Obscure Comics: Wolverine #102.5, Trading Cards Or Comic Part 2

There are comic book series almost every comic fan knows, there are comic book characters that most everyone knows, there are specific comic books most every comic reader knows, and then there are the more obscure issues that slip through the cracks. What makes obscure comics so interesting and vital is discovering those books that most don't know were ever printed, or that top tier creators worked on "that book" or on "that character." Obscure Comics are fun to find and interesting to know about, but that border between great reads and terrible comics.

Obscure Comics: 1996 X-Men Ultra: Wolverine Trading Cards Or Wolverine #102.5

In Part 1, linked at the bottom of the article, the unique experiment and history of creating a brand new comic book story featuring Wolverine and putting it on the back of trading cards were laid out. It was a hard story to read on the backs of trading cards, though, for many reasons.

Written by Dan Slott, in one of his earlier writing gigs for Marvel, and drawn and inked by Fables legend Mark Buckingham, "Slay-Per-View" fits between issues #102 and #103 of Wolverine (Volume 1) published earlier in June and July of 1996. The story itself was designed to be printed on the backs of the first 99 cards in the 100 card set (with the 100th card being a checklist) so that it could be placed in nine hold trading card sleeves and read like a proper story.

However, Fleer asked that each part of the page, divided on the cards into nine parts, has a unique character or action on it and as many Marvel characters as possible.  To say this was a challenge for Mark Buckingham is an understatement, but he did it (mostly), leaving the entire comic a very, very busy affair. The cards are beautifully painted, but the backs of the cards, in addition to having the comic story on them, have little blurbs denoting who is on the front, a quick statement about the character, and first appearance.  It leaves the backs of the cards just chock full of too much content.

After the infamous Wolverine #100, the story takes place after an unsuccessful attempt to refuse Adamantium to his skeleton left Wolverine in a more feral state; Elektra was trying to retrain him and help him regain his normal state.

During this issue, Wolverine is tricked by Spyral and several Warwolves wearing X-Men skins to drop his guard, leading him to be abducted to the Mojoverse. Mojo II, in order to gain ratings and keep control, has the Warwolves don the appearance of all of Wolverine's enemies, from Omega Red to Sabertooth, to Deadpool, to the Thing, and even the Hulk, in order to create a non-stop brawl.

Longshot, Dazzler, and the X-Babies (newer versions who had just debuted in X-Men (Volume 2) #46 in November 1995) work to track down Wolverine and help him win … by losing.

In addition, a holo-foil subset of 9 cards featuring a take on the scene from Fatal Attraction in X-Men (Volume 2) #25, where Wolverine has his Adamantium pulled loose by Magneto. by the Hildebrant brothers, was included as rare cards in the set.  On the backs of those is a humorous take on Wolverine and his many looks, titled "Costume Re-Partee," written again by Dan Slott, and drawn by the late great Mike Wieringo, and was included as Page 12 in the comic.

Rare, Different Versions and Even the Trading Cards Are Expensive

Readers most saw the original version on the backs of trading cards, but even a basic set of the 1996 X-Men Ultra: Wolverine Trading Cards can run between $100 to $200, not including any of the rare cards. The comic version, Wolverine #102.5, has two versions.  The first was a mailaway Fleer special release, that is just the comic itself.  Even in fine to very fine condition, this version can cost close to $100 or more.  Then there is the Wizard exclusive version that was signed by cover artist Boris Vallejo and included an exclusive certificate of authenticity and holographic logo.

Those copies run at least $100, if not more often $200 or more, and graded copies jump into the $1000 or more depending on condition. It's a hard book to find, an expensive book to get, and an obscure comic, to say the least.

This post is part of a multi-part series: Obscure Comics.

About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...