You knew Wolverine was Canadian right? Oh yeah, the toughest member of the X-Men is a Canuck. But he belongs to the world.
Wolverine was born James Howlett in the 1880s, in Alberta. He’s raised as the son of farmers, though actually the son of of their groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. When Logan kills John Howlett, Wolverine’s surrogate father, young James kills Thomas, his real father, with his newly emerged bone claws. He’s about thirteen. That’s tough stuff.
James’ powers emerge as he grows to manhood in a mining camp in the Yukon, where he begins to go by Logan, his moniker for life. These powers include heightened, animal-like senses and the incredible regenerative abilities (his healing factor) that have kept him alive so long. Hugh Jackman still only looks about forty.
After accidentally killing his lover with his claws, Logan retreats to the wilderness and lives with some wolves for a while. Most Canadians do that for a bit, by the way. Then he lives with a Blackfoot tribe, and eventually joins up during World War I, in which Canadian troops have gone down in history for their crazy toughness. After the war he settles in Japan, marries, and has a son, who comes back evil, later.
It is during World War II, when he works for the Canadian Defence Ministry, that Logan gets adamantium—the hardest fictional metal known to man— fused to his skeleton, and loses his memory in the Weapon X program. It’s now that Logan really comes together as a Cain figure: killing those he loves, forgetful, displaced and wandering forever in the Land of Nod. A Ronin.
After some hard times Logan works again for what would become CSIS, as well as Department H, Canada’s superhero division. This is when he becomes Wolverine. He joins Alpha Flight, Canada’s little known version of the Avengers, and then the X-Men.
Still kicking as Marvel’s most popular character, it’s been suggested that the brawler from ‘Berta is actually immortal, absolutely impossible to kill. Professor X thinks decapitating Wolverine and then making sure his head stays far away from his body might work. Fans have theorized that drowning might also end Wolverine’s life, but considering Wolverine’s actually been to hell and back, bets are off as to whether he’d stay dead. Probably just come back to life when the oceans dry up.
Comics aren’t single, linear narratives. They’re palimpsests, variations on a theme, narrative jazz. They’re Ronins too. No single person writes a character’s history, and Wolverine has as much history as you want to learn about. Do some research, read some comics, and you can find out about Wolverine’s time in Japan, how he becomes a Horseman of the Apocalypse, or why he kills the Hulk in the future.
Jesus that guy’s cool.