Fear Itself: Wolverine #3

Issue Date: 
November 2011
Story Title: 
Fear Itself: Wolverine, conclusion

Seth Peck (writer), Roland Boschi (penciler) Robbi Rodriguez with John Lucas (inkers), Dan Brown with Rachelle Rosenberg and Chris Sotomayor (colorists), Jorge Molina (cover artist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Jared K Fletcher (designer) Jody Leheup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The STRIKE agents become concerned about Sutton’s plan to drop a nuclear warhead on New York City. They argue about it, before one of them reveals that Sutton has not been receiving any communications from STRIKE command. Wolverine is still chained to the nuclear bomb. Sutton kills one of the STRIKE officers who discovers his secret, and another walks in on him just after the act. He realizes that all this time they have only been following Sutton’s directives, that STRIKE hasn’t existed for some time. Sutton then kills him. Melita comes to a stop near the UN building, which the Prometheus hovers over, and starts to transfer information she has discovered to Wolverine’s communicator. Sutton hallucinates, believing that the agents he just killed are still alive and talking to him, as he watches a news report which has outed him as being responsible for hijacking the Prometheus, and claims that he is suffering from severe psychosis. Wolverine talks to the remaining two STRIKE agents, he knows they are starting to doubt their boss, but Sutton soon enters the chamber where the warhead is stored, and they ask him why STRIKE was disbanded, before Sutton attacks them. Wolverine uses the distraction to break free from his chains, and as he does so, receives Melita’s information about Sutton. Sutton injures one of his remaining agents, so Wolverine instructs the other to get them both out of her, leaving Wolverine to face Sutton alone. Wolverine tries to reason with Sutton, but he deploys the bomb, so Wolverine leaps out of the hatch and follows the bomb, eventually landing on it, he is able to disable the controls before it explodes, though he does crash into the ground. Wolverine is reunited with Melita and they agree to get away together when this crisis is over, while Sutton is taken into custody, until a blonde woman from Black Air locates him and states that she is taking him into her care, as her superiors at Black Air have invested a lot of time and money in this operation, and they aren’t finished with him yet.

Full Summary: 

New York City, while part of the city is in flames due to riots, another part of the city is being shadowed by the Helicarrier called Prometheus, looming above. Reporter Melita Garner looks up, she knows she is getting awful close to the United Nations, and the Prometheus now, so if she can’t reach Logan from here, she is not going to be able to do it from anywhere. Suddenly, there is a mighty explosion, ‘What in the hell?’ Melita gaps as civilians around her start running in panic. ‘Oh no…’ Melita utters as she looks back and sees the direction of the explosion. ‘Avengers Tower just got leveled!’ someone shouts, while Melita hopes that Logan has things under control up in the Prometheus.

There, inside the HAMMER Helicarrier, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan is chained to a nuclear warhead. Three agents of STRIKE stand before him, as the blond man, Croydon, admits that he is curious to see how Wolverine’s rapid healing ability deals with this one. The blue-skinned Brom announces that this doesn’t make sense, and asks what they are doing here. ‘We’re getting rich, that’s what we’re doing’ Croydon replies, adding that Brom is a fighter, not a thinker, so he shouldn’t give himself a headache. ‘Rich? When did we start doing this for the money?’ Brom asks Croydon. ‘We’re threatening to drop a nuke on US soil for God’s sake! The United States of America, our allies!’ he exclaims. The woman reminds Brom that he was raised in a lab and trained to kill on command, so asks him where his sudden outbreak of morality has come from.

‘I’m a soldier, and I’ve done bad things in my day, but I’m not a terrorist, and I’m not a bloody mass murderer!’ Brom retorts. Croydon tells him that he is starting to sound like a bloody coward, but before things can escalate between them, the woman comes between them and suggests to Croydon that he talk a walk and cool off, while she and Brom watches the runt. ‘Sounds like there’s some discontent brewing, kids’ Wolverine remarks. ‘Shut yer gob, Wolverine’ the woman tells him, before asking Brom if she can have a word. They walk down away from Wolverine, past some large warheads, and the woman quietly tells Brom that she talked to Bexley, and he thinks that Sutton has flipped, that he has been monitoring communications and said nothing has come in - that Sutton hasn’t been getting orders from anywhere, that STRIKE hasn’t sent him anything. Brom calls the woman Harrow, and asks if this is just some mad plan that Sutton came up with on his own. Harrow replies that Bexley is with him now, trying to see if he can get him to tip his hand.

Up on the command deck, Bexley suggests to Sutton that they have a chat. The bald Sutton replies that he was thinking the very same thing. Bexley nervously rubs his head, and replies ‘Oh, well… okay then. Good’ and adds that they can’t really be meaning to drop this warhead. ‘I mean, it’s a bluff… isn’t it?’ he asks. Sutton turns to him, arms extended. Grinning, he asks ‘Come now. Do you really think I’m going to incinerate nineteen million people? Bexley my dear lad, relax’. He then puts an arm around Bexley’s shoulders and quietly tells him ‘I know you told Harrow about the communications’. Bexley looks scared, while Sutton suggests to him that he really should have kept quiet about that, and shoves an energy-knife into Bexley’s stomach. Bexley keels over, while Sutton announces that he does plan to launch the warhead, and that this is about destiny, which is bigger than either of them, or any of those nineteen million ants scurrying around below.

Sutton claims that he is sorry it had to end this way, and tells Bexley that he was a good lad and they have seen some things together, but that this was fated to be. Clutching his stomach, Bexley lands on the floor, while Sutton goes over to a door that opens, and Croydon appears. ‘Sir, I -’ Croydon begins, before seeing Bexley’s motionless body on the floor. Sutton walks towards Croydon and asks if they can keep this between them. Croydon reminds Sutton that he is a telepath. ‘I can read your mind. You’ve no intention of letting my waltz out of this room alive’ Croydon declares. ‘So, that’s a “no”?’ Sutton asks. Croydon enquires as to wether the others know, and Sutton reveals that he thinks they are beginning to suspect, that it was only a matter of time. ‘I had hoped that you would all understand, and accept your part in this’ he remarks.

Croydon asks how long they have been operating without orders, when they stopped being STRIKE and started being this. Sutton doesn’t respond, he just smirks. ‘Oh… oh God. All this time? We’ve been…’ Croydon realizes. ‘This then, should come as no surprise’ Sutton declares as he raises a gun, and fires at Croydon.

Melita Garner arrives at the United Nations building, and sits outside by a security entrance. She has her laptop with her, and is trying to get information to Logan, and then realizes she better do her job and get word out to the media - not exactly the ideal circumstances to try and write a story though, she feels. ‘All right, here goes. If I can’t reach his communicator from here, I’m out of luck’ Melita realizes. She taps some keys on the keyboard, and manages to open a line, but the signal strength is low. ‘Okay, that’s better than nothing’ Melita decides, while turning the webcam to her, she starts recording, and tells Logan that she hopes he can hear her, and that hse hopes he can put this information to good use.

Sutton has placed the bodies of Bexley and Croydon in chairs on command deck, and watching media reports, he speaks to them as if they are alive. He tells them that his genuinely sorry it went down this way, for in a perfect world, they would all have been able to take part in this together, as a team, right to the end. ‘But I just couldn’t risk you two interrupting my plans’ he explains. In Sutton’s mind, the men have large snakes slithering over their bodies, and they speak to him, as Bexley replies ‘Hey, no problem, Sir. We understand. Can’t make an omelet and all that, right?’, before he suggests that Sutton might like to seriously consider taking the ship up to a safer altitude if he is going to drop that nuke. Croydon, blood tricking down his face from the gunshot wound to his head, declares that he is not going to bother with that, that Commander Sutton has no intention of making it out of this alive, that he never did - it is a good old-fashioned suicide mission.

‘Yes, this is it, I’m afraid, old friends. Like I sad before, I wish you could have seen this through to the end. It’s going to be glorious’ he boasts, while listening to a reporter, who announces to viewers that the ship in the sky over New York appears to have ties to a former British military agency, and according to a story just now hitting the web, the hijacked ship is manned by rogue operatives from a British military organization long thought disbanded. Sutton “sees” Bexley point at the screen as an image of Sutton appears, as the reporter explains that one of the operatives was apparently the subject of intense psychological torture, according to the story written by former San Francisco Post reporter, Melita Garner. He continues, stating that the former soldier-turned-mercenary may be suffering from severe psychosis.

‘Psychosis? Is that what they think?’ Sutton scoffs, as he starts to fire at the monitors, destroying them. He waves his gun around and boasts that history will show the righteousness of his actions, and New York will become a shrine to the Serpent himself!

In the weapons bay, Harrow and Brom stand under Wolverine, who asks them if they are starting to have some doubts about their boss. ‘Shut up’ Brom tells him. ‘I mean, I know STRIKE, and you guys ain’t it’ Logan remarks. ‘I said shut yer gob, little man’ Brom declares, but Wolverine continues, stating that the STRIKE he knows broke up years back. ‘What are you guys, some kind of splinter cell? Been underground so long you don’t know you’re unemployed?’ he asks. Harrow just tells Wolverine that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. ‘Are you kidding me? That’s it, isn’t it?’ Wolverine replies, telling them that they really don’t know, that they are like those Japanese soldiers they found in the jungle, still fighting a war that had been over for thirty years. ‘I said shut up!’ Brom shouts, drawing his energy sword, and holding it towards Wolverine. Wolverine suggests to them that they ask where their fearless leader is getting his orders from, because from where he is sitting, they look like dime-store thugs at best, and lunatic terrorists at worst.

‘RRAGH!’ Brom growls, ready to strike Logan with his sword, when a voice orders him to stand down. They turn and see Sutton standing in the doorway. ‘Perhaps I do owe you and Harrow some answers’ he concedes. Harrow asks where Bexley is, to which Sutton tells her that he is back on the bridge with Croydon. Brom asks Sutton what Wolverine is talking about, and why he is under the impression that STRIKE has disbanded. Sutton moves closer to his officers and explains that, technically, he is correct, that the STRIKE that created the two of them did close up shop a few years back. Sutton points out that they had a good thing going, and he found a new employer who was willing to keep them busy, and, since no one was using the name, he figured, why change it. ‘Let’s be honest, we’re soldiers, and it’s not as if we were gonna put down our guns and get office jobs!’ he remarks.

‘Who the bloody hell are we working for?’ Harrow demands, but Sutton suggests that it is best they table that discussion and deal with their friend Wolverine. ’You lunatic… you smashed the comms room, didn’t you? Damn it, Sutton, this wasn’t your call to make! They’ll hunt us to the ends of the Earth after this!’ Sutton smiles, and tells Brom that if he angry now, he is going to be right pissed when he finds out what he did with the prisoners. ’You mad bastard!’ Harrow shouts as she leaps towards Sutton, energy cracking around her wristbands. ’Ah, there’s the spirit!’ Sutton smiles as he knocks Harrow aside. Wolverine tells Brom to cut him down, as they can still stop Sutton. ‘No! We haven’t got all damn day!’ Logan snarls, while Brom holds his energy sword up, then uses it to shatter the chains holding Wolverine to the warhead.

Logan pops his claws and declares that it is time to go to work. He drops to the ground, and a quiet message comes over his communicator, while Sutton fires a gun at Harrow, striking her in the stomach. She falls backwards, and Brom goes over to her. Wolverine checks the tiny communications monitor on his glove, and sees the report from Melita, although parts of it are missing, he hears the words “Project Blackbox” and “subjected to torture”. Logan strides towards Sutton, who is now aiming his gun at Brom, who is helping Harrow to her feet. Logan tells Brom to get out of here, and informs him that there are shuttles on level three, so if he leaves right now, he might be able to save her. ‘But what about -’ Brom begins, but Logan interrupts, ‘I got him’ he announces.

Brom rushes out of the room with Harrow, while Sutton just grins and tells Wolverine ‘You don’t really think they’re gonna get very far, do you?’ to which Logan replies ‘Farther than you, meatball’. Sutton holds up a detonator and supposes that this is where Wolverine tries and talks him out of dropping the warhead, or failing that, beats him to a pulp. ‘Yeah, both of those thoughts did occur to me’ Wolverine admits. ‘Easy or hard. Your choice’ he tells Sutton. ‘And if I surrender? If I turn the ship and the nuke over to you? I can expect some, what, some…leniency from your government?’ Sutton asks. ‘Something like that’ Logan mutters. Sutton just grins and declares that it is too late for that, and activates the detonator. The floor beneath the warheads opens and Logan asks Sutton if he is going to blame this on Project Blackbox, and tell everyone that they made him into a monster?

‘What would you know of Blackbox? You have no idea what they did to me’ Sutton tells Wolverine. Logan edges closer to the madman and replies ‘I understand better than you think, and I know that in the end, you can choose what kind of man you want to be’. Logan continues, telling Sutton that whatever they did, it doesn’t make this okay, that those people down below didn’t have anything to do with it. ‘I’m doing those people down there a favor! They’re going to a part of something greater than themselves!’ he exclaims, adding that it is their fault - the men who ran Blackbox, that he can’t feel anything anymore. ‘I close me eyes and I see the atrocities I’ve committed and…I just don’t care!’ he shouts as he pushes the detonator again.

‘No!’ Logan shouts, lunging forward, claws outstretched, he slices off Sutton’s hand, but too slow, as the computer announces ‘Deploying payload’, and the warhead starts to fall out the opening in the Helicarrier. ‘Ah, hell’ Logan mutters as he drops out the hatch, and lands on the warhead. He holds on by his claws, and thinks that it has been a while, so he hopes he can still remember how to do this. He opens a panel, knows he has to stop the timer, disable the conventional explosive device, and remove the neutron trigger. He does so, but suffers some injuries in the process, as the warhead plummets further down towards the ground below, ‘Better hope this works, old man, or else -’ Logan thinks to himself, and an instant later, the warhead slams into the concrete covered ground. The ground is broken up around it, but there is no explosion, just a cloud of dust from the impact. ‘Just like riding a bike…’ Logan mutters as he emerges from the rubble.

Later: ‘How the hell did you know how to disarm it?’ a police officer asks Wolverine. ‘Wikipedia’ Logan dead-pans, while Melita rushes over to him. They embrace. ‘Hey yourself, lady’ Logan replies. ‘You’re a mess and you smell t terrible, but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see you’ Melita exclaims. ‘Thanks, I guess’ Wolverine replies, before asking Melita if she got her story. ‘Yeah. You get the bad guys?’ Melita asks, as they smile at each other. ‘Most of ‘em’ Wolverine replies.

Nearby, Sutton is strapped to a high-tech gurney and loaded into a transport vehicle, when a woman with blonde hair approaches the officers. Holding up a badge, she tells them that she will take it from here. The woman enters the transport and tells Sutton not to worry, that she won’t leave him to rot. There is a oddly familiar symbol on her shirt collar, and she explains that her superiors at Black Air have invested a lot of time and money in this operation - and they are not finished with Sutton yet.

Outside, Melita asks ‘So what now?’ and Wolverine replies ‘Now? A shower, maybe, if there’s time’, adding that then it is back to work, as the world still needs saving, and he has to join back up with the Avengers. . ‘Yeah, I figured. Still work for me to do too’ Melita replies. ‘Melita, when this is over…’ Logan’s voice trails off. ‘Yeah?’ Melita asks. ‘Let’s take some time off. Just the two of us’ Wolverine suggests. Melita tells Logan that she would like that, before pointing out that should see about that shower first….

Characters Involved: 


Melita Garner

Bexley, Brom, Croydon, Harrow, Sutton (all STRIKE)

Michelle Scicluna (presumably)

Police officers


Story Notes: 

If indeed the blonde woman from Black Air is Michelle Scicluna, she was last seen in New Excalibur #19, and hasn’t been seen since this issue.

Issue Information: 
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