A Long History
James Howlett was born to wealthy John and Elizabeth Howlett in Alberta, Canada, during the last years of the 19th century. As a child, he was frail and unhealthy due to his overactive mutant immune system and was neglected by his mother, who had been institutionalized following the death of her first son, John Jr., in 1897. James’s mutant abilities were triggered when his father was shot by the Howlett groundskeeper Thomas Logan, whom he did not know was his real father. James killed Logan, slashed the face of Logan’s son and his friend Dog, and left Alberta with a childhood friend, Rose O’Hara.
His healing abilities drove trauma from his memories, leaving him partially amnesiac. He and Rose found refuge at a British Columbia stone quarry, where Rose, claiming James was her cousin, gave his name as “Logan.” Within months, Logan’s powers were heightening due to the environment around him. He became healthier and gained senses to rival those of an animal, but also became more violent. To divert some of this pent-up rage, Logan partook in cage fights where his prowess earned him the nickname “Wolverine.” After accidentally killing Rose with his claws, Logan retreated into the woods where he lived as a feral beast, losing all of his former memories.
He would later reenter society and travel the world, partaking in every major conflict of the 20th century (WWI, WWII, the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War) as a soldier, criminal, or mercenary for hire. This caused him to coin the phrase "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice.”
While on the run from the law, he was abducted by the Canadian super soldier program known as “Weapon X.” He had previously been a willing participant in the program in the early 1960s as an international operative of Team X. Logan was a prime candidate for this new iteration of Weapon X due to his incredibly fast healing and endurance, which allowed Doctor Cornelius and his team to fuse adamantium to his skeleton. The experiment was successful and gave Logan more control over his berserker nature, but also wiped him of any residual memories he had lingering in his head.
When the Hulk blundered his way into Canadian territory, Logan was mobilized against the green gargantuan. He was also used to kill the entire population of a small town in a field test, but eventually broke loose from his captors, slaying almost everyone at the Weapon X facility. Despite this, they still had his DNA and were able to create new mutants like Avery Connor and clawed clone called X-23 (aka Laura Kinney).
His real sense of belonging would not arrive until he joined the X-Men.
Wolverine’s rapid regeneration powers allow him to bounce back from almost every type of bodily wound on the condition that his head remains firmly attached to his shoulders. Nevertheless, the time of each healing is understandably proportionate to the severity of the injury. His body is also immune to most poisons, drugs, and diseases; his agility, reflexes, and senses are similarly enhanced. Wolverine sees and hears things at distances far greater than those of ordinary humans. His sense of smell is even more magnified and he can recognize people and objects by scent alone, which, combined with combat and stealth training, makes him one of the world’s foremost trackers.
The most iconic of his natural weapons are six retractable, slightly curved, foot-long bone claws, three in each arm, beneath the skin and muscle of his forearms. He can, at will, release these claws through the skin beneath his knuckles. The claws are naturally sharp and tougher than normal human bone, allowing them to penetrate most types of flesh and natural materials.
He has an extra defense from the Weapon X program, where his skeleton was coated in the near-indestructible steel alloy known as adamantium. This adds an extra 105 pounds to his frame—or 47.6 kilograms in Mr. Howlett’s native metric system. Immediately after this procedure, his healing factor was slowed so that it might take weeks to recover from multiple wounds, but eventually the factor returned to full strength and speed. The adamantium renders his bones virtually unbreakable and his claws capable of penetrating almost any substance depending on its thickness and the force he exerts. His reinforced skeleton also enables him to withstand heavy physical pressure, giving his muscles sufficient force to briefly lift 800 pounds or more.
To top things off, Wolverine is trained in hand-to-hand combat, computer systems, vehicles, weapons, and is fluent in Cheyenne, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Lakota, Russian and Spanish, with some French, Thai, and Vietnamese.
The Snikt List
Wolverine’s enemies are numerous and it is often hard not to blame them. After all, he is a hard guy to get along with.
However, an adversary, with abilities to match Logan’s, is Victor Creed (AKA Sabertooth) who also has retractable claws and healing factor. The two first clashed in Japan with Logan coming out on top and leaving Creed for dead, unaware that he had regenerative powers as well. Creed is an operative of the mastermind Romulus, ruler of the wolf-like Lupine and a worldwide criminal empire. Two of Wolverine’s maternal uncles, Elias and Frederick Hudson, work for him, although he is unaware of it. Romulus kept an eye on Logan for a good portion of his life and mentally manipulated him at times.
While a brief member of the Canadian Super Hero team known as Alpha Flight, Wolverine joins the X-Men at the behest of Professor Charles Xavier. This is his most iconic home and the place where he enters into an on-again, off-again relationship with telepath Jean Grey. Her existing relationship with Scott Summers (AKA Cyclops), however, creates a complex love triangle between all three.