Manhattan Docks, six months ago:
Listen, it’s all connected! Bruce Banner, dressed only in ragged pants, with a mad look in his eyes tells Spider-Man. That’s it. That’s the secret!
Secret to what? the confused youngster asks. All of – all of this . It’s connected, Banner continues. You – me – They don’t want you to figure it out. They don’t want you to know. Who are you? Spider-Man asks and grabs him by the arm.
Suddenly, the warehouse is filled with the glare of lights as the army has arrived. Time to put his collar on, the leader says, addressing Banner. Where were they, like, a billion years ago, Spider-Man asks sarcastically, referring to his battle with the Hulk.
Banner panics and shouts at them to leave him alone. The soldier tells him he knows how this works. He can either put it on himself or he’ll put it on for Banner. Spidey asks who they are while Banner screams and the soldier warns him he is interfering in a matter of national security.
Suddenly, Banner transforms into the (green) Hulk and jumps outside. Army helicopters follow him heading towards New Jersey. Spider-Man is left back wondering what the hell all that was about.
Battle of the Tenaru
Led by a soldier dressed in the blue white red and bearing the flag, American soldier press forward, but in the onslaught he is shot and dies.
Back in the USA, President Roosevelt is informed of their soldier’s death. This is terrible, he states, not mincing words. They did take the island, an aide reminds him. Their supersoldier is dead, the president replies. There’s blood on the flag.
The advisor point out that he was just a soldier… Roosevelt retorts that he wants a super soldier who really is a super soldier. More than a man, he has to be a symbol. A God-fearing symbol to these godless bastards. He shows them the photo of the dead supersoldier. This is a war of images, he stresses. He doesn’t want to see this. He doesn’t want to see a man in their blood-soaked flag lying on the bodies of those who died for America’s freedom. Yes, sir, comes the reply.
The Allied Invasion of Sicily, August 1943.
From the ruins of a house comes a whumping sound of a minor explosion. Making some noise there, one of the three soldier, Nick Fury, remarks to James Howlett, who replies with a grin, that it worked, didn’t it? The third one, Fisk, swears impressed as he checks the safe for the lot they are about to liberate. Fury asks Fisk didn’t he say he knew a guy who could move this stuff? He didn’t say that, comes the reply. Howlett suggests they split it up.
While they wonder whether the stuff is real, they are discovered by an officer. Fisk jumps out of a window and manages to flee. Fury and the Canadian soldier, Howlett, are captured and transported away.
Fury finds himself in a prison cell back in the States, surrounded by other imprisoned soldiers, all of them African-Americans like him. Watching as guards transport the corpse of another inmate, Fury and another guy assume they are not going to get their day in court.
An elderly man with spectacles and a moustache comes in and watches them critically. He settles on Fury, This one, he decides, pointing at him. The soldiers take him out, ignoring his questions. He is led to a giant lab.
Test subject 41. Project Rebirth. Subject name: Nicholas Fury, the moustached scientist announces. He walks on, telling his assistant that the blood samples were healthy and matched that of Subject 22, which had their largest success.
Fury again tries to ask a question and is ignored by the scientist who continues that they’ve adjusted the plasma levels to match the previously taken blood sample. They are hoping that the new mixture will bring on a breakthrough. Is she taking notes? Yes, sir, the blonde replies, shooting a fearful look at Fury.
As he is tied to a chair, he shouts again and is told to pipe down and take his medicine. This will be over momentarily, the scientist adds. It is in Fury’s best interest to allow them to do his work. Please, he just wants to know what this is? Fury can finally finish his question. He wouldn’t understand, comes the reply, so it wouldn’t help them to explain any of this to him.
Where is he? Fury asks. Taking a syringe, the scientist replies he is in a laboratory and he’s been elected for experimentation. It’s an honor, the scientists continues. He hopes Fury knows that. He injects him. Time: 4:11 PM . What are they doing to him? Fury screams.
The scientist’s staff check their watches. No protuberances, the assistant observes. That is promising, the head scientist admits and asks her to take Fury’s temperature. How does he feel?
The blonde asks Fury to open his mouth. Fury moans, then screams in agony as his eyes turn red. The scientist orders everyone to their station.
His eyes aglow, Fury screaming in a mad rage, tears apart his ties. He is surrounded by energy as that of an explosion. Outside the lab, the soldiers hear crashing noises. They hurry inside to see everything devastated. Suddenly and quickly, they are beaten up and taken out by a Nick Fury, who has turned into a muscular superman. Taking a rifle, Fury makes his way to freedom.
The troops find the destroyed lab and the doctor and find out Fury freed all the other prisoners. The scientist asks them to find him. Frankly, he’d like to thank Fury. They finally have what they need. They have their breakthrough.
Alberta, Canada, October 1943:
Howlett is kept in a tube until he is forcefully woken up. The scientist tells his soldiers to put down the guns and assures James he is with friends.
A little later, rifle in hand, James has fled the lab and now runs naked into the snowy wilderness.
Soon soldiers follow him, ordered to shoot. Shoot to kill? one soldier asks and is told they have their orders. So they shoot him. Per radio, they are asked if he is alive. He is not breathing, they reply and are told to double check. Left alone in the snowy wastes is a single black monolith.
Before their eyes, Howlett’s wounds begin to heal, even though he was shot in the head. They are ordered to bring him back.
Weapon X Subbasement, three years later:
The director Colcord asks Doctor Cornelius to explain what he has done here. Cornelius explains that at first they were following experiments to create their own Captain America, their own super-soldier. At first? Colcord asks. Science sometimes leads one down paths one didn’t even know existed.
What has he done? Colcord demands. The scientist tells him to look through a microscope. This is a normal human genome. Colcord doesn’t understand. What’s a genome? It’s what makes us… us, comes the reply. The other slab shows something different, what they have made from Mister Howlett’s genealogy.
This is not just tampered with, or damaged. Something new has been created here. This is a mutated strain of the human genome. This is something more, something better. Mutated, Colcord repeats. This is what they’ll call the mutant gene, Cornelius decides. They created it right here. Man has created its first genome and this is it.
What does it do? Colcord asks. That depends on who carries it. As Colcord saw, in Mister Howlett’s case (which they’re still studying) it increased healing and animal like senses.… Once the mutant gene spreads, they’ll see all kinds of different… Spreads? Colcord asks.
Who knows how it will affect the others, Cornelius continues. How will it spread`? Colcord insists. Eventually man would become extinct, he knows that, right? Cornelius changes the subject. Like the dinosaurs before him. This never-ending world war might be their version of natural selection. The beginning of the end. But… but! Instead of finding a way to kill each other faster, they have found a way to survive themselves. They’ll survive… they’ll evolve.
They are standing over Howlett’s tank. Right here, they control the fate of man. They created a new species. They’ve created the mutant. And James Howlett… is mutant zero.