It sounds almost ridiculous now, but there was a time when the idea of Wolverine having a healing factor was so controversial that Marvel literally re-captioned an “X-Men” comic with Wolverine in it to say that he was grazed by a bullet despite the bullet clearly going through his body. Looking back, Wolverine “only” surviving getting shot in his torso seems almost quaint, as not only has his healing powers expanded to an almost absurd degree, Marvel then expanded to a whole Weapon X program filled with other characters with healing powers, like Sabretooth, Maverick and, most famously, Deadpool.
However, healing powers have slowly moved beyond just Weapon X characters, and nowadays a good deal of famous superheroes also have healing powers of some sort. Here are more than 15 other superheroes who you might be surprised to learn also have a healing factor.
Blade is a unique case, as he has more recently been developed into basically just having the same powers and abilities of vampires (just with some added benefits, like being able to be exposed to sunlight). It was even hinted during a “Deadpool” storyline that Blade could turn into a bat! So with that in mind, vampires in general, are well known for their healing factors, which is why there are special weapons needed to kill vampires — that’s because they can heal from pretty much everything else you throw at them.
Blade, though, has a special healing factor on top of that, as he is immune to all poisons and chemicals and viruses. However, at the same time, during his 2006 ongoing series, Blade also famously chewed his own hand off and it has not grown back since (he has, however, gained one of those… handy… cybernetic hands that are so life-like that artists don’t have to bother drawing him as anything but a normal two-handed person), so his healing powers aren’t extreme enough to re-grow a hand.
14. CAPTAIN AMERICA
Captain America is a bit tricky, in that through various retcons over the years, it has been established that Operation: Rebirth, the program that led to the creation of the Super Soldier Serum and Captain America himself, was a precursor to the Weapon X program, so you could sort of tie Captain America in with Weapon X. We think that is a stretch, but we’re still counting Captain America on this list.
Due to the Super Soldier Serum, Captain America’s body did not only reach the peak human capacity in areas like strength and agility, but also when it comes to healing. His white blood cells work with the serum within his body to fight off nearly any infection or virus, as their whole purpose is keeping him in fighting shape. Those same healing abilities are what allowed him to survive being placed into suspended animation for decades — the Marvel Universe’s sliding timeline keeps getting extended, he’s remaining in suspended animation for longer and longer each year.
13. THE CREEPER
The concept of healing powers is relatively modern, as noted earlier by how Marvel initially balked at Wolverine’s original healing powers, but a rare exception to this rule was Steve Ditko’s The Creeper, who he created for DC Comics after leaving Marvel in the mid-1960s. Jack Ryder was a television host who had lost his job and had to become a security investigator. He ended up tracking down a scientist who had been kidnapped by mobsters, who were going to sell him to the Soviet Union. As the scientist was being held at a mansion in the midst of a costume party, Jack threw together a bizarre costume including yellow make-up and found the scientist, but was mortally wounded in the process.
The scientist saved Jack’s life by using a special formula that turned Jack’s costume into an actual new being, but also healed Jack in the process. Now, whenever Jack switches back to his other body (which he now dubbed as the Creeper), he is impervious to damage. The Creeper has even survived being torn limb from limb by hyenas possessed by Eclipso! As such, the Creeper’s healing power is on par with Deadpool’s!
The mutant known as Elixir is a great example of how different superpowers are handled nowadays than they were in the past. In the old days, Josh Foley would be known as a healer. His power is that he can heal people. That’s all you would need to know. Today, though, that is no longer quite enough, and writers question just how someone like Elixir can “heal” people — the answer is that his powers actually are more about cellular manipulation than anything else. He heals people by manipulating their bodies on a cellular level.
Naturally, this has led writers to think, “Hey, if he can do this to help people, couldn’t he theoretically use these same powers to hurt people. Thus, Elixir has, in fact, used his powers for evil over the years, as has struggled with the fact that he basically has control over life and death. He, himself, has died in the past and has just resurrected himself. If Wolverine took healing to a new level, Elixir takes it to a whole other stratosphere.
11. GHOST RIDER
When it comes to healing factors, Ghost Rider is almost sort of cheating. When Johnny Blaze (or Dan Ketch, or any Ghost Rider host, for that matter) transforms into the Ghost Rider, the form of the Rider is literally made out of hellfire, and as a result, cannot be destroyed through conventional methods.
Therefore, the Ghost Rider has survived all sorts of seemingly terrible injuries. Knives go right through his body (sometimes he’ll even melt the knife after it has been used to stab him) and then he just heals over the damage. However, since it is all due to the fact that his body is made out of magical hellfire, it is debatable whether that actually constitutes as “healing,” as the body was never alive to begin with. For the purposes of this list, though, we’re counting it as one of the most powerful healing factors around.
If you want to know about the healing powers of the Hulk, you need to look no further than the creation of the She-Hulk. When Bruce Banner’s beloved younger cousin Jennifer Walters was dying, he gave her a transfusion of his blood and it not only saved her life, but transformed her into the She-Hulk. So, just the blood of Hulk could cure people, showing just how powerful his healing factor is.
The Hulk (and his other fellow Hulks, hence this entry being plural) has a control over his body that is right up there with guys like Wolverine. The Hulk once famously had his entire skin blasted off of him by a member of the U-Foes and he just grew his skin right back there on the spot. In another story, the Hulk was hit by a barbed weapon and his skin began to heal over the barb, so the Hulk had to tear it out of his already-healed skin! The Hulk’s healing power is strong enough that he is also immune to most diseases.
9. IRON FIST
When it comes to superpowers, Danny “Iron Fist” Rand’s abilities all derive from one source: the superhuman energy that he took on from the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying when Danny plunged his fists into the heart of the dragon. That is what gives him his most famous superpower, the ability to turn his fist unto a thing of iron, but it also gives him other abilities, especially a powerful healing factor.
It is all tied to Danny’s control of his super-charged chi. When he is in complete cosmic balance, his body can purge itself of negative energies, including illnesses. The most famous example of this is when Danny actually managed to cure himself of cancer by basically burning it from his body. He has also used this to heal himself from various minor injuries over the years, as well. He also has the ability to extend his healing powers to others.
When she was introduced, Marrow was a villain who was part of a group of Morlocks transported to another dimension where they aged for many years before returning to Earth (where not much time had passed at all). Marrow’s powers were that she could pull sharp bones from her body to use as weapons. She challenged Storm, as the former leader of the Morlocks (who was unable to prevent the Morlocks from being massacred during the “Mutant Massacre”) to a battle to the death and Storm seemingly killed her.
However, Marrow turned out to have an extra heart and healing powers that allowed her to survive Storm’s attack. Marrow’s whole power basically had to include a healing factor, as she tears bones from her body to use as weapons. She reformed and became a member of the X-Men for a time, before losing her powers when Scarlet Witch wiped out most mutants following “House of M.” However, she got them back after “Avengers vs. X-Men” and joined a new version of X-Force.
7. MARTIAN MANHUNTER
Somewhat like Ghost Rider, judging the healing powers of an alien whose body doesn’t work the same way as humans might be a bit of a cheat, but the fact remains that J’onn J’onnz, the Manhunter from Mars, has a strong healing factor due to his unique Martian physiology. J’onn has complete control over his molecules, so much so that he can even turn himself intangible. Because he has complete control over his body, healing himself is very simple, as he just moves some of his body around to heal the missing or damaged part of his body.
Manhunter’s major weakness was a crippling fear of fire due to watching his entire race burn to death in front of him. This is not a physical weakness, though. However, even someone with total control over his body like J’onn can have that control overloaded if he is attacked en masse by many different attacks, which is how he died in “Final Crisis.”
6. MARVEL FAMILY
Like Ghost Rider’s healing factor, the healing abilities of the Marvel Family are also outside the realm of science. Captain Marvel and the other members of the Marvel Family (including Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel and Black Adam, even) gained their abilities from the wizard Shazam, who gave them powers inspired by the gods themselves.
Captain Marvel, for instance, is powered by the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. The others are powered by similar gods. In this case, it is the stamina of Atlas that provides Captain Marvel with resistance to diseases and the ability to heal himself quickly. He can receive deadly wounds and see them healed in seconds. Mary Marvel originally had her own gods, but since she didn’t have one for Atlas, later writers just gave her the same gods as Captain Marvel (same as Captain Marvel Jr.). Black Adam got his stamina from the Egyptian god Shu.
When we first met the hero known as Midnighter, it was as one of only two survivors (his lover and later husband, Apollo, was the other) of a group of super-beings created by the maniacal Harry Bendix. Bendix had bio-engineered Midnighter to turn him into the perfect weapon, with one of his most famous powers being the ability to tell what people were going to do before they did them, thus, allowing himself to counter their moves ahead of time.
However, another notable ability that was engineered into Midnighter was a significant healing factor, which allows him to take all manner of abuse and bounce right back from it. The most notable was perhaps when he got his neck broken and recovered from it. He also once had a hole blasted in his chest and even that couldn’t kill him! If Midnighter sets his sights on you, he’s bound to eventually take you down.
You likely have seen the healing factor of this group play itself out on national television, as Barry Allen in the TV series, “Flash,” routinely gets injured (sometimes rather severely) and he always manages to heal from it. This is due to the fact that, because he runs super fast, his metabolism is also super-charged, so a broken bone that would take months for a normal person to recover from could be recovered by the Flash in a matter of minutes.
That goes for pretty much every major speedster out there, and that’s not even getting into whether the Speed Force (the mystical well of energies that DC Universe speedsters draw their power from) also works as healing factor for the heroes that are connected to it. A notable example of healing from speedsters includes the time that Kid Flash had his kneecap shot off by Deathstroke, and yet Kid Flash was back into action very soon afterwards. However, it is important to note that Bart needed a prosthetic knee cap, so some things can’t even be healed by speedsters.
Before Wolverine took over the spotlight with his increasingly impressive healing power, the hero with perhaps the most notable healing power in the Marvel Universe was Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s body regenerates itself rapidly. This has allowed him to receive many severe beatings over the years and recover quickly; even particularly notable ones, like when Morlun nearly beat him to death in J. Michael Straczynski’s first arc on “Amazing Spider-Man,” Spider-Man just passed out for a day or so and spent that time healing.
In the past, we’ve seen him get shot and literally heal from the bullet wound over night. What’s interesting is that ,despite such a strong healing ability, Spider-Man also gets sick a lot. He burns through these flus fairly quickly once he gets them, but you would think that a guy with such powerful healing powers wouldn’t get the flu, period. Yet, Spider-Man used to get it repeatedly (one time almost causing himself to admit his true identity because he figured that he was dying).
Superman is a strange case, because he is best known for being invulnerable, not healing himself after getting injured. However, that was mostly before “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” In the Superman stories following the “Man of Steel” reboot, Superman has been injured on a few occasions, but he managed to heal from them rapidly. Superman is sort of like a giant solar battery, so the sun fuels his powers and helps him heal.
The most famous example of Superman healing, though, of course, is when he was killed in battle with the monster known as Doomsday. Afterwards, a Kryptonian being known as the Eradicator used a Kryptonian matrix to charge Superman up with energy and actually allow the Metropolis Marvel to heal himself… from death!! After that, other examples of extreme healing (like when Wonder Woman sliced open his throat when Superman was being controlled by Maxwell Lord) sort of pale in comparison.
1. WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman is another hero whose healing powers come not from a natural ability to heal, but rather from a supernatural source. She consumed the waters of Paradise Island’s Fountain of Eternal Youth, which gave her dramatic healing powers! Note that Wonder Woman’s powers have gone through many different retcons over the years, so sometimes they come from being a demi-god, sometimes they came from her being blessed by the god (a la Captain Marvel), and sometimes she just has the same powers as all other Amazons.
The interesting thing about Paradise Island is that not only do they have a fountain that can give its residents the ability to heal, but they have also developed powerful technology that can heal, as well, with their most famous technological marvel being the famed Purple Healing Ray. So, Wonder Woman would be set even if she did have an impressive healing factor!
Which superhero do you think has the strongest healing factor — Wolverine, Deadpool or someone else? Let us know in the comments section!