Q23: What can you tell me about Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, and adamantium in general?
A23: Wolverine was implanted with his Adamantium Skeleton in the Weapon X Saga, in Marvel Comics Presents (vol. 1) #72-84, by the Weapon X Project, overseen by Professor Hudson, Dr. Cornelius, and Dr. Hines. As well as his skeleton, his claws (which he already had within his body as part of his mutant biology) were coated in the metal, and were sharp enough to cut through virtually anything.
Wolverine’s skeleton was pulled out of his body during the ”Fatal Attractions” crossover, in X-Men (vol. 2) #25, which revealed to readers he had always had bone claws before receiving Adamantium from Weapon X. Wolverine was finally given the metal back by Apocalypse in Wolverine (vol. 2) #145, when he was temporarily made into the Horseman of Apocalypse known as Death. He has had it within his body since.
Adamantium is a virtually indestructible steel alloy named after the fabled metal Adamantine of Greek mythology. The metal has its origins in the work of American metallurgist Dr. Myron McLain during World War II when the U.S. government assigned him to military research and development. Through a metallurgic accident, MacLain created the indestructible Vibranium-steel compound that was used to create the shield used by the super-soldier Captain America. MacLain spent decades attempting to duplicate the process, and although unsuccessful, he instead created True Adamantium in the 1960s.
Extraordinarily expensive to produce, Adamantium is created through the mixing of certain chemical resins whose exact composition is a closely guarded government secret. For eight minutes after the resins are mixed, Adamantium can be molded if kept at a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Its extremely stable molecular structure prevents it from being molded further, even if the temperature remains high enough to keep it in liquefied form. Hardened Adamantium can only be altered by rearrangement of its cellular structure. Given sufficient mass, Adamantium could survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon or a blow from the most powerful superhuman. The only known substance able to pierce Adamantium is the compound known as Antarctic Vibranium, also called "anti-metal".
The U.S. government has shared the secret of Adamantium’s composition with certain allies, through the information has fallen into unauthorized hands. Attempts by the U.S.S.R. to reproduce the metal resulted in the creation of Carbonadium, a weaker yet far more malleable form that was used to create retractable coils wielded by the Russian super-soldier Omega Red. Due to the prohibitive cost of Adamantium’s creation, many parties have resorted to the use of a somewhat weaker compound named Secondary Adamantium.
The Japanese scientist Lord Dark Wind was the first to propose a procedure by which Adamantium could be bonded to a human skeleton. Dark Wind's theory was practiced by the Weapon X Program, who subjected their former mutant operative, Wolverine, to the procedure. Wolverine's mutant healing factor allowed him to survive the process and induced a molecular change in the metal, transforming it into a wholly new metal, named Adamantium Beta that does not inhibit the biological processes of bone.
Among those who have been associated with Adamantium:
- Wolverine's skeleton and claws
- Agent Zero’s combat knife
- The outer skin of some of Alkhema's robotic bodies
- Battlestar's shield
- Bullseye’s spinal column and some strips coating several of his bones
- Certain iterations of Captain America's shield
- Constrictor’s original wrist-mounted, prehensile metal coils
- Cyber’s claws and skin
- (one particular set of)Doctor Octopus' arms
- The outer layer of Citizen V's rapier
- Lady Deathstrike’s skeleton and talons
- One of Mister Fantastic's labs for extremely dangerous experiments
- Moon Knight’s crescent blades
- The coating of the sentient computer named F.A.U.S.T.
- A unique suit of armor once used by the villain Stilt-Man
- The outer skin of Tess-One
- One of several layers of containment at the superhuman incarceration facility known as The Vault
- An outer coating on the Swordsman's blades
- A special brand of bullet in the Iron Man suit's ballistic weapons
- Thousands of rounds of ammuntion meant to take down the Warbound Hulk during “World War Hulk”
- Ultron’s outer shell
- Bullets used by Underworld
- X-23’s claws
- Doom 2099’s suit
- Bucky Barnes' Captain America suit is laced with adamantium
- A statue of the Hulk, sculpted by Alicia Masters
- Hammerhead’s steel plate in his head is made of adamantium
The Adamatco company in New Jersey has developed a procedure to coat objects with a thin layer of Adamantium. As a result, the plant has been targeted by such costumed criminals as the Overrider and the Absorbing Man, who sought to obtain Adamantium for their personal use.
It must be noted that on several occasions, it has been stated that within a human body, adamantium is poisonous, and the only reason Wolverine or Sabretooth survived the Adamantium Bonding process was their healing factors. However, other individuals, such as Bullseye, Hammerhead, or the Adamantium Men, have had adamantium implanted within them without a healing factor, and did not die of poisoning. Whether or not the alloy they had used was a non-poisonous variant, or somehow coated in another material to prevent poisoning the human body has never been determined.