The history of Wolverine has been slowly revealed over the years, but there are still numerous mysteries surrounding his mother, Elizabeth Howlett.
For decades, one of the most enduring elements of Wolverine of the X-Men was his mysterious past, since his memories were taken from him by the same people who turned him into a nigh-unstoppable killing machine. But while many elements of his history have been revealed over the years, some notable figures remain genuine questions marks, such as Wolverine’s mother.
Even after she debuted in Paul Jenkins, Joe Quesada, Bill Jemas, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove’s Wolverine: The Origin #1, Elizabeth Howlett has been one of the most enigmatic elements of Wolverine’s history. Over the past two decades, his mother only having a handful of appearances, and she hints at a mystery that still remains about the lineage of Wolverine.
Not much is known about the life of Elizabeth Hudson before she married John Howlett. In Wolverine: Origins #33 by Daniel Way and Doug Braithwaite, even Nick Fury admits there’s not much about her that can be discovered, save that the Hudson family has a long history of being a tool of the mysterious Romulus, one of the figures who helped ensure the creation of the Weapon X Program. After marrying into the Howlett family, Elizabeth lived a privileged life in the late 19th century, owning a large swath of land in Alberta. Elizabeth had two sons — John Jr. and James. However, at least James was actually the son of the local groundskeeper Thomas Logan — a cruel and vindictive man.
After the mysterious death of her son John Jr, Elizabeth was briefly relocated to a mental asylum. When she returned, she entered an extended period of grieving, disconnecting from both her husband and her son. She remained secluded, becoming increasingly distant. Eventually, however, after Thomas and his son Dog were forced to leave the Howlett estate, the pair returned to enact vengeance on John Howlett. In the ensuing chaos, Thomas murdered John and, in a rage, James attacked — revealing his bone claws for the first time and killing Thomas. Elizabeth was horrified of what had happened, and accused her son of being a monster — but hinting she’d seen a similar transformation before. While James and his young friend Rose escaped, Elizabeth — mentally broken — turned Thomas’ gun on herself.
In Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine by Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert, Wolverine — now known as Logan — was forced into a future where he had to employ the Phoenix Gun to destroy a Doctor Doom variant who’d transformed himself into Ego the Living Planet. The act saved the Earth, but also reduced Logan to nothing but a skeleton and a puddle of blood. Although a repentant Spider-Man was able to repair a Cosmic Cube and use it to restore him to life, he did so at the worst possible time — as Logan’s spirit had just found Elizabeth. His mother’s spirit reached out to him, begging for forgiveness and offering him peace together at last — only for Peter Parker to revive him and steal away that peace.
Elizabeth remains one of the biggest mysteries in Logan’s life. While other elements of his history have been steadliy revealed over the years, Elizabeth’s life remains a mystery. Even someone like Nick Fury could only find out her name. A brief memory from Wolverine: Origins showed a young James approaching his mother by surprise, and finding three distinct claw mark scars across her back — hinting that he connected to the kind of power-set that would go on to define her son’s life actually flowed from her side of the family. She was never presented as a piece of Logan’s true parentage mystery, which teased Logan’s potential biological relationship to Sabretooth for years. But today, Elizabeth remains the truest mystery in Wolverine’s life.