One of the most recognisable things about Wolverine’s character is his healing factor. It’s his primary mutant ability and he can recover from a variety of wounds. Some might assume that his healing factor makes him indestructible, but it’s important to note that Wolverine’s abilities don’t make him immortal. Many times he’s been pushed to the brink and here I take an in-depth look at Wolverine’s healing factor, including what he’s survived and what his limits are.
Wolverine’s healing factor regenerates damaged tissue rapidly. As a by-product, his abilities make him highly resistant to disease, toxins and drugs. But he can be incapacitated if his body is exposed to a large amount of substances at once. For example, S.H.I.E.L.D managed to knock Logan out by repeatedly pumping him with eighty millilitres of anaesthetic every minute.
It’s important to note that his healing factor doesn’t stop him from feeling pain. Wolverine has admitted to feeling phantom pain from injuries he healed from months or years ago. Every time he unsheathes his claws, they rip through his knuckles, causing more damage that his healing factor can repair, but not suppress.
Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton is a blessing and a curse. Although it makes him stronger, his healing factor constantly fights against metal poisoning. In Logan, the adamantium had eroded his ability to heal and he would have eventually died from being poisoned.
The speed of which he can heal has increased over the years. Wolverine has survived many violent situations, including being caught in an atomic explosion and having the adamantium ripped from his body by Magneto. During the former he was able to regenerate his body tissue within minutes. This process has been described as ‘adaptive self-healing.’ Every time Wolverine has endured massive trauma, his healing factor adapted to help him cope with greater amounts of damage.
Wolverine’s healing factor is powerful, but there are several ways he can be killed. For example, Wolverine had a katana forged out of a part of his soul called the Muramasa blade. The sword can nullify healing factors, being mystical in nature. He’s also vulnerable to an alloy called carbonadium and if it was lodged in his body then his healing would be slowed down.
Logan can be killed by drowning, as he’s not a strong swimmer and the weight of his adamantium bones make him heavier than a normal man. If held under water long enough then his healing factor would only prolong his agony.
In Wolverine Volume 3 #57, it was revealed that every time Logan died, his soul battled against Azrael, the Angel of Death. If he defeated Azrael then he came back to life. This deal was struck during World War One, where Wolverine defeated Azrael in the trenches. This deal was altered after Wolverine had been resurrected and brainwashed by the Hand. Azrael healed his soul, but the next time he died, it would be permanent.
Wolverine might be tough, but even he has weaknesses. It makes him more relatable and one of the most multi-layered mutants around.
What character’s powers would you like to see explored in-depth?