When you look back at the introduction of Wolverine in Incredible Hulk #181, he was inherently designed to be like his namesake, a rugged animal that takes on bigger animals and is so dogged in its determination and ferocity that it can take down prey many times its size. However, as you might expect, the entire concept of a smaller dogged animal is that it gets knocked around a lot, but just keeps on fighting.
That has been the case in Wolverine’s comic book history, as well. He’s not some untouchable hero. He’s the guy who gets knocked out ten times and gets back up ten times to continue the fight. As a result, he has received some serious beat downs over the years, including from fellow heroes. Here, then, are 15 heroes who have, at one point or another, DESTROYED Wolverine.
Towards the end of his run on Uncanny X-Men, writer Chris Claremont was doing a long-running subplot (that was basically abandoned once Claremont left the series) about Wolverine’s healing powers not working properly and about the hero slowing down in general. This was highlighted by a story that came out during a time when the X-Men were disbanded where Wolverine was captured and crucified by the Reavers. Only the intervention of a young mutant by the name of Jubilee saved his life.
When the team got together, Wolverine clashed with new teammate, Gambit, in Uncanny X-Men #273 (in a sequence drawn by the great Michael Golden) and Gambit took Wolverine apart easily. Wolverine had a victory in a rematch with Gambit during the Muir Isle Saga, but as it was handled by a different writer, it didn’t really feel like much of a conclusion to the character arc.
14. SQUIRREL GIRL
In her very first appearance, Squirrel Girl famously defeated Doctor Doom with the help of a bunch of squirrels. Writer Dan Slott decided to double down on that idea, having Squirrel Girl defeat powerful villains with seeming ease while she was featured as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers. After leaving that august assemblage, she became the nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter, Danielle.
In New Avengers #15 (by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato), Squirrel Girl sparred with Wolverine (the two apparently have some sort of hidden backstory together) and easily defeated the older hero. When he then cheap-shotted her when she had her back turned, she ended up surrounded Wolverine with an army of squirrels, getting him to back down.
13. MISTER SPOCK
While Star Trek comics have mostly been produced by Gold Key, DC Comics and IDW Publishing, there was a brief period in the late 1970s when Marvel had the license and then, following a long stretch by DC Comics, Marvel got the license back in 1996. They only held the license for a short period, but during that time, they managed to put out one of the most awesomely bizarre comic book crossovers of all-time, Star Trek/X-Men by Scott Lobdell, Marc Silvestri and a bunch of other artists in Silvestri’s studio.
The X-Men and their alien friends, the Shi’ar, accidentally ended up in the Star Trek universe and the X-Men surreptitiously boarded the Starship Enterprise. That’s when Mister Spock, the half-Vulcan Science Officer of the Enterprise, discovered them. Wolverine went to take him out and Spock handled him with great ease, knocking him out with a Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
Spider-Man and Wolverine have tangled a few times over the years, with one notable occurrence happening in Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, where Spider-Man punched Wolverine so hard that he cracked the tombstone behind Wolverine’s head. However, Wolverine was mostly toying with Spider-Man in that story, allowing him to get out his aggression.
That wasn’t the case in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 (by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and John Beatty), when Spider-Man learned that the X-Men planned to split from the hero side of the fight to become free agents. The X-Men tried to stop Spidey from telling the other heroes, and Spider-Man just wiped the floor with them, tossing Wolverine aside like he was a joke. Luckily, Professor X then wiped Spider-Man’s memory of the encounter, so Spidey couldn’t tell anyone what happened.
In “Enemy of the State,” Wolverine was killed and then resurrected by the Hand and brainwashed into becoming a deadly killer. The idea was for Wolverine to go out and kill as many super-powered people as he could so that the Hand could then resurrect/brainwash them, as well. In Wolverine #24 (by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson), Wolverine is sent after Daredevil. However, Elektra and a S.H.I.E.L.D. team were waiting for him.
Wolverine and Daredevil had an epic battle, with Wolverine trying to fight off his programming. Ultimately, Daredevil hit Wolverine in the face with a dumb bell, which forced him to fall and impale himself on a sword from one of the unconscious Hand ninjas that had accompanied Logan. The pain caused Wolverine to break out of his programming briefly, he warned Daredevil that this fight was actually a ploy to capture Elektra!!
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA
Wolverine and Captain America have clashed a number of times in their history together (which goes all the way back to World War II). One of their more memorable fights occurred during a period where Captain America has bizarrely been transformed into a werewolf! Feral mutants like Wolverine had been drawn to the small town filled with werewolves and Cap-Wolf and Wolverine tussled a few times.
More recently, during the Avengers vs. X-Men series, the Avengers and X-Men were both trying to find Hope Summers when they learned that the Phoenix Force was headed to Earth. Everyone believed it was coming for Hope. Wolverine decided that the most logical course was to just kill Hope before that point. Cap felt otherwise, so he (with some help from Giant Man) beat Wolverine up and threw him off the Qunjet into the Antarctic to take him out of the fight.
Writer Garth Ennis is well known for his general distaste for superheroes. He doesn’t necessarily hate them, but he is certainly not much of a fan and he often uses his work to poke fun at the genre as a whole. After his successful relaunch of the Punisher in 2000 in the maxiseries, “Welcome Back Frank,” Ennis was given a follow-up Punisher ongoing series that continued the sort of darkly comedic stories of the first series.
In this ongoing series, Ennis continued to give superheroes the business, like when Punisher used Spider-Man as a human shield in an early story and later, in Punisher #17 (with artist Darick Robertson), Punisher torments Wolverine throughout a “team-up” between the two, blowing his face off and then rolling over him with a steamroller.
During Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the X-Men did not fare very well for themselves. As noted earlier, Spider-Man treated them like they were a joke to him as he tore right through them. In the following issue, however (by Jim Shooter and Bob Layton), the X-Men had the misfortune to run afoul of… the Wasp!
In the late 1970s, Wasp’s powers were upgraded, with her “sting” now being a sort of bio-electric blast that was pretty powerful. In Secret Wars, she ended up with Magneto following one of the early battles in the series and she played it cool to learn his plans. When the X-Men showed up to team up with Magneto, though, she cut loose and used her “sting” to take out the X-Men like they were nothing. She even boasted that they were lucky that she had her sting turned down to a lower level!
In 1993, during the “Fatal Attractions” crossover, Wolverine had the Adamantium in his body pulled off his skeleton by Magneto. The devastating injury (metal yanked out of all of his pores all at once) overloaded Wolverine’s healing factor and nearly killed him (it was one of those things where just as soon as one wound healed, another would re-open). While healing, he discovered that his claws were actually part of his own skeleton!
Wolverine took a leave of absence from the X-Men (Jean Grey getting married didn’t help him wanting to stick around) and traveled the country. In Wolverine #88 (by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert and Fabio Laguna), Wolverine ran into Deadpool in San Francisco and Deadpool took advantage of Wolverine being out of it a bit by skewering him. Wolverine healed up by the end of the issue, though, and helped foil Deadpool’s plans.
In 1995, the X-Men encountered a group of mutant terrorists who had been survivors of the Morlock Massacre and had then been taken to another dimension where they aged years in months. Their leader, Marrow, challenged Storm to a battle to the death. In the end, Storm stabbed her heart out. Luckily for Marrow, she had two hearts! The X-Men eventually agreed to let a seemingly regretful Marrow join the team.
Storm decided to have Wolverine give Marrow some tough love in X-Men #72 (by Joe Kelly, Carlos Pacheco and Art Thibert). He seemed to be getting through to her, telling her how she would have to follow his lead if she wanted to stick around. He underestimated her, though, and then she pulled out a bone blade (she had gross powers) and stabbed Wolverine in the throat! Only her pulling the blade out let Wolverine live!
5. MOLLY HAYES
The Runaways are a group of super-powered young people who discovered that their parents were super-criminals. They then ran away from home and used their various abilities (some are magical, some are aliens, some are from the future) to become superheroes. The youngest member of the team was Molly Hayes, a mutant who saw her powers develop a bit earlier than normal due to the stress of the whole situation. She was super strong.
When the New Avengers learned in Runaways (Vol.2) #12 (by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona and Craig Yeung) that the Runaways had an underage mutant girl in their membership, they naturally thought that they should take care of her. Molly, though, did not like that idea. She went from being thrilled at meeting her idol, Wolverine, to punching him through a church!
One of the most misunderstood superpowers is Cyclops’ eye blasts (and not just because some people think that they’re heat-based lasers instead of force beams), and this is because Cyclops can control the intensity of his beams by how much energy he allows released from his visors. For the most part, he does not often cut loose with his abilities, because he fears losing control. Therefore, Cyclops’ eye blasts often look like they’re not all that powerful. That’s not the case.
A great example of how powerful he can be was in X-Men #115 (by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin), when Sauron hypnotized Wolverine and sent him after his teammates. After trying to slow Wolverine down to no avail, Cyclops had to just cut loose and send Wolverine flying though the Savage Land.
During the sales boom of the early 1990s, it was typically the “cool” superheroes who saw the highest sales, like Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men. The more traditional superheroes did not see as much of a sales increase. This led to those titles doing plots designed to give them sales bumps, like Walter Simonson and Arthur Adams jokingly introducing a “new” Fantastic Four made up of the most popular Marvel heroes (Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk and Ghost Rider) for a story arc.
Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi brought them back in Fantastic Four #374, as they were trying to find Human Torch, who had been on the run after accidentally burning down a college campus. The Fantastic Four showed up to save Johnny and the two groups fought. Wolverine accidentally sliced open the Thing’s face and the Thing responded by punching him through a couple of buildings!
As noted at the top, Wolverine is an impressive superhero and his ability to hang with much more powerful characters is admirable. However, even Wolverine would acknowledge that he has no business taking on an actual god like Thor, and yet that’s exactly what happened in 2009’s Wolverine vs. Thor (by Frank Tieri, Paco Diaz and Guillermo Ortega).
You see, Loki, the god of mischief, had hit Wolverine with a spell that made Wolverine see a bar filled with normal customers as his greatest enemies (speaking of Wolverine’s greatest enemies, we have a quiz that you might like). Who Wolverine thinks is Sabretooth is actually Thor, who happened to be at the bar. Thor has to use his control of lightning to blast some sense into Wolverine, flash-frying him! It’s just too bad for Wolverine that being knocked back to reality still required being blasted by lightning!
In his very first appearance, Wolverine was knocked around by the Hulk, but he dished out just as much as he took from the jade giant as they both also took on the Wendigo. Hulk and Wolverine have tangled a number of times in the years since, with the Hulk typically getting the better of their fights (he is the Hulk, after all), but Wolverine often at least hung with the Hulk for a little bit.
During World War Hulk, however, that was not the case. In World War Hulk: X-Men #2 (by Christos Gage and Andrea DiVito), the Hulk was at his strongest power level in years and he just brutalized Wolverine, pounding him repeatedly so as to give him so much brain damage that it would be quite a while before he could bother the Hulk again.
What is your favorite Wolverine beat down in the comics? Let us know in the comments section!