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Who Are Wolverine’s Greatest Rivals?

March 15, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Teen Titans #5, Monsters Unleashed #4, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we asked, “Which Superhero is the Most Popular in Each U.S. State?” Here’s what you all had to say:

David Oliver Burcham: “I think it’s awesome that the Incredibles won a state!”

SashaBanks-GOAT: “Dang apparently we love Spider-Man in the South”

Rehab: “IDK. I much prefer Captain Morgan to Captain America.”

Voice of Logic: “Deadpool is Iowa. Awesome!”

prowriter: “Jessica Jones? How and in, just no. I don’t care about Netflix. No one knows nor cares about Jessica Jones and if someone thinks otherwise they are kidding themselves.”

Jeremy Thomas: “Oregon’s Jessica Jones love is simply-enough explained:

1) Oregon is Brian Michael Bendis country.
2) We love antiheroes and alternative comics, and while it’s a Marvel book it’s sort of an alt-Marvel book. There are so many of us here who were deeply familiar with Alias before the Netflix series hit, it’s not even funny.
3) Because it’s Jessica Freakin’ Jones. :D”

El Atomico: ‘Kind of surprised that my state, Montana, ended up with Iron Man, since we’re a largely rural and blue collar state, likely without a lot of Tony Starks. I would have guessed Wolverine; he’s not bothered by the cold, and can hunt! Also, Michael Keaton has a house out here, so Batman would’ve fit.”

Feather Wifflebottom: “im from Michigan….so i can only guess that Simon Baz being from Dearborn is popular for that reason. im surprised Cyborg isnt on here considering hes from Detroit”

Zeus: “I’m from Western Canada and would love to see a study like this to see which of Wolverine (Alberta), Deadpool (Saskatchewan), or Alpha Flight (j/k) is more popular across our country.”

Mark of Excellence: “WTF? Who did this pole? Were the respondents guided to their answers? I have a very hard time believing Wonder Woman is number one in any state. But Jessica Jones? Come on. Actually, I guess this just shows how film and television affect people’s opinions of comic book characters. B/c if it was simply based on books alone, I doubt even Captain America would be number one anywhere.”

James Jennings: “I live in Virginia also.
Grant Gustin of The Flash is from here. He’s local, from Norfolk. Maybe that’s why the Flash is the most popular here?”

Lucky Pierre: “Utah has Wonder Woman… I would imagine that has little to do with recognizing that women are strong, etc., but more along the lines of Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot in a Wonder Woman outfit. Giggity”

To read ALL the comments, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

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Wolverine’s Greatest Rivals!

Logan had a solid second weekend, earning $37.5 million to bring its total to an impressive $152.6 million in 10 days of domestic play.That puts it over the $132 million total of The Wolverine, the $146 million total of X-Men: First Class, and close to X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men.

This was Hugh Jackman’s swan song as the popular mutant but don’t expect the Wolverine character to fade away anytime soon. With box office numbers like that, studio execs are already working on how to relaunch and reintroduce the character back into the theaters as soon as possible.

Which got me to thinking about Wolverine and his rogue gallery. There’s no real surprises in a list like this. We all know it’s going to have names like Viper, Lady Deathstrike, and Sabretooth on it, but it’s still fun to converse about.

Let’s start with the Hulk. While not a villain, the Hulk v Wolverine rivalry has been one of my favorites since Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. The two square off after Wolverine is contracted by Nick Fury to assassinate the Hulk. Suffice to say, things don’t go as planned but we get treated to the Hulk ripping Wolverine in half. These two clashing is also big because Wolvie made his first serious appearance in 1974 in the pages of Incredible Hulk #181. While these two have worked together, it’s when they clash that things get interesting and way out-of-hand. While doesn’t make my list, Wendigo gets a mention here as he played into Wolverine’s first appearance. I always thought he has potential as Wolverine foe. They’ve faced off in the past but the fights haven’t been anything memorable.

Cyber is one who has made an impression but I still feel has the potential to be more. Covered in unbreakable adamantium, Cyber has a backstory that extends longer than Wolverine’s, depending on the writer. They first crossed paths when Cyber/Silas Burr was Logan’s drill instructor during World War I. The brutal instructor is given the job of pushing Wolverine to his limits, receiving orders to kill a woman Logan has been romantically involved with. After witnessing her death by Cyber, Logan goes at him but is severely beaten. As a result, Logan has deeply rooted psychological fear of Cyber. They’ve had a number of run-ins over the years that have resulted in some epic fights and stories. Although Cyber looks to be dead, don’t expect that to last long.

As mentioned above, we have to talk about Lady Deathstrike. We can thank her dad, Lord Dark Wind, for creating the adamantium-bonding process that made Wolverine into who he his. Lady Deathstrike/Yuriko Oyama hired the villain Spiral’s “body shoppe” to bond adamantium to her own skeleton in addition to other cyber-genetic enhancements and has gone on to plague Wolverine many times. You see, after the death of her father, Oyama swore vengeance on those she felt stole or misused his work. On that list, you guessed it, Wolverine. She means business and won’t rest till she’s taken out our favorite Canadian mutant. I’m putting The Reavers here because of her association with these Australian ravagers and ex-Hellfire Club baddies, thanks to the beating they put on him, giving us a very memorable cover to Uncanny X-Men #251.

I’ve always been a fan of Omega Red. Arkady Rossovich was a serial killer born in Russia and experimented on by the KGB to be there Captain America. The result was Omega Red so I’m not sure it worked out like they wanted. While he’s no Captain KGB, what makes him different is the implanted a retractable carbonadium tentacle within each of Red’s arms. Carbonadium was the Soviets’ attempt to recreate the artificial alloy known as adamantium, as Carbonadium is a more malleable form of adamantium. Omega has gotten the upper hand on Wolverine on many occasions and has even worked with some of the other villains on this list, most notably when he was recruited by Sabretooth to attack Wolverine’s friends and family alongside Lady Deathstrike.

I like to add Silver Samurai to the mix as he seems to add some honor to the proceedings. Kenuichio Harada/Kenichiro Shingen was the illegitimate son of Shingen Yashida. He used his mutant power to charge his katana for villainous ways and that brought him into conflict with Wolverine. He has helped him over the years, even gaining so much respect that Logan entrusted him with the care of his adopted daughter, Amiko Kobayashi. While that Silver Samurai has died, a new Silver Samurai has made his intentions known when Wolverine made a trip to Japan to visit the grave of the original. This new version is the Silver Samurai’s son Shingen “Shin” Harada. Family honor runs deep so expect plenty more run-ins in the future.

One thing that stands out in Wolverine’s rogue gallery is the presence of some very strong, very dangerous women. Viper is definitely one of them. Ophelia Sarkissian was orphaned in Eastern Europe when her parents were killed during a revolution. Taken in and trained by Kraken, she made her mark in the criminal world. In order to seize control of a power vacuum left in Madripoor, Viper claimed a long-held debt with Wolverine and married him. Once married, he helps her take down Hand and HYDRA operatives as well as Sabretooth so that she can take control of Madripoor for herself. Lots of trouble commences and she makes his like torture. I was going to add Ogun to the list but decided to just add him here. Ogun was one of Wolverine’s mentors who joined up with the Yakuza. Things went from bad to worse when Ogun would use his powers to possess those around Logan.

No matter what, Sabretooth will always be #1. Victor Creed is a vicious assassin and while Wolverine battles to suppress his savage qualities, Sabretooth does the opposite and embraces them. Interestingly enough, creator Chris Claremont meant for Sabretooth to be Wolverine’s father, though this was called into question by a number of writers. Claremont, when asked what he had intended to be the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth, stated:

“Father and son. That’s why Sabretooth always considered Logan “sloppy seconds” to his “original” / “real deal.” The other critical element in my presentation of their relationship was that, in their whole life, 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.”

A whole column could be dedicated to the epic history that Wolverine and Sabretooth have. Suffice to say, Creed is a worthy foe in every respect.

I considered including Mystique and Daken but kept them off for various reasons. With Mystique, they certainly have history but it feels forced and contrived. Also, with all the changes coming to Marvel and lining up with the cinematic universe, expect the Mystique we know to undergo drastic rewrites.

Daken is another one that feels forced. He’s Wolverine’s son from a brief marriage during World War II and his mother was killed by The Winter Soldier. He fell under the care of Romulus, a character that I can’t even explain how much I dislike. He’s new to the Wolverine mythos and hasn’t really made his mark yet.

I’m sure a few people will want to include Cyclops. I think he’s definitely a rival of substance but there’s has mostly played out through the affections of Jean Grey. It’s one to watch, especially with the upcoming changes.

Who makes your list? Who did I miss? Let me know!

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!