Wolverine’s Bone Claws!

Wolverine’s Claws: Bone or Metal?

The Origins of Wolverine’s Claws

The first X-men comic I ever purchased had a pretty awesome story featuring none other than Wolverine. This particular issue was the Uncanny X-men Giant-Sized Annual 11. At the time, I knew the basics about the X-men. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an X-pert. The story in this comic was great, and I still recommend it to anyone interested in reading some quality X-men content. This was peak Chris Claremont era reading. Without getting into too much detail, this particular comic did a great job exploring the possibilities of his healing factor.

X-Men Annual 11

After reading this comic, I could clearly see that this guy, Wolverine not Claremont, was destined to be one of Marvel’s most beloved mutants. He just seemed so cool. The version of Wolverine seen within these pages was still enigmatic. He was a man with an unknown back story. Not only did none of his teammates know a great deal about him, but Wolverine’s history was a mystery even to himself. Even without knowing all of his backstory, or perhaps because we didn’t know, he was super interesting. Truly a man of mystery. Not really knowing much about his background allowed our imaginations to run wild. . . truly anything was possible.

At this point, Wolverine has undergone several transformations since his debut in 1974. Writers have really delved into different aspects of his character. Providing readers with little bits and pieces of his background. His look even changed with the times, but the core of the character always remained. His claws were always a unique feature with one of the best possible attributes. They could essentially slice through anything. Retractable, impossibly sharp claws, but even those claws changed over time. Let’s take a quick look at a publication timeline for the evolution of Wolverine’s claws.

  1. Metal Claws: The Original Concept
    • When Wolverine first graced the pages of “Incredible Hulk #180” published in November, 1974, his claws appeared to be different from what we’re accustomed to today.
    • These early claws seemed to be part of his gloves, attached to his wrists rather than emerging from just above his knuckles.
    • Apparently, co-creator Len Wein initially intended these adamantium claws to be integrated into Wolverine’s gloves, meaning anyone who wore those gloves could wield the claws. In fact, theyri didn’t even seem to have the ability to retract.
    • However, this concept evolved swiftly.
  2. Weapon X and the Adamantium Coating
    • In Chris Claremont’s run on “Uncanny X-Men” (starting in 1975), Wolverine’s claws received a significant update.
    • Basically, the story goes that the “Weapon X” program augmented his powers by coating his skeleton with adamantium, and seemingly adding a set of adamantium claws.
    • These “claw gloves” became an essential part of Wolverine’s abilities, alongside his healing factor. At this point, his claws were no longer a fashion accessory. They were actually a part of him.
  3. The Bone Claws Retcon
    • Despite his various adventures, Logan’s claws were essentially the same until we fast forward to the 1990s.
    • In “X-Men” #25 (1993), Magneto infamously stripped the adamantium off Wolverine’s skeleton.

      In this issue, Wolverine gets his adamantium ripped out of him by Magneto.
    • In Wolverine #75 (November 1993), a direct follow up to the previously mentioned issue, Wolverine’s claws were revealed to be bone rather than a pure adamantium addition.

      The big reveal! Wolverine has bone claws!?!
    • Oddly, these bone claws tore through his skin. Logan even makes a comment about how he now needs to pop them out several times a day to keep the channel open like pierced ears. A little weird that decades of popping the metal claws didn’t “keep the channel open”. Don’t worry though, Logan still proves he is a tough guy without the adamantium claws by emphasizing that they still hurt each time he pops them.

      Wolvie comments on popping his claws.
    • It took until December 1999 for them to resolve the storyline and give Wolverine his claws back (Wolverine #145).

      Wolverine gets his adamantium back!

Typically, things in comics never seem to be permanent, but it is kind of crazy to me that it took around six years before he got his adamantium restored. I mean they were totally all in on the bone claws thing.

Just to be clear, I’m not a fan of the whole “bone claws idea”. The idea that the claws were added to him during the whole Weapon-X process just sounds way cooler to me. In my mind, I can see the whole thing playing out like this . . .

An inspired intern on the Weapon-X Project, we’ll call this guy Steve, was trying to think about how he could improve his current situation. Steve really liked the thought of being a mad scientist and experimenting on mutants. He believed that if he came up with an idea good enough that he could show his superiors that he had the stuff to get a permanent job.

Steve began to think. He thought and thought. Until finally, he was like, “Since we are fusing adamantium to his bones, why don’t we just throw some claws in there too? It doesn’t matter that they’ll cut through his hands each time he uses them. His healing factor will take care of it.”

That intern definitely got that permanent position and a pay raise for that matter. Probably excellent benefits too.

In summary, while bone claws offer an intriguing twist, the practicality, durability, and iconic status of Wolverine’s metal claws make them better to me. Grafting metal onto his bones sounds like a horrific process, but the idea that the experimentation might have gone even further. That they could have also implanted a permanent weapon into him in the form of claws sounds way more traumatic. This would result in the modifications be more of a burden than an enhancement.

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