Soldier-X #6

Issue Date: 
February 2003
Story Title: 
The Askani Way

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: 

Trying to make a point, Nathan faces the bullets of the Armenian mafia head on, directing his telekinetic abilities only to heal his wounds, but not to deflect the bullets. The crowd is shocked by seeing him hit dozens of times, yet still standing. Asking what he demands of them, the Armenians give up their torture victim Vera. Nathan takes her, and walks back but gets weaker by the minute. The assembled pilgrims think they just witness a miracle and hope to heal their own wounds by touching Nathan as he walks by. However when it doesn’t work, they get enraged and accuse Nathan of not wanting to heal them because he considers them unworthy. To weak to put up a fight, Nathan goes down, but is saved by Geo. The man with the cyborg arm tells Nathan to complete his task, while he keeps the masses at bay, at the expense of his own life. The crowd kills him and rips his metallic arm off. In the Sanctuary, the dying Vera asks her daughter Magdalena for forgiveness, which she is granted. Well aware of her daughter’s changed powers Vera asks for a kiss, a kiss that drains the life out of her and kills her. Nathan realizes, through this, that he is a madman, his powers limited only by his own imagination. He has to be who he is, and if the world perceives this as him being a madman then so be it. He creates a huge illusion of himself, scaring the crowd away, and picks up Geo’s arm, which he gives to Father Dimitri for safekeeping. Then he departs. When SHIELD agents Jordan and Dragonfly later investigate, they are led to believe that Nathan died and became a ghost, the only thing remaining of him being the metal arm. Right then, Irene barges in, telling the agents she knows where Nathan is currently located, as she has been receiving Nathan’s diaries. Reading them, she became so engrossed that it she is on the verge of losing her job at the Daily Bugle.

Full Summary: 


In her apartment, Irene is reading Nathan's diary on her computer, as it reads-"Thus my gift acted on its own, intent on protecting itself by protecting me." Irene thinks he is sounding really schizo, when suddenly the phone rings. The answer machine gets it; it is Robbie Robertson at The Daily Bugle, the paper where Irene works. He wants to know where her sumo wrestling story is, and her job is waiting for her when she finishes it. Irene gets pretty angry, blaming it all on Nathan; but the allure of what happens next in his diary is too hard to resist. She reads on.

(in the past)

Nathan is walking into the hail of bullets sent by the Armenian mafia. He keeps his telekinetic shield down, only using it to heal his wounds. He wants to prove he is the master of his abilities and not its slave. It works, although maybe better than he thought. The Armenians fire bullet after bullet, but he manages to close every wound with his powers. Nathan wonders if his telekinesis would be enough to heal 100 gaping wounds? As the Armenians reload Nathan gives them a angry look and, and finally a frightened Kapriel, leader of the Armenians, demands to know what he wants. "The woman," he answers. Kapriel wont give her up as she is his prisoner, and attacks him with the red hot poker he was torturing his victim with. Nathan swats him aside like an insect, and Kapriel reluctantly gives him the woman.

With Vera in his arms, Nathan turns around and walks away, feeling very weak. But the pilgrims begin to tighten around him, seeing him alive after being shot so many times as a sign that he is an angel and can heal them too. It all becomes too much; too overwhelming for Nathan, and for the first time in his life he feels helpless. Defenseless. Exposed to the elements and random, unprovoked brutality...When the pilgrims touch him and realize that he hasn't healed them, they turn violent, thinking Nathan considers them unworthy of his healing touch. The pilgrim hit him with metal bars and kick him to the floor, and that's when Nathan realizes that he feels human; and that he needs help.

Nathan is saved when Geo comes to his aid, knocking out some of the pilgrims to get to him. He orders Nathan to stand up and get the woman to safety, while he faces the rampaging hordes of more angry pilgrims. Nathan hesitates at first, but Geo wont let him steal his own heroic moment in the sun, and jumps in to the battle.

And suddenly, dear Irene, I knew what I wanted. I knew who I was.

Nathan carries Vera into the sanctuary, where Oleg opens him the door. He begs Nathan to heal Vera like he did with Magdalena, but Nathan explains that it was Magdalena's who sucked the life energy out of him. Only she might save her now. Magdalena enters, telling them that she will not save her mother, the one who watched her be sucked dry of life and did nothing to stop it. Vera is dying, and looking as wretched and miserable as she could be. But Magdalena still wont relent; she refuses to die for her mother and take her place in hell. Vera explains her reason for what she did; she only wanted to be the mother of a saint and be remembered after she died. Magdalena is touched by this explanation. Now all she wants is to die knowing that she has her daughter's pardon. Magdalena forgives her. Vera wants one kiss off her, to know she'll be forgiven. Magdalene backs away, she informs her mother that her kiss now kills, not heals. Vera knows this, it doesn’t matter to her. Oleg tries to stop her, but Nathan intervenes and let’s mother and daughter do as they wish. Magdalena kisses her mother, and she dies.

Sitting by Vera’s body, Oleg wonder what they should do next. He tries to hug his daughter, but Madgalena reminds him that her power is now accurse, she can’t be touched. Magdalena vows to try and turn her curse into a gift. "And I will," she tells her father. Witnessing all this, Nathan thinks to himself.
Now I know I am neither a soldier, nor a priest, nor a hero. I am a man who has been in too many a war not to dream of peace. I am a man who saw too many leaders not to follow his heart. I am a man who knows there is no real hope for the world, but who hopes all the same. In a word, dear Irene, I am a madman. A madman whose gift is limited only by his imagination.

Nathan tells Oleg and Magdalene to take the truck, while he will make sure that nobody stops them on their way out. He goes to the door and sees that outside, the pilgrims have killed Geo. One of them holds up his ripped off metallic arm to show it to the world.
Askani, the name of my tribe, means "outsider," but also, in another dialect, "those who think for themselves." Our enemies used the word "Askani" to deride those who would not fit in. For them "Askani" meant "lunatic." A "madman." Another madman taught me a lesson that day, near Krasnaya Polyana, dear Irene. I learned that, once more, that there is no greater sin than not being who you are. And if this makes me a madman to the world, so be it.

Nathan seems to grow giant like. He begins to scare away the pilgrims and Armenians. The pilgrims drop Geo's arm as they flee, and Nathan picks it up. Papken orders the Armenians to flee, but Kapriel takes offence at his underling giving order, and calls him a traitor and holds a gun in his face. Only Peklar shoots Kapriel dead instead, before he can act.
"What," the Askani way. It is a tenet of acceptance that precedes a change. A doctrine of the insanely intense belief in the power of one man, any man, to derail destiny.

Ending the telepathic illusion, Nathan shrinks back to his regular size. He gives Father Dimitri Geo's arm to keep safe, and then takes into the air, flying away.
I have the power of a god. It is madness. I love it. What What I am, dear Irene...I am.


In a S.H.I.E.L.D. archive complex in Bethesda, after reading hundreds of eyewitness reports Agent Dragonfly concludes that Nathan Summers was torn to pieces by an angry mob, and his remains scattered by a giant like ghost of himself. Agent Jordan doesn't believe that. Dragonfly, however, has seen the evidence with his own eyes; Nathan Summers' metal arm at the Saint Lenin Sanctuary. He knows Summers is definitely dead. Jordan gets angry, smashing up the TV set. He is positive that Summers is alive, and that he will pay for Joy's death.

Dragonfly tries to calm his colleague by assuring him that, one day, someone will ring with information on Summers' present whereabouts. "I have information on Summers' whereabouts," says Irene, barging in. "I forgot to phone first, though."

Meanwhile, Arpoun is still tied up in the Saint Lenin Sanctuary's basement, forgotten by his captors and his friends alike.

Characters Involved: 

Nathan Summers

Irene Merryweather

Agent Dragonfly, Agent Jordan (both SHIELD)




Father Dimitri


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

other mafia members

dozens of pilgrims

voice only:

Robbie Robertson

Story Notes: 

Irene was ordered to write an article on sumo wrestling in Soldier X #1.

Joy was a SHIELD agent who got killed on a mission in Kazakhstan in Cable (2nd series) #106. Although Nathan was with her at the time of her death, he wasn’t responsible for it.

Written By: