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Healing Factors in comic books.


DC Comics

  • Batman: Endgame revealed The Joker has this power, explaining how he got his face back after Death of the Family. It is then subverted because it turns out Joker just got his hands on a Lazarus pit.
  • Also in the DCU are the Black Lanterns, which can regenerate From a Single Cell and can usually only be destroyed by the combined light of a Green Lantern and any of the other colors.
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  • Birds of Prey: Misfit has Teleportation powers, and every time she uses them, her injuries heal. Even if she doesn't teleport, her injuries heal, but at a slower rate.
  • Deathstroke has some form of accelerated healing, though no one's kept track of how strong it's supposed to be, other than the fact that it's weaker than Wolverine's.
  • Depending on the Writer, The Flash uses his super speed as essentially a form of Healing Factor; he experiences the normal healing a human body is capable of, but at a much faster rate. Kid Flash/Impulse, who shares the same power set, has to deal with one of the downsides when Deathstroke shoots his knee with buck shot: his super speed lets him heal very quickly, but without extracting the buck shot and setting the bone correctly his leg will be essentially useless. Making it worse, his super-metabolism also makes him immune to pain medicine, meaning he had to be awake while his bones were re-broken, set, and the metal was removed.
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  • Green Arrow II, Connor Hawke, was granted healing powers by the machinations of Dr Sivana in an issue of Green Arrow and Black Canary. Sivana gave him that healing factor using bits of Plastic Man, a character that has survived being turned to stone, shattered, and having the pieces scattered around the ocean floor for over 1,000 years. Yeah, Plastic Man takes this trope to the extreme. However, Plastic Man doesn't actually heal. He's just Nigh Invulnerable as the result of having total control over his physical structure. It's the same principle that allowed him to change back to his regular shape whenever Circe turned him into an animal.
  • Lobo from DC Comics has an absurdly over-the-top one, as he is partly a Wolverine parody. Plus, neither Heaven nor Hell want him. This is taken to such ridiculous extremes that at one point, one of his powers was that a single drop of his blood will grow into another Lobo. In one story, Lobo was "killed" by having a very special bomb shoved down his throat. He exploded in a spray of crimson... only for EACH drop of blob to grow into a Lobo clone in a matter of seconds. The group of Lobos brutally murder the aggressor.... and then turn on each other, specifically murdering each other in bloodless ways, until only one remains. He announces that he is the true Lobo, and then goes off doing Lobo type things. It's implied that this happens regularly. The "Lobo clones from blood" thing was, at one time, curbed. Vril Dox II, son of Brainiac and founder of the Legion of Super-Heroes predecessor L.E.G.I.O.N., gave Lobo a concoction to drink, then sent him out on a mission. After one last army of Lobos, the cloning bit was deactivated, and only returned after Our Worlds at War, when the young Lobo (long story) is murdered by the Black Racer and his body respawns various Lobos. DC Rebirth also removes the clones from his powerset, though he still has over-the-top healing.
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  • Paul Kirk, one of The DCU's numerous Manhunters, was given his healing factor by a particularly nasty group of Well Intentioned Extremists, as (apparently) was one of the clones they made of him, also known as Manhunter. The revival of Manhunter came a year before the introduction of Wolverine, and his power was actually referred to as a "healing factor," so Manhunter's series — which won many awards in the 1970s but has since fallen into obscurity — may be the Trope Codifier for modern comic books.
  • Man-Thing seems to come back from anything as long as he is in proximity to water.
  • The Martian Manhunter can regenerate from almost any injury. He once even grew his whole body from a severed arm.
  • Raven of the Teen Titans is able to heal herself by drawing magical energy from the emotions of others. Even with this power, she still falls into comas while healing on a few occasions.
  • Shade is one of these. No matter what you do to him — shoot him full of bullets, blast him to pieces, rip out his heart — he'll always regenerate his injuries. The only way to kill him permanently is to take away his shadow, removing his powers, then deliver a killing blow. In one potential future, he's still going strong after several millennia.
  • Superman:
    • Although hurting Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl... and other Kryptonians is pretty hard to begin with, if you manage it, they will recover quickly.
    • Superman once recovered from a slit throat minutes afterwards. It's unknown if this is a power of his, or just an above-average recovery time that has nothing to do with yellow-sun radiation.
    • It depends on which version you're talking about. Golden Age Kryptonians were genetically engineered. Yellow solar radiation makes it happen faster. Silver Age Kryptonians were normal humans on Krypton. When surrounded by a red solar forcefield, Superman was human but escaping "shredded every tendon in his legs." Upon escaping "his tendons instantly repair and all the pains of humanity melt away."
    • Doomsday, in The Death of Superman. It takes someone in Superman's weight class to even take him on, and on top of that he can regenerate from anything, including death. The process actually supposedly makes him stronger each time with a new defense adapted to whatever killed him so he can never be killed the same way twice. Also, unlike some of the others on this list, when he's killed he actually stays dead for days or weeks.
  • Vandal Savage is another DCU example; he got his immortality from a meteor back during the Cro-Magnon era. He possesses one (as well as other powers) that considerably slow his aging process to the point of it being almost nonexistent.
  • Wonder Woman is pretty tough to injure in the first place but if she is she recovers incredibly quickly. For example in Generations Cheetah impales her with a spear, and when Wondy yanks it out and throws it back in Cheetah's direction the gory hole is almost entirely closed by the time the spear hits.

Marvel Comics

  • Blade heals far faster than humans, and even faster than some other superhumans with lower level healing factors. Injuries such as stab and slash wounds take care of themselves just fine.
  • Courier of Marvel Comics has the ability to regrow body parts, but can't create matter, so when he had to regrow a finger he shrank by one inch.
  • Deadpool from Marvel also has this (he even got it from the same place as Wolverine got his adamantium skeleton), but since he had cancer before getting it, his healing factor caused the tumors to grow out of control and made him horribly scarred and insane (he thinks he's a character in a comic book).
    • He has noted that he couldn't come back from the silly lengths that Wolverine has managed - although he can regrow fast enough that his friend Cable would psychically make his head explode for a joke.
    • Deadpool's blown himself up and then been dragged back to the X-Men Mansion by Colossus in a sack of body parts, complaining all the way. He's been liquefied and drunk by Cable. And he's decapitated on a fairly regular basis.
    • During the Secret Invasion Deadpool actually weaponized his healing factor by letting the Skrulls use it to make their next generation of Super Skrulls. We then find out that if it wasn't for Deadpool's deadly cancer constantly killing him, his healing factor would be completely out of control. The Super Skrulls keep generating more and more body mass until they explode.
    • His daughter Ellie has a variation. After death, her body "reboots" back into the age when her mutant ability first emerged, with her memories intact.
  • Iceman could be considered to fit this trope — he once had a giant hole blown in his chest while in ice form. He was quite reasonably afraid of dying if he changed back but when he did it was as if the injury had never even happened in the first place.
  • In Immortal Iron Fist, this is one of the explicit abilities of the Cobra Warrior of Peng Lai. Old Cobra once reversed his aging to become a young man again, One Armed Cobra regenerated his long-missing arm, and Fat Cobra managed to grow back both of his legs and repair his severed spinal cord after a fateful encounter with the multi-headed dragon Xiang Yao.
  • The Incredible Hulk has been at various times shown to have a healing factor that makes Wolverine's pale in comparison at times. (Including having all his skin ripped off and regrown in seconds — partly justified in that drawing mass and energy from another dimension is explicitly part of his powers.) More specifically, the Hulk's healing factor is much like his strength level in that it's tied into his emotional state. The Hulk not only gets stronger as he gets angrier, he also heals faster. Apparently, Hulk's healing is so fast that it took years for anybody to even notice it existed. He regenerates so quickly that nobody could tell that attacks could actually damage him to begin with.
    • As Red She-Hulk, Betty Ross is also capable of rapidly regenerating injuries such as the severe injury after being impaled by Skaar's massive sword.
  • Marvel's The Juggernaut also has an incredible healing factor, once continuing to fight after being reduced to an angry skeleton. This is often not noted because, like the Hulk, he is incredibly difficult to injure in the first place, with only magic being really able to actually hurt him. So the only way you can really face off against him is to teleport him somewhere far away and hope he decides not to come back after you, or use Mind Control to make him go away.
  • Kamala Khan has a variant on this trope as, thanks to her ability to alter her body. She learned this when her best friend's brother accidentally shot her when she was resembling the Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel and used it to revert to normal, healing in the process.
  • Luke Cage has one of a similar sort to Spidey's, in that he heals faster than a normal human but can be harmed (not that much gets past that skin of his).
  • Minor Marvel villain Madcap also has a healing factor. It's a Bloodless Carnage variant, and he can still control his body parts if they're detached. In the words of his severed head:
    Madcap: I'm indestructible. No, that's not right... you can destruct me. What's the word for when, no matter how bad you Humpty my Dumpty, I Wolverine myself back together again?
  • Morbius was quite surprised to find out his transformation into a pseudo-vampire had given him accelerated healing, which he discovered after he was shot and woke up a little while later with the bullet hole gone. He can heal from a lot and does so faster than normal humans, but it definitely has its limits.
  • Mr. Immortal from Great Lakes Avengers has a unique version: he always recovers from fatal injury. It's not shown how he'd cope with just normal grievous bodily harm, although this is rarely an issue—typically, he's facing villains who are more than happy to kill him. And if he was just really wounded, all he'd need to do is commit suicide ...
  • Mystique may have a healing factor, or it may just be an extension of her shapeshifting; it's kind of on the fence, and can vary from series to series.
  • Even Spider-Man is shown to have a limited version of this ability, although it seems more that he can just heal faster from injuries that any normal human can recover from, with bruises and sprains often disappearing only a day or two after Spidey is hurt. He certainly isn't Made of Iron to the extent that Wolverine and the Hulk are, however.
    • It's been explained that Spider-Man's body has gained some properties of a spider's exoskeleton. His outside gets the hits, and his insides stay relatively undamaged. That may not be how science works, but the "RADIO-ACTIVE SPIDER BITE" people probably aren't too worried about the hard facts.
      • It was initially explained as the relative healing of a spider. And that makes no sense, because humans heal faster than spiders. The exoskeleton remark makes a bit more sense. It would make it harder to injure him, but it would affect his weight and movement. He would also have to shed it.
    • Curt Connors used lizard DNA to regrow his amputated right arm, which successfully gained him this power but also made him an unwilling villain. In the movie he heals from machine-gun fire and grows new limbs in seconds.
    • The Venom and Carnage symbiotes are also close to immortal, where they can heal from anything but continual and ongoing exposure to high-pitched sounds. The Sentry once ripped Carnage in half (in outer space, no less) but he still somehow managed to come back. The hosts are more vulnerable—Cletus Kasady lost both his legs thanks to that, but when the symbiote returned to him he was able to walk about freely (though he had prosthetics in-between)—but still recover from most injuries as long as the symbiote is attached to them. The latest Venom host is paraplegic Flash Thompson—he uses the symbiote for limited periods (too long and the symbiote will start controlling his body and thoughts) but as long as he uses it he can walk just fine and is, in fact, a full-blown Super Soldier.
    • Norman Osborn has this, given to him as a Retcon to explain how he came Back from the Dead—consequently, this means even impaling his heart with a large spiked object only requires time to recover from; the in-universe explanation is that he always had it (i.e. ever since getting his powers) but hadn't noticed since he had never been that badly injured before (he is Made of Iron and can shrug off small caliber bullets, so that helps a bit). It is unclear to what extent writers remember that he has this power—when fighting Spider-Man, he has since recovered from being hit by a bag of bombs and falling hundreds of stories to the ground while aflame (all at the same time), survived a point-blank explosion from Nitro the Living Bomb, being buried alive in a collapsed elevator shaft (along with Peter—Osborn recovered almost instantly, if he was badly injured at all, but Peter was in the hospital for days), and many, many savage beatings from Spider-Man including one that culminated in having his head smashed in with a lamppost, caving it into concrete—again, he recovered within days, if not hours, off-panel, and was in perfect health when we next saw him. Some stories, however, seem to suggest that he can be killed rather easily—Hawkeye, for instance, was going to shoot him with an arrow, and the plot seemed to imply that that would do the trick. Almost no story since his return explicitly mentions his healing factor by name either.
    • Itsy-Bitsy, from Spider-Man/Deadpool, has the combined powers of Spider-Man and Deadpool, including their combined healing factors. She first demonstrates with when Deadpool cuts off her hands with his monomolecular, Carbonadium laced katana and they almost fully regenerate for before the originals hit the ground. It takes being atomized by a Plasma Breeder that imitates the conditions at the core of the sun to inflict meaningful damage and even then she completely regenerates six arms and everything from the waste down within what would have been half an hour tops and after suffering complete and total atomization she'd recovered from atoms to the size of a spider within less than 24 hours. She implicitly has some kind of Adaptive Abillity, as her limbs were larger and more spider-like following their atomization and her post atomization body is essentially a humanoid spider.
  • X-Men:
    • Wolverine is the iconic Super Hero example. This has been subject to extreme Power Creep, Power Seep; he went from "very tough, but can be killed by a single lucky shot from a Humongous Mecha" to "survive being at ground zero of a nuke". (He managed to even regrow from a single droplet of blood that fell on a powerful Ancient Artifact once, but that was more a demonstration of the artifact's power than his own, and may have been hallucinatory anyway). An arc in his main book was written to tone this down — by the same writer who had written one of the more ridiculous examples, ironically enough. It exemplifies Voodoo Shark — he could battle the Angel of Death if ever he dies in order to return to life, having beaten him before, but apparently can no longer do this.
    • There's also Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone X-23, who has all of Wolverine's powers. Though the exact nature of her healing factor outside of Limbo has yet to be determined. It apparently has some limit (then again, she did take a direct hit from Nimrod). Wolverine's son Daken also inherited his father's healing factor.
    • Finally, Wolverine's arch-enemy Sabretooth had virtually the same power-set, including the healing factor. But all that was cut to an abrupt end. Thanks to Wolvie's anti-healing katana forged from the dark area of his soul. It was later revealed that Creed wasn't actually dead, what a shock.
    • Marvel seems to have made it a point to establish that all of the above can die from drowning and all but Logan (due to his adamantium skeleton) can die from beheading.
    • There was actually a time between Fatal Attractions and Age of Apocalypse where Wolverine's healing factor was shot. The power, having been overtaxed due to Magneto ripping the adamantium from his skeleton, was temporarily rendered useless while Wolverine healed from his injuries the normal way.
    • Due to the nature of most children's shows, this can't be shown that effectively. The '90s X-Men animated show tries to, but it amounts to them needing less rest than everyone else; it's best shown on TV in X-Men: Evolution when Wolverine is shown to have broken his legs from a helicopter jump, and later on in Season 4 when he falls out a plane.
    • Mr Sinister has a healing factor that puts the two of them to shame; he can recover from massive physical wounds, up to and including having his entire chest blown out, and Depending on the Writer he can even recover From a Single Cell, or at least from having his entire body reduced to liquid. He is essentially the T-1000 (though he predates him), and since he seemingly has no blood, Bloodless Carnage is in effect and his factor was portrayed in the animated series fairly blatantly.
    • Apocalypse, likewise, has a great healing factor, though not quite as broken as Sinister's. It appears to be an extension of his Celestial tech Powered Armor and Voluntary Shapeshifting, as he more or less appears to close any wound at will — which means, he consciously chooses to heal them, so it's not really a separate power and if he left them the wounds would probably heal at a normal rate, but with his powers he can do it in seconds. In general, this is limited to superficial-to-moderate injuries — he probably can't recover from, say, dismemberment — but things that would kill anyone else he can shrug off with a laugh. The fact that he also has Nigh-Invulnerability combined with Combo Platter Powers (including very strong personal Force Fields) means that doing him harm in the first place is a challenge in itself. He also pulls a Grand Theft Me every now and then, targeting especially powerful mutants when he can (regardless, the new host inherits his old powers), and can recover from near-death either by that or by draining energy from any minions he has infused with his technology.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • The Ultimates
      • It's one of Captain America's powers. Steve comes out of the fight with Hulk with several broken bones and some bruises, but he mentions he'll be fine in a few days. Taken further in Ultimate Avengers 3, when his healing factor manages to undo being vampirized.
      • Herr Kleiser. Even being cut in half doesn't stop him, which is why they had to call in the Hulk, since only he could do enough damage to put him down.
    • Jessica Drew has it as well, in a small degree. In the All-New Ultimates she was drugged with a Fantastic Drug, but her advanced molecular makeup allowed her to survive it. She had to be hospitalized, but anyone else would have died.

Other

  • Aquila: Aquila and the rest of his "brothers" who serve The Devourer can recover from wounds that would kill any normal man, but it does take some time for them to heal (varying from anything to a few hours to several days depending on the severity).
  • The demons of Clean Room can possess human bodies, then mold the flesh like clay. This has the potential to heal the victim, but is much more frequently seen doing the opposite.
  • The 1990s comic book hero Darkhawk doesn't exactly have a healing factor, but he can instantly repair all the damage to his android form by shifting back to his human form, which sends his armor back to the spaceship where it can be almost instantly repaired with nanotechnology, allowing him to summon it back at full strength. Injuries to Darkhawk's human body couldn't be healed this way, however.
  • Mildly deconstructed with Jaeger in Finder: he has superhealing (as well as being a mild Wolverine Expy in other ways), but if he doesn't get injured for too long a period it makes his immune system overactive and he gets auto-immune diseases.
  • Painkiller Jane has this power. But while her regenerative abilities enable her to survive just about anything, it doesn't get rid of the pain from said injuries, which is why she has the name. See Series below for more details.
  • The Pitiful Human Lizard: Lucas gains this power after being a guinea pig for a pharmaceutical company.
  • The vampiric Cassidy from Preacher could do this, but he had to actually open up someone's vein before he could heal.
  • The revivers of Revival can regenerate from virtually all injuries but can be killed if enough damage is dealt quickly to disrupt function to all their organs simultaneously. The limits aren't really explored due to in-story ethical considerations.
  • The Savage Dragon can regrow lost limbs, albeit slowly. One villain actually used this against Dragon by breaking every bone in his body, then stuffing him down a smokestack so he healed all wrong. To fix him, another hero had to break his bones again to let him heal correctly.
  • The Five Archons in The Secret History. They can be killed, probably, but they're certainly not easy to kill.
  • Holden Carver of Sleeper has a healing factor as a Required Secondary Power.
  • Star Wars Legends: Space Elf Jedi Master Fay from Republic #55 has a healing factor due to her deep connection to the Force. Unfortunately, it fails at a crucial moment because of her giving her Force reserves to Obi-Wan to help him jump to safety. As a result, she ends up dying from stab wounds inflicted on her by Asajj Ventress.
  • In his wolf form, Werewolf by Night can heal from just about anything, as long as it's not silver through the heart. He also heals much faster as a wolf than as a human.
  • 1990s hero Xombi has a Nanomachines based healing factor. It's treated more realistically in that the title character does explicitly need raw organic material to properly heal. In the first issue, his lab assistant is partially devoured when she rests her body against his own while he's healing.


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