Let's establish something basic. Wolverine is a Spider-Man level hero. This isn't to say he isn't a tough guy; Spider-Man is a tough guy. Wolverine is pretty fast (Spidey's faster) and has peak human strength enhanced by adrenaline surges (Whereas Spidey can lift cars). Wolverine is very resilient, with his unbreakable skeleton and his regeneration, but we shouldn't assume that his regeneration means that he's invincible. In D&D, Trolls are considered terrifying because they regenerate 3 hit points per round. That doesn't mean they laugh off attacks; it means that after you finally knock them down you have to make some special effort to keep them down. Wolverine's regeneration is possibly better than a trolls, but not by a ton (Whereas the Hulk once rebuilt himself from a crispy skeleton in about a minute). Wolverine can be hurt, and he can be knocked out. He was knocked out a bunch of times in Secret Wars when he was fighting higher level villians than he was used to with the X-Men.
Wolverine was created in a version of the super soldier program that created Captain America. The point of the super soldier programs were to create an army of better-than-average fighters, but they keep not being able to replicate it so they end up making one better-than-average fighter in each attempt. Wolverine typically fights ninjas and other thug level bad guys. And he kicks their asses, no doubt. But put him up against the type of people the Avengers or the FF go up against and he's out of his league. His archenemy is Sabertooth, who's been trounced by Iron Fist, Daredevil, and the Black Cat. When Spider-Man fought Wolverine, Wolverine won, barely, and mainly because Peter was so thoroughly shocked/traumatized by Wolvie's ferocity (He thought he was dealing with a good guy that he was having a disagreement with so he was pulling his punches. If he were treating Wolverine as a bad guy, the outcome would have been different). Even as a member of the New Avengers (which consists of Iron Man, Sentry, and a bunch of street level fighters), they've fought rogue SHIELD* agents, ninjas, and some X-Men villians. When they went up against the Wrecker, they got beaten silly until Spider-Woman's pheromones kicked in.
Now i know what you're thinking. I hear it all the time. "But Wolverine fights the Hulk." Look, lots of people have fought the Hulk. Few people have ever beaten the Hulk. Wolverine first appeared in Hulk 180-181, where they team up to beat the Wendigo, and then Wolverine sucker punches the Hulk and still can not beat him. Wolverine can barely get Hulk to notice him. In the end, Wolverine can't win and the Hulk gets bored and wanders off. The next time they fight, the Hulk is in his weakened grey state, and the fight is a draw. The next time they fight, Wolverine is bone-clawed, so i won't count the fact that he loses against him. After that, the Hulk is enhanced by Apocalypse, so again we can discount it. There's never been a definitive fight where Wolverine even comes close to standing up to the Hulk.
I know that this will lead to charges that I hate mutants. But the truth is i've always liked Wolverine. He was one of my favorite characters when i was a kid, before he was overexposed in the 90s. Street level characters are much more interesting than the mega powerful ones anyway - that's why i prefer Marvel over DC in the first place. Wolverine fights desperately, gets the crap kicked out of him, and pulls through - barely - in the end. That's what makes him fun to read. In order to set up the same sort of struggle for, oh, let's just pick Iron Man totally at random, you'd have to increase the threat level to the point where it is a world threatening menace every time.
*Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division (or maybe Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage and Logistics Directorate).
By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 11:11 AM | Comics
why do you hate the x-men?