Adamantium is the secret sauce of Marvel Comics. Though Wolverine seems to have exclusive rights to the alloy, he is merely the most famous superhero to benefit from its power. First introduced by Roy Thomas and Barry Winsdor-Smith in the summer of 1969 (cue the Bryan Adams), adamantium has survived through the decades just as much as the characters who wield it.
From Ultron‘s outer shell to X-23’s toe claws, Captain America’s shield to Lady Deathstrike’s foot-long phalanges, adamantium is truly ubiquitous in the world of Marvel. The compound is virtually unbreakable, and when sharpened into a blade or claw-like form, it will tear through lesser substances like knives through butter. As the release of Logan approaches and we prepare to bid farewell to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, it’s time to meet the other characters who have dabbled with adamantium. X-23 isn’t the only one, and even Donald Pierce has witnessed the alloy’s immutable strength.
Here are the 15 Characters Who Use Adamantium (Other Than Wolverine).
In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were born of gods, raised by wolves, and nurtured to become the future founders of the Roman Empire. In the mythology of James Howlett Logan, Romulus is the puppeteer of his life. A villain of ancient origins, he is a world-class manipulator who not only ruled Rome but purportedly helped get the Weapon X project off the ground. He is the man responsible for turning Wolverine’s son, Daken, into a mass-murdering mutant with the metal of the Murasma blade bonded to his claws.
Romulus is arguably the most dangerous supervillain that wields adamantium. This seven-foot-tall, 300-pound beast’s skeleton is laced with it, and his four oversized claws are fortified by the nigh-unbreakable alloy. Not only does Romulus use adamantium to his advantage, but he is responsible for giving it to a number of other villains who have made Wolverine’s life a living hell.
Ultron is the first character in the Marvel Universe to display the almighty power of adamantium. Though Hank Pym’s mad science brought the robot into being, Dr. Myron MacLain is the granddaddy of the indestructible alloy. Having pioneered the substance during a moment of inspiration, MacLain proved so confident in his creation that he challenged the Avengers to try their best to destroy it. Though none of the heroes could break the adamantium, they were stunned when a mind-controlled Vision flew into the scene, stole the alloy, and swiftly delivered it to his boss, Ultron.
In Avengers #66-68, the robot gets the upgrade of a lifetime and becomes a virtually unbreakable machine. Thanks to the work of the Vision, Ultron gets his steel frame replaced with an entirely adamantium shell. To emphasize his newfound powers, he took on the new title “Ultimate Ultron” and set out to conquer the world.
13. Kraven the Hunter
Though he’s often preoccupied with bringing down Spider-Man, Kraven the Hunter would meet an even greater challenge in trying to track Wolverine. A hunter of the highest order, Kraven foregoes the rookie weapons of guns, crossbows, and arrows when bringing down his prey. Instead, he relies on his bare hands to do his dirty work — unless he finds himself in a truly precarious situation.
Only then will Kraven turn to his arsenal of deadly gadgets, like the blow dart he used to poison Peter Parker or the shatterproof spear he carries on every adventure. Our favorite web-crawler has seldom encountered the adamantium spear, however. That honor was recently reserved for Rocket Raccoon, who laid eyes on the weapon in the least likely of circumstances. While he walked past a truck muttering sweet nothings to himself, the metal side of the vehicle gets torn open by a massive blade. Rocket asks Kraven how that’s even possible before the hunter replies, “It is an adamantium blade.” Though Rocket has no idea what that means, he knows it isn’t good, and he promptly flees the scene yelling, “I will not die in my underwear!”
12. Captain America
The famed shield of Captain America consists of three key ingredients: Vibranium, steel, and a mysterious third component that many call “proto-Adamantium.” While Dr. Myron MacLain was hard at work in hopes of recapturing the power of Hercules’ Golden Mace, he merged vibranium with an unnamed alloy that made for a truly unstoppable combination. When MacLain took a long nap from his toil, the vibranium and the proto-Adamantium did a mating dance and formed the shape of a shield, the very thing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would later give to Captain America for his protection on the frontlines.
Though this interpretation of the shield’s special sauce may be apocryphal, Steve Rogers would later wield an entirely-adamantium shield under the title of “The Captain.” Tony Stark gifted the shield to his old friend, but when they fell into conflict during the Armor Wars, Cap relinquished the shield and went back to vibranium.
It’s one thing to create a revolutionary substance, but it’s another to do know how to exploit it. Though Dr. Myron MacLain deserves full credit for the accidental invention of adamantium, Lord Dark Wind patented the means of bonding it to the body. When Bullseye suffered a devastating loss to Daredevil and fell onto his back from a skyscraper, he was in need of drastic help. His spine was shattered, his back was broken, and his assassin career seemed to be dead in the water.
Lord Dark Wind approached the paralyzed killer with a devil’s deal. Should Bullseye agree to work under the command of the Japanese kingpin, Dark Wind promised to rebuild his spine with adamantium and make him stronger than ever. Though Bullseye initially agreed to the terms, he felt so good after the surgery that he bailed on the bargain and returned to New York City with a full head of steam.
10. Major Victory
There’s more adamantium in this big fella than anyone else. Not only does he have a suit forged with the unholy alloy, but he also carries Captain America’s shield exclusively for bragging rights. His name is Major Victory, after all, which is definitely the name Charlie Sheen would choose if he were in the Marvel Universe.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Major Victory, of course, and he started his career as Mr. Vance Astro. Though his desire to capture Captain America’s shield existed from the beginning, he fought alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy without the help of adamantium. After getting injured in a space fight (that caused his centuries of preserved aging to catch up), he required an adamantium cast to preserve his wound and survive. Later, after acquiring Captain America’s prized weapon, Vance got a full-body adamantium suit to match the shield. When he got shot by a Dragonite bullet, however, the adamantium containment suit shattered, forcing him to abandon it altogether. In his reemergence, Astro grabbed Cap’s shield and declared himself, “I am Major Victory of the Guardians of the Galaxy! Please, can somebody tell me when I am?” Sure, but we’re gonna need to get you a drink first.
However violent and reckless he may be, Daken doesn’t necessarily fight without principle. Though he benefits from his heightened animalistic senses, superhuman healing powers, and the same retractable claws as his father Wolverine, he draws the line at becoming an all-adamantium animal. Though he fights without an adamantium skeleton, Daken gets his hands on a shard of Logan’s shattered Murasma blade and employs The Tinkerer to fuse it with his claws. He even gets adamantium-coated sheaths to protect both his weapons and himself from the alloy’s toxicity, given the rest of his body doesn’t support adamantium.
Thanks to the lighter minor amounts of the alloy in his system, Daken lighter on his feet and even faster than his father. Though he has proven capable of fighting Wolverine, he ultimately succumbs to his progenitor in the most gruesome of ways: slashing, stabbing, and ultimately, drowning in an inch-deep puddle of grimy water.
For Sabretooth, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship with adamantium. He has fought through much of his career without the helpful alloy, but on the few occasions when his skeleton and claws were fortified with it, he became a nearly unstoppable killing machine. The team at Weapon X aren’t easily disturbed, but even they were revolted by Sabretooth’s relentless pursuit of vengeance. Though they had hired him to do their dirty work and given him an all-adamantium structure, they rejected his bloody approach to “business.”
Later, Sabretooth would temporarily lose his adamantium when Wolverine beat him in a duel. Apocalypse had arranged the grudge match to identify which of the beasts should become his next Horseman, and when Logan won the day, all of Sabretooth’s adamantium was ripped from his body. Wolverine has been victim to this same mode of torture (courtesy of Magneto), and it is said to be the most excruciating process imaginable. With or without the compound, however, Sabretooth remains a clear and present danger to virtually everyone around him.
Like Kraven the Hunter, Hammerhead is best known for his attacks against Spider-Man. The top-heavy villain has perhaps the most barbaric fighting style all, relying on his Frankenstein-sized head to charge opponents like a battering ram. Though it’s unclear what substance comprised Hammerhead’s skull, most believe it’s an early model of adamantium.
While in prison for his mix-up in the mob, Hammerhead survived an assassination attempt by Underworld, who snuck into his cell at the behest of Wilson Fisk. Underworld blasted Hammerhead execution style, sending adamantium bullets right at his noggin. Though they didn’t lodge in his skull, the gunshot wounds required immediate surgery at the local hospital. Halfway through the operation, the regular doctors were replaced with Mr. Negative’s henchmen, who killed the emergency room staff, kidnapped Hammerhead, and had their own doctor (encouragingly named Doctor Tramma) give him an all-adamantium skeleton. Hammerhead quickly became the most fearsome-looking mobster in all of New York City.
6. Lady Deathstrike
As the daughter of Lord Dark Wind, the Einstein of adamantium-bonding, Yuriko Oyama was destined for a future of technological upgrades. Having despised her father for instigating the deaths of her brothers, she slaughtered Lord Dark Wind in an act of revenge.
It didn’t take long for Yuriko to regret her actions and understand the twisted brilliance of her father’s ways. Adamantium was his legacy, and to reassemble his research, Yuriko dedicated herself to finding Wolverine’s superhuman skeleton. Though she failed to track down Logan, Yuriko wandered into Spiral’s body shop and turned herself into an alloy-assisted assassin. Yuriko then bade farewell to her old identity as she merged into the cyborg Lady Deathstrike, outfitted with five 12-inch-long adamantium claws on each hand (capable of extending up to two feet for special occasions). By teaming up with Donald Pierce, Lady Deathstrike would become an even more dangerous foe as she fought alongside the Reavers, aka the villains of Logan.
The secondary star of Logan and the heir to his throne, X-23 is a clone of Wolverine’s genetic material. Though armed with her father’s mutant abilities, she only has two claws per hand. As with Wolverine, her origins were brutal, painful, and filled with torture. During her stay in the Weapon X project, she was repeatedly subjected to an onslaught of radiation to trigger her mutant gene. While her natural-born claws were initially made of bone, Zander Rice extracted them by barbaric means and reinserted them with an adamantium coating. In addition to her dual claws, X-23 has retractable barbs in each of her feet (which were also removed and retrofitted with adamantium), making her a killing machine from head to toe.
With the protection of adamantium at her disposal, X-23 inherited a three-dimensional sense of smell. When the scent-switch gets flipped, X-23 goes into a killing frenzy that makes Wolverine’s berserker rage look gentle.
4. Donald Pierce
Donald Pierce is a contradiction. He’s a man, but he’s also part machine; he hunts mutants, yet he is a cyborg; he hates outsiders, yet he also seems to hate himself. As the titular head of the Reavers, Pierce works with Lady Deathstrike to bring ruin to mutants across the globe. He and his cohorts are all cybernetically augmented beings and pose a significant threat to the X-Men, especially Wolverine and Professor Xavier, as Logan will undoubtedly explore.
Though Donald Pierce isn’t exactly a household name villain, even fewer people know that he has dabbled with adamantium. He used it in a state of total desperation. Never one to avoid a fight, Pierce once entered a battle with Cable that left him nearly paralyzed. Familiar with the tricks used to enhance Lady Deathstrike, Pierce stole adamantium from Khyber’s stockpile and used it to restore his cyborg body. Before he could fully his upgrades, Khyber caught on to Pierce’s chicanery and easily defeated him, ripping off his victim’s cybernetic arm as a trophy of war.
No one overdosed on adamantium more than Cyber. His introduction in Marvel Comics Presents #85 positioned him as an assassin hellbent on hunting the Wolverine. In their first fight, Cyber succeeded in humiliating Logan and blinding him in one eye. Wolverine wouldn’t get revenge for many years, and in the interim, Romulus hired Cyber to train Daken and turn him into an even meaner version of his father.
As for Cyber’s metahuman enhancements, the villain was born with a bevy of preternatural gifts. When he cozied up to Romulus, however, Cyber’s interest in upgrades went from dabbling in Botox to full-on plastic surgery. Literally. Cyber had adamantium-laced skin grafted onto his entire skeleton, melded into his musculature, and added adamantium claws into his knuckles for good measure. Like Bane to Batman, Cyber was truly a hulking villain designed to dwarf the Wolverine. If it weren’t for an ill-fated heart attack that burst his aorta, Cyber would surely have won the day.
2. The Russian
Frank Castle’s murder of The Russian ranks among the most ridiculous deaths in all of comics. Though the over-sized Soviet dominated much of the fight, the Punisher killed him by suffocating him under the blubber of a severely obese individual named Mr. Bumpo. Like the many incarnations of the Russian government, the villain would live to see another day. General Kreigkopf swooped into save the corpse of his comrade, and though his intentions initially seemed above board, it became clear that the Russian was about to become a Frankenstein.
Through a twisted blend of hormone therapy, animal guts, and a brand-new adamantium skeleton, the Russian went from muscle-man to a sexless war machine with a new pair of breasts. When he wasn’t busy showboating his new assets, his nearly unbreakable frame was being put to the test. The only thing that would bring him down? Getting tied to a nuclear bomb and dropped over a distant island, all thanks to Frank Castle.
1. Doc Ock
The superheroes and supervillains who have defeated the Hulk are in an elite club. One such member is Otto Octavius, who used his mechanical form of Doc Ock took to take Ol’ Jade Jaws to the one yard-line of life. What allowed the tentacled mad scientist to achieve victory? His adamantium robo-arms, of course, which also once ripped open Iron Man’s not-so-indestructible power suit. As legend has it, Tony Stark was so devastated by the loss that he fell into a pit of despair and relapsed into alcoholism.
Winning wasn’t always so easy for Doc Ock, however, and he was forced to work his way up to using adamantium. It all started when his lab exploded and inadvertently attached his tentacle harness to his body. The professor became one with his creation: part man, part monster, entirely dangerous. Though his first set of arms was comprised of titanium, his sophomore harness was made of adamantium, the key to turning Doc Ock into a truly noteworthy threat.
What other characters use adamantium? Let us know in the comments
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