Everybody loves Wolverine. Part of that is because he’s such a damn badass. Another part is because, no matter what, he can take punishment and keep on fighting. Wolverine’s most well-known power is his ability to heal quickly, and his indestructible skeleton means it’s hard to tear him apart. His regeneration allows him to take punishment that would kill anyone else, and his writers have taken full advantage of that. Indeed, during his tenure as a hero, Logan has gone through some pretty brutal stuff, and almost always come back fighting. With his new movie “Logan” coming to theaters in 2017, it’s time for CBR to review Wolverine’s 16 worst injuries.
RELATED: Wolverine’s Best Cinematic Kills
It’s important to note that this list is about Wolverine’s greatest injuries, which means he eventually recovered from them. We’re not counting his injuries that led to his death, like his incineration by a Sentinel in “Days of Future Past” or being covered in adamantium in the “Death of Wolverine” story arc.
16. Nuclear Explosion
Is there anything that can kill Wolverine (other than the aforementioned adamantium bath, apparently)? That was the question for decades since he was originally created, with people often suggesting that nothing short of a nuclear explosion would do the trick. Unfortunately, that’s been tried before, and it didn’t do the job.
In “Venom” #9, a rogue splinter of Venom’s original symbiote (which we’ll just call Venom to make it easier) tried to bond with Wolverine, who it considered the ultimate host. Venom and Wolverine ended up in the small Canadian town of Voici, where two cybernetically-enhanced women known only as Frankie and Vic were trying to trap the symbiote. When it looked like they would fail, Frankie and Vic dropped a nuclear bomb on the town to destroy it, hoping to isolate the symbiote.
Luckily for him, the bomb didn’t kill Wolverine. In fact, it just left him in a huge crater, unconscious but very much alive. He ended up back on his feet, ready to fight again only minutes later. For any other superhero, a nuclear blast would be the worst injury they’ve ever had — and would probably mean instant death — but it was just a paper cut compared to some of the other beatings Wolverine’s taken.
As we’ve already established, it’s hard to kill Wolverine, but he still feels pain, and not being able to die sometimes makes it worse. The Reavers are a group of cyborgs created specifically by Donald Pierce to exterminate mutantkind. They have a special beef with Wolverine, who ends up handing them their butts a lot of the time. In “Uncanny X-Men” #251 (1989), they got the upper hand and took advantage of it in the worst way.
While the other X-Men were on another mission, Wolverine stayed behind and was cornered by the Reavers. They didn’t kill him, but used their combined strength and weapons to beat, capture and chain Wolverine to a giant wooden “X”-shaped scaffold in the desert. There, they let him roast in the hot sun while he endured fever dreams of his lost team. When the sun set, the Reavers nailed his arms and legs to the “X,” crucifying him. They would have done worse if it weren’t for a rainstorm that forced them indoors. With his chance, Wolverine ripped his hands and feet free of the nails. Then it was payback time.
14. Weapon X
What should have been the most defining moment of Wolverine’s life was actually one of his worst, and that’s the process that turned Logan into Wolverine in the first place: his conversion by Weapon X. For a long time, no one knew how Wolverine got his unbreakable skeleton and claws, including the man himself. Later, it was revealed that he was a product of a secret experiment codenamed Weapon X. In 1984, “Marvel Comics Presents” #72 – #84 told the full and horrifying story in detail.
It turned out that Logan was born with his healing ability, and has lived for decades. But Weapon X (the 10th such program in a long-running series to create super-soldiers) kidnapped Logan and subjected him to a process to bond his skeleton with the indestructible metal adamantium. The bonding procedure has been described as agonizing, and only his healing factor allowed him to survive at all. They also wiped his memory, and tried to control him remotely with implants. Logan managed to escape the program, but remains haunted by the terrible ordeal.
13. Eaten By A Cannibal
Now we come to one of the gorier injuries Wolverine has ever had, when he went up against the evil sorcerer, Mauvais. In “Wolverine” #165 (2001), Logan and Beast were imprisoned in the supervillain prison, The Cage. Wolverine was already weakened and without his healing factor, but the guards wanted him dead, and found a novel way to do it.
They revived a sorcerer from the French-Indian war of the 1700s, who had been kept frozen in the prison beneath the Cage for hundreds of years. The man was known only as Mauvais (which, roughly translated, means simply “evil”). The guards drugged Wolverine and locked him in a room with Mauvais, who revealed that his powers came from cannibalism.
Mauvais took advantage of the chance to eat chunks out of Wolverine’s body, savoring every mutant morsel. With his mystical powers restored, Mauvais teleported out of the prison and escaped. As his way of saying goodbye, Mauvais ripped out Wolverine’s left eye and ate it. Guess he wanted it to-go?
12. Crushed Under a Steamroller
The Punisher and Wolverine don’t get along. Maybe it’s because they’re both tough, solitary, ruthless antiheroes. Or maybe it’s because they just straight-up don’t like each other. In “Punisher” #17 (2001), Wolverine made a guest appearance, and as you might expect, it wasn’t a pleasant one. He was on the trail of a killer who was killing mobsters, leaving severed legs behind. Wolverine suspected the Punisher was behind it, while the Punisher suspected Wolverine. The two ended up in an uneasy alliance to find the real killers, but the truce didn’t last long.
When it came time for them to separate, the Punisher shot off Wolverine’s face. Then, he fired his machine gun into Wolverine’s testicles. Those grew back, of course, but gave the Punisher a few minutes, leaving Wolverine curled up in a ball while he walked away. Finally, the Punisher decided he couldn’t stop Wolverine by hurting him, so he crushed Wolverine under a steamroller and parked it on Wolverine’s head. It was effective, but not one of Wolverine’s finer moments.
11. His Hand Was Cut Off
One of the greatest, oldest and most powerful enemies of the X-Men is Apocalypse. One of the first mutants, Apocalypse has extraordinary power and a drive to pit humans and mutants against each other in a Darwinian contest for survival. In 1995’s crossover event “Age of Apocalypse,” the mutant mastermind’s dreams came true as a powerful mutant named Legion goes back in time to try to kill Magneto, but accidentally kills Professor Xavier. This leads to an alternate timeline where, in the absence of Professor X, Apocalypse is able to conquer the world.
In the “AoA” timeline, Wolverine fought with the X-Men, but under the codename Weapon X, not Wolverine. At some undetermined point, he fought Cyclops, whose optic blasts permanently blew Weapon X’s left hand clean off. We don’t know much about how it happened, but we do know Logan’s healing factor was found wanting and somehow didn’t let him grow his hand back. He had to put a metal sheath over the stump of his left arm, which he can still pop his claws through. Even missing a hand doesn’t slow Logan down. (In case you’re wondering, Weapon X paid Cyclops back… by cutting out his eye.)
10. Infected With Nanobots And Vampirism
In 2011’s “X-Men” #5, during the “Curse of the Mutants” storyline, vampires had invaded San Francisco. With his young charge, Jubilee, infected, Wolverine was driven to save her. Surprising even him, Jubes turned on her old friend and bit him, turning him into a bloodsucker, too. With Wolverine on their side, it seemed like the vampires would win.
As the X-Men prepared to attack the vampire stronghold, Wolverine dropped out of a hovercraft to confront them. They knew they had a fight on their hands, of course, but also had a secret weapon: Cyclops pushed a button, sending Wolverine to his knees. Before sending him after Jubilee, the X-Men had injected Wolverine with nanobots designed to burn out his healing factor. What Cyclops did, then, was effectively jump-start his healing factor, which in turn burned out the vampiric illness coursing throughout his system. With the nanobots shut down, Wolverine was back to normal, and quickly turned the tide of the battle.
9. Eaten By The Hulk
The Hulk found out the hard way that Wolverine isn’t just indestructible, he’s indigestible. In the acclaimed 2008 “Old Man Logan” mini-series, an aged Logan lived in an alternate future where supervillains had taken over, and superheroes had been virtually wiped out. Logan gave up on violence, refusing to pop his claws again, and retired to a farm with his wife and children. The Hulk had taken over the West Coast, and Banner’s mutant children threatened to kill Logan’s family if he didn’t pay their rent for the farm on a regular basis.
Reluctantly, Logan agreed to a mission to deliver a package with Hawkeye to make the rent money. The mission didn’t go well, but Logan did get the money he needed. When he returned to his farm, Logan dis
covered his entire family had already been killed. He slaughtered Banner’s family in a revenge before confronting the big man himself. Suitably annoyed, Banner turned into the Hulk, and in an insane twist, devoured Logan whole. Fortunately (for him), Logan managed to regenerate inside Hulk’s stomach and cut his way out in one of Marvel’s most gruesome scenes. Even being eaten alive can’t stop Logan.
8. Struck By Thor’s Lightning
“Wolverine vs. Thor” from 2009 did exactly what it said on the tin: pin Marvel’s most menacing mutant against its Teutonic golden god. In the three-issue mini-series, Wolverine found himself in a bar filled with his enemies. When he fought them, he didn’t realize they were just simulations created by Thor’s brother Loki. Sabretooth, one of Logan’s mortal enemies, turned out to be the Norse god of thunder, Thor.
Wolverine is a mutant killing machine, and Thor is a living god. As you can imagine, the battle was furious. In the second issue, Thor and Wolverine fought with adamantium claws against Asgardian skin. Wolverine was too fast for Thor’s blows, so Thor had to resort to unleashing a bolt of lightning. As anyone worth their weight in uru knows, the god of thunder has the power to summon lightning hot enough to melt solid steel, so for Logan to survive its impact says a lot about his healing factor. As it is, the lightning didn’t even singe Wolverine, just knocked him to his senses.
7. Blown Up, Body And Soul
In “Wolverine” #57 (2007), Logan was attacked by a soldier in adamantium armor. The soldier shoved a bomb into his mouth and blew Wolverine up. While everyone expected Wolverine to just heal and go back to normal, he didn’t. His body healed but left him brain-dead. SHIELD called in Doctor Strange, who discovered Wolverine had become a body without a soul.
It turned out that during World War I, Wolverine fought the Angel of Death and won. From then on, whenever Wolverine came close to dying, he fought Azrael again in Purgatory and returned to life. But when the clan of ninjas known as the Hand resurrected and brainwashed him, Wolverine’s soul was damaged. In order to heal his soul, Wolverine made a deal with Azrael to fix it in exchange for staying dead the next time. This led to the “Death of Wolverine” storyline, where Logan finally met his maker. But it all started with a bomb that blew out Wolverine’s soul.
6. Burned To The Bone
In 2007’s “Wolverine” #48, Logan was knee-deep in the “Civil War” storyline, where superheroes had become divided over the idea of registering themselves with the government. Logan was working with the Superhuman Restraint Unit to track down and arrest Nitro, a mutant with the power to explode and rebuild himself. He had previously used his power to destroy Stamford, triggering the Registration Act that started the civil war to begin with.
Of course, Nitro used his power before the soldiers or Wolverine could get to him. His explosion was so massive, it consumed Wolverine in a fire hot enough to burn all the flesh off his bones. Wolverine was left as nothing but an adamantium skeleton in an inferno. In grim detail, Wolverine’s thoughts described what it was like to be killed, to have his flesh and nervous system grow back slowly, and finally his skin restored. It was a graphic reminder of how his healing can be both a blessing and a curse.
In 1982, the landmark mini-series “Wolverine” brought Logan to Japan, where he sought to reunite with his lost love, Mariko Yashida. He found her locked in a forced marriage to another man, driven there by her father, Lord Shingen. To get rid of Wolverine, Shingen challenged him to a fight with practice swords.
Obviously, it would take more than wooden swords to kill Wolverine, and Shingen had a worse fate planned. Before the sword fight, Shingen had poisoned Wolverine with a shuriken. The poison would have killed a normal person, but it just slowed Wolverine down and dulled his reflexes. That, plus Shingen hitting him in pressure points intended to kill, enraged Wolverine to the point that he popped his claws to attack. Mariko didn’t know about the poison and nerve damage, and thought Wolverine had acted dishonorably. She rejected him, and Wolverine has mourned losing her ever since. If this sounds familiar, they took parts of the story for 2013’s “The Wolverine.”
4. Reduced To A Single Cell
In 1987’s “Uncanny X-Men Annual” #11, the X-Men encountered Horde, an alien mutant who wanted to be the next Thanos and dominate the universe. With incredible powers, Horde brushed off the X-Men’s combined attack and forced them to travel to another world to steal the Crystal of Ultimate Vision from its fortress, the Citadel of Light and Shadow.
Wolverine and the X-Men fought their way through the fortress, but they fell one by one until only Wolverine was left. Before he could reach the Crystal, Horde impaled him on a javelin and ripped Wolverine’s heart out of his chest, killing him instantly. But a drop of Wolverine’s blood landed on the crystal, which gave him not just the power to regenerate his entire body, but ultimate cosmic power! If you can believe it, for a moment or two there, Wolverine became a god.
Being reduced to nothing but a single cell should be number one as far as the severity of his injuries, except for the fact that Wolverine needed the mystical power of the crystal to restore himself, so while it’s slightly cheating, it’s still impressive that he was able to come back at all.
3. Ripped In Half
The Hulk is the strongest one there is in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine is the best there is at what he does. Both are supposed to be indestructible. Whenever these two meet, it becomes the classic struggle of the unstoppable force meeting the immoveable object, and it’s always super brutal. It’s no surprise that Marvel has run this fight so many times, such that its shock value had grown somewhat dull over the years. That jadedness, however, was all changed in “Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk”
In the now-classic 2005 miniseries (which was beset by an infamous number of delays), Wolverine was recruited by Nick Fury to assassinate an out of control Hulk, who had been hiding in Tibet. In the third issue, Wolverine taunted Hulk about Bruce Banner’s long-time love, Betty Ross. So enraged, Hulk grabbed Wolverine and tore him in half at the waist, which should have been impossible, given his unbreakable insides. To make sure Wolverine couldn’t just stick himself back together, the Hulk threw his legs on top of a mountain, forcing Wolverine to drag himself through snow and sleet using only his hands (and half of his body, remember) to get them back. Being reduced to just a severed torso would be the worst… if it weren’t for what happened next.
2. Reduced To A Severed Head
In “Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk” issue #5, Wolverine found the Hulk at the top of the mountain, threatening to eat the severed legs to keep him from sticking them back on. Before the Hulk could eat his pins, however, Betty Ross landed on the mountain in the form of She-Hulk. It turned out she had taken an experimental super-soldier serum that turned her into a female version of the Hulk. She was sent as a “Plan B” in case Wolverine failed to kill the Hulk. While She-Hulk and the Hulk fought, Wolverine was left to watch. Being only half the man he used to be, Logan couldn’t stop the government from dropping a nuclear bomb on the site in a last-ditch effort to kill the Hulk.
Of course, Wolverine managed to survive the nuke, but Nick Fury didn’t let him off as easily as in “Venom” #9. This time, Wolverine woke up to find himself just a head on a tray. Fury had cut his head off, and kept his body separated while he was being interrogated, theorizing that his mutant power wasn’t necessarily a healing factor, per say, but just that he could survive anything. Alas, this would later prove to be untrue for Ultiamte Wolverine.
1. No More Adamantium
By far, the worst, longest-lasting and arguably most well-remembered injury to Wolverine came in “X-Men” #25 (1993), when Wolverine faced an infuriated Magneto during a battle in his space station, Avalon. Magneto had created an electromagnetic pulse that shut down technology all over the world, which of course led the X-Men to wage a battle against Magneto and his Acolytes. During the fight, Wolverine managed to stab Magneto in the stomach, the response to which was Magneto painfully pulling every molecule of adamantium out of Wolverine’s skeleton and through his flesh.
The loss of his adamantium almost killed Wolverine, and left him with a severely weakened healing factor as it rushed to compensate. It also left him more vulnerable without an indestructible skeleton and metal claws, instead having to rely on his own bone claw mutations. Even worse, at one point, the loss of his adamantium caused Wolverine to regress to a feral state. He spent some time as a noseless monster, and didn’t get his adamantium skeleton back until Apocalypse restored it in 2000, 10 years later.
What do you think is the worst injury Wolverine has faced? Are there any that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Directed by James Mangold, and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant, Dafne Keen and Stephen Merchant, “Logan” is scheduled to hit theaters on March 3, 2017.