Wolverine is famously known for being “the best there is at what he does,” and as fans can attest, what he does, isn’t always nice. When it comes to comic books, however -- and especially within the X-Men corner of the Marvel universe -- you sometimes have to be specific about just which version of the character you’re talking about. Whether it’s alternate dimensions, time-traveling heroes or dystopian visions of a world gone wrong, chances are you won’t have to travel far before finding a version of your favorite character that’s just a little different to what you’re used to.
Even when there’s no time-traveling, dimension-hopping in play, the regular Marvel Universe contains more than enough Wolverines to go around. We could be talking about Logan himself, or we could be talking about the All-New Wolverine, Laura Kinney. We could be talking about Daken, Logan’s son, or we could be referencing Jimmy Howlett, Ultimate Wolverine’s son from Earth 1610. There’s a running joke within comics that Wolverine is in so many books every month that there have to be multiple copies of the same guy wandering around, and that’s never been truer than right now. There’s even Old Man Logan, fresh from the future, returned to the present to contend with. We want to know, however, which one among these is the strongest, so we’ve scoured our long boxes and found the 25 Strongest Versions of Wolverine and provided a definitive ranking! Read along to find out which Wolverine really is the best at what he does!
25 WOLVERINE NOIR
The Marvel Noir imprint saw a world that reimagined heroes and villains in a grim and gritty prohibition era America, and depending on whether you read X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain, or Wolverine Noir, you get a different version of Logan.
He’s either Jim Logan, an experienced bootlegger and perpetual imbiber of drink, or he’s James Howlett, a private eye working with his brother Dog Logan and an experienced martial artist. Either way, Wolverine Noir doesn’t have claws of his own, choosing to use homemade knife-claws to battle gangsters and criminals, which makes him the weakest Wolverine.
24 WOLVERINE MANGAVERSE
Marvel Mangaverse is exactly what you’d expect from the name: a short-lived attempt to recreate the Marvel universe with a Manga aesthetic.
Manga Wolverine had many of the same traits as his 616 version, however, his bone claws were enhanced to be sharpened energy knives. His right forearm has been lost and replaced, and it’s implied that this disability was caused by a fight with Scott Summers, in which he lost an eye. He lacked that killer instinct that Logan usually has though, dropping him low on our list.
23 MARVEL UNIVERSE VS. WOLVERINE
Despite Wolverine being something of a lone wolf style of anti-hero, he’s always worked best as a character when he’s part of a team, be that X-Men or Avengers. What happens, however, when Wolverine is the last hero standing?
That’s what happens in Marvel Universe Versus Wolverine, a book that shows us a world ravaged by a cannibal-inducing plague, leaving Wolverine to watch his friends killing and eating each other. Despite losing an arm against the Hulk, he fought to save the world, but his disability puts him at a disadvantage compared to other Wolverines.
22 JIMMY HUDSON
After Secret Wars, what was remade of the destroyed multiverse was a Prime Earth, upon which mostly the old 616 exists, but more and more frequently, survivors of the Ultimate Universe have been found.
Jimmy Howlett was the son of Wolverine that was entrusted to his fellow soldier and friend James Hudson during the Iraq war. His last name was changed to Hudson to mask his true identity, which wasn’t revealed until years later after a car accident. Possessing claws and a healing factor, Jimmy Hudson resembles his father in more ways than one but lacks his dad’s experience.
21 MR. MURDERHANDS
The Earth of Spider Gwen is one that has many different reimaginings of the heroes and villains we know and love, one of whom is senior S.H.I.E.L.D agent James Howlett, aka Mr. Murderhands.
His past is never truly revealed, but the story goes that he was a powerful Samurai warrior, cursed with immortality as even hell is not deserving of a killer like him. He’s then taken, mind-wiped and trained to work for S.H.I.E.L.D by the mysterious Weapon X corporation. We never really see his full potential though, which is why he’s so low down.
20 THE HOODED MAN
Hailing from an alternate future, the Hooded Man was a Wolverine who had joined a group called the New Defenders, who used the body of a dead Galactus to travel back in time to the present day in order to save the people of their world.
They came from a future devastated by war and natural disaster and were paving the way for a full-scale migration of their people to the past. This version of Wolverine seems similar in almost every way to Old Man Logan, albeit one driven to desperation by future events, and therefore lacking the focus of some of his counterparts.
19 DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Perhaps the most famous of all of the X-Men’s alternate futures, "Days of Future Past" hinged on one single act: the murder of Senator Robert Kelly. Much like the movie of the same name, this assassination at the hands of a mutant turns the nation's security forces against mutantkind in irreparable ways.
The Wolverine of this timeline is one of the remaining X-Men left alive, and in the original storyline, he sacrifices himself fighting against a deadly Sentinel, who scorches all the flesh from his Adamantium bones, seemingly killing him.
18 ULTIMATE WOLVERINE
Hailing from Earth 1610, this version of Wolverine is the one found in the Ultimate line of Marvel comics and is most famous for being a version of Logan that will go even further than his 616 counterpart in order to get the job done.
Not only does he kill a mutant child who is giving off lethal doses of toxic gases and poisons, killing 265 people in his hometown, but he mortally stabs Magneto multiple times before succumbing to the Master of Magnetism’s attacks. He’s a killer, sure, but is he the leader and strong hero that other Wolverines are? Well, perhaps not. Also, he died and never came back, so while he's great, he's far from the best!
17 THE WOLVERINE
The definitive version of Wolverine for most people, comics fans or otherwise, Hugh Jackman has portrayed James Howlett in nine feature films (10 if you count Deadpool 2) and embodied the role for nearly 20 years.
This Wolverine hasn’t had quite as many adventures as he has done during the nearly 45 years he’s been around, but he’s saved the world before and survives to be an old man, protecting the future of the mutant race one last time. His limitations, however, are movie budgets and lack of comic book physics, making him no match for some other Wolverines.
16 GENERAL JAMES HOWLETT
The Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada and Viceroy of Her Majesty's Expedition to Shangri-La, James Howlett of Earth 12025 was, along with his partner and lover Hercules, is one of the greatest heroes of his world.
He appears mostly in the second volume of X-Treme X-Men, joining a team of multidimensional mutants that hunt down evil Xavier’s across many dimensions. He also has bones coated in Adamantine, the metal of the Gods, which gives him a natural resistance to psychic attacks.
Rancor is the great-great-granddaughter of Wolverine from hundreds of years into an alternate future. First encountered by the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Rancor rules over a human colony with a tyrannical fist, despite her heroic family lineage.
It’s revealed that almost all of Wolverine’s descendants were murderous tyrants of one form or another, and Rancor reveres her great-great-grandfather’s memory as the “Brood-Slayer,” obsessed with his exploits and even owning one of his broken off claws. She is, however, driven by anger and lacking true strength, making her villainous ways a detriment rather than a strength.
Having come from Weapon X, you’d think Wolverine had had his fill of brainwashing. Unfortunately, some people just get all the bad luck, and Logan found himself possessed by Hydra during the storyline “Enemy of the State.”
Hydra, joining forces with The Hand and the Dawn of the White Light, killed and resurrected Wolverine under their control. A powerful new ally for them, Hydra used him to steal S.H.I.E.L.D defense plans and slice his way through the superhero community until he was captured and “cured.” Hydra is always defeated, however, and this Wolverine was nowhere near as effective as they would have liked.
13 WEAPON X
Age of Apocalypse was wild. Taking over the X-Men line during the late ‘90s, AoA explored a dark and grim future in which Xavier had died and Apocalypse had been allowed to take control.
Wolverine in this bleak future was known as Weapon X, and is still a member of the X-Men, albeit a very different team than we’re used to. He’s more feral than his 616 counterpart, and he lost his hand in a fight with Cyclops, but his claws still pop through the stump.
12 DARK CLAW
The Amalgam line of comics saw heroes from the Marvel universe merge with the heroes of the DC universe, to form entirely new -- yet familiar -- heroes. One of these was Dark Claw, merging Wolverine and Batman.
Logan Wayne was witness to the murder of his parents when he was five, and went on to enlist in the Weapon X program. There he was given an Adamantium coated skeleton, and later returned to New Gotham City as Dark Claw to avenge his parent’s death. Mixing Batman and Wolverine makes for one formidable superhero, though while he may look the coolest, he's not quite the best.
11 OLD MAN LOGAN
The source for 2017’s Logan movie, the original "Old Man Logan" storyline envisioned a post-apocalyptic wasteland where an older Wolverine lives with his family in hiding.
It’s revealed that Logan was manipulated into killing the X-Men years ago, and has given up the mantle of Wolverine to live out the rest of his days in peace. He’s called back into action, however, by the evil deeds of a gang of Hulks, and is currently living in the modern Marvel universe. His decades of experience, as well as his desire to rewrite history, makes him one of the strongest Wolverines around.
10 ALL-NEW WOLVERINE
Laura Kinney was the result of a top-secret program that desired to replicate the creation of Wolverine. Unable to find a subject that would survive the Adamantium bonding process, they cloned Wolverine himself.
The Y chromosome in the DNA sample they procured was damaged, so instead they created a female clone called X-23. She eventually escaped her captors and went on to become a hero in her own right, even fulfilling her destiny by taking on the mantle of Wolverine when Logan died. She’s a strong, resilient and powerful hero, earning her a spot in the top 5.
In 1946, Logan and his Japanese wife Itsu are expecting their first child when Itsu is murdered by the Winter Soldier in order to draw Wolverine out of hiding. Unbeknownst to everyone, the child survives (due to his inherited healing factor) and is taken by the villain Romulus.
As Daken grew, he was trained and manipulated by Romulus, who told him that Wolverine was his father, convincing him that it was he who killed Itsu. Daken is powerful, driven and extremely intent on murdering Wolverine. He’s absolutely one of the strongest versions of Wolverine, but he’s not the best.
The Wolverine, aka James Howlett, aka Logan, aka Patch, aka Lucky Jim. They say that the original is the best and that’s certainly true when it comes to this Adamantium-laced mutant hero, even if he isn't the strongest.
First created in 1974, Wolverine has become a firm fan favorite over the years, appearing in thousands of comics, hundreds of TV episodes and ten movies, not to mention almost every item of merchandise imaginable. He’s fought against almost every villain (and most heroes for that matter) in the last 45 years, and time and again proved that he really is the Best There is at What He Does.
7 FERAL WOLVERINE
When you have Adamantium fused to every bone in your body, and then have that same Adamantium ripped out again through every pore by Magneto, you’d probably turn feral too. It wasn’t just the trauma of these experiences that brought about a feral version of Wolverine though.
It turns out, the Adamantium was holding back a secondary mutation of Wolverine, one that was slowly turning him into an animalistic version of himself. While he was strong, he also lacked any control and could easily be beaten by these other Wolverines.
6 ZOMBIE WOLVERINE
Marvel Zombies is a fun -- if slightly morbid -- series of comics that imagines what would happen if Marvel heroes were turned into mindless monsters. Wolverine in this reality was bitten by both zombie Hawkeye and zombie Captain America, overwhelming his healing factor.
He has a cybernetic right arm, due to losing his original in a fight against the Silver Surfer, which saw him gaining cosmic powers once he, you know, ate the corpse of the Silver Surfer. He’s pretty strong, but also made of decaying flesh, so easier to defeat.
5 VENOM OLD MAN LOGAN
The Venomverse event takes its cues from its spiritual predecessor Spiderverse, instead, exploring a multiverse of Venoms. One such alternate universe saw a continuation of the "Old Man Logan" storyline.
In this world, Logan is captured by Archangel, who wishes to punish him for murdering the rest of the X-Men. They unleash the Venom-infected T-Rex at him, and when Logan is swallowed whole the symbiote attaches to him instead, finding Old Man Logan a superior host. Venom is strong, but also unpredictable and lacking ethics, which would ultimately hinder Logan. It also comes with its own set of weaknesses, so there's that downside!
4 VAMPIRE WOLVERINE
When you mix a feral, practically immortal mutant with the blood of a Vampire, you get... well, not much difference really. Apart from the more evil personality and the desire to drink your blood, you might not notice much difference between regular Wolverine and his Vampiric counterpart.
We kid, but this version of Wolverine is revealed in an issue of What If, where his healing factor prevents him being turned in any usual way, instead, when he kills and feasts on Dracula himself, Logan becomes the new Lord of the Vampires. He has, however, got the same weaknesses as any Vampire, such as daylight and stakes.
The Red Right Hand were a cult-like group with a mysterious vendetta against Wolverine. To that end, they summoned an unnamed demon to possess Logan and use this possession to force Wolverine to murder his way through his friends.
Nicknamed Hellverine, this demon killed a number of close friends of Logan’s while the latter’s soul was trapped in hell. It takes the full force of the X-Men fighting externally, and Jean Grey -- along with Logan’s soul -- battling internally to cast the demon out and send it back to hell, making him a relatively strong, but short-lived Wolverine.
2 WEAPON H
A relatively new character on this list, Weapon H is the personification of the question, “What would happen if Wolverine and the Hulk were the same guy?” Wolverine has a long history with the Hulk, but this is the first time the fusing of the two characters had been so fully explored.
Weapon H was Clayton, an ex-military contractor with a conscience, experimented on by Weapon X’s Batch H facility, who specialized in creating Hulk/Wolverine hybrids designed to hunt and kill mutants. His training and physical form make for a terrifying combination but he still lacks experience.
1 PHOENIX WOLVERINE
The latest issues of Thor seem to be telling two stories concurrently: one of the present day Odinson, and one of Old King Thor and his granddaughters in the far distant future.
Old King Thor investigates what appears to be the death of all life in the cosmos, when he is confronted with a familiar yet strange sight: the Final Host of the Phoenix Force, an old and immensely powerful Logan. Little is known about this version, but the mix of Wolverine and Phoenix is not to be underestimated.