I ordered the paperback collection of this series, and it arrived last night. My hopes were high, but my expectations low for this series. Thankfully, it outlived my expectations by a long shot.
Though I thought a definitive origin was a huge mistake (as did most of Marvel, judging from the foreward and afterwords), the story gave me a new appreciation for Jam--I mean, Logan.
Rather than sing the praises of this story, which I could do for quite some time, I want to point out a few things I noticed during my first read that weren't addressed (and I'm assuming intentionally) and get some thoughts from fellow Wolvie fans as to what they mean.
When Rose bursts in on James' mother, she definitely has three claw marks down her back. And when she sees James' claws, her immediate reaction is, "Not again! Not you, James!"
What's going on here? It looks to me like Mrs Howell (did I get the last name right?) had some sort of run-in with some other claw-popping mutant in the past, and that's what drove her to the edge of insanity. It was something very bad, so bad that rather than have "Dog" Logan arrested and hanged, she'd rather commit suicide than face the fact that James has claws.
I doubt it was the often mentioned dead older brother, or at least he's not the one who left those scars. Those were left by an adult.
There's definitely some sort of something-something going on between Mrs Howell and the elder Logan. (The least subtle indication of this is when he goes to "kidnap" her and merely has to say, "It's me.") This brings up a major question about James' parentage. Both Logans have the distinctive Wolverine look, which James grows into later on. Aside from the obvious ("Let's make the readers think they know which one's Wolvie and surprise them!"), there must be a reason for this resemblance.
IMHO, Rose didn't know how right she was when she signed James up for the labor camp under the name Logan.
If this is the case, do Wolvie's powers come from his mother's side or his father's side? One theory I came up with, especially after seeing how savagely Dog is rendered in the final battle, is that both the elder Logan and Mrs Howell carry an X-gene. James gets the claws from his mother and the healing factor and instincts from his father.
There are a gazillion psychotic mutants running around with healing factors. There's only one I can think of with naturally occurring retractable claws. One surviving Howell and who-knows-how-many relatives of the Logans. Perhaps the eldest Howell son was killed by his mother when he first manifested his claws, and this drove her nuts. (Or maybe he lost too much blood from extending them.) The second boy, James, fathered by Logan, also had a healing factor, which combined made him Wolverine.
Then there's the boy known only as "Dog." I'm not sure without double-checking if his last name is even definitively given as Logan, though Logan is unquestionably his father. Three nasty slashes across his face during adolescence, at roughly the same age most mutants first manifest their powers. Within a couple of years, he has nearly doubled in size, his hair has lightened considerably, and the gashes have reduced to thin scars. It's possible his healing factor is manifesting itself. (Wolvie's own bruises at this point took days, not minutes, to heal, so the claw wounds not completely healing over is possible with a not-quite fully developed healing factor.) He doesn't have claws whatsoever, though.
During the fight in town between James and Dog, Dog takes on a very savage appearance. He looks in one panel exactly like a nasty mutant with a healing factor but no claws who's long been known to have some connection to Wolverine's early past. Given that he's still alive in the end and that we've always known the two have bad blood from way back (most likely involving a redhead somehow) between them, I don't think it's too farfetched to say that "Dog" grew up to become Sabertooth.
And talk about your memory lapses. . . Wolverine has at least two major losses of memory we know of. When he first used his claws, something made him lose his memory and become more savage. I would imagine the shock of being bonded to adamantium would be even more than the shock of finding out you have claws, so it looks like "naked Logan running around Canada" was some sort of involuntary self-preservation technique on Wolvie's part rather than a side effect of the bonding as we've always thought. It would explain why Sabertooth and others who have been bonded with adamantium have less memory loss, if any.
It's also possible, since Sabertooth now seems to have fake memories that he takes as the gospel truth, that Wolverine's seeming insanity and subsequent blocking out of the Weapon X project, if a survival tactic, saved Wolverine from accepting false memories that may have been implanted and not taken hold.
Man. . . funny how a series designed to answer the questions we had before does so, but leaves new questions.