Identity Disc #1

Issue Date: 
August 2004
Story Title: 
Identity Disc: part 1

Rob Rodi (writer), John Higgins (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Estudio Fenix (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Warren Simons (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

A mysterious woman named Valeria Merrick gathers villains Vulture, Sandman, Bullseye, Deadpool, Sabretooth and the recently reformed villain Juggernaut around her, and wants them to do a job for her. She wants them to steal the Identity Disk from A.I.M., which is supposed to contain all kinds of information about every one of America’s super costumed operative, either good or bad. If the villains refuse, Valeria will reveal their dark pasts to the media. Sandman refuses to cooperate, but Valeria makes short work of him and shoots him. After hearing she works for a powerful, perhaps urban legend Tristram Silver, the villains have no other choice but to accept the task.

Full Summary: 

(Nevada, 1984…)

Adrian’s wife has locked him out of their car. Adrian demands to be back left inside, but Cheryl refuses. She just doesn’t want to raise their daughter while on the run. Cheryl starts the car and drives away, but Adrian jumps in front of it, making her stop. He tries to make her understand that it’s still their daughter they are talking about, and not just Cheryl’s. She can’t just leave him here in the middle of nowhere!

Cheryl cries. She explains to Adrian that’s not going to happen. Suddenly, sand starts to move around, and the wind gets stronger. Adrian realizes what’s going on, and starts to run. Helicopters arrive, and soldiers jump out. Cheryl drives away, with her daughter crying and watching everything from the backseat. Adrian screams, but the soldiers don’t care about it and just arrest the man.

(The Horn Bar, Brooklyn. One week ago…)

A mysterious woman shows villains the Vulture and Sandman pictures of a pretty girl, being arrested. The woman claims that the girl is Vulture’s daughter. He believes her, since he is the father. The woman informs that the girl could use her dad’s help right now, because all the evidence against her is pretty bad, and she can get hung in Texas.

Sandman thinks the woman is threatening them, and defends his friend and warns her to be careful. The woman explains she knows exactly who the villains are, and isn’t scared one bit. Sandman warns her to be careful, and to give him one good reason why he shouldn’t beat her up. The woman gives Sandman two reasons: one, if anything should happen to her, the Vulture’s daughter is certain to meet her doom, and secondly… She remains silent for a while, and tosses an envelope to the Sandman. He opens it, and takes a picture out of it. He takes a closer look to it, and… it’s just horrible.

Vulture asks his friend what’s wrong. Sandman explains that he just saw a picture of his mother, killed by an AK-47. The mysterious woman has made her point, and asks the two gentlemen to meet her tomorrow, at midnight, at pier 27 in warehouse 9. And she warns the villains to better not disappoint her. She leaves, and buys the poor guys another drink.

Avatar 1: “That was her first approach. I later learned she sought out the others that very same night…”

(Upper West Side…)

Cain Marko walks out of the movie theatre, alone, and heads home. When passing a newspaper stand, he takes some time to check the latest news. And surprisingly… he reads an article about himself being framed for murder! The same mysterious woman approaches Cain, and tells him not to worry, as it’s all just a hoax. Cain doesn’t recognize the woman, but makes it clear to her that he remembers the day he found that woman, and she was already dead when he got to her.

The woman understands that Cain probably didn’t report the murder to the authorities because he was still evil in those days, even though that’s different today. But, she’s certain that many will believe he’s guilty when they see the picture. So, in order for her not to release the news, the woman wants Cain to do a job for her. Cain at first refuses since he doesn’t do that kind of work anymore. That’s fine by the woman, who tells him they’ll meet again in the courtroom. Cain changes his mind, and the woman tells Cain to meet her at the same address she told Sandman and Vulture to meet her.

(Staten Island…)

Sabretooth sits in a bar, enjoying a drink. He gets tossed an envelope. Creed opens it, and takes a look inside. His mood immediately changes, and tells the exact same woman from before that he’ll kill her for this. The woman says that’s fine, but warns Creed that, if he does that, two hours later, the document in his hands will be made public, and the whole world would know his much-guarded secret. She asks him to do a job for her, and where to meet her.

Avatar 2: “Okay, I get the picture. She got everyone over a barrel, then gave ‘em the same spiel. Fast-forward, okay? We don’t have all day.”

Avatar 1: “A-all right. We’ll jump ahead to the next night. Pier 27, Warehouse 9. Midnight.”

Deadpool jumps through the window, and lands in the warehouse. Though he’s not the first, as Bullseye was already waiting. They joke and Bullseye sarcastically shows Wade his perfect aiming skills, and destroys a lamp. Deadpool wonders if their meeting is coincidence, or not. Bullseye isn’t sure. Deadpool continues to joke, and wonders what their mystery woman might have on him. Could Bullseye wet his bed? Or does he have a secret boyfriend, who’s an Avenger? Or even worse, Wade adds… a Defender?

The Vulture and Sandman enter. A sobbing Vulture explains to everyone that, for him, it’s his daughter whom he hasn’t seen for twenty years. Sandman asks his friend to be silent, and not to embarrass himself. Sabretooth arrives, and he and Deadpool immediately hang into each other’s hair. An entering Juggernaut breaks the two up and calms them down.

The woman arrives, and introduces herself as Valeria Merrick, and claims to be working for Tristram Silver. The villains are suddenly all quiet for a while, and then all claim not to believe her, except for the Vulture, who almost burst up in tears, saying “not again.” Cain doesn’t understand and asks for an explanation. Sandman explains that Silver is just an urban legend, a bogeyman. He’s a fictional crime-lord who’s supposedly got the whole world at his might. Deadpool confirms, and mentions that Silver used to be a running joke when he used to be in the black ops.

Vulture claims otherwise. He explains that he’s much older than the rest of the villains, and therefore also has been around much longer. He reveals that sixteen years ago, he had some dealings with Silver’s “organization,” if that’s the word you would use for a global network of absolutely vicious, completely amoral, fanatically loyal agents who’ll live or die to serve one man. Though Vulture never truly saw Silver’s face, he hopes he never will. Silver’s the sum of total of human depravity. Utterly and ruthlessly devoted to his own grotesque aims, lacking even a shred of human feeling. If all the world would have a single neck, Tristram Silver would snap it with his bare hands and consider it a privilege.

Adrian was foolhardily back in the old days. He actually thought he could cross Silver. But he was wrong. Silver’s… creatures burnt Adrian out of his home, beat him and then left him for dead. When he eventually recovered, he was so stricken with fear that he went legitimate, got his engineering degree and went into business with a partner, though that didn’t work out, either. Bullseye has heard that Silver is more than three hundred years old, and that he was the reason the French Revolution ended up in a bloodbath. Sabretooth has heard that Silver owns the world’s largest slave market, right in Midtown Manhattan.

Valeria corrects that there are a lot of stories about Silver, and some he has even started himself, since it sometimes… helps him in business. Though, this doesn’t make the stories less true. Cain is still confused and wants to know what all this has to do with them. Valeria explains that Silver has asked her to ask the villains to obtain the Identity Disk for them. The others are startled and thought the Disk was an urban legend as well! But Vulture hasn’t heard it being mentioned for years. Cain doesn’t know what the Disk is, either.

The Identity Disk is a database, which contains the civilian identities, home addresses, medical histories, known relatives and even credit reports of every costumed operative in America! Deadpool jokes that the Disk might know where his Aunt Marigold lives, as he meant to pay her a visit so he could kill her. Bullseye gets Wade’s point, and realizes that the Disk would also contain information about them, so why would they bother helping out? Valeria mentions that most of the villains have already done prison time, and that their “secrets,” are already a matter of public record. But, there are exceptions, she says, like Sabretooth. He growls.

And right now, the Disk is in the hands of A.I.M. Bullseye calls her crazy, and wonders if Silver doesn’t have men of his own to deal with that crazy organization. Valeria is disappointed, as she thought they’d already understood: the gathered villains are now Silver’s men! Juggernaut recalls that A.I.M. has got an entire island in the Caribbean and can’t just storm it, since they are criminals and not an army. Valeria explains they don’t have to do that. She has learned that A.I.M. has only recently obtained the Disk and that, for the moment, it’s still in their Manhattan base. And therefore, time is of essence. It needs to be taken from them now, before they have a chance to move it. And to do that, Silver needs different talents than his usual thugs with guns can supply: he needs these six men.

And none of them are in a position not to accept the job. Valeria claims that Silver finds the super heroes to be inconvenient. If the villains succeed in the job, Silver will send them after the heroes so that they can properly finish them all off. All of the X-Men, Avengers, even Spider-Man… they will be dead and ruined. Valeria just wants the villains to think about what they’ve got to loose. Sandman gets furious, and doesn’t believe one word of it all. He attacks Valeria, but the other villains defend her, fearing the idiot might ruin it for the rest of them. Everyone attacks, except for Bullseye, who remains calm but takes his chewing gum out his mouth, and aims it towards the battlefield.

Everyone surrounds Sandman, giving Valeria a chance to shoot him. Sandman isn’t impressed, but Valeria still smiles. She mentions that she has a complete file about him, and for instance has learned that the so-called “sand” Baker is made of, is really an organically charged form of silicon dioxide. A substance that’s virtually insoluble, except in hydrofluoric acid, which the bullet was made of. Sandman’s body starts to change, and he literally… melts!

Sandman sinks away through the sewers, begging for help. But nobody does anything. Valeria stares at the amazed villains, and wants to know if they can begin.

Characters Involved: 

Bullseye, Deadpool, Juggernaut, Sabretooth, Sandman, Vulture

Valeria Merrick

unseen & unnamed avatars

bartender & various citizens (all unnamed)

In flash-back:

Younger Adrian Toomes (later the Vulture)

Cheryl (the Vulture’s ex-wife)

Their daughter (unnamed)

In the villain’s fantasies:

Black Panther, Black Knight, Cyclops, Falcon, Hawkeye, Hellcat, Moon Knight, Storm, Spider-Man (all the defeated heroes)

Story Notes: 

Juggernaut used to be a main X-Men villain, though he has recently reformed himself as of Uncanny X-Men #412 and even joined the X-Men.

The interlude flashback to Vulture’s past proves paradoxical to most fans. Though the Vulture himself has been introduced in the early 1960’s as a main Spider-Man villain, the opening sequence is set in 1984, 20 years later. These events most obviously take place before him becoming the Vulture, showing that the beginning of the new age of heroes in the Marvel Universe that started in the ‘60’s, has at this time been moved to somewhere around the ‘80’s.

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