Maverick #9

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 
The Wall (1st story) / Easy Targets (2nd story)

1st Story: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy (letterer), Kevin Somers (colorist), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

2nd Story: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Leo Fernandez (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy (letterer), Kevin Somers (colorist), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

1st Story:

Maverick travels to Paris, France where he visits with a man from his past by the name of Jean Luc Vivant. Maverick tries to pry some information from him about the connection between Major Barrington and Ginetta. Jean Luc is tight-lipped about providing Maverick with the information that he seeks. After Maverick leaves his house and arrives back in his hotel in Paris, he finds a note from the Confessor that simply stated the Wall. The next day, Maverick arrives at the former site of the Berlin Wall and faces the Confessor in battle. During this battle, which the Confessor wins pretty handily, Maverick is informed that his parents may have been Nazi sympathizers. Before he can determine more, he passes out.

2nd Story:

Brian Johnson is in the clinic of Doctor Keller, going through his weekly treatments. Eventually, Brian becomes tired of the treatments and gets into an argument with Keller and storms off. When he does, three thugs - Marcus Renfield, Speed, and Dice - break into the clinic so they can steal some drugs. As Brian makes his way down the street, he starts to feel bad about the way he treated Doctor Keller. He decides to go back and apologize. When he does, he notices the three thugs breaking into the clinic and begin to beat up Keller. Brian knows he needs to do something - but what???

Full Summary: 

1st Story:

East Berlin Germany - 2407 hours. As Maverick is slammed to the ground by the Confessor, he wonders what in the blazes is going on with his mutant powers now! The Confessor continues to choke Maverick, while he indicates to him that it appears that his sins have finally caught up with him! Maverick is barely listening to him, concentrating more on why his fists didn’t charge up from that blow and that without them - he’s toast...

In Paris, France, a day earlier, Maverick arrived at the elegant apartment home of a very distinguished gentleman - that of Jean Luc Vivant. When Maverick enters the room, he is greeted by Jean Luc, who is relaxing in a hot tub drinking a brandy. Jean Luc is less than pleased to see Maverick and indicates to him that he was quite shocked when he got his message. He then offers Maverick a drink. Maverick declines and notices by Jean Luc’s tone that he is still harboring a lot of resentment towards him - so he’ll keep it short. He’s there to ask for a favor.

Jean Luc polishes off his brandy before he starts to get himself out of the hot tub. He angrily asks Maverick if that’s all he has to say for himself! After all these years of not seeing or speaking to each other, Maverick has the audacity to show up there and ask for a favor!!! From him?!!! After what Maverick cost him???!!!! As Jean Luc attempts to get his lifeless legs out of the tub, Maverick goes to give him a hand. Jean Luc declines his assistance telling him to not dare come over there and touch him! He’s not some helpless invalid!! He doesn’t need Maverick’s pity and certainly none of his assistance. Whatever else he has deprived him of - he still has his pride and self-respect. Those are things Maverick can never take away!! He indicates to Maverick that he may have already destroyed his life, and asks him if he’s there to rub his nose in it as well?!?

Maverick indicates that isn’t it at all. It’s just important that he gets some information about Ginetta and Major Barrington. Other than himself, Jean Luc is the only other person who knew both of them well enough to tell him what he wants to know. The only one who got to see them interacting when he wasn’t present. Jean Luc asks for clarification on what exactly Maverick wants from him. Does he want to know if they were having an affair?? The lovely Barsalini heiress and that naughty American Major - how droll!! He continues that he’s sorry to disappoint him but his ex-wife had better taste than that, even if she was a treacherous tramp!! Maverick angrily retorts that that was NOT what he meant. He has reason to believe that she and the Major conspired to undermine the West German underground. That they were directly responsible for the deaths of the members of Cell Six. He’s positive about Ginetta’s betrayal - but Barrington’s part in this sordid mess remains uncertain.

He then asks Jean Luc if he ever noticed anything suspicious taking place between them. Anything to suggest that such an alliance could have been possible. Jean Luc responds with that they are finally getting to the heart of the matter. Possible? Anything is possible. He then questions Maverick as to why he should bother telling him anything!! After all, Ginetta’s long dead and buried - killed by Maverick himself. As for Barrington, he heard that the old man is dead too. He asks Maverick if he had a hand in that as well. When Maverick doesn’t respond, he indicates that he thought so. He then asks if he is next on his list. If he is just another blemish on his conscience targeted for elimination!!

Maverick realizes that this is getting nowhere and indicates to Jean Luc that he didn’t come there to argue. He admits that his motives aren’t exactly selfless but he does want to make peace - for both of their sakes. Jean Luc retorts that that is very gracious of him - considering he was the one who ended up paralyzed from the waist down, thanks to Maverick’s carelessness!! Maverick apologizes - he knows that Jean Luc is furious with him and that he probably would be too under the circumstances. He then reminds Jean Luc that they were good friends once and that he was even the best man at his wedding because he’d always been more like a brother to him than his real family ever was.

He asks him if any of that means anything to him and asks if he is ready to throw all of that away?!? Angrily, Jean Luc shoots back that he, Christoph, has a lot of gall and that he must be truly desperate to come to him for help. He adds that he shouldn’t add insult to injury with such sentimental drivel. Whatever fellowship he felt for him died a long, long time ago. Maverick asks Jean Luc if he wants to see him beg. Jean Luc replies that, personally, he finds groveling offensive. As fun as it would be to watch him squirm he feels that he should warn him that he doesn’t stand a chance in Hades of ever integrating himself back into his good graces. Maverick retorts that he is glad to hear that - since that was never his intent. He adds that Jean Luc shouldn’t flatter himself if he thinks that his guilt over what happened to him doesn’t consume his every waking thought. And despite how much he wants to cast the blame on him, the bottom line is that Jean Luc’s accident was just that - an accident.

Jean Luc replies that is very cheeky and that he’s beginning to see that Maverick has become awfully smug in his old age!! Maverick shoots back that Jean Luc has become a bitter, self-indulgent boor!! After a brief stare-down, Jean Luc responds that since they can both agree that their relationship has pathetically deteriorated to nothing more than petty remarks and hollow gestures, he suggest that they spare themselves any further indignities and put an end to this little interview before things get any uglier. Maverick angrily shouts that he would have been willing to make an effort if he thought there was even the slightest chance of salvaging something - anything - out of the friendship they once shared. But if it’s inconceivable for Jean Luc to let go of the past - then to blazes with him!!! Jean Luc informs Maverick to not delude himself. The sad truth is that he’s the one clinging to the past - not him. He’s simply trapped in it and thanks to Maverick, he will never escape. He adds that Maverick should consider himself fortunate to have the luxury of choice and just get the hell out of his life!! And this time - STAY OUT!!!

After Maverick’s encounter with Jean Luc, he returns to his hotel room at the Hotel de Crillon. It is a former private palace built in the 18th century. These days, its clientele consist mainly of visiting dignitaries and the filthy rich - with occasional exceptions. Maverick thinks to himself that his meeting was a waste of time and that he should’ve known better than that. He then finds a note on his bed from the Confessor. It reads simply “The wall. Midnight tomorrow. Saint Augustine’s church.” Maverick is shocked at the choice of location. Saint Augustine’s was one of Cell Six’s old meeting spots before they were slaughtered. He also had no idea that the Confessor was still active. He wonders how he knew that he was there and how he learned so much about Cell Six!!! Their use of Saint Augustine’s was supposed to be a well-kept secret!! He then comes to the realization that if the Confessor is aching for a confrontation - he just pushed all the right buttons!! He wants answers and he won’t be denied. Whatever sick game his old foe is playing, he’s putting a stop to it!!!

The next night, Maverick arrives at the wall. Following the end of World War II, the city of Berlin was partitioned into two sections. The Allied west and the Soviet controlled Eastern zone. Over a decade later, the Berlin Wall was erected as a barrier to prevent East Germans from crossing over to the western side. Despite continued protests, the concrete and wire fortification separated east and west for over twenty years! As he walks by, Maverick thinks to himself that it’s been ages since he was last there and that the place has a strange kind of energy. Also that he’s found it a bit unnerving being in the presence of so much history. Especially on the eastern side - where most of the subway tunnels still have graffiti from World War II. - Even though the wall was demolished in 1990 when the city was finally reunified, scattered parts still remain intact - serving as vivid reminders of Germany’s checkered past.

Walking past all of the rubble, Maverick is cold. He realizes that he better calm his nerves and steel himself for the rendezvous. After all, this is no time to let himself get spooked!! At 2400 hours, Maverick calls out to the Confessor. He informs him that he’s there and ready to forgo the idle chitchat so that they can get to the point of this latest charade of his. From a tower, the Confessor informs him that is fine and calls Maverick a sinner! As the Confessor leaps down, Maverick thinks to himself that the Confessor’s head on a platter should fetch a hefty bounty after he’s through with him. Before he can finish his thought, the Confessor unloads his crossbow towards Maverick and informs him that it is time for penance!!

Maverick attempts to dodge the shots but his coat is slowing him down. He realizes that he should have ditched in it when he got there. He is then struck with one of the shots from the Confessor’s crossbow in his shoulder. He calls out in pain but he knows that it serves him right for getting so cocky - it made him careless. Assumed those bolts wouldn’t be able to pierce his body armor. Thankfully, it’s only a flesh wound after Maverick pulls the spear out of his shoulder. As he ditches his jacket, the Confessor tosses some bolas at Maverick that bounds him up as he falls to the ground. The Confessor proceeds to grab him by the neck and slams him to the ground. He informs Maverick that it appears that his sins have finally caught up with him. Maverick realizes that he’s toast...

...Unless, maybe for once, it’s not his powers that are misbehaving and it’s the bolas that are somehow dampening his abilities. Everything is spinning - his vision is blurred - it is so hard to focus - he just wants to rest - give in to the darkness.... NO!!!! He needs to fight it!! He has to stay conscious long enough to confirm the theory and give it one last shot... With that, Maverick slams his fist onto the ground. When he does, the bolas sensitive inner circuits shatter on impact - instantly shorting out the small dampening fields they were emitting. In turn, it causes Maverick’s powers to suddenly flare up - and with a vengeance!!!

The Confessor is in shock at what he is witnessing and backs off, giving Maverick a little bit of space. In Maverick’s mind he knows that he has to block out the pain. His burning hands are a small price to pay for freedom - and the chance to put this creep out of commission - PERMANENTLY!!!! With that, Maverick is able to connect with the Confessor, knocking him backwards a few dozen feet!! When the Confessor arises he indicates to Maverick that he is impressed. His will is indeed more indomitable than he remembers. It is a shame that his own body will betray him in the end.

Maverick cuts him off and informs the Confessor that whatever he is blabbering about - he needs to give it up. He adds that his warped psychological mind games and demented theatrics won’t work on him!! The Confessor strikes back with a powered up candle holder and slices at Maverick. As he does, he informs him that it is typical of Maverick’s arrogance and that he is always willing to accept the facts when they slant in his favor. As Maverick attempts to dodge the swipe, he realizes that something is up - that his movements are getting sluggish. He then realizes that the tip of that crossbow bolt must have been laced with some sort of slow-acting knockout drug!!!

Maverick begins to realize that time is running out, and that his body is already slowing down. He either has to beat the Confessor or get away soon before he passes out. In desperation, he is able to connect with another shot to the Confessor. The Confessor indicates that Maverick is not so willing to accept the facts when they hit too close to home or when they threaten to expose the truth about the contaminated gene pool from which he is sprung!!! The Confessor strikes back at Maverick and connects with a punch. He continues to inform that Maverick’s deservedly deceased brother Andreas and his sinful ways! Maverick angrily strikes out at the Confessor and informs him to leave that scum out of this!! Andreas’ relation to him is an embarrassment he’d just as soon forget!! The Confessor indicates that he can see why. Andreas’ neo-Nazi tendencies are a prime example of the old adage about the apple not falling far from the tree. He asks Maverick if he agrees.

After that, the Confessor is able to connect with a punch directly to Maverick’s face. As he does, Maverick wonders what he is talking about. Even though Maverick’s concentration slips for a moment, it is long enough for the Confessor to take advantage. As he connects with a knee to Maverick’s mid-section he informs him that he can tell by his reaction that his brother never told him the truth about his parents. About how their deaths were not an accident - but more like a summary execution by parties unknown. A form of retribution - and fitting punishment for their past crimes against humanity!!

As the poison takes more effect on Maverick, he can now longer defend himself and begins to fade... As he does, the last thing he hears is the Confessor asking him for his forgiveness in spoiling the surprise. Maverick thinks to himself with his last thoughts that he will see the Confessor on the other side....

2nd Story:

In a private medical clinic on the outskirts of Kissimmee, Florida, Brian Johnson is making one of his weekly visits to Doctor Keller’s office. This time - he’s not happy about it. He expresses his displeasure with the tests by ripping off the cords that measure his bodily functions, his fists glowing like the morning sun.

Doctor Keller cautions him to be careful, but Brian is not the least bit interested in hearing that. He informs Keller that he is tired of going through tests, tired of his treatments, tired of being poked and prodded with needles!! After Brian is done with his tirade, Keller asks him if he’s okay. Brian informs him, weakly, that he is just dandy. Keller asks Brian why he is being so hostile, considering they settled all this during his last visit. He adds that a defeatist outlook isn’t going to do him any good.

Brian retorts that Keller can save himself the pep talk. After all, the odds are that he will be pushing up daisies by the time he’s twenty-one so what’s the point?!? Keller informs him that the point is that if he takes care of himself properly, he stands a much better chance of sticking around long enough so that the day a cure for his condition is developed, he can make a full recovery. Brian is not convinced and calls it all a pipe dream! He indicates to Keller that he’s not stupid. As long as the masses consider the Legacy virus a mutant-specific disease, the government’s not going to take any real steps to try to find a cure. They’ll just drag their feet like they do with everything else. Business as usual...

He is cut off by Keller, who indicates to him that he doesn’t know that for certain. Besides, that’s no excuse to give up hope. He adds that he’s not saying that it’s going to be easy, but that Brian should at least try to maintain a positive attitude. Brian shoots back and asks how exactly he’s supposed to do that when so many people consider his very existence to be a sin!! He adds that Keller knows as well as he does that there’s plenty of folks out there who believe mutants are either a perversion of science or spawns of the devil and they’d like nothing more than to see the virus wipe all muties off the face of the earth!! He continues by asking Keller if he thinks he enjoys having to hide what he is. Not being able to confide in anyone for fear of their reaction. If his classmates or teachers ever learned about him being a mutant, and that he’s infected with some deadly plague, things would hit the fan BIG TIME!!! Just like they did with his ‘good buddy’ Jeff. He and him were friends since kindergarten - yet when he found out about his powers, he freaked out and cut him out of his life.

Keller replies that not everyone is so narrow-minded and asks him about that girl he started seeing before he moved down there. Brian retorts that Donna was the exception and not the rule. Now he can’t even keep in contact with her without risk of endangering her life!! With that, Brian makes his way over to the fish tank and puts his hand on the glass, lamenting his situation. Keller puts his hand on his shoulder and indicates to him that he knows he’s angry and bitter and that he has every right to be. He adds that he’s not the enemy. He only wants to help him. Brian angrily questions that phrase “help me.” He scoffs at it before indicating to Keller that he appreciates his efforts but that he can’t help him - nobody can. With that, Brian leaves Keller’s office and begins his journey home. From inside his office, Keller feels bad fro Brian. He’s a kid that’s in a world of hurt. Unfortunately, there’s little he can do to help him until he’s earned his trust.

Unbeknownst to Doctor Keller, three thugs, Marcus Renfield and his cohorts Dice and Speed are plotting their raid. The leader, Marcus informs the other two that the plan is for them to go in, raid the medicine cabinet for selected goodies and then head over to Sally’s party. Speed, armed with a chain, asks what if the doctor’s still there - what if they get caught. Dice, armed with two knives, agrees - he doesn’t want to spend any more time in juvenile hall! Marcus, armed with a baseball bat, implores them to trust him. The doctor’s a cripple, so whether or not he’s there or not makes no difference. He’s an easy target. Speed cracks his chain and indicates that he’s sold - let’s do it!!!

As Brian begins to make his way down the street, he thinks about all the trouble that Maverick went to to hook him up with Doctor Keller and that he shouldn’t have blown him off like that. He starts to feel bad about that and decides to go back and apologize. When he starts to head back to the clinic, he notices three thugs breaking into one of the clinic’s windows. He recognizes them from school and realizes that they won’t think twice about harming the doc if he gets in their way.

Just then, Brian hears the sounds of a struggle and of Doctor Keller in agony! As he rushes to the window to find out what is going on he knows that he has to do something - but what?? By the time he reaches a phone and calls the police and waits for them to get there, it will be too late to help the doc. He peaks in the window and sees Speed holding Doctor Keller while Marcus wails on him with a baseball bat as Dice looks on. Brian thinks to himself that there are only three of them and that he could probably take them out by himself with his powers. He can’t do that without exposing himself as a mutant and revealing his identity. So what does he do?????

Characters Involved: 

1st Story:


Jean Luc Vivant

Jean Luc Vivant’s butler (unnamed)

The Confessor

2nd Story:

Brian Johnson

Doctor Keller

Marcus Renfield, Dice, and Speed

Story Notes: 

Maverick killed his wife, Ginetta, and his unborn child, as revealed in Maverick #2.

The Hotel de Crillon is a famous hotel located in Paris, France.

The Berlin Wall was initially constructed starting on August 13, 1961 and was dismantled in the weeks following November 9, 1989. The wall was a long separation barrier that closed the border between East Berlin and West Berlin for a period of 28 years. It was built during the post-World War II period of Germany, in an effort to stop the drain of labor and economic output associated with the daily migration of huge numbers of professionals and skilled workers from East to West Berlin, and the attendant defector, which had political and economic consequences for the Eastern bloc.

Brian Johnson (as Chris Bradley) asked Donna out in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #8.

Brian Johnson and the X-Men clashed with the Friends of Humanity in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #15 and also in Maverick #4.

Issue Information: 
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