Wolverine is probably one of the most published superheroes in modern times. In addition to his numerous solo series, he is a prominent member on multiple X-Men teams as well as more recently the Avengers.
With so many stories out there, we’ve decided to put together a definitive list of the best of the best. This list, like our other top 25 comics such as our popular X-Men and Batman lists, is based off of numerous lists out there, giving a weighting to each selection of the best Wolverine stories. The lists used are either featured on popular sites, found within a forum or included in a collected edition, such as the recent Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection
The Top 25 Wolverine Stories
These stories don’t have universal appeal, but their significance in Wolverine’s publication history offer them a spot on this list.
25. Wolverine in Madripoor
Creators: Larry Hama, Marc Silvestri
These issues begin one of the most acclaimed runs in Wolverine’s solo series as Larry Hama and Marc Silvestri take Logan back to Madripoor.
Wolverine by Larry Hama & Marc Silvestri – Volume 1
24. Blood Debt
Creators: Steve Skroce (Art & Story)
As part of the Revolution revamp of X-Men titles which new creative teams tackle stories that skipped ahead 6 months. Here we see Wolverine in his “Samurai” role, dealing with demons from his past.
23. Classic Wolverine
Creators: Chris Claremont,John Buscema, Klause Janson
Yet another Madripoor tale, this is the one that began it all. It features the first appearance of Wolverine under his “Patch” alias, and introduces an interesting supporting cast such as Archie and the once and future Spider-Woman Jessica Drew. While there are better Madripoor stories out there, this one gets points for setting the scene.
22. World War II Wolverine
Creators: Mark Millar, Kaare Andrews
In this spectacular stand-alone issue, superstar scribe Mark Millar is joined with superstar artist Kaare Andrews to bring you a glimpse of Wolverine from the past (World War II in particular). This story is bound to rise the charts as time moves on and more readers become aware of this future classic.
Wolverine 2nd Series #32
Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection
21. Planet X
Creators: Grant Morrison, Phil Jimenez
And now we look at a different aspect to Wolverine: his role as an X-Man. This is a Wolverine/X-Men story that was meant to be told, and surprisingly was only done in the last decade. Here we have Wolverine and Jean Grey’s affection for each other culminate into one final event that up stakes with no other than the Phoenix Force.
20. Alpha Flight
Creators: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
The first appearance of Alpha Flight (though we had scene Guardian a few issues before) is one of the first glimpses into Wolverine’s past fans had gotten. I think part of what propulsed Wolverine into popularity is just how layered the character was early on, and it probably helped that John Byrne, a Canadian himself, was able to infuse some national authenticity into the character. None is more apparent than in these issues.
19. The Brotherhood
Creators: Greg Rucka, Darick Robertson
Greg Rucka does what he does best by giving Wolverine a great detective story that fits right in with Wolverine’s occasional “loner” persona.
Wolverine Vol. 1: The Brotherhood
18. Fatal Attractions
Creators: Fabian Nicieza, Larry Hama, John Romita Jr, Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert
This X-Title crossover does not have a cohesive narrative throughout, other than the return of Magneto. What puts this story among the best is mostly its consequences – Magneto tears the Adamantium right out of Wolverine. That splash page alone is worth the price of admission.
X-Men: Fatal Attractions
17. Ultimate New Mutants
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch
This story comes right out of left field (or the Ultimate Universe, specifically!). In the midst of a story arc, we get a chapter focusing on Wolverine, which delivers on all accounts giving us one of the best single that is pure Logan, 616 or otherwise.
Ultimate X-Men #41
Ultimate X-Men Vol. 8: New Mutants
16. Kitty Pryde and Wolverine
Creators: Claremont, Al Milgrom
The second Wolverine mini-series shared the bill with Kitty Pryde, making her one of his first “literary foils” (subsequently replaced by others such as Jubilee, or even Armor during the Astonishing X-Men years). For reference, this is another “Samurai” type Wolverine story.
15. Astonishing X-Men
Creators: Joss Whedon, John Cassaday
Now a Marvel master, Joss Whedon had actually made his debut with the publisher not in movies, but in comics with the Astonishing X-Men. While the story doesn’t focus strictly on Wolverine, this is one the best examples of Wolverine in his element among the X-Men.
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #1
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #2
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #3
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #4
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #5
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #6
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #13
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #14
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #15
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #16
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #17
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #18
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #19
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #20
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #21
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #22
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #23
Astonishing X-Men 3rd series #24
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1
14. Not Dead Yet
Creators: Warren Ellis, Leinil Francis Yu
Such a great start to the post-Hama era, Ellis’s “Not Dead Yet” has been included in the recent Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection. A ghost from the past takes Logan on the run.
13. Old Man Logan
Creators: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven
There are surprisingly few tales outside the present 616 universe on this list, considering how popular they are for X-Men comics. That said, Old Man Logan is probably the best alternate Wolverine tale, as we find Logan in his old age long after the mutants are gone. With Mark Millar and Steven McNiven, this tale was meant to be a classic, and just a few years after its publication, it already is.
Wolverine 2nd Series #66
Wolverine 2nd Series #67
Wolverine 2nd Series #68
Wolverine 2nd Series #69
Wolverine 2nd Series #70
Wolverine 2nd Series #71
Wolverine 2nd Series #72
Wolverine Giant Sized Old Man Logan #1
Wolverine: Old Man Logan
12. Get Mystique
Creators: Jason Aaron, Ron Garney
These last two entries occurred back to back, showing that the 2nd Wolverine series had an incredible run of stories. The difference between this one and the former is that this one occurs in canon. It’s an epilogue to Messiah CompleX, though it is its very own thing, with Wolverine hunting down Mystique.
Wolverine: Get Mystique
These next stories go beyond what we expect, giving us deep stories along with the pure fun the others provide. Their impact go beyond the stories, even affecting the industry at large.
11. Days of Future Past
Creators: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
The original “Future Wolverine” story, Days of Future Past is considered one of the best X-Men stories ever. While it is in essence a 616-Universe story, the portions of this regarding the dystopian future are what contain the truly great Wolverine moments.
10. Wounded Wolf
Creators: Chris Claremont, Barry Windsor-Smith
This story has had a strong impact stylistically, both in terms of art and pacing. It also paved the way for the Wolverine origin story in Marvel Comics Presents Weapon X. In this one-and-done story, this issue of Uncanny X-Men focuses solely on Wolverine recuperating from an ongoing battle with the help of one of the Power Pack girls. The cover of this book speaks for itself!
Uncanny X-Men #205
Creators: Brian K. Vaughan, Eduardo Risso, Dean White
Master modern storyteller Brian K. Vaughan gives his take on Wolverine at an important moment in his life. This mini-series takes place after the events of House of M, of which one of the consequences was having Wolverine finally remember his whole life.
8. Vicious Circle
Creators: Peter David,Todd McFarlane
Considered part of the Fall of the Mutants storyline, this is the grudge match of the century, as Wolverine returns, after becoming one of Marvel’s top heroes, to the pages where it all began – Incredible Hulk – to take on the titular hero in this blockbuster issue by heavyweights Peter David and Todd McFarlane.
Incredible Hulk #340
7. Dark Phoenix Saga
Creators: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
one of the most iconic moments can be found in issue #131 of Uncanny X-Men, when Wolverine emerges from the water and says “Now it’s my turn”. The subsequent issue is all Wolverine taking on the Hellfire Club, showing for the first time how he can handle his own series. Regardless, this whole story is one of the most essential comic arcs ever. Read it!
Definitive Archetypal Stories
6. The Brood
Creators: Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum
We follow a classic X-Men issue featuring Wolverine solo with it’s successor! This issue (just #162, though the full arc is listed below) once again shows Logan as the last hope for our heroes, though in this book we see him take one the alien Brood. While not as reputable as the Dark Phoenix Saga, this is a side of Wolverine we don’t see as often: on an alien planet, with his body only half converted to the Brood, thanks to his healing factor, giving this story a sci-fi vibe.
Essential X-Men, Vol. 4 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 4)
5. Enemy Of The State
Creators: Mark Millar, John Romita Jr
Millar’s second story on this list is yet another imagining of Wolverine taken to an extreme. Forget wondering what would happen if Wolverine went bad, this is it, and in canon. Hydra are the ones to set this in motion, brainwashing Logan into an unhinged killing machine.
Wolverine: Enemy of the State
4. Madripoor Knights
Creators: Chris Claremont, Jim Lee
this issue was on the cusp of something big; as the 90’s rang in, Jim Lee had begun his trek to stardom with his run on Uncanny X-Men. Here we see a flashback issue that brings Wolverine back to his time in Madripoor, along with Black Widow and Captain America.
Uncanny X-Men #268
You’d be hard pressed to find a Wolverine fan’s best-of list that omits these stories.
Creators: Paul Jenkins, Joe Quesada, Bill Jemas, Andy Kubert
Here it is folks, the moment where all is revealed. After decades of mystery, Marvel decided to take the controversial path of revealing Wolverine’s true origin, eliminating the mystery that was part of his character. Wolverine only remembers this portion of his life in House of M, published years later, but readers were able to get the scoop earlier.
2. Weapon X
Creators: Barry Windsor-Smith
For a character whose allure comes from being shrouded in mystery, it seems that its the issues that reveal them, effectively removing the said mystery, that are the most popular. That means there is a lot to be said in regards to the quality of those revealing story arc, with each replacing the mystery with something as intriguing. Weapon X is one of the first looks back at Wolverine’s origin, notably in regards to his adamantium skeleton.
Marvel Comics Presents #72
Marvel Comics Presents #73
Marvel Comics Presents #74
Marvel Comics Presents #75
Marvel Comics Presents #76
Marvel Comics Presents #77
Marvel Comics Presents #78
Marvel Comics Presents #79
Marvel Comics Presents #80
Marvel Comics Presents #81
Marvel Comics Presents #82
Marvel Comics Presents #83
Marvel Comics Presents #84
1. Claremont and Miller’s Wolverine
Creators: Chris Claremont, Frank Miller
For a character whose growth in the number of featured titles doesn’t seem to stop, its strange to see that most still regard his first solo outing as their favorite. With both Chris Claremont and Frank Miller teaming on the book, it was a near guaranteed hit. What is hard to see from this moment in time is how different it all was, showing Wolverine in the samurai setting, rather than the Canadian killing machine we had mostly seen previously.
A few interesting stats…
Chris Claremont is the reigning champion of creators with the most books on the list. While top of the list is dominated by early stories, it is the first decade of the millenium (2000’s) that is the most popular period for Wolverine stories.