Abusive Parents: Logan's mother, Elizabeth Howlett was for the most part neglectful (though she did spend time in an asylum after her first born son, John Howlett III's mutation occurred which lead to her scarring) until the night when John Howlett was killed. Thomas Logan was killed by his biological son James whose mutant powers recently emerged after witnessing the death of his step father. Elizabeth's reaction was to call her distraught son an "animal" while hitting him across the face with Thomas' shotgun, making him and his caretaker Rose, flee the mansion. Afraid of history repeating itself and seeing her lover's body on the floor she committed suicide.
Thomas Logan also counts as he was absolutely horrible to his son and Logan's half-brother Dog Logan, often yelling and hitting him as well as introducing him to drink at a young age and encouraging the boy's psychotic behaviour. in Hell he was actually proud of Logan's massive death count and it's hinted that the Logan bloodline followed similar mental instability as Thomas did.
Affirmative Action Legacy: Well, sort of. During the Dark Reign, Logan's bisexual, half-Japanese son Daken took on the Wolverine mantle as a member of the Dark Avengers. However, they both used the Wolverine name at the same time, and the situation with Daken was always intended to be temporary.
The Alcoholic: Definitely fits the "drinks a lot" part, but due to his healing factor, he can't actually get wasted or develop addiction or dependence.
When Marvel and DC collaborated to produce "Amalgam Comics," combining their characters for fun, Wolverine and Batman fused to become "Dark Claw."
Animal Themed Superbeing: Logan and real wolverines have a lot in common: they're both small in comparison to others, solitary, extremely aggressive for their size, have very keen senses of smell, and pack powerful claws.
Anime Hair + Hot-Blooded Sideburns: Logan's standard look since his introduction, the former at its most extreme during Adam Kubert's run as artist of the self-titled comic in The Nineties. In the newer works his hair tends to be more realistic.
Annoying Arrows: Logan, once needing to get a small child to safety through a bunch of archers, chose to block them with his body and keep going. It worked, though he wasn't in very good shape at the end.
From the first issue of his self-titled series, in the middle of a huge battle with cutthroat slavers:
Logan (internal dialogue): I'm an X-Man. [...] With them, killing is a last resort. With me, it's second nature. I take the world as it is, and give better than I get. Come at me with a sword. I'll meet you with a sword. You want mercy. Show a little first. [...] Some of those folks died fighting...some praying...some accepted their fate...some cursed it...some begged for their lives...most were terrified. Details don't matter. What's important is that they died. And those scales have to be balanced. In kind.
Archnemesis Dad: Sabretooth was originally planned to be his father, but that idea was scrapped. Then there was some ambiguity of him being his half-brother, but it didn't turn out that way either, so ultimately there is no blood relation between them, they're simply two guys from the same province, who have similar powers, and hate eachother's guts.
From Logan's first appearance through the 90s, the following were pretty consistent:
- He was short, homely, and very hirsute.
- His claws came out of the backs of his hands behind his knuckles (see the page pic).
- The claws were either drawn as being thin blades (especially in Frank Miller and Jim Lee's art) or rounded or roughly rounded with really sharp tips, like true animal claws, especially in the 80s and sans adamantium.
Ever since the X-Men movies, the following have been pretty consistent:
- He's more handsome, less hairy and generally more of an average height
- The claws come out directly between his knuckles and have the heavier knife-shaped appearance
Aside from the issues with lacing Logan's bones with the adamantium, some depictions of his skeleton (especially in the Weapon X miniseries) have long adamantium sprues sticking off his bones from the injection ports, which would play havoc with his muscles as he moves.
Most artists make Wolverine's claws so long that, if fully retracted, at least part of the claw tips would be inside his hands, meaning he wouldn't be able to flex his wrists without shredding his hands from the inside.
The X-ray of Logan's arm◊ in the first movie shows the claw implants pushing his forearm bones far enough apart to dislocate them from his wrists.
If Wolverine was really 5'3" and 195 pounds (and that's without the adamantium), he would be more than fifty pounds overweight; his being very muscular may be the reason behind this.
Logan was originally supposed to be a one-off Hulk villain. It didn't quite turn out that way.
His archnemesis Sabretooth used to be a minor Iron Fist villain.
The Atoner: One of the reasons given for Wolverine appearing in so many titles is that after regaining his memories, he felt so guilty over all the nasty stuff he did in his past and the fact that his son is basically just as bad a person in the present as he used to be that Logan feels compelled to try and do as much good as physically possible though he feels as though he can't ultimately make amends. Of course, this doesn't really account for all his appearances before he got his memories back and learned he had a son...
Backstab Backfire: In the final issue of the "Kitty Pryde & Wolverine" limited series, Logan had defeated Ogun and brought him to his knees. He spared Ogun's life and began to walk away alongside Kitty. Ogun produced a knife and rushed at the two of them from behind. Wolverine noticed it in time to tell Kitty to use her phasing power, causing the knife to pass harmlessly through her. He then stabbed Ogun with his claws, killing the villain.
Badass: Widely accepted as the baddest-assed mutant of all. He's on the very short list of people who'll jump into battle with an enraged Hulk without hesitation - and did just that in his first full appearance. During his "no adamantium" days, he even stood up to Juggernaut◊ without hesitation.
Badass Biker: Logan is this in general. It becomes a plot point in one issue of the first self-titled series when a paranoid, drugged-up murderer stops by Logan at a traffic signal. He starts eyeballing Logan, and freaks out because he can see that Logan isn't one to be messed with.
Badass Grandpa: He was born in the late 19th century. His enemies Sabretooth and Cyber (when the latter was in his original body), are less sympathetic examples of this trope, being even older than him. Even Logan's own deceased son Daken could be considered this, being in his mid-60's at the time of his death.
Badass Teacher: Became this lately, especially as of the Wolverine and the X-Men title, wherein he himself rebuilt the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters into the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, with himself as the headmaster.
Bash Brothers: With Colossus originally, but putting him on a team together with any bruiser in the Marvel Universe results in this.
The Berserker: Both his fighting style and his mental state when he loses control.
Berserk Button: And not a hard one to press, either. Just getting him wound up seems to suffice. Hurting people that he cares about is an even easier way to get him to shred you.
And hitting a woman in front of Logan, even if he does not know her or care about her, is signing your own death warrant.
And God help you if you harm a little girl when he's around. He'll rip you to pieces, and then kill you.
Betty and Veronica: Logan was the Veronica to Scott's Betty in relation to Jean. Originally this was just to give fans a reason to care about the then-new character, who'd yet to achieve his now-legendary popularity. It's since taken a life of its own, and some fans act like it's the defining aspect of both Scott and Logan's characters.
Oddly enough, the whole Jean/Scott/Wolverine triangle pretty much started as a retcon. It was at most hinted at back in the day, but in the late 80s it was retconned up in a big way.
The Big Guy: Defied. Despite having all the characteristics, being muscle-bound, hairy, Badass and everything, he is actually shorter than most of his friends and foes, the latter (especially Sabretooth) often calling him "runt" to insult him.
Those claws of his hurt when they pop out of his hands. A new wound every time he does it, thanks to his Healing Factor.
One issue of X-Force graphically highlighted this fact, with Wolverine repeatedly popping and retracting one claw while stewing over something...and a small spurt of blood with each SNIKT!
During the time without the adamantium, he had to keep his hands constantly bandaged to deal with bleeding from the holes made by the claws...and the pain was a lot worse because the Healing Factor wasn't working (see its entry below). He still kept it up, though...
(Jubilee and Logan are talking) Logan: I pop 'em out a few times a day. Keeps the channels open...like pierced ears. Jubilee: Did it stop hurting? Logan: Nope.
Also, from the first movie:
Rogue: When they come out...does it hurt? Logan: Every time.
In the Weapon X standalone story, the metal chutes his claws extend through are surgically implanted in his hands because of the damage the claws did the first time he extended them.
The adamantium may keep his bones from breaking and make his claws that much more dangerous, but it actually slows down his healing factor; X-23 grouses to him at one point that he heals too slowly. The reason for this was recently Ret Conned, but it still applies. Then again, the healing factor is depicted so inconsistently that this might as well not apply anyway.
In one story which featured the X-Men fighting the Brotherhood on Muir Island, Mystique threatens him with a weapon that will deactivate his healing powers and explains that his adamantium bones will poison and kill him quickly if she uses it.
His enhanced senses may seem like a cool thing to have, but most people would probably crack up from having to process that level of constant sensory input 24/7.
Logan's spiky, freakishly distorted body in the fever dream-like memories of his handling by the Weapon X program, as depicted in Weapon X and his self-titled series.
The depiction of Magneto ripping the adamantium out of his body in X-Men #25.
Cain and Abel: While not siblings, he and Sabretooth share a closely connected past, were previously friends (to an extent) and were both "reborn" in the Weapon X program. He also has this with his actual half-brother Dog. Ironically, in the Origin story, Dog was strongly implied to be a young Sabretooth, but they are later shown to not be the same person. Dog is still alive and well after almost 133 years and really knows how to hold a grudge.
Cartwright Curse: Wives, fiances, girlfriends, girlfriends he hadn't been dating for years but happened to hook up with again. Dating Logan 9 times out of 10 will result in your horrible death...except for Yukio and she's now a paraplegic.
Cigar Chomper: Until smoking became unbelievably uncool around the 90s, Wolverine was rarely without a cigar. Even now he still flouts one in the movies.
Cock Fight: Logan has a special place in his heart for Jean Grey. Cyclops knows it, and does NOT approve. Just like Logan doesn't approve of Jean with Scott but bears with it for the sake of Jean. Not that it ever stopped them from squabbling and sometimes physically fighting about it because, in Logan's words "Cyke doesn't deserve a woman like Jean!".
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: These days, you can pretty much tell what team he's working with at the moment by the color of his uniform. Blue and yellow means he's acting heroic and working with the X-Men and/or the Avengers, dull gray and black means that he's doing X-Force work (and you should probably get out of the way).
Cool Old Guy: Arguably one of the coolest (and oldest) guys around, but "cool" doesn't necessarily mean "nice"...
The Cowl: Subverted. Wolverine has been called "Batman, sans the subtlety".
Determinator: Logan is one stubborn son of a bitch. Even when badly hurt, he'll shrug it off and just keep coming at you until one of you drops. Unfortunately for whoever he's fighting, this will inevitably give Logan the time he needs to heal.
Disappeared Dad: All over the place. His biological father killed the man who raised him, and in turn he killed his biological father. Then on his end, he didn't even know Daken existed until Daken was over 60. On top of that the "Wolverine Goes to Hell" arc confirmed he has sired many, many more children during his lifetime whose lives he has been completely absent from; "I see the faces of the children I was never there for. Daken and others I don't even recognize". Among them were The Mongrels, whom were pitted against him by The Red Right Hand, were killed by him, and then he found out they were his offspring. Wow.
Distaff Counterpart: His current sidekick X-23, who's literally his female clone made from an incomplete DNA sample (the Y chromosome was damaged, so they doubled up on the X).
He's known as "Lobezno" ("Wolf Cub") in Spain and "Pantera" ("Panther") in some places in Latin America. justified in that the Spanish name for the wolverine is "Glotón", which means "Big Eater" and might cause people to think his mutant power is eating stuff.
French translators were faced with the same problem: French for "Wolverine" is "Glouton", which has the same meaning as its Spanish transparent counterpart, so for a very long time (until Panini got Marvel's right from Lug), he was known as "Serval" (a big African cat with a great sense of smell), then they simply stopped translating his name. Another publisher (Arédit) did call him "Le Glouton", though.
The same problem in Italian has been solved by...not translating his name.
The hungarian translators also faced a problem with his name as the hungarian word for "Wolverine" is" "Rozsomák" or "Torkosborz" neither of which is very flattering and said animal is not even indigenous in Hungary. "Rozsomák" sound like its in plural form (also "rozs" means rye and "mák" means "poppy" in hungarian. The other word "Torkosborz" means "gluttonous badger" facing the same problem as the spanish and french tranlators. So they have settled on "Farkas" meaning "Wolf", ironic considering these two are natural enemies.
In other parts of Latin America he is known as "Guepardo" which is Spanish for Cheetah but since "chita" is also Spanish for Cheetah few make the connection avoiding the idea that his powers might be about speed.
Evilutionary Biologist: Romulus, a werewolf-like mutant from the days of the Roman Empire with powers eerily similar to Logan's, who claims he, Logan, Sabertooth, and a number of mutants are members of the Lupine, a subspecies of mutant descended from canines rather than primates. Although his sister Remus says he made it up. Bonus points for Romulus manipulating Logan's bloodline for centuries and being the mastermind behind Weapon X.
Exposition Of Immortality: Wolverine's Healing Factor means his age is hard to pin down. The recent films have placed his childhood in 1845, and the Wolverine: Origins comic also put his early years in the 19th century, though 35 years later, in 1880. Both spend time exploring his earlier life, firmly placing the character in a time period at least 120 years earlier than the one he currently lives in.
The Fog of Ages: Part of the reason why so much of his past is a mystery. It's indeterminate how much memory has been erased and how much he simply forgot.
Friend to All Children: Wolverine gets a new teenage sidekick about once every decade or so, like Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and Hisako "Armor" Ichaki. They usually go on to be badasses. He also gets along famously with Katie Power for some reason, and once in a great while a writer remembers he has a foster daughter, Amiko.
In fact, his big blowup with Cyclops in Schism came because he absolutely did not want the kid X-Men to lose their innocence by being soldiers for the mutant cause, even if said kids were willing to help with the fight. He went on to reopen Xavier's old school after the event in order to give them a safe haven.
Genius Bruiser: One of Logan's biggest strengths is his mind. He's been around for well over a century and has spent quite a bit of that time taking in information.
Good Is Not Nice: Yes he's more-or-less a heroic guy, but unless you're his daughter or some other kid he's taken under his wing, it's better he ignores you.
Good Parents: His father JohnHowlett, who never learned that he wasn't biologically Logan's father. Over 100 years later when Logan goes to Hell, he still only refers to Thomas Logan as his biological father, and biological only, and still refers to John Howlett as the only father he ever had.
Averted during the "no adamantium" arc; the stress of trying to heal the massive trauma of having the metal ripped out of his body overloaded the healing factor and killed it for a few months of story time. When it finally came back, without the adamantium to slow it down, it essentially overclocked, allowing Logan to at one point completely recover from being run over in a matter of seconds but slowly causing him to revert to a more bestial state. This was taken to an extreme when Genesis tried to re-implant the adamantium. Logan's body explosively rejected the adamantium, and when he was fully healed he was a monstrous subhuman.
Chris Claremont, in particular, was very careful to avert, invert, subvert and otherwise keep this trope from giving Wolverine the effective immortality that he has had of late. In one issue, Wolverine is poisoned and badly stabbed by the Silver Samurai, and it's implied that he's risking his life to let Rogue absorb his healing powers because he is so badly hurt. In another issue, Mystique demonstrates that a slit throat will kill Wolverine before his healing factor has a chance to kick in it's being played with there, though, because it is one of Arcade's replicants being killed, and Arcade may not know the full extent of Wolverine's powers.
Arguably an Unbuilt Trope. His Healing Factor has several drawbacks (as stated above under Blessed with Suck), one of the most harrowing of which is the fact that anesthesia of any kind will not work on him except at ridiculously high dosages. Thus there is an element of deconstruction present before the trope was fully codified.
Since X-23 only has admantium on her claws, her healing factor is fast and powerful enough that she can reattach severed limbs almost instantly; she uses this at one point to escape from Kimura.
Wolverine's Healing Factor also can't prevent death by asphyxiation. Proven when Wolverine kills his son Daken by drowning him.
A good example of how close he and Nightcrawler are is that that Kurt can crash in the notoriously anti-social Wolverine's apartment uninvited, and Logan will come home and not bat an eye. And of course there is Logan's emotional reaction to Kurt's death.
He has used "Jim Logan" as an alias in the past, when working as a private detective. Ironically, that is his true name, unbeknownst to him at the time, James being his given name at birth, and Logan being his biological father's last name.
I Have No Son: His biological father tells him this when Logan refuses to be the ruler of Hell. Logan, who already hates the man simply claws him in the face and says, "Damn right."
Iconic Item: The claws, the extended browpieces of his costumes' cowls, the permanent amount of stubble.
Identical Grandson: Grows up to look exactly like his biological father Thomas Logan. This was used as a Red Herring in the Origin story, with readers initially being lead to believe that Thomas' other son Dog was the young Wolverine.
Informed Ability: His martial arts prowess. 9 times out of 10 we only see him wildly flailing his claws around, something which requires no skill. Wolverine cant seem to make it out of a fight unscathed and is very dependent on his healing factor.
Kavorka Man: He's a really short, hairy guy with cigar breath and weird hair. He's never without some hot woman or another after him. It's also been repeatedly stated or implied that he smells bad and rarely bathes.
The Lancer: Usually takes this role in whatever team he happens to be on at the moment.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Played straight for a long time. Up until Daken came around, it was only ever implied that Logan had any kids (specificallly, Gahck's baby sony Erista in the 1990 one-shot "Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure", and Alpha Flight's Flex). The trope was finally averted in two story arcs:
In the "Wolverine Goes to Hell" arc, part of the emotional torture he undergoes is seeing all his shames and regrets paraded out in front of him, including the undisclosed multitude of children he sired and never cared for.
My Real Daddy: Len Wein may have created him originally, but Claremont (and partially John Byrne also,) made Wolverine the man we know today. Even after Byrne left though, Claremont kept adding to the character, specifically a deep love and appreciation of Japanese culture, as well as many other things. (Such as Madripoor.)
My Suit Is Also Super: Very much averted; his costumes (and more often than not, his street clothes) are constantly being destroyed.
Nineties Anti-Hero: Well, he really came in the 70s, but went on to fit just fine in the 90s, and beyond.
No Name Given: The only name he had for years was Logan. It was never specified whether this was a first or last name (his driver's license actually read Logan W. Logan).
In an issue, he had an identity card which read "Jim Logan", which, if not a Foreshadowing (said issue, if memory serves, was about seven years before he remembered his past in House of M), was at least a hint.
One of his best friends is Puck, a Canadian midget whose power is to throw himself at things.
He's also best friends with Nightcrawler, who is about as different from Wolverine as Superman is from Lobo, aside from their mutual love of beer.
His relationship with Storm, back when it was platonic, has always been this.
Offing the Offspring: The Red Right Hand, a group of former victims or friends and families of some of Wolverine's Mook Horror Show battles, collected and trained a group of Wolverine's unknown offspring to be used as enforcers, then informed him of their lineage after he had already killed them.
In X-Force, Sabertooth manipulated Daken and Wolverine into a fight to the death; a fight he knew Wolverine would win. He gleefully reveals this right after Wolverine drowned Daken.
Older Than He Looks: Logan was born in the late 19th century; he's never looked a day older than 40 at most.
Pet the Dog: Logan gets this from Lady Deathstrike in one issue during the "no adamantium" arc, when she realizes the metal's gone.
(Logan retracts his claws, letting Deathstrike see him bleed from the holes in his hands) Deathstrike: But your healing factor- Logan: It's pretty much used up. As good as gone. (Deathstrike hesitantly brushes Logan's forehead with one finger) Logan: (internal) For the first time in years, she reaches out to touch me...and the touch is gentle.
Popularity Power: Uh, well, he beat Lobo. LOBO. THE GUY WHO FIGHTS ON EVEN FOOTING WITH SUPERMAN. Yeah, it was later handwaved that Lobo took a bribe to lose, but still...
The IRL reason he lost is because the winners were determined by readers' votes, and Wolverine got more.
A Real Man Is a Killer: Subverted. Whilst he is indeed very manly by traditional definitions, and a killer, Logan himself has significant ethical reservations about killing per se and he strongly condemns the killing of innocents. Indeed, his Catch Phrase of "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't very nice" was originally meant to express his own self-doubt about the morality of his actions. In short, Logan rejects the trope even if he technically fulfills its requirements. Of course, some members of his fanbasedo believe this trope and conveniently forget Logan's own rejection of it.
Really 700 Years Old: Wolverine's healing factor drastically slows his aging. He was born in the late 1800s.
Nightcrawler: Where have you been, Logan? Wolverine: Dead. But I got better.
Required Secondary Powers: Invoked. Early on, the writers (correctly) realized that storing metal blades under your skin and having a metal-plated skeleton would require superhuman healing powers to prevent a slow, painful death from infection and/or blood poisoning...which is the only reason Wolvie got his metal claws and skeleton in the first place. As explained in his backstory, Weapon X's scientists decided to line Logan's skeleton with adamantium because they knew that, with his healing factor, he was one of the few people on Earth that could actually survive the process and put the add-ons to practical use.
Retcon: Wolverine's claws were originally bionic implants...until Magneto pulled the adamantium off his skeleton, revealing that he had been born with bone claws that were infused with adamantium like the rest of his skeleton. This led to part of the Art Shift above regarding the claws' appearance.
This turned into one Hell of a retcon. In the Claremont years, Wolverine could still use his claws whenever his powers were negated and he made a point of telling everyone that.
Rival Turned Evil: Inverted. With him and Sabretooth, it's a case of Rival Turned Good. They previously worked together as mercenaries, and while even then Logan was a Noble Demon to Creed's (even back then) villain and they barely got along, they were still on the same team. Once they went through the Weapon X ordeal and Logan made a full Heel Face Turn, it was open season between them. With Logan and his half-brother Dog, a more straightforward example of the trope is in action.
His son Daken took up Sabretooth's role for a time before Sabretooth resumed it.
Now it seems the majority of his hatred is reserved for Cyclops.
Self-Made Orphan: Killed his biological father for killing the man who he thought was his father. It was his first kill and happened right after his claws appeared for the first time.
Shoot the Dog: Subverted. In the issue mentioned under Badass Biker above, Logan sees the killer as a rabid dog and can't bring himself to kill him, having flashbacks to trying and failing to put down a rabid pet dog when he was young. The killer is shot dead by a female police officer; in talking with her, Logan reveals at the end of the issue that Silver Fox took the gun from him and shot the dog herself.
Sidekick: Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, then Jubilee, then Armor, then finally X-23.
Smoking Is Cool: Prior to Joe Quesada vetoing it, Wolverine smoked cigars due to his healing factor preventing/undoing any physical harm it would cause (when he temporarily lost it, he had to quit).
In Uncanny X-Men #196, where Logan and Kitty are sitting on some college steps, Kitty gets so sick of his second-hand cigar smoke blowing in her face that she grabs it out of Logan's mouth, takes several puffs... and promptly breaks down in a massive fit of coughing and wheezing.
Steve Blum: If Wolverine gets into an animated/video game media of the recent ages, the man will be called to voice Wolverine.
Role Reprisal: Although there are a few exceptions, this has been the case ever since Blum landed the role as Wolverine in the 2004 game X Men Legends.
Much more so in his post-Claremont 1990s->early 2000s appearances than today. The last few years he has turned much more sympathetic since joining the Avengers and caring for the well-being of his students.
His daughter/clone X-23 is closer to this, which Logan is trying to help her with.
On the other hand, he is loaded with self-doubt and plagued by intense guilt about his past, and if he wasn't effectively Immortal he might be suicidal. He sticks rigidly to his morality not because he believes it is the best or most ethical, but because its an anchor to his humanity, knowing that there are still lines he hasn't crossed yet and that he has some traces of goodness in him. He agrees with the people who question his morality; he follows it anyway because its a compromise between the man he is and the man he wants to be.
Uncle Pennybags: John Howlett, his legal father, a millionaire who was genuinely a kind-hearted Nice Guy, and didn't see any reason to treat poor folk any less compassionately or differently than anyone else, a point of contention between him and his even richer Jerk Ass father. He gave Rose a dress on Christmas just like her mother would, and when he caught Dog Logan at the window, gave him the toy train intended for young James, who didn't notice as he was playing with his new puppy. Ironically, John's kindess and acts of charity to poor folk made Thomas Logan hate him even more.
Unlimited Wardrobe: Wolverine's gone through several costume changes, although most of them have been based on the costume in the page pic or his iconic brown/tan costume from the '80s and '90s.
Unobtanium: The adamantium coating Wolverine's bones is a very rare commodity. When a villain wanted to give it back to him after he lost it the first time, the metal had to be stolen from another person using adamantium at the time...as his skin.
Unstoppable Rage: Whenever he goes into Berserker mode...which tends to happen a lot.