In a new summer film, everyone's favorite genetic anomaly will lose the reason he has been able to snikt! though skirmishes, scuffs, and scrapes for the last century and a half—superhuman healing abilities. The mutation that makes Wolverine worthy of the X-Men is that his cells regenerate at incredible speeds. He ages at a snail's pace, he can re-grow parts of limbs and organs after serious injury, and he is basically impervious to infection and disease. Until now.
In The Wolverine, which opens July 26, a former Japanese soldier whose life Wolverine saved during WWII offers a way to remove the mutant's regenerative superpowers. Since living forever can be its own kind of torment, Wolverine—Logan to his friends--happily accepts. Suddenly, the mutant with the metal skull and chilling claws is more vulnerable than ever before. What might this expert fighter, hunter, and swordsman have to fear now? I haven't seen the film. Nor have I read a detailed plot summary. But here, I take a few guesses using science as my guide:
When your brain jiggles around in the skull enough to bump into one of the sides, you get a concussion. This can result in everything from dizziness and slurred speech to trouble balancing and potentially fatal blood clots. Repeated concussions can cause brain damage and lifetime impairment, sadly evidenced by some of our aging football players.
With his skull coated in the indestructible metal adamantium, you would think that Wolverine would be immune to a concussion. If fact, it doesn't really matter what his skull is made of. The real problem is the movement of the brain. As long as it has space to move—within the cushion of fluid inside your skull—the brain will always be vulnerable to a traumatic bump or bash. Think of it like a car accident; no matter what the car is made of, when it hits a wall the driver will still be thrown around.
Try as we might to stop the increasing number of concussions in sports like American football, recent studies have found that standard helmets don't prevent these traumas. Helmets protect the skull from fracture and the scalp from lesion, but not the brain from internal bumps.
So even with a helmet of adamantium, Wolverine is as susceptible to concussions as you are, a fact that the movie's villains may want to exploit. Comic books have done so in the past, showing that Wolverine can be knocked out cold by a wooden sword. And the recent X-Men films also show this weakness. In X2: X-Men United, Wolverine gets shot in the forehead from point-blank range and is rendered unconscious. Though his skull prevents penetration, the impact from the bullet—equivalent to being hit in the face with a baseball going 185 miles per hour—still floors the mighty mutant. If he has lost his regenerative powers, a few strategic knocks to the noggin could permanently disable Logan.
Wolverine's skeleton is coated in the indestructible metal adamantium, and it makes him nearly invincible. But without regenerative powers, Logan won't be the human wrecking crew he once was.
Comic book canon dictates that Logan carries 100 pounds of adamantium on his already burly frame, bringing his total weight up to 300 pounds. Obvious advantages come along with such reinforcement. Wolverine will never break a bone. Wolverine also has superhuman strength because he has had to lug around an extra 100 pounds of metal for decades. And having indestructible bones means that Logan doesn't even need to use his claws to kill. With his super-strength, he can land a punch that would be like running face-first into scaffolding. Some sources estimate that heavyweight blows have killed around 650 boxers in the last century; adding an indestructible metal fist to the equation spells trouble.
But there are serious disadvantages to a heavy metal frame. Now that Wolverine has lost his ability to fight off disease and infection, his most dangerous enemy could also be the smallest. Leukemia, a cancer affecting bone marrow, would be nearly impossible to treat. Chemotherapy wouldn't be able to penetrate the adamantium and the infected marrow, and radiation therapy would be far less effective as many metals block or dampen radiation (that's why you wear a lead vest over vulnerable areas during an X-ray).
Wolverine's biggest strength--his metal skeleton--also leads to his key weakness: magnets. From the movies and the comic books we know that Logan is extremely vulnerable to magnetic fields, as Magneto can twist and toss him as he pleases with a mutant ability to control magnetic fields. In the comics, Magneto even violently ripped Logan's metal reinforcements from his body. But at least Wolverine had regenerative powers to help him survive the ordeal. Imagine what could happen without them.
Villains could lure Logan into a giant magnet. At high enough energies, the magnetic field would interact with Wolverine's atoms and molecules, effectively suspending him in a levitating prison. Amazingly, this trap isn't science fiction, as researchers have built magnets strong enough to levitate frogs in exactly the same way.
The frog would fare far better than Logan would. If confined in a rotating magnetic prison, something like a giant MRI machine, Logan wouldn't even be able to move his limbs (very well at least). Because he has 100 pounds of metal grafted to his skeleton, Logan would experience magnetic induction—the magnets spinning around him would create magnetic fields in his bones. This induced magnetic field would attract and repel the prison's, effectively preventing motion. You can see this slowing effect when you put a chunk of aluminum in an MRI machine and let it fall.
Villains could be far more devious. A prison with spinning magnets would keep Wolverine in place, but one with a giant electromagnet would melt him from the inside out.
If you run an electric current through a coil of wire, the electricity creates a magnetic field. Put a piece of metal, or Wolverine, inside this coil and you can suspend it in the field. But if you rapidly change the direction of the electricity flowing through the coil—as AC ("alternating current") would do—Wolverine's metal skeleton would begin to heat up. The changing current in the coil creates a changing magnetic field, in the coil and in Wolverine, both leading to a changing electrical current in Wolverine's metal skeleton. If you leave some metal in this setup long enough, the electrons bump and bash against each other to the point of melting. Shut down the coil, and all you are left with is a puddle of metal, or, in perhaps this most scientifically accurate of villainous plans, a puddle of Wolverine.
We will have to wait until July 26 to see how Wolverine fares without his regenerative powers. But no matter what, any villain would have to be ingenious and devious enough to avoid the weapons Wolverine is most famous for. Beware the Snikt!
Kyle Hill is a science writer whose work has appeared in Scientific American, Nautilus, Wired, Slate, and io9. You can follow him on Twitter @Sci_Phile.
[cracks neck, and fingers - prepares to write]
Finally Wolverine! good ol' Canucklehead.
ah no worries here - he'll get his healing factor back, he always does.
Definately, head injuries would be one of his biggest problems. As well as bleeding out.
I was STOKED to see this movie after the first trailer. As I am a big fan of Logan.
But after seeing the trailer, where he's fighting the giant robot (presumably Silver Samurai #2)
Gotta admit, looked kinda cheesey. :( - that kinda killed it for me. Will still watch it. just not in theatre. wait for the rental to come out. Marvel has been dissapointing me for a while now - as far as films go. The newer movies have been ok. Spiderman & X-men first class.
Perhaps give Wolverine the Dark Knight treatment. a proper Wolverine movie should be R rated, it should be dark, mysterious and violent.
after all - he's the best at what he does; but what he does best isn't very nice
I'd say one of his biggest problems would be his retractable claws. Unless there's already an open channel for them to pass from their resting position to fully extended, he's going to have to pierce through his own hand every time he wants to use them. And each time he takes a swipe at something he'd have to sterilize the blades before retracting them to avoid introducing foreign bacteria into his blood stream, causing serious infection. He's going to be a walking pin cushion for tetanus shots.
AngryMonkey, Logan was asked by a mutant who was a little girl if deploying his claws hurts. His response was "Every time". You seem to be overlooking the obvious with your questions. Wolverines
superpower isn't the adamantium implants. It is his bodys ability to regenerate and heal and and all injuries and illness.
Whoops kevin56, Someone didn't read the article or see any of the commercials for this movie. The premise is that he loses his healing power. Now it doesn't say if he also loses the ability to fight off any disease, but at it sounds like he lost everything except the skeleton. There are these things called forums btw, they are great for people who like to write responses without reading much.
Ahhhh "Kevin56" you did read the article right? Its based on the supposition that Wolverine has lost his healing factor. "AngryMonkey's" got it right, Login's skeleton may be indestructible, but he is still a man of flesh and blood. Any significant cut could lead to a bleed out, any abrasion can leave an area vulnerable to infection. (Which doctor is going to amputate Wolverines foot when he has gangrene?) Any burns from fire or chemicals would cause serious debilitating pain, and with no healing factor Wolfy is just as vulnerable to these things as you and I.
Since the author brought up such a dark subject, lets elaborate. Lets say I was Logins arch-nemesis, and after many years of trying to kill the devil, I finally have my chance. How best to go about such a task?
Muhahaha (rubs hands together evilly)
After going through great pains to capture him, a task made easier as he can no longer extend his claws for fear of bleeding out, I would have to make his ultimate death slow and pleasurable. First I would remove his soft gooey eyes. Next would go the nose, soft cartilage that can easily be sliced through. Next the tongue. Last, I would take his ears, again only attached by soft cartilage. Four major senses down, I would leave him his sense of touch. That way he can feel the water level slowly rising around him as the tank he's in fills with water......
Without healing, he's just a man like any other; its just his frame that is indestructible, but there are unfortunately many, many ways of killing a man without breaking a single bone. :(
@calin385 - you have auto spell check don't you ... all throughout your post you keep calling Logan, "Login"
Also, "Wolfy" should be Wolvie
As a Huuge fan, it makes me weep manly tears of contempt.
Why spell check? why? Dam you! (spell check - NOT Calin385, just to avoid confusion)
Can Wolverine swim? He's loaded up with an extra 100 pounds of metal. Just push him in a lake.
for sure he can swim. over several decades of carrying around the extra weight, your muscles will adapt to carry/move the load.
also, that 100 lbs isnt in one spot, like a cement block tied to his foot. it's spread through out his entire skeleton.
I'll try to calculate this ... get a rough estimate ... brb
Just a VERY rough estimate ...
1 arm = 9 lbs / / 1 Claw = 3 ibs x 6
1 arm = 9 lbs / / 6 Claws = 18 lbs
1 leg = 11 lbs / / _____________
1 leg = 11 lbs / / 18
hips = 12 lbs
Skull = 13 lbs
Spine = 8 lbs
Rib cage = 9 lbs
82 lbs + 18 lbs = 100 lbs
i'd think this is pretty close.
Okay so about your "magnets" section first off Adamantium is not magnetic. The reason Magnito could remove the Adamantium from Wolverine's body was because he can manipulate Metal as well as Alloys. Magnets would do very little to Wolverine.
yes - magneto's abilities are far reaching ... he can effect and generate magnetic fields right down to the sub atomic level. so in effect he can manipulate anything really. although metals are easier.
if memory serves, he didn't just rip out the adamantium - he tore it out and disintegrated it ... undid the molecular bonds holding the metal together :o
Can you imagine Logan with arthritis?
That hundred pounds of adamantium would have to put a lot of wear and tear on his joints, and there is no chance of hip or knee replacements.
I can think of several other reasons why I wouldn't want to be Wolverine minus the healing factor.
Adamantium is an iron alloy which means there is magnetic. Anyways, Magneto lines up domains in a metal which means the metal can be magnetic if the magnetic force is strong enough
@rameden - For the most part, all atoms have electrons and protons. Since it is this interaction between these charged particles from which electricity stems, it is no stretch to say the general atomic model has an electrical field. From Maxwell's unifying equations we know that every dynamic charged particle generates both an electrical field and a magnetic field, hence these forces being named electromagnetic. Since electrons are constantly moving in the electron cloud of the typical atom, magnetic fields (and electrical fields) are being generated constantly. Of course, these fields can be canceled out by other atoms' magnetic fields, or even electrical fields, and so we have many materials which are severely lacking in "magnetism." However, with powerful enough magnets, one could potentially attract or repel any matter (assuming there is a charged particle present), and metals are most susceptible to this.
The point: Adamantium is a metal, and therefore a powerful enough magnet can indeed be used to manipulate Wolverine.
popsci didnt get teh facts straight it seems - the bullet didnt just hit hes head - it was made of adamantinum which supposedly was supposed to penetrate hes skull (wonder if it left a hole or warped adamantinum there?).
Weird part was that the bullet came out from the hole and... the skull damage healed also Oo
And even with the superhuman healing - he should have lost way more then just memory of hes past - also skills, knowledge and anything the damaged brain tissue "learned" since he was born - it would have regrown based off genetic information.
But who knwos... perhaps hes not a superhuman - instead aliens infused hes cells with nanites - that store any information and rebuild the body. So disease, cancer, radiation etc is just a short time problem.
as Lisa replied I'm in shock that a stay at home mom can profit $4134 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you read this web site Go to site and open Home for details
calin, the question asked wasn't what his 'superpower' in the movie was.
When Logan was shot I understood it as this. The round when thru the front part of his skull then it would have bounced inside his skull turning his brain into mush, not all of it but enough that Lifestream is right he would have lost way more than just some memories. I never got the feel that it when out the back, so that bullet is really still inside him, so would that not cause major problems as soon as he looses his abilities.
I would think he is a walking dead man but then maybe that is what he wants, to die. For me I be all "**** yes I am not giving up my cool power" and there is no way I am letting that guy even close to me. Then again maybe he is such a miserable guy because he has lived so long and seen so many of his friends and family die. Logan is the poster child for Astronauts imagine doing all that cool stuff and knowing it will not kill you, may hurt you but not kill you.
Mars here I come!
whoa whoa guys, c'mon. Popsci is referencing what happened in X-Men. A cop shoots Logan in the head and briefly knocks him out. a standard bullet.
You guys are thinking of Wolverine: Origins where he was shot with an Adamantium bullet. i wasn't fond of that answer to his missing memory. Kinda lazy.
I've heard 2 explainations in the Comics.
-1 Memory implants, lol - which Popsci recently did an article about. ;)
-2 His healing factor not only repairs his physical wounds but mental ones as well. If something is too painful, horrorfying his mind seals away the experience and he forgets about it and carries on.
I personally think they should have spent more time on the Weapon X portion of the story. Barry Windsor-Smith did a whole series just about the Weapon X program. Appropriately entitled, "WEAPON X"
.. ok - so i did end up watching it:
From the stand point of a good summer blockbuster it was very well done.
from the view of a fan - it was good up until he fought the robot like i figured ,,, silver samurai ... modeled after #2 in the comics.
I think it would have been better if they modeled it after the original Silver Samurai.
Then there were a few things that didn't really make sense ...
A side from that it was alright. X-Men Days of Future Past looks promising though :)
If you watch 'The Wolverine' stay a few minutes after the credits begin to roll. there's a teaser for x-men days of future past :)
over all I give The Wolverine a 7/10
Your comment re: chemotherapy (good one by the way) has got me thinking: wouldn't Wolverine permanently be massively immunocompromised? I mean, if adamantium really is all that it's cracked up to be then surely his immune cells wouldn't be able to migrate out of the bone marrow into his circulation. He'd die if he contracted a cold.