Original source : http://whatculture.com
Author : Tom Baker
Author : Tom Baker
He’s the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice. Wait, what are we talking about? We’re not sure, because Wolverine has gotten up to all sorts of nasty business in both his comic book and on-screen incarnations. He’s killed a lot of people, that’s for sure, and continues to do so. We reckon he has a bit of a sordid sexual history, concealed only by PG-13 ratings. The other thing Logan’s known for is being impossible to kill himself, despite the high number of people who’ve tried – probably a lot of the same people he eventually ends up sticking with his own infamous claws – and inevitably failed. Owing to a skeleton reinforced with a made-up metal and a healing factor that lets him recover from most wounds, Wolverine is all but indestructible.
Which is why everyone’s got in such a tizzy about Marvel’s announcement that they’re killing off their cash cow. Used to be that Logan was the premier mutant of their vast comic book universe, to the point that his ubiquity (he was on every X-related team and various Avengers, whilst having solo adventures and guest starring in random other titles, all at once for a while) became a bit of a running joke, off and on the page. When better to go out than on top? That’s the premise behind next month’s aptly name Death Of Wolverine crossover, which will see the ole’ canucklehead properly dead and buried for the first time. Because he’s had his healing factor taken away, y’see, and that was pretty vital to the whole “indestructible” thing that he’s the best at.
Well, as a matter of fact Logan might not quite be the best there is at what he does after all. We’re not quibbling with the killing, or people trying to kill him, but with his supposed immortality. The big hook of this event is he’s never been killed before – except he totally has. A bunch of times, actually. In fact, even for a genre well known for treating the concept with little to no respect, Wolverine has died and been brought back more than most superheroes. To the point that we actually had to pick and choose in order to put together this list of ten times Wolverine has died. Bit morbid, like.
10. Killed By Dust
How he died: We’ve denigrated Young X-Man Dust in the past – and we stand by the opinion that her powers are a little silly – but that’s not to say she’s a complete write-off. Introduced during Grant Morrison’s run on the New X-Men title, Sooraya Qadir was an Afghani mutant rescued by Wolverine and Fantomex from a slave owner. Well, we say rescued, she manages things pretty well on her own by turning into sand and flaying him alive. She did the same to Logan himself during the apocalyptic “End Of Days” flashforward that ended the brief Young X-Men series, where she’s the sole survivor of a mutant colony called “Xaviera” and had decided that her kind are a plague upon the Earth, murdering Wolverine in cold blood alongside Emma Frost and team mate Graymalkin. Pretty harsh.
How he came back: He didn’t but, technically, this was just a flash forward at a possible future for the X-Men. One that involved Dust having the power to explode as well as turn into a breeze full of sand, which was pretty badass. She and Wolverine have been on much better terms in the present day, as Sooraya chose to join his team during the Schism storyline (which is long and complex and not worth getting into right now) and later dropping out to live on mutant space colony Utopia, as a recruit with the X-Men Street Team, with Logan’s blessing. Aw, all well that ends well. So long as she doesn’t go off him again in the future, anyway…
9. Electrocuted By The Punisher
How he died: You’ve probably got a good idea of what happens in Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe by the title. Rather than losing his wife and children to a gang war in Central Park, inspiring a lifelong murderous crusade against New York’s criminal underworld, Frank Castle’s family are ripped apart in the middle of a superhero battle. He immediately gets revenge on X-Men Cyclops and Jubilee, escapes from imprisonment and goes on a rampage, gunning down every metahuman in his way. After dispatching the majority of the big X-Men characters by sending a nuke to the moon he comes across a drunk, grief-stricken Wolverine in an alleyway, stabs him with his own claws, and chucks him onto a electricity pylon, where Logan is fried to death.
How he came back: Again, technically, Wolverine never makes it back from this one. Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe is an alternate reality-type-deal, which means nothing that happens in it has any consequences for your regular Marvel comic books. Which is good, since over the course of the story he not only murders Wolverine and most of the X-Men but he also shoots Spider-Man in the head, beats Dr Doom to death with a sledgehammer, stabs Daredevil in the chest, and then finishes himself off with a shotgun. There’s basically no superheroes left at the end of the issue, but presumably still plenty of supervillains. Nice going, Frank. Jerk.
8. Adamantium Ripped From His Bones
How he died: The Ultimate universe was supposed to be a different kind of comic book. With Marvel seeing an influx of new readers with their movie adaptations hitting big at the cinemas, they decided to produce a new line without the decades of back story needed to understand their mainstream titles, whilst also updating their characters for a modern audience. Which mainly meant making everyone younger, sexier, and more violent. The latter criteria culminated in the Ultimatum crossover where most superheroes in the universe got killed off by a vengeful Magneto, who boasted he would unmake the world in four days rather than the forty days and forty nights God took. Amongst that unmaking involved forcing Cyclops and Iron Man to cook Wolverine alive with their energy beams whilst Magneto himself ripped out that adamanitum skeleton with his control over metal, meaning there was no way for Logan to heal himself back.
How he came back: He didn’t. Following this crossover the Ultimate universe is sparsely populated, with not many recognisable faces left around. Ultimate Spider-Man is now half-black, half-Latino tween Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker, the Fantastic Four have way more than four members (and one of them’s Dr Doom), and the X-Men just plain stopped existing. Which might be for the best, because Ultimate Wolverine was a bit of a douche. Even more so than his regular incarnation, he was a randy little so-and-so who was originally hired by Magneto to assassinate Professor Xavier. Then he slept with Jean Grey, fell for her, and defected from the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants to the X-Men. Which might have had something to do with the unseemly end that befell him.
7. Gutted By Beast
How he died: Hey, we’re back with Grant Morrison again! One of the other big concepts the writer introduced was yet another potential dystopian future for the X-Men; this time, during the Here Comes Tomorrow arc, the team collapsed in on itself after another of Jean Grey’s deaths (she’s fond of those), Beast was taken over by an ancient evil called Sublime and reduced the entire planet to rubble in pursuit of the ultimate power – the Phoenix Force. Skipping 150 years into the future, we catch up with Wolverine – not looking any different – teamed up with a new team of X-Men, launching a last-ditch attack against this evil Beast in order to stop him from totally decimating the remaining pockets of mutantkind on Earth. Which unfortunately doesn’t work, as Sublime/Beast switches off his healing factor and then guts him, leaving him to die slowly.
How he came back: We say it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work out for Logan. Well, for Future Logan anyway, which we’re mostly okay with, since the cowboy hat he’d taken to wearing wasn’t really to our taste. At the very end of the story arc the resurrected Jean Grey (in the form of the Phoenix), whom Beast thought he was controlling, decided to fix everything. She exorcised her friend of the nefarious Sublime, hoped out of the timeline and sent a message back to the past, to the exact moment Cyclops stopped caring about saving the world and everything went wrong: she told him not to give up, but to live! Which he did. By banging Emma Frost a lot. Which Wolverine later though was disrespectful to the memory of Jean, but it meant he didn’t die in the future, so what’s he complaining about?
6. Devoured By Zombies
How he died: Now this one is a little less obvious. During the first Marvel Zombies series Logan is definitely amongst the hoards of superheroic undead who have all but picked the planet clean, having devoured the majority of both the human and metahuman population (except for the Black Panther, who Hank Pym has kept alive and is slowly snacking on, because live flesh is so much nicer than dead and supplies are running low). As far as comic book apocalypses – and especially apocalypses involving the X-Men – go, it’s especially horrific. How exactly did Wolverine end up a zombie, though? Surely that doesn’t make any sense? We know we’ve been out to disprove this fact with the whole premise of this article, but part of his deal is that he can’t die. Amongst other things, his healing factor should be able to fight off something like a reanimating virus. He’d definitely be able to deal with being munched on by his undead comrades, since he’s recovered from worse than a few nibbles about his person. Turns out his mutant powers weren’t quite up to the challenge of Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and a handful of other zombies all biting him at once, though.
How he came back: Because of the zombie virus, duh. Unfortunately his healing factor abandons him completely once he comes back from the dead, meaning that when he loses a limb in this ghoulish form – as so often happens to the undead, something which doesn’t have nearly as much awareness raised as it should – it’s gone for good. No lizard tail-style regrowing for your bits and bobs now, Wolvie, as he discovers in the first Marvel Zombies series where an arm gets lopped off and never returns. He does, however, achieve some pretty impressive cosmic powers as the result of chowing down on space-based superhero the Silver Surfer. Logan and the rest of the zombies then set off into the great black beyond themselves, where he gets a sweet new cybernetic arm and the whole gang manages to eat every living thing in existence. From there they discover the ability to hope between other dimensions, which is how the rag-tag gang of slowly decomposing Marvel heroes manages to keep going. Wolverine included who, as of the most recent series, is alive and well! Or, undead and loving it.
5. Killed By Storm
How he died: Chris Claremont has always had it in for Wolverine. The writer penned the majority of the character’s most iconic storylines – including that eighties miniseries illustrated by Frank Miller, and various X-Men arcs including The Dark Phoenix Saga and another we’ll mention later – and yet he had originally intended to kill Logan off just sixteen issues after his introduction, only for the “Powers That Be” to veto the idea. Still, when Claremont finally got the chance to tell an out-of-continuity story years later with the X-Men Forever series, he hinted at his original plans for Wolverine. Namely, that he would get killed off by the team’s resident weather goddess Storm. It turns out that this isn’t the actual Storm but – deep breath, prepare for some ludicrous amounts of superhero comic book logic – is a clone designed to infiltrate and destroy the X-Men from the inside, however she was driven insane when she accidentally absorbed part of the twisted psyche of the villainous Shadow King. And that’s why she decided to shoot lighting bolts into Wolverine’s chest until his heart stopped beating. Way harsh.
How he came back: Once more, with feeling! He didn’t. This was an alternate reality, after all, created especially so Claremont could wrap up all the storylines he’d planned but never got to finish when he quite the main X-Men title in the early nineties. Which, amongst other things, involves Wolverine and Jean Grey engaging in a secret psychic affair, unbeknownst to her husband Cyclops, which means that when Logan gets killed it’s Jean who’s the most affected by it. She falls into a temporary coma, only to awaken and seek revenge on Storm. Which makes it all a bit awkward because then Jean’s feelings towards Wolverine are made pretty clear. Poor old Cyclops, that dude just can’t catch a break. In the end the Storm-is-an-evil-clone situation gets ironed out, the X-Men come across the real Storm running around Cyclops (whom Wolverine apparently freed from imprisonment before he got deaded), and Sabertooth reveals that Logan was his son. So that’s pretty weird. Maybe for the best Wolverine died, with the way his supposed dad treated him over the years…
4. Heart Ripped Out
How he died: Claremont strikes again, this time in the pages of 1987′s Uncanny X-Men annual. This one-shot story sees the Xavier School invaded by an unbeatable alien who calls himself Horde (we’re pretty sure it takes more than one person to accurately describe something as a horde, but whatever), who whisks them off to another world and forces them to enter the Citadel Of Light And Shadow to acquire the Crystal Of Ultimate Vision. None of which are words you should recognise when they are placed together, because they’re absolute nonsense, and signify nothing more than an excuse to put the X-Men in a sci-fi setting and have them fight. Well actually, the fighting comes later. Before that there’s a load of guff about each X-Man being shown their deepest desires, and getting to live them out – Rogue apparently wants to be a Southern Belle, Dazzler a successful lawyer, Psylocke a robot – but only Storm and Wolverine are strong-willed enough to reject these illusions, deciding instead to punch Horde a lot. Except the alien ends up being made of strong stuff and lifts a weakened Logan up by his lapels, commenting that he like his courageous heart – before ripping it out with his bare hands, ala Temple Of Doom.
How he came back: Woops, you chose the single worse place possible to rip out Wolverine’s heart, Horde! What are the chances of that? As he disembowels Logan the alien manages to toss a single drop of the tough mutant’s blood onto that aforementioned Crystal Of Ultimate Vision (whose actual use we never learn), which somehow allows our favourite diminutive Canadian superhero to completely reconstitute himself. Which means we’re treated to a full-page spread of Cronenbergian body horror, as Wolverine slowly rebuilds himself from DNA to nervous system to skeleton to muscles to angry, hairy man. Even Logan himself admits that he thought he was dead for a minute there, before dropping the bombshell that his “healing factor’s in every cell of his body”, and so is his will to live. Which must be a secondary mutation or something. “Given sufficient power, my entire body could be regenerated from the genetic data contained in a single cell. Or a drop of blood,” he explains to a disbelieving Horde, “Looks like the crystal had the power to restore mind and body both”. Then he pulls the shard of crystal from the alien’s head and sends everyone back home.
3. Flew Into The Sun
How he died: Much as he tried to top it with Here Comes Tomorrow, the Planet X storyline was the real close of Grant Morrison’s time writing New X-Men. It’s also the storyline which involved the most deaths of major characters, with the whole thing culminating in Magneto going insane, having his face exploded by an optic blast from Cyclops and then his head lopped off by Wolverine. Before all that, however, you need to understand how he brought the X-Men to their knees, first by sneaking into their inner sanctum under the guise of pacifist new mutant Xorn. Having played his trump card within Xavier’s School, organising a rebellion of students that eventually lead to a full-scale mutant takeover of New York City, Magneto also managed to dispatch most of the main X-Men team with various distractions: Beast and Emma Frost were shot down whilst flying over an ocean, where they were stranded without communications; Cyclops is missing, presumed dead alongside Fantomex; and Wolverine and Jean Grey are stranded on Asteroid M, which hurtles towards the Sun and burns both of them to a crisp.
How he came back: Logan can withstand a lot, but the actual power of the actual sun is asking a lot of that much-vaunted healing factor. Having killed Jean with his claws out of mercy, not wishing her to be cooked alive alongside him, he carries her body towards the inevitable, where we get a delightful multi-page sequence of the flesh being burnt right off of his adamantium ones until his skeleton is too being torn apart, until Jean’s almost disembodied eyes suddenly jump open and everybody reading remembers she has some history with really powerful fire stuff in space. Thanks to some excellent timing the Phoenix Force within Jean is reawakened and she uses it to rescue Wolverine’s head, which slowly rebuilds him as they fly across the cosmos and land back on Earth to deal with the Magneto situation which, frankly, everybody else is making a total hash of. High on the mutant drug Kick, which supposedly enhances your powers, the villain collapses after administering a fatal electric shock to Jean, only for Wolverine to then lop his head clean off. So it all works out in the end.
2. Disintegrated By A Sentinel
How he died: Remember how good Days Of Future Past was? After a good decade or so without a decent X-Men film, original director Bryan Singer came back and knocked it out of the park with a fun, funny summer blockbuster that didn’t really have any right to be that good. For one thing, it was attempting to square the recent continuity troubles caused by prequel film First Class and that Wolverine Origins monstrosity, which should’ve made it nothing more than an exercise in on-screen script doctoring; instead, it ended up being a thoroughly entertaining ninety minutes of superhero cinema. Partly because we got the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, headlining the movie and generally being the best there is. Hooray! Which shouldn’t strictly have been the case, if the film had stuck more closely to the comic books it was adapted from. Because in the dystopian future of the original Days Of Future Past, where Sentinels have all but wiped out the majority of both mutant and humankind, Wolverine is one of the remaining X-Men struck down as the team desperately attempts to send Kitty Pryde – not Logan – back in time to warn their younger selves of this dark future. Flinging himself at one of the purple killer robots, Wolverine is evaporated by one of its energy, collapsing to the ground as a flame-grilled skeleton.
How he came back: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: technically, he didn’t. In the Days Of Future Past timeline, Wolverine had all the flesh burnt off of his skeleton by that Sentinel blast, and there wasn’t no magical crystal around to help him rebuild himself. He had passed on. He was no more. He had ceased to be. He’d kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. Thankfully, the future X-Men managed to avoid such a timeline from ever existing by successfully sending Kitty Pryde back into the body of her younger self, where she helped her team mates of the era thwart an attempt on the life of US Senator Kelly by the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants. With the assassination foiled, anti-mutant hysteria never took a hold of the country, and congress didn’t need to pass a bill making it okay to hunt them down with giant, murderous robots. Which means that purple dude who evaporated Wolverine never existed, so that’s death cheated one more time!
1. Tortured To Death Over And Over And Over Again
How he died: Wolverine: The Best There Is is not a good comic book. It wasn’t good when it came out, and it’s not good to read now. Looking back, some of the contemporary reviews for this “mature readers” miniseries seemed a little harsh at the time, but turns out they’re 100% on the money. Some called it “unbearable”. Others pointed out the “unfortunate compromise” it made, since it wasn’t part of Marvel’s actual mature readers MAX line, but still bore a warning on the cover that it “wasn’t for kids”. Which it mostly definitely wasn’t, since it’s probably the goriest and most explicitly violent and splattery comic Marvel has ever produced but, hey, they censored all the bad language, so that was nice of them. The plot, such as it was, involved Logan coming up against a new villain named Contagion and his accurately-named gang of cronies, the Unkillables, Having imprisoned Wolverine, Contagion gives him two choices: either kill his son, Flip, who was super smart but in constant pain, or else volunteer as a human guinea pig to try and find a cure for his disease. Ever the hero, Wolvie opted for the latter, and thus began a rigorous process of testing just how powerful his healing factor was. Which meant he was shot, poisoned, exploded, torn apart, stabbed with millions of tiny needles, and generally tortured in every conceivable, horrible way. Oh, except waterboarding.
How he came back: Well, the whole point of the exercise is that no matter how you “kill” Wolverine, he’ll always come back. Despite being subjected to basically every form of murder that they can come up with – including some pretty novel ones, owing to their myriad supertalents – the Unkillables are always faced with a fresh-faced new Logan a scant few hours after the fact. This is probably a good time to point out that whilst, yes, Wolverine is pretty much indestructible (except for the all the times he isn’t, see above), he still feels pain. Every time he gets hurt, or killed, it smarts. And then some. He is not having a fun time of it in this miniseries. Hence all the censored swears, we guess. At the end of the Contagion story arc, it turns out that the reason Contagion’s kid is in such a bad way is because he infected his own son with a super-virus! What a jerk. And Wolverine was actually a guinea pig to try and synthesise said virus to be even more deadly since, well, if you can kill Logan with it, it’ll kill pretty much anyone. So he goes after Contagion with Flip’s help and gets him infected with some nasty diseases which sap his powers, and then leaves him to die. Because if you try and kill Wolverine – even if you succeed – there’s a good chance he’s going to repay you in kind. And then some.