Thursday, 27 August 2015

Omitted material: Wolverine '95

Left out of Essential Wolverine volume 5 is Wolverine '95, which was the awkwardly named annual from that year. It seems the numbering caught Marvel out rather than problems with rights. The main story is written by Larry Hama and drawn by J.H. Williams III and a back up is written by Christopher Golden and drawn by Ben Herrera.

If anyone knows for certain the reason why this was left out then please do speak up in the comments. There are no obvious licensed characters present in either story and in any case that should not have prevented publication of the other. One of the stories has more recently been printed in a Deadpool collection and the whole annual is available digitally so it certainly can be published. Story quality has never been a threshold for inclusion so it seems most likely this was a mistake. The legal information in the issue suggests that it was registered as a one-shot due to Marvel ditching the numbering of annuals around this time, and the issue came out the same month as the regular series #93 so the numbers may have confused someone. Hopefully future reprint runs will reinstate it.

As for the issue itself, the lead story is a team-up with Nightcrawler who has come back to the States in concern about Wolverine's degeneration. Meanwhile the N'Garai race that resemble the creature from Alien are once again trying to break through to invade Earth and Wolverine and Nightcrawler go through to battle them, with Logan's killing rage worrying Kurt. The back-up story sees various veterans of the Weapon X project being kidnapped and experimented on to try to find a cure for the Legacy Virus. Wolverine and Maverick team up to rescue Deadpool and hopefully find a cure.

All in all this annual is focused on action but comes with strong contemporary continuity. The lead story benefits from having the regular series writer on it and fits right into the saga of Wolverine's degeneration. The back-up is a little more broad as it ties into the wider plotline of the Legacy Virus that ran across the X-Men titles for several years but is making its first significant appearance in this series. This annual isn't the most significant but does feel very much a part of the contemporary series in a way a lot of annuals in this era don't.

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