You would think that a simple question of how old Wolverine is/was when he died would be quite simple to answer.
However, that is without the Multiverse interfering where the same character may appear in different timelines for particular stories.
In the standard Marvel Universe, Wolverine was born James Howlett in 1882 and he was 197 years old when he Died. In a later storyline, Wolverine is brought back to life and lived on to 247. There are some who argue that the Wolverine brought back to life is not truly the same Wolverine that died, in which case we have to say that Wolverine died at the age of 197.
There seem to be at least four distinct timelines that relate to Wolverine.
In the following biography, I will try to confine myself to the primary storyline for the character.
There are many other storylines as listed later in this article.
A Wolverine Biography (Pre-X-Men)
James Howlett (Wolverine) was born in northern Alberta, Canada.
There is a little uncertainty over the exact date but most people agree on the early years of the 1890s.
Some people claim it was 1892 so that is the date we will stick with.
He was the son of wealthy landowners called John and Elizabeth Howlett but turned out that his father was not Howlett but Thomas Logan, who was the Howletts groundskeeper.
The Logans were thrown off the Howlett land after Logan’s other son (simply known as Dog) attempts a rape.
Later he kills John Howlett and in a rage James Howlett kills Thomas Logan using claws that emerge from the back of his hands (the first time we see his mutation.)
James Howlett flees with his childhood companion Rose and spends the rest of his youth in a mining colony in the Yukon, where he calls himself Logan.
Now much older, a man, Logan accidentally kills Rose with his claws, and once again he flees, living in the wilderness among wolves.
He is captured and placed in a circus.
Saul Creed, brother of Victor Creed, rescues Logan. (Victor Creed is seen later on in the comics as an arch-enemy of Wolverine,)
Saul Creed, however, betrays Logan and Clara Creed to Nathaniel Essex (who also appears as a Supervillain in later comics).
Logan drowns Saul Creed and returns to civilization, and lives with the Blackfoot Tribe, where he takes a wife called Silver Fox.
She is murdered by Victor Creed (who is now known as Sabretooth).
Logan is now enlisted into the Canadian Army during World War 1 and later ends up living in the fictional South East Asian island of Madripoor.
Following Madripoor he moves on to Japan, where he marries Itsu and has a son called Daken, although Logan is not aware of Daken for many years.
Moving on to World War 2, we find Logan teaming up with Captain America and lives as a mercenary.
On D-Day, he is serving with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and then later with the CIA.
Following the CIA, Logan joins Team X, a black-ops unit.
As a member of Team X, he is required to have memory implants.
Unhappy with this he breaks free and returns to Canada and joins the Canadian Defense Ministry.
Of course, this normal life cannot continue for long and he is kidnapped by Team X, who has not finished with him yet.
It is during this captivity that Team X forcibly fuse Adamantium to his bones before he is able to escape.
He escapes with the help of James & Heather Hudson, who also appear in Marvel Comics as “Vindicator.”
They help him become more human again and he goes to work as an intelligence operative for the Canadian Government’s Department H.
This is where he becomes Wolverine.
His first mission is to stop the destruction that Hulk and Wendigo are causing as they brawl.
As Wolverine, Logan becomes one of Canada’s original Superheroes.
Wolverine & The X-Men
Professor Charles Xavier recruits Wolverine into the X-Men.
While inside the X-Men Wolverine gets into a relationship with Jane Grey.
Recruits might be a polite term as later we discover that Wolverine had originally been sent to assassinate Xavier, but had been discovered and given a false memory and then forced to join X-Men.
In the “Fatal Attractions” Crossover we see Magneto forcibly removing the adamantium that had been applied by Team X, years before.
The removal of the Adamantium results in Wolverine’s healing power malfunction and leads to the discovery that his claws are bone.
Wolverine leaves the X-Men for a period and continues with other adventures which eventually result in his healing factor returns.
In his existing state, Wolverine will eventually degenerate into a state that is far more bestial and primitive.
On his return to the X-Men the son of Cable, Genesis, kidnaps Wolverine (this seems to happen to Wolverine a lot) and tries to rebond Wolverine’s bones with Adamantium once more.
He fails and the result is that Wolverine’s mutation speeds out of control, leaving him for a while as a beast-like semi-sentient creature.
Once more Wolverine is kidnapped, this time by Apocalypse, who turns Wolverine into “The Horseman of Death.”
He also manages to rebond the Adamantium to Wolverine’s bones.
Through Internal battles, Wolverine escapes Apocalypse and returns to the X-Men.
Wolverine & Different Storylines
Up until now, there had been a fairly straightforward timeline.
However, at this point, it starts to get complicated as various writers use Wolverine in their stories.
Not all of the stories can take place in the same timeline and it becomes impossible to track Wolverine from here in a single story.
Wolverine is a part of all the following Stories:
- Enemy of the State
- New Avengers
- Wolverine Origins
- Messiah Complex
- Messiah War Series
- Old Man logan
- Wolverine Goes to hell
- Avengers v X-Men
- Uncanny Avengers
- Death of Wolverine
- Infinity Countdown
- Hunt for Wolverine
- Return of Wolverine
- Uncanny X-Men
- Dawn of X
It would take a very long article to track all of Wolverine’s adventures through the storylines listed above.
They do not all correspond with one another, although some do attempt to follow on.
First off, Wolverine is a mutant.
His powers are a combination of natural and artificial ones.
Here are the primary ones, but remember that how important they depend very much on what storyline they appear in.
Defensive Powers (primarily healing)
Wolverine has a mutant power that provides rapid healing should he get injured.
The tissue of his body simply regenerates.
This mutant healing power is also effective in fighting diseases and makes him pretty resistant to poisons and toxins he may come across.
These drugs can overpower him if in sufficient quantities, and recovery can be delayed.
This includes the effect of alcohol.
The University of British Columbia, who I have mentioned several times in my articles and seem to spend a lot of time studying Superheroes, have pronounced that Wolverine’s healing powers seem very much like those of the “axolotl” which is also known as “The Mexican Walking Fish” which has the power to regenerate its limbs.
Finally, the healing power delays aging, which is why Wolverine could live to the age of nearly 200 years.
It also explains how this man who was born in 1892 still looks in his prime.
Wolverine has three retractable claws that are housed in his forearm and cut through the flesh and extend at will.
These claws are naturally made of bone but at certain stages, in the stories, they are sheathed in adamantium, which makes it possible for them to cut through virtually all known materials.
The claws can also be used to block projectiles.
Professor Xavier implanted some psionic shields into Wolverine, to act as a defense against telepathic probing and attacks.
This is assisted by the “Mental Scar Tissue” caused by all the events of his life.
Wolverine has large and sharp canine teeth, which can be used as a weapon.
The claws would not be able to function without the superhuman strength that is required to move an Adamantium cased skeleton.
He also possesses rapid speed.
In the Return of the Wolverine, we saw a new power appear, where Wolverine can heat up the Adamantium to high temperatures.
While living in Asia Wolverine became proficient in several forms of Martial Arts.
Stories about Wolverine are still being published and he remains alive in some timelines, so I am sure we will hear much more of him yet.
It is no doubt the longevity of Wolverine that has allowed him to develop and grow, learning new skills, and new applications of his powers.
So much has happened in Wolverine’s lifetime that he has become one of the most famous Marvel Heroes of all time.
In the Wizard NMagazin’s 200 greatest Comic Book Characters, Wolverine is ranked as number 4.