Who's in this issue?
I would have to say that this book is really a "prequel" to Logan's first appearance in Incredible Hulk #180. If you are not familiar with that issue, Hulk and Wendigo were battling it out near the end until Wolverine shows up to fight the Hulk. (Again, some believe that #181 is Wolverine's first official appearance, but I personally think #180 should be, even though he only shows up once in the last panel). This issue tells what happened with Logan that leads up to his appearance against Hulk in #180.
Somehow, I couldn't really get into reading this book after reading what had happened in Uncanny X-Men #375 and Astounishing X-Men #3. It supposedly sets up what happens with Wolverine and Hulk in the next issue, Hulk #8, and then back to Wolverine #145. Although I did like the hype over the possibility that he'll get his adamantium back, somehow, what had happened in Astounishing X-Men #3 which was later explained in Uncanny X-Men #375 destroyed my opinion of what had happened in this issue. So if what was revealed in Uncanny X-Men #375 was really true, then who the heck is this character that's been in Wolverine for the last 5-10 issues??? And in this current issue, is this really who he appears to be, or is it someone else? In my opinion, it's very frustrating to try to understand what exactly is going on with Wolverine than with what is happening over in the main X-titles. It's almost as if Wolverine has become an independant title from the other X-titles that it had spun off from.
But, putting that frustration aside, if we focus in on this issue itself and ignore what is going on in the main X-titles, this book was okay in that it tells a story of Wolverine's "first" official battle against a major superhero or villian as Wolverine (not Weapon X), though this entire issue makes The Leader look like a bad joke. If he was *really* this smart, he should have been able to think of all possibilities that might happen for any one of the superheroes to break free, and yet, he didn't recognize any of them! This book does, however, set up for the rematch between Wolverine and the Hulk, so if you're a big fan of this fight, then yes, this book would be recommended for you to get.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
IN THIS ISSUE:
A flashback: when Logan first became Wolverine by donning the Wolverine costume when working as an agent for Department H in Canada. While discussing about how the new Wolverine costume looked on him with Heather and James Hudson (aka Vindicator and Guardian), Logan is briefed by an official of Alpha Flight for his first mission: to take down some small-time terrorist in Ontario. Wolverine, though, was already told by James beforehand that he was going to be sent off on a "test run" mission by Department H, so he knew that he was being sent off on a bogus mission by Department H, though he didn't let the official know that he knew.
In Ontario, Wolverine has an easy time taking down the "terrorists", while being monitored by James Hudson and two other Department H employees. Suddenly, Wolverine disappears while threatening one of the terrorist to give up. Little did everyone know that he was teleported onto a flying aircraft and chained to a table. When he regained consciousness, he discovers that he had been captured by the Leader, an enemy of the Incredible Hulk whose powers includes incredible intelligence. Besides himself, Logan notices that the Avenger known as Hercules, along with Karkas, a member of a race known as the Deviants, was also being held captive. The Leader tells them all that he had "recruited" them all to help him capture the Hulk, and with his intelligence and his captive's manpower, he could finally capture and destroy the Hulk. While The Leader and Hercules argue about the Hulk (Hercules claiming that Hulk was just a confused beast, while The Leader saying that he had a plan to return the Hulk back to Bruce Banner permanently), Wolverine was able to slip loose from his restraints, and free Hercules and Karkas. With the three heroes loose, they begin to take down The Leader's men (known as the Humanoids).
Wolverine notices The Leader running away, and gives chase. He manages to defeat some of The Leader's traps, and once he catches up to The Leader, he damages The Leader's flying Omnichair, sending the chair crashing into the wall and dumping The Leader to the ground. With a mental summons, The Leader activates a huge robot, but in doing so, the robot smashes into the tank containing a solution that the Leader was going to use to revert Hulk back into Banner, causing the solution to flow out of the tank and drowning The Leader in it. The robot looses its footing from the liquid on the ground, and falls into a wall, causing the entire aircraft that they were located in to loose control and fall to the ground. Moments later, Logan, Hercules, and Karkas manages to dig themselves out of the wreckage, finding themselves in the middle of New Mexico and a long walk home.
Much later, Logan returns back to Department H, where James Hudson was being grilled by high ranking Department H officials for losing Weapon X (Wolverine). Just then, Wolverine walks in, telling them that they had a bigger problem than himself being lost, as the Hulk was loose in Canada. Logan had a score to settle with the Hulk, which leads him to joining the group to find the Hulk and his first official encounter against the Hulk who was battling Wendigo.
The flashback ends, and we are brought back to the present where Wolverine was telling this story about his first encounter with the Hulk with a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. S.H.I.E.L.D had obtained Logan's help to take down the Hulk, who had infiltrated Canada again. Logan leaps out of the aircraft that they were in, and prepares for his rematch against the Hulk.