Though the X-Men are a superhero team, one hero among them seems to consistently lead the pack, both in film and comics — Wolverine. Logan ended the big-screen saga of the iconic character as played by Hugh Jackman — a big-talking, battle-scarred tough guy with adamantium bones and mutant healing powers.
To celebrate the impending end of an era that began with the first X-Men film in 2000, we’re counting down the most memorable times in Wolverine’s storied history that he suffered defeat despite his invulnerability.
Who can win in a fight between invincible fighters? Both Wade Wilson and Wolverine are blessed with healing powers that have made their many face-offs truly unpredictable. Each hero (or anti-hero?) has won his fair share of fights. But in one memorable instance, while Wolverine’s healing abilities were still recovering from an encounter with Magneto, Deadpool outlasted his handicapped opponent, and eventually defeated him by stabbing his lungs with a sword.
Of course Spider-Man and Wolverine have been pitted against one another, despite their shared penchant for heroism. That’s just how things go with Marvel. During the Secret Wars story arc, Spidey came out on top in a fight not just with Logan, but with the rest of the X-Men as well. While fleeing from the X-Men, Spidey used his agility to escape their blows so they only ended up harming each other in their efforts to catch him.
No surprise here. It seems only a creature as unstoppable as the Hulk could ravage someone as invincible as Wolverine on a regular basis. Their face-offs have been consistently brutal and generally one-sided, particularly in the case of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, a story arc that begins in media res with Hulk tearing Wolverine in two. Eventually Logan is little more than a severed head — a resounding defeat if ever there was one.
4. Squirrel Girl
You’d think Wolverine must be embarrassed about this one, but the chipper heroine and member of the Great Lakes Avengers is actually an undefeated fighter, so Logan’s defeat should come as no surprise. Their battle was a non-lethal hand-to-hand sparring session in a series of non-lethal fights between the Avengers and X-Men, which ends after Wolverine is surrounded by Squirrel Girl’s obedient rodent friends.
Wolverine fought a lot of heroes while brainwashed during his Enemy of the State storyline, and Daredevil was among them. Logan and about a dozen armed agents entered Matt Murdock’s home by cover of darkness, only to watch as Daredevil dispenses the agents swiftly before facing off with Wolverine.
Daredevil won thanks in part to his familiarity with the battlefield. Knowing that his weight set was nearby after being knocked down, Murdock grabs a dumbbell and delivers a blow strong enough to break though Logan’s brainwashing and conclude the fight.
6. The Punisher
The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, doesn’t possess the same admirable restraint or mercy most heroes do, which makes his fight against Wolverine a particularly painful one. Logan’s healing abilities only inspire Castle to get creative with his carnage — even shooting his face and genitals off with a shotgun before coming after the hobbled Wolverine with a steamroller.
Wolverine has done a better job in his fights with the Punisher since, but it doesn’t erase that first, rather shocking defeat.
7. Captain America
Captain America has generally come out on top in his repeated unfriendly encounters with Wolverine, the most memorable of which must be the time they fought while Logan was brainwashed and Cap was a werewolf.
The heroes go to investigate a werewolf attack, when the Captain himself is bitten and proceeds to maul Wolverine, bringing an earlier fight in the comic to its natural conclusion. Of course, this goofy bit of Marvel lore lives on in infamy.
How many heroes can win in a fight against an actual GOD? Not Wolverine it turns out, as he once challenged Thor, thinking he was Sabretooth while hallucinating under Loki’s influence. Thor promptly whacks Wolverine out of the air using Mjolnir, then strikes him with a bolt of lightning for good measure.
Only after Logan had adequately healed did the pair straighten out the misunderstanding and take off after their common enemy.
Wolverine’s long-running rivalry with the de-facto leader of the X-Men, Scott Summers, is always ready to boil over into a physical altercation. On one occasion while fighting a pterodactyl-like villain called Sauron, Logan gets brainwashed, as he so often does, into believing his allies are the enemy. Scott relies on his optic blasts to deter and thrash Wolverine, eventually blasting him away over the horizon.
Yes, even Wolverine can defeat Wolverine. Like most popular Marvel heroes, Logan has faced off against an alternate version of himself on more than one occasion. During the Marvel Zombies Return event, he battled an undead version of himself alongside Kitty Pryde and eventually achieved victory by stabbing himself (his other self) through the chest. But even the living Logan ends up losing in the encounter, as he suffers an infectious zombie bite in the course of the fight.
Follow Jeff Rindskopf on Twitter @jrindskopf.
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