Get further insight into this version of Wolverine with his classic debut tale!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

With the end of the OLD MAN LOGAN story “Return to the Wasteland” hitting this week, it seems like just the right time to do the same ourselves and look at his first appearance!

This alternate future version of the character first debuted in 2008’s WOLVERINE #66 thanks to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. That issue showed a take of the ol’ Canucklehead who had survived the villains’ attempt to take out the heroes and divide up the country. He’d even settled down with a woman named Maureen and they’d had a pair of kids: Scotty and Jade.

Logan had become so focused on keeping his family safe that he refused to pop his claws and take out members of the Hulk gang when they came to collect the rent he didn’t have. Instead, he took a beating in front of his kin and found their very survival threatened if he didn’t come up with the money by the next month.

As he healed, another survivor paid Logan a visit: Clint Barton. The now-blind archer proposed a delivery job to raise some capital, in which the former X-Man would help get the one-time Avenger to the east coast in two weeks. Logan agreed and the two took off in the old Spider-Mobile with Hawkeye at the wheel!

The rest of the story ran until issue #72 and concluded in the WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN GIANT-SIZE one-shot; along the way the heroic duo ran into Ghost Riders, killer Moloids, Venom-covered dinosaurs, and the massive skeleton of Hank Pym.

Of course, this being Wolverine, plenty of skeletons still rattled in the old closet. Eventually he told Hawkeye why he never wanted to pop his claws again. Back during the villain uprising, Mysterio tricked him into killing all of the X-Men. To punish himself, he put his head on the tracks where he waited until a train smashed into him.

Wolverine (2003) #66

Wolverine (2003) #66

  • Published: June 18, 2008
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 01, 2010
  • Rating: Parental Advisory
  • Writer: Mark Millar
  • Penciller: Steve McNiven
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Upon arriving in New Babylon, the pair soon learned that the samples of Super Soldier Serum they’d carried all across the country weren’t meant to start a new hero team, but to be given to The Red Skull—the President of the United States!

Hawkeye’s fake contacts blasted both of them, but Logan got better and dealt with President Skull by cutting his head off with Captain America’s shield before blasting off for home in part of an Iron Man armor with a briefcase full of money. Unfortunately, the Hulk gang got bored, came for the rent early and killed Logan’s family in the meantime. Enraged, Logan rechristened himself Wolverine and exacted bloody revenge on his family’s killers before moving on to the head honcho himself: Bruce Banner.

Flash Forward

Old Man Logan came back to the forefront as Secret Wars reintroduced a variety of alternate reality characters to readers before integrating a lot of them into the main Marvel Universe. Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino handled that five issue story which saw Logan clawing his way from one part of Battleworld to another before eventually landing naked in the Marvel U’s Times Square. The ongoing adventures have been handled by Jeff Lemire and Sorrentino, with Lemire also bringing Logan into the fold of EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN. With our version of Wolverine still in the dirt, this one helps fill the void while he also travels the world trying to ensure his world never comes about.

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Wilson Fisk takes advantage of a Spider-Man-less New York City in his first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Wilson Fisk might be trying to go straight in the first issue of his new series KINGPIN, which launched this week from Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres, but he certainly didn’t start out that way.

Though mostly associated with Daredevil, Kingpin actually debuted in the book of another New York-based vigilante: Spider-Man! And in a strange way, he actually convinced Peter Parker about his important as a hero. 1969’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 not only marks the Kingpin’s first appearance as a major Marvel villain, but also the landmark story titled “Spider-Man No More!”

Written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Romita, the issue started off like many others with the Web Head taking on four would-be robbers. With the baddies firmly ensconced in a door, Spidey swung off to ruminate about how J. Jonah Jameson has completely ruined his reputation with Daily Bugle editorials.

Upon Pete returning home, his roommate Harry Osborn told him Aunt May has had another attack, so our hero rushed to her side. Once there, he wondered why he spends so much time helping people who fear him, especially when it takes him away from his loved ones. Fed up, Peter threw his Spider-Man costume in the trash, where it’s found by a kid and taken to JJJ who considered the act a victory. As the news went live, we then cut to a shot of Wilson Fisk overlooking the city telling an underling that he, The Kingpin, planned on taking over all crime in NYC!

With Kingpin taking over the mobs, crime ran wild. The man himself explained his plan: “The underworld will now be run like a business—and the chairman of the board will be – the Kingpin!”

Meanwhile, things moved along pretty nicely for Peter Parker. With Spider-Man out of his life he could focus on school, family and even dating his lady, Mary Jane Watson. Still, he heard about the crime wave and even stumbled upon an assault that he stopped. Remembering that his inaction led to the death of Uncle Ben, Peter pledged to continue fighting to help innocents. He then broke into JJJ’s office, got his old costume back and got back in on the super hero action.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

  • Published: July 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: John Romita
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In the following issue, after waging a one-man war on crime against the Kingpin, Spider-Man finally met his new foe leading into a multi-page fight between the two. Not only did Fisk prove faster and stronger than he looked, but also well-equipped with items like a gas-shooting pendant. Kingpin followed that up in issue #52 by tying the unconscious Spider-Man to Jameson and putting them in an air-tight room filling with water. Spidey made a protective bubble out of webbing, knocked out the goons and made his way towards another altercation with Fisk.

Once again, Kingpin used a trick—this time a secret passageway in his office—to escape from Spider-Man, but the two would cross paths many times. Not one to make friends in the hero community, Kingpin also lists Daredevil and Punisher among of his more regular adversaries.

Flash Forward

Before launching KINGPIN, writer Matthew Rosenberg wrote Fisk in the series CIVIL WAR II: KINGPIN. Upon returning from San Francisco, Kingpin learned that a former minion named Janus Jardeesh exhibited an interesting Inhuman ability: he essentially became invisible to the future-seeing Ulysses at the center of Civil War II. As you might expect, Kingpin used this to commit all kinds of crimes. With all that success, though, he attracted ill will from criminals outside his organization and even dissent from within. Fisk fought tooth and nail to save everything he’d built in a four issue series that displayed Rosenberg’s deep understanding of the character!

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Take aim at the man who never misses with a look back at his debut against Daredevil!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

One of Marvel’s most menacing villains made history this week by headlining his first ever ongoing series. That’s right, with BULLSEYE #1, the man with impeccable aim jumped onto shelves thanks to Ed Brisson, Marv Wolfman, Guillermo Sanna, and Alec Morgan. As Bullseye heads down to South America for some fiendish fun and frolic, let’s look back to his very first appearance back in 1976’s DAREDEVIL #131 by Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson.

The initial weapon wielded by the master assassin might strike you as a surprise: Bullseye’s first ever attack comes in the form of a paper airplane thrown perfectly through a high-rise window with a simple message: “Pay me $100,000 or I will kill you!!” The man on the other side of the divide, Mr. Hunnicutt, proves unlucky as he looks up to see the masked killer standing before him. With the unfortunate Hunnicutt having no money on hand, Bullseye picked up a pen from his office set and threw it into the poor guy’s neck! As we learn, the villain never had any intention of actually letting his victim live, instead intending only to bolster his murderous reputation.

Daredevil shows up to investigate and runs into a Daily Bugle reporter named Jake Conover who shares some information on the new assassin that came directly from the seeming psycho’s mouth. Turns out the unnamed man served in Vietnam where he not only relished killing the enemy but also discovered a talent for using throwing weapons. As a signed major league baseball pitcher, he could have returned after the war to that career, but instead moved to Africa where he became a mercenary.

On his way home from meeting with Conover, Daredevil finds himself in the blast zone of a lobbed grenade that sends him tumbling down into an alley where his assailant waits. Bullseye runs, DD giving chase only to wind up in another trap set at a circus!

The tale carries over into DAREDEVIL #132 where the actual big top battle takes place. Thanks to the explosion, the Man Without Fear suffers a series of other injuries that put him off his game. Unimpressed with his opponent’s skills, Bullseye escapes after blasting a pool of water with his special gun’s sonic cartridge.

Far from finished, Bullseye finds another target: a rich couple named Henry and Freda Foster. Using the same gun from before, he shoots a harpoon through the window that staples Henry’s arm to the wall. Doing his usual shtick of demanding money, Bullseye gives the Fosters a day to get the cash but warns them against calling the cops. When Henry does, he gets a sword through the hand.

At that same moment, Daredevil bursts into the room and takes on Bullseye at full power for the very first time. The assassin attempts to use everything from another pen to an umbrella to take out the hero, but ol’ Horn Head walks away the victor!

Not a fan of being bested, Bullseye continues to appear and becomes one of Daredevil’s most infamous enemies. Not long after this first appearance, he first tries to assassinate Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson and later kidnaps Matt’s girlfriend the Black Widow. Of course, he’s most well known as the man who murdered not one, but two of Murdock’s loves: Elektra and Karen Page.

Flash Forward

When it comes to deadly dynamos in the Marvel Universe, few have caused as much damage as Bullseye, but even he’s played at being a good guy. In addition to chasing down rogue heroes during Civil War as a member of the Thunderbolts, he also became Norman Osborn’s Hawkeye in the group known as the Dark Avengers. Even when trying to do good things like stopping a malfunctioning Hulkbuster or stopping three guys from attacking a woman, his temper and disregard for innocent civilians usually led to death. In other words, being anything close to a good guy might be the thing that Bullseye couldn’t hit if his life depended on it.

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Celebrate the former queen of Wakanda’s regal return with a look back at her first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

The queen was dead, long live the queen! That’s right, the one-time ruler of Wakanda, Shuri, fully returned this week in the pages of BLACK PANTHER #10 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Chris Sprouse. Considering how important she has become to the world of Wakanda and her brother T’Challa, it might surprise some that Shuri first appeared only 12 years ago in the pages of BLACK PANTHER #2 by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.!

Shuri passed away fighting for Wakanda during Jonathan Hickman’s NEW AVENGERS #24, but has been hanging out on spirit plane in the current series ever since Coates kicked it off right after Secret Wars. Recently, in BLACK PANTHER #9, Shuri returned to the land of the living with mysterious supernatural powers only to find her homeland going through tumultuous times.

Black Panther (2016) #9

Black Panther (2016) #9

All of this makes you wonder what might have happened had she been just a bit faster in getting to the tournament in her first appearance. In a scene narrated by Everett K. Ross as he explains the nature of the Black Panther title to a group of U.S. officials, we get a glimpse at the trials for deciding the role.

Each year, the Panther must take on any and all challengers who wish to try out for the sacred post. As the scene unfolds, the Panther holds his own against a series of competitors. At the same time, T’Challa’s sister Princess Shuri attempts to race to the ring, intending to try out herself. She had just about made it when the Panther tossed a rather large opponent out of the ring who landed on her.

In that brief amount of time, a masked challenger leaped over both, landed in the ring and bested The Black Panther. That masked man turned out to be T’Challa. That’s how he took the mantle of Black Panther from his uncle S’yan, literally leapfrogging his sister in the process.shuri-black-panther-17

Of course, Shuri did not shrink into the background. She continued her training and proved herself an able warrior time and time again. She even achieved her dream of becoming Black Panther after a confrontation with Doctor Doom nearly killed T’Challa. She served in that same capacity until her relatively brief death at the hands of Proxima Midnight.

Flash Forward

Though Shuri’s time as her country’s totem did not last long in the grand scheme of things, she still starred in three different series: BLACK PANTHER, DOOMWAR, and KLAWS OF THE PANTHER. The first sees her becoming the hero and going on missions to figure out what happened to her brother which leads directly into conflict with the Latverian leader who stole all of Wakdanda’s Vibranium. Then, in KLAWS, she learns a variety of lessons about being a hero from the likes of Shanna the She-Devil, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and others.

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Jump back over 50 years for the first appearance of Spider-Man’s lost love!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Reunions with old flames usually feel strange and awkward. That goes double when you’re a super hero whose college sweetheart died in a fight with your arch enemy and has been cloned repeatedly in the ensuing years.

This week’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Giuseppe Camuncoli features a conversation between Peter Parker and the recently returned Gwen Stacy taking place in and around THE CLONE CONSPIRACY #4. In order to truly feel the impact of this chat, it’s important to look back at the very first appearance of Gwen in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31 from 1965 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

After a night of battling some goons, Peter Parker heads to Empire State University for registration and returns home to see Aunt May faint. Heading in for his first day at school with a lot on his mind, Peter first met Gwen as she chatted with Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson. To set the stage, this also marks Harry’s first appearance and Flash still dislikes Parker from their high school days, but Gwen’s already heard of Peter’s intelligence and seems impressed. However, Peter’s so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he doesn’t see Flash trying to introduce him to his future best friend and girlfriend.

Even without meeting him, Gwen can’t stop thinking about Parker during their first class. “He’s not as husky as Flash…but brighter…and very attractive!” she muses to herself.

Later, in chem lab, Harry and Flash want to play a trick on Peter because they think he’s a square who’s too full of himself so they send Gwen to distract him while they switch out his chemicals, causing a minor explosion. In their first meeting, Gwen Stacy tries several times to get the erstwhile Spider-Man’s attention, but he doesn’t even turn around when he finally gives her the pen she asks to borrow!104199-47500-gwen-stacy

Even after several attempts at getting his attention and failing, Gwen can’t resist the challenge and keeps after Peter, but it doesn’t work—at least in this issue. The eventual relationship between the two became strained after Gwen’s dad, Captain George Stacy, died as the result of a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. Gwen’s growing hatred of the masked vigilante and Peter’s guilt combined to form a wedge in the romance that stopped him from proposing to her when she decided to move to England for a while.

Eventually, Gwen returned to the Big Apple and rekindled a relationship with Peter that ended when The Green Goblin captured her and threw her from atop the George Washington Bridge in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121. The Wallcrawler tried to save her with his webbing, but failed. Gwen’s death not only added a permanent monument in Peter Parker’s garden of guilt, but also established a more serious tone in the Marvel Universe.

Flash Forward

In 1975, Gwen mysteriously reappeared in the original Clone Saga, but she turned out to be a copy created by The Jackal. Since then, a variety of different clones have popped up to play with Spider-Man’s head, but the realization that Gwen had twins with Norman Osborn before her death in the “Sins Past” storyline might take the cake as far as surprises go. In The Clone Conspiracy, Jackal explained that he grabbed Gwen’s body and brought her back to life complete with her full memories. The story also involves everyone’s favorite alternate reality version of the character, Spider-Gwen, otherwise known as Earth-65’s Spider-Woman!

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Take a journey back in time to witness the first appearance of the Dark Elf!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman launched a new storyline in this week’s MIGHTY THOR #15 featuring the continued schemes of Malekith as his desire to conquer the 10 Realms lead into the Asgard/Shi’Ar War. As battles rage between gods and aliens, let’s jump back to Malekith’s first foray into villainy.

The most famous resident of Svartalfheim broke out onto the scene in the pages of THOR #344 by the legendary Walt Simonson in 1984 and stuck around to cause problems until issue #349. We’re introduced to Malekith as Balder encounters Loki while on an errand for Odin. The trickster described the Dark Elf as, “He whom Odin did banish to the limbo of endless night so many ages agone.” Balder himself notes that Malekith and his master represent the threat Odin needed to see Loki about.

Malekith quickly discredits Odin and reminds Loki that his step dad regrets adopting the halfling before reminding him, when the old standards come crashing down, there will be plenty for the ruthless to take for themselves. Later, after picking up a sword even though he swore never to do so again, Balder attempts to strike Malekith down, but the villain disappears. “Foolish Balder,” Loki says. “Do you not remember the power of the Dark Elf, to enter the shadows and vanish…to travel where he will and emerge even on the other side of the universe.” With that, Loki tosses aside the letter from Odin explaining that he already agreed to align himself with the son of Svartalfheim.

Over the rest of the arc, Malekith transports himself to Midgard, specifically New York City, where he seeks the Casket of Ancient Winters, which has been guarded for eons by a man named Eric Willis. Though he kills Eric, the duty of protecting the artifact passes down to his son who proves more than adept at the task. To get the cask, the Dark Elf calls the Wild Hunt which sends a legion of monsters after the box and Roger. Not taking kindly to this attack, Thor enters the fray.127274-162115-malekith

Malekith enrages Thor further when he kidnaps his girlfriend Melodi—actually Enchantress’ little sister Lorelei. Aided by Roger, the God of Thunder travels to the villain’s English castle to save his lady but both heroes fall, allowing Malekith to acquire his prize.

Even after Thor seemingly gains the upper hand, Malekith destroys the Casket, loosing magical winter on Earth and allowing the Twilight-wielding Surtur and his demonic minions to break through the dimensional gate that kept them at bay. With his foe unconscious, Thor took Malekith to Asgard and raced off to face this new threat.

Since then the Dark Elf has popped up to continually make life difficult for Thor as well as other heroes like Iron Man, Hercules, and even X-Force. Jason Aaron brought him back to the forefront in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER and has continued developing his machinations since in the pages of THOR and MIGHTY THOR leading directly into the Asgard/Shi’Ar War.

Flash Forward

Malekith gained further fame in 2013 after leaping to the big screen in “Thor: The Dark World.” Played by Christopher Eccleston, this version of Malekith woke after years of slumber when Jane Foster accidentally released the Aether. The villain eventually takes the Infinity Stone into himself and battles Thor throughout a variety of dimensions, but falls to the Odinson.
For more Flashback Friday goodness, check back in next week!

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