Wendigo on the cover to Uncanny X-Men #140.
Art by John Byrne.
|First appearance||The Incredible Hulk #162 (April 1973)|
|Alter ego||Various individuals|
|Team affiliations||Varies per individual|
|Notable aliases||Various names in Native Canadian folklore|
Superhuman strength, stamina, durability and endurance|
Regenerative healing factor
Wendigo (occasionally: Wen-Di-Go) is a fictional monster appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Marvel character is based on the Wendigo legend of the Algonquian peoples. The monster first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #162 (April 1973), created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Herb Trimpe, fighting the Incredible Hulk in the Wendigo's first comic book appearance.
The Wendigo is not one specific person, but instead is the manifestation of a curse that can strike anyone who commits an act of cannibalism in the Canadian north woods. Originally only one person can become the Wendigo at the time, which has led to one Wendigo being cured if another person was struck with the curse. In later years it has been revealed that a pack of Wendigos lived in the Bering Strait. At one point the Wendigo curse infected the Hulk, turning him into Wendihulk, although he was later cured.
While normally depicted as a savage beast with no control, Wendigos have appeared as part of various villainous groups, showing some restraint when not fighting. The Wendigo character has also appeared in several Marvel cartoon series.
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The Wendigo first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #162 (April 1973), and was created by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe. Englehart recalled, "I knew about the legend of the Wendigo, and thought, between his strength and his sad story, that he sounded like a good Hulk opponent."
Fictional character biography
Several people have been afflicted with the curse of the Wendigo, including Paul Cartier, Georges Baptiste, Francois Lartigue, Lorenzo, Mauvais and others.
The curse is regional to the woods of Northern Canada and takes place, under the right conditions, when a person in the forests of Canada feeds on human flesh. This "Curse of the Wendigo" was created by the Northern Gods (also known as "the Inua") in an effort to deter human cannibalism.
The cannibal transforms into a superhumanly strong, nearly indestructible, fur-covered monster: the Wendigo. He or she then roams the woods eating human beings. The Wendigo frequently fights the Hulk, Wolverine, and Alpha Flight. Paul Cartier transformed into the Wendigo, battles the Hulk, and escaped. He battles the Hulk again and encountered Wolverine, and then battles the Hulk and Wolverine; Paul Cartier is cured as college professor Georges Baptiste became the Wendigo.
Baptiste as the Wendigo later terrorizes a snowbound group. He battles Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and members of Alpha Flight; the Baptiste Wendigo is captured and cured by Shaman. Though Baptiste is arrested by Department H.
A reporter named Anna Brooks goes on the search for Bigfoot at the time when some children are missing where she stumbles upon a Wendigo. This sighting causes J. Jonah Jameson to dispatch Peter Parker to British Columbia. Though the Wendigo's actions also attract the attention of Wolverine. This led to Spider-Man and Wolverine working together to stop the Wendigo.
One Wendigo battles the Werewolf by Night in an issue of Marvel Comics Presents. Its most frequent appearances were in the limited series Sabretooth: Open Season #1–4, where Sabretooth is hired to kill a Wendigo, ultimately succeeding.
A few years later, a new Wendigo emerges, leading to a fight with Wolverine and She-Hulk. A local Canadian super-hero, Talisman, arrives and claims to have a magical cure for the Wendigo's condition, but S.H.I.E.L.D.. After a long battle, the Wendigo is defeated by a combined attack from his two opponents, and placed into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.[volume & issue needed] This Wendigo is apparently later taken in by the Canadian-based Department K and is given an electric collar that keeps the usually mindless beast under control and is integrated as a member of Weapon: P.R.I.M.E., a team of operatives each with a personal grudge against Cable. Their first mission is to take down Cable, but X-Force proves to be more than capable, as Cable teleports all their belongings out of the base and triggers the autodestruct device, though the device malfunctions and blows up early. Cut off from Cable, X-Force helps Kane, Bridge and Rictor escape the exploding base, while Grizzly, Wendigo (now referred as Yeti) and Tigerstryke are missing. Bridge and Kane still want to arrest X-Force and calls in S.H.I.E.L.D. reinforcement, but Rictor sides with X-Force, since his grudge is only against Cable, not his former teammates. Later the Wendigo's collar is exchanged with an neurological implant which gives more control to the man inside the beast, even allowing him to speak.
During the Chaos War storyline, it is revealed that a pack of Wendigo exist in the Bering Strait after Red Hulk is attacked by a Wendigo, attracted by his camp fire while cooking a meal. A Wendigo bites the Red Hulk on the shoulder and he bleeds hot radioactive blood. The Red Hulk kills one Wendigo, while the others come to claim the body and eat it. It is also revealed that the Great Beasts are forced to manipulate the curse of the Wendigo to allow the transformation of several people instantly instead of only one, in order to create an army to fight with them against the Chaos King Amatsu-Mikaboshi.
These Wendigos are later somehow able to invade Las Vegas. where they are confronted by the Grey Hulk. The Grey Hulk gets help in the fight against them from Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and Sentry. Knocked into some debris, later on the Green Hulk appears. However, the Wendigos infect Hulk, turning him into the "Wendihulk" who attacks the superheroes. The sorcerer Brother Voodoo appears and cures Hulk and the other Wendigos.
When the Avengers Academy students have an encounter with former Norman Osborn subject Jeremy Biggs, it is mentioned that Biggs' company has bought a Wendigo that killed Steve, another former Osborn subject with ice-based powers.
During the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, a Wendigo is among the Alpha Flight villains gathered by Vindicator and Department H to spread the Master of the World's "Unity" program and to take down Alpha Flight as a member of Alpha Strike.
As part of Marvel Comics' 2012 initiative, Marvel NOW!, a Wendigo appears as a member of Department H's Omega Flight. Wendigo and the rest of Omega Flight are sent by Department H to investigate one of the Origin Bomb sites left by Ex Nihilo in Regina, Canada, a mission in which Wendigo is killed.
A Wendigo is summoned to Las Vegas through the wishing well of Tyrannus along with Bi-Beast, Fin Fang Foom, Umar, and Arm'Cheddon to fight the Hulk. This Wendigo is capable of minimalistic human speech and teams up with Bi-Beast to use the well's powers to allow them to grow to about thirty feet tall for fight the Hulk. However, both creatures are easily defeated by Hulk and are imprisoned along with Arm'Cheddon in the Dark Dimension by Umar until Tyrannus and Fin Fang Foom raids the dimension, allowing them to escape in the chaos.
A later confrontation between two Canadian meat packing plant employees resulted in one accidentally killing the other, and the perpetrator trying to cover it up by running the body through the meat grinder. This resulted in a mass outbreak of the Wendigo Curse, which was greatly exacerbated by the curse being transmitted via bite wounds inflicted by the Wendigos, in a process akin to lycantrophy. An infection of this pheneomena beyond Canada's borders is initially prevented by the mystical limitations of the Wendigo Curse. With the uncontrollably of the outbreak, the Great Beast Tanaraq (the "father" of the Wendigo) gains enough power to overthrow his fellows and intended to spread the curse across the entire world. However, the combined efforts of the X-Men, the other Beasts, and Guardian defeat his plan, resulting in the elimination of the curse.
Spider-Woman, with the help of Captain Marvel and Porcupine, later shuts down a Canadian restaurant that had been secretly serving its customers human flesh in an attempt to instigate another outbreak of Wendigo.
When Jimmy Hudson appears on Earth-616 following the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, the townspeople mistake him for a Wendigo and shoot him before an actual Wendigo attack occurred. Recovering from the gunshot wound, Hudson fights the Wendigo.
Powers and abilities
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The Wendigo possesses a variety of superhuman physical abilities as a result of transformation by an ancient mystical curse. The curse causes anyone that ingests the flesh of another human, while within the Canadian wilderness, to transform into the Wendigo.
The Wendigo possesses superhuman physical strength of an unknown limit. It is known that the Wendigo possesses sufficient strength to go toe-to-toe with the Incredible Hulk.
Aside from its vast strength, the tissues of the Wendigo's body are considerably stronger than those of a human being, providing it with superhuman durability. A Wendigo's body can resist high caliber machine gun rounds without sustaining injury. If a Wendigo is injured, it can recover from the physical trauma with tremendous speed and efficiency, giving rise to the quote "strike him down and he shall only rise again". The dense fur covering the Wendigo's body grants it immunity to the harsh conditions of the extreme cold weather common in the areas in which the Wendigo has appeared. The Wendigo can be rendered unconscious by sufficient force, such as severe physical injury and trauma, but it has even been able to regenerate from being completely disemboweled. It has even survived its heart being ripped from its chest. However, consumption of a removed heart will confer all powers and even the form of the Wendigo on whoever consumes it. It is not known what effect psionic attacks would have on or against a Wendigo.
Despite the Wendigo's great size, it can run at speeds greater than that of an Olympic level athlete. The enhanced musculature of the Wendigo generates less lactic acid than the muscles of a human being, granting it superhuman levels of stamina.
The Wendigo's fingers and toes are tipped with razor sharp, retractable claws that are capable of piercing even the Hulk's skin, a feat usually reserved for adamantium, due to a combination of the toughness of the claws and the Wendigo's massive physical strength.
Even though each Wendigo was once a human being, in most cases very little is left of the person it once was. It possesses little intelligence and can be considered non-sentient, and with the exception of brief and rare instances, is unable to remember things about its former life. It also lacks the ability to speak anything other than its own name, which it often will yell and repeat during its attacks. Sorcerers such as Mauvais and Lorenzo have been able to avoid this aspect of the curse, using magic to gain the power of the Wendigo while keeping their intelligence and the power of speech.
In Amazing Spider-Man #277, a creature called Wendigo appears. This Wendigo seemed to be a ghost-like being whose very presence in New York caused a blizzard to strike. Though the creature only makes its appearance at the end of the comic, the story makes it obvious that it is stalking Spider-Man the entire time he was chasing a group of kidnappers. This Wendigo seemed to be able to change size and become invisible; it was also reptilian in appearance and pale green in color.
In Spider-Man issues #8–12 (the "Perceptions" story arc), a Wendigo creature is blamed in the deaths of several children near Hope, British Columbia and terrorizing the town. Spider-Man's alter ego, Peter Parker, is sent to take pictures during the media frenzy that follows. Wolverine, having previous experience with Wendigo creatures and having concern for the creature's welfare, comes to the town and contacts Peter Parker directly, seeking Spider-Man's assistance. Together Spider-Man and Wolverine are able to determine the real cause of death among the children. The Wendigo in "Perceptions" has an appearance very similar to other incarnations of the Wendigo, yet seems to be a different manifestation. For example, this version of Wendigo is more vulnerable to harm than those that battled the Hulk as it suffers a significant wound from a hunter's bullet, and sustains injury when struck by a car. Additionally, it does not appear very aggressive, unless provoked, nor is it interested in consuming human flesh, feeding primarily on deer. In fact, when the Wendigo comes across the corpse of a child, the creature attempts to return the body to town instead of consuming it.
In the Earth X continuity, there appears a unique twist on the classic Wendigo. This variation of Wendigo is unlike the previous; while the Wendigo curse afflicts only one person at a time, an army of Wendigo is formed in this continuity, due to the curse afflicting Jamie Madrox after he chooses to eat one of his own duplicated bodies in response to the strict rationing of food that came with the declining animal population.[volume & issue needed]
The Wendigo makes another appearance in the MC2 imprint of Marvel Comics, an alternate future featuring, among others, the children of existing Marvel superheroes. In an issue of Wild Thing, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Wolverine, and Wolverine's daughter Wild Thing encounter a large number of Wendigos, which turn out to be a lost cub scout troop that had eaten its scoutmaster. Doctor Strange is able to remove the curse from the children and remove their memory of the events.
In other media
- Wendigo appeared in The Incredible Hulk cartoon series, with vocalizations provided by Leeza Miller McGee. As seen in the episode "And the Wind Cries...Wendigo!", the Wendigo is the result of a curse placed upon a Native American warrior. When the Wendigo captured Betty Ross, the Hulk and General Thunderbolt Ross had to work together to save Betty. After being defeated by Hulk Wendigo reverted to its human form.
- Wendigo appears in Wolverine and the X-Men. This version is also shown to have horns whose bite turns others into Wendigos. In the episode "Wolverine Vs. Hulk", Wolverine is approached by Nick Fury to take down the Hulk in the Canadian wilderness, but discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had previously enlisted Bruce Banner to aid in capturing and curing the Wendigo creature when some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fell victim to the Wendigo and became Wendigos. It was originally believed to have been created by a mystic curse, but it is later revealed that the creature is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. super-soldier experiment gone wrong conducted by Fury. With Hulk's help, Wolverine used the formula-filled darts to cure the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and defeat Wendigo.
- Wendigo makes a non-voiced cameo appearance on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes as an escaping inmate of the Raft.
- Wendigo makes appearances in various Marvel cartoons seen on Disney XD, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Wendigo appears in Avengers Assemble. In the episode "Avengers: Impossible", It was among the villains summoned to Avengers Tower by Impossible Man in order to spice up his show on Falcon. Wendigo chases after Hawkeye until Impossible Man 'scrubs the scene' by making the villains disappear.
- Wendigo appears in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.. In the episode "Wendigo Apocalypse", the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. encounter Wolverine during their Canada vacation, where Wolverine has been bitten by the Wendigo.
- The Wendigo King appears in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors. In the episode "Contest of Champions" [Pt. 1], Collector's and Grandmaster's game of 'Last Man Standing' has Wendigo King with Kraven the Hunter and Molten Man against Spider-Man, Iron Man and Hulk. Spider-Man learned from Hulk about the Wendigo and is advised not to let it bite. Spider-Man managed to defeat Wendigo by making it fall into one of Kraven's traps and then hitting it with electrified webbing.
A pack of Wendigos appear in Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United, watching Hulk and Abomination fight. Wendigos later battle Hulk and Iron Man in a cemetery but the Wendigos are warded off by the two Avengers.
- The Wendigo appears in the X-Men arcade game as the boss of Stage 3. He returns in Stage 7, as the second boss of five after Blob and before the White Queen, on Magneto's base in Asteroid M.
- Wendigo appears as an early boss in the video game X2: Wolverine's Revenge voiced by Frank Welker. Among the game's unlockable cut scenes is a humorous out-of-continuity moment involving the Wendigo entering a recording studio (and having trouble due to its size) and delivering its sole line ("WEN-DI-GO!") into the microphone.
- In the game X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there are super-soldier prototypes called W.E.N.D.I.G.O.s (Weaponized Experiment Neurodindritic Incident Gamma Zero). In keeping with the somewhat realistic tone of the film series, these are genetically engineered super-soldiers instead of magically cursed beings, the subjects being injected with a serum and the transformation triggered by a surge of adrenaline. They are bosses in the Weapon X areas.
- Wendigo appears in the iOS game Avengers Initiative, as one of the Hulk's enemies.
- Wendigo appears as a villain character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Wendigo appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
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