Few stories have muddled a character's powers quite as much as Wolverines' Civil War crossover where Nitro blows Wolverine up to the point where he is just a skeleton and then heals his way back from that devastation. Writer Marc Guggenheim, however, introduced a concept in that story that says that Wolverine had a special magical deal where Wolverine fights the Angel of Death every time he "dies," and if Wolverine wins (which he always does) he comes back to life. Guggenheim then wrote the Angel out, so Wolverine couldn't turn to him in the future.
In other words, Wolverine's healing factor isn't actually strong enough to heal from being blown up until he was just a skeleton, as that story was a major aberration in Wolverine's history of healing. With that in mind, here are 15 characters with healing powers greater than Wolverine (notwithstanding the whole Civil War storyline, which was explained away with the Angel of Death explanation).
Deadpool is an interesting case in that a lot of his healing powers are quite necessarily connected to Wolverine's own, as they were both involved in similar government projects. However, Deadpool's healing factor goes a fair bit beyond Wolverine's, in that Deadpool's healing factor essentially prevents him from dying unless it is something catastrophic. Typically speaking, if Wolverine had an arm chopped off, he would not re-grow a new arm. Deadpool's powers do, in fact, do that.
Also, to speak of how crazy his powers are, in one storyline, Deadpool survived for hundreds of years without food or water. That's something that Wolverine would not be able to do, as Wolverine can, in fact, starve to death (Wolverine has gotten around it by the physically impossible feat of cutting off his own skin and eating it), while Deadpool would not.
Groot might be a bit misleading since everyone knows that Groot can regrow himself, so that when he is destroyed, any leftover piece of Groot can then grow back into the main version of Groot (in effect, his consciousness exists in every little piece of himself). However, the ability to regrow yourself is not necessarily the same thing as a healing factor, as it is more about spreading your consciousness around.
That said, that is more effective because Groot seemingly is always getting blown up in battle, so that it seems like he is always having to re-grow himself. That is not the case, though, as those instances are relatively rare. Most of the time, Groot just re-grows whatever parts of his body are damaged. It's only when his entire body is destroyed that he pulls the "regrow from a sliver" routine.
The Creeper, created by Steve Ditko, has one of the stranger origins. Jack Ryder was a former TV reporter who ended up having to work in security. When the mob kidnapped a scientist he was set to protect, Ryder tried to rescue him, but got shot in the process. The scientist saved his life by injecting him with the serum that he was working on that healed Creeper and made him, in effect, impervious to harm.
No matter what happens to the Creeper, he manages to bounce back from it. He was literally diced into a bunch of pieces in a battle against Eclipso and even devoured by Eclipso-possessed animals and he came back from the injuries. The serum works so well that, it is practically magic.
12 GHOST RIDER
Ghost Rider is tricky because, with him, his healing power is mystical in nature. Ghost Rider, all different versions of him (whether Johnny Blaze or Dan Ketch or Robbie Reyes), is essentially a form of a demon and thus, the normal rules of physics do not apply to him. His body is basically made out of magic, so traditional methods of injuring him are useless.
This doesn't mean that he cannot be harmed, but it has to happen from magical weapons. Even in those cases, Ghost Riders can still pretty much recreate their bodies out of essentially nothing. Chop off the arm of a Ghost Rider and it will just create a new one in its place. Much like how it can create a chain out of thin air that can stretch beyond the realm of normal physical capabilities. It's all magic.
Initially, when the mutant abilities of Josh Foley kicked in (which, by the way, happened while he was part of a KKK-like anti-mutant group -- part of his backstory that always seems to be glossed over a bit), he simply had the power to heal people. Later, he discovered that those same abilities allowed him to hurt people, as well, as he could rearrange their cells in either direction, healing or harming.
That same control over cells is what makes Elixir essentially immortal, as whenever he is "killed," he just heals himself and brings himself back from the "dead." In essence, he is in complete control of his body's cellular construction, so there really isn't anything that you can do to him that he can't just fix with his powers.
The Juggernaut is another example where his healing is based on magic, rather than science. Cain Marko discovered the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and that powerful magical gem transformed him into the Unstoppable Juggernaut. The Juggernaut is protected by a special magical field that makes him invulnerable to nearly all physical harm (his main weakness being mental attacks).
Not only is he practically invulnerable, but even when you do manage to injure him, he heals almost instantly. Like when he was stabbed in the eyes when fighting X-Force. He just had to wipe the blood from the offended eye and he was good to go. He was once even blasted to a skeleton by a villain and he quickly returned to normal. His powers have fluctuated over the years, though, so sometimes he is not quite as strong (it depends on how devoted he is to Cyttorak).
Since the New 52 has occurred, the DC Universe has gone through a variety of Lobos, so we are not able to speak confidently on exactly what the respective power levels of these Lobos are. However, before the New 52 (and again most recently in the ongoing Justice League of America), the abilities of the Main Man are better understood, and they are formidable.
Not only can Lobo hold his own in a physical battle with Superman without looking any worse for the wear, he can also travel through space without needing any food, water or the need to breathe. Not only that, but his regenerative abilities are legendary. Lobo can regenerate from a pool of his own blood! He could also create clones of himself from that same blood, but that seems like an additional power rather than a healing factor, exactly.
Madcap has one of the sadder origins in comics. He was a very religious man who was on a church trip (along with his family) when their bus got into an accident and everyone on board was killed except for the man who would become Madcap. The accident was with an AIM transport and they were holding an experimental new serum that seeped into the man's body before he could die. He awoke to the knowledge that his friends and family were all dead -- this caused him to snap, but at the same time, he could not die and join his family.
Taking the name Madcap, he is impervious to pain and his body cannot be destroyed. For a time, he merged with Deadpool due to a fluke of their healing powers -- basically, their bits were mingled together and when they both healed, they did so into one unified body -- but otherwise, he is indescribable.
7 MISTER SINISTER
The mad scientist, Nathaniel Essex, is best known by the name Mister Sinister. After cutting a deal with Apocalypse, Essex was transformed and given the ability to become essentially immortal. He also received a transplant from the mutant, Courier, which give him the ability to control his body on a cellular level. That allows him to shapeshift.
It also allows him to survive nearly any attack, as his body can recover from any sort of destruction. He has been blown to tiny pieces at many different times in the past, and he has always been able to bring himself back from it. Not only that, but he also has the ability to transfer his consciousness into the body of clones he has made of himself, but that's different from his healing factor.
6 PLASTIC MAN
Much like Mister Sinister, Plastic Man's healing powers boil down to the fact that he has complete control over his body. In the most famous sense, this has given him the ability to stretch and turn his body into many different forms. His physiology is completely malleable. His organs are as plastic as the rest of his body, so he can move his most tender bits to different parts of his body (this has allowed him to be decapitated and be fine, since he moved his brain to a different part of his body).
His most famous feat of healing, though, is when he was seemingly destroyed after being trapped in the past in the earliest days of Atlantis. He then stayed there, in thousands of pieces, for 3,000 years before he was re-assembled in the present and was totally fine (well, physically, at least -- it was a bit of a mental strain).
5 SHAGGY MAN
The Shaggy Man had an unusual origin in the pages of Justice League of America #45, where the Justice League split into two groups answering letters from people who needed help. One person wrote about they accidentally created an unstoppable being known as the Shaggy Man, while the other letter involved a similarly invulnerable sort of moon creature. The League then just built a deep chasm and made the two beings fight each other for eternity.
Later on, though, the Shaggy Man was rescued and he has fought the League on a number of occasions, and he just can't be stopped. He regenerates almost instantaneously. Not even Superman can defeat the Shaggy Man! The only way to stop him is to teleport him where he cannot hurt anyone.
4 SILVER SURFER
When Norrin Radd agreed to become the new herald for Galactus and help him find new worlds to devour in exchange for sparing Radd's home world of Zenn-La, he was transformed by Galactus using the Power Cosmic into becoming the Silver Surfer. That transformation via the Power Cosmic has completely changed the Surfer's physiology. He no longer needs to eat, sleep or breathe, but that's only the start of it!
His silver skin is nearly invulnerable (it might even be able to withstand an attack by Wolverine's adamantium claws) but even if it were damaged, it would not matter since he can control matter itself, so he can fix himself in an instant. Healing factors are sort of old hat when you have access to the Power Cosmic.
Steve Harmon was a teenager trying to pull a prank on a bully at a carnival while dressed like a clown. Instead, he saw the bully and the bully's date get kidnapped into another dimension. Steve followed and ended up getting transformed in the other dimension into, effectively, a living cartoon.
Now known as Slapstick, Steve has the same healing powers that a cartoon like, say, Bugs Bunny, has. That is to say that his body can be completely pulled, torn, blown up and it does not actually matter, since he can just instantaneously pull himself together. Of course, one of the downsides of being a living cartoon is that, well, cartoons don't have genitalia, so when he is in his Slapstick form (and he has recently become trapped in that form), Steve is a bit.... less than, anatomically-speaking. But at least he has an awesome healing factor!
Doomsday has one of the most unusual healing powers, as his healing powers seem to work on a reactive level. What we mean is that whenever Doomsday is seemingly killed (like when Superman beat him to death in the "Death of Superman" storyline, where Doomsday similarly beat Superman to death at the same time), he resurrects, but now he cannot be "killed" again using the same method that was used before.
In other words, when Superman went to beat him to death again when they had a re-match, it no longer worked, so Superman had to come up with another solution. Really, with Doomsday, it appears that the best way to handle him is to get him into a situation where he isolated, because not only can you not kill him, but if you did, it would be worse off for you in the future.
It is difficult to gauge, precisely, whether the Hulk's healing abilities necessarily are greater than Wolverine's. Of the characters on the list, the Hulk has the closest healing factor to Wolverine's, but we think that in general, the Hulk's abilities are more powerful than Wolverine's, mostly because of just how quickly the Hulk heals from massive injuries.
In fact, in one story, the Hulk's healing powers actually hurt him, because a bad guy hit him with a barbed weapon that embedded in the Hulk's skin and his powers quickly healed the skin around the weapon, causing the Hulk to have to tear his own skin to get it out. In the featured image here, the Hulk was blasted down almost to a skeleton and he healed back to normal in a matter of seconds, so we think that his healing factor outstrips Wolverine's.
Who do you think has the STRONGEST healing factor in comics? Let us know in the comments section!