Since his first appearance in the very last panel of 1974's The Incredible Hulk #180 by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe, Wolverine has captured readers' imaginations. A mutant with the power to heal quickly, his natural abilities were enhanced by a skeleton reinforced by unbreakable adamantium, and long metal claws. He's worked with the X-Men, the Avengers and Alpha Flight while bringing his tough-guy cool to movies, TV shows and comic books.
Wolverine's body is one that men would love to have and women would love to handle. He's often been called the most popular superhero in the Marvel universe and one of the most popular superheroes of all time and when Hugh Jackman brought the superhero to life in the 2000 movie, Wolverine reached a whole new audience. Now, with Jackman's final performance as Wolverine in Logan and the return of the superhero in the comics, it's is a good time to go over all the hidden secrets about his famous bod. We'll go over his little-known powers, ways his body has changed, and some amazing things that have happened to it. CBR is here to open our vaults and spill all the secrets about Wolverine's body.
Whenever people talk about Wolverine, it's not his unbreakable skeleton that gets the most attention or his healing factor. No, it's his claws that make Wolverine as awesome as he is. The idea of being able to pop out metal claws from his hands that cut through anything is the first thing we fell in love with when Wolverine premiered in Incredible Hulk #181.
However, that wasn't the original idea. If you go back and read the issues where he first appeared, Wolverine never pulled in his claws at all. The claws were supposed to be attached to his gloves until Wolverine's gloves were taken off in 1976's Uncanny X-Men #98 (Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum). That's when he surprised everyone by popping his claws. Apparently, writer Chris Claremont thought it would be too easy to disarm Wolverine by taking off his gloves, so they became permanent.
In the comic books, Wolverine has a bit of weight problem. According to Marvel's official stats, the Canadian superhero weighs almost three hundred pounds but that's not because he's been eating too many Twinkies. As we've seen in the comics, he's pretty much all muscle, so he'd probably tip the scale around 200 pounds normally. No, what adds to his "obesity" is his skeleton.
Wolverine's entire skeleton is reinforced with the super-strong metal adamantium which makes it almost impossible to break, but also adds over a hundred pounds. It's not usually a problem because he has the strength and stamina to carry the skeleton around but it does mean that he sinks easily in water and that Logan wouldn't be able to move at all if it wasn't for his mutation.
Wolverine's claws are covered in adamantium that makes them ultra-sharp and also unbreakable. Yet there was a time he lost his adamantium and everyone discovered his claws were made of bone, not metal. The bone versions aren't as tough but they are strong, and he's put them to deadly use since he first popped them as a child and fought all over the world for years.
The really odd thing about Wolverine's bone claws is that they're not found anywhere in nature. No one has ever found an animal with claws made of bone since most animal claws are made of keratin. How Wolverine developed bone claws as a natural evolution would be a bigger question if it weren't for all the other mutants with metal skin and rubber bones.
Arguably Wolverine's greatest power is his ability to heal quickly. It's what let Weapon X bond his adamantium onto his skeleton and survive, and how he still fights even when he's facing bullets and bombs. In fact, his regeneration is what's made him almost immortal. Before his death in 2014, it was believed that nothing could kill Wolverine, but the comics put that to the test.
For instance, in 2007’s Wolverine #48 (Marc Guggenheim, Humberto Ramos), a mutant named Nitro burned Wolverine to the bone, but Logan grew all his flesh back. In 2004, Venom #9 (Daniel Way, Paco Medina) brought Wolverine against a team of cyborg clones who dropped a nuclear bomb but it just left him in a small crater without a scratch. In 1987’s Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 (Chris Claremont, Alan Davis), his entire body regenerated magically from a single drop of blood.
Wolverine's flesh gets a lot of credit for healing fast and his bones for being unbroken, but his brain is a pretty tough customer, too. Not only does it heal as quickly as the rest of him but it also has psychic barriers that keep other psychics from attacking him. Partly the protection comes from what he calls "mental scar tissue" from all the trauma he's been through. Wolverine also had some help from Professor Charles Xavier who put mental shields in Logan's brain.
The upshot is that no one controls Logan's mind or makes him see things without some heavy-duty mental firepower. The X-Men have a lot of psychic enemies from Emma Frost to Cassandra Nova so Wolverine gets plenty of chances to test those blocks and scar tissue. Still, he always comes out slicing.
The adamantium that was fused to Wolverine's skeleton in a secret experiment changed his life. The incredible metal cannot be broken by any known means other than cosmic power so that's made Logan almost indestructible. Yet one of the worst moments of Wolverine's life was when he went up against Magneto and lost both the fight and his precious adamantium.
In 1993's X-Men #25 (Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert), Wolverine stabbed Magneto during a battle in the villain's space station, Avalon. Magneto was so angry that he used his magnetic powers to literally rip all the adamantium out of Wolverine’s skeleton. Getting the metal torn out of him did a lot of damage. Not only did it leave Wolverine vulnerable but it caused his healing factor to go haywire. Don't mess with the magnets, man.
One of Wolverine's least mentioned powers is his heightened senses of sight, hearing and smell. All three of them are far above those of a normal human. That power makes him more animalistic and also a better hunter, because he can track people by their smell even when they're long gone, and he can hear the slightest whisper. His senses also have some lesser-known abilities.
For instance, he can see in almost total darkness and across vast distances, making him a crack sniper. His increased sense of hearing makes him a natural lie detector since he can hear people's heartbeats speed up or slow down if they lie. He's also a natural enemy of shapeshifting mutants like Mystique because they can change their appearance but not their smell, so Wolverine can sniff them out.
Apart from killing living things, Wolverine likes two things. One is smoking, and the other is drinking. Neither one is a good habit and would have lethal consequences if it weren't for his incredible healing factor. It heals whatever damage was done to his body, which is good in one case and bad in the other.
Smoking normally would damage Logan's lungs and cause cancer but he heals it all before he can finish exhaling the smoke. As for drinking, he obviously has a quick-healing liver and can process any toxins like alcohol, but that actually is a problem for him. Because getting drunk is really just a form of poisoning, Wolverine needs to drink a lot before he can get a buzz on. In fact, an average night's drinking for Logan would kill a normal human being.
It's hard to find many superheroes who have had a worse life than Wolverine, unless you want to count Superman losing his entire planet (but that was before he was born). Wolverine's childhood involved being really sick and watching his father killed in front of him. As he grew up, every woman he ever loved died or was killed, he was used as a guinea pig for horrific medical experiments, spent most of his life hunting and murdering people, and was sent to Hell by relatives of some of his victims.
With a life like that, you would think the fact that he suffered from amnesia would be a blessing, and it was. Some of his amnesia was deliberately caused by Weapon X, but it turns out his own mind caused some of it as a way of protecting him. It's a weird way for his healing factor to manifest, but in a way, it is protecting him from trauma., whether he likes it or not.
After decades of secrecy, we finally found out Wolverine's origin in 2001’s Origins (Bill Jemas, Paul Jenkins, Joe Quesada, Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove), where we saw a sickly young man whose powers manifested while seeing his father killed. From then on, his healing factor kept him healthy, even keeping him from getting infected by anything like bacteria or viruses.
In 1982's Uncanny X-Men #155 (Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum), he faced an alien race of parasites called the Brood but they couldn't infect him. Vampires seemed like they had more success in 2011’s X-Men #5 (Victor Gischler, Paco Medina) when they invaded San Francisco and bit Wolverine. He seemed to change, but it turned out the X-Men had injected nanobots into Wolverine to stop his healing factor, making him their own sleeper agent. When the nanobots were turned off, Wolverine’s healing factor cured him and he fought back.
When most people get angry, they just yell and scream a lot. Sometimes they throw a punch. Wolverine takes his anger to a whole new level with what's become known as his "berserker rage." When he's in a berserker rage, he becomes even more dangerous. His strength and speed are heightened, and he doesn't feel pain or exhaustion. He's even more resistant to psychic attacks because his mind is so unpredictable. In short, he becomes a killing machine.
His berserker rage has saved his life many times, so you'd think Wolverine would love his berserker rages, but he doesn't. He hates losing control when he's in his rages and tries to avoid them as much as possible, but sometimes it's unavoidable and simply a biological response to the threats to him. A Wolverine's gotta do what a Wolverine's gotta do!
It started as a joke and ended as a joke: the infamous "Fatal Attractions" storyline where Magneto ripped all the adamantium out of Wolverine's body. It made sense since Magneto's power involved controlling all metal. Why wouldn't he just take Wolverine's metal skeleton? It was just a gag suggested by an editor but in Wolverine #90 (by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert, Mark Farmer and Dan Green), that's exactly what happened.
What happened next became one of the weirdest changes to Wolverine's body. It turned out that he had bone claws so he could still fight but it also turned out the adamantium had been keeping him from going feral. Wolverine became hairier, more bestial and even lost his nose. Experimentation by Apocalypse just made it worse. Then, well, he got better and it was never spoken of again.
Wolverine uses his claws to hack off body parts, wood and metal, but the question is, how? After all, his claws may be super-strong but it would still take a lot of work to cut through solid titanium. His adamantium skeleton also adds over a hundred pounds to his body, which would leave him unable to move normally. That's why we're going to talk about Wolverine's least known power, super-strength.
Partly, his strength comes from his muscles having to work overtime from his added weight but some of the strength seems to be part of his mutation. He's often broken steel chains, lifted full grown men over his head, and picked up bruisers like Ursa Major but the fact that he can ram his claws into steel walls and cut through them like butter is the best example of his muscle power.
What's cooler than Wolverine's adamantium claws? How about lightsaber-claws? Yeah, that happened. In the early 2000s, Marvel created a new line of comics influenced by Japanese manga, cleverly known as the Mangaverse. Things had a different spin in the Mangaverse and Wolverine was no exception. In the Mangaverse, Wolverine was the leader and founder of the X-Men instead of Professor Charles Xavier. Another big change was his relationship to Cyclops, who in the Mangaverse was Wolverine's brother. Wolverine was also missing a hand.
In the Mangaverse, Wolverine's right hand looks the same with metal claws but his left hand has claws made of pure energy. The light-claws are apparently the result of an unexplained fight with Cyclops who lost an eye in the deal.
Wolverine's healing factor doesn't just grow his skin back when it gets burned off. It also slows his aging to an imperceptible crawl, and has kept him alive and healthy for hundreds of years. While his actual age was kept vague by Marvel for a long time to keep the writers from being tied down, it was eventually explained he was born in the late 1880s. That means he's over a hundred years old.
Along the way, Wolverine has had incredible adventures fighting in World War I, World War II and as a secret agent for Canadian intelligence. He also met other Marvel heroes like Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and Captain America. He's lived more than most of us and packed enough living into those years for a thousand lifetimes.