Wolverine's Comic Book Debut Makes His Catchphrase Way Less Intimidating

One of the most popular members of the X-Men is undoubtedly Wolverine because of his brutal persona, interesting origin story, and awesome powerset. His mysterious past is another great aspect to the character, as is the implication that he wasn’t always a hero. An iconic phrase Wolverine utters across multiple forms of media is the classic, “I’m the best there is at what I do but what I do best isn’t very nice.” Fans have an idea about what Logan is talking about, but no clear picture is in their heads, only that Wolvie is referring to a dark and perhaps murderous skillset. Well, in the very first comic book Wolverine ever appears in, he actually explicitly says what it is that he is the best at, which makes his catchphrase way less intimidating, leaving fans scratching their heads as to what about it isn’t very nice. 

In The Incredible Hulk #181 by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe, Wolverine makes his comic book debut, hired by the government to fight and stop the Hulk by any means necessary. The Hulk is in the middle of a battle with Wendigo, and Wolverine tricks the Hulk into thinking they are friends by helping the Avenger fight the furry beast. When Wolverine makes his intentions known, he also reveals to the Hulk what he is best at, which is why the Hulk initially has trouble catching the mutant mercenary. As Wolverine avoids the Hulk’s deadly grasp, Logan says, “I’ll just keep moving, if you please-- because moving is the thing I do best!” 

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Moving is the thing Wolverine does best. So when he says, “I’m the best there is at what I do but what I do best isn’t very nice,” Wolverine is talking about moving. In context it seems like he’s talking about his quickness, and ability to avoid attacks, but out of context that catchphrase loses every ounce of intimidation it once carried. If Wolverine’s the best at moving, does that include moving into a new place to live? Or maybe dance moves? Perhaps even general random gyration; Wolverine’s just the best at that. In fact when one replaces the haunting implication of his catchphrase with the actual act he is referring to, it becomes quite hilarious. “I’m the best there is at [moving] but [moving] isn’t very nice.” 

It seems as though Marvel Comics has done everything it can to move Wolverine in a more brutal direction since his self-proclaimed best skill. In fact, Marvel even reworked Wolverine’s first encounter with the Hulk in the Ultimate Universe, changing it so that Wolverine literally gets ripped in half by the Hulk. In that universe, Wolverine is seemingly not the best at moving , which results in a much more violent interaction with the character who initially gave Wolverine his introduction. 

It is clear Wolverine has come a long way from what fans were given upon his debut, having much darker and grittier storylines. Wolverine has been depicted carrying out assassination attempts, brutally dismantling entire groups of villains, and even horrifically killing every member of the X-Men in an alternate future. Because of the character Wolverine has become, his best and apparently not so nice skill was always assumed to be something intense and dark, but upon taking a look back at his first appearance, fans know that he’s just talking about his apparently insanely awesome moving skills, making Wolverine’s catchphrase way less intimidating.

Next: Marvel Pays Perfect Tribute To Famous Wolverine Cover Art

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