With characters like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike, Wolverine has some of the most fearsome foes in the Marvel Universe. Thanks to healing factors and adamantium claws, the battles between Logan and his enemies have been some of the most savage slugfests in comics history. In between those famous fights and his exploits with the X-Men, Wolverine has quietly amassed one of the stranger rogues galleries of any major superhero.
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Now, CBR is taking a look at some of Wolverine’s weirdest villains. For this list, we’ll be drawing from both comics and movies to find odd takes on familiar foes and characters with peculiar powers or deeply strange biographies. While some of these characters also fought other heroes, they all had meaningful encounters with Wolverine during one of his solo adventures.
15. SILVER SAMURAI (THE WOLVERINE)
In comics, the Silver Samurai is one of Wolverine’s most iconic villains. Created by Steve Gerber and Bob Brown in 1974’s “Daredevil” # 114, Kenuichio Harada had the ability to channel energy through a katana and was the son of the crime lord Shingen Yashida. Although he was initially portrayed as a villain, the Silver Samurai became an ally of Wolverine and led the first incarnation of Big Hero 6 before his death.
While Will Yun Lee played Kenuichio in 2013’s “The Wolverine,” that film’s Silver Samurai was a giant adamantium mech-suit. Although the suit also had the ability to charge a katana, it was developed and worn by Ichirō Yashida, Haruhiko Yamanouchi’s immortality-obsessed villain. In the film’s somewhat bizarre climax, Ichirō used his super-charged adamantium katana to slice Wolverine’s claws off and attempted to siphon out Logan’s healing factor though his wounds. The mechanized armor seemed out of step with the character’s comic history, but it served as an effective thematic precursor to the mutant-hunting Sentinels that appeared in 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Tyler Dayspring, the son of the time-traveling mutant Cable, had a long, convoluted path into becoming the villain Genesis. Tyler began life in the far future as a young freedom fighter with the ability to project other people’s memories as holograms. After being abducted and brainwashed by Cable’s clone and nemesis Stryfe, he traveled to the present to find his father using the Tinex, a time machine hidden inside of Niagara Falls. In the present day, he donned a rubber mask and fought Cable as the arms dealer Tolliver in the early days of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza’s “X-Force.”
While Apocalypse was briefly dead, Tyler took the name Genesis and proclaimed himself as the heir of Apocalypse in 1994. In that era, Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton had been ripped out by Magneto. Genesis wanted to give Wolverine a new adamantium skeleton and turn him into his first Horseman of Apocalypse. While Genesis was able to capture Logan, his plan backfired spectacularly in 1996’s “Wolverine” #100. Wolverine devolved into a feral state, lost his nose and brutally slaughtered Genesis and his minions, the Dark Riders.
One of Marvel’s defining features is the interconnected nature that allows its disparate parts to play off of one another in some surprising ways. Thor’s home, Asgard, and the gritty streets of the fictional Southeast Asian nation Madripoor couldn’t be farther apart, but they merged together in the villain Roughouse. Created by Chris Claremont and John Buscema in 1989’s “Wolverine” #4, Roughouse came from a line of Asgardian Rock Trolls before becoming one of Marvel’s many mercenaries for hire.
In his earliest appearances, Roughouse and his partner Bloodscream worked for General Coy, a crime lord in Madripoor. After failing to defeat Wolverine, he was sold to the cybernetic villain Geist. After being dosed with a genetically modified cocaine-based drug, Roughouse attacked Wolverine in a frenzy before being healed by the super-powered nun Sister Salvation. Years later, he and Bloodscream resurfaced, working for Hydra and battling the Shadow Initiative, a government-operated black-ops group. More recently, Roughouse popped up again in the pages of “All-New Wolverine,” once again operating in Madripoor.
Like his partner, Bloodscream was created by Chris Claremont and John Buscema in 1989’s “Wolverine” #4, although he went by the name Bloodsport there. Before he encountered Wolverine in Madripoor, he was a doctor in the 16th century who worked with the pirate Sir Francis Drake. When he was mortally wounded, a necromancer healed him by turning him into an immortal vampire-like creature that could absorb the life-force of others. After that, he fought in several major historical wars and conveniently fought Wolverine during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.
Since then, Bloodscream has fought Wolverine and worked for several villains while trying to regain his humanity. Although he usually appeared as a grey-skinned human, Bloodscream could morph into a grotesque feral state where his jaw unhinges and extends over several feet. In addition to Logan, Bloodscream has battled Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Shadow Initiative. While he couldn’t be harmed by any mortally-created weapon, he was incapacitated for some time when Ant-Man used his shrinking abilities to tear him apart from the inside out.
Much like Bloodscream, Chimera also began her villainous career as a pirate. While he sailed the high seas, she was a thief from another dimension who soared through the space-time continuum until reaching the main Marvel Universe. Created by Larry Hama and Andy Kubert in 1996’s “Wolverine” #97, she had low-level telepathy and the ability to produce telekinetic bursts in the shape of two green dragons. In her first appearance, she was hired by Genesis to use her oddly specific power and interdimensional resources to observe Wolverine.
Not long after that, Chimera teamed up with another one of Genesis’ former associates, Dirt Nap, to take down Wolverine and Venom. After an encounter with the young mutant team Generation X, she joined the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants out of boredom. That group disbanded after a brutal battle with the X-Men, and she joined the latest incarnation of the Marauders. In “Extraordinary X-Men,” she led the group of mutant assassins for Mr. Sinister.
10. MISTER X
In the early 2000s, Frank Tieri and Sean Chen had an underrated run on “Wolverine” that was filled with brutal action and dynamic new characters. One of their most memorable creations was Mister X, who debuted in 2001’s “Wolverine” #159. Mister X trained to be the best fighter in the world and used his telepathic abilities to predict his opponents’ moves. After becoming fascinated with death as a child, X kept track of his kills by marking his body, much like the Batman villain Mister Zsasz.
Most of Mister X’s encounters with Wolverine revolved around him tangibly proving that he’s a better fighter than the X-Man. In his debut, Mister X tried in vain to make Wolverine sign over the legal right to being called “The Best There Is.” Later, the pair battled in Madripoor’s Bloodsport tournament, but X lost when Wolverine fell into a mindless berserker rage. After Logan refused to fight X in their final encounter, X joined Norman Osborn’s villainous Thunderbolts and took part in their siege on Asgard before being incapacitated by the super-fast Quicksilver.
Cyber was one of Wolverine’s more visible foes during his most popular days in the 1990s. Created by Peter David and Sam Keith in 1991’s “Marvel Comics Presents” #85, Cyber was born over 100 years ago and served in the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. With adamantium skin, poison-tipped claws and a history of torment, he was one of the few villains who actually scared Logan.
Despite all that, Cyber has been killed twice by villains trying to harvest his adamantium. In 1995, Genesis used Cyber as the source for the adamantium he wanted to graft onto Wolverine. After being captured, Cyber was eaten alive by mutant beetles, and his adamantium shell was melted down for Genesis’ failed procedure. After his spirit possessed a super-strong mutant and underwent an adamantium-bonding procedure, Cyber fought his former student Daken, Wolverine’s son. During 2014’s “Death of Wolverine,” Cyber was killed again by the body-swapping villain Ogun, who melted him down for adamantium in a vat of acid.
8. DR. ROTTWELL
While it’s generally not as praised as some of his other work, writer Jason Aaron has written some of the best Wolverine comics of the past decade. In 2009’s “Wolverine: Weapon X” #6, he and Yanick Paquette created Dr. Rottwell. Also known as Dr. Rot, this twisted surgeon and skilled inventor would seem more at home in a survival horror video game like “Resident Evil” than the regular Marvel Universe.
After taking over the Dunwich Sanatorium, Dr. Rottwell, one of the asylum’s former patients, started performing his macabre experiments. Using a machine powered by several of his victims’ brains, he was able to capture Logan and successfully brainwash him into doing his bidding. When Wolverine got free, Rottwell escaped by turning a passerby’s brain into a psychic bomb that temporarily rendered everyone in the surrounding area insane. However, Rottwell could still control Wolverine and used the mutant to unwittingly find new test subjects before another encounter.
7. CHARLIE CHAINSAWS
The ingeniously-named Charlie Chainsaws was one of Dr. Rottwell’s most successful experiments. Like the doctor, Chainsaws was created by Jason Aaron and Yanick Paquette in 2009’s “Wolverine: Weapon X” #6. Charlie was introduced as a chainsaw-wielding serial killer who was a patient at the Dunwich Sanatorium. In a moment of macabre humor, he was first seen running away handless during a half-completed operation where Rottwell was trying to replace his hands with chainsaws.
After that operation was successfully completed, Chainsaws became a slightly more serious villain. Charlie helped Rottwell escape the asylum and joined him on his family estate. Along with the psychotic siblings Tater and Baylee Ann, Charlie served Rottwell as a henchman and was a first line of defense against Wolverine. After learning of his continued brainwashing, Logan attacked the estate and broke Chainsaws’ chainsaws. Although Rottwell’s henchmen were able to temporarily subdue Wolverine, the X-Man broke free and eviscerated Chainsaws. More recently, Chainsaws and Rottwell were seen fighting the Mole Man’s creatures at a super-villain auction in the pages of “Deadpool & The Mercs for Money.”
6. VIPER (THE WOLVERINE)
Since Fox holds the multimedia rights for the X-Men and Fantastic Four and Marvel Studios holds most of Marvel’s other film rights, the Marvel Universe can be split up in some interesting ways on screen. In comics, the super-villain Viper is also known as Madame Hydra and was created by Jim Steranko in 1969’s “Captain America” # 110. After rising through Hydra’s ranks, she branched out to form her own criminal empire in Madripoor. Often with the help of Silver Samurai, she’s ruled Madripoor’s underworld, briefly married Wolverine and caused chaos throughout the rest of the world.
While that Viper doesn’t have too many powers, Svetlana Khodchenkova’s Viper had an array of snake-related powers, like a forked prehensile tongue, in 2013’s “The Wolverine.” With the abilities to secrete toxins and shed her skin, the cinematic Viper was a scientific genius who helped created the Silver Samurai armor. Despite Viper’s comic history as one of Hydra’s marquee members, she had no relation to Hydra on film, since that group appears in Marvel Studios’ films.
5. THE MONGRELS
While his specific birth date is still unknown, Wolverine is well over a century old by most accounts. Over that lengthy time span, Logan had several unseen marriages and relationships that resulted in children. Although Logan’s memory wipes made him forget about his kids, those children have started to pop up as adult antagonists over the past decade. While his son Daken is his most prominent child, several of his other children teamed up to form a mercenary group called the Mongrels.
Created by Jason Aaron and Renato Guedes in 2010’s “Wolverine” #1, the group included Gunhawk, Shadowstalker, Fire Knives, Saw Fist and Cannon Foot. They were hired by the Red Right Hand, a human group with a grudge against Wolverine, to torture Logan’s friends and generally make his life miserable. Despite the group’s modest powers and martial arts expertise, Wolverine killed each member, unaware of his relation to them. After learning their true nature, Wolverine was horrified by his actions and gave them an honorable burial with their mothers.
The living disease Spore is another character that brings together disparate parts of the Marvel Universe. When Jack Kirby returned to Marvel in the 1970s, he created “The Eternals,” a series that followed the ongoing war between the Eternals and Deviants, two super-powered offshoots of humanity created by the Celestials, ancient cosmic entities. As part of the war effort, the evil Deviants created Spore, a living weapon that consumed everything it touched. After an ancient battle, Spore fell on a parcel of land in the fictional South American country Tierra Verde where cocaine plants eventually grew.
Created by comic legends Archie Goodwin and John Byrne in 1990’s “Wolverine” #21, Spore regenerated himself by using those plants to possess the body of Tierra Verde’s corrupt president. Wolverine and the Cuban mutant La Bandera battled Spore as he continued to consume and grew into a giant form. Spore was ultimately defeated by the nun Sister Salvation, whose healing touch eradicated the living disease.
3. DIRT NAP
Created by Larry Hama and Adam Kubert in 1995’s “Wolverine” #95, Dirt Nap was one of several villains who tried to capture Wolverine for Genesis. Dirt Nap could transfer his consciousness from body to body, which was visually marked by a red smiley face symbol that would appear on his victims. After trying and failing to take control of Wolverine, he jumped into a nearby rat, which became his default form. Dirt Nap was present with the other Dark Riders at Genesis’ ill-fated adamantium-bonding session with Wolverine and was one of that event’s only survivors.
After a team-up with Chimera to battle Wolverine and Venom, Dirt Nap resurfaced as a follower of the Generation X enemy Emplate. When the vampiric mutant forgot about him, the teen X-Men team took him in and showed him kindness. As he started to help the team, his smiley face symbol changed from red to a more traditional yellow. When Emplate threatened to consume everything in existence, Dirt Nap sacrificed his life to save all of reality by consuming the villain.
2. DEADPOOL (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE)
Before Deadpool found blockbuster success on the big screen in 2016’s “Deadpool,” he made his cinematic debut in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Although Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool in both films, that first Deadpool was a far cry from Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza’s beloved Marvel mercenary. Reynolds stole the show in that 2009 prequel, where his Wade Wilson was a motor-mouthed, sword-wielding assassin. In a memorable early sequence, he fought alongside Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth on the black ops squad Team X.
When members of the team start dying a few years later, Wilson was thought to be among the dead. In reality, Wilson had been transformed into a distinctly different kind of Deadpool by the Weapon X Program. Where the familiar Deadpool has a healing factor and a wicked sense of humor, this Deadpool had no mouth, optic blasts, the ability to teleport and swords embedded in his arms. In 2016, “Deadpool” mocked this over-powered Deadpool a few times as it redeemed the fan-favorite Merc with a Mouth in the eyes of a larger audience.
Most of Wolverine’s best enemies have some sort of connection to his past, but Romulus took that concept to absurd new heights. Created by Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi in 2007’s “Wolverine” #50, Romulus claimed to be the leader of the Lupines, a prehistoric group of mutants evolved from wolves. As millennia went by, he was shown to be a Roman Emperor and allegedly shaped Wolverine’s bloodline in order to create the perfect weapon. During Wolverine’s lifetime, he manipulated Logan’s life repeatedly and seemingly helped found the Weapon X Program.
With a healing factor and four adamantium claws, he raised Wolverine’s son Daken to be a savage killer. After a brutal battle with Wolverine, Romulus’ claws were revealed to be artificial, and the reality of his claims began to come into question. The appearance of Romulus’ twin sister, Remus, further complicated matters, since she said that he was obsessed with creating a new race of mutants that used Logan as a template. After giving himself real adamantium claws, Romulus fought Wolverine again and claimed that Wolverine came up with the original idea behind the Weapon X Program. Like Romulus’ other claims, the veracity of this statement remains tenuous at best.
Stay tuned to CBR for the latest on Wolverine and the rest of Marvel’s merry mutants! Let us know who your favorite weird Wolverine villain is in the comments!
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