15. ALMOST EVERYONE IN THE WEAPON X FACILITY
Though James Howlett was born in the 1880s, the Wolverine we know today burst into bloody life in the dark chambers of the Weapon X facility, when the clandestine government organization stripped him of his mind, bonded adamantium to his bones, and tried to transform him into a mindless killing machine.Barry Windsor-Smith brought it to life in his Weapon X storyline, a graphic story that resembled a slasher film more than a superhero tale. In the comic, the unknown man who would one day be Wolverine is captured and transformed into Weapon X, his humanity stripped away from him as he is reprogrammed into a government weapon. But when the subject breaks free from his programming, he proceeds to brutally slaughter almost every single soldier in the facility before escaping to the wilderness, in what might still be one of the goriest story arcs ever printed within a Marvel comic. An adaptation of Logan’s Weapon X escape appeared in this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and we could see more of it in his next solo adventure.
14. THOMAS LOGAN
The man who would one day become the deadliest killer in the world is born the sickly child of John and Elizabeth Howlett, a family of rich plantation owners in Alberta, Canada, where he spends his early years playing with his childhood companions: the orphan Rose O’Hara, and Dog Logan, the abused son of the Howlett’s groundskeeper, Thomas Logan.James doesn’t know it at the time, but Thomas Logan — who happens to look just like the future adult Wolverine — is in fact his biological father, as he and Elizabeth have been carrying on a secret affair for years. When Thomas Logan and his son are kicked out of the manor, Thomas tries to persuade Elizabeth to leave with him, whereupon he is confronted by John Howlett, whom he murders with his shotgun. At this moment, as innocent little James is overwhelmed with shock, his mutant powers emerge for the first time: he pops out his bone claws and kills his biological father, shortly before running away with Rose into an uncertain future.
13. LADY DEATHSTRIKE IN X2: X-MEN UNITED
Lady Deathstrike — due to the fact that she spends the entirety of X2 under the mind control of William Stryker — but what little is shown leaves a lasting impression. Yuriko Oyama, who possesses the same healing abilities as Wolverine and has undergone a similar adamantium treatment, functions as Stryker’s bodyguard, and at the end gives Wolverine one of the best showdowns in any of the X-Men movies so far.
Though Deathstrike proves herself to be more than a match for Logan, he finally gains the upper hand when he manages to inject her with molten adamantium, flooding her entire body with the fast-cooling metal. The tragedy of her death, though only a quick moment, is solidified when Wolverine looks into her eyes, seeing for a moment that the true woman had nothing to do with the killing machine that Stryker transformed her into — and that if things had turned out just a little bit differently, he would have suffered the same fate.
12. ALL OF THE X-MEN
Well, when the villains took over the world before the events of the story, as is revealed through flashbacks, it appears that a huge group of enemies invaded the Xavier Institute. Wolverine cut and slashed his way through all of them in order to protect the innocent mutant children. After the blood settled, Logan was horrified to discover that all of the attackers were illusions created by Spider-Man villain Mysterio, and that the people he had killed were actually his fellow X-Men. All of them.
11. THE HULK
Speaking of Old Man Logan, the same storyline offers one of Logan’s most blood-soaked moments of all. After Old Man Logan returns from the story’s journey, he comes home to find that his “landlords,” the incestuous grandchildren of the Hulk, have killed his family and left their corpses unburied. For the first time since killing the X-Men, Logan pops his claws, and uses his famous weapons to take revenge on the entire Hulk family, finally coming face-to-face with the big guy himself.Banner transforms into a Hulk far more monstrous than any version seen before, and easily beats Logan, then consumes him in cannibalistic fashion. But the rapidly-healing Logan is not down for the count, and he tears free from the Hulk’s stomach with his claws, leaving the monster dead, and avenging the death of his family.
10. MARIKO YASHIDA
Wolverine is known for having one of the most tragic backstories in comic book history, and huge part of that is the many love interests who he has had to watch die. Mariko Yashida, who was played by actress Tao Okamoto in The Wolverine, is another of Logan’s great loves who dies in his adamantium-laced arms.Mariko is the daughter of Shingen Yashida, a Yakuza crime boss in Japan, who Wolverine meets when the X-Men seek out the help of her mutant cousin, Sunfire. After she and Logan spend time together in both Japan and New York, Mariko is forced by her father into an arranged marriage with an abusive husband. Shingen then drugs Wolverine and challenges him to a duel, during which Wolverine is thrown into a berserker rage, shocking Mariko — and resulting in his defeat. Mariko then plans to kill her father and commit seppuku, but Wolverine jumps in and defeats Shingen in a fair battle of honor, resulting in Mariko presenting him with the family katana to signify that he has become an honorable warrior.Logan and Mariko are engaged to be married. However, their long-time romance is ended when one of Mariko’s rivals, Matsu’o Tsurayaba, poisons her. In order to avoid a lengthy and painful death, Mariko asks Logan to kill her, and he grants her wish. Afterward, he goes to Matsu’o and promises to avenge Mariko’s murder by returning once every year, on the anniversary of her death, to sever one of Matsu’o’s body parts, until nothing is left of him.
9. OMEGA RED
One of Wolverine’s greatest enemies, Arkady Rossovich is a Russian serial killer with mutant healing abilities who is transformed by a brutal super soldier experiment into Omega Red, a vampiric energy-draining supervillain with retractable carbonadium tentacles housed inside his arms. Though Omega Red is able to sustain himself through draining the energy of others with his tentacles, they also poison his immune system, resulting in a desperate need for the so-called Carbonadium Synthesizer, his violent search for which brings him into conflict with the X-Men on many occasions.
Omega Red is finally brought down when he and Wild Child attempt to finish off Wolverine by dropping him into molten steel. Though the combination of Omega Red’s healing abilities with his vampiric powers would seem to render him invincible, Wolverine is finally able to kill him with the use of the Muramasa Blade, a mystical sword that nullifies healing factors, which Logan thrusts right into Rossovich’s heart.
8. SAUL CREED
As the little brother of Victor Creed, better known as Wolverine’s archenemy Sabretooth, Saul was destined for a life of pain. From a young age, Victor bullied Saul, beating him especially harshly on every one of Saul’s birthdays, until one day the younger Creed began to exhibit his own violent tendencies. Forced to choose between hurting their younger sister, Clara, or being subject to Victor’s beatings again, Saul chose to hurt Clara.
In the early 1900s, Saul and Clara encounter Wolverine, who at this point has been turned into a sideshow carnival attraction, and subjected to experiments by Nathaniel Essex, the evil geneticist known as Mister Sinister. Clara and a reluctant Saul rescue Logan from Sinister’s clutches, and settle in New York, whereupon Clara and Logan become lovers. Saul is enraged by their relationship, and he betrays Logan by allying with Sinister in an attempt to erase Logan’s memories by forcing him to consume a mind wiping serum created by Sinister. Wolverine responds to Saul’s betrayal by killing the younger Creed brother, ignoring Clara’s outcries to stop. Clara subsequently forbids Logan from seeing her. Later, when Victor returns to torment Saul again, Clara informs him that Saul is dead, and while Victor doesn’t believe it, it’s entirely possible that this may be the reason that Victor one day transfers his birthday beating ritual onto Logan.
7. AN UNNAMED TEENAGER WITH DANGEROUS ABILITIES
Who has felt the blades of Wolverine’s claws has done so because of a berserker rage or an accidental slashing. One of Wolverine’s sadder mercy killings occurred in Ultimate X-Men #41, when an everyday teenager (whose name is never revealed) manifests his mutant powers for the first time: a toxic secretion from his body that results in everyone around him burning to death. Through no fault of his own, the teenager’s powers result in the deaths of 265 people, including all of his loved ones.Wolverine tracks the young mutant down, his healing factor rendering him immune from the young boy’s terrible power. Logan shares a beer with the teenager, and then kills him so that countless others won’t die, and so that the boy himself will not have to feel the guilt for the past and future murders that his mere existence causes.
6. AN ALTERNATE VERSION OF HIMSELF
Logan’s one of the few people who has killed himself and lived to tell the tale, though admittedly, it helps that the version of himself that he killed came from another reality.On Earth-61112, the psychopathic android known as Ultron takes over the world, and the surviving heroes are forced to take refuge. When the heroes scheme to go to the future in an attempt to take down Ultron, Earth-61112’s version of Wolverine instead takes a page out of The Terminator and travels to the past, figuring that if he murders Hank Pym, Ultron’s creator, he can prevent his future from occurring. He’s successful in murdering his world’s version of Pym, but this results in an entirely different apocalyptic collapse occurring in yet another reality, totally separate from the one he started in.Still messing around with the space/time continuum, this version of Wolverine goes back in time again, this time ending up in Earth-616, the main Marvel Universe. Once there, he prevents another version of Wolverine (from an entirely different reality) from killing Pym. Though he does succeed in making Pym install a failsafe program in Ultron, finally succeeding in preventing his future, the Wolverine of 61112 asks the other Wolverine to kill him.
5. SILVER SAMURAI IN THE WOLVERINE
The Wolverine was a loose adaptation of Wolverine’s famous Japan storyline, using many of the same characters and themes, but with a story that focused on the concept of Logan’s relative immortality. The movie’s villain, Ichiro Yashida, is an elderly man who is saved by Wolverine in WWII when ol’ Canucklehead shields him from an atomic bomb blast. When Yashida ages, he seeks out Wolverine, saying he has created a process wherein he can strip Logan of his healing factor, saving Logan from the horrors of living so long, and transplanting that same immortality onto himself. Wolverine refuses, and Yashida seemingly dies later that night. Now willing to forcefully steal Wolverine’s healing factor, Silver Samurai uses his adamantium swords to slice off all of Wolverine’s claws, and he then begins extracting Logan’s healing powers. Before he can finish, he is stabbed in the back by his daughter Mariko, giving Wolverine time to regenerate his old bone claws and finish Ichiro off for good.
4. JEAN GREY
Wolverine has been forced to kill Jean Grey, the woman he loves perhaps more than any other, and he’s had to do it multiple times.Despite his love for the hyper-powerful Jean Grey, Wolverine has always been stuck as the third wheel between her and Cyclops, though Scott’s less-than-faithful relationship habits leave something to be desired. True to the name Phoenix, Jean has sprung back from the dead on a few occasions, and one of these times she and Wolverine are trapped on Asteroid M, hurtling toward the sun. In order to prevent Jean from suffering an agonizing death, Logan reluctantly stabs her with his claws. Jean’s death actually causes the Phoenix Force to reemerge inside her, rescuing both of them, though she dies again as the X-Men attempt to save New York City.Later, the Phoenix Force resurrects Jean once again, and Wolverine is forced to repeatedly kill her, over and over. As if Logan’s life wasn’t bad enough already…
In 1946, Wolverine is living in Japan with his pregnant wife, Itsu. Itsu is murdered, but Logan’s unborn son is cut from her womb, surviving only due to a mutant healing factor, and then placed on the doorstep of a wealthy young Japanese couple. He is named Akihiro, but his clearly mixed heritage results in others referring to him as Daken, a slur meaning “bastard dog,” and his adopted mother feels no love for the introverted child that they have raised. When she becomes pregnant and has a biological son, Akihiro takes his revenge by murdering his infant brother.Years later, Daken reemerges as a mysterious, violent presence in Wolverine’s life, often toying with the lives of others, and then joining Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers under the codename “Wolverine.” After that, Daken forms a new incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants in an attack, leading to him facing off against his father. During this battle, Wolverine tells Daken that he wishes he could have protected him, and is forced to end their conflict by drowning his own son — but not without vividly picturing what he and Daken’s lives together may have been like if Itsu hadn’t been murdered, and if they could have raised Daken the way he wanted to.
Wolverine has made countless enemies in over a century’s worth of existence, but no enemy has ever been so personal as Victor Creed. Possessing the same healing factor and superhuman senses as his heroic counterpart, Sabretooth is to Wolverine what Venom is to Spider-Man: a twisted mirror image of the hero. Sabretooth has also been the cause of decades of pain for Logan, in a way few villains could dream of. Not only has Sabretooth murdered people that Wolverine has loved, including his former lover Silver Fox, but he also maintains a gruesome yearly tradition of finding Logan on his birthday, year after year, no matter where he is, and beating him within an inch of his life.
But Wolverine finally decides to put an end to their decades-long conflict when, wielding the aforementioned Muramasa Blade, he tracks down Sabretooth to the snowy Canadian wilderness. As the two go into battle, Wolverine begins by slicing off Sabretooth’s arm, and as the bewildered Creed tries to reattach it, Logan explains that the blade cancels out healing factors. Wolverine then cuts Sabretooth’s head off, and finally walks away.
1. ROSE O’HARA
James “Logan” Howlett more than any other is the accidental death of his first love, childhood companion, and the first person in the world who truly understood and accepted him: Rose O’Hara.Rose, who bears a striking resemblance to Jean Grey, is James’s childhood friend, and it is she that runs away with James after the gruesome three-way death of Thomas Logan and James’s parents, together finding solace in a mining camp. Some years later, Rose falls in love with the foreman, Smitty — a painful situation for the future Wolverine, which directly parallels the triangle he will one day have with Cyclops and Jean — and though James is unhappy due to his own feelings for Rose, he finally accepts the situation as it is, wanting more than anything for Rose to be happy. Dog Logan returns seeking vengeance for his father’s death at Logan’s hands. In the resulting battle, Logan succeeds in besting Dog and is about to kill him — when Rose intervenes to stop him from committing murder, in the process accidentally becoming stabbed by Logan’s claws. Overwhelmed with grief, Logan disappears into the forest to live like a wild animal, leaving humanity behind. Though Wolverine’s cloudy memory and animalistic nature have both played key roles in his life story, there’s no doubt that this terrible incident in his young adulthood — the fact that the first woman he ever loved was killed by his own hand — may have been the pivotal moment where Logan’s chances of living a happy, normal life were forever ruined.