WOLVERINE: Page 13 of 23


In the weeks that followed, Storm's team returned to live at the mansion and Xavier left the school in the hands of Cyclops and Emma Frost. In order for the X-Men to properly carry out the various roles they needed to maintain in the mutant community and on the world stage, Cyclops split the team into three distinct units, each with its own mission statement. Cyclops himself led the home team, responsible for defending the mansion and the students, as well as serving as the core teaching staff. Additionally, his team operated as classic super-heroes, deliberately placing themselves in the public eye alongside the Avengers and the Fantastic Four in order to raise the public's opinion of mutants. Storm had made arrangements with world government officials prior to returning, making her team an official federally-recognized group of officers known as the X-Treme Sanctions Executive, deputized to intervene in mutant-related crimes and situations around the globe, promoting cooperation with human governments. On the other hand, Havok was leading a squad functioning under the X-Men "standard" -- the mansion's private strike team for responding to mutant crises out of the public eye and without official jurisdiction. In order to maintain the lines of communication between these squads, Cyclops asked Wolverine to make himself available to all three for missions. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #1, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #444, X-Men (2nd series) #157]

Somewhere around this time, Logan brought up the threat of the Weapon X Program to the X-Men's higher ups. After infiltrating the Weapon Plus compound in The World, Logan had become convinced the program was still up and active, along with the Neverland concentration camp facility, despite reports they had received to the contrary from Cable. With the rest of the team's approval, Wolverine set up one of their newer members, Chamber, to act as a mole inside the Program and bring back information on Weapon X's activities. Things went pear-shaped, however, when Jono reported that he was stealing away on a transport to Neverland. Upon arrival, he sent Logan the coordinates for the compound to meet up with him, but the line went dead in the middle of their conversation. Upon arriving at a secluded spot in the Canadian wilderness, Wolverine found Neverland completely empty, with nothing but the cryptic word "Roanoke" carved on the wall. Although this led him into a meeting with Agent Zero and Fantomex, and a battle with John Sublime and his U-Men, Logan never did manage to find Chamber. Instead, he only learned that the Weapon X Program had gone underground, in preparation for war against their parent, the Weapon Plus Program. [Weapon X (2nd series) #15-18]

On another occasion, Logan was suddenly confronted by Creed at a diner. Victor had been hired by the Workshop to reacquire a long lost creation of the Weapon X Program, called the Native. He decided to dangle the information before Logan, and let Wolverine do the hunting for him. Logan had to oblige him, as he sympathized with the Native, and did indeed track her down in the hopes of keeping her out of the clutches of Creed and the Workshop. When he found her, Wolverine was surprised to discover that the near-feral Native recognized him from their time together in the wilderness during his own repressed feral period after escaping from Weapon X. Resting for the night while hiding out from Creed, Logan and the Native slept together in an old log cabin before the Workshop's goons located them, and made off with the Native. Wolverine infiltrated their Montana compound and rescued the Native, discovering at the same time that their night together had left the Native pregnant with his child. He tried to get her to the safety of Xavier's, but Sabretooth found them and incapacitated Logan. While Wolverine was recuperating, Creed killed the Native. Logan took her body to Nightcrawler for last rites, and buried her in the wilderness. [Wolverine (3rd series) #13-18]

Shortly after Cyclops nailed down the team rosters, Wolverine became very busy -- he helped Storm and the X.S.E. defeat the Fury and battle Donald Pierce, fought the Collective Man and the Brotherhood with Havok's team, and witnessed the rebirth of Colossus and mutiny of the Danger Room alongside Cyclops and his squad. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #444-454, X-Men (2nd series) #157-164, Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #1-12] He also helped introduce his young clone X-23 to the Xavier Institute at this point, and tried to civilize her by making her room with Marvel Girl and Shadowcat. However, X ran away before she could fully acclimate to the school. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #451, X-Men (2nd series) #165]

One day, Logan received a call from Mariko's cousin, Ichiro. Ichiro was a limo driver in Japan, and apparently some kidnappers had taken his son Rikuto for ransom by mistake instead of his employer's child. Wolverine came to Japan and agreed to meet with the kidnappers with the ten million in ransom. He planned to make the kidnappers to give back the child by force, but it turned out that the entire plot was merely bait to draw him to Japan. A horde of Hand assassins jumped Logan at the drop point and, while he managed to kill the mystic ninjas, their leader Gorgon took him by surprise. Momentarily suffering serious injuries after the massacre, Wolverine was easily overcome by Gorgon, and killed. That wasn't the end of it, though, as the Hand was now working with both Hydra and Japanese mutant sect known as the Dawn of the White Light. They were enacting a massive plot to kill various super-heroes and use Hand mysticism to resurrect the heroes as brainwashed slaves. Wolverine was the first. After his conditioning was complete, Logan was left out in the open for SHIELD to find in Argentina. They brought him aboard an aircraft carrier to begin recuperating, but Wolverine turned on his former comrades as soon as he opened his eyes. He killed dozens of SHIELD agents and personnel, then made his escape after having downloaded all of the peace-keeping organization’s most highly classified files, defense codes and security information.

Already a living weapon, the resurrected Wolverine was implanted with advanced technology by Hydra, giving him the ability to receive blueprints and information directly into his brain from his masters, access and override security systems, turn invisible, and even space-shift, teleporting short distances at a time. With these upgrades he was able to infiltrate the Baxter Building's security, copy all of Reed Richards' most fantastic ideas, and escape from a firefight with the Fantastic Four. Logan then spearheaded a campaign of terror over the next few weeks, raiding Stark International for defense files before devastating the complex, staging an assassination attempt against rival Hydra commander Baron Strucker, and even killing a small-time superhero known as the Hornet. He also participated in a diversionary strike against Daredevil, drawing out Elektra so that the Hand could recapture, re-kill, and resurrect her as well.

His last major offensive was an attempt on the life of the president of the United States. Sneaking into the Xavier Institute, he threatened Rachel Grey with a terraforming bomb culled from Mister Fantastic's work data that would wipe out Westchester County if activated. He would detonate it, if she didn't use Cerebra to pinpoint the president's mind and psychically assassinate him from a distance. Instead, Rachel used Cerebra to pick the brain of Reed Richards so that she could telekinetically disassemble the terraformer without setting it off. Injured by a TK blast, Logan didn't have enough space-shift energy to get away from the mansion on his own, and so instead tried to crash the X-Jet out through the mansion itself. Escaping into the woods, he was hunted down by a contingent of X-Men, Avengers and SHIELD agents. He skewered one of his own teammates, Northstar, before being blasted at full force by Cyclops and then KO'ed by the business end of Captain America's shield. [Wolverine (3rd series) #20-25]

Taken back into SHIELD custody, Wolverine was held under heavy sedation on the Helicarrier while SHIELD techs ran his mind through extensive deprogramming simulations. He was showing progress when the resurrected Elektra and Northstar led a massive assault of Hydra agents against the Helicarrier. Logan was freed by his caretaker and managed to kill many of the resurrected super-agents before facing off against Elektra and Northstar on the bridge. They escaped as the damaged Helicarrier crashed down in the American midwest. As the dust settled, Wolverine began to plan his revenge -- in Rikuto's name, with the blessing of the boy's mother, he would kill 52,000 people, wiping out the Hand, Hydra, and the Dawn of the White Light. To begin with, he requisitioned three deactivated Sentinels from SHIELD storage, and had himself outfitted with a dampening implant that prevented the Sentinels from registering him as a mutant. After tracking down Northstar, who was running the Dawn of the White Light in Gorgon's absence, Logan offered the man he had killed one chance to give up and walk away. Naturally, the brainwashed Beaubier refused, and so, after luring the entire Dawn together, Wolverine unleashed the Sentinels on the death cult. With Northstar captured and the rest of the Dawn either gutted or stomped flat, Logan took off after the Hand on the shoulder of one of his "pet" Sentinels.

Locating the secret city of the Hand, Wolverine and his Sentinel tore through the courtyard, executing dozens of Hand ninjas. After the Sentinel was demolished and the entire outer army was killed, Wolverine entered the sanctuary temple and confronted the remaining army of ninjas, the Hand elders and their new grandmistress, Elektra. As he and Elektra began to duel, however, Logan heard her voice in his head, telling him to be prepared to attack. With a sudden move, Elektra turned on her "masters" and she and Wolverine slaughtered the remaining Hand together. It seemed that the Hand's brainwashing techniques used during resurrection were no longer effective on Elektra, as she had already been through them once before. She had been operating in very deep cover since they captured her in order to find out the full extent of Gorgon's plans. She succeeded and she and Wolverine outlined a strike plan to SHIELD to bring down all the hidden laboratories where Gorgon's Hydra faction was constructing the super-weapons culled from Mister Fantastic's data.

The attack began at Elsbeth von Strucker's Manhattan penthouse with a guided missile, and Wolverine and Elektra followed in quickly and impaled the Gorgon multiple times. He somehow remained standing, however, and read Elektra's mind to find the hidden SHIELD hospital where Nick Fury was recuperating since the fall of the Helicarrier. Wolverine chased after the Gorgon to prevent Nick's execution, barely making it thanks to the teleporter and jet pack SHIELD had equipped him with. Wolverine and Gorgon continued their knock-down, drag-out fight in a nearby abandoned building, with Logan taking more than his share of brutality. He only managed to defeat the Gorgon by using the reflection of his claws to turn the ninja's own petrifying stare back at him. The true threat was over but, over the next few weeks, Wolverine continued killing his way through all the Gorgon's former henchmen, until he found the location where they had buried Rikuto, shortly after kidnapping him all that time ago. In the end, Logan brought Ichiro and his wife to the site, to say good-bye to their son. [Wolverine (3rd series) #26-31]

Subconsciously, Logan’s spirit was affected by this ordeal more than he knew. The Hand operative Phaedra, who oversaw his resurrection, kept a portion of his soul for herself when he was revived. This left Wolverine off balance during his spiritual conflicts with Lazaer whenever he reached the brink of death, threatening to end their hundred year dance for good. [Wolverine (3rd series) #48, 61]