020: License to Kill

Version 3.00, last updated on January 31, 2008

Logan in the Canadian military
Dave Cockrum and Josef Rubinstein, The Uncanny X-Men #147.

X-Men #96 (Dec 1975) – “Night of the Demon”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Dave Cockrum; Inker: Sam Grainger and Jack Abel
Shortly after joining the X-Men, Wolverine comments, “Ten years o’ psycho-training, o’ hypnotism, o’ drug therapy. Ten years of praying and I cut him to pieces without a thought. Nothing changes… I thought I’d learn to control myself, I guess I was wrong and ya wanna know somethin’ funny, I’m glad.” This would place the start of Logan’s rehabilitation around 1965.

X-Men #137 (Sep 1980) – “The Fate of the Phoenix”
Plotter: Chris Claremont and John Byrne; Scripter: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne; Inker: Terry Austin

Wolverine comments that he hasn’t babbled on in years. This is probably a reference to his psychiatric treatments.

X-Men #140 (Dec 1980) – “Rage”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Plotter – Penciler: John Byrne; Inker: Terry Austin
It is revealed that the Canadian Secret Service used Logan for all of their “…dirty, brutal, necessary assignments no one else would touch…” and that the Canadian government gave him a license to kill.

ROM #18 (May 1981) – “And a Child Shall Deceive Them!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo; Storyteller: Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema; Artist: Sal Buscema
Wolverine tells Kitty Pryde, “…the Canuck Secret Service trained me ta use any kind of gun!”

Wolverine (Limited Series) #2 (Oct 1982) – “Debts and Obligations”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Frank Miller; Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Logan reminisces, “When I was an agent for Canadian Intelligence, scraps like this came with the territory. I’d forgotten how much I missed ‘em.”

Uncanny X-Men #163 (Nov 1982) – “Beyond the Farthest Star”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Dave Cockrum; Inker: Bob Wiacek
Logan reminisces that he “…was an agent, Canadian Secret Service. Before that, a commando.” It seems likely that Logan was retrained as a military commando and a secret agent at this point, two occupations he had already had experience with prior to Experiment X.

Wolverine #9 (Jul 1989) – “Promises to Keep”
Writer: Peter David; Artist: Gene Colan
Logan reminisces back to the time when a group of Iraqi militants and mercenaries overrun the American embassy in Baghdad. Logan, as Weapon X, is sent in to assist with the Delta Force raid because of the presence of several Canadians at the embassy. During the raid, Logan kills at least one Iraqi militant and tends to a Canadian nun who is mortally wounded in the crossfire. The nun, who endured extreme psychological torture from the mercenaries, shockingly asks Logan to make the mercenaries pay for their crimes. The stated events of this story, unfortunately, are somewhat contradictory as the American embassy in Baghdad was closed in 1967 due to Arab-Israeli conflicts and Delta Force was not formed until 1977 under Colonel Charles Beckwith, some 10 years later. The most likely explanation is that Logan was referring to the American Special Forces.

…After rejoining the Canadian Secret Service, Logan is again teamed up with Carol Danvers from the Air Force Intelligence and the CIA, with Logan having no memory of their previous partnership…

Carol Danvers as secret agent
Marc Silvestri & Dan Green, The Uncanny X-Men #251.

Uncanny X-Men #182 (June 1984) – “Madness”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: John Romita, Jr. & Dan Green
Rogue, using Carol Danver’s absorbed memories, reminds Colonel Michael Rossi that Carol and he ran their first mission together in Berlin, and that, for a time, they were lovers.

Uncanny X-Men #154 (Feb 1982) – “Reunion”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: Dave Cockrum, Bob Wiacek and Josef Rubinstein
Logan tells Carol Danvers that when she was in Air Force Intelligence and he was in Canadian Intelligence, they ran missions together with her partner Michael Rossi. “We ran some pretty hairy capers together. Those were the good times.”

Marvel Fanfare #24 (Jan 1986) – “Elegy”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: David Ross; Inker: Bob Wiacek
Carol Danvers and Logan reminisce about Carol teaching Logan how to play poker. Carol remembers it taking place in Saigon, and Logan remembers Tokyo. This would suggest the two spent considerable time together on missions in the Pacific basin.

Uncanny X-Men #237 (Early Nov 1988) – “Who’s Human?”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Rick Leonardi; Inker: Terry Austin
In describing Carol Danvers, Logan states, “Ace is a world-class agent… she an’ I used to be a team.”

Uncanny X-Men #158 (Jun 1982) – “The Life That Late I Led…”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: Dave Cockrum & Bob Wiacek
Logan and Carol Danvers, as Captain Logan of the Canadian military and Colonel Danvers of the U.S. Air Force show their teamwork by conning their way into the Pentagon. Carol notes that she “…was allowed to temporarily upgrade from Major to Colonel on missions. The clout came in useful.”

…It is also during this period that Logan meets and works with several other intelligence agents…

The Punisher War Zone #19 (Sep 1993) – “The Jericho Syndrome, Part 3”
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning; Penciler: Hugh Haynes; Inker: Rodney Ramos
Logan tells the Punisher that Jack Oonuk is a friend from his days when he worked for the Canadian government. “He’s got a drawer full of I.O.U.’s that I’ve slipped him over the years.”

Codename: Genetix #1 (Jan 1993) – “Nature of the Beast, Part One”
Story: Graham Marks and Andy Lanning
Breakdowns: Andy Lanning; Penciler: Phil Gascoine; Inker: Kev Hopgood

Logan confirms he used to go hunting in Alberta, Canada with a native-Indian Canadian Mountie by the name of Lightfoot who was nearly as good a tracker as Logan.

Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 (Feb 1987) – “High Tide”
Writer: James C. Owsley; Penciler: Mark Bright; Inker: Al Williamson
Logan and an extraordinary female intelligence agent by the name of Charlemagne reminisce about earlier days when they lived life on the edge. It is conceivable that the two worked together in intelligence during the late 1960s when Logan worked for Canadian Intelligence and Charlie was a freelancer. This is the most probable placement as Charlie is not surprised by the presence of Logan’s claws during a later meeting in Berlin.

Wolverine (Limited Series) #1 (Sep 1982) – “I’m Wolverine”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Frank Miller; Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Logan notes that he used to work with Asano Kimura from Japanese Intelligence. “One o’ their top people an’ a friend. We ran more’n our share o’ dirty missions together… an’ we owe each other our lives a couple o’ times over.”

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #60 (Feb 2008) – “Wake the Dead”
Writer: Marc Guggenheim; Artist: Howard Chaykin
Logan meets with a former friend, Shiori Masukuma, a field agent for Japan’s Intelligence Agency and one-time lover of Asano Kimura. It seems likely Logan worked with her at this time as well as with Asano Kimura.

Wolverine #25 (Jun 1990) – “Heir Aid”
Writer: Jo Duffy; Artist: John Buscema
Logan discusses a debt that he owes to a man by the name of Morrow incurred in Tehran before Logan was Wolverine and when Morrow went by a different name. Morrow described Logan as “…a murderer, still so proud and in arrogant… in principle.”

Wolverine #19 (Mid Dec 1989) – “Heroes & Villains”
Writer: Archie Goodwin; Layouts: John Byrne; Finishes: Klaus Janson
Jack Bascomb from the CIA remembers Logan from his days with Canadian Intelligence, “…feisty as always.”

…At some point, Carol is captured in the Soviet Union and taken to the KGB Lubyanka headquarters in Moscow…

Marvel Fanfare #24 (Jan 1986) – “Elegy”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: David Ross; Inker: Bob Wiacek
Carol Danvers and Logan discuss their past in a solemn moment. Logan notes that they have “…been friends a long time. I know you as well as I know myself.” Carol adds, “I owe you my life, Logan! I remember every detail of every mission including, maybe especially that last night in Lubyanka prison.”

Uncanny X-Men #182 (June 1984) – “Madness”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Dan Green
Rogue, using Carol Danver’s absorbed memories, relates how Colonel Michael Rossi and Logan broke Carol Danvers out of Lubyanka prison. Colonel Rossi confirms those events.

Uncanny X-Men #236 (Late Oct 1988) – “Busting Loose”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Marc Silvestri; Inker: Dan Green
Carol Danvers, now the dominant personality within Rogue, reminds Logan that she told him to leave her at the Lubyanka prison after being arrested by the KGB, but he didn’t listen.

Uncanny X-Men #251 (Late Nov 1989) – “Fever Dream”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artists: Marc Silvestri & Dan Green
Near death, Wolverine hallucinates about Carol Danvers. “You saved me from the KGB – against impossible odds – when everyone had abandoned me.”

Wolverine #133 (Jan 1999) – “Losing Control”
Writer: Erik Larsen; Penciler: Jeff Matsuda; Inker Jonathan Sibal
Logan reminisces with Carol Danvers while playing pool and drinking. “I remember years ago when I was with C.S.I.S. (Canadian Secret Intelligence Service) an’ you were a spy workin’ for American Intelligence an’ I broke you outta that prison in Moscow.”

…It is likely that Logan traveled around the world during this time becoming reacquainted with many locales…

Wolverine #126 (Jul 1998) – “Blood Wedding”
Creators: Chris Claremont & Leinil Francis Yu; Inker: Edgar Tadeo & Gerry Alanguilan
Logan remembers a time with Seraph after he had acquired adamantium claws. It is possible that as an agent, Logan passed through Madripoor and became reacquainted with Seraph. It was also during this period that Logan worked with Viper, prior to her joining Hydra.

Logan in Madripoor
Leinil Francis Yu, Edgar Tadeo & Gerry Alanguilan, Wolverine #126.

Wolverine #10 (Aug 1989) – “24 Hours”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: John Buscema & Bill Sienkiewicz
Logan is well known at Madame Joy’s, a brothel in Madripoor from this era. Based on conversations, it seems that Logan was known as Patch and used Madame Joy’s as a safe house and hospital on occasion.

Uncanny X-Men #245 (Jun 1989) – “Men!”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Rob Leifeld; Inker: Dan Green
Logan tells Alex Summers that he knows “…this place in Mexico. Rowdiest cantina on the Gulf of California.” This would suggest that Logan is quite familiar with many of the cantinas across Mexico.

Marvel Team-Up #117 (May 1982) – “Scents and Senses!”
Writer: J.M. Dematteis; Artist: Herb Trimpe and Mike Esposito
When shown a photograph of a New York prison, Wolverine instantly expresses familiarity with it. “I know that joint. They’ve got the biggest bunch of hardened criminals you could find behind those walls. The lowest of the low.” This would suggest that Logan is quite familiar with maximum-security prisons in the United States.

Marvel Comics Presents #44 (1990)
“Black Shadow, White Shadow, Part VII: Blood Craze”

Writer: Marv Wolfman; Artist: John Buscema
Wolverine shows familiarity with insane asylums especially in the U.S. “I’ve smelled places like this before back in the States. I know that smell of decay… of minds that went bad somewhere and somehow down the line.”

…We also gain some details about specific missions that Logan was on…

New X-Men #148 (Dec 2003) – “Planet X, Part 3 of 5: Survivor Type”
Writer: Grant Morrison; Penciler: Phil Jimenez; Inker: Andy Lanning
Logan tells Jean Grey, “One time I survived for six months under a glacier by eating strips of my own arm… healing factor grew the flesh right back.”

Marvel Fanfare #24 (Jan 1986) – “Elegy”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: David Ross; Inker: Bob Wiacek
Logan and Nick Fury reminisce about their last mission together before Logan joined the X-Men as Wolverine. Logan reminds Nick that it was in “…Vladivostok, just before you got tapped to take over S.H.I.E.L.D.”

…At some point, Logan remembers his past with Sabretooth…

Classic X-Men #10 (Jun 1987) – “Tag, Sucker!”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: John Bolton
In reference to Sabretooth, Wolverine mentions, shortly after joining the X-Men, “Old hates never die.” This would suggest that Logan comes to remember his past with Sabretooth. Chris Claremont notes “Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight. By the same token, on every one of his birthdays, Sabretooth has always managed to find him, no matter where Logan was or what he was doing, and come within an inch of killing him. For no other reason than to remind him that he could.” [1]

Wolverine #10 (Aug 1989) – “24 Hours”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artist: John Buscema & Bill Sienkiewicz
The Chief of Police in Madripoor, Tai, knows when Logan’s birthday is, suggesting that there is a record of his birthday somewhere. One could surmise the date was recorded due to the annual attacks on Logan from Sabretooth on his birthday.

Marvel Comics Presents #109 (1992) – “Typhoid’s Kiss, Part 1: It’s Never Over”
Writer: Ann Nocenti; Artist: Steve Lytle
Logan professes to despise spy doctors. Perhaps Logan equates spy doctors with the beatings he received from Sabretooth.

…The bloody defeat at the hands of Sabretooth likely lead to more berserker rages and a reassignment to the Canadian Military and deployment with U.S. forces in Viet Nam…

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #2 (Aug 2003) – “Brotherhood, Part II”
Writer: Greg Rucka; Penciler: Darick Robertson; Inker: Tom Palmer
A photograph shows Logan and a close friend, Blaine, in Laos during 1971. Blaine seems to be aware of Logan’s healing ability and all around nastiness.

Wolverine (Vol. 2) #7 (Jan 2004) – “Coyote Crossing, Part One”
Writer: Greg Rucka; Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Blaine reveals to ATF agent Cassie Lathrop that he served with Logan in Vietnam “over thirty years ago.” He also mentions that Logan had an effect on the ladies.

Uncanny X-Men #226 (Feb 1988) – “Go Tell the Spartans”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Marc Silvestri; Inker: Dan Green
Wolverine’s quick recognition of the jungles of Viet Nam suggests that he spent considerable time there.

Marvel Fanfare #33 (Jul 1987) – “Shadows on the Soul”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: June Brigman; Inker: Terry Austin
On an uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle, Wolverine tells Kitty Pryde, “Hangin’ around this rock’s like bein’ on night patrol. You’re always on edge, expecting an attack. You can’t see’em, but you know the enemy’s out there, watching… waiting for you to drop your guard.” This is, undoubtedly, a reference to his time in Viet Nam.

Giant-Size X-Men #4 (2005) – “Finding Home”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Penciler: Rick Leonardi; Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
When Thunderbird slips into Wolverine’s room, he notices photographs of Wolverine’s past as a soldier probably of his time in Viet Nam.

…At some point, Logan returns to Canada, but maintains contact with the U.S. Military…

Classic X-Men #3 (Nov 1986) – “Warhunt!”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Plotter: Len Wein; Penciler: Dave Cockrum; Inker: Sam Grainger
Cyclops states that Wolverine was stationed at NORAD’s Valhalla base in the United States while serving in the Canadian military.

X-Men #94 (Aug 1974) – “Chapter Two: Death O’er Valhalla High!”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Plotter: Len Wein; Artist: Dave Cockrum
Wolverine tells Banshee that he has friends at Valhalla, the NORAD Command Center.

…Logan continues, however, to have problems with his beserker rages…

X-Men #147 (Jul, 1981) – “Rogue Storm”
Writer: Chris Claremont; Artists: Dave Cockrum & Josef Rubinstein
Logan vividly remembers a time when, dressed in a Canadian military uniform, he nearly kills James Hudson while Heather Hudson looks on helplessly. “It could have been a word, a gesture, a smell. His senses are so acute that he responds to subliminal cues most people don’t even notice.” After calming down, Logan apologizes and refers to himself as “a government certified, psycho killing thing.” He does credit Mac for helping him get his berserker rages under control.

Alpha Flight #33 (April 1986) – “A Friend in Need”
Writer: Bill Mantlo; Penciler: Sal Buscema; Inker: Gerry Talaoc
Logan tells Heather that it was she who helped him to overcome his rage and become a man.

…Logan eventually remembers the Lakota Nation Indian chief who confronted him during his wilderness days and seeks his help with his berserker rage…

Daredevil (Vol. 2) #54 (Jan 2004) – “Echo, Part 4”
Writer/Artist: David Mack
Referencing the land near the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Logan tells Maya Lopez, “I come here once a year to remind myself of that time in my life… The chief once put me on my own vision quest. The chief told me when you are afraid, it is not something external that is causing the fear or rage, but something internal…”

Daredevil (Vol. 2) #55 (Feb 2004) – “Echo, Part 5”
Writer/Artist: David Mack
In the time spent at the Pine Ridge Reservation, Logan hears the story of the two dogs. “The way the Chief told me, the story goes like this. This guy… he was a good guy, but I think he had some problems in his past… And in describing his inner struggles, he says to the Chief, ‘There are two dogs inside me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ And when I heard that, I really understood this guy. I knew that the one dog was like your dreams and good intentions. He is full of purpose. And order. He maybe represents your respect for others and your respect for yourself. Respect for what you can be if you put your heart into it. And the other dog… he has no respect for anything. He’s like a crazy beast. Crazy and self-indulgent. He blames everyone else for his sickness. He lashes out at every opportunity. He loves nothing but wallowing in the hot darkness of his anger… Someone asks him which dog usually wins…. And then after a moment’s reflection, he answers… He says, ‘The dog that wins is the one I feed the most.’ Something clicked inside of me. In my gut, I understood this story immediately.”

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[1] “General Questions for Chris Claremont.” X-Fan Message Boards, June 16, 2003.

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