Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Wolverine: James "Logan" Howlett

Go To

James Howlett / Logan / Wolverine

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/90bdce30_cef1_45e3_aa2e_23aab890d993.jpeg
The best there is at what he does.

Nationality: Canadian

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #180 (October, 1974)



The Breakout Character when talking about the X-Men, Wolverine, alias Logan, Weapon X, and James Howlett is a Canadian superhero with an impaired memory, a gruff personality, and claws coming out of his wrists. Long-lived, bad-tempered, and boasting of being "the best there is at what he does", Logan is the single most popular member of the X-Men, and has starred in numerous comic, film, and television spin-offs.
Advertisement:
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Those pointy things sticking out of his hands. In the first issue of his first solo series, Logan's inner dialogue describes them as "honed so keen they'll cut through anything" and in X-Men #1, Cyclops jumps all over him for popping his claws in Prof. X's face to "tag" him at the end of the Danger Room exercise which starts the issue, saying "[a] wave of [his] hand could pass them through solid steel".
  • The Ace: He would like to remind you that he's the best at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice.
  • The Alcoholic: Subverted; he definitely fits the "drinks a lot" part, but due to his healing factor, he can't actually get wasted or develop an addiction or dependence, although Depending on the Writer. Wolverine has gotten drunk; he just needs a lot of alcohol to do so.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Wolverine has enough similarities to Batman that one could make this argument. When Marvel and DC collaborated to produce the Amalgam Universe, combining their characters for fun, Wolverine and Batman fused to become "Dark Claw".
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: He might seem like he is based off actual wolverines at first glance since he has enhanced senses and claws, but those are very generic animal traits. His claws pop out of the back of his knuckles, which does not happen in the animal kingdom. Then, you get into his metal skeleton, Healing Factor, and the fact that his blue and yellow striped costume does not resemble a wolverine at all. Some later made attempts to change this a bit to various degrees of success. Wolverine is more "animal symbolism" than anything; his power-set invokes the wolverine's reputation as an extremely tough and aggressive creature that can basically shred whatever it's going after.
  • Advertisement:
  • Anime Hair/Hot-Blooded Sideburns: Logan's standard look since his introduction has been a swept-back mane-like hairstyle that comes to prominent points on the sides of his head, combined with muttonchop sideburns. During Adam Kubert's run as artist of the self-titled comic in The '90s, the combination was so long that he almost did have an actual mane; in newer works his hair tends to be a more realistic length while keeping the same style. Living Between Wednesdays actually did an analysis of the various aspects of Wolverine's hair.
  • Anti-Hero: A Trope Codifier for superhero comics, although very inconsistently. He's run the gamut from Pragmatic Hero to Unscrupulous Hero to Nominal Hero in the comics, while the cartoons and movies consistently portray him as a Pragmatic Hero, except for The Superhero Squad Show, where he is a pure hero. Claremont remarked that he disliked the attempts to make Wolverine darker. The following bit of internal dialogue from the first issue of Logan's self-titled series, in the middle of a huge battle with cutthroat slavers who have butchered the crew and passengers of a captured boat, sums things up nicely.
    I'm an X-Man. Mutants like me. Good people, idealists, dreamers. 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.
  • Anti-Villain: Every once in a while, circumstances make him this, usually a Type II or III.
  • Art Evolution:
    • 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 thin blades or roughly cylindrical and tapering to really sharp tips, more like true animal claws. The former was more prevalent in the '90s but really depended on the artist, while the latter was especially prevalent in the '70s and '80s, as well as in Weapon X and sans adamantium.
      • He had chutes for his claws installed in his hands during the late 80s/early 90s.
    • Ever since the X-Men Film Series, 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 tend to look like the heavier, more knife-like movie claws.
      • The claws have no openings of their own and have to tear through his flesh to be extended.
  • Back from the Dead: After his legacy was succeeded thanks to X-23 inheriting the Wolverine codename and his alternate counterpart Old Man Logan migrating to the 616 universe, the original Wolverine is back in action after Return of Wolverine. It seemed liked this was much earlier in the original Marvel Legacy one-shot, stopping a Frost Giant from stealing the Mind Gem, but that Wolverine was really Old Man Phoenix from Jason Aaron's Thor run.
  • Badass and Child Duo: So much it's a Running Gag. "Child" is sometimes overstating it, but all of his well-known sidekicks are adolescent girls who he can both trade snark with and act violently protective of. If it ain't broke... How much of a running gag is it? Well when his time displaced future version ends up in the present, he immediately forms this relationship with the time displaced teen Jean Grey.
  • Badass Beard: If it goes beyond his usual Perma-Stubble, it's likely to become this.
  • 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 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.
  • Battle Couple: His alternate self is this with Hercules in X-Treme X-Men volume 2.
  • The Bear: A heterosexual example in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Played straight (or not) in X-Treme X-Men volume 2.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Grows one after he is tricked into killing his children.
  • Berserk Button: And not a hard one to press, either. Just getting him wound up seems to suffice, although he has some specific triggers:
    • Hurting people that he cares about.
    • Hitting a woman in front of Logan, even if he does not know her or care about her. He made this very clear to Steven Lang in one of the early issues when he belted Jean Grey:
      Oh that TEARS it Bub!! You may beat into me all you want, but if you hit the lady you're gonna have to answer to THE WOLVERINE!! (rips free of his restraints and goes to clawing)
    • Harming a little girl when he's around.
  • The Berserker: His default fighting style is wading into battle, hacking and slashing with his claws. The more straight application is when he gets angered enough to slip into a "berserker rage", where he lapses into an animalistic mental state and will lash out at anyone nearby with aggression far beyond what he's normally capable of. He hates the latter, but has acknowledged that it's saved his life more than once.
  • 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, and in the films, it is. 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.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Despite his gruff exterior, Logan is actually pretty good with kids, and has a particular soft spot for troubled girls. He serves as a mentor to Rogue (in the films), Kitty Pryde, Jubilee (Marvel Comics), X-23, Armor, and even helps set Kamala Khan in the right direction.
  • 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.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Possessing the genes of Wolverine is a one-way ticket to Hell. His older brother scarred their mother with his bone claws, before dying suspiciously at the age of twelve. His true father murdered his cuckolded "father" in front of him, which led to him killing his father with his bone claws. As a result, his mother banished him from the Howlett estate, and then killed herself. Afterwards, Logan's half-brother (by his abusive biological father) attempted to kill him and instead caused him to inadvertently kill his childhood friend. Over the course of his long life, Wolverine has unknowingly abandoned several children, all of whom (that we know of) grew into crazed, soulless killers, five of whom he killed (not knowing who they were), one of whom murdered his own adopted baby brother out of jealousy. His only true legacy are a line of physically and psychologically tormented girls, fashioned from his X chromosomes and shaped to become perfect assassins. Of those that survived to adulthood, two appear to have overcome their trauma, while one has followed her destined role.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Those claws.
  • Blessed with Suck: His powers come with a number of drawbacks.
    • The combination of the healing factor and his claws not having natural sheaths to move through means that they cut through his arms and hands every time he uses them. Depending on the depiction, this can be anywhere from just poking through the skin to slicing through muscle, tendons, and joints. This is quite painful in any case, but fortunately, the healing factor means the pain is brief, and he has a very high pain tolerance.
      • 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!
      • 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.
      • In Wolverine #75, his first time popping his claws after Magneto pulled out the adamantium was a gory mess, and was excruciatingly painful. Afterwards, he had to keep his hands constantly bandaged to deal with bleeding from the holes made by the claws, and the pain, while not as bad as that first time, was still a lot worse because the Healing Factor wasn't working (see its entry below). He still kept it up, though...
        [Logan pops his right claws while he and Jubilee 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.
    • 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.
  • Breakout Character: More popular than the entire team he is a part of.
  • 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. Another version is this with his other half-brother John Howlett III.
  • Canada, Eh?: Though whether the writers do anything with it tends to vary.
  • Canadian = Hockey Fan: Some comic series, like "Wolverine: First Class" show him having a love for hockey as a source of a couple of quick jokes (and people trying to kill him while he's trying to see a game? They end up even worse than usual).
  • Cartwright Curse: One of the most egregious illustrations of the saying "Being paired up with a badass never ends well for a woman". 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Yer choice, bub. Yer funeral."
    • And of course who can forget: "I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do isn't very nice."
  • Cigar Chomper: Until smoking became unbelievably uncool around the '90s, Wolverine was rarely without a cigar. Even now he still flaunts one in the movies.
  • Clark Kenting: His stint as "Patch" while in Madripoor.
  • Colour-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).
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Averted most of the time. While Logan's both an X-Man and Avenger, he makes it clear that he considers the Avengers 'work' and the X-Men as 'family'.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: In his early appearances, Wolverine had his claws attached to his gloves. Once they were said to come out of his hand, his gloves had slits to accommodate their extension.
  • 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".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Wolverine is killed off in Death of Wolverine by being covered from head to toe in molten adamantium. So not only is it cooking him alive until it hardens, which his Healing Factor keeps him alive through, but it ultimately kills him by hardening solid and suffocating him in an air-tight cocoon. That's a very, very nasty way to die.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: While it took many, many years to be unveiled, and certain details are forever changing, Wolverine's past is long and tragic, involving the murder of his legal father and his mother by his biological father, whom he then killed, decades of aimlessly roaming the world, fighting in multiple wars, and being abducted for a black-book Super Soldier project where he was tortured to the brink of insanity before he killed his captors and escaped, by which time his Healing Factor had blocked off his memories in order to protect him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wolverine invariably retorts with dry, cutting mockery whenever somebody threatens him or just says something he thinks is stupid.
  • Death Is Cheap: He's been killed a few times but keeps coming back. In fact, the one-shot kicking off Marvel Legacy undoes... well, Death of Wolverine... sort-of. Wolverine really returned in Hunt for Wolverine whereas the Logan in the Legacy one-shot was revealed to be Old Man Phoenix.
  • Depending on the Writer: How big a jerk he is and how powerful his healing factor is.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Within: He constantly struggles to keep his natural animalistic rage from taking over his humanity. The best he can generally manage is to reconcile the parts of his humanity with his beastlike nature.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's not exactly a nice guy, and he admits it, and certainly doesn't shy from killing his foes, but he is generally assumed to have a deep hatred for The Punisher, because the latter is even more of a kill-happy maniac than Wolverine himself. The fact that Garth Ennis wrote a crossover that involved Punisher blasting Wolvie's face off with a shotgun, then shooting him in the balls with the same shotgun, and then running him over with a steamroller, a series of actions that caused Wolverine to swear vengeance on Frank Castle, certainly adds credibility to this theory. This is generally averted in the modern continuity so far. Several stories after the infamous Ennis story about how Frank shot Wolverine's balls off (Ennis absolutely loathes Wolverine so it was less Frank and Logan not liking each other and more like a brutal Take That! by the writer) show Logan being on, at the least, neutral terms with Frank while even agreeing with him on his stance that some people need to die. Logan even warned Frank when the Avengers were coming to apprehend Castle in the recent Punisher: War Zone. Lately, Logan's standards are against people who go way too far in their causes to the point where they don't care if people unrelated are hurt or injured by a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Wolverine's Healing Factor means his age is hard to pin down. The films of the 2010s 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.
  • Flanderization: His Healing Factor sometimes gets pushed up to ridiculous levels, like regenerating instantly From a Single Cell. Normally, it is indeed powerful enough to restore his health from such things as gunshots or stab wounds, but it can take a very long time, and it's nowhere near as good as those from Hulk, Deadpool or Lobo. It has also been implied that if he has a part of him with bones in it removed, he may not be able to regrow it properly due to the adamantium lacing rest of his skeleton.
  • 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. Occasionally subverted: he sometimes considers and actively tries to kill children if he's scared enough of them, like Hope Summers, Wiccan, a Teenager Cyclops or a clone infant version of Apocalypse.
  • 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 Thing You Can Heal: His adamantium helps mitigate the damage, but still....
  • Go-to Alias: Wolverine uses the identity of "Patch" (wearing an eyepatch), a mercenary, when he acts undercover in the Far East.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: In Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, the Hulk rips Logan in two at the waist. Not only does Logan survive, he crawls up the mountain he's on to find his legs.
  • Has a Type: Sleeps with women of all kinds, but if there's a redhead around, expect him to develop feelings for her.
  • Hates Baths: Mostly depends on the writer, bur it has been said that he does not bathe often and Wolverine himself went on a diatribe about how much he dislikes being in water due to how he can easily drown.
  • Healing Factor: Logan is arguably the Trope Codifier for the fictional type. It kept him alive in conjunction with his adamantium-laced skeleton, and was, in fact, the entire reason why he got the adamantium to start with, as it would take superhuman healing powers to deal with having that much metal in your body in that fashion. Its speed and effectiveness have varied wildly between writers, being anywhere to "injuries heal faster but scar normally" all the way to perfectly healing way-past-3rd-degree burns, massive tissue loss, and other extreme injuries, and taking hours to minutes (or even seconds) to heal from severe trauma.
    • Averted during the "no adamantium" arc; having the metal ripped out of his body over-stressed 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 Cable's evil son 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 often seemed to have. 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 replicas 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.
    • The one thing the healing factor can't prevent is death by asphyxiation. This is alluded to in one issue of Ultimate X-Men when Sabretooth tries to drown him. Years later, it's proven when Wolverine kills his son Daken by drowning him, and then even later when Logan finally dies from suffocation after being buried in molten adamantium.
    • The Ultimate Marvel version actually crosses over with Adaptive Ability; not only can Ultimate Wolvie regenerate, he can actually reconfigure his body to survive until he heals over. Best displayed in Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, which proves the asphyxiation weakness doesn't work in the Ultimateverse: when Logan is reduced to just a head, he mutates to be able to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide directly through his skin. When Nick Fury puts his decapitated head into a vacuum for shits 'n' giggles, he goes into a life-sustaining stasis. Ultimate Wolverine's mutant power is theorized to be less "Healing Factor" and more "survive anything".
  • The Hero Dies: While he did come back, the Death of Wolverine arc ended like the title said, with Wolverine dying (suffocated by molten Adamantium).
  • Heroes Want Redheads: One of Logan's defining personality traits, first with Rose from Origin, then Heather Hudson, and especially Jean Grey. In House of M, Mystique (who he is in a relationship with in this reality) says he has a fetish for redheads.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The eponymous Death of Wolverine happens because Logan cuts open a pipeline of liquid adamantium that was going to be pumped into another unfortunate victim, saving them from ending up like him. The pain of the heated metal is insane, and, after killing Abraham Cornelius, he suffocates in the adamantium shell, satisfied with what he had done in his life.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Nightcrawler and Colossus, of all people. For a time, had a mix of this and Like an Old Married Couple with Cyclops before tensions flared up again. Oddly enough, he is this less frequently with Gambit, the X-Man with whom he has the most in common with. 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.
  • Hot Blade: After his resurrection his claws occasionally heat up when he extends them. The mechanism for this is currently unknown.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Mostly because of bad writing, his character has taken this turn in certain comics. He thinks that he should be the only one allowed to do the dirty work, selectively chooses to forgive or scorn people who caused harm while being possessed (even though he was in this very situation himself) and claims that nobody should ever put children in danger, when he has done things like dumping his students in the Savage Land and even repeatedly tried to murder teenagers (Wiccan or Hope for example) when he saw it fitting.
  • I Have Many Names: James Howlett, Logan, Weapon X, Wolverine, Patch... 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.
  • Iconic Outfit: The distinctive brow extensions of his costumes' cowls; even in silhouette they're instantly recognizable.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: One of Logan's signature moves, when he's not slicing you to ribbons. He's also on the receiving end occasionally.
  • Immortality Promiscuity: Logan has been around since the 19th Century, and by "been around" we mean "been around". The hirsute little berserker got more tail than Tony Stark and Matt Murdock combined.
  • Immune to Bullets: Subverted; he can be hurt by getting shot, but the adamantium and healing factor make being killed by getting shot pretty much impossible. From the first issue of his first solo series, after taking several bullets to the torso from an AK-47:
    The bullets burn like fire. Would've killed anyone else. They just make me mad...which is when things get out of hand. *cue berserker rage*
  • Implacable Man: Together with his Healing Factor, sense of smell, and sheer determination, nothing short of Galactus is going to stop him from tracking someone... and even then only for a little while.
  • Informed Ability: His martial arts prowess has become this in modern continuity. 9 times out of 10 we only see him wildly flailing his claws around, something which requires no skill. Wolverine can't seem to make it out of a fight unscathed and is very dependent on his healing factor. Back when he was first introduced—and could be killed by slitting his throat or stabbing him in the heart—this was less of the case, and he appeared far more competent.
  • Ironic Name: Chris Claremont conceived of the name Logan as an ironic reference to Wolverine's height. The name Logan was inspired by Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest peak in North America. "The idea was the tallest mountain being the name of the shortest character."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wolverine is a Jerk with an abrasive personality, a serious anti-authoritarian attitude, and nasty personal habits. At the same time he is a devoted friend with a soft spot for teenagers (particularly girls) and women. He will go out of his way to help the people that need him.
  • 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. Easily explained by two words: Animal Magnetism.
  • Kick the Dog: Whenever (since he's done it a few times) he tries to kill a teenager, or anyone for that matter, under the excuse that its for the "greater good", tend to come off as this. Especially in All New X-Men when he decides to take out his anger and hatred of Cyclops and bullies the Past!Cyclops, vocally blames him for Xavier's recent death, and publicly humiliates him by threatening to kill him and encouraging someone to give him reason not to and, given how the X-Men still hate him for killing Xavier, no one steps up to stop him, at most looking on disapprovingly (making it a major KTD moment for all the X-Men too), so it continues until Kid!Cyclops tearfully calls him out until finally he's told off by Storm and Beast.
  • The Lancer: Usually takes this role in whatever team he happens to be on at the moment. Attempts to break him out of this into taking the role of The Leader full-on have been made in the last few years. See both Wolverine and the X-Men's TV show and comic book for example. Reception isn't stellar, to say the least.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Very much averted; his costumes (and more often than not, his street clothes) are constantly being destroyed. Interestingly, when he was Brought Down to Normal, he received an armored outfit.
  • Name Amnesia: Wolverine's backstory is packed with memory loss and super-secret military conditioning. While he is occasionally called Logan, he was usually certain it wasn't his name. It isn't; his given name is James Howlett.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: He has an extremely effective Healing Factor and a virtually indestructible skeleton that is laced with adamantium. That said, the healing factor's effectiveness really varies Depending on the Writer.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Well, he really came in the '70s, but went on to fit just fine in the '90s, and beyond.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Rogueish Male to Colossus, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler's Noble Males.
  • The Nose Knows: His sense of smell is especially enhanced, and gets the most use and mention. He is able to recognize people and objects by scent, even if they are well hidden. He can track a target by scent, even if the scent has been greatly eroded by time and weather factors, with an extraordinary degree of success. Wolverine can also use his keen sense of smell to detect lies due to chemical changes within a person's scent. In one issue where he's strongly implied to have slept with Mystique, he knew it was her from the moment she walked up to him just by her smell.
  • Not So Different: With Sabretooth. Along with Sabretooth's constant torment of him, this is an important reason of Wolverine's own hatred of him. Sabretooth represents the person that Wolverine used to be, before years and years of working hard to become a better person, and the person he is working hard to not become (again).
  • Odd Friendship:
    • 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. To wit: Early in his tenure with the X-Men, Nightcrawler was just about the only one of his teammates he admitted to actively liking and any time he was forced to pair off with someone on a mission he almost always requested him.
    • His relationship with Storm, back when it was platonic, has always been this.
    • Is slowly becoming this with both Hercules and The Mighty Thor, due to all three's shared long life spans, love of battle and love of drinking. Amusingly, he really wishes it wasn't happening with Herc, who remains blithely convinced that it's inevitable.
    • After working together for so long in The Avengers, Spider-Man has become one with him. Peter Parker normally has nothing but contempt for anti-heroes who kill even mooks but he's come to see Logan as often not having a choice. Meanwhile Logan, for all his short-temperedness, is surprisingly tolerant of Peter even when he's in one of his goofier moods. One of the reasons why Logan likes Peter is because Peter believes Logan to be a better man than Logan sees himself.
  • Omniglot: Wolverine has been shown to be at least conversant in about a dozen languages, including one extraterrestrial and two Native American.
  • One-Man Army: He's always been this, but it was most pronounced in the 1990's cartoon and Wolverine and the X-Men (2009).
  • Original Man: Wolverine is revealed to be one of the last living specimens in both Marville and Earth X. Comic books are weird.
  • Papa Wolf: Regarding Jubilee and Kitty Pride, most notably, but young girls in general bring this out in him...God help you if you do anything to harm them. It's been suggested this is one of the reasons why Logan makes no effort to conceal his identity as Wolverine. Most heroes, like Peter Parker have close family they need to protect, so concealing their identity is necessary. Others, like Reed Richards have no need, because their loved ones are just as powerful. In Logan's case? Given his typical stance on killing, it's just not good for your health to try and harm his loved ones, so in his case, people knowing he's Wolverine is the best protection he can provide.
  • Parental Substitute: Has been a caring father figure to Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Armor, and other young X-Men. Ironically, he was a Disappeared Dad to every single one of his actual children.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: His "Patch" alter ego; his disguise was basically just an eyepatch over one eye. In the '80s, Jessica Drew called him out on how blatant the Patch disguise was, and that no-one wanted to be the first to point it out lest they get stabbed in the face.
  • Perma-Stubble
  • Pet the Dog: Logan gets this from Lady Deathstrike in one issue during the "no adamantium" arc, when she learns the metal's gone.
    [Logan retracts his claws, letting Deathstrike see him bleed from the holes in his hands]
    Deathstrike: You're...still bleeding. 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.
  • The Pig-Pen: He rarely bathes and he smells bad.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Logan's 5'3". This contrasts him more with his enemy Sabretooth who is 6"6".
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Psylocke. Formerly with Storm as well, before their Relationship Upgrade in 2013.
  • Popularity Power: Uh, well, he beat Lobo. LOBO. THE GUY WHO FIGHTS ON EVEN FOOTING WITH SUPERMAN. The IRL reason he lost is because the winners were determined by readers' votes, and Wolverine got more.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: He's got a body count to rival that of The Punisher, yet unlike Frank is very rarely depicted as a villain.
  • 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 Catchphrase 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.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Wolverine's healing factor drastically slows his aging. He was born in the late 1800s.
  • Rebellious Spirit: In most continuities he's clearly an anti-authoritarian loner. Subverted in Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) owing to Logan and Scott's exchange of roles. Averted in X-Men: Evolution, where Logan's a Drill Sergeant Nasty combat instructor. Even in the mainstream canon these days, he's now school headmaster.
  • 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 Healing Factor 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. The original Weapon X storyline hinted at this, noting during the adamantium lacing procedure that an unusual amount of the metal was being drawn into his hands and wrists.
  • Retractable Weapon: His claws popping in and out of his hands.
  • 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.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: With any and all of his love interests. The sheer amount of Belligerent Sexual Tension makes you wonder how he actually feels about Cyclops, Northstar and Gambit.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite having the appearance and demeanor of a thuggish biker, he's fluent in multiple languages, mastered several fighting styles, trained many heroes, and is an proficient in many weapons besides his claws due to having been a soldier, mercenary, samurai, and best of all, hero. He's truly the best there is.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Averted, but more implied 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.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior:
    • He had this relationship with Cable back in the nineties, with Cable being the Soldier and him being the Warrior.
    • Also with Cyclops, who amusingly enough is Cable's dad. Must be In the Blood.
  • Sour Supporter: Of both Cyclops and Professor X.
  • Spider-Sense: Not of the active variety but James Super Senses and the fact that he is in constant life or death situations against all manner of danger means that he's instantly aware when things aren't right based on what his senses are telling him passively. Often it's his sense of smell to direct him to danger first and his habit of sniffing the air before something dangerous happens is something of a trademark for him. Lampshaded by Spider-Man.
    Spider-Man: (after seeing Logan suddenly sniff the air) Oh no. I know that sniff. I fear that sniff. That sniff is the less attractive cousin to my spider-sense.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Wolverine has become a signature example of the trope. This is part of the reason the trope Wolverine Publicity is named after him, since he's given a spotlight even when he's barely there.
  • Stubborn Hair: His... unique hairstyle may be the fault of his healing factor. "Marauders"#1 reveals that Logan uses "Dapper Dude" pomade on his hair, as it is on his shopping list for Kitty Pryde.
  • Super Drowning Skills: A Logical Weakness of his metallic bones is that he's too dense to float (despite which he's been shown floating on numerous occasions, and is frequently depicted as being a strong swimmer). Drowning is said to be one of the few things that could kill him.
  • Super Senses: A side effect of the healing factor is that all of Logan's senses are superhumanly keen, although his sense of smell gets emphasized more than the others (See The Nose Knows). He can see at far greater distances, with perfect clarity, than an ordinary human and retains this same level of clarity even in near total darkness. His hearing is enhanced in a similar manner, allowing him to detect sounds ordinary humans couldn't hear at a greater distances, enough to hear a teardrop in another room that have thick walls with enough focus.
  • Super Strength: Not touched on directly and more subtly alluded to but some of the things James does physically should not be possible for a normal well trained man. His adamantium skeleton means that he doesn't have to worry about structural failure when he tries to lift things (his bones won't break from too much weight), His healing ability means that muscle tearing heals almost as fast as it's inflicted (the human body only uses 60-70% of it's full power to prevent it from destroying itself but James can ignore this and the fast regeneration mean he can recover from training instantly and stay on peak physical condition with ease), and something many don't know but people can't sustain adrenaline naturally for very long as it harms them so after using the fight or flight response it goes away quickly and the body needs time to recover but James continuously recovers so he can stay in an elevated fight or flight adrenaline state for extended periods of time.
  • Tame His Anger: He tries to do this a lot, but it doesn't last. Notable examples include Origins where Wolverine and Rose work at a mine in British Colombia and Wolverine finds peace and tranquility. That peace is interrupted when Dog kills Rose. Wolverine later meets a Native American woman called Silver Fox and they fall in love. Sabretooth, jealous of the peace Wolverine found, kills Silver Fox.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted; his views are more along the lines of "Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Kill". Wolverine is against using lethal force in a situation where it's not necessary, but has no problem doing so if he has to. He tends to be a bit more loose with this rule in the comics than in the cartoons and movies.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Pretty much all his relationships involve this trope because he's so short.
  • Token Anti-Heroic Teammate: On the more traditionally-heroic Avengers, he serves this role.
  • To the Pain: He's more than capable of this if he feels someone is deserving of it. A prominent example is his treatment of the crimelord Matsu'o Tsurayaba, who dishonorably poisoned his rival and Wolverine's lover Mariko. As punishment, Wolverine lifted a page out of Sabretooth's playbook, visiting Matsu'o once a year and cutting off a piece of him. He kept this up for several years, leaving Matsu'o a horrifically scarred and psychologically broken shell of a man. Even after this, Wolverine was outraged when Psylocke wanted to give him a Mercy Kill, and fought her over his fate, a grim testimony to how vindictive he can be.
  • Tranquil Fury: Despite his usual way of expressing his anger, he will enter this when someone pisses him off so much he regains control, and God help you if you are the one to make him enter this state.
  • Truly Single Parent: His daughter X-23 was cloned from him without his permission.
  • Übermensch: He lives by his own morals and does not care what others think about his morality... which has no restraints against killing in certain situations. Thus he fits the trope's requirements of rigidly sticking to a morality that many others often consider at least debatable. See the quote under Anti-Hero above. 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 it's 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 it's a compromise between the man he is and the man he wants to be.
  • Unbreakable Bones: The iconic comic book example with his metal-laced skeleton.
  • 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.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Although he's an expert martial artist, he doesn't strategize and his attacks are more focused on rage than anything else, while also using his healing factor as an advantage, obviously.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Whenever he goes into Berserker mode... which tends to happen a lot.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Wolverine served in Vietnam, during which he was responsible for torturing Nuke and also brainwashed him into becoming a Manchurian Agent.
  • Villain Protagonist: In the flashbacks of Wolverine Origins.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Whenever he's with Gambit.
    • Does this a bit with Spidey too.
    • Deadpool thinks of himself as this by way of being listed (even on That Other Wiki) in Logan's Rogues Gallery.
    • He used to be like that with Cyclops too, but then Schism and AVX happened and now Wolverine HATES him.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Whenever he's not in costume (and sometimes when he is!), his clothes will be removed or destroyed in some fashion, nine times out of ten.
  • Wall Crawl: By poking his claws into surfaces and climbing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Wolverine nearly fatally stabs Rachel "Phoenix" Summers in "X-Men" #207, to prevent her from murdering the psychic vampire Selene, Kitty very justifiably chews him out big time, not only for valuing the life of a ruthless enemy over a teammate, on top of playing judge, jury and executioner when it comes to supposedly preserving the X-Men's "conscience", but the sheer ridiculous, hypocrisy of a born killer like Wolverine trying to kill a teammate to keep them from killing.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He has a fear of water, as it's very difficult for him to stay afloat due to his adamantium, and drowning can kill him.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Trope Namer. A lot of people forget that an early plan for Wolverine was that his gloves contained the claws. The writers eventually decided that then, anyone could be Wolverine by putting on the gloves, and made it so that they were inside his body.
  • World's Best Warrior: He's one of the greatest fighters in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine isn't the best soldier (that would be Captain America), he's not the best fighter (that's split between Iron Fist and Shang-Chi), he's not the World's Strongest Man (that's usually the Incredible Hulk) and he's not a Person of Mass Destruction or Physical God. However, he is good enough to put up a fight against all of that to be the world's most dangerous man.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Logan generally detests violence against women, but that goes out the window when it comes to the women in his Rogues Gallery and other similarly lethal female opponents. Lady Deathstrike, the Viper, Lady Mastermind, Mystique, and even Rachel Summers can attest to that.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Logan almost did this to Billy Kaplan in The Children's Crusade. Thankfully, Magneto stopped him.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report