Ultimate Nightmare #3

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 
Ultimate Nightmare - chapter 3

Warren Ellis (Writer), Steve Epting (Penciler), Nelson DeCastro & Tom Palmer (Inkers) Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Nick Lowe (Assistant Editor), Ralph Macchio (Editor); Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Based on an idea by Joe Quesada

Brief Description: 

The X-Men and the Ultimates both make their way through the complex in Tunguska, each group unaware of the other. The Ultimates learn that the complex was abandoned in 1994, as well as that something important happened in 1927, before coming across a strange being, a filthy creature, a human with a horn drilled onto his head. The Ultimates attack it, and take it down, enabling Sam Wilson to do an autopsy, but when they try to contact their Helicruiser to take the creature back aboard, their transmission cannot get through. The X-Men also come across a mysterious creature, a half-human half-robot, who attacks Colossus, and causes the three X-Men and itself to fall into a pit below, where several beings close in on them.

Full Summary: 

Tunguska, Russia, where General Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D, Captain America and the Black Widow of the Ultimates and the freelancer known as the Falcon are currently investigating strange going-ons. ‘1927’ is etched into the wall of the bunker that the quartet are searching, and Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson suggests it might be the year that the building was started. Native to Russia, Natasha Romanova a.k.a. the Black Widow agrees, but suspects that something like this to be kept secret, even in Russia, for so long must pre-date Stalin’s spies, the Cheka. Fury motions to a table with books and papers on it and asks Sam and Natasha if they want to take a look at them.

Natasha pauses before revealing that she is bothered by the date etched into the wall. Captain America admits he is too, and supposes that if there was a military application to whatever is in here, then it would have surely been used during the war. Picking up a large book, Natasha points out that the nuclear mines beneath them are post-World War Two, therefore they might not have known what they had until it was too late. She flicks through the book to find a final entry and asks Sam for some light. Sam holds a glo-stick out in front of Natasha who reads over the final entry, revealing that the staff didn’t get paid here for six months around 1994, so they literally locked up and left.

Captain America scowls and declares that he knew a lot of Russians, and he could never imagine them doing that. Natasha tells Cap that he missed sixty years of disappointments - sixty years of the State telling its citizens that it would look after them, but leaving them no choice but to look after themselves. Fury orders the others to keep moving and tells Natasha to take the book and keep reading. Cap leads the way through the dark passages when suddenly he asks if that smell is what he thinks it is. Fury mutters that he can’t smell much aside from…his voice trails off when he shines a torch into a corner and asks if that isn’t what he thinks it is. Cap confirms what he thinks it is, and affirms that it is droppings.

Elsewhere in the sprawling complex are three members of the X-Men, a group of mutants. Colossus, Marvel Girl and Wolverine were sent to Tunguska by their leader, Charles Xavier who suspects that a powerful mutant is being held against their will. The three X-Men walk through the dark corridors as Jean ”Marvel Girl“ Grey mutters that she cannot believe none of them thought to bring flashlights. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan declares that he can see just fine. ‘Bully for you,’ mumbles Jean.

Suddenly Wolverine tells his ex-lover and the man who is possibly his closest friend to ‘Hold on’, and they watch as he picks up a stick, ties a rag around it and scrapes one of his adamantinum claws along the concrete floor, causing enough friction to create a small flame, enabling him to create a fire-torch. ‘Better?’ asks Logan. ‘Not really, no’ replies Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin. Looking around the chamber, Jean wonders how many people have lived here and for how long. Logan tells Jean that that is not the question - the real question being how many people died here.

Meanwhile, Fury suddenly tells everyone to ‘Hold it!’ and he and Natasha stand ready with guns. Natasha asks him if he sees something, to which Fury motions over to the corner of the chamber. Sitting in the corner is a humanoid, wearing filthy clothing and its long dirty hair covers its face and hangs down its body. ‘Ha ha heh,’ the creature laughs. ‘Hey comrade, stand up,’ Captain America shouts. Natasha tells Steve that the being is not going to be able to understand him, so she speaks to him in Russian, ‘We’re not going to hurt you, this is a rescue mission, please stand up’.

Suddenly, the creature disappears. Startled, Sam asks where it went, but Captain America sees him and tells Sam to stay cool, as the mysterious being is hovering just beside him. ‘Ha ha heh. Ha ha heh’. The creature starts foaming at the mouth as Cap lines his target up and asks Natasha to tell him to put his hands on his head or else he is going to take him down. Natasha points out that there is something on the beings head and asks the others if they can see it. ‘Ha ha heh’. The quartet watch as the horn on the creature begins to glow. The light emitted enables them to see the creatures mouth of jagged teeth, and Cap raises his shield to protect everyone as a blast of energy comes their way.

The glow fills the room as everyone raises their weapons to the target. The creature makes a hideous noise before everyone begins shooting at him. Cap is knocked aside by a blast from the beings horn. Natasha calls out to Cap as Fury orders the Falcon to cover Cap. Sam informs the General that the bullets are not hitting their target, before pointing out that it seems to need to take a breath in between discharges, so he has a better idea. Natasha realizes what Sam is going to do, but Sam tells her to be cool, when just as the creature begins to discharge more energy.

As Sam presses a button on his belt, Natasha points out that the ceilings are a little low for him to go flapping off, and that the creature does not look overly impressed with wings. Sam steps forward with his wings outstretched and uses them to wound the creature at his stomach, causing the creature to fall backwards and huddle into himself. ‘Actually, I take that back,’ declares Natasha as she tells Sam he obviously made an impression on him - or in him at least.

Fury tells Natasha that they can now see if bullets work on him, and the two begin firing at the fallen being. The creature no longer huddles into itself, but lies sprawled across the cobblestone floor. Captain America tells Sam he did some nice work, to which Sam tells the others he needs some light. Someone asks ’what for’, to which Sam informs the others he is carrying enough tools to do a rough autopsy, and just as well, as he wants to take a better look at this guy.

Sam declares that the guy is ’forty if he’s a day, you know’, pointing out that there are signs of starvation in the beings past, that he must have had a rough life. Sam tears the horn with a scalpel and asks the others if they see what he is looking at. Cap asks if it is metal, and Sam confirms that the horn was bolted onto the beings skull, the hole drilled through his forehead, with wire fed through his brain, the skin then grew back over the horn.

Fury decides that they should get him back to the Helicruiser for a better look, but when he calls to the Helicruiser via his communicator, the only thing he hears is part of the recording that has been playing all over the world. …no escape…it comes and there is no escape…. Fury frowns and tells his team that as they are too close to the source it is blanketing the radio spectrum. ‘We’re cut off,’ he declares.

Elsewhere, the X-Men come to the end of the road as their tunnel is blocked by a huge pile of debris. Colossus wonders if the complex is so old that it is just starting to collapse in on itself and supposes that it would go some way towards explaining their missing mutants panic - trapped underground in a structure that is giving way. Logan touches the debris and declares that the missing mutant may be trapped, but that this is not a structural collapse, it was put here. Peter looks at Jean and asks her what she wants to do.

The teams resident psychic informs her friends that the noise is getting stronger, so she doesn’t want to waste any more time, therefore, they go through. Logan looks back and asks who it is that wants to move the mess. ‘The big metal guy? The moves-stuff-with-her-mind chick? Oh, let me guess’ Logan turns back to the obstruction and tells the others that if the junk turns out to be load-bearing then he is not digging himself out from under the roof. ‘You people make me sick’ he jokes before mocking them: “Wolverine, don’t kill that guy!“, “Wolverine, save our useless butts but be nice about it!“ “Wolverine, dig through a tunnel so we don’t break our nails!“

Logan unsheathes his deadly claws again: ”Wolverine, use your special cut-through-anything claws to save us from having to actually do work!“.Suddenly, his claws clang against something hard enough to make him go ‘Owww!’ Standing before Wolverine, Jean and Colossus is a large being covered in some sort of armor. Logan realizes that it was not a blockage, but a nest as the large creature picks him up by his neck and throws him back into his teammates. ‘I believe it is time I did some work!’ exclaims Colossus as he leaps forward at the creature, and speaks to him in Russian.

Colossus tells his opponent that he firstly thought him to be a robot, but now that he can smell him knows he is a man - a man with robot parts bolted onto him. Colossus uses his incredible strength to smash away at the creature, pointing out that he rusts, for his human body parts sweat into the metal and corrodes it. He wonders if the creature nested to stay dry and wait. Colossus motions towards a pile of skeletons and asks if they were his prey, before telling him that they came to find a victim, not monsters, when the creature knocks him aside.

The half man-half robot stands over Colossus, but the handsome X-Man tells the creature that it is too old, too ruined, and that if he hits him again then they will fall through the floor - ‘you wont survive the fall!’ Colossus shouts at him. But the being doesn’t listen, it smashes Colossus, causing the floor to collapse beneath them, sending the three X-Men and the creature plummeting downwards, along with hundreds of bones, as the X-Men land in a pit, they look around, and as several long-haired beings approach them, Colossus adds that they might not survive either.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Marvel Girl, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

Black Widow, Captain America (both Ultimates)

General Nick Fury


Unidentified Beings

Story Notes: 

The exact timing of this series is unknown, though a reasonable estimation would place it between ultimate X-Men #49 and #50 and Ultimates #13 and Ultimates (second series) #1.

The event that took place in Tunguska in 1904 can be seen in Ultimate Nightmare #1.

1927 is the year that the first expedition party was sent into Tunguska after the event in 1904, as seen in Ultimate Nightmare #1.

Issue Information: 
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