December 22, 1874
John Howlett I (legal grandfather)
- "I'm the best at what I do. But what I do isn't very nice."
James Logan, (born as James Howlett and also known as Logan, Weapon X and Wolverine), was a human mutant who at various times in his life was a soldier, government operative, ninja, magician and vampire hunter as well as a prominent member of the X-Men.
Born on December 22, 1874 as James Howlett, Logan was the result of an on-going illicit affair between Elizabeth Howlett, wife of the wealthy land owner, John Howlett II, and their groundskeeper Thomas Logan. Believed to be Howlett's legitimate child, Logan was brought up in privileged surroundings.
Wolverine's life began in Alberta, Canada, on December 22, 1875. The man who would come to be known simply as Logan was born James Howlett, the second son of Elizabeth Howlett (née Hudson) and John Howlett II, owners of a large estate. However, it was later revealed that he was the product of the on going illicit affair between Elizabeth Howlett and the groundskeeper Thomas Logan. He was raised alongside his older brother, John III, until he was taken to an insane asylum as a child.
As a boy, James was notably frail and was prone to bouts of allergic attacks. He spent most of his early years on the estate grounds and had two playmates that lived on the Howlett estate with him: Rose O'Hara, a red-headed Irish girl who was brought in from town to be a companion to young James, as well as a boy nicknamed "Dog", Victor Logan, the grounds-keeper's son. Thomas Logan was an alcoholic and was extremely abusive to his son. The children were close friends but as they reached young adulthood, the abuse inflicted upon Dog warped his mind. Dog made unwanted advances toward Rose, which James reported to his father. In retaliation Dog killed James' puppy, in turn leading to the expulsion of Thomas Logan and Dog from the estate.
Thomas Logan, in a drunken stupor and armed with a shotgun, invaded the Howlett estate with his son and attempted to take Elizabeth Howlett and James, who he was claiming to be the father of, with him out of town. John II attempted to stop him and Thomas Logan shot him in cold blood. James had just entered the room when this occurred and for the first time his mutation manifested; his claws extended from the backs of his hands and he attacked him with uncharacteristic ferocity, killing Thomas Logan, but not before he confessed to being his father.
Fearing for their safety, Rose fled the estate with Victor and James who appeared to have been deeply traumatized about everything that had happened back at the estate. Dog falsely reported to James' grandfather that Rose had murdered John Howlett II. and Thomas Logan. John Howlett I shunned James and Rose for this, but due to the fact James remained in his bloodline, he used his influence in the town to make sure there were no authorities on duty at the train station for the next 10 hours, and granted them some money. With no other family left, he allowed his half-brother to come with him. However, Victor was showing some signs of psychopathy.
- "Well, I... I killed her, Kitty. It was an accident."
- ―James Logan, recalling what happened to Rose O'Hara many years later
In the years that followed, the Logan brothers and O'Hara took refuge in a British Columbia mining colony in Tulameen under the guise of being cousins. In order for them to hide their identity's, James assumed the name of "Logan" and Victor assumed the name of "Creed". Within months, as the hard work of mining and the tough environment provoked traumatic changes in his body, Logan grew to be unusually healthy and ferocious, displaying enhanced agility and strength, possessing animal-like heightened senses that rivaled any animal's and learning to break the rocks by hating and bullying them. Logan became a valuable and admirable figure amongst the small community of miners, due to his hard work and strong ethics, earning him the respect of his peers.
Even the foreman, Smitty Alan, who became a surrogate father figure to Logan, was impressed with him. Logan even gained the nickname "Little Smitty", due to their similar work ethics. During this period, Logan developed strong feelings for Rose, but could not act on them for the sake of their guise as cousins. Smitty, who had been mentoring Logan all these years, had also grown close to Rose and the two eventually fell in love, much to the scorn and surprise of the brothers. Logan himself later accepted the situation for the sake of Rose's happiness.
Unfortunately, Rose soon came down with a disease, and after a local physician failed to get her fever down Logan suggested going back to a city to get O'Hara additional medical treatment, but his older brother was unwilling to allow him to risk the authorities learning of their identities. The two fought fiercely in the middle of the street and, despite being the physically stronger of the two, Creed was eventually overpowered by the enraged Logan. As Victor lay unconscious, Logan unsheathed his claws, for the first time in public, to the shock of everyone watching, and was about to use them on his brother, when Rose leaped in to stop him, but was accidentally impaled by his claws. Horrified, Logan held her in his arms as she died. Stricken with grief and guilt for the death of his first love, Logan fled into the nearby woods, where he lived in self-imposed exile in a feral state with a pack of wolves for around a year.
Becoming a legend of folklore
In 1895, Logan overheard a few campers, who were staying near his makeshift home at the time, talking about a series of brutal and bloody killings in the area. Believing his older brother to be responsible, Logan arrived in Hope to investigate, the first time in over a year that he stepped foot in a town. After talking to a few local residents, Logan was allowed to stay in the barn of an elderly couple who had witnessed one of the attacks. During the night, the home was invaded by the same "creature", managing to kill the family dog and attack the owners before being scared away by Logan. After returning from a walk the next day, Logan spotted his brother on the front porch talking to Mrs. Drayn and immediately assaulted him.
To his surprise, Logan learned that Victor had been hired by a deputy to track down the mysterious killer which he believed to be a vampire. It was at this point that Mr. Drayn stepped forward and admitted that his father had hunted the "the undead" during his lifetime and had also taught him how as a boy. Upon learning this information, the brother's were convinced that Mr. Drayn was being targeted and agreed to stake out the next night to set a trap for the vampire. As expected the creature showed up, but was quickly taken down by a garlic trap. They were both surprised to find out that the assailant was not a man, but a beautiful woman by the name of Mara. After questioning her and confirming their theory as to why the farm was being attacked, Mara managed to escape and flee into the woods. Logan and his brother quickly followed, but were unable to find her. Luckily, they were able to catch the woman's scent and their chase eventually led them all the way to Ontario.
World War 1 and aftermath
Sometime later, Logan joined the Canadian Army, where he was assigned to a special unit just prior to the first World War. Later in the war, Logan was in a deep depression, and it even caused him to put a gun to his own head at one point. He started drinking considerably more as the war dragged on, and ate less.
After the war ended, Logan found himself in the Mexican Sondran Desert beaten, locked up by the local police, and accused of horse thievery in 1921. As Logan was blindfolded and tied to a post to be shot, by a firing squad, a voice next to him asked if he was a murderer. The person next to him turned out to be a woman known as Mystique, who was also about to be killed for having blue skin. The locals thought she was a witch, even though she explained that she was simply born different, and Logan laughed at meeting someone like him there of all places. Mystique managed to untie herself, just before the firing squad shot, and Logan survived, due, once again, to his healing factor, and proceeded to kill the guards after.
By 1932 Logan had become a mercenary in Singapore. Sometime later he met Chang, a businessman working for the firm Landau, Luckman & Lake. He met and romanced Seraph, a diminutive woman employed by someone who had instructed her to form this relationship. Seraph taught him how to be a better assassin, and within a year, Logan realized that Seraph and others were working under a single authority, but he didn't know, or care who it was. Around this time, Logan started to use his recurrent alias "Patch".
Possibly on his first trip to Japan, Logan encountered members of the ninja sect known as the Hand. Shortky after he met Ogun, a Japanese samurai and sorcerer. Impressed by Logan’s skill, Ogun offered to instruct him in the martial arts and better learn self-discipline. There, he spent years under Ogun's tutelage, and Logan regarded him as a surrogate father. As a result of his time there, Logan soon developed a deep and lasting love for Japan.
World War 2
Logan later participated in World War II, first as a member of an elite unit known as the Devil's Brigade then as a paratrooper for the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during the Normandy landings on D-Day, as well as the liberation of the Netherlands. He may have also been a spy for the Allied Forces and also may have spent time in the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland, where he psychologically tortured three commandants by simply never speaking and returning every time they ordered him executed. While at Sobibor, Logan was known as "Prisoner Zero".
In 1945, Logan unwittingly participated in another landmark of World War II when he was captured by Japanese soldiers while performing sabotage missions in Japan, where he was sent to a prison camp in Nagasaki. He escaped from his cell along with Lt. Ethan Warren, an American soldier who was also captured, and found refuge and love in a local Japanese girl named Atsuko. Unfortunately, Lt. Warren, himself a mutant, returned and murdered the girl, and the two men fought until both were caught in the atomic blast that destroyed much of the city. Logan survived, but was devastated to lose another woman in his life.
Sometime after the war, Logan resurfaced as a mercenary. Chang arranged for Landau, Luckman and Lake to handle Logan's business affairs and find assignments, and Logan would in exchange do occasional services. He operated most of the times from Ottawa and Calgary, with few exceptions into South America and Singapore, working for government agencies, and he became one of the deadliest free agents of the intelligence field.
Logan would later participate in the Vietnam War, where he would befriend and work alongside Captain America, Nick Fury and the rest of the Howling Commando's. Logan also met up with his brother, Victor, who was also serving in the war. After Captain America's supposed death in 1968, Logan continued to do covert work deep into the war often alongside his brother. Just before the end of the war, the brothers had a falling out after Victor killed a woman and her child, claiming he had to kill them before the Vietnamese had a chance to set up land mines.
A quiet life interrupted
- "The townspeople are afraid of you... they don't want you around. So, they got rid of the one thing keeping you here."
- ―Sabretooth manipulating his brother into killing the townspeople
Years later, Logan traveled to another frontier community in the Canadian Rockies. There, he met a young Blackfoot woman named Kayla Silverfox, with whom he fell in love. The two shared a cabin together and lived happily for a time. This included adopting a dog named Old Blue, who sadly contracted rabies in the woods. When Logan couldn't bring himself to kill Blue, Silver Fox took the rifle from him and shot the dog herself. Logan had made a new life for himself as a lumberjack, along with hunting and farm chores around the homestead was now his daily routine. But, as ever, there were other forces at work in his life.
In 1977, his brother, Victor, who by now had been calling himself Sabretooth, savagely attacked Silver Fox at the cabin during the evening of Logan's birthday, leaving her for dead. This would be the first of many birthday "surprises" from him to come. A distraught Logan carried her back to town, where Sabretooth mockingly took credit for the deed. Logan tried to kill Sabretooth in revenge, but ultimately failed. Sabretooth then manipulated a feral, mindless Logan into believing the townspeople of Mount Logan were responsible for Silver Fox's death and sent him to slaughter them all. Partially out of guilt about what happened to Silverfox, Logan later became a fur trader to the Blackfoot Indians, employed by the Hudson's Bay Company. During this time period Logan defeated the demonic snake-worm, known as Uncegila, a feat which earned him the Blackfoot warrior name of "Skunk-Bear", more commonly known as a "Wolverine".
A few months later, James tracked down his brother to a military facility in Calgary. Once inside, he confronted his brother and asked him "where the hell they were". Victor told him that the facility belonged to a deep government operation called Weapon Plus and that he was working for a team of their's called Team X. Sabretooth then presented to him the still very much alive, Silverfox. They told Logan that it was just part of a plan to get him to join the team and that Kayla had been working for them from the beginning. Though angry and confused, James was immensely happy to see Kayla alive, and hesitantly accepted membership. However, their relationship never fully recovered because of the breach of trust.
On one of their missions in April of 1988, Team X went to Japan to steal an indestructible metal known as Adamantium from the Japanese scientist Kenji Oyama. While there, he was under orders to get close to Oyama's daughter, Yuriko, in order for them to gain access to her father's secret research facility in Yokohama. Over the next two weeks Logan and Oyama grew close to one another, eventually becoming romantic and conceived a child together, unknown to Logan for many years.
In May, Logan was guided by Oyama to her father's private island and even allowed him inside her father's facility. Soon after, Logan's compatriots followed them and Yuriko learned the truth about her lover, though he claimed that his feelings for her were genuine. Moments later, her father and his private forces engaged the intruders and in the midst of the chaos the enraged Oyama slew her own father. However, the Adamantium and notes were stolen by Team X and they left with their mission completed.
Logan, under orders, spent two years learning espionage from Taras Romanov, and in turn Logan gave hand-to-hand combat lessons to Natasha Romanova, Taras' ward. Taras then told Natasha to kill Logan, but Logan instead killed him and allowed Natasha to depart.
The group was apparently disbanded after the botched mission.
During their time with the group, Logan and his brother had their memories tampered with in order for them to be better controlled. This was one of the reasons why Logan would suffer from amnesia for many years to come.
The Weapon X Program
- Cornelius: "It was my fervant hope you'd live long enough to forgive me."
- Logan: "You're forgiven. For what?"
- ―Abraham Cornelius and James Logan, years later[src]
About two years later, Logan was kidnapped by agents of the Weapon X Program, the tenth installment of the Weapon Plus Project. Truett Hudson, the man known as the Professor, Dr. Abraham Cornelius, and Dr. Carol Hines began to examine Logan while he floated in a containment tank. Logan's bones, including his claws, were bonded with the indestructible metal known as adamantium, making them unbreakable. This adamantium along with the bonding process, was stolen by Team X years earlier from the Japanese scientist Kenji Oyama. Logan was put under deep hypnosis and his personality was buried beneath the most intense brainwashing he had ever undergone. The Project wanted Logan to believe that he was an obedient animal and that individuality lead to suffering and death. Reduced to a near-mindless state, Logan was forced by Weapon X to slaughter every inhabitant of the small town of Roanoke as a test.
Logan proved too difficult for the Weapon X Program to control and, after many years, he broke free of the programming, fell into a berserker fury and escaped the facility, with the help of the Winter Soldier, killing nearly everyone except for the Professor, Dr. Cornelius, Dr. Hines, and Malcolm Colcord, who later became the Director of a new Weapon X Program. Wolverine's healing factor was probably exhausted by his ordeal, since over the next few years he healed more slowly than ever before.
Logan proved too difficult for the Weapon X Program to control and he escaped, killing nearly everyone except for The Professor, Dr. Cornelius, Col. Stryker, Col. Wilson, Wade Wilson, Dr. Hines, and Malcolm Colcord, who later became the Director of a new Weapon X Program.
Logan's memories of much of his past would remain clouded as a result of the Weapon X experiment, and it is possible that he received additional false memories during the procedure as well.
Regaining his life and Alpha Flight
Driven into savagery by the experiment, Logan wandered the forests of the Canadian Rockies for weeks, living in a feral state, ironically, not far from the place of his birth.
Wandering the woods, Logan was eventually discovered by Heather and James "Mac" Hudson, a young couple honeymooning in the Rockies, who helped him regain his humanity (but not his memories). After much persuasion from the couple, he became a member of Canada's Department H. After helping James, Heather and their team Alpha Flight numerous times, Logan elected not to become a member and to instead try to find out about his past.
After leaving The Flight, Logan became a drinking and cigar-smoking loner looking all over Canada hoping to find out anything about his past.
Joining the X-Men
Learning his lost past
Eventually, Logan decided to go back to Canada to try to discover more from his sketchy past. While there, he was attacked by an agent of the Weapon X program, Zero. After a long and daring chase, Logan managed to attack Zero's helicopter and take it down. Logan then interrogated the man, getting him to admit that he was sent by Weapon X to kill him because he was getting too close.
Powers and Abilities
Regenerative Healing Factor: Wolverine's primary mutant power was an accelerated healing process that enabled him to regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue with far greater efficiency than an ordinary human. Wolverine's accelerated healing powers had commonly been referred to as his mutant healing factor. The full extent and speed of Wolverine's healing factor wasn't known. He had been shown to fully heal from numerous gunshot wounds, severe burns covering most of his body, and regenerated missing eyes within a matter of seconds. Among the more extreme depictions of his accelerated healing factor involved him having his skin, muscles, and internal organs incinerated from his skeleton only to fully regenerate the tissue within minutes. Adamantium played a crucial role in the speed of Wolverine's healing as well because of the fact that it produced a poison that his immune system fought off regularly. It was said that without the adamantium his healing rate increased. This power even amended psychological wounds inflicted as a result of traumatic experiences. However, Wolverine's healing powers forced his mind to suppress the memories, sometimes resulting in amnesia. Wolverine sometimes called this his mental scar tissue.
- Foreign Chemical Immunity: Wolverine's natural healing also affords him the virtual immunity to poisons and most drugs, except in massive doses. For example, it is extremely difficult for him to become intoxicated from alcohol.
- Immunity To Disease: Wolverine's highly efficient immune system, which is part of his accelerated healing factor, renders him immune against all known Earthly diseases and infections.
- Superhumanly Acute Senses: Wolverine possesses superhumanly acute senses that are comparable to those of certain animals. He can see at far greater distances, with perfect clarity, than an ordinary human. He 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. 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. These senses stem from, at least partially, his constant cellular regeneration, as are his enhanced physical capabilities.
- Superhuman Strength: Wolverine's mutant healing factor enables him to push his muscles beyond the natural limits of the human body without injury, granting him some degree of superhuman strength. His natural strength is augmented by the demand placed on his musculature due to the presence of over 100 pounds of Adamantium bonded to his skeleton, which also removes the natural limitations of the human skeletal structure by allowing him to lift weights that would damage a human skeleton. Wolverine has been depicted with sufficient strength to break steel chains, support the weight of a dozen men with one arm and lift the 955 lb Ursa Major over his head before tossing him across a room. Wolverine's strength is enough to allow him to press somewhere in excess of 800 lbs but no more than 2 tons.
- Superhuman Stamina: Wolverine's mutant healing factor grants him high immunity against lactic acid and other fatigue toxins generated by his muscles during physical activity. Wolverine can sustain himself at peak capacity for several days. Wolverine has shown himself capable of fighting Arkady Rossovich (Omega Red) for over 18 hours, despite regular exposure to Omega Red's death spores.
- Superhuman Agility: Wolverine's agility, balance and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the natural physical limits and capabilities of the finest human specimen. Wolverine's agility is sufficient to allow him to dodge Scott Summers' (Cyclops) optic blasts at near point blank range. Other times able to jump extremely high and evade several yards.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Wolverine's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those possessed by the finest human specimen.
- Insulated Weather Adaptation: Wolverine's body is highly resistant to certain elemental extremes, particularly cold, to the extent that he can sleep nude in subarctic conditions with no apparent injury.
- Retarded Aging: In addition, Wolverine's healing factor provides him with an extended lifespan by slowing the effects of the aging process. Wolverine was born sometime during the late 19th Century. Although well over 100 years of age, Wolverine retains the appearance and physical vitality of a man in the physical prime of his life.
- Animal Empathy: Wolverine has the ability to sense the emotional state of animals on a basic level such as fear, anger, happiness or pain. He can even communicate with them to make the animal aware of his actions and or his intent.
- Bone Claws: Wolverine's skeleton includes six retractable 12-inch long bone claws, three in each arm, that are housed beneath the skin and muscle of his forearms. Wolverine can, at will, release these slightly curved claws through his skin beneath the knuckles on each hand. The skin between the knuckles tears and bleeds, but the blood loss is quickly halted by his healing factor. Wolverine can unsheathe any number of his claws at once, although he must keep his wrists straight at the moment his claws pass from his forearms into his hands. When unsheathed, the claws are entirely within his hands, allowing him to bend his wrists when they are extended. The claws are made of bone, unlike the claws of normal mammals which are made of keratin, and were originally believed to be bionic adamantium implants. The bone claws are sharp and dense enough to slice through substances as durable as most metals, wood, and stone.
- Psionic Resistance: Wolverine reveals that his mind is highly resistant to telepathic probing and assault due to the high level psionic shields implanted in his mind by Professor Charles Xavier.
Master Tactician: Though seemingly brutish, Wolverine is highly intelligent. When Forge monitored Wolverine's vitals during a Danger Room training session, he reported Logan's physical and mental state as "equivalent to an Olympic-level gymnast performing a Gold-medal-winning routine whilst simultaneously beating four chess computers in his head", which gives something of an idea of the level of sophistication and tactical processing Logan is capable of utilizing while in combat.
Master Martial Artist: Wolverine has extraordinary hand-to-hand combat ability, and, alongside Steve Rogers and Taskmaster, is considered one of the finest combatants on Earth. Due to his extensive training as a soldier, a CIA operative, a samurai, a spy, and a member of the X-Men, Wolverine is an exceptional hand-to-hand combatant, having mastered virtually every fighting style on Earth and is also well versed in pressure points and the art of espionage.
Advanced Covert Ops Expert: Due to his experience traveling the world and working for various government agencies, Wolverine is also a trained expert in multiple types of weapons, vehicles, computer systems, explosives, and assassination techniques.
Multi-lingual: A polyglot; Wolverine is fluent in many languages including English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Cheyenne, Lakota, and Spanish; he has some knowledge of French, German, Thai, Vietnamese, and Portuguese.
Adamantium Laced Skeleton: Not part of Wolverine's natural mutant attributes, Wolverine's entire skeleton, including his bone claws, are laced with the rare, artificial, and virtually indestructible alloy known as adamantium or True Adamantium. As a result, Wolverine's bones are virtually unbreakable. The presence of the Adamantium has further enhanced the already razor sharp edge of Wolverine's bone claws. Aside from being practically indestructible, the claws are capable of cutting any solid material, with the known exception of True Adamantium and Proto-Admantium (Captain America's Shield). However, Wolverine's ability to slice completely through a substance depends upon the thickness of the substance and the amount of force he can exert. The Adamantium also weights his blows, dramatically increasing the effectiveness of his punches and kicks.
Personality and traits
- "If a man comes at me with his fists, I'll meet him with fists. But if he pulls a gun or threatens people I'm protectin', then I got no sympathy for him."
- ―James Logan
James Logan was a gruff warrior-poet and had a strong sense of personal honor. During his time in Japan and other countries, he became a master of virtually all forms of martial arts and was experienced in virtually every fighting style on Earth. He was proficient with most weaponry, including firearms, though he was partial to bladed weapons. He demonstrated sufficient skills to defeat the likes of Shang-Chi and Captain America in singular combat. Logan had a wide knowledge of the body and pressure points and was also an accomplished pilot and highly skilled in the field of espionage and covert operations.
Logan sometimes lapsed into a "berserker rage" while in close combat. In this state he lashed out with the intensity and aggression of an enraged animal and was even more resistant to psionic attack. Though he loathed it, he acknowledged that it had saved his life many times. Despite his apparent ease at taking lives, he did not enjoy killing or giving in to his berserker rages. Most times, Logan adhered to a firm code of personal honor and morality.
In contrast to his brutish nature, Wolverine was extremely intelligent. Due to his increased lifespan, he had traveled around the world and amassed extensive knowledge of foreign languages and cultures. He was fluent in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Cheyenne, Spanish, Arabic, and Lakota; he also had some knowledge of French, Thai, Vietnamese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Hindi, and Persian. Much to Professor Xavier's disapproval, Logan was also a heavy drinker and smoker as his healing powers negated the long term effects of alcohol and tobacco, allowing him to indulge in prolonged binges. He was a mentor and father figure to several younger women including Kitty Pryde, Jubilation Lee, Anna Carlyle, Allison Crestmere and his daughter Laura.
While often shrouded in mystery, Wolverine's past was full of government secrets, traumatic events, and death.
Throughout his many travels, Logan heard a wide variety of different music, but later told his fellow X-Men that folk was probably his favorite. He was also known for his interest in sports, especially hockey and football.