Does Wolverine Have a Long Lost Cousin?

In every installment of "If I Pass This Way Again," we look at odd comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Alessandro, we take a look at Wolverine's possible long lost cousin...Shiv?!

The 1991 graphic novel "Wolverine: Bloody Choices", was written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by John Buscema. The basic set-up for the series was that there is this drug lord named Bullfinch who was also a child molester. Wolverine got involved when one of Bullfinch's former victims (whose brother, Palo, is a current victim of his) tried to kill Bullfinch. When Wolverine finds out what Bullfinch was up to, he devoted himself to taking him down. However, here is where Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. got involved. First, Fury had to inform Wolverine that S.H.I.E.L.D. was in the midst of an operation to take down Bullfinch's cocaine operation. So Fury wanted Wolverine to let the whole "child molestation" aspect of the case take a backseat while S.H.I.E.L.D. arrested Bullfinch for the drugs (the whole "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" argument). Once Wolverine allowed that to happen, though, Bullfinch then cut a deal with S.H.I.E.L.D., so now Wolverine and Fury were at odds. Fury had vowed to protect Bullfinch as part of the deal, while Wolverine, well, Wolverine had a score to settle with the villain (especially when the boy who got Wolverine into the situation in the first place is then murdered by Bullfinch). There's a great extensive fight sequence between Wolverine and Fury where Fury legitimately wants Wolverine to win so that he could kill Bullfinch, but Fury vowed to protect Bullfinch, so he gives the fight all he has.

So that's the main plot of the story. However, a side plot involved Bullfinch's main enforcer, who looked...well, he looked downright familiar.

In the initial assault on Bullfinch (back before he cut his deal with S.H.I.E.L.D.), Wolverine went one on one with the enforcer and learned his name...

So his name is Shiv, he appears to be Southern and he has a propensity for claws. Very peculiar.

Later, after Bullfinch cut his deal with S.H.I.E.L.D., Wolverine attacked anyways and ran afoul of Shiv again...

Shiv obviously has superpowers of some sort, as he was able to lift Wolverine with one arm and throw him.

Once Shiv ended up in the pool with Wolverine, though, Wolverine took him out, while Wolverine explained how he's better than Shiv since he's not, you know, a villain...

And that's it for Shiv. He never made another appearance after this graphic novel. Which sounds actually kind of hard to believe, doesn't it? Maybe this graphic novel just flew under the radar for people. I actually asked Tom DeFalco if he had developed a backstory for Shiv (like WAS he seriously related to Wolverine?) and Tom explained that he always comes up with a back story for every new character he introduces, it's just a matter where some of them never get a chance to have that back story explored. This is pretty evident in DeFalco's work, really. Look at, say, Silver Sable (to pick a name somewhat at random). She had a pretty elaborate back story in place as soon as he introduced her. However, Silver Sable was a character who got a chance to show up enough times for her back story to be explored. Shiv, as I noted, never showed up again, so that back story was never explored. And Tom explained that he long threw away Shiv's back story, so he honestly doesn't recall what he had planned for the character.

But that means Shiv is available for other writers to use! Tom Taylor? This is all you!

Thanks to Alessandro for the suggestion! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future "If I Pass This Way Again," drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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