Soldier-X #3

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
The Virgin of Krasnaya Polyana.

Darko Macan (Writer), Igor Kordey (Artist), Chris Chuckry (Colors), Randy Gentile (Letters), Lynne Yoshi (Assistant editor), Andrew Lis (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (President)

Brief Description: 

Nathan and Oleg arrive at a train station near Krasnaya Polyana. Oleg, frightened and sober, flees and leaves his new friend to rescue his daughter. Nathan figures the world needs the teachings of the Askani; that it needs him. Agents Dragonfly and Jordan of S.H.I.E.L.D. play a tape they have of Nathan's last whereabouts, which shows him storming a church. Magdalena, the 13 year old mutant healer, is being forced into healing by her mother, but Nathan is here to rescue her. When he carries her away a mystery man wearing goggles knocks him out. He wonders what kind of message he represents when he can't even attain inner peace within himself or with others. Who, then, would want to believe in him when even he cannot? The video fizzles out.

Full Summary: 

Blaquesmith, in bed with his ditzy Russian girlfriend, receives a phone call from someone who demands to know what's been going on. So he gives a quick recap of events so far; He's sent Nathan on a mission to find a 13 year old mutant girl called Magdalena, who has a healing gift which has gotten her into trouble with the Armenian Mafia and a never ending procession of the infirm. Blaquesmith won’t say why he sent him because he's mysterious. Anyway, Nathan and the girl's father, Oleg, have followed her trail to the village of Krasnaya Polyana. Blaquesmith, before hanging up, reminds the caller, called Andrew, that Moscow is 7 hours behind New York.
Fourteen hours train from Moscow Oleg and Nathan are stood on a train platform. Oleg wants to know what he's doing here. Nathan reminds him they are here to find his daughter, whose mother took her to Krasnaya Polyana against her will. Oleg thinks he must've been mad to come, and decides he's going back. Nathan is angry, telling him it's his daughter they are talking about; a poor girl whose healing gift is being exploited by his own wife! Oleg tells him that it's just the same as what happens to everybody, that everyone gets exploited sooner or later. As Cable isn't Russian Oleg thinks he can't understand, that he has hope. "You told me you loved her!" Nathan screams, angry. "I must've been drunk," he says, and wanders off, hoping to escape the clutches of the Armenian mafia. In his diary entries Nathan explains to Irene (While stealing a bike) that "what is..." is a credo of his Askani faith. To hear that phrase reduced to an excuse for despair he cannot stand. He realises that what the world needs is to be taught the way of Askani. It needs hope. It needs him.
At the train station Oleg is sat down on a bench, wasting away his misery in a bottle of vodka. A Russian man finds his bike stolen and is very upset. He sits down next to Oleg and notices his vodka. Oleg wants to know whether he wants any, so the two share the bottle of alcohol, to drown their sorrows together. "I lost a daughter," Oleg cries, despondent. The man goes on to complain that daughters are no good; all they do is eat you out of house and home and then you have to pay someone to marry them! He thinks the Chinese have the right idea; they chuck their daughters into the sewers. Oleg bursts into tears. The man with the stolen bike assures him that he can make another daughter. He, however, can't make another bike...
"It's easy to say that the world needs me," Nathan tells Irene in his diary. "Easier even to believe it." He is riding down a path where a lengthy line of people are waiting in a long queue. Suddenly an old man sticks out his cane into the spokes on the wheel of Nathan's bike, tripping him over. The man is angry that he is pushing in line and asks for his crutch back. Nathan levitates them both high into the air, where the man wants to know what he wants from the Virgin. He eventually lets him back down, where watching people proclaim him a flying miracle. Nathan runs off as a crippled woman whacks the man for stealing her crutch. As this goes on Nathan tells Irene of when he met Jackie Singapore and how he almost killed him...he was a man so confident that God put him in the planet's driver's seat. He had so much nerve. Nathan remembers being just like him. He wonders when he stopped being young, and what to do as a soldier who has outlived his war. Does the world really need him, he thinks. What do I do?
At S.H.I.E.L.D.'s underground complex in Bethesda, today. Dragonfly is heading down the stairs, a cup of coffee in each hand, when he passes S.H.I.E.L.D. combat operative Charlene, worn out and dishevelled after a mission. He calls her hot, and she takes offence, saying that doesn't sound very PC. "You know me, baby--I'm strictly a Mac kinda guy!" he says. He hears Jordan shouting for him, saying he's late. He hands Gilbert his coffee, joking "It's pronounced latte!" Well, Dragonfly finds it funny anyway. Jordan accuses him of not taking this investigation seriously. Dragonfly sits down, thinks about that grave accusation for a minute, then agrees. Dragonfly says if this were a proper case he would take it seriously, but seen as it's just all about Jordan's little vendetta because Joy got herself killed in Kazakhstan...Gilbert says she was murdered by Nathan Summers and that he will answer for it. Dragonfly states that they don't know he did it, and that Joy wasn't only just his girlfriend. Jordan becomes very angry and grabs Dragonfly by his shirt tie, demanding to know what he meant. Dragonfly mumbles that Joy was a beautiful young lady, and that she met exciting men all over the world. "You didn't seriously expect her to stay true to you?" Dragonfly asks. "Yes," Jordan replies. Dragonfly then retracts his statement, saying that Joy only had eyes for him and that she even turned down Colonel Fury! Jordan wants to know why he said all those things about her; Dragonfly claims it was all a joke, and that he was a little jealous. He orders him not to joke about Joy anymore. They get back on track with their work. The last thing they have on Summers was a witness report placing him near the Moscow O'Reilly burger joint which got blown up. He's not sure if he did it, but..."He did it," Jordan states flatly. The two of them were in Moscow at the time, and because of a few strings Jordan pulled at the time they were put on the "Nathan Summers Detail." They also have a tape. Dragonfly doesn't want to watch it though; he's seen a thousand times and it disturbs him. "Your jokes disturb me," says Jordan as he puts the tape in the video recorder. The picture on the video flickers, and slowly it clears...
In a church in Krasnaya Polyana Magdalena's mother, Vera, is working the video camera. Dimitri, some kind of monk and Vera's brother, asks whether her daughter should rest a little. Vera says no, and tells Dimitri to open the door. She calls Magdalena, telling her the sick are ready to be healed. A miserable Magdalena, curled up on the floor, tired, replies with "Yes mother." She stands up and goes to her first patient; she heals an old woman of blindness. The woman is overjoyed at regaining her sight back. After her comes one sick person after another; a man with cancer; a man who can't walk; a woman with a sick baby son. Then comes an obese man with gross red welts all over his belly and chest; the small mutant healer is visibly sickened at the sight. Dimitri tells this man to leave, calling him a revolting sinner. The man thinks he has the right to a miracle too, and slyly tries to blackmail Dimitri by threatening to reveal the existence of his niece to the patriarch. Vera tells Dimitri that Magdalena has received her gift from God, and it is not their will to interfere, and orders her frightened daughter to help this man. Dimitri knows this man and seems to be disgusted by him. Vera tells him that they all deserve grace. Magdalena kisses the obese man's belly to begin the healing process, but pulls back before the healing is fully done so she can be sick. "Is she ready to continue?" Vera asks, not seeming to care her daughter is upset. Dimitri vehemently says no, asking her why she is sacrificing her daughter, but Vera counters with the knowledge that God sacrificed his son. "But you are not God!" Dimitri screams. But Magdalena declares she is ready, and goes over to heal this disgusting man. Before she can do anything the vaulted ceiling caves in, and Nathan crashes down, looking like an angel descending from Heaven. Magdalena smiles, holding her hands together in prayer. The obese man attacks Nathan, but he just punches him unconscious. Magdalena asks him whether he is an angel. "Da," Nathan answers. He picks up the girl in his arms and proceeds to take her away from this place. "Nathan Summers?" asks a voice in front of him. This mystery man punches him to the floor. He tells Irene in his diary that at that point he still had no idea why Blaquesmith wanted the girl, and he didn't care, as he gladly accepted the mission to release his pent up frustrations. But if he'd stopped to think that morning he would've found his thoughts tremendously funny. The world needs hope, but they don't need him.
"What kind of message do I represent when I can't even attain inner peace within myself or with others? A never ending struggle? Those words do not represent hope. Who, then, would want to believe in me...when I could not. When I would not."
The tape picture fuzzes and goes blank.

Characters Involved: 

Nathan Summers / Cable / Soldier X


Charlene, Dragonfly, Gilbert Jordan (all S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Oleg, Magdalena's father

Vera, Magdalena's mother


Dimitri, a priest

several sick and crippled people

a mail man

several other russian natives

Story Notes: 

Geo's name is only revealed next issue.

Issue Information: 
Written By: