X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1
The X-Men: Origins series is an irregularly published set of one-shots focused on individual members of the X-Men. Despite having his own ongoing Wolverine Origins series, Wolverine was selected for one issue, released in a coordinated blitz of Wolverine stuff right around the time the blockbuster movie of the EXACT SAME NAME was about to hit the theaters in 2009. It tells a condensed and slightly altered version of Logan’s early life and recruitment by Professor X from a very nasty Department H. James and Heather Hudson appear in this book as friends of Wolverine in Department H and in flashback to the honeymoon rescue scene from Alpha Flight #33.
Of all characters in comics, Wolverine has by far the most complex and hardest to understand origin story, to the point where he’s defined by the messiness and mystery of it all. To put out a single book chronicling what couldn’t be told in 50 issues of a standalone series (Wolverine Origins) is an impossible task and it would have been very easy to skip over the Hudsons.
Central to Heather’s appearance in this issue is a new facet of Logan’s feelings for her, revealed for the first time in this issue in a very sweet and touching moment, but with a bit of retcon thrown in. During a slightly altered “honeymoon in the woods scene”, Logan shows up freshly escaped from the Weapon X facility and first comes across Heather, who instantly reminds him of his redheaded childhood friend (and first love lost), Rose, morphing into her right before Logan passes out. Heather shouts out to James, who must have been in the cabin, for assistance with Logan.
Now of course the actual events shown in the original scene are a bit different: Logan was a screaming wild man with no tubes nor wires coming out of him and James was right there with Heather; no need to shout out for him. Oh, and I almost forgot: Heather shot Logan with a rifle! Not exactly the best circumstances to trigger a fond memory of your childhood crush…
Later, in a quiet scene on a Department H porch which takes place at an unspecified time afterwards, James and Heather appear to collect Wolverine to go meet the new Alpha Flight recruits. Heather again morphs into Rose during a quiet sunset conversation as she assures Logan that they’ll always be there for him and that he’s part of their family now.Part of this origin story takes place right before the events of the tie-slicing scene in Giant Size X-Men #1, but oddly, the personnel at Department H are made out to be real nasty jerks. Likely done to exaggerate Logan’s reasons for wanting to leave with Xavier so readily, it put him into quite a bad crowd of outright racists who simply hated him. After returning from what are possibly chronologically misplaced events of Incredible Hulk #180-2, a Major Chasin[sic] declares, “Hudson may want you for his pet project, but Department H took you in for one reason.” The pet project is likely Alpha Flight or the First Flight team. This would imply that Hudson was just a scientist at Dept H, not its founding member and leader.
Diametrically opposed to the strangely insulting and nasty way Christ Yost wrote the rest of the Department H members, James and Heather are written with class and as a welcoming family for Logan. Their outright loving and affable care for him really shine in this issue, only matched by Mark Texeira’s flattering artwork for Heather’s beauty, a real treat. The continuity errors can easily be explained away by Wolverine’s famously faulty memory in multiple flashbacks, and quite frankly, Yost got the honeymoon in the woods scene wrong in a dear and tender way, so he gets a free pass.