Maverick #7

Issue Date: 
March 1998
Story Title: 
Desperate Moments

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: 

Disappointed that Maverick cannot trust him, Brian begins to act coldly towards his family, who are worried about him. After a day of thinking about it, Brian realizes that he must accept that fact that things are as they are and that he has no right to tell Maverick what to do. In New York, Maverick battles Sabretooth in the sewers, but finds that he is grossly overpowered. Maverick is overcome by a seizure and is about to be killed when Elena shoots Creed in the back. As the two bicker about what they should do, Sabretooth sneaks up on them and takes them both down. Elena has had enough with Sabretooth and tries to shut down his mind. However, when she is mind-linked with him, she sees images of his childhood and discovers that Creed’s father taught him to murder. Elena then is confronted by the ghost of her mother in Creed’s head, which is too much for her battered body to handle. She is knocked out by the psionic feedback, leaving Maverick alone to use some ingenuity to stop Sabretooth. Maverick returns to Elena and finds that she has slipped into a coma after going in Creed’s head and is dying.

Full Summary: 

Seventy stories below Manhattan, Maverick finds Elena Ivanova motionless in the hands of the killer Sabretooth. Sabretooth grins and tells Maverick that he is glad that his old friend could make it. He supposes Gregor then survived his little snare. Unfortunately, Elena won’t be as fortunate. Sabretooth then chucks the body of Elena, who hits the ceiling then falls into the sewer water. Maverick tells Sabretooth that she better not be dead, but the homicidal maniac laughs and asks if he will kill him. Better men have tried and failed. Sabretooth taunts Maverick to give him his best shot. He will just wind up dead like the others.

Maverick flicks his wrist and in seconds tiny needle-like projectiles shoot out of his armor and burry themselves under Sabretooth’s skin, where they unleash a series of electric shocks through the beast’s nervous system. Maverick mockingly tells his adversary, as the murderer screams in pain, that he has died before and that life style didn’t suit him. Maverick is shocked, however, as Sabretooth is still standing. His needles are set to shock his victims in intervals for three minutes. Either Sabretooth’s tolerance has increased or his healing factor has heightened. In any case, he is disoriented, so now is the time for Maverick to put some distance between Sabretooth and Elena.

As Maverick prepares to hit Sabretooth again, he tells him that he is surprised that he went through so much trouble to lure him there. Seeing as how Creed is a wanted fugitive, he should be doing other things than dredging up old grudges. As Sabretooth starts to gouge out the darts from under his skin, he tells Maverick that he has been an itch that Creed has wanted to scratch ever since Maverick conspired with the X-Men to put him under Xavier’s care. Maverick shoots more needles at Sabretooth, telling him that he will have to forgive him for not being accommodating.

Several hours earlier in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Chris Bradley, now known as Brian Johnson, pulls his bike out of the garage to go out. He still cannot believe that Maverick went into remission. How could Maverick keep that a secret from him? Doesn’t he trust him? Brian should never have believed it when Maverick said that they were tight.

As Brian begins to pedal away, his little sister, Jen, catches up to him on her roller blades and asks him where he is going. Brian tells her that he is heading down to the comic shop, and Jen asks if she can tag along. Brian tells her no and adds that their mother doesn’t want her going on her roller blades past their block anyway. Disappointed, Jen asks her brother what is wrong with him. She notices that something is up. Angry, Brian asks his sister what she knows about anything. She isn’t the mutant in the family. Does she know how it feels to be a freak?

Surprised, Jen tells Brian that he can be a real pain sometimes, but he is no freak. He is special, just like the Human Torch, only with more static. She thinks that it is cool. She then rephrases herself and tells her brother that she isn’t talking about him being sick and everything, but it seems neat to have superpowers. You would, replies Brian. She is just a kid and is too young to understand. Offended, Jen tells her brother that she is almost eleven. Spoken like a true fifth grader, replies her brother. He then tells her that being a sick mutant is not what is bothering him. Jen then asks what the problem is. Did something happen between him and Maverick?

Jen hits a nerve, and prompts Brian to tell her one more time to drop the subject. Suddenly, his powers spiral out of control as he begins to shoot out electricity. Jen yells that he isn’t supposed to be doing that in public, but as he tries to control himself, Brian tells her that his powers have been slipping lately. Jen wants to tell their parents, but Brian tells her not to bother, as they already know. Brian gets himself controlled and picks up his bike. He gets back on and tells Jen to stop following him. Jen reminds him that he promised to hook up her new Playstation, but Brian tells her that he will do it later. Right now he wants to be alone. “Bummer,” replies Jen quietly, as Brian pedals away.

Back in the tunnels, Maverick continues to hit Sabretooth with the electric needles. However, Sabretooth is still gaining ground, much to Mavericks’ surprise. Sabretooth then leaps at him, but Maverick is able to duck, though Sabretooth is able to destroy the firing mechanism on his arm. So much for the new additions, thinks Maverick, as he takes off running for cover. Unfortunately, Maverick runs right to an impasse, with little room for maneuvering. He will have to reach the hatchway at the end if he is going to have a chance to make it out alive.

His extra electric needles are now useless to him without the firing mechanisms. Maverick tosses away the extra cartridges as they are weighing him down, and then leaps into the air to grab onto a ladder. He crawls up into a room above. Once up, Maverick activates his booster field, which will magnify any kinetic energy he absorbs tenfold. Hopefully he will get the chance to use that. Sabretooth leaps up into the room and tells Maverick that he isn’t going anywhere, not until he pays for all the grief he put Sabretooth through.

Creed tackles Maverick, who goes face first into the shallow water and hits his head on the ground. A familiar feeling runs through Maverick’s body, as he realizes that his mutant powers are at work. Before Sabretooth can react, Maverick blasts him away with kinetic energy and right into a wall. Sabretooth gets up, much angrier. Maverick is full of surprises today, isn’t he? He had heard that Maverick’s powers returned, but what did he do to amplify them? Did he get a cheap booster unit? Sabretooth charges right at Maverick, who realizes that he can’t take the man down like this. He then braces for impact.

Suddenly, Maverick is overcome by nausea, as he starts to convulse. Sabretooth slashes his side and then throws him to the ground and begins to slash up his armor. Maverick’s booster field fails and he desperately tries to stay conscious so he can stay alive. However, Maverick is unable to defend himself and is sorely defeated. As Sabretooth rips open Maverick’s chest plate, he tells the mercenary that he always did rely too much on his gadgets.

As dusk settles in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Brian returns home. He comes to the decision that he has no right to demand things from Maverick. What happened may not be fair, but Brian must accept it as fact. He has to learn to accept things and move on with life. Brian enters his house and finds his parents in the kitchen. Mrs. Johnson and ecstatically tells her son that he is home just in time for lasagna. Quietly, Brian tells his mother that he will pass on dinner tonight. He isn’t hungry right now. Mr. Johnson asks his son if something is wrong. Annoyed, Brian tells his father no and that he just isn’t hungry.

Mrs. Johnson reminds her son that his body is still weak from the bronchitis, so maybe he should eat. He needs to eat properly to get his strength back. Brian tells his mom that he knows, but he promises to eat something later. As soon as Brian leaves, Mr. Johnson comes to his wife, who cries and tells him that she is worried about Brian. Mr. Johnson admits that he is scared too, but they cannot fall apart. They have to be strong. Their boy needs them to be strong.

In the sewers, Sabretooth tosses away Maverick’s mask and tells him to say his prayers, because his little stomach is about to be ripped open, with his innards soon to be smeared on the walls. Refusing to let things end like this, Maverick musters up all his strength and hits Creed with a strong kinetically charged punch. Sabretooth picks up Maverick and begins to beat him up, when suddenly he is shot in the back. Creed falls down the hole and back into the lower area of the sewer.

Maverick looks up to see that his savior is the badly battered Elena. Elena tells Maverick that he shouldn’t have come there. This is between her and Sabretooth. He was right earlier when he didn’t want to get involved. Confused, Maverick asks Elena what she is talking about. If he hadn’t shown up she would be dead right now. That’s her problem, snaps Elena. This fight is also her problem. She aims to finish it alone. Maverick tells Elena not to be stupid. Her stubborn streak isn’t her. It is suicidal. Neither of them are in any shape to be taking on Sabretooth.

Neither of the arguers notices Sabretooth coming back up, until he slams both of them into the ground. Sabretooth angrily tells Elena that he loves how often the playing possum trick works. Elena shoots Sabretooth down and tells him that it took her twenty-three years to track him down and he won’t escape with his life this time. Let them see how he likes it when she fries his brain. Suddenly, Maverick screams at Elena and tells her not to do it.

With all her pent up rage, Elena mercilessly hits Creed with a full out psionic attack. Her plan is to shut down his primary brain functions by fusing his neural relays. However, to do that she must first penetrate Sabretooth’s psionic defenses, which were effectively created by him to prevent these sorts of situations, which have increased as of late. Elena realizes that Sabretooth is trying to force her into a fight on the psionic level. She realizes that, if she is to kill him, she must do that then. Though this is the first time she has ever tried to do this on anyone, Elena’s astral form projects itself and enters the Astral Plane to enter Creed’s subconscious.

Elena finds herself in darkness, but below her hundreds of rabbits run for their lives. She wonders what it means, but decides that she would rather not find out. She then finds a young boy chained up in a cellar. Is that Creed? Are these images of his youth? Suddenly, the cellar door opens and Creed’s father throws in a live rabbit to his son. He tells him that it is dinnertime that he must catch what he can kill and eat what he can catch. As Creed holds the rabbit, his father tells him that killing is the only way he is going to survive as a good-for-nothing freak. The cellar door then slams shut.

Elena feels horrible for Creed and thinks about opening those cellar doors, but decides it is for the best not to look in. Sabretooth is just distracting her from reaching his inner core. Indeed it is true, as Sabretooth tells Elena to get out of his head. Elena travels through a tunnel, but is horrified to see so much blood. She knew Sabretooth killed many people, but not thing many! Elena finds herself surrounded by the ghosts of Creed’s victims, who order her to get out and to leave them be. One of those wailing ghosts is Elena’s mother. In her current physical state, the sight of seeing her mother is too much for Elena to bear. This causes the tenuous link between her and Sabretooth to violently snap, unleashing a massive psionic feedback.

Elena and Sabretooth are thrown apart, and even Maverick is hit by the psionic energy. Maverick is hit by another seizure, most likely from Elena collapsing. How is that possible though? Is there a connection? Maverick recalls how he flat-lined in Canada and how Elena created a psionic link between them to pull him back from the grave. Do they still share some residual bond? Maverick puts his questions aside, as he sees Creed coming to. However, as Maverick powers up, his hands suddenly explode with kinetic energy, causing his hands to burn.

Maverick realizes that his powers are totally out of whack, as Sabretooth pounces him again. Maverick’s movements become sluggish and his stamina decreases. He cannot even grab onto anything, because anything he touches melts now thanks to the raging kinetic energy. Maverick considers burning Creed’s face off, but realizes that he is so weak that he couldn’t get close enough to do so without getting gutted. Suddenly, Maverick notices the water mains and comes up with a plan, though he will need Creed for this.

Maverick breaks open one of the water pipes, which shocks Sabretooth, who asks Maverick if he is trying to kill them all. Just you, replies Maverick. The mercenary then tries to remember which color pipe was for the steam. He thinks that it is the yellow one and sure enough it is. Maverick rips it off and sends burning steam right into Sabretooth’s face. Sabretooth stumbles back, and at that moment the water pipes rupture from the damaged spot. In seconds a flash-flood effect is created, and Sabretooth takes the full brunt of the blast.

As Sabretooth is washed down the sewer, Maverick grabs Elena with his legs and leaps up to grab onto a pipe. Every muscle in his body strains and wishes to let go, but he fights against himself. However, he realizes that he cannot keep this up much longer. Fortunately, the flood ends and Maverick is able to get back down the ground.

Maverick feels awful, but fortunately his powers have burned out and his hands are no longer burning with energy. He realizes that his hands are raw, and then decides that it was for the best that he didn’t absorb too much energy, or things could have been worse. Maverick turns to the still Elena and picks her up. There is no way for him to tell how bad she is. If there is internal bleeding, then things can be worse than they look. Maverick deduces that her arm is definitely broken. He notices that he pupils are dilated and her breathing is shallow.

Maverick is horrified. He feared something like this. The psionic feedback was too much for Elena. She slipped into a coma. She is dying!

Characters Involved: 


Elena Ivanova

Brian Johnson

Jen Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson


Sabretooth’s Mind:

A young Sabretooth

Sabretooth’s father

Story Notes: 

Maverick was saved by Elena in the Maverick #1 one-shot.

Issue Information: