With Wolverine being one of the most popular characters not just from the X-Men, but from comic books in general, you probably feel like you know him pretty well by this point. We’ve seen everything from his origin story all the way up to possible futures where he is one of the last remaining mutants. Even if you’re just a fan of Logan’s through the X-Men movies, everyone has seen so much of him by now that it’s hard to imagine he could have many surprises left.
Wolverine’s powers look pretty simple at first — he slices things with his claws, and he can heal super quick from his wounds. But he actually does have some other lesser known abilities, as well as some powers that either didn’t wind up sticking around or existed in alternate continuities. So let’s check out what else Logan can accomplish when he’s not into slashing things up, and get into 15 Powers You Didn’t Know Wolverine Had.
15. THE PHOENIX FORCE
Wolverine and Spider-Man have teamed up or faced off against each other tons of times by now. So it takes something really extraordinary to make their adventures stand out at this point. The comic series “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine” definitely attempted this across its several-issue arc. For one, the two heroes were thrust into a story that saw them flung into all kinds of different realities thanks to the world-bending abilities of the villain Mojo. And then a second big impact came at the tail end of the series in issue #5, when Wolverine tapped into the Phoenix Force.
Everyone is already quite familiar with what Jean Grey was able to do with this power, and several other X-Men have been taken over by this power as well. But seeing Wolverine ready to roast everyone around him in flames was something to behold. Fortunately, Spidey’s big part in this was proving cooler heads prevail by talking Logan back to his senses before the world wound up a bit more crispy.
14. A SYMBIOTE SUIT
Though Wolverine bonding with a symbiote was making the rounds in comic news lately, that’s actually not something unprecedented for Logan. If you want a pretty clear picture of what happens when Wolverine gets latched onto by one of the aliens, you can go back nearly a decade to Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. In the game we initially see Logan trying to help Spider-Man contain the symbiotes, but instead he winds up providing a very dangerous host for one of the aliens.
This gives Spider-Man a deadly new enemy to fight, as if Wolverine wasn’t already dangerous enough. With the symbiote on him, Logan has all of his preexisting abilities enhanced, but also gains the typical advantages of wearing the suit, including being able to morph it into different weapons. This brainwashed version of Logan uses the symbiote as an armor, repelling attacks by encasing himself in spikes. Though with the mind-altering side effect of the symbiote, Logan was pretty grateful when Spider-Man got it off him.
Becoming a vampire might not sound like a desirable power, but it’s typically not something people have a choice in. That was especially true in the “Curse of the Mutants” storyline that saw a bunch of different vampire clans trying to find a way to overcome their vulnerability to sunlight. This eventually led to a clash between the clans and a new leader trying to take over. The X-Men got involved in this after the vampires unleashed a virus that started putting innocent people under their control, including Jubilee.
As the rest of the X-Men moved in to attack the vampires at their base and save Jubilee, she wound up biting Wolverine and converting him into a blood sucker. We’ve seen the kind of advantages vampirism can have on various characters, including enhanced strength and speed, so it might initially sound like a perk. But it also left Wolverine under the control of the vampire leader. Fortunately, his healing factor soon booted the disease out of him and restored Logan back to his typical mutant self.
12. THE POWERS OF APOCALYPSE
The Wolverine of Earth 295 is a great example that getting new powers is not always a good thing. The X-Men of this world had already dealt with Apocalypse and thought the worst was over, when the alien race known as the Celestials paid a visit. Wolverine (or Weapon X as he went by in this timeline) went to deal with the threat at their spaceship. To keep the Celestials from destroying the Earth, Weapon X offered himself up for their use instead. The Celestials accepted, transforming him into the heir of Apocalypse now known as Weapon Omega.
While this version of Logan undoubtedly had his power enhanced, it also turned him into an unwilling tool of the Celestials. Weapon Omega exhibited many of the same powers as Apocalypse, but also that same intent on wiping out humanity, as well as any mutant that tried to stop him. Being able to teleport and be all powerful doesn’t sound so great when becoming a machine for genocide is part of the deal.
11. NIGHT VISION
The obvious reason Logan gained the moniker of “Wolverine” is because of his claws, but that isn’t the only resemblance to an animal that he shares. Wildlife are distinct not only because of possessing natural ways to defend themselves, but also because of acute traits for surviving in the wilderness. So what kind of a predator would an animal like a wolverine be if it lost its prey in the dark?
It doesn’t get mentioned as often as the flashy and dangerous metal claws he possesses, but Wolverine does indeed have night vision as well. His eyesight in general is actually excellent, putting him at an advantage even during the day. But come nightfall, he’s still able to find his way around in the dark. So whether he’s on the hunt or looking for a place of refuge, Logan has an advantage when the lights go out.
10. ENERGY CLAWS
Have you ever wondered what some classic superheroes would look like with more of a Japanese influence on them? If so, Marvel hooked you up with at manga versions of the X-Men. The appropriately dubbed Marvel Mangaverse gave an alternate look at numerous members of the X-Men, providing them with new outfits and in some cases new explanations for their powers. Logan was a particular stand-out in this regard since now the entire explanation behind his claws had changed.
In this continuity, Logan initially loses one of his hands and has to resort to an artificial replacement. Since he obviously couldn’t propel natural claws out of a hand that wasn’t an organic part of his body, he was instead given energy claws that shot out. While they perhaps were not as practical as metal ones, the new claws did have the advantage of giving Logan some pretty cool looking weapons. Basically having lightsaber claws is pretty hard to get upset about, even with the loss of the hand.
9. DISEASE IMMUNITY
Everyone knows Logan can recover from physical wounds, though the degree to which he’s able to do this varies pretty heavily depending on the story. Some iterations just see his healing process accelerated to where his wounds will close in a few hours, while others have him healing so rapidly that his injuries will close up right before your eyes. But something that doesn’t get much mention is that Logan’s healing also effects his immune system
Not only is poison not going to be enough to defeat Logan, but even natural diseases can’t take him down. Heart disease? HIV? Cancer? These are just minor setbacks like a common cold. So, no sick days for this superhero. He’s always going to be in top shape and not have any surprises come time for his yearly physical.
8. HULK’S POWERS
With this one, you might immediately think we’re talking about the Hulk and Wolverine hybrid that has been making news in the comic book world lately. But we don’t have to go with a speculative character to find an example of the two heroes seeing their powers converge. In the story of “Exiles” we’re given a look at a ton of alternate versions of Wolverine, starting in issue #85.
Thanks to Brother Mutant, this story featured many different Wolverines from all kinds of worlds crossing paths. This was particularly notable since a lot of the Wolverines had clearly become their world’s version of another hero, such as one Wolverine who was decked out as Black Panther. The Hulk version of Wolverine unfortunately didn’t get to have some big, cool moment, but he was the focal point of one panel. And with the Jade Giant and Logan getting mixed up again currently, this particular version of Wolverine is definitely worth acknowledging.
7. SCENT TRACKING
We’ve already talked about Wolverine’s animal-like vision, but he’s also got the nose of one of his four-legged counterparts. You might think super sniffing is a silly power, but Logan has actually had it come in handy on occasion. For one thing, it makes him even better at tracking his adversaries since the world is a lot smellier than us normal humans would like to think. People don’t realize just how pungent they are until they have had the stereotypical police dogs trailing them — or in this case, an angry Canadian with a metal skeleton.
Scent tracking is also useful in close quarters. Someone like Nightcrawler likes to hide in the dark, but he won’t be able to mask his scent just by hiding in the rafters, especially since the teleporting mutant leaves behind a signature brimstone odor whenever he vanishes. And then you have someone like Mystique who likes to adopt the appearances of other people. But she can change her look as much as she wants, that still isn’t going to change her own unique odor.
6. DEADPOOL’S POWERS
We have already talked about how Wolverine got a taste of the Hulk’s powers in the “Exiles” series, but another name worth pointing out that Wolverine was bonded with was Deadpool. We’re obviously not going to name every hero one of the alternate Wolverines got to become since that would be a really boring way to run down Logan’s powers, and we want to keep these entries as diverse as possible. But Deadpool is worth mentioning because of how much of a bond he and Logan already shared.
Deadpool is essentially a demented version of Wolverine without the claws, so having them mashed up into another world’s official Wolverine makes sense. They have so many buddy adventures in Marvel’s main timeline that they seem like a natural fit to blend into one person. With natural claws, this version of Wolverine has a good advantage over plain old Deadpool, plus instills the typically grouchy Logan with a sense of humor. Unfortunately we don’t actually get to see this version of Wolverine make any wise cracks, but what a visual!
5. ANIMAL EMPATHY
With all the animal traits we have already discussed about Wolverine, his connection with four-legged creatures is pretty clear. So it should not come as too much of a surprise that he can even communicate with them to a small extent. He can’t go straight up Eliza from the Wild Thornberries and just start talking out family problems with a random squirrel, but he does have more of an affinity with animals than the basic person.
A lot of guys with the rough exterior like Logan tend to have a soft spot for animals, so it definitely fits that Wolverine would get along with nature. He can sense the moods of animals, and can make them understand his intent well enough to calm them and help them see he doesn’t mean them harm. Of course, Wolverine also is the kind of guy who wouldn’t have an issue with hunting a deer for food, so maybe the animals shouldn’t get too friendly with him in case he’s feeling hungry.
We’ve talked about Wolverine’s other animalistic traits, but in Earth 7085, there’s no more beating around the bush—Wolverine just straight up becomes an animal. Now, Wolverine has devolved into a more feral state before, but not to this magnitude. It might look cool to see him actually become a werewolf, but the toll on his mind makes it hard to call this a worthwhile power to gain. Without his humanity, Wolverine becomes so vicious and savage that he and the other werewolves become the scourge of the world.
In addition to all the typical powers Wolverine normally possesses, in this form he’s also stronger and gains some deadly looking teeth (in case his claws weren’t enough). You might think that wouldn’t make much of a difference, but it’s enough for Logan and his fellow beasts to leave the world in peril. They even wind up devouring the extremely powerful Galactus.
3. EXTENDED LIFESPAN
We already mentioned how Wolverine became a vampire for a bit before, and one of the big benefits of vampirism is the whole not dying thing. But Wolverine might not actually be that concerned about that particular trait since he already has it pretty good with his lifespan. We typically don’t question why comic book characters never seem to age much since the passage of time gets turned back pretty frequently for superheroes so we can keep getting stories. Wolverine actually has an excuse for his youthful looks, though, since his healing factor also causes him to age very slowly.
It does make sense, what with Logan’s healing abilities repairing damage to his body, and your cells dying off and leading to old age is definitely damaging. But just to be clear, Logan definitely is not immortal. Look no further than the movie Logan to see that Wolverine’s abilities and his youth don’t last forever. Still, Logan has been around to see a lot. He’s had clashes going all the way back to World War II, and there have been numerous stories that have seen him outliving almost all of mutantkind.
2. TELEPATHIC RESISTANCE
This is another side effect of Logan’s healing that isn’t as obvious, but is also quite useful. We’ve seen plenty of times that mutants with psychic abilities are often some of the most dangerous ones in the world. Professor X isn’t very physically intimidating, but he has used his mind to debilitate some of the most physically devastating mutants out there. And Jean Grey’s powers are quite famous as evidenced by how simply mentioning the Dark Phoenix conjures up images of one of the most iconic stories in comics.
Suffice it to say, Wolverine can’t do the kind of damage a telepath mutant can. That being said, he does have one advantage against these kinds of mutants because his healing ability also extends to his brain. So any foreign or hostile forces attempting to infiltrate Logan’s mind are going to find it a bit more of a challenge than when dealing with most other mutants.
1. ZOMBIFICATION/THE POWER COSMIC
This entry is actually a two-for-one since Wolverine gained both of them at pretty much the same time. There are more than a few times when entire comic book worlds have devolved into zombies, so we actually have to get a bit more specific here and state that this was Wolverine of Earth 2149. During this particular bout of zombification, heroes and villains alike aligned to combat them. Unfortunately for Wolverine, he was an early victim of them, and even his healing factor couldn’t undo him turning into a rotting zombie.
The aspect of rotting actually made this power into a weakness at first, since Wolverine’s body was decaying so badly that when he tries to use his claws they rip right out of his dead flesh. Luckily, Wolverine and his zombie buddies were still overwhelming enough to take down the Silver Surfer, gaining the Power Cosmic after devouring the hero. So now Wolverine was a zombie who could travel through space. Oh, and just like when he was a werewolf, Wolverine and his friends ate Galactus.
What other abilities does Logan have that are often overlooked? Let us know in the comments!
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