Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reader Hunter S. wrote in to ask:
Has there ever be a time when Wolverine’s claws ever been broken within the earth 616 reality? I know that there some alternate version of Wolverine where he did break his claws but never have I seen it in the Earth 616 continuity. So have you ever seen Earth 616 wolverine’s adamantium beta claws break?
As you might imagine, when a character has unbreakable adamantium claws, it wouldn’t really do well if said claws were broken a lot of times, so let’s be honest, there have been no examples where Wolverine’s claws have been explicitly broken in the main Marvel continuity. By which I mean that when we use the term “broken” claws, I imagine we’re talking outright snapped, like, say, Batman’s back being broken by Bane. Like a wishbone, ya know? That has never happened EXPLICITLY. So, long story short, the answer to Hunter’s question is probably best answered with a “no.”
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That said, there have been a couple of instances that are close enough to a “break” that I think we might want to count it and one instance that is close enough to the “main” Marvel continuity that I think an argument could be made to count it, as well. Then there’s one more sort of iffy one that I’ll throw in for fun, as well.
UNCANNY X-MEN #160
This is the one where it a bit of a stretch to count it as being part of the “main” Marvel continuity, but close enough that it’s worth being discussed. In this issue (by Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson and Bob Wiacek – who, by the way, is having a GoFundMe to deal with some vision issues affecting his ability to ink), the X-Men are working out on Magneto’s old island base when they inadvertently get sucked into a temple where they are besieged by a place where time has no real meaning. You see, in one reality, the X-Men were trapped in Belasco’s world for decades and now the “real” X-Men are confronted by this reality, so Wolverine, for instance, comes across Colossus’ dead body and Wolverine’s body is just an adamantium-laced skeleton. Belasco’s enforcer is a demon known as S’ym (the name is a play on Dave Sim, the writer/artist of Cerebus, who had been doing a longrunning Wolverine parody at time in the pages of Cerebus known as Wolveroach, so this was Claremont sort of playing with Sim). We then see S’ym break off one of Wolverine’s adamantium claws with ease…
S’ym later throws the claw so hard at Colossus that it embeds into Colossus’ skin, even past his metal armor. Anyhow, this is a story set in the “main” Marvel continuity that involves Wolverine’s adamantium claw being broken, but it happened to an alternate reality Wolverine, so who knows if that counts.
INFINITY GAUNTLET #4
This is the first of two notable examples that clearly happened in the main Marvel continuity, but it is an issue of whether you consider them as the claws “breaking.” In this issue (by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim and Josef Rubinstein), Wolverine is part of a team of heroes who plan to distract Thanos for long enough for the Silver Surfer to swoop in and steal the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos’ grasp (as Thanos had intentionally made himself non-infallible for this fight so that he could enjoy the challenge a little).
Wolverine stabbed Thanos in the chest, but Thanos then turned Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton to rubber, along with the claws, thus killing Wolverine…
After Adam Warlock got a hold of the Infinity Gauntlet, he returned everything to the state it was in before Thanos had the Infinity Gauntlet. I guess you could still then argue that this was an alternate timeline, but boy, that’s a stretch for alternate timelines, no? However, it is hard to call “turning his adamantium claws into rubber” as BREAKING Wolverine’s claws per se, so it might not count.
This is the big one. It is SUCH a big one that Hunter obviously knows about it and he likely does NOT consider the events of this comic book to be “breaking” Wolverine’s adamantium claws. In any event, in this issue (by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert and Matt Ryan), Wolverine and the X-Men sneak on to Magneto’s asteroid headquarters to take him down after he responded to Earth’s attempt at creating an anti-Magneto forcefield around the Earth by dropping into it and wiping it out with an electro-magnetic pulse that rained destruction across the globe (since he was “retaliating,” it was later hand waved away).
Wolverine attacked Magneto and sliced him pretty good, at which point the Master of Magnetism used his powers to liquify all of the adamantium on Wolverine’s skeleton and pull it out of the pores of his body…
Not for nothing, for one of the most memorable moments in Marvel comics during the 1990s, that panel is always kind of weird looking, right? It loses a little bit of dramatic appeal when it is metal oozing out of a guy’s pores. But anyhow, this definitely “breaks” the adamantium, but not in the way that I imagine Hunter intended it (as why else would he ask? He obviously knows the story, right?), so it probably does not count.
This one definitely does not count, as it is in an alternate future where Thor has conquered the world, but this issue (by Dan Jurgens, Scot Eaton and Scott Koblish) is still significant because it shows Wolverine and some other heroes attacking Thor, who is powered by the Odinforce and Thor just melts Wolverine and his claws…
This is notable because it shows that Odinforce CAN destroy adamantium pretty easily. And it was not in an intentionally alternate reality, like a What If…? comic, but rather one of those “Let me go back in time and avert this from happening” situations, which, yes, still DO create alternate timelines, but come on, there’s obviously a difference.
But anyhow, there you have it, Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium claws have not, in fact, ever been broke in Marvel’s main continuity.
Thanks for the question, Hunter!
If anyone else has a comic book related question, just drop me a line at email@example.com!
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