rocky mountain school

10

Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902, Germany/United States)

Landscapes 3

Bierstadt was a German-born American painter best known for his dramatic landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Born in Germany, Bierstadt was brought to the United States at the age of one by his parents. He later returned to study painting for several years in Düsseldorf. He became part of the Hudson River School in New York, an informal group of like-minded painters who started painting along this scenic river. Their style was based on carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.

Weapon X Facility

Site where Weapon X organization fused adamatium onto Wolverine’s bones; later used by a faction of the X-Men as the “New Xavier School.“

This is another location that Marvel has avoided placing with too much specificity. This may be a deliberate choice, given the “in-universe” secrecy of the location. Nonetheless, its location is kind of a big deal, and one that even has an analogue that made it onto the movie screen. There isn’t a lot to go on, but here’s what we do know…

  • It’s in the Rocky Mountains
  • It’s in Alberta
  • It’s about 50 miles out from a reasonable population center
  • Recent comic portrayals show a distinctive environment

The seminal Weapon X storyline by Barry Windsor Smith in Marvel Comics Presents #72-84 gave little indication as to its location. It shows that Logan was living at a halfway house in some unnamed city and was abducted outside a bar before being taken to the installation.

The Weapon X story concludes with Logan’s escape into the wilderness…

This lead to my first (erroneous) assumption to the Weapon X location. An Alpha Flight story showed that Mac and Heather Hudson discovered Logan in the Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, so I assumed the facility must have been somewhere in that vicinity.

But I was wrong — the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Wolverine 2004 specified the location was actually in the Canadian Rockies.

The facility has appeared a few times over the years, without any great consistency…

Until Brian Bendis and Chris Bachalo revived the old facility as the New Xavier School for young mutants in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #2. This representation owes a lot to the “Alkali Lake” movie incarnation. But most excitingly, Bachalo depicts a mountainous environment as the facility’s backdrop.

If that vista looks at all familiar, it’s because it just so happens to be the mind-numbingly beautiful Valley of the Ten Peaks. Which just so happens to be in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada.

One more thing. Warren mentions that there’s “something called a Bob Evans like 50 miles from here.” Setting aside that in the real-world, the Bob Evans chain doesn’t exist in Canada, it at least indicates a reasonable population center.

And what happens if we drove like 50 miles from the tip of Moraine Lake?

Banff!

It makes me wonder if Banff was the town that Logan was living in when he got abducted by Weapon X. As if he had some kind of unconscious memory of a previous life.


MARVEL ATLAS PROJECT