Making the Grade: Wolverine’s Powers

All together now: “Snikt!” Let’s be honest, in any discussion of Wolverine’s powers, the claws are and always will be the (very pointy) cornerstone of the Wolverine franchise for one reason and one reason only: they just look so damn cool to the average fanboy. You can create The Blue Bloodhound, a superhero who uses his enhanced senses to track down evildoers, or Captain Convalescence, whose better-than-average ability to survive savage beatings and stabbings somehow saves the day, and still be in the clear copyright-wise… but you graft Ginsu knives to your creation’s forearms and give him a slightly anti-social disposition (which, hello, knives in his forearms), and it’s just a matter of time before Stan Lee personally staples an aggressively alliterative cease-and-desist order to your plagiarizing ass. And rightly so. B+

Unbreakable bones
Handy if you’re in the stuntman business or really need to grab a taxi driver’s attention, but otherwise it’s kind of limited in its day-to-day applications, you know? I’ve rarely encountered a situation in which an unbreakable skeleton proved to be a bonus, but then I don’t make a habit of searching out hundred-foot-tall mutant-killing robots for sport, either. I suppose this power could be useful in the emotional blackmail department, but after your sixth or seventh leap from a balcony, your soon-to-be-ex-soulmate is probably going to suspect you’re not as distraught about your impending break-up as you’re making yourself out to be. C-

Accelerated healing factor
Now we’re talking. Essentially a messier version of Superman’s invulnerability, this is the mutant power that allows Wolverine to survive any and all bodily injuries, up to and including the ravages of aging. This has a lot of potential, assuming you’re not into body piercing, alcoholism, or other activities that require a certain level of bodily desecration. The only other downside I can see is that sooner or later knowledge of your incredible healing powers will attract the interest of a shadowy black ops military unit, which will determine your accelerated healing factor makes you the perfect candidate for a series of excruciatingly painful medical experiments designed to turn you into a mindless killing machine. But hey, if it’s a choice between that or dealing with health insurance…  A

Enhanced senses
Forget for a second what it would be like to have  superhuman senses; imagine what it would be like to actually live with someone who possessed superhuman senses. “So, tell me all about your day, specifically about your visits to the (sniff) laundromat, podiatrist’s office, farmer’s market, hair salon, and that one used bookshop over on 43rd Street that has a great collection of old Playboys from ’69, ’72 and… (sniff) ’83.” I’m not sure most relationships are ready for that level of intimacy. C

Berserker rages
More of a psychological quirk than a superhuman power, I’m including this one because the idea that Wolverine isn’t always in control of the carnage he causes plays a prominent role in the X-Men mythos, and understandably so. “I have lived through indescribable horrors that left me with a tortured soul and these uncontrollable urges to destroy the beast that rages within me” is far more likely to win over fair hearts down at the church social than “Well, I’m basically an asshole who just really enjoys stabbing people.” C-


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