BY MATT TUCK
Wolverine speculation is rampant, and it has ignited all his key issues. With the possibility of a Weapon X Disney+ series, here are 10 issues that could take off as a result.
We all know that Wolverine is coming to the MCU. Why would he not, right? Saying that Wolverine will be in the MCU is not news. When, where, why, and how he will arrive is a much better story. That’s why there are so many rumors floating around. Until Kevin Feige gives us some clue about where things are headed, expect to see plenty more rumors before it’s all said and done.
The most recent round of Wolverine gossip started with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In the third episode, Sam, Bucky, and Zemo visited Wolverine’s favorite island nation outside of Krakoa, Madripoor. It was easy to draw the connection to everyone’s favorite mutant, but the show went a step further and stirred the pot. The trio made their way to the Princess Bar, an establishment with a famous silent co-owner, Wolverine. That sent shockwaves through the comic community, and the rumor mill hasn’t stopped churning since.
So far, there have been theories and unconfirmed reports of Hugh Jackman returning to the role for the mysterious X-Men movie, or that he will play Wolverine in Deadpool 3. By far, the most exciting and lingering speculation has been that Wolverine will get his very own Disney+ series that will explore James Howlett’s past and his transformation into Logan and ultimately Wolverine.
Whether or not we can believe the rumor is anyone’s guess, but it is an intriguing and plausible notion. After all, Disney and Marvel Studios have gone all-in to make Disney+ the premiere streaming service for original programming. Disney has not shied away from large-budget productions with A-list stars, either. We have already seen Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WandaVision, as well as Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in FATWS. For that matter, The Mandalorian has resurrected the Star Wars brand, and even had Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. That’s not to mention Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan for the Kenobi series. If any company has the money to pull off a movie-quality series for Wolverine, it’s Disney.
The rumors have lit a fire under anything and everything Wolverine. Incredible Hulk #181 sets new records almost daily, and Hulk #180 is gaining respect of its own. Basically every Bronze Age Wolverine key is quickly moving out of reach. What’s a collector to do? With all the talk of a Weapon X-themed Disney+ series that explores Logan’s past, now is the time to collect his potential dancing partners’ keys as well as a few others that could impact the show.
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #72
Although Weapon X was first mentioned in Incredible Hulk #181, the covert agency didn’t get into the spotlight until this Marvel Comics Presents #72. Even better, it was drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith, so it’s worth having for the beautiful artwork. Windsor-Smith did the full 12-issue Weapon X run of Marvel Comics Presents that began with this comic.
Of all the Weapon X keys, this one has gotten the biggest bump from the rumors, but if this ends up being true even by a stretch, more collectors are going to give the rest of these issues a closer look. After all, a Weapon X series would surely find inspiration from this classic storyline. In any event, fans of 1980s and ‘90s Wolverine will enjoy these throwback issues. Personally, I would love for Marvel to revisit this style of art and storytelling for Logan, but that’s beside the point.
Since the Weapon X Disney+ gossip began to spread, the 9.8 MCP #72 has exploded. What was once a $100 comic, give or take, has inflated to being an $800 comic this month. One buyer got really excited and paid $1,250 for a copy on May 1, but that is a bit fishy considering that everything since then has been in the $700-$850 range.
If you need to save some money, the best deal is the 9.4. While the 9.8 is inching towards $1k, and the 9.6 has reached the $300 mark, the unassuming 9.4 clocks in at $150. That is a bargain compared to those higher grades.
IRON FIST #14
How can you have a history of Wolverine without Victor Creed? What would be perfect is if Marvel Studios were to return to Chris Claremont’s original vision of Sabretooth as Logan’s sadistic, savage father who sees himself as the superior version of his son’s true nature. Exploring their relationship and delving into Sabretooth’s past would make for phenomenal television.
Not only would Victor Creed make a great antagonist, but if there is any character who could use a Marvel Studios makeover, it’s Sabretooth. Not that he necessarily was wrong in the Fox-verse; Tyler Mane’s physical presence and costume looked great in 2000’s X-Men, and Liev Schrieber was the highlight of an otherwise laughably bad X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but neither truly captured Creed’s larger-than-life persona. Combine Mane’s aesthetic with Schrieber’s acting, and we would have one ferocious Sabretooth.
With Sabretooth’s popularity, it’s not wonder the higher grades of Iron Fist #14 are on their own price level. However, paying $1,800 for a 9.4 today will be nothing compared to what that same grade could bring if Sabretooth made his mark on the MCU.
While everything from an 8.0 and above stretching into $800+ territory, the better deals are in the mid-grades. We have not seen any sales since last month, they are still much cheaper options while still getting a good copy. Even a 7.5 last sold for under $600, and that is not a bad investment for a character with Sabretooth’s potential.
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #73
There are two scientists most closely associated with the Weapon X lore: Lord Dark Wind and Dr. Abraham Cornelius. We saw him in the Hulk Versus animated movie as well as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, along with a few cartoon appearances, but this could be his ascent into the upper echelon of villainy. Who knows? Marvel Studios could use him to connect other mutants to Wolverine and Weapon X.
The not-so-good doctor was first mentioned in MCP #72, but he was not seen until the following issue, MCP #73. There have not been any graded sales recorded since a 9.6 brought $40 last month, and the last 9.8 to swap owners was in February for $129. That makes this issue ripe for an investment without risking all that much.
Along with Dr. Cornelius, a possible Weapon X series would most likely feature Lord Dark Wind. With a supervillain-sounding name, Dark Wind is the scientist who made Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton possible by perfecting the procedure. He first appeared in the pages of DD #196. This could become a true sleeper pick if Marvel Studios taps Dark Wind for the MCU. Despite prices being on the rise, mainly because it’s an early meeting between Wolverine and Daredevil, it still is within reach. A 9.8 recently brought $130 on May 8.
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #40
Since Marvel Studios may want to forge new territory with Wolverine’s past, then it is quite possible we could see Romulus.
Created in 2007 and making his full debut in 2009, Romulus was written as the puppet master of sorts, manipulating and controlling much of Wolverine’s past. Like Logan, Romulus is old and mysterious with his history seemingly dating back to prehistoric times and all points in between. That would make him a worthy adversary for Wolverine the likes of which we have never seen in live action, and it makes him perfect for an MCU supervillain.
Collecting his appearances is slightly complicated, but that makes it all the more fun. He appeared as a shadowy figure in 2007’s Wolverine #50 before revealing his face in another cameo appearance in Wolverine: Origins #39. An issue later, he made his first full appearance in Wolverine: Origins #40, and he was featured on the cover of a Simone Bianchi design variant for that comic.
The standard edition graded at a 9.8 last sold for $80 in November. In today’s world of collecting, it’s all about the first cover appearance, and that Bianchi variant is the bigger seller. The 9.8 earned a record-high $201 in March, breaking the previous mark by $51.
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #10
Speaking of Romulus, he is directly tied to another important and popular character from Wolverine’s past, his estranged son, Daken. Romulus helped infuse Daken’s skeleton with metal from the mythical Muramasa blade that has the power to negate mutant healing factors. That makes him a powerful opponent with the rare ability to actually kill the likes of Wolverine, Sabretooth, and even Deadpool.
The bigger picture with Daken, and what has his first appearance heating up these days, is his ties to the Dark Avengers and FATWS. For about three years now, there are countless rumors and theories that Dark Reign is coming to the MCU. After the events of FATWS, the signs point to a new team forming, possibly Dark Avengers. If you’ll recall, Daken was suited up in Wolverine’s 1980s attire and filled the role of Dark Wolverine during that time.
The other part is that Daken’s name appeared on an official Marvel site, ExploreMadripoor.com. Inquisitive fans of FATWS found coordinates in the show that aligned with the site, and it revealed the names of Daken and Mystique. Disney soon took the names off the site, which raises eyebrows.
Between those mysterious coordinates and any possible Disney+ speculation, Wolverine: Origins #10 has been on fire in 2021. Just last year, the standard edition graded at a 9.8 averaged a respectable $174. It has since erupted. For the past 90 days, it has an FMV of $448, and the last sale was for a record-high $550. Before you give up on this one, keep in mind that raw copies have been selling on eBay for under $150, so good deals can still be found.
ALPHA FLIGHT #33
Lady Deathstrike is one of the most underrated Wolverine villains. While she was featured in 2003’s X2: X-Men United, she didn’t get any lines of dialogue and was relegated to William Stryker’s goon. The best onscreen portrayal she has received was in X-Men: the Animated Series, and I would love to see that version of Lady Deathstrike show up in the MCU in some form. With Marvel’s push for diverse, strong female characters, she fits perfectly.
Once again, her early appearances are a bit complicated. She first appeared in Daredevil #197 as Yuriko Oyama, the daughter of Lord Dark Wind. She would become famous in Alpha Flight #33 where she premiered as the adamantium-infused Lady Deathstrike.
This is another issue that is gaining traction thanks to all the Wolverine talk. The 9.8 AF #33 brought $231 earlier this month after averaging $92 in 2020. If you scale back the grade to a 9.4, the prices become more reasonable and tend to cost less than $100.
UNCANNY X-MEN #212
We can’t have Iron Fist #14 on the list without mentioning Wolverine and Sabretooth’s first throw down. True, in continuity, their first brawl was in Wolverine #10, but UXM #212-213 predates that issue. This is a significant issue because it set the tone for their decades-long rivalry that would play well in the MCU.
Set on having a 9.8? You can expect to pay between $200-$250. However, if you bring the grade down to a 9.6, the price drops by half after the most recent sale was for $123.
UNCANNY X-MEN #268
If Marvel Studios does, in fact, explore Wolverine’s history, then it would be a serious disappointment if we don’t at least get some Captain America Easter eggs. In the comics, Marvel’s ageless wonders have known each other since World War II when James Howlett fought alongside Steve Rogers. Of course, he forgot it after Weapon X gave him amnesia, but it is firmly embedded in both characters’ pasts at this point.
While most of us would settle for a Cap allusion or two, having Chris Evans interact with Wolverine on screen would set the internet ablaze. It would also cause the first mention of the two’s history together in Uncanny X-Men #268 to pick up the sales pace. What makes this issue even better is its classic Jim Lee in the early days of his X-Men career.
Last month, a 9.8 sold for a whopping $450, but there is still hope of getting a cheap copy. Only days ago, a 9.6 brought $155 on May 9.
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #86
Those old Marvel Comics Presents are definitely worth your time to collect, and here we have another example of their collecting potential.
Even if the Wolverine anthology series is nothing more than gossip, here is a character that could very well surface in the MCU regardless: Silas Burr, better known as Cyber.
As the story goes, he was once Wolverine’s drill instructor back when James Howlett enlisted in World War I. Like Logan, Burr is a mutant with a long lifespan. He was originally a detective with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (if you’ve played Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ll recognize that name), but he was found guilty of multiple murders and sentenced to hanging for his crimes. He escaped his predicament, joined the Canadian military and crossed paths with Wolverine. Later, he would be subjected to adamantium experimentation that would transform Burr into Cyber.
With his military background, Cyber’s origins could easily be tweaked to fit the MCU sans Wolverine and Weapon X. I could see him being a great villain for another season of The Falcon/Captain America and the Winter Soldier.
At the moment, this comic is dirt cheap for a graded slab. The only sale from 2021 was a 9.6 that brought just $40 in March.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.