Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s.
It’s a beautifully drawn little tale by Barry Windsor Smith, undoubtedly some of his best work ever. It’s got a truly cinematic quality to it you rarely see in books today epitomizing everything that I used to love SO damn much about Wolverine and the X-Men back in the 80’s. Wolverine was still a misunderstood outcast who’d this time was running for his life, something you didn’t see very often back then. It’s also one of the most violent issues of X-Men I’ve ever seen. It’s a brutal as hell battle as Wolverine slices through cyborgs with bloody ferocity and was the one issue as a kid that really sold me forever on the character of Logan.
Lady Deathstrike is so visually imposing & frightening in this stand alone that this depiction of her just could never again quite be matched. When her and Wolverine face off it’s a visual feast of brutality. This issue for some reason pushed the envelope further than any X-title I’d seen up to that point and it’s a wonder that it was given approval by the Comics Code Authority back in 86′.
If you’re looking for a great back issue this is hands down worth the hunt and possibly one of the best Wolverine stories of all time. Yeah X-Men #205 is the shit and easily one of the best one shots you’re likely to ever read. Stories like this are what comic books these days have been missing…