While it’s been a while since I wrote it, my Hulk Hates Heroes article really seems to have struck a chord with people.
I thought I’d revisit the idea in a series of articles that we’ll just call… Friendly Fire.
With the recent release of Logan I thought I’d take a look at the most savage and brutal bouts that The Ol’ Canucklehead has had with his fellow heroes and anti-heroes. Be it through misunderstanding, mind control or even demon possession (weird as it sounds the latter almost made the list) Weapon X has found himself run afoul of many significant Marvel heroes.
I’ve focused on battles that are either historically significant or just all-out enjoyable slugfests!!
So without further ado and in no particular order… SNIKT!!
(Spider-Man Vs Wolverine One-Shot by Jim Owlsley AKA Christopher Priest & Mark Bright)
These two Marvel powerhouses might have met before, but after this meeting neither would be the same.
An ex-KGB operative Charlemagne is hunting down former partners and taking them out one by one in New York.
The trail quickly leads to Berlin where Ned Leeds & Peter Parker head after getting a hot tip. The KGB, CIA and pretty much everyone else wants to find Charlemagne \…including Wolverine.
I won’t go into too many details but I will say this single story had huge impact on the Spider-Man mythos for several reasons including Wolverine learning his identity for the first time and it was the first time Spidey ever took a life. The fight itself is tense, desperate and heartbreaking and both characters get their licks in the midst of what is a brilliant espionage story with several unexpected twists and turns. If you’re a fan of either character this is a must read!
V.S. Captain America
(Wolverine Origins Vol. 1 #4 by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon)
After the events of House Of M, Wolverine’s long lost memory comes flooding back, including all the awful things he’s done and all the people he has hurt along the way.
All the while he has been manipulated by a shadowy figure known as Romulus his entire life. So it’s safe to say Logan has some scores to settle!
This conspiracy leads him directly the President himself. The President does not take kindly to this, setting The First Avenger to the task of retrieving Logan and another asset for whom Cap feels responsible, the mentally unstable super-soldier Nuke.
Cap and Logan’s friendship and antagonism reaches back all the way to WWII.
These two are the ultimate soldiers, both successful subjects of the Weapon Plus program. Their combat experience shows through, as they go straight after each other’s weaknesses.
This definitely comes across as one of Cap’s most savage battles especially when Logan gives in to his Bezerker Rage!! A great story that manages to address the inherent differences between the two… As well as their similarities.
(Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #180-181 by Len Wein & Herb Trimpe)
Wolverine’s very first appearance put him in conflict with The Strongest One There Is!!
Straight away he demonstrates why he is the best there is by holding his own with not only the Green Goliath but the cannibalistic Wendigo as well.
This issue is the yard stick against which classic comic book rivalry is measured. In a lot of first appearances characters aren’t often clearly defined or developed… but most the details we are given in this issue still match up to this day.
Wolverine has the advantage in this battle; being vastly more intelligent than his two opponents. He works strategically, and manages to outsmart The Hulk into helping him defeat The Wendigo then savagely turning back to attack the gullible green guy.
It’s a classic clash that’s a lot of fun and brutal for it’s time, definitely worth look if you’re a fan of either character.
I also recommend Hulk Vs animated movie. I won’t tell you who wins but just ask yourself… whose name’s in the title?
( X-Men: Schism #4-5 by Jason Aaron, Alan Davis & Andy Kubert)
A battle years in the making.
With mutants almost extinct, Cyclops has had to make some increasingly difficult decisions over the years in order to ensure his people’s survival.
As mutant numbers dwindle, he is forced to utilise younger and younger mutants in these battles. Wolverine disagrees with this and believes that these children should be allowed to be kids and not used as soldiers.
After an international incident human/mutant relations are at an all time low, with Cyclops trying to fix this with some good P.R. at a local museum.
This well-intentioned event leads the X-men into a deadly trap orchestrated by The New Hellfire Club.
As Wolverine and Cyclops both race to the scene there is one mutant left standing, Oya, whom Wolverine tells to run whereas Scott tells her to fight.
In the ensuing battle she accidentally murders all of The Hellfire Henchmen.
Arriving home they find a new kind of deadly Sentinel on its way. Unfortunately, the only X-Men left to fight are the youngest and Cyclops intends to use them in defence of Utopia.
For Wolverine this is the final straw as he sets Utopia to blow and orders the island to be evacuated… But Cyclops isn’t about to let that happen.
This fight is like a car crash, it’s hard to watch but you just can’t look away as these two beloved characters savagely and brutally trade blows, while death slowly walks towards them.
Alan Davis & Adam Kubert wonderfully choreograph the end of this rivalry in a bout that’s as bloody as it is personal.
“Cyclops: She never loved you, you know. You always frightened her.
Wolverine: And if she was here right now…Who do you think she’d be more frightened of?”
(Wolverine Vol. 2 #186 By Frank Tieri & Terry Dodson)
After a fairly humiliating battle with The Punisher in his own book Wolvie intends to settle the score this time. After Wolverine takes out a mobster family in his own unique style, Frank doesn’t take too kindly to having someone else play in his sandbox.
In this darkly humorous brawl that takes place in every kind of shopping convenience in a mall, Castle pulls every trick out of the book to keep the odds even. This includes (but is not limited to) giant mallets, spears, motorcycles and even ninja stars, all the while tearing each other apart with words as they character assassinate each other.
Wolverine eventually emerges victorious this time round, humiliating Castle in turn for his last defeat…
V.S. Weapon Alpha
(Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #109 by Chris Claremont & John Byrne)
Logan has always had a problem with authority figures… and a thing for red heads, especially when the authority figure dates the redhead in question.
That had to start somewhere.
Before he joined The X-Men he worked for Canada’s Department H, working closely with the two people who rehabilitated him after the adamantium bonding process, James and Heather Hudson.
Department H felt that since they had put a lot of time and effort into making Wolverine the perfect weapon they wanted him back in a bad way.
James, feeling personally betrayed by Logan, went after him in a battle suit that harnessed electromagnetic energy granting him speed, strength, flight, force-field generation and the ability to discharge that energy.
He uses the suit to great effect as Weapon Alpha, not only ambushing Logan but the X-Men too, holding his own against both until he is overwhelmed.
Hudson’s relationship with Wolverine has improved over the years as well as his superhero name (Vindicator or Guardian). However, we know they’re always one step away from another scrap.
James would happily die for his country (which he has in fact!) but he doesn’t believe Logan is really much of a patriot. Next time they meet he wouldn’t find himself alone as he brought the full force of Alpha Flight!
V.S. Nick Fury
(Wolverine: Bloody Choices by Tom DeFalco & John Buscema)
These two old hard-drinking heavy-smoking warhorses find themselves at odds in this story, when Logan interferes with a child’s attempts to assassinate Bullfinch, a prolific crime lord.
They soon discover, however, that the child had been abused by the man in question as part of his child sex slave ring. Obviously after discovering this Wolverine is out for blood until Nick turns up and informs Logan that Bullfinch is under SHIELD protection and the organisation is using him for his information to bring down a larger drug cartel.
Surprise, surprise Wolverine isn’t best pleased, leading to an epic stand off between the two drawn to perfection by Buscema.
I won’t spoil it but you’ve got to respect Fury’s massive cojones for standing up to The Wolverine.
V.S. Kitty Pryde
(Kitty Pryde & Wolverine Vol. 1 #1-5 by Chris Claremont & Al Milgrom)
Wolverine has a tendency to take in and become a father figure for wayward young girls. This is often where his humanity is brought to the fore with characters like Jubilee, X-23, Armour, Rogue and even his adopted daughter Amiko Kobayashi.
However, Kitty came first and because of that she is probably the most historically important. In this story Kitty’s father becomes involved with The Yakuza and Logan’s old sensei; Ogun.
She is captured and brainwashed so Wolverine comes to put an end to it. He finds himself quickly outmatched by Kitty’s skills (who he assumes to be Ogun). This battle travels the length and breadth of Tokyo and ends as her mask falls away and she stands revealed.
With Logan still in shock, Kitty takes the opportunity and quite literally and figuratively stabs Logan in the heart…
V.S. Deadpool (Wolverine Origins Vol. 1 #21-25 by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon)
You knew The Merc With The Mouth had to make an appearance in this list! There was time early on when Deadpool was an unlikeable sadistic killer. No, seriously, when he was first introduced he was an out and out villain. These issues hearken back to that, without losing everything that makes up the modern Deadpool.
Deadpool shows us that he is quite the forward thinker, setting up various traps such as dropping a grand piano on Logan. Wolverine is getting more and more irritated is part of the fun of these issues, which culminate in Logan removing Wade’s fingers which hilariously hampers his fighting ability.
On and on they go as they tear chunks out of each other as only two men with healing factors can do.
This is, for my money, the best fight they have ever had, as well as being a great character examination of these two killing machines. It concludes with an incredibly satisfying twist in the tale…
(Psylocke Vol. 1 #4 By Chris Yost & Harvey Tolibao)
Matsu’o Tsurayaba; a leader of The Hand, poisoned Wolverine’s beloved Mariko Yashida forcing Logan to end her suffering.
Resultantly, he made a promise to Matsu’o that every year on the anniversary of her death he would find him and remove one body part from him.
Years later, Matsu’o draws out his pawn and former assassin Psylocke by sending The Hand after her. In the finale of this story she meets Matsu’o face to face (or what’s left of it anyway). He appears heavily scarred and disfigured after multiple visits from Wolverine, and begs her to end his suffering.
She reluctantly agrees … but Wolverine doesn’t think he suffered enough just yet.
This fight is between two deadly X-Men who have been manipulated and transformed into living weapons and in this fight there is no quarter asked for nor given. This battle goes on for almost the whole length of the issue until Logan relents, realising this is not what Mariko would have wanted…
(New Mutants Vol. 1 #93-94 By Louise Simonson & Rob Liefeld)
Remember that 10 minute fist fight in John Carpenter’s They Live?
This here’s comic book equivalent!
In most of such fights, they start with a misunderstanding of identity or intent. However, both of these combatants realise who each other are instantly and remember how much they can’t stand each other.
Both are hunting down the leader of The MLF (that’s Mutant Libertion Front you dirty minded lot)! They actually put aside their mission just so they can enjoy beating each other up.
Wolverine quite confidently says “I won’t even need my claws to deal with you!”.
This fight goes on way too long but that is the beauty of it, just two powerhouses wailing on each other. This is all brought to us by the artist that defined much of comics in the 90’s (for better or for worse), Rob Liefeld!
So much macho bravado is contained in these pages you can literally taste it (or maybe I just spilled Worcester sauce on the page).
(Wolverine Vol. 2 #20-31 By Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.)
From the team who brought you “Kick-Ass” write and comes this epic, featuring a team-up between two classic evil organisations Hydra and The Hand.
Between them, plan is to kill and resurrect the world’s superheroes converting them into the perfect assassins under their combined control.
And who do they want to do their dirty business?
Well who better for this dirty job than the best there is… tragically transformed yet again into someone else’s weapon.
While under their control, this story leads to some awesome confrontations with the rest of the Marvel Universe including Daredevil, Elektra, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the X-Men.
Depicted stunningly by one my favourite artists John Romita Jr and spoiler alert… not all of the heroes make it out alive.
Well, that’s it! Hope you enjoyed our favourite Mutant with short man syndrome’s greatest temper tantrum’s let me know on Twitter what you thought, or even leave a comment below.
Let me know who you would like to see next featured in this series of articles…
Until next time, true believers!!