Soldier-X #7

Issue Date: 
March 2003
Story Title: 
The Low Budget Action Movie

Darko Macan (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Matt Madden (colors), Randy Gentile (letters), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

In Kashmir, several men working for General Daid-Khan search for a mysterious person gifted with telekinetic powers. As the locals aren’t willing to help, the General’s men take the children hostage, and throw them off planes one by one, to find out which of them is capable of flight. Nathan Summers makes the plane stop in mid-air and rescues the children. One of them, a boy named Rafi, tells Nathan that there was a stranger in his village who only said the word "Askani." The boy takes Nathan to his village, only to find occupied by the mad General’s army, who wants Nathan to work for him. Nathan plays along with them as they wish for things only his powers could provide. The General wishes to fly; Nathan turns the General's translator into a creature with wings. The General wants Nathan to make him an atom bomb; Nathan turns his hands into enriched uranium. One clap and he'll go critical. The General doesn't believe him, thinking he is bluffing, and prepares to clap his hands; but his subordinates shoot him dead before he can try it. Nathan uses his powers to make the soldiers vanish before thy can cut of the General’s hands and sell them, but actually he was bluffing. Blaquesmith enters the scene; only it isn't really Blaquesmith, but a failed teacher called Nigel Novotny, made to look like Nathan's mentor by Jackie Singapore, so that he trusts him. They want Nathan to become a religion through the media of films. Nathan thinks this might be a good idea, and decides to help Nigel by teaching him.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere over Kashmir flies a military plane. Someone inside, speaking in Punjabi, thinks they are almost at the target area. The locals are firing at them from the snowy mountains, but the plane is well out of their firing range. One of them, Firdaus, head into the cargo hold to check on Aamir, who is watching over the cargo; a group of frightened, tied up children. Aamir wonders whether they are really going to go through with what they're here for. Firdaus answers this by opening a door and throwing out one of the children, a little boy. The children panic, and Firdaus orders Aamir to throw one out of the plane; particularly the girl who he'd grabbed to stop her kicking and screaming. He can't so it. "It's her or the both of you, Amir!" Firdaus screams, pointing a gun at him. "The General has no need for traitors!"

Suddenly the plane jolts. Firdaus runs into the cockpit and asks the pilot, Bazid, what happened. The plane has just stopped in mid-air. Firdaus figures one of the kids must be doing this; they've found the child that the General was looking for. Firdaus tells the children he'll keep throwing them out, one by one, until one of them confesses or floats. Then Aamir spots something amazing outside the plane, and the other comes to the still open hatch to look.

"My name is Nathan Summers," says the man floating by the plane, the thrown child in his arms. "I've come for the children." Nathan asks the children to come to him; that they have nothing to fear. They walk to him over the air, Nathan using his telekinesis to keep them afloat. When all the children have come to him he asks their captors if they want to come too. Only Aamir takes up the offer as Firdaus calls him a traitor. As Nathan flies away Bazid rushes past Firdaus, a parachute strapped to his back. He wonders what he's doing until Bazid reminds him that the plane can't restart in mid-air like helicopters can. He jumps out of the plane, asking him wether he brought a parachute too. Firdaud's screams of "NO!" echo around the mountains.

Nathan lands in the mountains with the children and Aamir. Aamir thanks Nathan for saving his life. Nathan asks him to take the children home, and he agrees. Then a stone hits him on the back of the head, thrown by one of the children. More of them start to throw stones, shouting "He tried to kill us!" But Nathan saved their lives, and he asks they grant Aamir's life in return. "I ask you this of all of you! Promise me that you will not hurt this man or any other!" Nathan asks of them. They inquire whether he is a madman. Nathan thinks he isn't sane anymore, but that a little girl showed him it was never too late to believe in someone. He explains he is Askani by faith, and believers in his religion have always been called madmen. "If they promise not to hurt you, will you take them home?" Nathan asks Aamir. He agrees, and Aamir and the children set off. But one boy stays behind, telling Nathan that a week ago a stranger came to his village, and the only word he would say was "Askani." "Will you take me to your village?" Nathan asks. "It's a long trip, " replies the boy. "Will you carry me on your back?"

Nathan is traversing the mountain, the boy Rafi on his back. Rafi wonders why they do not just fly to his village. Nathan tells him that just because you are able to do something does not mean you must necessarily do it. "We are able to do so many things, so few of them are right," he explains. "Life is a search for those few." Rafi confirms the children's earlier suspicion; Nathan is a madman. Rafi spots his village, and he gets excited. The village is a ramshackle old place, but seems deserted. Rafi thinks they must be hiding because they are afraid of them. He calls for his mother. His mother cries out for him, but somebody whacks her over the head with a gun.

The two of them round a corner and find the people of the village kneeling on the floor, a dozen men with guns trained on them. "Ah, you must be the man who walks on air!" declares one of them in Punjabi. "My man told me which direction you went before his plane crashed... Translate, Mostafa!" His aide Mostafa translates for his General as he talks to Nathan. Mostafa introduces his great, powerful General. Nathan tells him he can wipe out his army in the blink of an eye. Mostafa translates this as Nathan begging for forgiveness. The General tells Nathan to work for him; that he is the all-powerful weapon they've been waiting for. Mostafa translates this to Nathan as asking him to be the lowliest of his servants. Nathan wonders whether he has to throw children out of planes. Mostafa translates this as Nathan wanting to throw children out of planes. The General finds this pastime quite amusing, but there is no need now that they have found the true prophet. Mostafa translates this as the General telling Nathan he can only throw children out of planes at his orders. "That's a relief," Nathan mutters.

The General requests that Nathan teach him to fly. Nathan is about to comply when he changes his mind; he wants him to teach Mostafa how to fly. Mostafa is terrified, begging the General, claiming he is not worthy. Suddenly Mostafa collapses in pain as his body contorts. He grows huge, leathery wings; his feet turn into bird like claws. His General orders him to fly. He wont. So the General fires a gun at his feet, and the translator has no choice but to obey. The General finds this highly amusing, proclaiming that Nathan is a god and can do anything.

So he asks him to make him an atom bomb. Nathan says yes. When General Daid-Khan takes off his gloves he realizes that his hands are made of enriched uranium. He only has to clap them to reach critical mass. The General doesn't believe him, and decides to test out whether he can really detonate himself. But before he can clap some of his men gun him down, dead. His men wonder if they can cut off his hands and sell them. Nathan walks away, snapping his fingers; the soldiers vanish into thin air.

Rafi wants to know what would have happened if he had clapped his hands. Nathan smiles; "I was bluffing. That was no uranium, just some cave fungi luminescence I turned his epidermis into." The boy is definitely sure he is mad this time. Nathan assures him again that he isn't; he's just not stupid.

"You could've fooled me," Blaquesmith mutters, entering the picture. Nathan greets his master, knowing he was the one who was dropping the word "Askani" around. But he has a confession to make. He's not Blaquesmith, he's actually Nigel Novotny, a teacher embittered by his profession because he received no respect from his students. He was hired by Jackie Singapore and turned into Blaquesmith, thinking Nathan would trust that form, and to convince Nathan to follow their agenda. An agenda to turn Nathan into a religion; to make him into the messiah of the new millennium through the medium of movies. Nathan actually thinks this is a good idea, as people take their entertainment more seriously than their lives anyway. It might even help his cause. Nigel wants him to help him; the reason he was such a lousy teacher was because he never learned to be a good student. "Teach you to fly?" Nathan asks. "Teach me to walk," Nigel answers.

As Nathan and Nigel set off across the terrain he inquires of the blonde woman that Nigel had met. He explains that she left him to marry Father Dimitri while tracking him. She thinks there could be a lot of money to be made from the cult that formed after Nathan was there. Nigel is suddenly angered; he realized that they haven't done the recap page again! He asks Nathan whether he can make it so no one will notice; he does have the power of a god now after all. Nathan can't do that, but assures him he can make it so people will return next issue for a glimpse of what they'll do in the future...

Characters Involved: 

Nathan Summers

Blaquesmith II, aka Nigel Novotny


Rafi's mother


several other children

Aamir, Bazid, Firdaus


General Daid-Khan

Daid-Khan’s army

Story Notes: 

Blaquesmith/Nigel met the blonde Russian woman in Soldier X #2.

Jackie Singapore first tried to bring Nathan to his cause in Cable (2nd series) #107, the final issue of the series. He failed miserably.

The little girl who Nathan mentioned was the mutant healer Magdalena, who appeared in Soldier X #2-6.

The much envied (by Nigel anyway) Father Dimitri was Magdalena's uncle.

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