In the Marvel Universe, Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, but that might not hold true in the DC Universe. Since his 1974 debut in the final pages of Len Wein and Herb Trimpe’s Incredible Hulk #180, Wolverine has been one of Marvel’s toughest fighters. With his ultra-powerful healing factor, Logan’s been able to claw his way through fights with cosmic entities, Asgardians and Hulks of every color. Although he’s suffered a few major losses over the years, Logan has a decent chance of taking down the majority of Marvel’s characters in a one-on-one brawl.
However, Logan’s luck would run out in the DC Universe. All of the fighting skill in the world isn’t much help against villains who are stronger than Superman and can destroy minds in a few seconds. Now, CBR is counting down some of the DC villains who could totally obliterate Logan in battle. In this list, we’ll be looking at some of the DC Comics villains who would probably take down Wolverine in battle. To help us get an idea of how these fights might go down, we’ll also be looking at some of the major defeats suffered by Wolverine and his alternate reality counterparts.
Physically, Scarecrow isn’t much of a threat, but he’s one of the most skilled chemists in the DC Universe. Since his 1941 debut in Bill Finger and Bob Kane’s World’s Finest Comics #3, Dr. Jonathan Crane has used his trademark Fear Gas to terrify Batman and his allies. As seen in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Scarecrow’s powerful hallucinogenic gas can prey on its victims’ fears and turn their minds into mush,.
While the Weapon X Program turned Wolverine’s body into a perfect weapon, it tore his mind apart. Even though Logan regained most of his memories a few years back, his psyche is still one of his biggest weaknesses. While Logan’s healing factor has helped him recover quickly from toxins, he’s not immune to their effects. With an especially potent strain of Fear Gas, the Scarecrow could exploit Logan’s fears about losing control of his savage impulses.
Doomsday is a more perfect weapon than anything the Weapon X Program has ever thought about cooking up. Shortly after his 1992 debut, the genetically-engineered Kryptonian beast famously beat Superman to death in Dan Jurgens’ Superman #75. Even though Superman eventually got better, Doomsday is still one of the most imposing physical threats in the DC Universe.
If Doomsday can take out Superman, he can pulverize Wolverine. In addition to being stronger and more savage than Logan, Doomsday has a healing factor that allows him to recover from almost any injury in a few seconds. He’s one of the few creatures who could face the full fury of Wolverine’s berserker rage without taking a scratch. Thanks to his unique physiology, Doomsday could adapt to just about any attack Logan might come up with.
13. MIRROR MASTER
Even though he hasn’t had the biggest role on the CW’s The Flash, Mirror Master is one of the Flash’s most famous comic book enemies. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1959’s The Flash #105, Sam Scudder discovered a way into a “mirror dimension” that let him travel through mirrors and other reflective surfaces. Over the years, he and his successors have used their expertise with mirrors to create holograms, hypnotize people, make themselves invisible and travel to parallel worlds.
Thanks to the shiny reflective surface of Wolverine’s adamantium claws, the Mirror Master could strike Wolverine at any time. In Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s “Old Man Logan,” the almost laughable Spider-Man villain Mysterio tricked that world’s Logan into butchering the X-Men with his illusions. The Mirror Master could easily create a similar illusion that could make Wolverine rip his own life to shreds.
12. LEX LUTHOR
Other than defeating Superman for good, there’s not too much Lex Luthor can’t do. With his immense resources and technological genius, Luthor has joined the Justice League, been the President of the United States and caused Superman countless problems over the years. While Luthor has built scores of weapons since his 1940 debut in Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Action Comics #40, one of his most effective weapons is his Power Disruptor from the DC Animated Universe.
As seen in the Justice League episode “A Better World,” the Power Disruptor can take away anyone’s powers, regardless of their origins. While Logan’s mutant powers have been briefly neutralized plenty of times, Luthor’s device or something similar could take them away permanently. With a coordinated campaign to systematically destroy the X-Man’s life, Luthor could make quick work of the “Man of Adamantium” before turning his attention back to the Man of Steel.
11. DOCTOR POLARIS
When it comes to super-powers, Doctor Polaris is basically the DC Universe’s answer to Magneto. In his 1963 debut in John Broome and Gil Kane’s Green Lantern #21, scientist Neal Emerson absorbed too much magnetic energy, which transformed his dark side into Doctor Polaris. Since then, Emerson’s lighter and darker impulses have fought for control, and he was recently revealed to be one of the Suicide Squad’s earliest members in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.
As part of the 1993 crossover “Fatal Attractions,” Magneto famously ripped Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton out in Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert’s X-Men #25. Wolverine only survived the encounter with the help of Professor X and the rest of the X-Men. While he eventually recovered, this incident reduced Wolverine to a feral state for a few years. Like Marvel’s Master of Magnetism, Doctor Polaris could simply rip Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton out for a quick, decisive victory.
Even before he led an army, Sinestro was one of Green Lantern’s most fearsome foes. Since his introduction in 1961’s Green Lantern #7, by John Broome and Gil Kane, Sinestro has used his yellow power ring to menace the Green Lantern Corps. During Geoff Johns’ landmark run on Green Lantern in the 2000s, he formed the Sinestro Corps, a legion of ring bearers who’ve spread fear throughout the universe.
Beneath his gruff exterior, Wolverine is deeply afraid of losing control. Along with Logan’s concern for young mutants, Sinestro would have a field day exploiting the X-Man’s fears. Plus, Sinestro’s rings have already tried to recruit characters who can “instill great fear” like Batman and Scarecrow. Thanks to his savage history, Wolverine is one of Marvel’s most feared characters. Any battle between Sinestro and Wolverine would probably turn into a recruitment drive, especially since Wolverine already looks good in yellow.
9. RED LANTERNS
If Wolverine had a sliver of a chance against Sinestro’s Yellow Lanterns, he’d have no hope against the Red Lanterns. Created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in 2007’s Green Lantern #25, the Red Lanterns are fueled by rage in the same way that the Sinestro Corps relies on fear. Usually led by Atrocitus, the Red Lanterns draw strength from the rage around them, can create energy constructs and spit flammable blood.
Just by being close to one of Wolverine’s berserker rages would be enough to power a Red Lantern ring for a lifetime. In all likelihood, a Red Lantern ring would try to recruit Logan. If an angry Supergirl could join the Red Lanterns, Logan’s bottomless fury makes him an ideal candidate. Since the rings usually replace their users’ minds with endless fury, a Red Lantern Wolverine could claw through the galaxy in a permanent berserker rage.
8. REVERSE FLASH
The Flash might be the fastest man alive, but even he has trouble keeping up with the Reverse Flash. Since his 1963 debut in Josh Broome and Carmine Infantino’s The Flash #139, Eobard Thawne has been Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis. Originally born in the far future, Thawne became obsessed with the Flash and eventually gained similar super-speed powers. With his time-traveling abilities, Thawne ruined the Flash’s childhood and tricked his rival into rebooting the DC Universe during the 2011 crossover Flashpoint.
For most of his existence, Wolverine’s quest to unravel his mysterious past helped drive his life. If alternated memories could harm Logan that much, Thawne’s time-traveling shenanigans could really do some damage. Paired with the psychological toll of his attacks, the Reverse Flash’s super-speed and related abilities would be enough to overwhelm just about anybody, including Wolverine.
7. DOCTOR ALCHEMY
Doctor Alchemy might not be the most famous Flash villain, but he’s uniquely suited to defeat Wolverine. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1958’s Showcase #13, Albert Desmond built a gun that could transmute simple elements and became the criminal Mister Element. After that, he discovered the existence of the Philosopher’s Stone, a powerful magical artifact that could transform any substance into another substance. While this weapon could make him one of DC’s deadliest villains, his good and evil split personalities have kept him from totally committing to a life of villainy.
While Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium skeleton is usually an advantage, Doctor Alchemy could turn it into liquid with a thought. Desmond has also turned the Flash into things like water vapor or an anti-gravity element. While Flash’s scientific expertise and super-speed helped him return to his human form, Logan couldn’t defend against that type of attack.
Since Jim Shooter created the Parasite in 1966’s Action Comics #340, several Superman villains have gone by that name. The specifics of their origins vary, but they were all transformed giant purple creatures that needed to feed on energy, usually from other living beings. While some Parasites have a more monstrous appearance than others, they all found that the energies of super-powered folks like Superman filled them up like nothing else.
Wolverine’s teammate Rogue has absorbed some of his powers on numerous occasions. If an extended encounter with his energy absorbing teammate can knock him out, there’s no reason to believe that the Parasite’s abilities wouldn’t work similarly. In one of Marvel’s many possible futures, Rogue’s touch was even enough to kill Wolverine and absorb his powers permanently. Even with his healing factor, an energy vampire like Parasite could give Logan another fatal touch.
5. GENERAL ZOD
In a fight between Wolverine and Superman, Logan’s only real advantage would be his savage side. With Superman’s fellow Kryptonian General Zod, Wolverine wouldn’t even have that. While the specifics of his origin have changed over the years, most versions of Zod’s have been fairly consistent since his 1961 debut in Robert Bernstein and George Papp’s Adventure Comics #283. After leading a failed military coup on Krypton, Zod was sent into the Phantom Zone, an interdimensional prison where he stayed trapped for decades.
With all of Superman’s abilities at his disposal, Zod could overwhelm Wolverine in a number of ways. In a few different alternate realities, Wolverine has been burnt to a crisp by attacks weaker than Zod’s heat vision. Zod’s combination of super-speed, super-strength and ruthlessness would almost certainly be enough to bring Wolverine to his knees.
Even though he doesn’t share Superman’s vulnerabilities to magic, Wolverine isn’t really designed to deal with mystical threats. That’s why a character like the sorceress Circe could give him some major problems. Circe has been one of Wonder Woman’s major antagonists since her 1949 debut in Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter’s Wonder Woman #37.
While Circe possesses a number of mystical abilities, one of her favorite attacks is turning men into animals, in a nod to her mythological namesake. Given Wolverine’s tumultuous history with his wild side, that kind of attack would get especially under Logan’s skin. Even if Circe didn’t turn Logan into an actual wolverine, the effectively immortal villain could use her full arsenal of mystical abilities to tear Wolverine’s mind and body into ribbons without too much effort.
3. VANDAL SAVAGE
In some ways, Vandal Savage and Wolverine are a lot alike. Both of them have lived incredibly long lives and have a savage side that they try to mask in civilized society. Since his 1943 debut in Alfred Bester and Martin Nodell’s Green Lantern #10, Savage has lived up to his namesake as one of the most enduring villains in the DC Universe. After being exposed to a meteorite in prehistoric times, Savage has amassed great knowledge, fortune and fighting skill during his 50,000 year lifespan.
While Wolverine has decades of experience, Savage has millennia’s worth. Even though he’s allegedly ruled civilizations as historical figures like Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, Savage still has the animal-like ruthlessness of a caveman. Even though his healing factor isn’t as quick as Wolverine’s mutant abilities, Savage’s intellect and lifetimes of combat training would make up for it in a one-on-one brawl.
Unlike every other character on this list, Wolverine and the alien bounty hunter Lobo have actually fought in one-on-one combat. Since his 1983 debut in Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen’s Omega Men #3, Lobo has been one of the toughest customers in the DC Universe with super-strength, tactical genius and a healing factor that dwarfs Logan’s.
When Lobo and Wolverine fought in 1996’s Marvel vs. DC #3, by Ron Marz, Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini, Wolverine won in an off-panel bar brawl. Like several of that crossover’s matches, the winner of this fight was determined by a fan vote. Even though Lobo was one of DC’s more popular characters at the time, he couldn’t hold a candle to Wolverine’s era-defining popularity. A “real” fight between the two anti-heroes would be long and bloody, but Lobo’s cosmic-level abilities would give him the edge over Logan in an unbiased match.
If the combined might of the entire Justice League is barely enough to stop Darkseid, Wolverine doesn’t really stand a chance. Created by Jack Kirby in 1970’s Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134, the ruler of Apokolips has evolved into the big bad of the DC Universe. Although he has a vast number of powers, his Omega Beams are his signature ability. These energy blasts can erase someone from existence, send people through time and space, or trap their targets in hellish alternate realities.
While he could end a direct confrontation in seconds, Darkseid could torture Wolverine in a number of cruel ways. He could make Logan live though the painful events that shaped his life all over again or break his spirit with a stay at Apokolips’ torture pits. While all of the X-Men might stand a chance against Darkseid, Logan would be lucky if he had a quick death.
Keep it locked to CBR for all the latest in comic book and pop culture news. Let us know which other DC villains you think could take on Wolverine in the comments!
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