Soldier-X #5

Issue Date: 
January 2003
Story Title: 
The Siege of Saint Lenin

Darko Macan (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Chris Chuckry (colors), Randy Gentile (letters), Lynne Yoshii (assistant editor), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Father Dimitri has taken Nathan, Oleg, Magdalena, Geo and the captive Arpoun to an abandoned factory called the Saint Lenin sanctuary. There they are held under siege by the Armenian Mafia, who brutally torture Magdalena's mother Vera in full view of them. Inside, Nathan makes a disturbing discovery about the young healing mutant; she is not the same girl he brought back from the dead. She can drain energy from people. She shows this by watching her mother's agony with something akin to satisfaction, and by taking life energy away from Nathan. Somewhat jealous, Geo picks one more fight with Nathan, and is easily defeated, though the incident gets Nathan to thinking; what does he want out of life? Oleg can't stand his wife's torture no longer; he grabs a gun and goes to save her. However Nathan stops him, and goes out in his place, minus his TK shields. The Armenian mafia prepare to fire upon him...

Full Summary: 

In Russia, Father Dimitri has lead Nathan and the other fugitives to the Saint Lenin sanctuary, which is in reality an old factory where a mad artist used to work on blending Orthodox and Communist iconography. At the moment Magdalena is sitting on top of a huge statue of Lenin which has wings, watching the world. Nathan tells her to get down; in the open like that she'll be a sure target for Armenian snipers. Magdalena ignores him and instead tells him about her dog, Zoya. In the past she'd already brought the dog back to life, but when the dog was killed by an angry mob, proclaiming it hell spawn, Magdalena's mother refused to allow her to resurrect it again, telling her to save her gift for those who deserve it. The girl points to her mother outside the factory. She is being tortured. She wonders whether he mother deserves help.

When Nathan grabs her arm, Magdalena sucks some life energy from him. She knows now, that when he saved her, he didn't give her this new power on purpose. She's still grateful anyway; that he taught her how to take from others instead of having it taken from her. Then she kicks him off the statue. "It's so much easier to be a taker!" she tells him cruelly. It's then that Nathan realizes that the girl he brought back isn't the same one who died.

Outside the compound, the Armenian, Peklar, thinks that he shot the man with the metal arm off the statue. Papken isn't so sure, then tells him that Kapriel gave explicit orders not to capture the metal armed man alive. Papken winds up his friend something rotten before revealing he was just having him on.

As Nathan falls from the statue he thinks that his every accomplishment started to crumble into dust the moment he hoped for success. As he hits the ground the girl's father, Oleg, asks Nathan if she is alright. He tells him to check himself. Oleg can't though; he's afraid of heights. Nathan tries calling Blaquesmith on his mobile, but there's no signal.

"What's up hero?" Geo asks. Nathan has no time for him, but he goes on regardless about how Nathan has always been a hero and how he has such good lucks and how he didn't have to work to become a hero. Geo then goes on about how his own bionic arm was made for gorillas in the Seventies when the Russians were considering an intervention in Africa and how Nathan's arm is so much better. "You have no idea how good you have got it!" Geo tells him. Nathan has no mind for this self pity. He needs to get Magdalena to safety, but Geo isn't having any of that. He starts to become angry because Nathan doesn't appreciate all he's got and all he's worried about is his phone not working. So Geo attacks him, and Nathan pushes him back. Nathan wants to know what he wants of him. Geo explains-"I don't want to be reduced to a codename and a password and a PIN! I don't want to be a number for computers to crunch and palmtops to process! I don't want French movies looking as if they were written in Hollywood and made in Hong Kong! I don't want to be judged by the name of the shirt I'm wearing! I want to eat Borscht and Burek and Baklava, not those blasted burgers all the time! I want the right to be a hero without looking like one! I want a world where I could be without being the same! But most of all-I want to smash your pretty face into pulp! Then I'll watch it heal and I'll smash it again!" A fight starts.

Inside the factory a chained up Arpoun asks Father Dimitri "Are they fighting again?" Arpoun taunts the Father, telling him that his charity wont earn his mercy in return. Dimitri doesn't understand, as his people, the Armenians, have suffered so much in recent history, and thus should make him sympathetic to the suffering of others. Arpoun laughs this off. His people, all good Christians, believed in a merciful God. "And what did this merciful God do during that time?" Arpoun asks. His God did nothing. So his people now have only one choice; to take care of themselves and be the oppressors, not the oppressed. To not be killed, they have to kill. "God loves the strong, Father. He abhors the meek!" says Arpoun. Dimitri sighs. "Perhaps...we need a new god, then..." he wonders.

Outside Nathan has quickly won the fight with Geo, wrapping him up in steel girders using his TK abilities. Poor Geo is screaming with fake injuries, begging to be let go, when he realizes something; he's never seen the hero smile. Nathan tells him to shut up, angry, as he clutches the cell phone. This makes Geo happy, giving him an excuse to go on about how heroes never took orders in his day. "Are you a waiter or a hero?" Geo teases, laughing. Nathan is really riled up now, demanding to know what Geo wants, what he knows. Geo tell him what he knows; a long list of things, the last of which is that he knows what he wants. "Do you hero?" Geo asks him. This sets Cable thinking; does he want to be a soldier? A hero? A priest? “Who am I ?“ he wonders, as the phone crumples to dust in his hand.

An agonized scream rips through the air. Nathan and Geo; Dimitri and Arpoun; Oleg. They all hear it with horror. Magdalena hears it too, watching as the Armenians brutally torture her mother. Magdalena is not appalled at this sight though; she finds it amusing.

Vera, strapped to the huge wheels of a truck, is begging to God, telling him that she can't be his martyr; that job is surely for her daughter? She begs God to take Magdalena instead, and in return she will testify his glory to everyone! Meanwhile Kapriel has dislocated his shoulder and is having it bandaged; an injury sustained while flogging his victim. A casket of hot coals is brought to him with searing pliers burning on top of them. Kapriel grabs one of the pliers handles and burns his hand. His subordinates makes veiled hints to each other that their boss might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but refrain from making a direct comment. Kapriel orders gloves be brought for this next stage of gruesome torture. With a glove and torture weapon in hand he turns to Vera. He gives her one more chance to end this; he tells her to call her daughter. As he places the hot pliers on her back she scream, in agony, "MAGDALENA!"

Still sitting on top of the huge statue, Magdalena watches, enjoying every moment of her mother's pain. Oleg, however, can't put up with his wife's torture any longer; he grabs a gun to go and rescue her. Geo tells him to rescue him instead and that his wife is not worth it. Oleg disagrees; Vera was a good woman once, and a kind mother, and she smiled a lot. She was the only woman that ever smiled at him. Nathan takes the gun out of his hand and agrees to get her for him. Meanwhile Geo is escaping his metal bonds and wants to help him, saying they can be like Butch and Sundance! Geo is angry, as he wants to help kill the Armenians as well. But Nathan isn't going to kill them. As he walks outside the compound he uses his powers to crumple the gun in his hands to dust.

He later describes his thoughts in that moment in a letter to Irene :

I picked up a gun and remembered how easy it is to murder. Then I remembered how much better it felt to save a life. With the first step out of the gates I felt the air around me bristle. My TK shield was up. Thus, my gift acted on its own, intent on protecting itself by protecting me. This, I decided, would not do. I attacked. I could almost hear my gift's angry squeals, but I persisted. I switched the shield off.

An Armenian's bullet rips open his ear, but Nathan walks onwards.

For, if I was to go on--if I was to find myself--it could be neither in fear, nor servitude. It would be on my terms. Or not at all.

The whole Armenian Mafia prepare to open fire...

Characters Involved: 

Nathan Summers


Oleg, Magdalena's father

Vera, Magdalena's mother

Dimitri, a priest


Arpoun, Kapriel, Papken, Peklar (all Armenian Mafia)

Story Notes: 

Nathan’s thoughts in the narration boxes are a letter he sends to his friend Irene Merryweather. Of course he can only write the letter after these events, though in the issue the paragraphs are presented parallel to the panels that depict the events that Nathan refers to.

The tragic story of Zoya the dog was told in Soldier X #2.

Issue Information: 
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