James MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O

fcbd2009coverWolverine: Origin of an X-Man #1
May 2009

One of Marvel’s offerings on Free Comic Book Day 2009 is this charming little All Ages Wolverine story, one of several Wolverine-related issues released in a massive blitz just before the blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie opened that summer. A nice review of this issue can be found HERE. James Hudson appears as a member of Department H and Mister Jeffries appears, recruited by Wolverine into Department H.

This comic, though 32pp long, is slightly smaller than a standard current comic. It was given out for free on Free Comic Book Day in 2009, an industry promotion designed to bring new readers into comic book shops and is largely kid-oriented, though there is plenty of grown-up material for the taking. This particular issue is clearly labeled “All Ages” and the artwork from Gujihiru, the regular Power Pack team of late, is a perfect fit for the book.

fcbd2009aJames Hudson appears as “Dr. Hudson” in the early days of Department H, before Alpha Flight formed, and literally hours just before Wolverine’s debut in the Incredible Hulk #180-2. He exasperatedly convinces “the brass”, a group of top admirals and generals, to use Wolverine on an upcoming assignment, a slightly different characterization of Department H’s relationship with the Canadian military, which is usually more cooperative in nature. It’s nice to see James drawn in this cartoonish animation style, so young and fresh, just getting started off on his career and working with Wolverine in the early days. He then flies off with Wolverine to the fictional sleepy town of Harbordale, New Brunswick.

Wolverine jumps out of the plane, no parachute, of course, to investigate the town which has been coated in a techno-organic goop, discovering the source to be a mutant, none other than Mister Jeffries. Logan snaps him out of his trance and brings him to Department H headquarters, which was back then, a barn, as shown in the Alpha Flight Special and correctly identified by Fred van Lente, good job!

James MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O

This issue, though it has the feel of the “Marvel Adventures” imprint for kids, could fit into the 616 continuity with little effort. It could be the actual way that Mister Jeffries was recruited into Dept H.  Not much had been known about his recruitment until now, except for the known continuity errors on Mantlo’s part in Alpha Flight #46, when Jeffries mentions to Kara, “Bochssie an’ I go ‘way ‘way back, before we was Betans, even”, contradicting what we know of their first meeting in Alpha Flight #16 and the fact that Jeffries was never in Beta Flight.

fcbd2009cMac announces that Mister Jeffries is suffering from PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and sends him to a clinic for treatment.  Note that this clinic is likely NOT the “The Clinic for Socially Maladjusted Super- Beings”, the name Puck jokingly gives to Beta and Gamma Flights.  Interestingly, Wolverine’s success in this mission results in “the brass” authorizing the first round of funding for Alpha Flight, a name which is misplaced by Mac’s enthusiasm, as the first team formed was just “The Flight”, and the teams divided into lettered tiers later on.

Note that the book is sub-titled, “Origin of an X-Man”, which is on the surface appears to be referring to Wolverine as the X-Man, but might actually refer to Mister Jeffries’ eventual membership in the X-Men, as he joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505 which was printed a few months before this issue.

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One Response to “James MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O”

  1. Chris Says:

    Fun story. Fred Van Lente also gives us a biology lesson on how the hippocampus works. So comics aren’t just fun, they’re educational too. Now your parents can’t tell you that comic books rot your brain.

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