Maverick #6

Issue Date: 
February 1998
Story Title: 

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

Brief Description: 

While Elena is haunted by nightmares of Sabretooth murdering her mother, Maverick takes Brian to Dr. Keller for their examinations. Keller reveals to Maverick that he is borderline between remission and relapse and that his condition can change at any second. Brian, however, is getting worse, as his neural network is being consumed. He will die. Brain walks in on the two and discovers that Maverick no longer has scars. Unable to hide the truth any longer, Maverick reveals to Brian that he is in remission, which angers Brian, who feels betrayed since Maverick did not tell him. The argument is interrupted as Maverick’s contact, Gregor, calls in and reveals that Elena saw him recently looking for information on Sabretooth. Maverick rushes to Gregor’s New York apartment, but finds that Sabretooth has already gotten to Gregor. However, he was gracious enough to leave a map for Maverick with his location. Maverick heads into the sewers, where Elena has already found Sabretooth. The battle is short, as Elena is easily beaten. Maverick eventually finds Elena, lying motionlessly in the hands of Sabretooth

Full Summary: 

It is the same nightmare she always has. As Team X agent Logan confronts her mother and father, Epsilon Red, another agent, Sabretooth, crashes through a wall as Logan’s cavalry. Logan is surprised to see Sabretooth and asks him why he is there. As always, the other man tells him that he just fought past elite KBG border guards and internal security teams to give Logan an abort mission order. Logan is surprised to hear this, but Sabretooth tells him that the order came from all the way at the top. They are not to murder Epsilon Red.

Sabretooth tells Logan that they have to retreat now, and Logan complies. Epsilon Red turns to Sabretooth and observes that he is much colder and harsher than Logan. Perhaps he will do a favor for Epsilon and end his existence. Cruelly, Sabretooth looks at the pregnant woman with Epsilon and tells him that he won’t kill him for he wants it too much. He knows another way to really bum him out. Sabretooth then shoots Elena’s mother to death to the horror of Epsilon Red. The dream then forwards to a short while later. Elena can hear the doctors decide that her mother won’t live. However, an emergency caesarian section can save the baby.

At that moment, Elena Ivanova wakes up covered in sweat. This is a nightmare that recurs for her. It is made even more disturbing, however, that these are memories she sees from when she was still in her mother’s womb. Elena breathes heavily for a few moments, and then cups her face in her hands and she swears revenge against Creed.

The next day in Kissimmee, Florida, Maverick visits retired Navy Seals officer Dr. James Keller. In Keller’s lab, Maverick thanks the man for opening up his office on a Sunday morning. Keller asks if Maverick is kidding and then taps his fake leg with his cane and reminds him that, if Maverick hadn’t pulled him out of the shark-infested waters when the recon mission in Australia went badly, Keller would have lost a lot more than a leg. As he has said before, he will help out Maverick and the Johnson kid with whatever they need, no questions asked. Maverick thanks James and asks for the prognosis. James reveals that Maverick’s body is straddling between remission and a full-blown relapse. Something about Maverick’s powers is serving as an anchor for his immune system and is retarding the effects of the Legacy Virus.

The two walk into Keller’s office, where he admits that the link is tenacious. Maverick may feel fine, but it is a façade. His condition can literally change at any moment. Maverick asks about Brian’s condition, as that is the man reason why he contacted Keller. Keller notes that Brian has missed his last few appointments, to which Maverick reveals that Brian has been purposely avoiding Keller. That is why Maverick dragged him there today. For the last few days, Brian has been complaining about a migraine, and Maverick suspects that his is linked to why the boy’s powers are now harder to control. His sudden outbursts of power have increased in frequency since his return from up north.

Keller takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. He admits that he is not surprised. While Brian is recovering from a case of acute bronchitis that he picked up at school, the Legacy Virus appears to be spreading quickly through his neural system. Unfortunately, once it consumes his cerebral cortex, Brian will die. Maverick asks James what kind of time-frame he is talking about. Six months? A year? Keller apologizes, but Brian’s mutant physiology makes it impossible for him to determine. Maverick mutters that they are all sorry about this, then thanks the doctor for his help. Keller asks if he should tell Brian’s parents, but Maverick tells him that he will.

At that moment, Brian, formerly known as Chris Bradley before having to relocate to hide from the Friends of Humanity, walks in and apologizes for barging in, but he was getting antsy waiting in the other room for them. Suddenly, Brian stops dead in his tracks and looks at Maverick’s face. He is shocked to see that all the scars on his face have healed up. Concerned, Keller asks Maverick if he hasn’t told Brian yet. Confused, Brian asks Maverick what is going on.

To himself, Maverick thinks about how he was able to keep his remission a secret without blatantly lying to Brian, but now he has no choice. Brian is not stupid and knows something is up. What is he to do? Should he tell Brian the truth? Doctor Keller excuses himself from the room to give the two men some privacy. Maverick thinks about making up some elaborate explanation as to why his scars are gone, but then decides that he is sick of lying. He has to fess up and deal with the consequences now.

Maverick breaks the silence and tells Brian that the cat is out of the bag. The boy is still confused and asks Maverick again what is going on. Maverick asks Brian if he remembers how his mutant powers recently resurfaced. Brian recalls and asks what this has to do with anything. Maverick explains that, when his powers came back, they came back with the vengeance and somehow altered his body chemistry. Starting to see where this is leading, Brian asks how his body has changed. Maverick doesn’t even have time to answer when Brian realizes that Maverick is no longer dying of the Legacy Virus.

Maverick confirms this, though it is more complicated than that. He is in remission, but his condition is far from stable. Brian asks Maverick how long he has known. Two weeks, replies Maverick. Brian suddenly feels like an idiot, as he assumed Maverick had been keeping his mask on so he would not see what would happen to him too. Angry, Brain tells Maverick that he never thought to question his motives, especially after that speech Maverick gave about them being friends. Was that all a lie too? Shocked, Maverick tells Brian that they are friends and that he never meant to hurt him. Keeping quiet is no better than lying, replies Brian.

Maverick agrees, but explains that things have been hectic lately for him. More angered, Brian asks if he didn’t have two seconds to tell him that he was cured. That is a load of bull. Did Maverick really think that Brian would be unhappy about this? Maverick explains that it isn’t like that, but Brian interrupts and asks if Maverick thought that he would fall apart after finding out the truth. Brian has news for Maverick: he is nobody’s charity case.

Suddenly, Maverick gets a call. The man on the other end replies that he got the message and demands to know what Maverick wants. Maverick is glad that his contact, Gregor, has responded. He then asks if Elena Ivanova has contacted him in the last twenty-four hours. Gregor confirms this and adds that Maverick’s old partner was there too a few days ago. He wanted a few copies of some maps and, of course, Gregor sold them to him. He was terrified that he was going to be gutted on the spot whether he helped or not.

However, the man didn’t lay a claw on Gregor and simply left. Concerned, Maverick tells Gregor to lock his doors. He will be there as quickly as possible. Gregor admits that he is still scared, but Maverick ends the communication. Maverick apologizes to Brian, but he has to go. Brian tells Maverick coldly that he knows the drill. They will talk later. First, though, Maverick needs to take him home.

In New York City, Gregor Kokoschka hides in his apartment. Many years ago, he broke his ties to the Soviet Union and left his job as a KGB tactical analyst. He fled to America for asylum. After rigorous screening, his request was granted by the United States government. Since then, Gregor has taken a job as a cartographer for the private sector, all the while maintaining some government contracts with the city’s department of public works.

In his apartment, Gregor regrets telling Elena anything about Sabretooth. He is no snitch really, but he owed her a favor. Gregor hopes he didn’t sign his death warrant by helping her. Ever since she came, he hasn’t been able to shake this feeling in his gut. Suddenly, Gregor hears a sound and realizes that Sabretooth is there. The man turns to see the feral mutant in his apartment. Sabretooth laughs and tells Gregor that he is proud. The man played his part well. Gregor is confused, but Sabretooth grabs him by the throat. Gregor should have stuck to his instincts and skipped town when he had the chance. Sabretooth tells Gregor that this isn’t a social call, if he catches his drift. Gregor begs Sabretooth not to kill him, right before the mutant begins to slash him open.

Some time later, Maverick arrives at the apartment of Gregor and recalls how he is one of Elena’s few contacts in the United States. Most of her other associates were called back to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. It makes sense that she would call Gregor to find Sabretooth. Maverick is just surprised that he was actually able to lead Elena to the murderer’s whereabouts. It’s an odd coincidence that Gregor and Sabretooth even know one another. As Maverick reaches Gregor’s door, he realizes that this smells like a set-up.

Maverick walks into Gregor’s apartment and finds the place trashed. In the center lies the body of Gregor, which has been carefully suspended in an elaborate rope cat’s cradle. Fortunately, Gregor is still alive, but Maverick observes that if the cradle is disturbed then it will choke the man. On the wall is written a message: Come Get Me Rico, if you dare. Maverick notices a standard CIA-issue anti-disturbance mine rigged to the cradle. Maverick realizes that he inadvertently activated it when he walked into the room.

After a tense moment, Maverick is able to position himself on the fire escape outside of Gregor’s window. He pulls out a short stick, which he is able to extend. He carefully maneuvers it through the cradle, making sure he disturbs nothing, as it will set off the bomb. Once it is armed, it will be impossible to disarm. Maverick’s stick reaches the bomb and he is able to disable it from a distance. Suddenly, the cradle safely collapses. Maverick realizes that removing the safety pin did this, and that Creed is toying with him.

Maverick finds that Gregor has fainted. He calls an ambulance and gathers all the information that he needs. He finds the map that Gregor mentioned earlier, which Sabretooth seems to have purposefully left behind. Maverick sees an X marked on the map, which prompts Maverick to wonder why Sabretooth wants him to follow. Maverick suddenly realizes that Sabretooth knows that Elena is after him. He knows about her KGB connections and knew to use Gregor to flush her out. Elena is running straight into an ambush! Creed wants Maverick to know this as part of some twisted game. He is taunting him to save Elena before Sabretooth finds her.

Moments later, in Saint Jean Sur Richelieu, Canada, inventor Isabel Ferguson feeds her baby daughter, Madeline. Madeline throws all her food around, including in her mother’s face. She suddenly gets a call and discovers that it is from Maverick. Worried, Isabel reminds Maverick that she told Michel she would sever all times with him. Why is Maverick calling her now? Maverick tells Isabel that she knows what she told Michel, but he isn’t calling to stir trouble. Elena’s life is at stake and he needs customizes weapons to do this. Isabel asks what kind of hardware he needs, and finds out that Maverick has e-mailed her already with the list.

Isabel ponders about the list and Maverick asks her if there is a problem. Isabel admits that he is requesting some specialized gear, which is very expensive. When does he need it by? Maverick tells her that he needs it now, the latest by the evening. Isabel tells him that it will be difficult. Maverick adds that it isn’t impossible. He already knows that she has couriers who make daily trips into Manhattan. He has the cash to cover any extra expenses. He will wire her the cash after they talk and Michel will never know that this exchange happened. Can she do this for him?

Isabel admits that she is a softie, but pleads to Maverick to never put her in this position again. She cannot keep on doing this. Michel is playing hardball and she doesn’t want to lose custody of Madeline. Maverick tells Isabel that he understands and that he will not bother her ever again… or at least until they have figured out a way to keep her ex-husband from having fits every time he hears Maverick’s name. Maverick thanks Isabel again and tells her to take care.

Elsewhere, Elena Ivanova finds herself seventy stories beneath Manhattan. As she trudges through the sewers, she complains to herself on how exasperating this all is. It was bad enough that she had to wait for all the workers to clear out of the day, but she never realized the sewers were huge. This maze goes on for miles. There are so many passages and interconnecting ducts that it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Her air tank weighs a lot too, but she cannot afford to ditch it. Gregor did warn her about all the organic waste forming a potentially lethal gas as it decomposes. Sabretooth’s healing factor keeps him safe, even when inhaling hydrogen sulfide or methane, but she isn’t as lucky.

Despite her hatred for Creed, Elena admits that hiding down there is ingenious. The tunnels are not easily accessible to the outside world and conditions make psi-scans inaccurate. Sabretooth also knows that only a fool would bring a conventional weapon down here. With so many highly combustible gases, the whole underground could easily explode. Live ammo is pretty much suicide. That means Elena can only use her psi-powers and a neural disrupter against Sabretooth. That suits her fine. Things will be simpler and primal as they should be. Elena’s mother’s death was the single most traumatic experience in her life. She has looked forward to getting back at Sabretooth for so long. In fact, the anticipation is killing her.

Suddenly, Elena notices something. She aims her flashlight to the side and finds a dead body, hanging from the ceiling. Elena is disgusted to see that Sabretooth has gutted the man. It seems the man knows that she was coming. She has been set up! Angry, Elena screams for Creed to cut to the chase and to show himself. Sabretooth leaps out of the shadows and tells Elena to keep her bravado for someone without hyper-keen senses. He can smell her fear from a mile away.

Elena tells him to shut up but, inside, she knows that her adrenaline is pumping overtime and her heart is racing. Elena tries to keep herself focused. Elena informs Creed that she is putting him out of his wretched existence forever. You and what army, taunts Creed. Elena asks the man if he really thinks he can get away with just slaughtering people, before she pulls out her neural disrupter and fires. Sabretooth evades the fire and tells Elena that no one can stop him. She should have just died with her mother. He supposes it is time he rectified that.

Elsewhere in the tunnels, Maverick makes his way down. He is amazed at the size of the tunnels and recalls once how he read about there being thirty-two million miles of color-coded utility lines running beneath the city. He never believed those figures until now. He might as well as keep track of what colors represent what, which might be an advantage when he fights Sabretooth. It seems that orange is electric, red is gas, yellow is stream, and black is television cable. Lastly there is pink, which Maverick surmises is the phone line.

Maverick finally reaches the bottom and seals up his suit to protect himself from the gases. As he turns on his flashlight, Maverick wonders if Creed knows that he has his powers back. It doesn’t matter, though. Thanks to Isabel, he has a few surprises up his sleeve.

Elsewhere, Sabretooth leaps at Elena and tells her that, when he is done, she is going to wish that she was never born. Elena drops her gun and finds that just trying to survive Sabretooth’s attacks is preventing her from concentrating hard. Elena takes off, realizing that she needs to put a distance between herself and Creed, so she can focus and hit him with a full psionic assault. She hits Creed with a small psychic attack in order to slow him down, but finds that it does very little. Smiling sadistically, Creed tells her that he no longer needs a telepath to satiate his homicidal hunger. Wolverine took care of that when he popped his claws through his head.

Elena succumbs to fear and runs for her life. Sabretooth chases after her and yells that there is no use in running. No matter where she goes, she is his. Unfortunately for Elena, this is true. She reaches a dead end and jumps up to grab onto a suspended ladder. This gives enough time for Sabretooth to catch up to her and to slash her in the back, inadvertently also disconnecting her oxygen tank.

Very close to where Elena is, Maverick continues to trudge through the sewers. Still not spotting her, Maverick wonders if she is even down there. Maybe she realized that it was foolish of her to come down here by herself and went back up to call the cavalry. Realizing how unlikely that is, Maverick forgets the silly notion. Suddenly, he is overcome by pain and collapses.

Maverick gets up and wonders what is happening. It feels as if hot pokers were being jabbed into his head. However, just as suddenly as the pain came it left. This is definitely weird for Maverick. Ever since contracting the Legacy Virus he has had seizures, but nothing like this. He then realizes that he cannot bother himself now with his health problems when Elena’s life is at risk.

With his map, Maverick reaches a fork in the tunnel and follows the correct path. Maverick then reaches a passageway and realizes that according to the map Creed’s lair is through the passageway on the right. He travels through it and is presented with a horrific site. Standing in the tunnel is Sabretooth, who holds by her hair the still body of Elena Ivanova. Creed tells Maverick that he is late as usual. Sabretooth then invites Maverick to join the party. The more the merrier…

Characters Involved: 


Elena Ivanova


Brian Johnson/Chris Bradley

Dr. James Keller

Gregor Kokoschka

Isabel Ferguson, Madeline Ferguson

Elena’s Dreams:

Epsilon Red

Elena’s mother

Logan, Sabretooth (Team X)

Story Notes: 

Maverick went into remission in Maverick #1.

Elena stormed off to find Sabretooth in Maverick #5.

Issue Information: