Maverick #4

Issue Date: 
December 1997
Story Title: 
Found and Lost

Jorge Gonzalez (Writer), Jim Cheung (Penciler), Andrew Pepoy (Inker), Chris Eliopoulos and Virtual Calligraphy (Letterers), Kevin Somers (Color), Kelly Corvese (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

After running away from his new home in Florida, Chris Bradley makes it to New York City, where he meets his girlfriend, Donna, who has been followed by the Friends of Humanity, a group that wants Chris dead. Maverick and Elena, who have been hot on Chris’ tail, arrive in time to save the two from the Friends of Humanity, but the four find themselves on the run from the hate group. However, they are fortunate enough to bump into Wolverine in the streets of New York. After revealing that he and Elena met before, Wolverine helps Maverick battle the Friends of Humanity, though it is Elena who ends the battle after faking her death, as well as the deaths of Maverick and Chris. However, to give credibility to the illusion, Elena makes Donna think that Chris died too and things are made only worse when Chris realizes he can never tell his love that he is still alive. Chris tells Maverick that he is done with his past and is going to move on to his new life as Brian Johnson in Florida. Wolverine, however, realizes that Maverick’s Legacy Virus has gone into remission and is aware that Chris does not know. Wolverine reluctantly agrees not to tell Chris, but threatens to hurt Maverick if he messes things up. After returning Chris to Florida, Maverick returns to New York, where Elena has been secretly researching Sabretooth. Maverick finds himself confused over the events of the last few days, but finds himself comforted by Elena, which leads to the two sleeping together.

Full Summary: 

Chris Bradley walks down West Village near Washington Square Park in New York City. He is slowly dying of the Legacy Virus, an airborne plague that was unleashed on the mutant public by the madman named Stryfe. Chris, like most other mutants, is aware of the anti-mutant sentiment, especially since it has been on a rise since the Onslaught disaster. This sentiment was exacerbated when former presidential candidate Graydon Creed was assassinated by an unknown assassin. Two days ago, Chris Bradley ran away from his new home in Florida in order to escape the problems associated with being a mutant in a society that fears and hates him. However, as he coughs, Chris reminds himself that he can never escape his problems, as the Legacy Virus is always with him.

Chris walks through the park, the only shelter from the rain being his raincoat. He is having trouble seeing through all the mist, which leads him to mistake a girl for the one he is looking for. He worries if she will come, but assures himself that he is just early. Chris pulls out his copy of The Catcher in the Rye and begins to pick up where he left off. Behind him, a girl approaches him and asks if he is Chris. Chris turns to see Donna Funaro, the girl he has had a crush on since the sixth grade, though it was only recently in the tenth grade that he asked her out. Unfortunately, with him moving to Florida, their relationship ended before it could blossom. The two embrace under Donna’s umbrella, where Donna is so happy to see Chris, who is ecstatic that she came. Donna admits that she didn’t think that she would see him again, as his goodbye sounded final. She didn’t know what to think when he called last night, especially since he was all cryptic.

Chris apologizes for that, but he was calling from a phone booth while his bus stopped to refuel, so he didn’t have much time. He just got in a couple of hours ago and walked to West Village from the Port Authority, because it is impossible to hail a cab in this weather. Donna agrees and asks where he has been living since the fire. Out of state, says Chris, and that is all he can tell her. Donna understands and asks about Chris’ family’s well being. They are fine, says Chris. Donna recalls how angry she became when the agents of the Friends of Humanity trashed his house. They are the reason he went into hiding, aren’t they? Chris confirms and then has another coughing spell before asking Donna if she told her family whom she was meeting. Donna tells Chris that her parents think he is at Marla’s house. She would be grounded for a month if they knew she came into the city alone.

Suddenly, a blast of energy separates the two, as a voice tells the gene joke that they have unfinished business. Chris and Donna turn to see four armed men, the leader calling himself Grinder. Grinder, with an energy cannon aimed at the kids, introduces the man on his left as Checks and the other two as Weasel and Jumbo. They are from the Friends of Humanity.

Chris asks how the FOH found him and Grinder reveals that they tapped Donna’s phone months ago and waited for Chris to call. Donna tells the men to leave Chris alone, but Checks backhands her, which enrages Chris. Chris runs at Checks, but Grinder blasts away the ground beneath him, causing Chris to fall. Grinder tells Chris that Weasel and Jumbo didn’t appreciate the butt kicking they got last time from him and his friends and asks where he has been staying. Chris kicks Grinder, who tells his companions that they have a feisty one. Grinder hits Chris in the head with his energy cannon. Chris collapses on the floor with his head pounding and the feeling that his skin is on fire. His health has definitely taken a turn for the worse. Donna pleads with the men and asks them if they cannot see that he is sick. Grinder explains, as he spits on Chris, that they are going to kill him to get rid of the disease he is carrying before it can spread to others.

Chris’ powers spiral out of control, as electricity explodes out of his body, in the same manner as when his powers first manifested. Weasel and Jumbo are blown away, as the surrounding civilians in the park run away, several asking where the Thunderbolts are. Chris tries to calm himself down and remembers what Professor Xavier and the X-Men taught him. He has to concentrate and take control of his body. Chris regains control as Donna comes to his side. The two run away with the Friends of Humanity thugs after them.

As Chris and Donna zigzag through the traffic on the street, Chris notices that his headache is gone, as well as the pain, after he powered down. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean it will hurt every time he wants to use his powers. Donna and Chris take a wrong turn and find themselves in a dead end. They turn to see Grinder and the others, who swear that Chris will pay. First, they will pound him and then they will splatter his guts. A voice from behind tells the men to stand down if they want to live.

Everyone turns to see Maverick, armed with a gun, standing on a hovercraft with Elena Ivanova. Donna asks Chris if Maverick is on their side, to which Chris confirms that the man is. Grinder is shocked, as he heard that Maverick was dead, but the mutant tells the goon that he got better as he blasts them all away with his energy gun. Donna and Chris run to the hovercraft, where Maverick helps them in, as Elena defends them with her own gun. Chris admits to Maverick that he thought that they were goners for sure. Maverick explains that Chris left an easy trail to follow and admits that he was disappointed, as he taught Chris better than that.

As soon as everyone is on, Maverick tells Elena to get them out of there. The hovercraft begins to zoom away, but Grinder refuses to let them escape. Checks tells Grinder to chill, as he uses his energy gun to blast the hovercraft, which tips over, dumping all its occupants out before crashing. As the FOH men rush after the heroes, Maverick tells Elena to get the kids out. The three run, as Maverick deflects some blasts with his powers, causing an explosion. He leaps over a rail and pulls out his rifle, which he finds melted to slag when he used his powers to defend himself, just like Pushkin warned him of. That is just great: unreliable powers. That should be comforting next time he dives out of a ten-story building. It is only a minor setback, thinks Maverick, as he clubs Grinder in the face. Maverick sees the other FOH members by the hovercraft, so Maverick shoots at the leaking fuselage tank, which explodes behind the goons.

Nearby, the X-Man known as Wolverine stops for a quick snack on his way back to his East Village apartment. Wolverine takes a bite out of his apple, as he comments on the horrible rain. A boom sound echoes through the streets. Wolverine’s nose detects Maverick and Chris, but also a very familiar scent. Just as Elena and the kids run past Wolverine, he grabs the woman by that arm and tells her that it is fancy meeting her here. Why the rush? Why is a KGB psi-talent doing in New York City? This is out of her jurisdiction. Her name is Elena something, right?

It is Elena Ivanova, says Elena, and she corrects Wolverine; she is ex-KGB. Donna is surprised to hear that Elena is a Russian agent, but admits that it explains the accent. She wonders who Wolverine is. Wolverine tells Elena that he hasn’t heard of her of seen her since the Terry Adams caper a while back. Elena agrees that it has been awhile, but Chris interrupts and tells Logan to let her go, as the Friends of Humanity are after them. Hearing more gunfire, Wolverine turns to see Maverick running towards them, with the Friends of Humanity right on his tail. Maverick catches up and tells Wolverine that he is a welcome surprise. Is he ready to rumble? Wolverine smiles and tells Maverick that he is.

Maverick tells Chris and Donna to hang back for now. Donna gasps, as Wolverine unsheathes his bone claws. Logan thinks to himself that something is odd about Maverick. His smell has changed. His immune system is stronger, though his condition should be worsening. Also, when did he get his powers back? He is not as sick as the last time Wolverine saw him, but that is impossible. There is no cure for the Legacy Virus. As the fight ensues, Donna tells Chris that he has interesting friends. Yeah, says Chris, they are rather colorful. Elena tells Maverick that, even with Wolverine, they are sitting ducks out in the open. Maverick tells Elena that he has a plan and as he tells her, Cheeks notices Wolverine and begins to worry.

As Wolverine takes on the goons, Maverick returns to Chris and Donna, where he tells Donna that she has to go home now. They won’t follow her, he promises. Donna turns to Chris, who says bye. Cheeks sees Maverick, Elena, Chris and Donna with their back turns to him. As Donna leaves, Cheeks sends out a massive blast of energy from his weapon, which hits an exposed gas line and unleashes an explosion, which seemingly kills Maverick, Elena and Chris, much to the horror of Donna! Cheeks tells his companions that the mission is over. One of the others asks about Wolverine, but Cheeks asks him if he really wants an early grave.

Some time later, Wolverine sits on a rooftop with Elena and tells her that he does not like it when telepaths poke through his head without permission, so he is glad that she asked before she did what she did. He has to hand it to her for using her psi-powers to make the crowd believe that they all died in the explosion. Tired, Elena tells him that she is spent, as it wasn’t as easy as it looked. He should take his share of the credit. They would never have made it if Wolverine hadn’t stalled the bigots long enough for the three of them to escape. Wolverine tells her that it was all in the line of duty, though it was cruel to put Donna through all that. Elena explains that it could not be helped. They had to give credibility to the illusion. In the long run, this was the only way to protect the girl. Wolverine tells Elena that he didn’t say it wasn’t necessary, he just thought it was cruel.

Nearby, Chris is sad to know that Donna thinks that he is dead and he can never tell her otherwise. Out loud he announces that this is all his fault and he should never have run away. Maverick consoles Chris and tells him that at least the Friends of Humanity think he is dead, so now they are out of his life. Angry, Chris tells him not to call him Chris anymore. He is Brian Johnson now. As far as the world knows, Chris Bradley died and the sooner he deals with that the sooner he can put the past behind him. Chris comes to his senses and apologizes for snapping at Maverick. He is sorry for running away and for not bringing his chatterbox with him at least. He thought he would never see Maverick again. Maverick asks Chris how many times he has to explain that they are together for the long haul. Is that clear? Crystal, says Chris. Maverick tells Chris that he is taking him home. Wolverine stops them and tells Maverick that he wants a private chat first.

Maverick and Wolverine step aside and Logan asks Maverick if Chris knows that the mercenary is in remission. No, says Maverick, and he would like to keep it that way. Annoyed, Wolverine reminds Maverick that Chris believes in him, and yet he is lying. Why? Offended, Maverick doesn’t see how this is Wolverine’s business. He is making it his business, says Logan, as he pushes Maverick against a wall. If he is playing a sick joke on Chris, then he will regret it.

Surprised, Chris asks Wolverine what is going on. Wolverine tells the boy that he should think of this as a visit from social services. Wolverine is not so sure that Maverick is a good influence on him. How could he have any idea what is good for him, asks the angry Chris. The X-Men abandoned him and he fell apart. If it weren’t for Maverick, he would be dead. Maverick understands what he is going through, as they are both in the same situation. Chris trusts Maverick, which is more than he can say for Wolverine.

Maverick tells Chris to calm down, as he and Logan just have things to settle. He can take care of himself. This doesn’t concern Chris. More annoyed, Chris turns away. Maverick tells Wolverine that breaking the news about the remission would destroy Chris. Wolverine reminds Maverick that Chris will find out anyway and, if he learns it from someone else and that Maverick has been keeping it a secret, things will be worse. Maverick admits that he knows, but he has no other choice. He is just a kid and should not face this disease alone. Besides, his remission is probably only temporary. The two look at Chris, who is on the other side of the rooftop. Wolverine reluctantly agrees not to say anything, but tells Maverick that he doesn’t like his methods. Wolverine will keep an eye on them. Maverick tells him that he is welcome, so long as Wolverine stays out of his way.

The next night, Elena does some research in her room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. She looks at her papers and is surprised that there is no trace of him anywhere. There is only an unconfirmed sighting in western Canada and that was months ago. She hears the door slowly open and instinctively whips out her gun. Fortunately, it is only Maverick, who she expected to arrive in the morning. Maverick tells her that he caught an early flight. Elena asks about the Bradleys and Maverick tells her that they are the Johnsons now. Chris is right, they need to get used to their new names. His parents were overjoyed to see him. They are all fine.

Elena asks Maverick how he is, but he is not sure. The past few days are all a blur and he hasn’t had time to recuperate from the mind games Pushkin put him through, as well as Barrington’s death and the implications. His life is such a mess that he cannot tell right from wrong anymore. Drudging up this Ginetta business has him rattled and he doesn’t like to feel vulnerable. Elena tells Maverick to get over it, as they are all vulnerable in life. Maverick apologizes, knowing that Elena has had a hard life. He will not use her or Chris as an emotional crutch. Elena reasons with Maverick and tells him not to live in a vacuum forever. He has to let people back in.

Maverick turns and decides he will do so later, as companionship has its price too. It doesn’t have to be that way, says Elena. Maverick tells the woman that he doesn’t think that this is a good idea. Why not, Elena asks. It is wrong for two consenting adults to seek comfort in one another’s arms with no pretenses or false expectations? She knows that he is not in love with her and she is not in love with him, but she cares about him a lot as a friend.

Maverick is about to say something, but Elena tells him to shush. She takes off his mask and tells him to forget the outside world and the future. He has no way to know what tomorrow will bring, so he should embrace the moment. After wall, what to they have left? Maverick and Elena kiss and make their way to the bedroom. However, what Maverick does not see is what Elena was researching: Sabretooth!

Characters Involved: 


Chris Bradley, Elena Ivanova

Donna Funaro


Cheeks, Grinder, Jumbo, Weasel (Friends of Humanity)

Story Notes: 

Chris ran away from home in Maverick #3.

Chris asked Donna out in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #8. He and the X-Men clashed with the Friends of Humanity in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #15.

Maverick was brainwashed by Pushkin in Maverick #1-3.

Issue Information: