Warning: spoilers for Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #3!
When it comes to Wolverine‘s powers, every fan knows the savage mutant’s defining attribute is his remarkable ability to self-heal. This has been both a gift and a curse for Wolverine over the years – making him nearly unbeatable in a fight, but extending his often torturous life and making him the subject of frequent experimentation. Fans also know about Logan’s claws – retractable and coated in adamantium – but Wolverine’s other mutant ability is frequently forgotten, even though it’s often an essential part of what makes him so deadly.
Logan’s superhuman senses allow him the ability to see, hear and smell in a far more heightened manner than the average person, with his hearing only a little less powerful than Marvel’s Daredevil and his superhuman senses. It’s no surprise then that, in the thick of combat, Wolverine is just as reliant on this advantage as he is on his healing factor. In Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #3, fans are treated to a brutal, blood-filled battle between Logan and a ruthless enemy who’s just barely beaten thanks to Wolverine’s acute sense of hearing.
Black, White & Blood is an anthology series that acts as a platform for a wide range of writers and artists to tell their own unique short stories starring everyone’s favorite Canadian hero. In ‘Red Planet Blues’ by Jed Mackay and Jesús Saiz, Wolverine is sent on a mission to the Garden, located on Mars, where a small splinter group of A.I.M. henchmen have left earth to start their own new society. Only problem is, they’ve rigged a piece of leftover alien technology to launch a strike on earth. So Wolverine arrives to take care of the dirty work and stop this group of mad men.
Just before he can take them out, however, the A.I.M. goons’ personal stealth defense robot interjects and begins violently pummeling Logan. It’s a brutal beat down that only gets worse when the unstoppable machine laser-burns Logan’s eyes out of their sockets. Unable to see a thing, Wolverine channels his inner Daredevil and listens intently. Unfortunately, this highly evolved cyborg is able to absorb sound and convert it into silence. Lucky for Logan though, these A.I.M. henchmen babble on about their evil plan long enough for him to hone his heightened hearing in on their voices. As soon as the sound cuts out, Wolverine knows the robot is in front of him, giving him just enough time to slash it in half with his adamantium claws.
Wolverine is an intriguing character with an equally intriguing power set. From his bone claws to his hot claws, writers have added a wealth of new abilities to the rage-filled mutant throughout the decades – and there will no doubt be even more powers added for as long as he’s around. Still, Wolverine’s extremely useful and too-often-forgotten superhuman senses go down as his most underrated ability, focusing on the part of Logan that’s a skilled warrior rather than an unhinged killing machine.
For a hero who has spent so much of his life being treated like an animal or a weapon, it’s great to see Logan win one because of his quick thinking and awareness of the world around him. Having once trained as a samurai, Wolverine has often felt deep shame for the times he’s lost control, so when the X-Men’s resident brawler takes a considered approach that didn’t occur to a team of self-professed geniuses, his triumph is one of skill over brutality.