A healing factor is a term used to describe the ability to recover from bodily injuries or disease at a superhuman rate.
There are numerous characters within the Marvel Universe that possess some form of accelerated healing ability. The source of these "healing factors" ranges from genetic mutation to artificial enhancement to magic. The exact limits of each character's healing powers is often a source of debate among fans since that many of their healing powers have fluctuated in efficiency, due to the practice of artistic license by multiple writers and artists.
The members of the various groups and races listed above possess their "healing factors" as a result of mystical energies and influences that are common to their species. Many members of the various "gods", Eternals, and Elders, are able to heal themselves by purposely channeling the mystical energies of their bodies to heal themselves to exceptional degrees.
However, some individual members of the groups and races mentioned possess near-true immortality, which means that they have completely stopped aging and they can't physically die except under specific circumstances. Some individual "gods" and Eternals can only truly die if a significant portion of their bodily molecules are scattered, thus preventing them from regenerating vital areas of their anatomy essential to survival.
The incarnation of Death itself has banned the Elders of the Universe from entering its realm, which would indicate that the Elders possess true immortality and can't physically die and will regenerate no matter the magnitude of injury or injuries. Vampires, werewolves, and various other characters listed above cannot impose their "will" over their healing powers. Their "healing factors" are an automated response of their bodies. Also, a number of the characters listed above possess variable degrees of invulnerability in addition to enhanced healing abilities. In many cases, their levels of invulnerability are considerably higher than their healing rate.
There are numerous others, however, the individuals and groups mentioned are some of the more well known.
As every power this one has several aspects which may or may not apply to every character that possesses a healing factor. Those include:
- Disease Immunity: This provides the owners of the healing factor with a highly efficient immune system, which renders them immune against all known diseases and infections.
- Foreign Chemical Immunity: This affords the character with virtual immunity to poisons and drugs.
- Insulated Weather Adaptation: The character with a healing factor have a body which is highly resistant to certain elemental extremes, such as extreme heat or cold.
- Telepathic Resistance: Enables the characters to block telepathic attacks.
- Slowed Aging: Provides the characters with an extended lifespan by slowing the effects of the aging process. Characters may be over 100 years old, but retain a relatively youthful appearance and physical condition, as if they were in the physical prime of their lives.
- Immortality: Some healing factors are so powerful that can render their owners effectively undying to a certain respect, never growing older or tiring over the ages that pass. Individuals capable of this can even regrow themselves from near oblivion; i.e. being reduced to a few scraps of blood even recuperating from a hand full of molecules or atoms.
For a full list, see the list of characters with a healing factor. Here a few classic examples:
- Captain America
- Ghost Rider
- M / Monet St. Croix
- Maverick / Agent Zero
- Morbius, the Living Vampire
- Omega Red
- Mr. Sinister
- Wild Child
Various types of groups and races heal faster than humans due to a combination of natural biology and mystical energies. These include: