Every Wolverine Movie Leaves Out the Darkest Part of His Healing

Marvel's Wolverine is one of the toughest opponents to face out of the entire X-Men roster thanks to his powerful healing factor, but the films left out the darkest aspect of his ability. Logan is a fan-favorite thanks to many elements of his character, including his gruff personality, his mysterious past and his antihero persona despite standing firmly on the side of good when evil threatens the Marvel Universe. But even his long-time fans may not know that Wolverine must fight the Angel of Death himself whenever he cheats the grim reaper - which is quite often.

Wolverine was first introduced not as a hero, but as an antagonist for the Hulk to fight in The Incredible Hulk #181 in 1974. Surviving the Hulk immediately cemented Wolverine as a tough-as-nails opponent who could punch far above his size (he's quite short in the comics when compared to other superheroes, standing at 5'3). Wolverine's healing factor would steadily increase in potency to the point where he could survive absolutely anything - with a small caveat. If Logan ever suffered an injury that would have killed him were it not for his mutant powers, he must fight Azrael, the Angel of Death.

Related: Colossus' Powers Give Him The Opposite of Wolverine's Healing Factor

When Wolverine is attacked by the villain Nitro, Logan survives a massive explosion - but while his body heals itself in the real world, Logan fights a dark, shadowy figure in his mind. In Wolverine #58, written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Howard Chaykin, readers discover exactly what transpired after the fight with Nitro, courtesy of the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange. "Whenever you've suffered a life-threatening injury...your body has repaired itself while your soul went to the place all human souls travel to upon death. You would call it Purgatory." Strange explains that defeating a being called Lazaer - who will later be revealed as Azrael - will allow Wolverine's soul to return to his body.

This adds a supernatural element to a fairly grounded character (insofar as healing from an explosion can be considered 'grounded'). The addition of the spiritual story elements to low-level heroes isn't always successfully implemented (see J. Michael Straczynski's run on Spider-Man), but it fits in this instance: Wolverine is a warrior at heart, and battling Death itself is a frequent trope when it comes to battle-hardened characters.

This element of Wolverine's healing is never seen in any film, and perhaps this for the best. Wolverine's healing factor was significantly toned down for the Fox film franchise (he could survive a nuclear bomb in the comics but is killed after being impaled on a tree log in 2017's Logan). Wolverine's spiritual element serves him well - but only on the page.

Next: Mister Fantastic's Powers Make Him Immune To Wolverine's Claws



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