10/16/2012

With the recent Batman vs. Wolverine video, the debate in the YouTube comments revolved around fans who said simply, "No one can kill Wolverine." Well, that's not true. At all. In Days of Future Past, a Sentinel incinerated a future version of Wolverine with a single energy blast. In Enemy of the State, Wolverine is killed by Kitty Pryde phasing into his skull and destroying his brain. But since those were alternate realities, let's assume the "real" Wolverine can't be killed those ways. That still leaves us eight more ways to kill Wolverine, but there's some points that need to be addressed first.

The idea of killing Wolverine is a surprisingly controversial topic. The biggest problem is that the comics have gone crazy with his powers. It's not enough that he can heal quickly. Wolverine heals so fast and completely that it's like he's not hurt at all. It's not enough that he has a reinforced skeleton. He has a skeleton that simply cannot be damaged in any way. They've basically made him indestructible, but have gone way beyond logic and consistency. That's why we're setting some ground rules. Wolverine has to follow the basic laws of physics and biology. His defenses are an adamantium (allegedly indestructible) skeleton, and rapid healing. Other than that, he's a normal human being with the same weaknesses as everyone else. So let's start with number 8...

8. Drown Him - One way to kill him would be to lock Wolverine in a tank of water or throw him into the ocean, and chain him up so he can't get out. Even with his healing and adamantium bones, Wolverine is still a human with internal organs like lungs. Lungs can't "heal" a lack of oxygen. His body would try to heal the dying cells, but the new cells would also die of oxygen starvation. Deprived of oxygen, Wolverine's brain would shut down in minutes. Can Wolverine's brain repair itself? Possibly. So let's add on the cardiac arrest that would follow from the increased stress on his heart. With his brain dead, lungs starved, and his heart no longer pumping blood, his body would be dead. His healing factor can't work after death. If it does, then it's not "healing," it's magic. Besides, Wolverine admitted that drowning is one way to kill him in Wolverine during a fight with Tiger Shark, and he said again in Weapon X: The Adamantium Men.

7. Incinerate Him - The next easiest way to kill Wolverine would be to subject him to extreme heat and incinerate him. A lot of fans try to debunk that idea by pointing to the fact that Wolverine's survived a nuclear blast many times in the comics. In Venom #9, Wolverine completely heals from a nuclear bomb blast that destroys a village. Same thing happens in Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. Yet those comics can't be canon - it makes no sense. Wolverine heals quickly, but he's not immune to heat or radiation. The extreme heat of a nuke would incinerate his flesh, and the radiation would penetrate his adamantium bones to destroy his bone marrow, all within a fraction of a second. Before Wolverine could even blink, he would be nothing but a pile of metal bones. With nothing to regenerate, Wolverine would surely be dead.

6. Starve Him - This is another idea based on the fact that Wolverine still has internal organs that have to function. Again, you can't "heal" not having food. This is apparently a controversial topic, because in one comic, Wolverine survived starvation by eating himself. That's impossible. It's the law of conservation; Wolverine can't take in more energy from his body than he puts into it. The energy he gained from his own flesh would be negated by the energy being consumed by his rapid healing.  There's also the fact that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Where would Wolverine get the extra mass to create new cells if he's eating the old ones? Eventually, Wolverine runs out of energy and his healing factor weakens to the point where it stops working, and he dies. Okay, that was really nasty...let's talk about something easier to stomach, like...

5. Cut Off His Head - Professor Xavier himself suggested decapitation, and are you gonna argue with him? Didn't think so. Of course, the problem with cutting off his head is Wolverine's adamantium spine. But not really, because there's one gaping flaw in his spine: the joints. Wolverine doesn't have a solid metal spine, otherwise he wouldn't be able to bend over or turn his head. The joints connecting Wolverine's vertebrae have to be soft tissue, so any sharp blade could cut between the vertebrae and sever his head. Then all you need to do is keep his head away from his body. Without his head, Wolverine's body can't function, and he can't grow a new head (Wolverine's a healer, not a starfish). Without his body, Wolverine's head has no lungs to breathe. Let's be generous and give him five minutes for his brain to die from lack of oxygen.

I know, I know. In Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, they cut off his head, and he survived. In that comic, Wolverine also developed the previously unknown ability to breathe through his face, so let's just say that wasn't canon and move on.

4. Drown Him in Acid - Just like we can imagine a metal that can't be destroyed, let's imagine an acid that can eat through anything. We drop Wolverine into the acid bath and don't let him get out, so the acid dissolves his flesh faster than he can grow it back. Eventually, it eats away so much that there's nothing left to heal. I know what the fanboys are thinking: "Nuh-uh! The acid can't eat through Wolverine's skeleton! It's indestructible! So once he gets out of the acid, he just grows back from his bone marrow." His adamantium skeleton is indestructible, but it's not completely solid. It can't be. Bones serve an important purpose by creating blood cells in the marrow. If Wolverine's bones were completely sealed in adamantium, then new blood cells would never escape into his bloodstream. No matter how quickly he heals, he'd never be able to replace his blood, leading to anemia and death. That means the adamantium (at the very least) has to have microscopic holes in it to allow blood cells to escape. The acid bath can get in that way and dissolve him completely, leaving nothing but a hollow, metal skeleton.

3. Stop His Healing Factor - The healing factor is the big thing everyone points to for the invulnerability of Wolverine. It means there's presumably nothing you can do to him that can't be fixed in minutes or even seconds. In the comics, he's been reduced to bones and grown back. So, fine. Just take his healing factor away. In X-Men #5, Cyclops injected Wolverine with microscopic robots that shut off his healing factor. That works, but you can also expose him to a radioactive material like carbonadium that weakens his healing. Or expose him to a power-canceling mutant like Leech. Or cut him with the Muramasa Blade that negates healing. Or just subject him to so much damage for such a long period of time that his healing can't keep up and burns out. Without his healing factor, a flamethrower could take him out.

2. Throw Wolverine Up Against His Nemesis - With everything they've thrown at Wolverine in the comics, it gets pretty ridiculous. In Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, Wolverine grew his entire body back from a single drop of blood. If you're going to imagine that extreme a scenario, then let's just imagine Wolverine going up against a new supervillain, Wolverine-Killer. Wolverine-Killer is a mutant whose only power is that he can instantly kill Wolverine, permanently and completely, just by thinking about him. That would be a short fight.

1. Make Wolverine Unpopular - Ultimately, the real reason Wolverine is so powerful is that the fans want him to be the ultimate bad-axe. There are other mutants who should be just as (if not more) powerful, but they don't get the press. For example, nobody argues that Rogue is the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Universe, even though she theoretically has access to every mutant power in existence. That's because she's not that popular. So the best way to kill Wolverine would be to cancel his comic books, movies, and TV appearances. Much like Tinker Bell needs people to believe in her, Wolverine needs fanboys geeking out over how cool he is to survive. Once his popularity drops, Wolverine would be pitted against the next most popular superhero, who quickly and easily kills Wolverine, just to show how powerful he is.

In researching this article, I found a lot of great info, and I'd like to thank the users in the following discussions:
Comicvine: Has Wolverine Ever Been Decapitated?
A How-to Guide on Killing Wolverine of the X-Men
Escapist Magazine Forums: Ways to kill Wolverine
Stackexchange: How to kill Wolverine
Killermovies: Can Wolverine Die?
Marvel: Can You Kill Wolverine By Drowning Him?
The Asylum: Could Wolverine Starve to Death?
Comic Collector: Can Wolverine Drown?

Which would be your method of killing Wolverine? Do you still think he can't be killed? Let us know in the comments.
[Image Source: Alphacoders]
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34 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

I think your last way says it all. He can't be killed until he becomes unpopular. It's kind of like WWE where as long as you're popular, you keep winning. So let's all stage a Wolverine boycott!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't think unpopularity is an option. Drowning would be cleanest.

Jessica Stank said...

I think it's funny that people would argue over whether or not it would be possible to kill him. Writers can do anything they want. Can't they? I mean, if you can invent adamantium, you can invent something that could destroy it. There could be a serum or something that counteracts it or changes its qualities. Right? In a fictional world where the writer makes the rules, anything is possible. That said, I don't like the thought of anyone killing Wolvie. He's too special ;)

Nigel Mitchell said...

I agree, Jessica, that was kind of my point. The only reason they say no one can kill Wolverine is that the writers say no one can kill Wolverine. Hence, the creation of my brand-new supervillain, Wolverine-Killer.

That said, I don't want Wolverine to die, either. Just like I don't want Superman or Batman or Iron Man to die.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Good analogy, Pat

Melissa Bradley said...

Kill Wolverine? Shudders. I love him and can't imagine X-Men without him. I'd prefer to kill off someone like Cyclops. Always thought he had the dumbest power anyway. Rays out of his eyes? Really? Stupid.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Cyclops is kind of weird, Melissa. Always wondered why Cyclops' eyeballs don't fry from the beam coming out of them

Nisse Söderström said...

please correct me here, but wasnt wolverine killed when magneto ripped his adamantium out?

Nigel Mitchell said...

No, Nisse, he survived for several years in the comics before having his Adamantium bonded back onto his skeleton.

Nisse Söderström said...

ok i remebered it wrong... but i had a vauge recollection that magneto ripped out his adamantium skelleton, which was then replaced by his bone claws and all that jazz? hmm... havent read x-men i years though :P

Nigel Mitchell said...

You're right, Nisse. Wolverine should have died, but ended up with bone claws

Dude969 said...

Can an adamantium bullet through the eye socket, kill Wolverine?

Hmm said...

Hello, if you have ever seen the Fantastic Four movie you know how Doom was defeated. So simply expose wolverine to extreme heat and then rapidly cool the hot metal in his body, turning him into a statue. I am not sure if he would die this way but once he is frozen in place anyone could do as they please to kill him.

Jesse said...

no they did that in the movie. shot him in the head with an adamantium bullet. he healed but had memory loss.

leo said...

Yes he dose need food he has gotten weak from lack of water and minerals he is still human it just takes longer for him to feel the effects.

leo said...

His optic blast dont produce heat its more like a force think of it as a water pushing out of a hose only its not water but beams of light.

Tom Badguy said...

Have you read the Marvel One Shot where Wolverine himself breaks down the actual ways he can be killed?

Nigel Mitchell said...

So why don't his eyes explode?

Russell Harvey said...

Wolverine could still have a weakness and not get himself killed though. Lots of more vulnerable heroes don't get themselves killed.

People don't want their favorite hero to have a weakness, but that just isn't good storytelling.

Jason said...

His actual power is survival not healing. That is why he survived the adamantium transfer and sabertooth couldnt

Crowsdower said...

To be fair, in Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, Wolverine was able to grow back from that drop of blood because he was merged with a magical gem that gave him almost infinite power. He was pretty much actually killed by Horde, but a drop of his blood touched the gem, and the gem's power regenerated him.

Seluecus said...

#7: What if Adamantium had/has similar properties to Lead? 7 would be very true unless that information is brought to light.

Seluecus said...

I think Leo is trying to Imply that his optic blast's don't have mass and are more like lasers. They can be contained without the problem of pressure.

Seluecus said...

He technically did Die... but more from his body going into shock at the fact that his immune system isn't divided between fighting of the metal intrusions and keeping the rest of his body healed. As for that reason alone, he was dead for a few seconds and then the full capability of his healing factor kicked in... He also became more feral, which is why Mag stuck the metal back in him. He found out that without the Adamantium, Wolverine was infinitely harder to kill and harder to get away from. lol

Seluecus said...

Read my reply to Nigel. :)

Seluecus said...

They Made Bill Goldberg lose cause he was TOO popular. lol

Pat Dilloway said...

Thanks for sharing a year after the fact.

Benjamin Harrison said...

There's a reason why I only like Wolverine in video games. It's because in video games, it actually gives challenges to play as Wolverine, such as actually using technique and dodging attacks from your enemies. In comics, he's not much fun, simply because he has no reason to evade or fight with all that much technique, just take a hit, heal, and so on. It was great how he got depowered in The Wolverine, just so he had to start fighting with some style for a change, as opposed to just tanking it through whatever comes his way.

Devan Van Brunt said...

I just watched The Wolverine for the first time about a week ago and he goes through #3, 6, & 7 and he survives. At the end of the day nobody is going to want to watch a movie or read a comic where Wolverine dies and doesn't come back to life and therefore he will never be killed off without eventually coming back to life so it doesn't matter if the handful who have the possibility of being able to actually could. As for #2, that's like stooping to DCs level and creating Superman. It's still fun to think about though as well as what existing superheroes/villains could possibly be able to kill Wolverine if any of them were ever significantly more popular than him but #1 just will never happen. Although Ben Affleck & Jesse Eisenberg may end up showing us how to hurt 2 huge names in 1 shot unless that movie surprises somehow. As for #4, 5, and 8 those all seem like possible scenarios that could work given nothing was left out. I also always feel like the whole being flown into open space without a space suit is always a good way to kill anyone who breaths air and can't resist insanely cold temperatures.

Devan Van Brunt said...

Unless those air breathers who can't resist insanely cold temperatures have multi million dollar mech suits that are equipped with oxygen tanks, rocket boosters, and de-icers as well as temperature regulators and resistance to extreme hot & cold temperatures which combined allow said air breather to be able to breath oxygen & resist insanely cold temperatures as well as overcome any gravity or lack of it.

Wolimike said...

First off how do you know radiation would penetrate his skeleton through the adamantium? How familiar are you with the metal I would guess not at all since it is made up and it is a proven fact that a nuclear blast will turn you to ash but the after effect will just burn your skin off that is fact it has actually happened twice in reality and the skin would heal just like your or mine does not form burns like that but his is amplified so there's that drowning I could see but you would have to make it so there is absolutely no way he can cut the chains the sucking out his bone marrow did seem to have a killing effect in the last wolverine movie if it was not stopped you would have to do that but you would have to make sure you got every single last drop of marrow being that he would heal eventually if there was even a drop left you have some good ideas but I think making him unpopular would probably be your best bet but the. Again their would be riots in the comic world if marvel tried that

Anonymous said...

Number 8 is possible if the person could keep him there. If he got to the surface he would be alive again.
Number 7 is not possible because lets face it if he can survive Phoenix blast burns down to his metal, he can survive any temperature.
Number 6 is possible. Everyone needs food.
Number 5 is not possible, because at the end of x-men origins wolverine Deadpool was still alive and wolverine cut his head off.
Number 4 is not possible, because one his healing factor is really good. Two his claws can cut through anything you can't keep him in one place.
Number 3 is possible. In the new wolverine movie his healing factor is taken away for a time and he almost died.
Number 2 is not possible. No one would kill a popular character like wolverine.
Number 1 is not possible. No one hate wolverine, plus he makes too much money for the new owners of marval to kill the comics. Rogue is not the strongest mutant. All you have to do is knock her out then put her in a buble in a full outfit like Black Widow, but with a turtle neck, but I do like her. Sorry.

swagmaster said...

I mean, if we're following real world logic, then most of these would work; however, since in the marvel universe there is naked giant golden men that protect the universe from cosmical destruction, the only actual ways to kill him would be to suffocate him in any way or form.

Shane Atchison said...

Apparently, your Kryptonite is punctuation.

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