one. But the monster who is hunting them is our hero, Wolverine. His reasons for doing so are unnerving and heartbreaking. And his final monologue gave me one of the deepest insights into what truly motivates him and why someone like Logan would be an X-man.
- Wolverine First Class #9
This is a fun, and sometimes silly issue. Wolverine goes to the Kung Fu Master and asks for his help in training to fight Sabertooth. The Kung Fu Master explains that Logan's problem is not physical, but mental. He has not learned the importance of being Zen. The secret is in the riddle that Logan struggles with the entire issue. The Kung Fu Master presents him with an apple and asks, “What is this?” The answer is delightful. (and incidentally, I use this story to illustrate the main principle of Zen Buddhism)
- Wolverine #25
A gang lord cashes in a favor and asks Wolverine to protect his child the night of a big rumble. He spends the night telling him a story of how he grew up as a child, raised by savage wolverines. It is very much in the Jungle Book tradition and is a wonderful story that shows why kids particularly are fascinated by Wolverine.
- Old Man Logan
I was not expecting this story to be as good as it was. Set in the future, the world has been conquered by the super villains ever since they killed all (or most) of the heroes in a single night. Since then Logan has not popped his claws. He is a simple farmer with a wife and 2 children, whose lives are threatened by the inbred children of the Hulk. But Hawkeye shows up and promises to give Logan the money he needs if he escorts him on a dangerous road trip to New York city. Imaginative and heartbreaking, the penultimate issue has the most satisfying rendition of the sound effect “SNIKT”
- Kitty Pryde and WolverineFor some reason, Wolverine ends up as the guardian/mentor for many young female mutants. He is like the stalwart who protects the princess. In this story, we see this relationship solidified in how he helps Kitty Pryde go from scared child to brave warrior. And in it, we see Wolverine confront the greatest samurai ever, Ogun, his teacher. It is a story that defines Wolverine's role as the one who looks after the innocent with savage fury
- Uncanny X-Men #251All of the other X-Men have disappeared and Wolverine is ambushed by the Marauders He is then crucified on a decussate cross and is left to bake in the Australian sun. It is a tale of endurance and survival that only Wolverine could do.
- What if Wolverine Became Lord of the Vampires?The concept of this issue is insane. And yet I cannot express how truly awesome it is. Whether it was watching vampire Wolverine fight Dracula or the Punisher melting vampire Colossus with a water cannon, this crazy story is one of the most fun and fantastic I read as a kid. I must have read it dozens of times before the pages started to wear.
- Uncanny X-Men Annual #11An evil alien forces the X-Men to retrieve a crystal that grants omnipotent power. But the tower tempts those who enter with their heart's desires or taunts them into accepting their deepest fears. One-by-one, the heroes succumb to the overwhelming power of that place. So it is up to Wolverine to see it through, but not without sacrifice. My favorite image of Wolverine ever is the very last one of him at the end of the story. His pose speaks volumes about his character. It has always stayed with me and reminded me that even though he often acts like an animal, Wolverine strives with all of his heart to be a man.