Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #84

Issue Date: 
September 1991
Story Title: 
Weapon X - chapter twelve (1st story)<br>Firestar - Life During War Time: Part 3 of 6 – “Triangle” (2nd story)

First story: Barry Windsor-Smith (writer, penciler, cover and co-letterer), Jim Novak (co-letterer), Mark Powers (assistant editor), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

2nd story: Marie Javins and Marcus McLaurin (writers), Dwayne Turner (penciler), Jose Marzan (inker), Rick Parker (editor), Marcus McLaurin (colorist)

Brief Description: 

First story:

After undergoing torturous experiments at the hands of Experiment X, Logan has finally meted out his revenge against those in charge. He carries the dead body of the Professor to the exhaust-pit inside the adamantium reactor and tosses it in. He falls asleep and awakens later to the sound of voices. They belong to the Professor, Carol Hines and Dr. Cornelius. They are random snippets of conversation, and Logan wonders what on Earth’s going on. He can’t remember anything. He discovers the Professor’s severed hand on a control panel, finds the eviscerated doctor, and then begins to question whether he is the one that carried out this massacre. As he continues listening to the voices, his claws extend from the back of his hands, and Logan figures he’s got to get out of there. He begins to run, but feels like something is following him, weighing him down and overpowering him. He eventually makes it outside, only to come face to face with a Siberian tiger. His instincts are to attack it, and he soon gains the upper hand in the battle. The tiger is defeated, and it is shown that the Professor, Cornelius and Hines are all alive and well. Logan’s recent experiments have been undertaken using a virtual reality helmet. Cornelius congratulates the Professor in his success in creating his weapon, and using the idea that he answers to a higher body to enhance the ruse. What he doesn’t suspect is that the Professor actually does answer to superiors, and this part of the experiment was more realistic than Cornelius believes. Wranglers go outside to collect Logan, but instead of complying and going with them, he now knows what he has become, and he slashes them with his claws. He then proceeds to return to the complex and rips his way into the Professor’s lab, confronting the three scientists. What transpires isn’t shown. Later, he leaves the compound and heads into the snowy wilderness.
2nd story:
The Arms of Salvation tests Firestar against six opponents resembling Freedom Force, and deem her worthy of their mission. They make her a deal: in exchange for bringing them Mystique, they will provide her dying father with a life-saving organ transplant. Firestar agrees, but struggles with the implications of this choice. She goes to visit her father in the hospital in order to think, but upon arriving, sees Mystique by his bedside! The furious Firestar throws her out the window and challenges her in the street, but before she can complete her task, Blob and Pyro arrive and back her into a corner.

Full Summary: 

First story:

After killing the Professor, Logan carries his dead body to the shattered window and tosses his body into the exhaust-pit. His body burns in the lingering flame that flickers at the core. Logan falls asleep. He wakes sometime later to the sound of conversations between the employees of Experiment X. He stands and looks around at the devastation, discovering a recently severed hand on a control panel. He realizes the conversations are some kind of random playback. He hears people talking about Weapon X and wonders just who is pulling this stunt. He makes his way through the complex, naked, and discovers the body of Abraham Cornelius lying where he was eviscerated.

Logan knows this man. He was in a memory? Maybe he was in a dream; he isn’t really certain. He wonders who caused all this mayhem, and whose dried blood covers his own body. He looks at his hands. There are no wounds to speak of. Did he knife that guy? And that hand… severed…

Logan looks at the backs of his hands, listening to a playback of Carol Hines pleading for her life. She mentions his name, and calls for him to run. As she speaks, he sees the terminals on his hands and slowly, with a trickle of blood as accompaniment, his claws begin to extend from their housings. He vaguely remembers the Professor’s face, the time when he called Logan an animal. Claws extend from both hands, and confused, Logan decides to run.

As he runs, spikes begin to emerge from the floor. He has sticks for legs and his feet are putty. Something’s behind him, moving with him, like a living shadow. He runs down empty corridors, between the spikes that become ever more numerous. If he slows down, whatever is behind him will suffocate him in its darkness. He won’t be able to scream or yell or fight it off, cos’ it’ll be inside him. It’ll be under his skin, in his guts and inside his bones. He’s running fast, like a barreling truck with a full load. His environment blurs as his legs pump. His pursuer gains ground and grabs at him, snatching at his veins like ropes, pulling at his tendons like a puppet. He’s losing the race.

It pierces his shoulder, cutting him with its spikes. His body is punctured all over as the blackness begins to overwhelm him. His lungs are heaving, fingers clawing and legs pumping. He must get away. He must never give in to the beast. Out of the pitch black, it’s coming. It’s free and it wants revenge. It’s gonna rip him and turn him inside out. He runs into unending darkness. It’s everywhere; everywhere that he is. He mustn’t give up… The spikes begin to take their toll. His body is wasted and feels heavy and dense, like lead. He struggles on despite the pain and the weight of the beast.

(not far away)

“It’s extraordinary is it not, Cornelius?” The Professor is impressed how Logan seems to be a creature of such power, yet is shaken by his own shadow - driven by fear of himself. Cornelius agrees, but points out that Logan’s pulling through despite it all. He asks Carol Hines to show them the view from the exterior camera. She switches to an outdoor view. Logan exits the building, slicing through the fence with ease and into the snow-covered wilderness beyond.

The camera sees Logan, claws extended, come face to face with a Siberian tiger. Cornelius feels the situation could have been set up better. He’d have preferred Logan having to seek the creature out rather than have it presented to him. It would have been more telling. The Professor thinks he may be right, but still, it’s an acceptable scenario for one such as Logan’s simplistic perception.

With barely a pause to consider the inherent danger, Logan steams right in, confronting the tiger head on. Cornelius thinks he’s just as wild as before, but the Professor tells him that he may seem so, but Weapon X has been changed irrevocably in the past few days. His savagery is now tempered by ego and racionation. Any hesitation; a moment of fear or mere caution, and he will be undone. Logan does not know that he possesses an indestructible skeleton.

Hines switches to camera four. Logan has moved on top of the tiger, slowly gaining an advantage over the muscular predator. The Professor remembers how, not so long ago, Logan beheaded a Grizzly Bear without so much as a tussle. This is what he calls getting an advantage. He asks Hines to switch to camera six.

The camera shows Logan standing, legs astride the ferocious tiger, which slashes at Logan with its claws. It misses him narrowly, but the Professor realizes that it was a feint by Logan. He’s drawing in the tiger for the kill. Cornelius asks Hines to move the camera in closer. As it zooms in, Logan thrusts his claws into the tiger’s throat. Blood splatters out of the back if its head. “A magnificent blow!” says the Professor, rather excitedly. Cornelius asks for readings, but Hines replies that Mr. Logan is off-line for this. Logan plunges his other claws into the tiger’s heart. He is more brutal than ever. The tiger, one of nature’s finest predators has been literally ripped apart by Weapon X.

Cornelius asks the Professor what he thinks. He replies that it is indeed remarkable. His instincts and reflexes, through perhaps more pragmatic, seem quite undiminished. His ferocity is still unparalleled.

(Experiment X control room)

Cornelius tells the Professor that he underestimated his prize. Logan was set-up. They gave him the chance to escape but he didn’t run. Instead, he turned around and brutalized them all. They jammed his psyche with his fear of mutantism and it didn’t faze him. He would say he came through the test A-1, wouldn’t he? “Yes,” replies the Professor, “And yet he failed to kill Hines. An act of mercy that leaves doubt still in my mind.” Cornelius replies that it’s because Hines was never a threat to Logan. It’s like they just proved. He’ll only kill if threatened with death. “Or out of hunger,” adds Carol Hines. She also adds that she thinks Logan only killed Cornelius because of the accidental shooting. She doesn’t think he would have attacked him otherwise. Cornelius agrees with her assessment, but the Professor is less than agreeable.

Two wranglers are sent outside to collect Logan. Cornelius asks the Professor what they have. He says that Logan thinks he’s killed just about all of them in order to get to him - the focus of his vengeance. Now he knows he’s not a human, and with that he knows it was the Professor who harnessed his dark secret. The Professor accepts that this means Logan had to destroy him. In the act of killing his creator, his once in-culpable savagery is transforming into the cunning of a ruthless killer. He savors these events.

Hines informs the wranglers that Logan should be taken to D-Block this time. They approach him but, this time, instead of placidly going along with them, Logan pops his claws. The two wranglers die in quick succession.

Cornelius points out that the Professor did hedge his bets a little there. He asks the doctor what he means. Cornelius mentions that fact that he was making things up about how he was really working for somebody else - some great power or something; like he was just a stooge or a flunky, instead of the genius behind Weapon X.

“Yes,” replies the Professor. “That was a… hum… a mere psychological ruse, Cornelius.” Cornelius says it was good. Setting himself up for his own murder, but then playing at being betrayed by the real creator of Weapon in the end… working for sympathy and testing Logan to see if he’d reason that he wasn’t the real threat?! Clever. Tricky. The Professor goes along with this, replying that it was a dramatic ploy that proved a great deal about the nature of the beast.

Cornelius asks where Logan is. Hines tells him he’s off camera, so he asks her to pull the camera back. They see the wranglers lying in the blood soaked snow. Hines tries to get the wranglers to respond to her, but there is no answer. An alarm begins to sound and the Professor contacts security. They don’t know what’s going on. Cornelius realizes that this could be serious. He asks Hines to shut down Logan’s transponder, but she discovers that his transponder is being overridden by an outside source. The Professor asks once again, but security report that there’s some confusion. There’s a breach in D-Block. He suggests they get out, now!

Suddenly, three claws punch through the doorway leading to their lab. They slice down the door and then tear a hole in it. Logan appears through the gap. “Professor, do you copy?” asks security over the intercom. “Hello? Hines, are you there? Dr. Cornelius? Anybody?”

(interlude & escape)

This area of Canada is a cold and inhospitable place, especially when one is naked. Logan makes his way through the wilderness in search of something, but what? Despite the terrible conditions, he walks, and walks.


Carol Hines is in private conversation with Dr. Cornelius. He asks her what’s up. She tells him she’s been thinking about Mr. Logan, and what they’re doing. She asks if he was here before she was employed there. Did he volunteer for this? No, replies the doctor. She asks if he was abducted, then. Cornelius admits that he isn’t too proud of the fact, but yes, he was. Carol feels they’re doing something bad. Mr. Logan was forced into this. Cornelius doesn’t know whether he thinks he was forced. If she listens to the Professor, he’ll tell her that it’s all kinda pre-ordained. It’s like Logan’s destiny or something. She asks how the Professor could possibly know about Mr. Logan’s destiny. Cornelius admits that he doesn’t know, to be honest.

Carol continues to say that all she sees is Mr. Logan suffering. The Professor seems to enjoy causing him pain. It’s like torture. Cornelius replies that some guys have got the worst destinies. Carol sniffs, and Cornelius asks her not to cry. That was a lousy thing to say. He explains that the poor slob didn’t have much of a life, anyway. He’s a mutant. The Professor says he ain’t even human. Hines replies that he is human. He can’t tell her that he doesn’t see it… in his eyes? He can see that he’s a man, who’s being turned into a monster.

Cornelius doesn’t know what to tell her. He’s going on what the Professor said. Maybe anything other than that is out of his league. Carol thinks the Professor is a liar. “Yuh. Maybe,” replies the doctor. Carol wishes she’d never become involved in Experiment X. The doctor agrees with her, but asks her to cheer up. It’ll be over soon.
2nd story:

To prove her worth to the Arms of Salvation, Firestar must defeat a team of agents outfitted to resemble the various members of Freedom Force. Arms of Salvation operatives Fitch and Cross watch the battle from the observation room. They believe their setup to be perfect: if Angelica defeats these agents, surely she has enough skill to defeat the real Freedom Force. If not, then maybe the enhanced agents could take on Freedom Force and capture Mystique themselves.

Fitch reminds Cross of their deceptive arrangement with Firestar. She believes Mystique will not come to any harm after she is captured. As far as she knows, they are just going to take some DNA samples from Mystique and then release her. Firestar doesn’t suspect they actually intend to harvest her organs without any regard for her life. Her hatred for Mystique should keep her from asking too many questions. After all, they can’t afford to have Firestar learning the truth of what they do; she would be too fearsome an opponent.

Firestar, meanwhile, fearlessly faces down her trial opponents. After dodging the opening blast by the fake Pyro, she spins around in the air and melts away the floor beneath the fake Blob. The hefty agent falls through the floor into the darkness below. She tricks another agent into becoming a victim of friendly fire. The agent imitating Spiral poses no threat either; without Spiral’s magic, the agent quickly succumbs to Firestar’s microwaves after she melts his swords. She scorches the remaining cluster of opponents with a single microwave blast, essentially ending the fight. However, Firestar does not quit. Seeing one of the men on fire, she flies over to him, puts out the flames, and pulls him to safety.

Angelica is aware of the motives behind Arms of Salvation. She knows they harvest human organs illegally. She does not condone the practice, but if she doesn’t help them, they won’t save her father’s life. She has to compromise her morals, just this once. Besides, they only want a tissue sample from Mystique. She won’t even know the difference.

After the demonstration, Fitch congratulates Angelica on a job well done and informs her they will immediately begin searching for the new lung she requested. Thanks, she says. She will not let them down.

Meanwhile, Freedom Force enters Weston State Hospital in search of Firestar’s father, Bartholomew Jones. Knowing Firestar might arrive at any moment, Mystique orders Pyro and Blob to stand guard on the roof while Spiral and Avalanche scour the hospital’s interior. Firestar is to be captured unharmed, Mystique reminds them. In the meantime, she will talk to Mr. Jones herself and get the information they need. Shapeshifting into Angelica’s form, Mystique enters Bartholomew’s room and tells him they need to talk.

Elsewhere, Firestar meditatively soars over the city as she ponders her moral dilemma. Should she go through with apprehending Mystique? She may not like the government mutant-hunter, but does that give her the right to potentially destroy her freedom? On the other hand, if she does nothing, she will lose her father, the only family she has left. Angelica cannot make a choice and decides she might as well visit her father in the hospital. However, when she flies over to his hospital window, the tableau inside astounds her: standing by her father’s bed is a woman who looks exactly like herself! Angelica quickly realizes it must be Mystique. She pulled the same trick the day before when she imitated Meg Fallon. Infuriated, Angelica breaks through the window, grabs Mystique, and hurls her out into the street.

Mystique rolls with the fall and lands relatively unscathed. The fall twists her ankle, but it’s a marginal price to pay for being so sloppy. Firestar, after all, is not some second-tier mutant. She is immensely powerful and has been trained by the notorious White Queen. Mystique keeps this in mind when Firestar lands nearby and gives her a scolding. Why can’t she just leave her and her father alone, Angelica asks? Mystique replies she has no choice. The government may have scrapped the Mutant Registration Act, but the National Security Council still demands all dangerous mutants be catalogued. Firestar asks if she ever questions her orders. Can’t afford to, Mystique answers. Firestar tells her she intends to make her pay for her lack of curiosity. Before she has the opportunity, however, she is interrupted by Mystique’s reinforcements. Firestar turns around and sees that she now faces Pyro and the Blob in addition to Mystique. There is no running this time. She is cornered, and must fight her way out.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:


The Professor

Dr. Abraham B. Cornelius

Carol Hines


(on monitor)


2nd story:

Firestar/Angelica Jones
Bartholomew Jones

Avalanche, Blob, Mystique, Pyro, Spiral (Freedom Force)

Fitch, Cross (organ harvesters)

Six Arms of Salvation agents

Story Notes: 

The first story is three times the usual length.

First story:

This issue shows that Logan did not kill the Professor or Dr. Cornelius as shown. He was provided with a virtual reality helmet in Marvel Comics Presents #79. Everything since then, including killing the Grizzly Bear in that issue, was virtual reality, and not real. It was an elaborate test of his decision making process.

Logan’s memories were tampered with so much at Experiment X that, for many years afterwards, he had trouble understanding which of his memories were real, and which were implants. Due to the reality-altering effects of the Scarlet Witch’s powers during the House of M, Wolverine’s memory was finally fully restored. He now remembers everything, as shown in House of M #8. His memories and origin will be explored further in the Wolverine: Origins series.
2nd story:

This issue lists the series as six parts. The previous two installments claim it’s an eight-parter, as do the next two.

SUMMARIZERS: Fantomex (1st story) & Sixhoursoflucy (2nd story)

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