Arkady somehow survived Katu’s attack, and continued on his quest to settle old scores. Omega Red located Inspector Sean Cassidy, who as Banshee was now headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy. He assaulted Cassidy in his private cottage, leaving the Irishman on the brink of death. Banshee’s students in Generation X went after the butcher, but nearly all of them fell victim to Omega Red’s death factor. The post-human physiology of Chamber protected him from the spores, however, and he single-handedly battled Arkady across the Massachusetts countryside. Chamber eventually destroyed an entire dam blasting away at Omega Red, and Omega was forced to slink away before he could ensure Cassidy’s demise. [Generation X #10-11]
Next, Omega Red picked up a lead to Maverick’s current whereabouts, and therefore a chance at locating the Carbonadium Synthesizer. He learned that a former KGB agent named Elena Ivanova was hunting for Maverick in the hopes he could aid her against Sabretooth, the man who killed her pregnant mother and forced her emergency delivery. A psi-talent, Elena was born imprinted with the memories of her mother’s last moments, giving her an innate, visceral hatred of Creed. Arkady tracked Elena and North to a shabby hotel in Ottawa, leading to a prolonged chase. North’s old CIA buddy John Wraith intervened on his behalf, and they lured Omega Red onto a military base where he was temporarily captured by the Canadian Royal Air Force.
An argument over jurisdiction gave Omega Red the chance to escape, and he tracked Maverick, Wraith and Ivanova to North’s chosen hiding place for the C-Synth: the abandoned Weapon X facility in the deep wilderness of Alberta. Arkady jumped his opponents again, but was caught off-guard when Elena confronted him with a psi-flash of his last victim from his Spetsnaz days. She then tricked Omega into following what he believed was Maverick with the C-Synth to a pre-arranged spot. When the psi-mask dropped, “Maverick” was revealed as John Wraith, who teleported away as Omega Red was trapped inside a containment cell created specifically for Weapon X subjects. To seal the deal, Wraith sneakily arranged for Canada’s RAF to launch an air strike on their exact position, burying Omega Red and his cell in a tactical bombing strike. [Maverick one-shot]
After digging himself out of the wreckage, Arkady somehow entered an alliance with the Black Widow, who needed to position herself into making contact with General Tskarov, the Snow Wolf. The General intended to establish himself as a New York crimelord after fleeing Russia, and the Widow was working with SHIELD to bring him down. Omega Red attacked a businessman opposed to Tskarov’s interests on his behalf, but the intervention of Daredevil forced the Black Widow to alter her plans and cannon-blast Red before he caused the hero any real damage. [Daredevil (1st series) #368] While in New York, Arkady learned Sabretooth was in the city as well. Taking advantage of the situation, he attacked Creed for old times’ sake. Omega also hoped to capture Sabretooth and use him as a bargaining chip with Ivanova and Maverick to reclaim the C-Synth. That plan was contingent on him beating Sabretooth first, though, something Arkady failed to accomplish. [X-Factor (1st series) #138]
Back in his native Russia, Omega Red was hired by Ivan “the Terrible” Pushkin as extra muscle for one of his criminal endeavors. Pushkin wanted some anthrax warheads and stealth missile delivery systems designed by AIM, and decided it would be easier to steal the weapons than bargain for them. He joined Pushkin’s bodyguards, Hammer and Sickle, in leading the attack on the AIM outpost in the Swiss Alps. Once he learned Maverick was on site, however, Arkady veered off mission and went after his old foe. The two of them battled on a cliff face until North managed to flip Omega Red over the side of the mountain. [Maverick #10-12]
Omega Red next appeared working with Pyro and a group of mutants searching for a cure to the Legacy Virus. They were employed by Exodus and the Acolytes, who told Pyro’s strike force that the High Evolutionary and his Isotope E could potentially provide a cure for the virus. Omega Red and his allies kidnapped several of the Evolutionary’s New Men, hoping to torture the location of their master from the knights. Although they failed, Exodus picked up an independent lead on the High Evolutionary, and the strike force followed it to the Savage Land. Omega Red fought Quicksilver and the Knights of Wundagore on Exodus’s word, but they failed to secure the High Evolutionary or the isotope. Disgusted with their performance, Exodus ordered the Acolytes teleported back to base, but abandoned Pyro, Omega Red and their allies in the Savage Land. [Quicksilver #6-9] Arkady was eventually rescued by a Russian military force working for a secret facility for mutants in the homeland. They wanted Omega Red’s help to corral an escaped death-dealing subject named Nicolai. Although he failed to recapture the experiment, Arkady did get a free ride home. [X-Men: Liberators #1-4]
NOTE: Omega Red’s alleged reason for joining Pyro’s strike force was to provide assistance for mutants suffering from the Legacy Virus in his native Russia, a suspiciously altruistic motive for an expatriate serial killer. In Maverick #12, the Legacy-infected Maverick taunted Arkady with the thought that draining his infected life energy with the death factor could expose Omega Red to the virus’s effects. Perhaps Arkady WAS infected through his contact with Maverick, or was afraid he was. Regardless, no further connection was made between Omega Red and the Legacy Virus.
Returning to New York City, Omega Red traded off of his earlier efforts on behalf of General Tskarov to receive a place in his organization. (The General apparently never learned of Arkady’s connection to the Black Widow after her betrayal.) With the General in prison, his organization was weakened, and so Arkady became an enforcer, ensuring that the criminal element continued to respect Tskarov’s rules and territory even during his absence. [Wolverine (2nd series) #170]
While operating in New York, Omega Red received a surprising business offer from his old adversary, Sabretooth. Creed had recently ripped off his employers in the Weapon X Program, stealing loads of cash and files on all their identified and targeted mutant assets. Sabretooth intended to use this data to become a high-priced mutant information broker for the underworld, but wanted one last round of revenge against Logan before he hit the big time. In exchange for a piece of the action, he hired Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike to target Wolverine’s friends and allies, kidnap his adopted daughter Amiko, and finally lay a trap for Logan himself. Once the deed was done, however, Creed surprised Arkady and Yuriko by activating a Weapon X teleportation beacon he had stolen. As he faded away with the captive Logan and Amiko in tow, Creed cackled about how he brought Omega Red in to the arrangement just so he could screw him out of the final deal. [Wolverine (2nd series) #173-175]
Arkady returned to Brooklyn and continued to build his position as an enforcer in the General’s organization. When the opportunity presented itself, he didn’t hesitate to feed intel to the Weapon X Program on Creed’s whereabouts, hoping to enact some revenge against Sabretooth, even if by proxy. [Weapon X (2nd series) #3] He also accepted a contact against a neophyte super-heroine named the White Tiger after she interfered with some Russian operations in the city, although the ultimate resolution of the contact was never shown. [White Tiger #6]
After M-Day deprived 99% of mutantkind of their powers, Omega Red renewed his search for Maverick and the Carbonadium Synthesizer. He tracked North to a halfway house for former mutants in New York being run by Jubilation Lee, and ran across Wolverine as well. Omega beat North until he gave up the information about the C-Synth, then fled with Jubilee as his hostage to hamper Wolverine’s attempts to stop him. North had given the C-Synth to the Black Widow, who manipulated SHIELD into staging an attack on Omega Red when he came looking for her in Berlin. Using the C-Synth as bait, Dum Dum Dugan and SHIELD immobilized Omega Red using poly-gel rounds and took him into custody. [Wolverine: Origins #6-10]
Russian military officials in the Red Room pressured SHIELD into turning Arkady over to them. Having lost nearly all of their assets to the Decimation, the Red Room was eager to recoup their losses. The project’s leader tortured Omega Red for some time as the former Super-Soldier was forced through various experiments. The general overreached himself when he kidnapped the X-Men Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine, however, and they soon broke free and ran wild inside the Red Room. The general foolishly released Arkady in the hope he would attack the X-Men on behalf of Russia, and instead became the first victim of Arkady’s death factor. Even with the general’s life energies, Omega Red was too weak to defeat the X-Men, and was soon carted off by SHIELD once again. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #498-499]
Omega Red was relocated in prison yet again, this time thanks to the shadowy intervention of Romulus, who wished to arrange a trap for Wolverine. Arkady was transferred to Vutluga Prison in Russia and instructed to wait for good things to come his way. As Romulus planned, both Wolverine and the Carbonadium Synthesizer soon arrived at the prison, giving Omega Red everything he wanted in one location. The caged prisoners even provided Omega with a constant source of life energy to replenish himself with during the fight… the perfect trap for Wolverine. [Wolverine: Origins #36-37]
The battle quickly swayed in Omega Red’s favor, as any injury Wolverine inflicted upon him was rejuvenated in moments thanks to his death factor draining the prisoners or Logan himself. Wolverine was forced to outthink Arkady, using his need for the C-Synth to split his attention. By tossing away the device, Logan lured Omega Red into position and dropped an iron gate on top of him, pinning Arkady to the floor and causing him tremendous pain. [Wolverine: Origins #38]
Omega eventually struggled free of the gate and tracked Wolverine to a nearby ironworks, where another of Romulus’s pawns named Wild Child was attempting to kill him. Omega Red’s interference allowed Wolverine to escape, but he killed Wild Child and took back the C-Synthesizer. Unfortunately for Arkady, his ego wouldn’t allow him to stop there. Having been informed by Wild Child of Romulus’ efforts to choose his successor via “Last man standing” rules, Omega Red eagerly hunted down Wolverine to prove he was at the top of the food chain.
Logan had little interest in fighting Omega Red anymore, especially knowing that it was all according to Romulus’ plans, but he had little choice once Arkady threatened to go after his son Daken instead. Mentioning Wolverine’s son was Omega Red’s first mistake; letting him take one free shot was his second, and last. Unaware of the mystical properties of the Muramasa blade, Arkady laughed at Logan when he confronted him with a broken sword. His laughter turned to shock when Wolverine threw the blade through Arkady’s chest, and he began to feel the life draining out of him. The Muramasa blade was pure concentrated hate and rage cast into physical form – no healing factor, or death factor, could undo the wounds it caused. Still in a state of disbelief, Arkady Rossovich collapsed to the floor and died moments later. [Wolverine: Origins #39]