This time out, I'm going to review the very first comic I bought as a collectible. Up until this comic, I had only been buying new books, of course, making this purchase did not open any doors to collecting. That didn't happen until fairly recently. But I was totally smitten with Wolverine at the time and had to have this book:
Incredible Hulk #181 from 1974
This is the first full appearance of Wolverine. Technically #180 is his first appearance, but it's only on the last panel of the last page, so this is his first full appearance where he actually DOES something.
The issue is the end of a two part story, so it starts right off with Wolverine jumping into a fight between Hulk and the Wendigo, who were battling in the wilds of Canada. Wolvie was sent to break things up and to keep the two monsters from wreaking too much havoc. Wolverine immediately attacks the Hulk but when he realizes that his claws can't puncture the Hulks hide he switches over to the Wendigo, who isn't so fortunate to be as thick skinned as the Green Goliath. Eventually Hulk concludes that if the "little man" is fighting Hulk's enemy then he must be Hulk's friend and they both team up to beat up the Wendigo. Once said Wendigo is defeated Wolverine realizes that the legends of the Wendigo are true, he is immortal and Wolverine's "talons only rendered him unconscious!" So Wolverine apparently stabbed the beast into a K.O.
After a short awkward pause during which Hulk contemplates his new little friend, Wolverine suddenly attacks Hulk and the battle starts anew. This is the start of the great Wolverine/Hulk feud, Hulk hated Wolverine for betraying his assumed friendship. They fought many times after this, and eventually developed a begrudging friendship and respect, but they still rag on each other when the opportunity arises.
While they are wailing on each other, a man and a woman, who are involved in all the action from the last issue, drag the Wendigo's body to a nearby cave. Their plan being to remove The Curse of The Wendigo from the creature and transfer it to the Hulk. The point of this is that the Wendigo is the woman's brother...or well, the guy the Wendigo once was, is the woman's brother. The guy that is with her is the best buddy of the Wendigo...or the woman's brother ex-wendigo...wait, where was I? Geeze, even I'm confused. Ok well, to make a long story short, he protests afflicting the Hulk with the curse since it was his fault (the guy, not the Hulk) that his friend became the Wendigo, so while she is distracted he transfers the curse to himself, saving his friend but dooming his love for the woman.
Meanwhile, Hulk has knocked out Wolverine and sufficiently proven once again that Hulk is strongest one there is. He then runs into the woman, who is mourning her failure...I guess...at the friend becoming the new Wendigo and the Hulk and her watch the Wendigo wander off into the Canadian wilderness and the sunset.
Ok, so it's a pretty weird first appearance, but it was a darn good fight. Eventually I hope to get a copy of #180 if for no reason than to try to make some sense of this story!
This post holds the record for the most typing's of the word "Wendigo" ever in this blog. So hey, if you didn't follow the action up there, at least there's that. Until next time, or until we get to join Wolverine and Wendigo for some poutine and sugar pie up in Canadia, which ever comes first.