(Editor’s Note: The following was written by Keith Feltenstein.)
In our next “Versus” round up, we have two various claw popping bad asses! Wolverine Vs. Predator! Who would win this bloody death match? Just because it bleeds, doesn’t mean you can kill it! So read on, and think hard true believers; this one is going to be a long drawn out match! We will let you decide. Here is a little something about each character:
Wolverine is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Born James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and a healing factor. He has been depicted variously as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, and the Avengers.
Wolverine first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180, with his first full appearance in #181 (cover-dated Nov. 1974). He was created by writer Len Wein, and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine then joined a revamped version of the superhero team the X-Men, where eventually writer Chris Claremont and artist-writer John Byrne would play significant roles in the character’s development. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine’s catchphrase, “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice,” debuted.
Wolverine is typical of the many tough anti-heroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became a fan favorite of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988.
He has appeared in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman in all seven films, although Troye Sivan plays the young James Howlett in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine’s Top 200 Comic Book Characters, and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On its list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine #21. In May 2011, Wolverine was ranked 4th on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.
The character’s official origin story was explained in the 2001–2002 miniseries Origin. Wolverine was born, James Howlett, in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, during the late 1880s, to rich farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett. However, as the “Origin” miniseries insinuates and the Wolverine Goes to Hell story, later, fully revealed, he is actually the illegitimate son of the Howletts’ groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. After being thrown off the Howletts’ property for an attempted rape perpetrated by his other son, named simply Dog, Thomas returns to the Howlett Manor and kills John Howlett. In retaliation, young James kills Thomas with bone claws that emerge from the back of his hands, as his mutation manifests (a traumatic event in one’s youth is often the trigger for the manifestation of mutant powers). Consequently, James is cast out by his mother (who subsequently commits suicide). He flees with his childhood companion, Rose (who closely resembles Jean Grey) and grows into manhood on a mining colony in the Yukon Territory, adopting the name “Logan.” Logan accidentally kills Rose with his claws, and this causes him to leave the colony and live in the wilderness, among wolves. After the wolves are killed, Logan is captured and serves in a circus. However, Saul Creed (Victor Creed’s brother) frees Logan. After Creed betrays Logan and Clara Creed’s location to Nathaniel Essex, Logan drowns Creed in Essex’s potion. It is assumed this murder is the cause of Sabretooth’s obsessive rivalry with Logan. Later, Logan returns to civilization, residing with the Blackfoot people. Following the death of his Blackfoot lover, Silver Fox, at the hands of Sabretooth, he is ushered into the Canadian military during World War I. Logan then spends some time in Madripoor, before settling in Japan, where he marries Itsu and has a son, Daken that initially Logan doesn’t know about.
During World War II, Logan teams up with Captain America and continues a career as a soldier of fortune and adventurer. He then serves with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during D-Day, and the CIA, before being recruited by Team X, a black ops unit.
As a member of Team X, Logan is given false memory implants. He continues on the team, until he is able to break free of the mental control and joins the Canadian Defence Ministry. Logan is subsequently kidnapped by the Weapon X program, where he remains captive and experimented on, until he escapes, as shown in Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” storyline which ran in Marvel Comics Presents. It is during his imprisonment by Weapon X that he has unbreakable adamantium forcibly fused onto his bones.
Logan is eventually discovered by James and Heather Hudson, who help him recover his humanity. Following his recovery, Logan, this time under the supervision of Department H, once again works as an intelligence operative for the Canadian government. Logan becomes Wolverine, one of Canada’s first superheroes. In his first mission, he is dispatched to stop the destruction caused by a brawl between the Hulk and the Wendigo.
Later on, Professor Charles Xavier recruits Wolverine to a new team of X-Men.
Disillusioned with his Canadian intelligence work and intrigued by Xavier’s offer, Logan resigns from Department H. It was later revealed, however, that Professor X had wiped Logan’s memories and forced him to join the X-Men after Wolverine was sent to assassinate Xavier.
In X-Men #25 (1993), at the culmination of the “Fatal Attractions” crossover, the supervillain Magneto forcibly removes the adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton. This massive trauma causes his healing factor to burn out and also leads to the discovery that his claws are actually bone. Wolverine leaves the X-Men for a time, embarking on a series of adventures during which his healing factor returns, greatly increased in speed and efficiency (due to the fact that the adamantium in his bones used a considerable amount of his healing factor on a constant basis). It is also realised at this time that Wolverine constantly mutates (unlike other mutants) and that the adamantium slowed his mutation to a halt. His natural abilities such as healing factor and animalistic senses increase slowly over time. Feral by nature, Wolverine’s mutation process will eventually cause him to degenerate physically into a more primitive, bestial state. After his return to the X-Men, Cable’s son Genesis kidnaps Wolverine and attempts to re-bond adamantium to his skeleton. This is unsuccessful and causes Wolverine’s mutation to accelerate out of control. He is temporarily changed into a semi-sentient beast-like form in which he gains greater physical power than ever before, at the price of part of his humanity. Eventually, the villain Apocalypse captures Wolverine, brainwashes him into becoming the Horseman Death, and successfully re-bonds adamantium to his skeleton. Wolverine overcomes Apocalypse’s programming and returns to the X-Men.
In 2005, author Brian Michael Bendis had Wolverine join the Avengers. After the miniseries “House of M”, Wolverine regains his memories and prepares to seek out and enact vengeance on those who wronged him. In Wolverine: Origins, the character’s second solo series, Wolverine discovers that he has a son named Daken, who has been brainwashed and made a living weapon by the villain Romulus, the man behind Wolverine’s own brainwashing. Wolverine then makes it his mission to rescue Daken and stop Romulus from manipulating or harming anyone again.
During the events of the “Messiah Complex” storyline, Cyclops orders Wolverine to reform X-Force. Since then, Wolverine and the team (initially consisting of X-23, Warpath, and Wolfsbane) have starred in a new monthly title. The team was also featured in the “Messiah War” storyline, a sequel to “Messiah Complex”. After the events of Second Coming, Cyclops ends the X-Force program, but Wolverine continues a new X-Force team in secrecy with Angel/Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool and Fantomex.
In 2008, writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven explored a possible future for Wolverine in an eight-issue story arc entitled “Old Man Logan” that debuted with Wolverine #66. Millar, the writer for the story, said, “It’s The Dark Knight Returns for Wolverine, essentially. The big, wide, show-stopping series that plays around with the most popular Marvel character of the last forty years, a dystopian vision of the Marvel Universe and a unique look at their futures. The heroes have gone, the villains have won and we’re two generations away from the Marvel we know.”
In X-Men #5, it is revealed that in order for Wolverine to fully infiltrate the ranks of the vampires that were attacking Utopia at the behest of Dracula’s son (when Wolverine thought the vampire virus had simply bested his healing factor), Cyclops has to infect him with nanites that are capable of shutting off Wolverine’s healing factor. Cyclops can activate them by merely clicking a button on a remote control device he carries with him at all times.
Wolverine is a mutant with a number of both natural and artificial improvements to his physiology.His primary mutant power is an accelerated healing process, typically referred to as his mutant healing factor, that regenerates damaged or destroyed tissues of his body far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary human. In addition to accelerated healing of physical traumas, Wolverine’s healing factor makes him extraordinarily resistant to diseases, drugs, and toxins. However, he can still suffer the immediate effects of such substances in massive quantities; he has been shown to become intoxicated after significant amounts of alcohol, and has been incapacitated on several occasions with large amounts of powerful drugs and poisons; S.H.I.E.L.D. once managed to keep Wolverine anesthetized by constantly pumping eighty milliliters of anesthetic a minute into his system.
His healing factor is facilitated by artificial improvements he was subjected to under the Weapon X program (in later comics called the Weapon Plus program), in which his skeleton was reinforced with the virtually indestructible metal adamantium. While the adamantium in his body stops or reduces many injuries, his healing factor must also work constantly to prevent metal poisoning from killing him. As his healing powers are currently inactive, Beast has synthesized a drug to counteract the adamantium poisoning.
His healing factor also dramatically affects his aging process, allowing him to live far beyond the normal lifespan of a human. Despite being born in the late 19th century, he has the appearance, conditioning, health, and vitality of a man in his physical prime. While seemingly ageless, it is unknown exactly how greatly his healing factor extends his life expectancy.
Although his body heals, the healing factor does not suppress the pain he endures while injured. Wolverine also admits to feeling phantom pains for weeks or months after healing from his injuries He does not enjoy being hurt and sometimes has to work himself up for situations where extreme pain is certain. Wolverine, on occasion, has deliberately injured himself or allowed himself to be injured for varying reasons, including freeing himself from capture, intimidation, strategy, or simply indulging his feral nature. Though he now has all of his memories, his healing abilities can provide increased recovery from psychological trauma by suppressing memories in which he experiences profound distress.
Depictions of the speed and extent of injury to which Wolverine can heal varies due to a broad degree of artistic license employed by various comic book writers. Originally, this was portrayed as accelerated healing of minor wounds, though Chris Claremont, head writer of the X-Men comics from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s increased Wolverine’s healing factor substantially, though not nearly as later writers would. During the 1980s, Wolverine’s mutant healing factor is depicted as being able to heal massive levels of trauma, though his recovery time could extend to days, weeks or months before fully healing; often depending upon the severity of the injuries, their extent and the frequency with which they’re inflicted. During the 1990s through the modern era, other writers have increased Wolverine’s healing factor to the point that it could fully regenerate nearly any damaged or destroyed bodily tissues within seconds. Among the more extreme depictions of Wolverine’s healing factor include fully healing after being caught near the center of an atomic explosion and the total regeneration of his soft body tissue, within a matter of minutes, after having it incinerated from his skeleton. An explanation is given in a recent mini-series starring Wolverine for the increase of his healing powers. In the series, Wolverine is referred to as an “adaptive self-healer” after undergoing numerous traumatic injuries to test the efficiency of his healing factor. Wolverine has endured so much trauma, and so frequently, that his healing factor has adapted, becoming faster and more efficient to cope with increasing levels of trauma. Xavier Protocols, a series of profiles created by Xavier that lists the strengths and weaknesses of the X-Men, states that Wolverine’s healing factor is increased to “incredible levels” and theorizes that the only way to stop him is to decapitate him and remove his head from the vicinity of his body.
It is possible to suppress the efficiency of his healing powers. For example, if an object composed of carbonadium is inserted and remains lodged within his body, his healing powers are slowed dramatically. The Muramasa blade, a katana of mystic origins that can inflict wounds that nullify superhuman healing factors, can also suppress Wolverine’s powers. It has also once been noted that Wolverine needs protein for his healing factor to generate tissue, meaning that if he was seriously injured and malnourished, his body might not be able to repair itself.
It has been suggested that Wolverine can be killed by drowning. He has stated that he is not particularly fond of being in water, due partially to the additional weight of his adamantium laced skeleton, and that he can die if held under water long enough with his healing factor only prolonging the agony. The two-part story arc, “Drowning Logan” finds Wolverine trapped under water for an extensive period of time. The second part of the story arc hints that this time underwater gravely affects his healing factor with significant consequences to his health going forward. Following the events of “Drowning Logan”, Beast reveals that an “intelligent virus” originating from the Microverse has shut off his healing factor, though not before his healing factor was able to purge his body of the virus itself. As a result, Beast states that he’s now as susceptible to injury and disease as any ordinary human and ages at a normal rate.
In Wolverine vol. 3, #57 it is revealed that, when Wolverine is injured so seriously that his body actually dies before his healing factor can repair the damage, he returns to life by fighting with Azrael, the Angel of Death, while trapped in Purgatory, due to Wolverine defeating Azrael in combat in the real world during the First World War. However, after Wolverine’s soul was damaged following his resurrection and brainwashing by the Hand, he made a new deal with Azrael to repair the damage that had been done to his soul that negated their previous arrangement, with the result that, the next time Wolverine sustains death-inducing injuries, he will remain dead, and his healing factor has apparently been slightly weakened in the process.
A study by the University of British Columbia states that Wolverine’s healing factor resembles the axolotl’s ability to regenerate lost limbs. It suggests that a novel protein—which the study’s authors dubbed Howlett—found in tissue samples taken from him, and which resembles the Amblox protein found in axolotl but is much more efficient, is responsible for Wolverine’s rapid regeneration.
Due to a combination of his healing factor and high level psionic shields implanted by Professor Xavier, Wolverine’s mind is highly resistant to telepathic assault and probing. Wolverine’s mind also possesses what he refers to as “mental scar tissue” created by all of the traumatic events over the course of his life. It acts as a type of natural defense, even against a psychic as powerful as Emma Frost.
The Predator is an extraterrestrial species featured in the Predator science-fiction franchise, characterized by its trophy hunting of other species for sport. First introduced in 1987 as the main antagonist of the film Predator, the Predator creatures returned in the sequels Predator 2 (1990), and Predators (2010), as well as the crossover franchise Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007).
The Predator has been the subject of numerous novels, video games, and comic books, both on their own and as part of the Alien vs. Predator crossover imprint. While a definitive name for the species is not given in the films, the names Yautja and Hish-qu-Ten have been alternatively used in the expanded universe. Created by brothers Jim and John Thomas, the Predators are depicted as large, sapient and sentient humanoid creatures who possess advanced technology, such as active camouflage, directed energy weapons, and are capable of interstellar travel.
The Predator design is credited to special effects artist Stan Winston. While flying to Japan with Aliens director James Cameron, Winston, who had been hired to design the Predator, was doing concept art on the flight. Cameron saw what he was drawing and said, “I always wanted to see something with mandibles”. Winston then included them in his designs. Stan Winston’s studio created all of the physical effects for Predator and Predator 2, creating the body suit for actor Kevin Peter Hall and the mechanical facial effects. They were hired after attempts to create a convincing monster (including Jean-Claude Van Damme wearing a much different body suit) had failed. Arnold Schwarzenegger recommended Winston after his experience working on The Terminator.
Predators are physically distinguished from humans by their greater height, arthropod-like mandibles and long, hair-like appendages on their heads that are set into their skulls (popularly perceived as “dreadlocks”). Their bodies are resilient to damage, capable of recovering from multiple gunshot wounds and radiation doses which would be fatal to humans. They are much stronger than humans, having been portrayed as being easily capable of out-matching a conditioned adult human male and shattering solid concrete with their bare hands. They are also skilled climbers, and will readily move through trees or across rooftops in pursuit of prey. Though capable of surviving exposure in Antarctic temperatures for an extended period of time, it is implied that Predators have a preference for hot equatorial climates. Their blood is luminescent phosphor green in color. Their vision operates mainly in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum; they can easily detect heat differentials in their surroundings but are unable to easily distinguish among objects of the same relative temperature. A Predator’s hunting helmet increases its ability to see all across the spectrum, ranging from the low infrared to the high ultraviolet, and also filters the ambient heat from the area, allowing them to see things with greater clarity and detail. While they are capable of breathing Earth’s atmosphere, the creature in Predator 2 is seen using a breathing mask after losing his helmet. Their dietary habits are also mentioned in Predator 2, where it is revealed that the creature regularly visits a slaughterhouse every two days to feed on the stored meat there.
Throughout their film appearances, Predators have undergone numerous design variations. In Predator 2, the main Predator was designed to look more urban and hip than its predecessor. Design changes included tribal ornamentation on the forehead, which was made steeper and shallower, brighter skin coloration and a greater number of fangs. In Alien vs. Predator, the appearance of the Predators was redesigned to make them seem more heroic. Redesigns included a reduction in head and waist size, broader shoulders, a more muscular physique, piranha-like teeth on the upper jaw, and drier and less clammy skin to further differentiate them from the Aliens. In Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, the Predator was returned to the sleeker design concept prior to Alien vs. Predator. For the so-called “Black Super Predators” in Predators, the designers used the differences between a cassette tape and an iPod as an analogy in differentiating the new Predators from the classic. The Super Predators were designed as leaner and taller than the “classic” Predator design, with longer faces, tighter armor and with more swept back dreadlocks
Predator culture revolves around the hunting and stalking of dangerous lifeforms. After making a kill, Predators typically skin or decapitate the carcass, converting it into a trophy. Failure in a hunt results in the Predator involved committing an honorable suicide. It is often alluded to that the reason Predators hunt is not for sustenance or elimination of threats, but as entertainment or rite of passage, as they will only attack life forms that have the ability to provide them with a challenge. The technology in their helmets allow Predators to determine the likelihood of a target providing a challenge. For instance, in Predator 2, the Predator is able to determine that a toy gun used by the young boy in the cemetery scene is harmless. The first film, Predator, Dutch alludes to Anna being spared because she was unarmed, that there was “no sport” in hunting her. In Predator 2, Detective Leona Cantrell is spared when the Predator’s infrared scan reveals she’s pregnant. In Alien vs. Predator, a scan reveals to the Predator that Charles Bishop Weyland has terminal lung cancer and is initially spared, only to be killed seconds later when Weyland attacks, despite the Predator knowing that Weyland poses no real threat. In Predators, it is revealed that there are at least two different Predator tribes, which are engaged in a long-lasting blood feud. The film also introduced a pack of spined, quadrupedal beasts used as flushing dogs by the “Super Predators”. Creature designer Gregory Nicotero used hyenas as a basis for the creature’s physique, while the spines were added later by Chris Olivia.
Predators made contact with early human civilizations such as the Ancient Egyptians, the Khmer Empire, and Aztecs, as well as a fictitious culture inhabiting what is now Bouvetøya. Upon arriving on Earth, the Predators were worshiped as gods by humans, and they taught many of the civilizations how to build pyramids (an explanation as to why many of these different ancient societies had distinctly similar cultures and architecture), but in return expected sacrifices of humans for use as hosts for huntable Xenomorphs (Aliens)- the ultimate prey for initiates. The Predators returned to Bouvetøya every century to consummate the bargain, until at one point in the ritual, the Xenomorphs spread out of control, resulting in the Predators detonating a bomb that obliterated the entire civilization. Relations between humans and Predators deteriorated from that time on; the Predators then viewed humans as little more than another quarry to hunt.
Predators feature prominently in the folklore of certain cultures; some Latin American people refer to the species as, “El Demonio que hace trofeos de los hombres” (Spanish for “The Demon who makes trophies of men”), while Jamaican superstition identifies Predators as demons from the spirit world. When hunting humans, Predators normally avoid certain individuals such as children and some adults if they are unarmed, though they will spare armed ones if they happen to be pregnant or sickly unless they are attacked by them.A human who has managed to kill a Predator or a Xenomorph in single combat or has fought alongside a Predator is usually spared by the deceased hunter’s comrades and given a gift (often a rare or exotic weapon) as a sign of respect.
A learner’s first successful Alien hunt is completed with the marking of his helmet and forehead with the acidic blood of his kill. When a hunter is defeated or has been assisted by a sentient prey, it is custom to award the individual with a gift, usually a weapon. The hunter generally operates alone. Even when hunters appear in groups, they rarely perform anything that resembles teamwork. Predators use Aliens as prey, creating artificial gaming reserves by keeping Queens and even Facehuggers in captivity.
With all that said, (and there was a lot), who do you think would you think would be the last mutant/alien standing? Vote now! Your opinion matters!
Next Podcast Unlimited Poll: The Beast (Marvel Comics’ Hank McCoy) vs The Beast (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast)