Before the 4 : Ben Grimm & Logan #1

Issue Date: 
July 2000
Story Title: 
Mission to Nowhere

Larry Hama (script), Kaare Andrews (pencils), Walden Wong (inks), Kevin Somers (colors), RS/Comicraft/OG (letters), Bobbie Chase (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

After Ben Grimm buzzes Logan driving down the road in Nevada with his plane, Logan proceeds to follow him to Nellis Air Force, base where they begin to fight. Eventually, both Grimm and Logan are tossed into the brig until Nicholas Fury intervenes and pulls them out for a secret mission. Tony Stark then informs them about the Russians and their ultra-low frequency radio wave transmitters. They are to go and discover what they do. As they prepare to depart, Carol Danvers joins them on their flight. After the trio depart and make their way over Russian air, they are confronted by Russian aircraft led by Natalia Shostakova, who informs them that they knew they would be there. They were informed that a spy plane would be there at that time, much to the surprise of the passengers on board the American aircraft.

Full Summary: 

Time: sometime in the not so distant past. Place: a country road southeast of Nellis AFB, Nevada. A Lotus 7 with Canadian plates speeds up the two-lane blacktop from Las Vegas, having made the turnoff from Route 15. The driver’s name is Logan, and he is on a mission but he doesn’t know what it is yet. That’s fine by him. What isn’t fine by him is getting buzzed by a Phantom jet for no good reason at all.

When the jet buzzes Logan’s car, he yells out to its pilot that fun’s fun, but he just crossed the line. Flying off, the pilot laughs and tells the tower that they shoulda seen the look on that mug’s kisser when he buzzed him. Serves him right for drivin’ a wussy foreign sports car instead of a T-bird or a ‘Vette. The man in the tower informs the pilot to cease and desist the unauthorized aerobatics and enter the downwind leg of the landing pattern. The pilot replies that he had to test the high-g pull-up capacity, didn’t he? Besides, no harm done, the little go-cart is back on the blacktop and tooling around. Following the plane, Logan says you can run bub, but ya sure can’t hide.

As the jet flies dangerously close to the control room, freaking everyone out inside, one of the controllers states it’s that crazy hot-rod Major Grimm, barrel-rolling right by the tower. Over at the main gate of Nellis AFB, Logan crashes through the restricted area. When he does, one of the soldiers blows his whistle and tells him to stop but his pleas fall on dead ears. Noticing that the car isn’t stopping, the guards call a red alert and proceed to give chase.

As the car heads down the runway, Grimm prepares to land his jet. Once the jet completes its landing, Logan pulls his car in front of it. When he gets out of the car, Grimm begins to exit the jet and notices that he is the guy he just buzzed on the highway. No hard feelings, right? Logan tells him he doesn’t carry no grudges, he works out his aggressions on the spot. With that, he punches Grimm in the face.

When they begin to brawl, a bunch of military policeman get involved and try to pull the two combatants apart. As they do, Grimm tells Logan that he doesn’t take any guff from sawed-off runts like him. Logan tells him howsabout callin’ off all his buddies and they’ll get down to a one-on-one throwdown. Before their battle can escalate any further, more MP’s join in and cuff the two of them and take them away.

As Grimm and Logan are tossed in a cell, the MPs tell them they can cool out in the brig until the next millennium for all they care. After Logan replies that it suits him, he’s got time to kill; Grimm says he doesn’t. He’s got places to go, people to see. Just then, he asks Logan doesn’t he know him from somewhere. Logan replies that he smells familiar to him too. Has he ever been up Ottawa way? Grimm replies bingo! He went up there to ferry some black-bag type Canucklehead down to Washington, D.C. That was him, huh? Logan admits that it was and then tells him that he’s now on loan to the U.S. for another mission.

Just then, the leader of the other prisoners comes up behind Logan, calls them lugs, and asks if they have any smarts. There’s a peckin’ order in this joint. They gotta show them old hands some respect. Turning around, Logan asks him he wants respect, bub. He’ll give him respect. With that, Logan punches the knee, taking the large man out. Balling his fist, Grimm tells Logan now he’s done it, it’s clobberin’ time!

After a brief moment later, the cell doors open and a soldier shouts atten-hut and tells the men in the brig to get their toes on the yellow line, Colonel Fury ain’t got all day. As the soldiers line up, Grimm and Logan okay, and the rest doubled over in pain, Fury tells them that they’re a sorry bunch o’ goldbricks, losers, and reprobates. After asking which two of them cluster foul-ups are Logan and Grimm, they step forward. Logan tells Fury “I’m Logan.” Grimm asks him “Logan, what?” Logan replies “just Logan.” Lighting a cigar, Fury remarks that he was tryin’ to tell him to say “sir.” If it was up to him, he’d leave them there to rot but the brass hats in the Pentagon want them two for a suicide mission so who is he to argue with them.

Later, in a briefing room, Fury tells Grimm and Logan to listen up gentleman, and he uses the term loosely, Mr. Tony Stark of Stark Industries will give them the technical background for this mission. Entering the room, Stark tells them that he will be brief and to the point. The Russians are up to something. And what they’re up to is ultra-low frequency radio wave transmitters. They’ve built twenty of these giant things near Vladivostok and they’re all pointing straight at the good ol’ USA, beaming low-freak radio waves at them 24 hours a day.

When Logan asks what ultra-low frequency radio waves do, Stark informs him they don’t have a clue. It’s technology that has been completely ignored in the west. That’s why it’s imperative that they run a spy mission over the site and use the instruments he is going to provide to them to measure the wave output. Grimm proceeds to ask how they are gonna penetrate Russian airspace without getting shot down. After Logan remarks good question, Fury tells them that they have a special aircraft for him to pilot. As far as they know, it’s invisible to radar. There’s only time for the most rudimentary familiarization on the plane as the mission takes off tonight. The main reason Major Grimm has been chosen for this is that he is an experienced test pilot who shouldn’t be too put off by a new craft.

Logan states that explains why the meathead is goin’ but it doesn’t explain why he’s on the mission. Fury tells him that as far as he knows, he’s the wild card. He’ll be given sealed orders to be opened in transit to the site. Even he doesn’t know what’s in the orders. He then tells them that it’s time to get crackin’.

That night, as they begin to make their way towards the hangar, Grimm mentions that the tech crew had him strapped in the simulator all afternoon to familiarize him with the controls and instruments but he sure wishes he had let him take the real thing up for a shakedown. Fury tells him that if they let him fly it in the daylight, it wouldn’t be a secret, would it. Entering the hangar, both Grimm and Logan are in shock at the size of the aircraft before them. Logan proceeds to ask how they’re gonna sneak into Russia into something that big. Stark informs them that it’s a YB-49 Northrop flying wing. It’s got a completely automated and remote-controlled weapons systems. Power is supplied by eight jet engines. The avionics suite is totally state-of-the-art.

Logan remarks that it looks like it’s missin’ some part – where’s the fuselage. Stark replies that it’s a flying wing. Without the vertical surfaces of a fuselage, it has less of a radar profile. Drawing a diagram on a nearby board, Stark explains that radar waves bounce straight back to the source from a slab-side aircraft, giving a strong radar signal. A flying wing deflects the radar waves obliquely, creating a much weaker signal. Looking over at Grimm, Logan asks him if he’s buying this. Grimm replies that he just flies ‘em, he doesn’t analyze ‘em.

As the instruments begin to be loaded onto the aircraft, Grimm says that he does have a question about all the scientific gizmos being loaded on board. How are they gonna operate them, do they even get a manual? Just then, an attractive blonde-haired young lady walks in and tells him he doesn’t have to worry about that at all, that’s her bailiwick. She introduces herself as Carol Danvers and she’s on loan to this mission from the Department of Defense. As Grimm says that he thinks he’s in love, Logan remarks D.O.D., his Canadian butt.

Walking up to her, Logan says to her the puzzle palace is more like it. Didn’t he run into her in Washington along with Fury? Isn’t she from the Defense Intelligence Agency? Putting one of her fingers up to Logan’s lips, Danvers tells him that nobody else needs to know that. With that, the trio enters the aircraft and prepares to take off. As they lift off, Stark asks Fury if it bothers his conscience sometimes when he sends people out on missions like this. Fury informs him not in the least. He took the oath to defend the Constitution and if this is what he has to do, then so be it.

Many hours later, Grimm informs the others that they are at waypoint “C.” Adjusting heading to 273 for last dogleg into target and that should put them within sight of the Russian coast in ten minutes. Danvers states eight minutes, thirty-two seconds to be exact. Grimm states that if they’re gonna get bounced by Migs or lit up by SAM radar, this is where it’ll happen. Logan adds that he’s been checking out their arms locker. They’re sporting quite an arsenal for what’s supposed to be a simple sneak and peek. He asks them why they suppose that is. Danvers tells him why doesn’t he open his orders and find out.

Opening up his orders, Logan looks at his orders with concern. Seeing the look on his face, Grimm asks him if it’s that bad. Logan replies believe him, they don’t want to know. Just then, the RWD (radar warning detector) begins to beep. When it does, Danvers remarks they’re being scanned by a pulse-Doppler consistent with airborne interceptors. Grimm says that he thought they were invisible to radar. Danvers replies that’s theoretical. They don’t know the capabilities of their latest systems. Logan asks what else don’t they know.

In the Russian aircrafts, one of the pilots informs comrade Shostakova that the imperialist adventurist aircraft has just entered the restricted airspace of their beloved Rodina. Shostakova, a red-haired female, says it is exactly where they were warned it would be. She then informs her comrades to maneuver into attack position for heat-seeking missiles and arm all ordnance.

In the American aircraft, Grimm exclaims that the enemy aircrafts are jockeying into their “six” and that they’re looking to get an infrared lock on them and wax their tails. He then tells his teammates to hang on for evasive maneuvers. Logan exclaims that the Russians were on them too easy. Somebody tipped ‘em off, and that somebody is on the plane, and since it ain’t him, then it’s gotta be one o’ them two. Grimm yells that’s nuts. Why would one of them alert the Russkies to shoot them down, that’s suicide. Logan answers not if the purpose of the Mig scramble was to threaten them into a forced landing and that ain’t possible without the compliance o’ the pilot.

Leaving the controls of the aircraft, Grimm punches out Logan and tells him nobody calls him a traitor. Danvers yells at Grimm to stop it, somebody’s got to fly the plane. Grimm tells her then she had best get on the stick.

Taking control of the plane, Danvers responds that she will and while she’s at it, she’s popping chaff and flares to spook their weapons systems. Just then, special agent Natalia Shostakova of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopastnosti (KGB) introduces herself and orders the intruder aircraft to diver to heading 185 and land on the east-west strip of the military air base. This is their first and last warning.

In Russian, Danvers replies that she is Colonel Karola Danilovska of the GRU and that she is interfering with a secret military test flight. Shostakova tells her good try but her sibilants and labials are inconsistent with a native speaker and besides, she knew full well that an American spy plane was going to be in this location at this time so if they are not ready to land, she has no choice but to shoot them down. Just then, the Russians shoot heat-seeking missiles at the American aircraft.

Upon learning of the situation, Logan mentions to Grimm that they wouldn’t do that if they knew one of their own was aboard so he guesses he’s not the traitor after all. Grimm replies that he guesses it’s nice to know he thinks better o’ him as they get atomized across the tundra.

Characters Involved: 


Major Benjamin Grimm

Carol Danvers

Colonel Nicholas Fury

Tony Stark

Natalia Shostakova

Various unnamed military personnel at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada

Various unnamed Russian military personnel

Story Notes: 

Logan met Nicholas Fury, Carol Danvers, and Benjamin Grimm back in Wolverine (2nd series) minus 1.

The Tony Stark in this issue is Iron Man’s father and not Iron Man himself based on when this comic takes place.

This mini-series is set a short time before Grimm joined NASA and became a member of the Fantastic Four. Natalia Shostakova (Black Widow) had just finished her recent training in the Red Room. Logan was doing some spy work after his time with Team X and before he was taken in by Weapon X.

Issue Information: 
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