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I've seen the Adamantium covering over Wolverine's skeleton discussed here before, as well as on many sites on the web. I've also seen different info on what was covered. I'm not a huge X-Men fan, but I do enjoy the characters and stories, so I know I'm probably missing out on a lot, and may have missed the obvious along the way because I didn't read a particular series or something like that.

I had a relative die from leukemia a few years ago and that reminded me of basic junior high science: that red and white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and must be able to reach from the marrow into the blood vessels. The leukemia my relative had was the kind where the "bad" cells would surround the marrow and prevent the new "good" blood cells from getting out to the rest of the body.

So just how much of Wolverine's skeleton is covered with Adamantium? If it's the whole thing, there'd have to be openings for new red blood cells to get out if he is to remain alive. I've never seen a reference to this issue, is it ever addressed?

That also raises another issue along the same line: Are hard to reach areas, such as ball and socket joints covered? If not, then stress on other covered areas could be transferred to the weaker uncovered areas, which would lead to breakage there. And if joints like that are covered, is there anything to say how it was done?

Are there openings or gaps in the Adamantium covering on his body? Are there any references to any of these issues that deal with them?

  • I know that bone is actually permeated with capillaries and perhaps larger blood vessels, but do you know what path new hematocytes normally take to enter the general circulatory network? Figuring that out would help to answer the question of whether coating one's skeleton with metal would block it or not. – Lèse majesté Dec 19 '11 at 17:31
  • You might want to look at a related question that might give you more of the answers you are looking for: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/5440/… – Thaddeus Howze Dec 19 '11 at 18:52
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    When Wolverine was first abducted by the Press Gang to Genosha, his powers were removed by Wipeout and he did suffer physical symptoms because the adamantium was interfering with blood cell production. It was theorized in that storyline that under normal circumstances, his mutant healing factor compensated for it. – Blazemonger Dec 19 '11 at 20:10
  • @ThaddeusHowze: That answer included some info, but I felt it didn't cover the same info that I'm specifically asking about. – Tango Dec 20 '11 at 6:23
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    This context for the question is really quite ridiculous because it's trying to infer from the fact that Wolverine doesn't die that his bone marrow must be able to produce white blood cells without interference. But no such inference is needed because we know that Wolverine can regenerate any kind of tissue as needed due to his healing factor. So he could regenerate white blood cells from the cells around them or by whatever mechanism he regenerates in general. The question is fine, but the preamble about leukemia is totally spurious. – ThePopMachine Mar 6 '17 at 3:44
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Well, I don't have direct backup from the comic, but as I recall, his bones weren't so much covered, as partially permeated. That being the case, it would have interfered with red blood cell genesis, but not completely stopped it. (And, in fact, we know that the adamantium DID interfere with his healing, just not completely; what we may not know is what avenue that intereference took. It's stated that it 'poisoned' him, but that could readily be an oversimplification.)

Another possibility is his bones being covered with a mesh of adamantium; it covers enough that it reinforces well, but doesn't totally close the bones off; think like chain mail. This is slightly backed up by the Marvel wiki which says:

Wolverine's entire skeleton, including his bone claws, are laced with the rare, artificial, and virtually indestructible alloy known as adamantium or True Adamantium.

suggesting that it's not replaced, but, as strong as adamantium is, simply having lines of it running thru the bones is enough to have the desired effect.

That being said, his claws look like they are totally covered.. But that could be a side effect of them having reflexively extended during the coating process or some such. Or, we could just not be looking at them under a magnifying glass; a semi-permeable membrane looks awfully solid to the naked eye.

Update: Checking the Wiki again, it looks like it, to some degree, integrated with his biology a bit:

The only known occurrence of Adamantium Beta was during the Weapon X Project. By the second part of the procedure when they laced his bones with Adamantium there was a reaction with his healing factor that bonded metal and bone. As a result the Adamantium "heals" just as his bones do

This suggests that, to some degree, the body is able to re-grow adamantium; if it can do that much, it's not unreasonable to assume that it adapted to it during the bonding process in such a way as to not interfere with necessary functions.

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    "That being said, his claws look like they are totally covered" His claws apparently were treated specially, since otherwise the result would almost certainly not be usable as an edged weapon. – Random832 Dec 19 '11 at 21:18
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It's my impression from the mythos that while the common language is "replaced his skeleton with adamantium", or "covered his skeleton with adamantium", what they really mean is that they replaced the inorganic portion of his skeleton, which is ordinarily formed of hydroxyapatite (calcium, phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen) with adamantium. This would leave all of the soft tissue, the capillaries, and most importantly the bone marrow intact. It would seem that if the whole point is to make someone whose bones can never be broken, this is what you would aim to do.

Another way you can come at it is that, because of his healing factor, he has no need of white blood cells, and thus no need of bone marrow. His healing factor is a catch-all for all damage to every cell, including bacterial and viral infection.

Check out the wikipedia article on Bone...it's apropos of this.

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    I will add that it has been stated that his healing factor is keeping the adamantium from poisoning him from the inside out (this was addressed in Uncanny X-Men #380, I think). – Brett White Dec 19 '11 at 18:06
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    @BrettWhite That makes no sense - if Adamantium can leach, it can be dissolved, which contradicts its usual description as indestructible. Is this addressed? – Random832 Dec 19 '11 at 21:16
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    I have no idea at all. There comes a point when real science doesn't factor into superheroes. – Brett White Dec 19 '11 at 21:18
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    @Random832 - you're assuming that the mechanism is perfusion. It could be mildly radioactive, or it could interfere electromagnetically with the body (whether you call that "poisoning", strictly speaking, is open to debate). I think that the adamantium need not leach to poison - but you're right, it does seem like it shouldn't be soluble if its indestructible. – Chris B. Behrens Dec 19 '11 at 21:21
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    He seem to regenerate damaged tissue on the site of the trauma itself. Perhaps his blood too, can replenish all its constituents on its own (so bone marrow is not necessary). – HNL Dec 20 '11 at 6:39

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