Wolverine is one of comics’ most iconic characters. When Charles Soule and Steve McNiven took him off the board in 2014, fans really felt the loss because he became such an important Avenger, as well as a leading X-Man. The Death of Wolverine saw him encased in adamantium, saving future souls from going through the same process he did. What made the character even more beloved, at least in the mainstream, was how amazingly Hugh Jackman embodied him in Fox’s X-Men movies. He’s one of their bright spots, really taking the character to heart, and his swan song in Logan in 2017 was so brilliant, it’s now being touted as Oscar-worthy.
With the comic character back via Marvel Legacy again, fans are eager to see the direction he’ll go. Over the years he transitioned from a soldier into a black-ops killer and protector of mutantkind, and then into the headmaster at a mutant school he opened in honor of Jean Grey. Wolverine was clearly trying to live up to Professor Xavier’s dream but unfortunately for him, his past was unescapable. With that in mind, CBR decided to look at his greatest hits, or in his case, the most gruesome kills in his adamantium-laced career!
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for several Wolverine comics.
16. BUTCHERING ALL THE X-MEN
Old Man Logan may be in the Marvel-616 now, but before that, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven depicted him in the titular action-packed, out-of-continuity classic. Logan was no longer Wolverine, refraining from using his claws in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The weathered wanderer had lost a lot but for some reason, he seemed unconcerned with the villains that now ran the show, preferring instead to keep a low profile and pay his dues to his landowner, the incestuous and diabolical Hulk family.
When it came to the absence of the X-Men, fans were stunned to find out his role. Years before, Mysterio tricked Logan into thinking the X-Men were supervillains and he ended up massacring his teammates. Wracked with guilt, he retired his Wolverine persona thereafter, swearing off violence after attempting suicide. This story influenced James Mangold’s Logan but thankfully, fans didn’t see him gutting the likes of Beast, Gambit, Storm and Jubilee on-screen.
15. THE CINEMATIC HEADSHOT
When fans heard Logan was going to be R-rated, their excitement levels went through the roof. This meant a foul-mouthed Wolverine ready to shed blood just like in Marvel’s darker comics, such as Uncanny X-Force. The first red-band trailer more or less met these expectations when we saw Logan, claws popped, stabbing a thug right through the head.
This scene left jaws dropped and hyped fans even more for the film. When it was eventually shown on the big screen, it was even more glorious, especially as it emphasized the change in direction James Mangold took with the character and also showed how violent Fox was willing to get. Hugh Jackman finally became the Weapon X survivor we all wanted. Now, if only he got to wear the iconic Wolverine costume!
14. ENDING JEAN GREY’S PAIN
In 2005’s Phoenix – Endsong by Greg Pak and Greg Land, the Phoenix Force returned to Earth to claim Jean Grey as its host. It reanimated her from the dead but in the process, it put Logan through one of the most excruciating acts he’s ever had to commit. Jean, knowing the destruction she could cause as the Dark Phoenix again, begged him to kill her before she could become a threat.
Jean knew he loved her so much that he would make sure she didn’t live through the genocide she caused in the Dark Phoenix Saga, and as expected, he unsheathed his claws and impaled her. However, the Phoenix kept bringing her back to life! It took him six attempts to put her down. Fans would also recognize this sacrifice from Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, when Wolverine stabbed Jean to kill her evil persona.
13. MURDERING PROFESSOR XAVIER
In the Logan film, fans were introduced to X-24, a clone of Wolverine, which was basically what he was meant to be after Weapon X created him — a mindless killing machine. This was the beast Logan tried to contain his entire life because it represented him at his most primal, and it’s what drove his bloodthirsty berserker mode.
This dark reflection of Wolverine ended up finding the original, who was on the run with Professor Xavier and X-23 (Logan’s female clone). X-24 was ordered to eliminate the X-Men’s father figure in what was, in the end, a mercy killing (even if it wasn’t meant as such). Xavier was in bed, confessing that his mental breakdown actually killed the X-Men, but he didn’t realize it was X-24 who was approaching and not Wolverine. The clone put his fist to Xavier’s chest and popped his claws, stabbing him in the heart.
12. SLAUGHTERING HIS ILLEGITIMATE KIDS
The Mongrels were created by Jason Aaron and Renato Guedes back in 2011 to throw Wolverine’s personal life into disarray like never before. They were used by a mysterious group called the Red Right Hand to lure him in to one final and painful showdown. The team consisted of Shadowstalker, Fire Knives, Saw Fist, Gunhawk and Cannon Foot, and they all seemed to know quite a lot about Logan and his past.
Wolverine ended up killing all five attackers but their employers shockingly revealed these mercenaries were all his illegitimate kids from several relationships. That’s right Wolverine, you are the father! Or rather, were. This drove him into a rage but the group had already committed suicide in order to rob him of his vengeance. A distraught Wolverine was then left to bury the dead next to their respective mothers to gain some closure.
11. OFF WITH SABRETOOTH’S HEAD
Wolverine and Sabretooth have one of the most storied rivalries in all of comics but our hero set out to end this using the Muramasa sword. It negated healing factors and Wolverine gave it to Cyclops to use on him in case his berserker mode endangered the team. However, Cyclops gave it back to Wolverine after realizing the trauma Sabretooth inflicted all these years.
Wolverine went on to confront Sabretooth in the Canadian wilderness, giving his lifelong enemy a birthday gift by decapitating him and literally sending him to hell. It was just payback for all the lives he took from Wolverine over the years. However, this Sabretooth turned out to be a clone. The real Sabretooth would later end up joining the Avengers, but that still doesn’t make this moment any less sweeter. He deserved it!
10. APOCALYPTIC BERSERKER MODE
In Fox’s X-Men universe, we got hints from Bryan Singer, especially in X2, as to how Wolverine could be when he went into berserker mode, but the director decided to really cut him loose in X-Men: Apocalypse. Younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler had to rescue Mystique and the other X-Men from Colonel Stryker but in the process they ended up freeing Wolverine from his Weapon X chains.
He was in full berserker mode at this point and it actually pushed the limit of the film’s PG-13 rating as he went after all the guards at the facility, which helped the X-Men escape. Both parties went their separate ways but Fox added a soft retcon as Jean partially restored Logan’s memories before he rushed off into the wilderness. This scene left fans begging for an R-rated take on the character, which the Logan film would then deliver.
9. DISSECTING THE HULK
In Old Man Logan, it turns out that Bruce Banner was the villain Logan needed to kill. Banner was an evil and oversized version of the Hulk, who acted more or less like a southern crime boss. He ticked Logan off out of sheer boredom, which inspired his hillbilly grandkids (gamma-powered products of incest with She-Hulk) to take out Logan’s family.
Logan slaughtered the gang in return and it eventually came down to a final showdown where the mammoth-sized Banner actually ate Wolverine. However, using his claws, he cut Banner up from the inside and ended his reign of terror. Logan buried his family and actually took on a baby Hulk he found after the gory fight, only to find himself thrown into Marvel’s mainstream continuity at the end of Secret Wars.
8. KILLING HIS FATHER
In 2001, Marvel Comics — through writers like Paul Jenkins, Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas, and artists like Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove — put out Wolverine: Origin, which documented the untold history of Logan. It detailed him as being destined for violence and despair from the time he was born. His mother Elizabeth was married to the wealthy John Howlett but soon enough, the sickly James Howlett would uncover dark truths.
Elizabeth was having an affair with the groundsman Thomas Logan, hinted as Wolverine’s real father. When John confronted Thomas, the husband was killed with a shotgun, which led to James unleashing his claws for the first time and killing the elder Logan. This made a permanent enemy out of Thomas’ son Dog (patterned after Sabretooth) as James went on the run with a companion, Rose. This was the first murder that led to Wolverine’s memory and a life of fractured falsehoods.
7. MARIKO’S MERCY KILLING
Mariko Yashida is viewed by many as Logan’s one true love, even transcending his feelings for Jean Grey. She was part of the nefarious Yashida Clan in Japan but throughout all their trials and tribulations, she and Logan always found their way to each other, trying to make one another a better person. After a broken engagement, both were reacquainted and it seemed like happy days finally came… until Mariko got poisoned.
This was committed by a rival assassin called Reiko as part of a gang war and realizing she didn’t have much time, she begged Wolverine to kill her to spare the pain. He did so and while it ended her misery, it was tough to take because he literally killed off a rare chance at happiness, which he sought for so many years. Their love would later be explored in The Wolverine movie.
6. DROWNING HIS SON
Daken’s past is very tragic but he’s rarely done anything afterwards to make us feel sorry after him. Romulus, who manipulated Wolverine’s life throughout the entirety of its unnaturally long duration, had the Winter Soldier go after Wolverine’s wife Itsu. In the aftermath, Daken was taken from her womb and warped into a dark version of Wolverine, which culminated in him joining Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.
Daken ended up being a crime-lord in Los Angeles (and in the crosshairs of the Punisher), by which point Wolverine had had enough. Logan wanted to put his kid down himself and confronted him in a bloody battle, slashing and drowning him, while hallucinating the happy life they could have shared. The Apocalypse Twins would later resurrect Daken but honestly, he deserved this death after the turmoil he put Wolverine through.
5. MERCY KILLING A TEEN W.M.D.
In Ultimate X-Men #41 from Brian Bendis and David Finch, we were privy to a killing which, while not visually bloody, was very much gruesome in terms the gravity of its situation. It left fans super uncomfortable as Wolverine hunted a teen whose mutation upon puberty was to emit toxins that incinerated everyone near him. He killed over 200 people and Logan found him in a cave, hiding.
They chatted for a bit with the unnamed kid mentioning all the things he didn’t get to partake in, such as prom and losing his virginity. He knew Logan came to kill him and he did just that after drinking a beer with the kid. What made this so gut-wrenching was that Logan’s words hinted that he may have been sent by Professor Xavier, who was left with no choice in order to protect his species from the government.
4. SLICING UP A FROST GIANT
Marvel Legacy saw some familiar faces returning to the fold. Valeria and Franklin Richards hinted at the Fantastic Four coming back, but the biggest was Wolverine’s resurrection. He escaped his adamantium shell and stunned fans by running over one of Loki’s Frost Giant thugs with a truck. When the creature tried to fight him, it all ended with that famous sound effect, “SNIKT!”
Logan decapitated the monster and later, after drinking a couple beers, he placed one to chill in the chest cavity he carved out with his claws. It was darkly funny but showed he hadn’t lost his killer instinct at all. He made quick work of the Giant and then proceeded to extract what Loki sent his minions to gather — an Infinity Stone. We’re sure Wolverine will have a lot more killing to do now, as possessing a gem will make him a wanted man!
3. WOLVERINE KILLS THE KEY TO HIS ORIGINS
In Origin, Wolverine fled with Rose after the bloodbath that befell the Howlett family. His mother killed herself, her husband was dead and Wolverine also killed his biological dad. All of this will surely mess a kid up and Wolverine started to lose his memory while Rose documented it all in a diary, saved for the day he wanted to re-learn everything.
However, he was becoming more rabid as Rose fell in love with someone else, which pushed him to the edge. Resorting to cage-fighting to quell his anger, he eventually came face-to-face with Dog, the Sabretooth-esque individual hinted at being his half-brother. Logan nearly beat him to death. However, Rose fell in the way of his claws, impaling herself. This was the final nail in the coffin that sent Wolverine down his wild path, with her diary also never making its way to him after being burnt.
2. WOLVERINE KILLS ALL MARVEL’S VILLAINS
In the What If…? story from Tom DeFalco, Adam DeKraker and Andrew Pepoy, titled Horseman of War, Genesis re-bonded Wolverine’s adamantium back to his body and took him to Apocalypse, who made him his new Horseman, War. This proved to be a mistake because Wolverine slaughtered his maker and then turned his gaze to all the villains in the Marvel universe. No criminal he encountered was spared as he took his claws to the likes of Sinister, Sabretooth, Mystique, Arcade, Pyro, Juggernaut and Magneto.
His killing spree reached a fever pitch by then and such was his wrath that all the world’s heroes, including the Avengers, were united with one cause in mind — to stop War. Wolverine had become what he hated most but still proved evasive as the heroes didn’t realize he was hiding undercover as the peaceful monk, Brother Xavier.
1. WOLVERINE KILLS ALL MARVEL’S HEROES
In What If? Enemy of the State, Wolverine was brainwashed by HYDRA and the Hand to go after all of the Marvel universe’s heroes. He butchered the Fantastic Four, killed Luke Cage on national television and skewered Captain America. It took Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. everything they had but it boiled down to Kitty Pryde using her phasing powers to scramble his brain.
Prior to that, though, every hero fell to his claws, with Logan slicing and dicing Namor, Iron Man, Daredevil and Moon Knight en route to becoming the world’s number one terrorist. The Wolverine was literally an unstoppable one-man army and the way he killed Cap summed up how dangerous he was. He stabbed him through the head while taunting him about his dead sidekick, Bucky Barnes, rubbing way too much salt in the wound.
Let us know in the comments which of Wolverine’s kills you think are the most gruesome!
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