For a supposedly unkillable mutant, the amount of times Wolverine has died is kind of ridiculous. Fans of the man they call Logan have already seen multiple Wolverine deaths in comics and even on the big screen, but time and again he returns to the pages of Marvel Comics.
In between those brief flirtations with the afterlife, Wolverine kills indiscriminately and is no stranger to absorbing all manner of physical punishment. His mutant healing factor is a convenient plot device for any writer who wants to unleash horrific acts of violence on the character.
Wolverine is the best at what he does, and what he does is suffer gruesome injuries.
The Horseman Of Death Makes Him Suffer Every Terminal Disease
Wolverine goes through a lot over the course of Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, and his encounters with the new Horsemen of the Apocalypse are some of the most excruciating.
While battling the newest Horseman of Death, Wolverine is afflicted with every terminal disease in the history of humanity – all at the same time! Logan breaks free from Death’s powers before too long, but he spends the intervening time dying from hundreds of different causes.
Magneto Rips The Adamantium Right Off His Bones
Many fans of the X-Men have long wondered why the adamantium-skeletoned Wolverine is always so eager to leap into battle against Magneto, the Master of Magnetism, but it takes Magneto a few decades to figure out the full implications of his advantage.
In 1993’s X-Men #25, an enraged Magneto loses his patience with Logan and rips the metal right off his bones. The gruesome result is traumatic for both Wolverine – who reverts to a feral personality for a while – and to any comic reader who witnesses it.
Professor X retaliates by wiping Magneto’s mind clean, so it’s fair to say nobody walks away from this conflict a winner.
He Is Eaten Alive By An 18th Century Cannibal
In Wolverine #165, Logan and Hank McCoy find themselves trapped in a supervillain prison, and things quickly go from bad to worse. Wolverine ends up locked in a cell with a resurrected sorcerer from the 18th century known as Mauvais, and he soon learns Mauvais’s powers are derived from cannibalism.
For a cannibal, Wolverine’s healing factor represents a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet.
Nitro Incinerates Him
Everyone remembers Civil War for the wedge it drove between Captain America and Iron Man, but the true villain of the miniseries is Nitro, a mutate who can explode his own body and then reconstitute it. His slaughter of over 600 individuals sets off the debate on superhuman registration and, while the other heroes of Earth fight each other over it, Wolverine sets out to bring Nitro to justice.
Employing his enhanced mutant senses, Wolverine tracks Nitro down, only to have him explode again with enough intensity to melt all the flesh from Logan’s bones. Somehow, Wolverine survives.
He Is Forced To Drown His Only Remaining Son
Wolverine has suffered every grievous injury you can think of, so Marvel writers have to get pretty inventive if they want to really hurt him. One of the oft-used Wolverine-abuse tactics is putting him through the emotional wringer, and nothing does it better than Uncanny X-Force.
A storyline that takes place over dozens of issues culminates in Wolverine’s estranged son, Daken, threatening the life of a young mutant and subsequently forcing Wolverine to put him down. To combat his son’s healing factor, Logan ends up drowning Daken in a shallow mud puddle.
The Punisher Steamrolls Him
With his unbreakable skeleton, Wolverine has difficulty incurring permanent injuries, but that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried. Though Logan and Frank Castle (AKA the Punisher) usually find themselves on the same side of a conflict, the handful of occasions they’ve gone head-to-head are notable.
During one memorable encounter – in Punisher #17 – Castle shoots Wolverine in the face and groin with a shotgun. While Wolverine is understandably incapacitated, Punisher runs him over with a steamroller.
He Perishes After He’s Encased In Adamantium
In a not so shocking twist, the miniseries The Death of Wolverine ends with the death of Wolverine. Fortunately, it’s a fitting end for everybody’s favorite mutant.
Robbed of his healing factor, Logan finds out the folks at Weapon X are attempting to replicate the process that gave him a metal skeleton. He naturally sets out to stop them, and succeeds, but in the process he’s completely covered in molten adamantium.
As he’s slowly encased in the hardening material, Logan’s internal monologue concludes with the idea that after many years of fighting, he’d finally done “enough.”
He’s Tricked Into Offing Several Of His Children At Once
To say Wolverine has killed a lot of people in his comic book career is a gross understatement. Few fictional characters have a count as high as Logan’s, but some of his slayings are more significant than others.
During the “Red Right Hand” storyline in Volume 4 of Wolverine, Logan tracks down an organization that had been targeting him and cuts through their team of augmented enforcers with ease. He’s then informed each masked maniac he just offed was one of his own children.
He Eats A Bomb
You might assume the storyline “Logan Dies” follows the death of Wolverine, but that’s surprisingly not the case. In this arc, Wolverine has a brush with the afterlife while he’s in a vegetative state, and he ends up that way by eating a bomb.
In an impressive debut, new villain Shogun shoves an explosive device down Logan’s throat and then detonates it. The injury is so grievous that Wolverine barely recovers.
The Hulk Smashes His Face
The World War Hulk storyline features the jade giant returning from space with a serious grudge against the heroes who sent him there. The Hulk takes out his frustrations on pretty much every notable hero of Earth, and that obviously includes his long-time rival Wolverine.
The two have tussled on plenty of occasions, but this smarter, meaner version of Hulk employs a new tactic: punching Wolverine repeatedly in the face.
He Falls Into The Sun
Even Wolverine’s healing factor has it limits, and one might assume surviving an encounter with the surface of the sun is pretty much impossible, even for someone with unbreakable bones. However, that’s exactly what happens during the course of New X-Men.
Wolverine and Jean Grey find themselves trapped on Asteroid M as it hurtles towards the sun thanks to the machinations of Magneto. Fortunately, the Phoenix Force is reborn within Jean at that very moment, and it saves the two of them from their scorched fate.
He Survives Nuclear Blasts
One of Wolverine’s most famous on-screen moments features him surviving the bombing of Nagasaki in The Wolverine, but it’s not his only brush with nuclear weaponry. In Venom #9 of all places, Wolverine has a nuclear bomb dropped on him.
Although the blast destroys the surrounding town, Logan survives at the epicenter with nothing more than a ripped shirt. It’s not the most realistic depiction of nuclear power to appear in a comic book, but it is a powerful testimony to the indestructibility of the ol’ canucklehead.
Thanos Turns His Bones Into Sponge
Thanks to Infinity War, the world is pretty familiar with the sheer force of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet, but audiences still haven’t seen how creative he can be with it. In the epic miniseries Infinity Gauntlet – a comic that notably influenced Infinity War’s plot – Thanos dispatches the heroes of Earth with a bit of flair, murdering each one via a uniquely cruel individualized method.
Wolverine fares better than most, as he actually manages to sink his claws into the Mad Titan, but Thanos retaliates by turning Wolverine’s bones to sponge.
The Reavers Crucify Him
The image in Uncanny X-Men #251 of Logan nailed to an overturned cross – one that conveniently makes the shape of an “X” – is undeniably disturbing.
The fact that Wolverine was put there by a group of racist cyborgs known as the Reavers is even more unsettling.
His Heart Is Torn Out Of His Chest
The limits of Wolverine’s mutant healing factor are ambiguous at best, and some Marvel writers have really stretched the bounds of believability.
One such occasion comes with Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, in which Logan and the team battle a Thanos wannabe known as the Horde. Surprisingly, the no-name villain actually succeeds in killing the nigh-unkillable Wolverine by ripping the heart right of out his body.
Just as all seems lost, a single drop of Wolverine’s blood lands on a magic alien crystal, and his entire body – adamantium skeleton and all – is rebuilt. Most subsequent writers have wisely chosen to ignore this particular piece of continuity.