Hugh Jackman is nearing his final run as Wolverine in James Mangold’s Logan, releasing this March. It will be an emotional goodbye for the Australian actor, whose portrayed the Canadian mutant for the vast majority of his acting career. (17 years!) He’ll certainly be missed, but if 20th Century Fox chooses to continue with the character by recasting him, Jackman won’t interfere. Although the cinematic version of the character has been radically altered in many ways over the years, some things remained practically the same, such as the Ol’ Canucklehead’s healing factor.
He’s survived gunshots to the head, vaporization from the Dark Phoenix, countless battles with Magneto, as well as cerebral time-travel, yet he always comes out on top — and looking better than ever. But that doesn’t mean the character doesn’t have a set of weaknesses. No comic book character, not even Superman, is totally invulnerable. After all, he or she wouldn’t be an interesting character if nothing could defeat them. But if Wolverine can survive damn near everything the world as thrown at him, what are his weaknesses?
Here are 15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Wolverine Had.
15. Overloading his senses (e.g. Hulk’s Thunderclap)
Wolverine may not have as angry of a personality as the Hulk, but he’s certainly not somebody one would associate the word “zen” with either. That’s what makes him and the Hulk compatible to be friends. Still, when it comes to comic books, as seen by two of 2016’s biggest movies (Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War), even friends fight occasionally.
Over the years, Wolverine and Hulk have fought each other numerous times, but due to their brute strengths and healing abilities, it’s nearly impossible for one of them to kill the other. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before. In the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk storyline, written by LOST creator Damon Lindelof, Hulk eventually tears Wolverine in half.
However, if they ever find themselves in a fight, one of the best ways for Hulk to weaken Wolverine, albeit temporarily, is to overwhelm the Ol’ Canucklehead’s senses by using his Thunderclap. By slapping his hands together with all his might in front of Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk #340, Hulk almost kills the mutant by overwhelming his acute hearing senses.
14. Muramasa blade
Guns. Swords. Arrows. There aren’t many things in the world that can weaken Wolverine for longer than a few minutes. Conventional weapons can hurt him, as we’ve seen countless times in both the comics and the movies, but they cannot disrupt his ability to heal. However, there is one weapon that can: the Muramasa Blade.
The legendary Japanese swordsmith, Muramasa, constructed many blades during his time, but two of them were among his most lethal, and that’s because they were imbued with pieces of either his or someone else’s soul. The seemingly immortal swordsman constructed the first blade for himself, known as the Black Blade. Then, centuries later, he constructed another blade for Wolverine after his wife, Itsu, had been murdered by the Winter Soldier.
This blade, forged out of the Muramasa Sword, contained a piece of Logan’s soul. Its immense power doesn’t just apply to Wolverine’s enemies, but to himself as well. He once said to Captain America that the Muramasa Blade is “the only thing in the world that can put me down for good.”
When it comes to someone like Wolverine, his healing factor allows him to bounce back from just about anything. That doesn’t mean ordinary perils escape him, though. Simple things like drowning can harm him enough to disable him. The question is, can drowning kill him? Yes and no. One of the many beauties of Wolvie’s healing factors is that it can also repair organs, which extends to the brain. That means, despite suffering from hypoxemia, Logan’s brain stands a chance to repair itself.
Though it would be foolish to use the X-Men movie franchise as justification for a character’s capabilities, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Wolverine did drown in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, he didn’t stay dead, for when Mystique, posing as Col. Stryker, pulled him out of the water, he started breathing again. Yet, in the comics, Wolverine is more than capable of dying from drowning. In fact, in Wolverine: Weapon X #5, he says that he considers drowning to be the worst way to die.
Other than his rapid, seemingly unparalleled healing factor, Wolverine is known for his metal claws. During his time with the Weapon X program, Wolvie’s body was injected with Adamantium, one of the strongest metal alloys in the Marvel Universe. It is comparable to Marvel’s other metal alloy, Vibranium, which is what Captain America’s shield is made of. Without some form of magic or extraterrestrial weapon, both alloys are virtually impossible to destroy. That’s why Cap’s shield always protects him, and that’s why Wolvie’s claws never break.
However, there is one thing that can penetrate Adamantium: Anti-Metal. Also known as the Antarctic variety, Anti-Metal is a rare form of Vibranium from the Savage Land. Unlike other variations, Anti-Metal vibrates at a unique wavelength that, when it comes into contact with other metals, it causes them to break down and liquefy. Therefore, any type of weapon made of Anti-Metal can cause Wolverine’s Adamantium-coated bones to dissolve. Or, if someone simply poured Anti-Metal down Logan’s throat, he would literally break apart from the inside out.
11. Adamantium poisoning
For several years, there was a lot we didn’t know about Wolverine and how his mutant powers worked, or where his metal claws came from. In the ’90s, Magneto once removed the Adamantium from Wolverine’s system, thus revealing for the first time that Logan’s claws were actually bone; his skeleton was merely coated with Adamantium.
The reason the process only worked with Logan, at the time, is because his healing factor prevented the Adamantium transfusion from killing him. In X-Men Vol. 2 #191, Serafina claims that there are 13 Adamantium allotropes — “unstable, and short-lived, but virulently poisonous.” She demonstrates their effects by attaching a device to Wolverine’s claws, which gives him a taste of Adamantium nine, thereby incapacitating him.
Since Logan’s healing factor kept the metal’s poison at bay, when Magneto removed all of it from his body, his powers increased exponentially, furthering him into a more animalistic state. As it turns out, what made his bones and claws indestructible was actually what was hindering him from reaching his full potential.
In addition to Vibranium and Adamantium, which are the strongest metal alloys in the Marvel Universe, there is Carbonadium — arguably the third strongest alloy. It’s stronger than steel, as well as cheaper and more malleable than Adamantium, but it isn’t as strong nor as indestructible as Adamantium. The alloy first appeared in X-Men Vol 2. #4 in the early ’90s as a creation of the Soviet Union, which became synonymous with the X-Men villain Arkady Rossovich, aka Omega Red.
When it comes to building weapons, Carbonadium may not be the first thing people think of when considering levels of durability. However, the one thing Carbonadium has going for it is that it’s highly radioactive, and can, therefore, slow the accelerated healing abilities of mutants. That makes Carbonadium weapons, created with a Carbonadium Synthesizer, hazardous to Wolverine. For instance, Deadpool fans will remember the time in which the Merc With a Mouth decapitated Wolverine using a Carbonadium-laced sword, in Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #3. Speaking of which…
Can Wolverine die? That is a question that has plagued casual comic book readers and moviegoers for years. Thanks to 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, it appears that the Ol’ Canucklehead can survive virtually anything, even an Adamantium bullet to the head. And the comics aren’t much help on that front, either. Logan once bested starvation by eating his own limbs, only to have them grow back, thus endowing him with an endless supply of sustenance. But the fact is, Wolverine can definitely die, and Deadpool using a Carbonadium-laced sword to decapitate him is just one of the ways in which that can happen.
For anyone, including immortals, decapitation usually does the trick, even if their accelerated healing abilities permits them to survive everything else. According to the Xavier Protocols, a set of plans revealing the X-Men’s weaknesses, the best way to kill Wolverine would be to decapitate him, for attacking him head-on would be suicide. The protocols state, specifically, that “his head would have to be severed, and removed utterly from the vicinity of his body to prevent swift flesh and nerve regrowth.” It’s not enough to decapitate him; Logan’s head would need to remain far away from his body.
Love conquers all, as the old adage goes. To most characters, it remains just that, a phrase. But to Logan, sometimes he takes that phrase to heart. The fact is, James Howlett has lived a very long life, so it only makes sense that he’s also had several relationships, many of which didn’t end well.
Fans of the X-Men movies know that Logan has a soft spot for his fellow X-Men member, Jean Grey. That attraction extends to the comics, too, and though Jean was usually with Scott Summers, that didn’t stop Logan from pursuing her. He knew what he wanted, and that was the problem. She became a weakness for him; we see that unfold in the movies, but it also happened, from time to time, in the comics.
Some comic book readers consider Jean Grey to be the love of Logan’s life, but she wasn’t the only person he was smitten with. Wolverine has dated dozens of women over the years; he married some of them and even had kids! However, in the end, most of the women in his life end up leaving him or dying. He’s just not the sort of character that’s destined for a happy ending.
7. De-aging (or aging in general)
Beyond his traditional weaknesses, there are a wide variety of things that can befall Wolverine which would force his accelerated healing abilities to actually kill him, and one of those things is de-aging. Most people would presumably welcome de-aging if it meant they could live a little while longer, but not Logan. If he were to de-age, he wouldn’t live longer; he would die.
In Wolverine: Killing Made Simple, there is an extended scene in which Wolverine explains all the various ways he could die, and de-aging, though coveted by the rest of the world, would result in one of the most brutal deaths for Wolvie. As we know, Logan was born with bone claws that were coated with Adamantium later in life. So, if he were to de-age to say 13 years-old, the Adamantium would still be there.
In the comic, he says his metal bones wouldn’t de-age; “it’ll burst through my skin, dislodge my organs, and even if I live through that… then I’ll start to heal. My skin will grow apart from my bones, maybe through them. My brain will be too small; it’ll roll around in my skull.” He would die from the inside out.
6. Intense heat (like tossing him into the sun)
As seen in The Wolverine, as well as in a few comic story arcs, Wolverine has survived a nuclear blast or two in his day. If he could do that, then you might think he could presumably survive anything, but that’s not the case. In the comic Wolverine: Killing Made Simple, Logan admits that tossing him into the sun would likely kill him. After all, Magneto once attempted to do just that in the Planet X story arc from the early ’00s, when he sent Asteroid M hurtling toward the sun with Wolverine and Jean Grey aboard.
Although Logan ended up killing Jean so she could resurrect as the Phoenix and bring them back to safety, he said he could feel his flesh boiling off. According to him, there’s no way he could survive that. But the thing is, we’ve seen him survive countless other similar attacks, so while he wouldn’t survive being tossed into the sun, he should be able to survive something with the power of the sun (like a nuclear blast). It just would take him a long time to heal.
5. Viruses, pathogens, and cancer, according to science
Every now and then, scientists attempt to prove some ridiculous aspect of the comic book world, when in reality, virtually nothing related to comic books is feasible in the real world. In The Wolverine, Logan loses his healing factor after being poisoned by the Viper, so shortly after the film’s release, scientists postulated the various ways Wolverine could actually lose his ability to heal and die. And one of those ways is succumbing to cancer. Similar to Adamantium poisoning, if Logan were to lose his healing factor, science points to leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow, taking the Ol’ Canucklehead down.
Similarly, there are various viruses and pathogens that can affect Wolverine once his healing deteriorates. Or, in some cases, like Viper infecting Logan in The Wolverine, a virus can actually inhibit his ability to heal. For instance, during the Death of Wolverine story arc in 2014, particularly in Wolverine Vol. 5 #5, a virus from the microverse infects Wolverine and causes his mutant healing factor to degenerate, thus making him vulnerable to attack from his enemies.
When all the mutants in the world come together to take on an opposing force, they are virtually unstoppable. When one team consists of people who have a wide-ranging set of abilities, such as telepathy, teleportation, optic blasts, weather control, and more, you can take on anything and anyone. That’s why the X-Men required an enemy they couldn’t defeat, at least not easily. So, Marvel Comics created the Sentinels in the ’60s — large, purple-colored, mutant-hunting robots who can kill practically any mutant they come across, even Wolverine.
The original Sentinels were created by Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage in X-Men: Days of Future Past) whereas the various other generations of Sentinels were created by other supervillains, such as Stephen Lang, Sebastian Shaw, and Bastion. The different variants come equipped with various weapons and skill sets, though they are each a threat to the mutant race. As Wolverine tells it, Sentinels possess “energy and tech you wouldn’t believe; it can burn you right down to the bone. Then it burns the bone. Ain’t no coming back from that.”
3. Magnets and mutants who can control metal
Of all the people Logan has faced off against, perhaps his greatest enemy is the metal-controlling antihero (or is it anti-villain?) Magneto. It makes sense, after all, since Wolverine’s bones are coated with adamantium, a metal alloy, which means Magneto can control Wolvie’s body. If he were so inclined, Magneto could rip Logan’s metal bones right out of his body, and no form of accelerated healing could bring someone back from that.
We’ve seen Erik Lehnsherr manhandle Wolvie before, but the thing is, he can control any kind of metal. One time, in Ultimatum #5, Magneto used Cyclops’ optic blasts and Iron Man’s repulsors to reduce Wolverine to nothing but flesh and bone. Then, in his final act, Magento used his power to remove the Adamantium from Logan’s bones, essentially vaporizing him.
Magneto isn’t the only magnet-manipulating mutant in the Marvel Universe, though; there’s also Polaris, Xorn, and several others. Furthermore, one wouldn’t need to coerce a metal-controlling mutant to aid them in defeating Wolverine. Rather, all one needs is a strong enough magnet to immobilize and effectively incapacitate the feral mutant. As long as he has Adamantium in his system, he wouldn’t be able to move.
2. Reality benders
At this point, there are very few powers that haven’t been used in the comic book world. Nowadays, comics are teeming with characters who share abilities with one another, and one of the most powerful of them all is reality warping (or reality bending). Though wide-ranging, reality warping essentially allows someone to pervert, distort, and recreate reality in any way they see fit. If they so choose, they could will someone out of existence.
According to Logan, in the Wolverine: Killing Made Simple comic, those mutants could kill him and there would be nothing he could do about it. “Reality benders, they can turn me inside out and smear me across the landscape in the blink of an eye.” Sounds alarming, and it should be. Scarlet Witch has the power to warp reality, and on one occasion, she created a whole new world, dubbed House of M (retconned as Earth-58163), in which every character had their heart’s desire.
1. Healing factor burning out
By now it should be painfully obvious that Wolverine’s healing factor is all but unparalleled in the Marvel Universe. His enemies can weaken him, and occasionally even kill him, but there are few things that can actually harm him. Having said that, if his healing factor were to somehow burn out, and render him vulnerable, everything that wouldn’t normally affect him would suddenly become perilous to him. If you’re wondering if it’s ever happened before, the answer is: yes, it has, and it’s happened more than once.
As previously mentioned, in James Mangold’s The Wolverine, Viper infects Logan with a parasite that weakened his healing factor enough for bullets to come close to killing him. Then, in the Curse of the Mutants story arc, Cyclops injected Wolverine with nanites that could essentially turn Wolverine’s healing factor on and off instantaneously, which allowed him to either succumb to vampirism or overcome it (comics are weird). There are many instances in the comics-verse of Logan either losing his ability to heal or somehow ridding himself of the ability in an alternate universe.
What other shortcomings does Wolverine have? Let us know in the comments.