Ultimate Nightmare #4

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 
Ultimate Nightmare - chapter 4

Warren Ellis (Writer), Trevor Harsine (Penciler), Nelson DeCastro, Mark Morales, Rodney Ramos, Simon Colbey & Tom Palmer (Inkers) Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Jared Osborn (Production) 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 Black Widow discovers that a device caused the Tunguska event, before she, Captain America, Fury and Sam Wilson come across a prison within the complex, where the failed subjects of the Super soldier program are kept. Of course now they have escaped their cells and wander free. They are attacked, but defeat their opponents. Deeper into the prison, they come across a super soldier who can speak coherently, and as it turns out, he is Russia’s equivalent to Captain America. Cap and his double engage in battle, while Natasha, Fury and Wilson head for the center destination. Meanwhile, Marvel Girl, Wolverine and Colossus fight more failed super soldiers, until Jean, who is becoming very irritable, hearing someone screaming in her mind all the time, ends the battle in one swoop with her Phoenix powers, worrying Colossus. Jean at times falls into a trance and states strange sentences as they get closer to the source. She also insults Wolverine a lot, before they finally come to the center room - and are shocked at what is inside.

Full Summary: 

Deep within the cavernous compound in Tunguska, Russia, General Nick Fury of SHIELD, Captain American and the Black Widow of the Ultimates and Sam Wilson stand ready for any more troubles that they may encounter. Reading the log book that they found, Natasha Romanova a.k.a. the Black Widow informs Captain America that this is all his fault. Steve Rogers asks Natasha what she means, and she informs Cap that she finally found the relevant entries, that this is all because of him. She explains that the effort was expanded down here post World War II, and that whatever hit Tunguska, she thinks that words are being made up in this book, but that whatever it was, was biochemical in nature.

Sam Wilson asks if a device caused the Tunguska event, and Black Widow explains that apparently it was a recording device, and that after the war they learned how to partially disassemble it. Natasha tells Cap that they were terrified of him, even though he was lost by then. She explains that Russia was terrified of him because as an American super soldier, he reinvented ground war - it was the last thing they expected. Natasha adds that there were no guarantees that America wouldn’t rediscover how to make more of him either, so a cold-war battle was begun to fight a soldier who no longer existed. ‘The whole time you were asleep in the ice, these people were at war with you’.

Black Widow supposes that with the artifact they had and were pulling it apart, they discovered that they could implant pieces of it into guinea pigs. ’Put one thing that works on to another thing that works…’ ’exactly’. Natasha tells Cap that the beings that fill this place are his Russian cousins, medical jokes kept underground for everyone’s safety, adding that they were implanted with radio devices monitored by nuclear landmines set to explode if they leave the area. ’These are Russian super soldiers, Captain. You can hear them screaming’.

Elsewhere in the sprawling complex, three members of the mutant X-Men - Wolverine, Jean Grey and Piotr Rasputin have fallen deeper into the catacombs. Jean mutters that she figures this could have gone better as Wolverine unsheathes his claws and declares that the beings they see before them are not mutants, that they are ugly, screwed up, weird looking freaks, but not mutants. In his native Russian, Colossus tells the creatures to remains where they are. Jean asks Colossus what he is doing, but Colossus asks her to give him a second. Colossus approaches the creatures and informs them that they are a rescue team, who are here to help. He states that there is a psychic here who has been calling out, and boasts that they can get them all out of here.

A large greenish creature with glowing eyes asks Peter if he is Russian, and when he replies that he is, the green creature states that there is no Soviet Union any more, and asks Colossus where he is from. Colossus informs the creature that they are part of an international rescue effort, neither military nor governmental. Colossus asks the being to help them understand what has happened here and to find everyone trapped in this place. The creature seems rather surprised and asks Colossus if they are here to help. Colossus replies that they are, and the green being declares that it has been so long, that finally there is kindness in this place, finally a good Russian boy here to help them.

But when the green creature picks Colossus up in his large hands, he calls him ‘A lying feces-parasite from your mother’s burst intestines’ and begins to crush Colossus. ‘Okay. Plan B: Smack the life clean out of their weird-looking bodies’ declares Colossus as he transforms himself into organic-steel and bursts out of the creatures grip. ‘Well, it’s about damn time!’ exclaims Wolverine as he dives towards a group of the creatures.

Cap, Natasha, Fury and Sam Wilson keep trudging through the complex when they come to some sort of prison area. A creature with dozens of hands shoves its hands through the dirt floor and attacks the quartet. Sam uses his Falcon wings to fly onto one of the high walkways and shoots at the creature from up high, while the others shoot at it from down low. When the shooting finally stops, Sam declares that the worst part of it was that he saw a couple dozen hands but only one head.

Fury states that the worst thing is that they are not there yet, and wonders how much more of this they are going to have to contend with. Natasha reminds Fury that the scientists were down here a long time - long enough to make a hell of a lot of mistakes. Mistakes too big to kill, mistakes so bad they could do nothing but lock them up. Natasha tells Cap that in a funny kind of a way, it is all his fault. ‘But perhaps you have to be Russian to appreciate the humor’. Cap just mumbles ‘Mm’

Meanwhile, the X-Men are all facing off against the creatures as Jean declares that this is all wrong. Logan asks Jean if she is squeamish all of a sudden, but Jean, who suddenly flares up with her Phoenix power, tells Logan to shut up, and ‘like having a three-figure personal body count makes you clever or something’. Logan tells Jean that this is what the guys they are fighting wanted, as it is what they were made for. ‘I’m just better at it than they were’. Angrily, Jean says to Logan ‘Yeah, and I’m better at actually doing the job than you are, so shut your mouth before I shut it for you - I’m finishing this now’.

Jean flies up above everyone else and power surges around her. Colossus asks her if she is doing that, and declares that he doesn’t know if he wants her to be doing that. Jean then uses her awesome powers to rip a hole through the middle of the large room, causing all of the creatures to fall down into it. When the dust settles, Jean tells her friends that they have come this far, that they are going to get to the center of this thing and find out what is going on. Jean asks the guys if they can imagine if those…things…had kids, and what they would have done to them.

Jean suggests that there is no reason a mutant child could not have been conceived here, and asks her teammates to imagine growing up in this place. ‘A baby in an underground world of monsters’. She tells the guys that they have only been down here an hour, but that she is going crazy. She tells them she doesn’t want to think about years of this being all she knew. Logan notices that there is blood coming out of one of Jean’s ear’s and tells her that she must have burst some blood vessels because she is pushing her telekinesis too far. Jean just tells Logan to quit looking for things to prove his damn manhood and help her find a kid who wont stop screaming in her head. She declares that every second it gets louder and more desperate, and it is not stopping.

Cap tells Natasha that there is one thing he doesn’t get, for she is a Russian Super soldier too. Natasha informs Cap that there were at least four different programs - that she knew of - to develop a super-soldier, and obviously one she didn’t know about. ‘Boxes within boxes’. Cap turns to Sam and asks him how they are doing. Sam replies that they are a hundred meters or so from the central space, and that according to the scans, the central space is vaulted, reaching right up to the topsoil level, and suggests that inside, they will have a better chance of restoring radio contact.

Cap sees movement ahead and tells his allies that they have another inmate. ‘Well, gee, I guess we could negotiate’ says Fury mockingly, before exclaiming ‘No, we could just kill him’ - and everyone begins firing at the super soldier in front of them - until he speaks - ‘No, you could not American’. Cap points out that that is the first time one of them have spoken coherently, Fury suggests that it is prison hierarchy, that there is always going to be one tough guy who gets enough food and keeps it together. ‘And there’s always a good reason why that guy’s in prison in the first place’. replies Cap.

Torches aimed at the Russian super soldier, he informs them that, in the English term, he is the Trustee. Motioning to Cap, he asks him who he is. ‘Captain America’ replies Cap with gritted teeth. The Super soldier reveals that the good workers of this place once said to him that they make him great because one day he will get to meet Captain America. ‘Finally’. He declares that he has waited, and guarded the means of production like a good worker, and finally Captain America has come to him. ‘I always knew you would come. I have considered our fight for many decades. There is music in this. Do you understand Captain? Great music’. The Super soldier smiles as he re-tells how he told the workers that he has no shield, and they told him they cannot replicate Captain America’s shield.

‘So I made my own’ the Super soldier declares as he steps into the light. Fury tells Cap that they should run this up the flagpole and see who salutes it, that they should just shoot him and keep on going. But Cap replies ‘No’ and tells Fury, Wilson and Natasha to breach the door and finish the mission, and putting down his gun, he declares that he knew Russian soldiers during the war, that they were good men who made horrible painful sacrifices to defend their people. ‘And to see them turn into people who make monsters and keep them underground on top of a minefield - to see people like you, proudly complicit in this nightmare…’ Cap’s voice trails off before telling “Captain Russia” that he will give him his fight.

Raising his shield, Cap tells his Russian counterpart that he may have been waiting forty years for him to come and beat the blood out of him, so it is rude of him not to oblige. Fury ushers Natasha and Wilson towards the door as Cap and the Super soldier slowly approach each other. ‘I have had forty years to plan this battle, Captain’ the Super soldier says, to which Cap replies ‘And it’s going to take five minutes to plant you in the dirt’.

With great ease, Marvel Girl rips apart a mighty brick wall, and Logan tells her to tone it down, pointing out that she is ripping herself up. ‘Oh, what do you care?’ snaps Jean. Logan is surprised - ‘huh?’ Jean tells him that she said ‘What do you care?’ and reminds him that he is the guy who confessed to being hired to kill the Professor - after she let him go to bed with her. ‘So really, shut up with anything that sounds like you care. Because you don’t’. ‘No one cares. Nothing matters’ No escape’ declares Jean, before blood starts to come out of her eyes, ‘It comes and there’s no escape, all the stars go out’.

Logan points out to Colossus that the closer they are getting to this thing, this kid or whatever it is, the worse Jean is getting. Colossus declares that he has lost his sense of direction and asks ‘which way?’ Logan point to the door and tells Piotr to take it down, but when Logan reaches to Jean, she declares ‘We are all dead - don’t touch me you make me sick’. Colossus kicks the huge door down, and sees that it is lit inside the room, wondering where the power is coming from he suddenly stands shocked - ‘What is that?’ Logan looks easily shocked, as Jean floats up above them, and trance-like states ‘Nothing…no escape…all die here…my nightmare…’.

Characters Involved: 

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

Black Widow, Captain America (both Ultimates)

General Nick Fury


“Captain Russia”

Unsuccessful Russian Super Soldier Program Subjects

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 (2nd series) #1.
Originally Wolverine was sent by Magneto to infiltrate the X-Men and kill Xavier. Jean learned of this in Ultimate X-Men #4, after they’d already started an affair. Since then, their relationship has been strained at times.

Issue Information: 
Written By: