Alternative versions and diverging timelines are a staple of comic books. It should come as no surprise them that both Marvel and DC have generously dipped their toes into diverging timelines to present their readers with the best stories possible. Sometimes though, you don't even need to go that far, as circumstances and backstories can be changed within the regular timeline to give characters some added juice. So, if you have probably one of the ten most iconic comic book characters ever, you're probably going to include him in any alternative storyline, timeline or universe you can. That's exactly the case with Marvel's hairy little hothead, Wolverine. Logan has been included or has been the focal point, of nearly every major and minor Marvel alternative timeline to date. The character's popularity and penchant for violence make him an easy piece to include. Whether he's devoted only a few panels, as in Earth X, or is the clear driving force of the story, as in "Old Man Logan", Wolverine's inclusion is almost a foregone assumption.
With so many versions, Wolverine runs the gamut of interpretations. Regardless of which version you're dealing with though, he always brings a spark to the story. So, which version do you love? Is it Old Man Logan, Ultimate Wolverine, Weapon X, or the version from the animated series? You can't go wrong when it comes to Wolverine. He might be stronger or weaker, but as long as he's mean and sports a set of claws, they're all as good as the original.
20 STRONGER: ULTIMATE WOLVERINE
Fresh off the heels of the original X-Men movie and Hugh Jackman's breakout performance, the Ultimate Universe's depiction of Wolverine took many cues from his movie counterpart. Gone was the character's stocky build and gruff demeanor, replaced by a tall and charismatic Wolverine.
Those are just a few of the changes made to the character. His legendary healing factor was boosted beyond compare in the Ultimate Universe, allowing him to survive virtually any amount of damage, from a nuclear bomb to being beaten down, and even losing his head one time. While Ultimate Wolverine was eventually done in, it took the complete might of Magneto to do the job.
19 WEAKER: AGE OF APOCALYPSE WEAPON X
Much like his 616 counterpart, the "Age of Apocalypse" Wolverine is a true hero. Maintaining many of the character's core characteristics, Weapon X, as he is known as in the AoA timeline, is a bit of a loner and a reluctant recruit to the cause. This heroism makes him an ideal lover to the universe's Jean Grey, and a perfect foil to the reluctantly evil Cyclops.
This lover's rivalry comes to a head when Weapon X claws out one of Cyclops's eyes, only to have that hand amputated. With only one hand, Weapon X is clearly weaker, but he is able to retain his claws which extract from his forearms through the stump of his once hand.
18 STRONGER: HOUSE OF M WOLVERINE
The "House of M" version of Wolverine is simply the 616 version, as he was one of the few characters to completely retain their memories. Before regaining his memories though, this version's past included additional training as a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in Magneto's elite Red Guard.
While there's no discernible difference between them, within the "House of M" timeline these added memories and knowledge present Logan with a definitive advantage. Interestingly, as is often the case, Logan finds a significant love interest within this timeline. This time though it's not Jean Grey nor Mariko that piques Logan's loving intents, but Mystique.
17 WEAKER: EARTH X WOLVERINE
There are few versions of Wolverine as utterly pathetic than that of his "Earth X" counterpart. In this future where things have gone a bit awry, to say the least. Wolverine finally accomplished that which he pined for so badly during his time with the X-Men. He finally marries and settles down with Jean.
The key here is settling, as Logan proceeds to grow a rather large gut and seems to have completely distanced himself from his former self. Jean also abandons her former life and is now an out of shape housewife chasing after their kids and resenting her choice to marry Logan.
16 STRONGER: DARK CLAW
How do you make Wolverine even more dangerous and better at what he does? One option is to merge him with DC's very own world's greatest detective, Batman. That's exactly what happened when the Amalgam Universe was created in the '90s, merging the most popular Marvel and DC heroes in a new Universe.
Known as Dark Claw, Logan Wayne has essentially the same background as Bruce Wayne, but with a small stop at the Weapon X program. The net effect is a Batman very reminiscent to the one we love, but with an adamantium skeleton and claws. Anybody interested in a Clawmobile?
15 WEAKER: AGE OF X WOLVERINE
One of the dichotomies of Wolverine is that he needs his healing factor to constantly keep the adamantium in his body from poisoning him, while the adamantium keeps his feral mutation from completely running loose. Thus, if you interrupt this balance his system quickly goes off the rails. Such is the case in the "Age of X" storyline, where he takes a mutant cure in order to stop its spread.
With his healing factor completely focused on stopping the "cure," his body has been left open to adamantium poisoning. The result is a highly weakened Wolverine which is virtually incapable of fighting.
14 STRONGER: X-MEN FOREVER
What better way to follow up on Chris Claremont's historic 16-year run on the X-Men then by producing a series that would allow the scribe to continue with his storyline. This is exactly what happened and, within the pages of X-Men Forever, Wolverine met a quick and dramatic end.
He gets struck down by a lightning strike by Storm, so why would this version be stronger? Simple, even though he's gone, Logan is able to come back as a ghost and do what the live version never could, have a psychic affair with Jean Grey. He might be gone, but this Wolverine still gets the job done.
13 WEAKER: MARVEL MANGAVERSE WOLVERINE
The Marvel Mangaverse was a fairly well-received reimagining of the Marvel Universe in a Manga art style. The Universe has two distinct volumes and touches on the majority of the core Marvel character's. This Universe's Wolverine, while somewhat depowered, shares many of the key attributes that we've come to expect.
The Mangaverse Logan has two sets of claws in each hand. One set is metal and shaped liked katanas, while the other set is composed of red energy beams (imagine three little Darth Vader lightsabers). The story behind the energy beams if that Logan and Cyclops are brothers in this Universe, and in clawing out one of Cyclops' eyes, Logan's regular claws were lost.
12 STRONGER: OLD MAN LOGAN
With no real difference in power as compared to the 616 Wolverine, Old Man Logan is basically our beloved Wolverine, but old. While his advanced age would and is a detriment, there is clearly an added edge to this Wolverine that allowed him to survive a venerable superhero holocaust.
To add a bit more gravitas to this version of Wolverine, he accomplished that which the regular Wolverine never could: took down The Hulk. True, he had to be devoured to achieve this feat, but it is still an incredible moment in the character's history. Old Man Logan might not be physically better, but he's definitely stronger.
11 WEAKER: MUTANT X WOLVERINE
The Mutant X timeline gave us some of the most interesting character interpretations from the past 30 years. These sweeping changes touched just about any character normally found in the 616. Wolverine was no exception, as his Mutant X version is one of the more extreme interpretations of Logan that have made it to print.
Driven wild by the experiments done to him by the Weapon X program, Logan, Sabretooth and Wild Child are related to savage beasts who roam the Canadian wilderness. Calling themselves the Pack, the three are very much like a wolf pack and are highly dangerous. Without his full faculties though, this version of Wolverine is a poor counterpart to the Wolverine we know.
10 STRONGER: GENERAL JAMES HOWLETT
There's been a lot of interesting versions of Wolverine to grace the pages, but one of the more divergent interpretations from the original is General James Howlett. This version, which is Governer of Canada, happens to be in an intimate relationship with the Greek God Hercules.
This romance wasn't looked kindly upon by the Gods, who punished the pair to Tartarus. After four years though, the couple triumphed. As a sign of his affection for Logan, Hercules gifts him an Adamantine skeleton. Similar to adamantium, this blessed metal from the God's has a golden hue and truly elevates Logan to a being of mythological might.
9 WEAKER: NOIR
There are actually two representation of Wolverine within the Marvel Noir Universe. In keeping with the Marvel Noir premise each of these is depowered but with specific skills that make them significant within the Universe.
Within the pages of X-Men Noir, Captain Logan is a known bootlegger. His weapon of choice is a metallic claw, which he is an expert in defending himself with. Clouding the issue though is Wolverine's appearance within the pages of Wolverine Noir. There he is a private investigator who goes by the name of Jim Logan. The similarities between the characters include Jim's use of two metallic claws for self-defense. With different names, it has never been revealed if they are the same character or two distinct interpretations.
8 STRONGER: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
"Days of Future Past" marked one of the first seminal storylines within the pages of the X-Men. Chris Claremont and John Byrne's master tale provided an apocalyptic future for the X-Men that would be a focal point for decades to come.
While the Wolverine in this version is older and subsequently falls in quickly in battle, the mere fact that he was able to survive well beyond the rest of the X-Men is a testament to his toughness. This same Wolverine is later reanimated by X-51 within the Earth X timeline, showing that you can't keep a good Wolverine down.
7 WEAKER: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Until Hugh Jackman reinvigorated the character, the representation of Wolverine that most people associated with was the one presented in X-Men: The Animated Series. The cartoon struck a chord with the youth of the '90s and gave us a fairly faithful representation of our cherished Canuck.
The series though did scale back his strength and powers significantly, making him far more relatable. While he still has a healing factor, it doesn't appear that he could completely restore parts of his body. Additionally, his strength does not seem superhuman, although he still does retain his enhanced senses. The sum of these changes makes the character easier to write for, as he is not as indestructible as some iterations make him out to be.
6 STRONGER: AGE OF APOCALYPSE WEAPON OMEGA
While the original Weapon X from "The Age of Apocalypse" was a noble warrior who had helped Magneto defeat Apocalypse, his time in that timeline was never peaceful. In the subsequent years after the fall of Apocalypse, Logan learned that he had been betrayed and that his love Jean Grey had not perished, but had instead been abducted by Sinister.
He was able to right many of these transgressions when a Celestial ship arrived on Earth, Logan allowed himself to be manipulated in order the save the planet. The result of these manipulations was Weapon Omega. With newfound power to rival that of the once mighty Apocalypse, the strain proved too much for Wolverine and his mind became fractured, turning him into the heir of the monster he had once fought to slay.
5 WEAKER: WOLVERINE: THE END
Marvel just loves pumping out old versions of Wolverine. It's natural for a character who has been around for hundreds of years that his eventual demise would be a point of interest. Wolverine: The End is supposed to give us one such scenario, but it is rather lackluster in its delivery.
In this version, Wolverine is old enough that arthritis has ravaged his body. This interpretation is definitely not "Old Man Logan" -- more just an old Logan. After a bit where it is revealed that he has an older brother, the whole thing just kind of fizzles out. Much like this character.
4 STRONGER: MARVEL ZOMBIES WOLVERINE
The Marvel Zombies Universe's Wolverine goes through quite a transformation. Initially bitten by Captain America and Hawkeye, Logan's healing factor so overrun by the zombie virus that with his body decaying, he loses his right arm.
In a battle with the Silver Surfer, the Zombie Wolverine succeeds in defeating Galactus' herald and he and the other zombies devour The Surfer. This grants Wolverine The Power Cosmic, which he utilizes to later devour Galactus himself. The Power Cosmic does not last though, as he eventually loses it and reverts back to a regular zombie. Given the Zombie Wolverine's body count, it's fair to say that he is the best at what he does as well.
3 WEAKER: WOLVERINE: PRODIGAL SON
This version of Wolverine casts him as an orphan in an alternative reality. Found barely alive in the wilderness, the young feral man is taken in by a dojo where he is extensively trained.
A smaller, closed story, this version of Wolverine still grants him a healing factor and claws, yet completely disregards his adamantium skeleton. While the Logan of this universe is still a worthy adversary, this somewhat grounding of the character makes him definitively weaker. "Wolverine: Prodigal Son" is a worthy story that brings an added sense of family to a character typically bereft of one.
2 STRONGER: PHOENIX WOLVERINE
If there's one thing that Marvel enjoys more than making Wolverine old, it's granting someone the Phoenix Force. Knowing this, it was only a matter of time before we'd run into an old, Phoenix-wielding Logan at the heart of the Universe.
After Logan apparently died, he became imbued with the Phoenix Force and set off across the cosmos to destroy celestial bodies. As Thor came upon this enhanced version of Wolverine, the two battled before putting aside their differences against Doom. At the end of it all Logan transferred the Phoenix Force into Mjolnir because you know, the rich get richer.
1 WEAKER: PATCH
As we said, not all the versions of Wolverine will vary significantly from his baseline 616 timeline power base. Many of these versions are simply just Wolverine, but with a different set of circumstances crafting his persona.
Our last entry though is just Wolverine. During Logan's time in Madripoor, he would go in disguise so that the local ruffians and mafia members would not identify him as Wolverine. The persona he chose was "Patch", basically a black-clad, tank top wearing Logan with an eye patch. So why is he weaker? Well, the eye patch of course. Last time we checked seeing out of only one eye is a detriment. Ultimately, it didn't really matter for Logan. Everyone in Madripoor knew who he was, eye patch or not.