|Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine # 1|| || |
Issue Date: December 2009
All We Want Is The World And Everything In It (First Story)
A Good Man (Second story)
First Story: Jason Aaron (writer), Esad Ribic (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Jared Fletcher (letterer), Esad Ribic (cover art), Frank Cho (variant cover), Anthony Dial (production), Jody Leheup (assistant editor), Jeanine Shaefer and John Barber (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Second story: Jason Aaron (writer), Udon Studios (art), Comicraft (letters)
Norman Osborn has his sights set on the World, the laboratory where weapons such as Wolverine and Ultimaton were created. The Kree warrior Noh-Varr learns about this and warns Wolverine, who immediately pulls him into a team-up. They head to the World, only to find the place empty except for several creatures, ‘cousins’ of his. Upon entry, a gas is released, otherwise known as Weapon XVI, and Wolverine is quickly turned into a slavering animalistic version of himself. Everyone attacks Noh-Varr who flees, only to be found by Fantomex, another of the World’s creations. Together, they make their way through the World, with Fantomex explaining what’s going on. Weapon XVI has been released, otherwise known as Allgod. It is the World’s defense system, preying on people’s faith reserves. He isn’t affected because he’s genetically programmed not to believe in anything greater than himself. Noh-Varr replies that the Kree have a mathematical equation that proves the non-existence of deities. They head to a large brain which is controlling both the creatures and Wolverine. They soon attack and, as Fantomex holds them at bay, Noh-Varr is told to kiss the brain to calm it down. Reluctantly, this is exactly what he must do, and it does the trick. The brain calms down and releases everyone from their mind-control. The World’s guards order the trio to stand down, but Wolverine in particular has a desire to stab something, so they go to war, killing all but one of them. The remaining guard, Agent D-18, grabs a piece of the brain and radios in to Norman Osborn that he has it and is on his way back to base. Before he can do so, though, Wolverine kills him. With the threat over, Fantomex shrinks the World so he can fit it into the palm of his hand, courtesy of a stolen shrink ray from Dr. Doom. He takes off in Eva, and Logan hands Noh-Varr the keys to the Blackbird. He has things to do. Meanwhile, one of Osborn’s employees has a file ripped from his hand which has blueprints for Project Deathlok inside.
Logan is chased through the woods by three men and their attack dogs. He emerges at the roadside, only to find a lone elderly woman whose car has a flat tire. He warns her to get out of there but, without her poor deceased husband to help her, she only has Jesus. Logan offers to help and she senses that he is a good man who has seen many trials during his life. She asks him if he has ever prayed. As he changes the tire, he recalls numerous occasions when he’s done just that, such as when his beloved Mariko died. He manages to get the tire sorted, but the three men arrive and confront him. Logan takes down their dogs, but they shoot at him, hitting the woman as well. Wrong place, wrong time. With her dying breath, she tells Logan not to die without knowing God. When she passes away, Logan kills the three men and buries the woman and the dead dogs, takes the car and drives into the distance.
Norman Osborn is standing before several large screens showing some images of members of the Weapon Plus program. Captain America (Weapon I), Ultimaton (Weapon XV) and Wolverine (Weapon X) are shown alongside Fantomex ((Weapon XIII). Also on screen is an image of a secret laboratory called the World, where the weapons were created. Osborn points to the picture and shouts to his subordinate, “Why don’t I own this?”
Elsewhere, in a sushi bar, Wolverine is quite happily eating by himself when Noh-Varr appears and starts asking him questions. He asks if he knows of the World. After Logan replies that he does, Noh-Varr states that Norman Osborn covets the place. He suspects that Osborn is sending his H.A.M.M.E.R. agents to seize it as they speak. When Logan asks why he’s come to see him about this, Noh-Varr explains that, from his time in the Avengers, he knows that Osborn has Logan pegged as one of the first line of resistance to his taking the facility. He already has a plan in place to deal with him. Logan asks what that might be, exactly. “Me,” replies Noh-Varr, standing defiantly with his hands on his hips.
Logan grumbles to himself that he doesn’t think it sounds like too much of a plan, but Noh-Varr points out that his body is infused with insect DNA, meaning his skin is coated with tympanic membranes. He can hear him quite clearly when he mumbles like that. Logan stands and replies that it’s lucky that he’s on the side of the angels, then. Noh-Varr feels that Logan is mocking him, and Logan quips that he makes a helluva detective too. He asks how he found him. Noh-Varr informs him that he was led to believe the restaurant has the finest selection of Japanese ales and rice wines in the city. He merely staked it out for half an hour before Logan showed.
Logan reaches for his hat and says they should go. Noh-Varr is surprised, and tells Logan that he isn’t going with him. He just came to warn him of Osborn’s plan. His responsibility in the matter ends now. Logan asks if he’s ever heard of a team-up before. He decides to break him in by explaining that usually, they start by fighting one another, but they’ll skip that part this time. “C’mon,” he adds, “I’m driving.” Noh-Varr doesn’t respond, but he clearly doesn’t think too much of Logan.
After a flight in one of the X-Men’s Blackbird’s, they arrive at the world. It’s dark and the place is quiet. They touch the ground and Wolverine immediately realizes that something’s not quite right. He snikts his claws which attracts the attention of some creatures within. A gas labeled Weapon XVI is released into the local atmosphere and Wolverine is instantly transformed into a savage, dribbling animal, roaring loudly which causes even Noh-Varr to curse.
Moments later, Noh-Varr is hot-footing it through the World with Wolverine and several of the creatures in pursuit. He jokes as he runs that if this is Wolverine’s idea of a team-up then he can blow them out his ass.
Noh-Varr reaches a dead end and climbs the wall. He warns the creatures, including Wolverine, that he knows mind-control when he sees it. He won’t hurt them unless they make him. He then delivers a solid kick to Wolverine’s face. “Or maybe just this once,” he adds. He clings to an overhang as the creatures start chanting things like, “He is all,” and, “Know peace, no worries, know Allgod.” Noh-Varr clambers into an access tunnel as another says, “Let him love you.”
Unfortunately, there are more creatures inside the dark recesses of the tunnel, a mixture of mutants and soldiers, and they order the Kree soldier to stand down. Noh-Varr attacks, leaping into them and dashing through a door which he closes behind him. He wonders what’s next after mind-controlled mutant freaks and brain-eating zombie shock troops. A voice behind him says, “Ahem,” and a gun is aimed at his head. Noh-Varr turns with great speed and kicks his assailant in the stomach. Fantomex fires off a few rounds before continuing shooting as the creatures break in through the now open door. He rolls with the fall and then leaps high to avoid the flailing arms of the mindless creatures. “Halt,” cries one. “We claim your flesh in the name of H.A.M.M.E.R.” Fantomex jokes that it’s the worst pickup line ever. He turns to see Noh-Varr upside down, walking on the ceiling and asks who the hell he is!
Meanwhile, Osborn looks at several screens showing white noise and asks what’s happening. He can’t see a thing. He leans over to his hapless employee and tells him he gave him all the money and corpses he asked for, and this is what he gets in return? The poor guy replies that their forces have infiltrated the facility, but it appears that the peculiarities of the site are hampering their communications. Osborn grabs him by the collar and says he was told the undead soldiers of his would be ready. The guy tries to reply, but Osborn warns him that the next words coming out of his mouth should be, “Mission accomplished Mr. Osborn,” or else he’ll take a @#%$ on him so giant he’ll never forget there was such a thing as the sun. “Bring me the world, or else!” The guy sweats and gulps, hoping his creations do their job.
Back in the World, Fantomex leads Noh-Varr into what looks like a former control booth high above the creatures. Noh-Varr says that Wolverine told him he might show, and introduces himself. Fantomex has never heard of him. Noh-Varr points out that he once burned a block-wide curse into the streets of New York and declared cosmic Jihad on the people of Earth. Fantomex replies that he must have missed it, and asks how long he’s been with the X-Men. Noh-Varr responds angrily, explaining that he is not a mutant. He is a Kree, a member of the most advanced race this universe has ever seen. Fantomex congratulates him, and asks how he walks up walls like that. Noh-Varr informs him that he has been genome-boosted with insect DNA. “Part cockroach, huh,” replies Fantomex. “I’m French. Pleased to meet you. Let’s go.”
He kicks open a panel which leads into a quiet part of the World. They climb through and relax a little. Noh-Varr doesn’t understand why the scientists who ran this place are all dead. Why is the World still active, and why are there hordes of genetic freaks running around? Who’s in charge? Fantomex tells him that nobody is, or more accurately, he suspects that the World itself has gone sentient. He likens it to a giant living organism, still churning out super weapons to serve as its immune system. The ‘genetic freaks,’ as Noh-Varr calls them, are his cousins. They were artificially evolved in vats to serve as super human breed stock. They know nothing of life beyond these walls.
Noh-Varr asks if he’s got this straight. There’s a giant factory churning out super-sentinels built for genocide, and no-one is actually bothered to keep an eye on it? Fantomex admits that maybe he should have done that, but he’s been busy. Busy doing what, asks Noh-Varr. “Stealing things mostly,” replies Fantomex. “Though here.” They go through a hole in the wall and emerge on a walkway high above the creatures that mill around below. Noh-Varr surmises that the creatures are under some form of mind-control. Fantomex informs him that it is called Weapon XVI. The World released it when it sensed it was under attack.
As he leaps from the walkway, he adds that it’s called Allgod, and it’s a living religion that attacks the faith reserves. You have to believe in some sort of God for it to work, so he’s immune. He has nanites in his brain to moderate his neocortex. This makes it physically impossible for him to believe in anything greater than himself. Noh-Varr replies that the Kree have a mathematical equation that proves the non-existence of any deities. They learn about it around the same time they learn not to soil themselves with excrement. Fantomex gets out his pistol and replies, “Cool. I always knew atheists would someday save the world.”
They continues through the complex until they arrive at their destination. In a large room, a massive brain hangs from the ceiling, plugged into machines to keep it alive. Fantomex calls it the World’s brain. As they prepare for an assault, Fantomex explains that Weapon XVI is capable of spreading exponentially if it escapes the confines of the dome. In a few hours they could have an entire planet of brain-dead religious freaks. Before Noh-Varr responds, Fantomex tells him to stop it. He knows what he’s gonna say. They have to somehow convince the World to shut the brain down.
Noh-Varr tells him that he has traversed countless different dimensions and parallel realities, and he’s yet to encounter a single problem that can’t be solved with a series of well-placed bullets. This makes him a man after Fantomex’s own heart. They sprint into action, blasting away as they run. Elsewhere, Wolverine and the creatures are praying to Allgod when they see an explosion. Wolverine snikts his claws and runs in their direction with a roar. He and the others reach Fantomex and Noh-Varr quickly and attack.
Fantomex holds them off, shooting Wolverine several times as he does so, and he asks for Noh-Varr to get to the brain. When Noh-Varr gets there he asks what to do next. “Kiss it,” replies Fantomex. This perplexes Noh-Varr, but Fantomex explains that as it’s a newly-formed sentient being, it’s frightened. It’s like a 13 year-old girl going through puberty. It just wants to know that they’re not a threat. “Kiss it,” he reiterates, “and hurry up.”
Noh-Varr takes another look at the brain and reckons someone’s gonna pay for this. He lands a smacker on the brain and it begins to work its magic. The creatures and Wolverine seem distracted as the brain calms down and their mind-control dissipates. Noh-Varr wipes his mouth and warns Fantomex never to tell anyone about this. Fantomex asks Logan if he’s all right. How does he feel? Logan comes slowly out of his mind-control and replies that it feels like he’s been shot in the face thirty times… and he wants to stab something!
Several guards appear before them and say that the World is theirs. They order them to stand down or they will forfeit their flesh. “Stab worthy?” asks Fantomex. “You betcha,” replies Wolverine as he leaps towards them. The three intrepid heroes slice, dice and shoot their way through the small army, decapitating heads and smashing in faces.
Osborn watches everything on his monitors which are now working again. He screams as he sees what’s going on. However, a remaining employee, Agent D-18, reaches inside the large body of the brain and pulls out a small piece of it housing the important stuff. He then radios in to Osborn and informs him that he has it and is returning to base. As soon as he finishes speaking, his arm is split into four as Wolverine’s blades slice through it. The brain hits the floor as he dies. Fantomex reckons that’s the last of them. Wolverine then turns to a camera and shouts, “Osborn, I hope you’re getting this! Sooner or later, this is gonna be you.” As he turns to walk away, the arms with the brain moves on its own volition.
Soon, Fantomex holds the world in the palm of his hand. Noh-Varr reckons it won’t be too hard to keep an eye on it now. He asks where he got a shrink ray. Logan says that what he means is, where did he steal it from? Fantomex believes his name Doom, a doctor of some sort. Noh-Varr stares at the World and reckons that if Fantomex could figure out a way to repurpose it and teach it to make something other than weapons, he could cure every Earthborn disease in a matter of days. Fantomex closes his fingers. “Yes,” he replies with a hint of sarcasm, “Yes, I’m sure that’s what I’ll do with it.”
He climbs into Eva and takes off. Wolverine tosses Noh-Varr the keys to the blackbird and tells him to take it. He’ll find his own way back. He then puts his hat and jacket back on and hitchhikes. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn punishes his employee, ripping a folder from his hands and calling him an idiot. The guy replies that there’s still a chance that Agent 18 is still active. As a truck arrives to pick up Logan, it runs over the agent’s animated forearm, squashing it. Osborn’s screen lights up ‘Agent 18 terminated.’ Osborn tells his subordinate that he’s made him look a fool! Nothing good will ever come from this. Nothing at all.
Papers on the floor spill out of the folder. They are for Project Deathlok, and contain blueprints for a new unit. Elsewhere, Logan climbs into the truck and gets a ride to a church where he is let out. He has something he needs to do.
In Alabama there are still plenty of nameless dirt roads cutting through the trees, going nowhere in particular. Winding quietly over defiled burial grounds, past lynching tree, and into the haunted hills littered with union metal and confederate bones.
A middle-aged, black woman stands beside her expensive white car, bible in hand praying. Her prayers are answered when Logan, shirtless and shoeless, appears from the tree line. He’s been through these parts a time or two over the years, as local legends will no doubt attest. Like most every place he never seems to leave on good terms. Right now, he just wants to get the hell outta there before he kills someone else.
She thanks the lord for sending someone, and seems completely unfazed by Logan’s appearance. Logan doesn’t need this. He has more pressing things on his mind. In the distance, two attack dogs are sprinting through the forest after his scent, purred on by their owners who don’t want that ‘scroungy little puke’ getting away. He says that he hates to rush her, but she needs to be moving along. This spot ain’t safe. She explains that she’s trying to get to the old church where they buried her momma. She’s gone and got a flat tire and doesn’t know what she would have done if he hadn’t come along. He is an angel of God, sent straight from heaven. That’s what he is. It’s the first time he’s heard that, that’s for sure.
She tells him that her Paul could have changed the tire lickety-split, but it’s been years since he passed away. These days she’s got nobody else but Jesus. She sure is glad to see him, though, what with the lightning storm coming and all. She knows it’s gonna be a bad one as her knee’s been aching. Whenever there’s a storm coming she can feel it in her bones. “Yeah… me too ma’am,” he replies. She’s talkative for sure, but Logan doesn’t really have time to chat.
As he uses the tire iron to remove her wheel, she notices the scratch marks all along his back. She is clearly quite shocked, and asks what kinda trouble he’s running from. Logan asks her not to concern herself with his problems. They should worry about getting her going again. She tells him that she can see he is a good man. She doesn’t care what kinda trouble he’s in, she knows it isn’t his fault. She can tell he is a good man at heart. Logan stands and corrects her. No, I ain’t,” he insists. She looks in to his eyes and sees that he’s had more trials than she can scarcely imagine. How he must suffer.
Logan is thinking that this little chat has gone on long enough, but she continues to move her lips. She tells him that the past don’t matter to Jesus, and he’s the only one who can ease his suffering. All you have to do is let him. All he has to do is ask. She asks if he’s every prayed. Logan thinks she’s talking to him like a child. Has he ever prayed?
He remembers a night of cold metal, back when he was part of the Weapon X Project, screaming curses at the sky until his throat was raw. He recalls looking at the heavens, looking out for the moon the day an X-Man died. His memories remind him clearly of the smell of freshly dug earth atop Mariko’s grave, or the days he spent kneeling before it. Has he ever prayed, she asks. He slams the trunk shut and tells her they need to get moving. They don’t have much time.
Unfortunately, it’s too late. The dogs are yards away from them and the woman cowers away as she sees the viciousness in their eyes. Logan stands tall, knowing that this is his fault. He turns to the woman and warns her to get outta there. He snikts his claws and kills the two dogs, knowing their owners aren’t far behind. They emerge from the forest, shotguns cocked and spot Logan. “Shoot it!” orders one. Bullets fly quickly, too quick for the woman to get to safety. Logan can’t get between them fast enough and the woman falls. Logan drops too after taking shots to the chest.
He stretches his hand out to her, calling for her to hold on, wishing for her not to die because of him. She struggles to speak, but she tells Logan not to die without knowing God. She then passes away, leaving Logan alone. The rednecks stand above them. They don’t really care who the woman is. One of them is upset because Logan killed his dogs, but his friends ask him not to shoot him in the face. He might want to mount the guy’s head in his living room. Logan is hit somewhere but he isn’t sure where. It doesn’t much matter. He can feel the dirt beneath him, smell the wind heavy with rain, hear thunder, rumbling somewhere. The lady was right about one thing. There’s definitely a storm on the way.
Logan leaves a bouquet of flowers where the woman fell and buries the two dogs. It takes him a while to take care of the burials, and the whole time he’s thinking about her. He reckons that wherever she is now, there’s a whole bunch more innocent folks who could say the same. Of course, Logan’s seen plenty of innocent folks on their way who won’t be overly missed, but he takes no joy from that because he knows that one day soon, he’ll be joining them. And I wont’ be in heaven, that’s for damn sure.
He gets into the white car as the rain starts to fall and drives away, leaving three dead bodies in the road.
Norman Osborn and his assistant
The World’s mutates and brain
H.A.M.M.E.R. agent D-18 and other agents
Mariko Yashida (in photograph)
This issue also contains the script and panel layouts for page fifteen and index notes for both Fantomex and Noh-Varr.
The World first appeared in New X-Men (1st series) #128.
Fantomex was last seen in the Mystique series, helping her take down Quiet Man.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Wolverine Weapon X Vol. 3: Tomorrow Dies Today (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Fantomex