According to Marvel lore, Logan/Wolverine was born James Howlett in Canada sometime in the late 1800s. He was always a bit different—most visibly so when bony claws would shoot out his knuckles whenever he’d get riled. But those claws are really an addendum to Logan’s true superpower: The ability to heal incredibly quickly from almost any wound, rendering him nigh immortal.
But some unsavory types couldn’t leave well enough alone. Against Logan’s will, they fused a skeleton of adamantium—an almost indestructible metal—onto Logan’s bones, rendering him into an almost perfect killing machine.
Marshall McLuhan once said, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” Wolverine, who had some anger management issues anyway, was further shaped—twisted, I’d argue—by that adamantium skeleton. He became the thing that it made him. The rage at what was done to him never left. Even as he fought and became a hero in both the comics and movies, Logan could never completely shake free of the pain and anger and betrayal he felt regarding that metallic superstructure inside him. And that skeleton could augment Logan’s bad traits in truly terrifying ways.
Now, I’m sure that Wolverine’s creators at Marvel could’ve never anticipated Logan. But it’s really interesting to me that Logan’s skeleton is coated with a metal called “adamantium,” a name surely pulled from the biblical character Adam.
Most of us know the story of the Fall: Adam and Eve, humanity’s happy-go-lucky progenitors, take a bite from a forbidden apple, one that gives them the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent promises them that they’ll be “like God,” and so they eat it. That act not only got Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden, but it doomed the rest of humankind to be separated from God. The doctrine is called “original sin”: No matter how good we try to be in this life, we can’t shake that initial taint. We’re all victims of humanity’s first act of rebellion against God. According to the Bible, it’s why we die, too. We were designed by God to be immortal, but the apple poisoned us bit by bit.
And so it is with in Logan.
“We were all part of God’s plan,” Charles tells Logan. But the adamantium skeleton was part of man’s plan—man’s vanity to look at something incredible and say, you know what? We can improve it. They gave him an upgrade without asking and he did, indeed, become like a god.
But that same metal that made Wolverine so strong is killing him now. A creature God designed as immortal is dying from the inside out.
Oh, and one more thing: The adamantium skeleton has itself been, in a sense, passed down to a little girl named Laura, Logan’s biological daughter.