Ultimate X-Men #10

Issue Date: 
November 2001
Story Title: 
Return to Weapon X - part 4: In the Heart of Darkness

Mark Millar (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Transparency Digital (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Saida! (letters), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Drafted against their will by the Weapon X program, a team of X-Men frees SHIELD agent Nick Fury from the hands of a group of terrorists, who intended to sell both him and his secrets. A second group, led by Cyclops, infiltrates the secret compound of the terrorists. Nightcrawler and Cyclops destroy the genetic weapon the terrorists were creating, while Storm and Marvel Girl are to recruit the project's head scientist for SHIELD. However, Wraith changes his mind and forces Marvel Girl to execute the scientist by making her choose between his life and that of Cyclops. Back in their cells, Colossus tries to comfort Iceman by claiming that Wolverine will come to save them, eventually. Unfortunately, at that moment, Sabretooth brings in their newest prisoner - an unconscious Wolverine. Wraith, in the meantime, is content; things are going better for Weapon X than ever. His colleague, Cornelius, is sceptical; he is certain that SHIELD means to shut them down. Given the power in their hands, why should they accept that, Wraith wonders, while both look at Charles Xavier, who has been strapped into a Cerebro-like device.

Full Summary: 


Drafted against their will by the Weapon X program, one team of X-Men, consisting of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Storm and Nightcrawler, is to infiltrate a terrorist base in India. Storm cracks a joke about the cold. Wraith orders them from the Weapon X base to have Nightcrawler circumvent security and for Storm to create some diversion while Nightcrawler teleports on in. On cue, Storm crates a heavy rainstorm, while Kurt teleports into the compound and presses the open button. The guards are surprised as the door slides open and Cyclops apologizes before he uses a low-impact optic blast to knock them out. As Wraith mocks his boy-scout ethics, Marvel Girl retorts that perhaps Cyclops doesn't take as much pleasure in hurting people as Wraith seems to do. Six months from now, she is going to find that sentiment as hilarious as he does, Wraith promises her, while Dr. Cornelius informs him that the Beta-team are an estimated three minutes from the train Nick Fury's being held prisoner in.

Inside the train, Fury's captors awake him and threaten him about what lies ahead. How does he feel knowing that soon every secret in his head will be used by his hated opposition? That he will be subjected to such intense torture that every second will seem like an hour? That pretty much sums up two of his last three marriages, Nick retorts wrily. His old acquaintances on the other side of the border will enjoy his sense of humor, the terrorist states, while he calmly sips his tea. After all, what fun is there in breaking a man already broken?

Neither of them is aware that the other X-Men team, equipped with jet-packs, is closing in on the train from above. Iceman takes out the two helicopters accompanying the train by freezing the controls and forcing them to crash-land. Colossus is ordered to land on the tracks and stop the train by himself. They don't even know if he has the kind of strength and stamina to survive this, he protests. That's a risk Wraith is prepared to take, though. However, it turns out that Colossus is quite stronger than the onrushing train as he stops it in his tracks.

Wraith radios Beast, telling him that he hopes that he adapted to those surgical enhancements Dr Cornelius gave him. Because his girlfriend is going to lose one digit for every scratch they'll find on Fury's face. While Beast deftly grabs Fury - with his feet, no less - and flies him away from the train, he threatens to kill Wraith, should he touch Storm. Wraith is unimpressed. Beast had better get it into his head that his big brain means nothing to them. One step out of line and they'll detonate his skull.

In the meantime, Cyclops and Nightcrawler of the other team notify Dr Cornelius: they have reached the nerve center of the operation and believe they are standing in front of the thing that Fury was so excited about. Through the badge, Cornelius receives the picture and tells Cyclops they were expecting this. The amorphous creature in the tank in front of them consists of 57 different varieties of mutant gene spliced together - the biggest threat to the peace process this region has ever seen. Catching it at its incubation stage should make it easier to kill the creature.

Cyclops admits he is bothered by this. He thought they were sabotaging a tech-weapon, not a living creature. The creature has 22 hearts and no recognizable brainwaves - it is no more human than Cyclops is, Wraith replies, so they had better pull the plug. Nightcrawler calls out "look out!" in German and pushes Cyclops to the ground, before he gets hit by the guards' shots. Instead, they hit the tank freeing the creature that intends to attack the two young men. Cyclops shouts at Kurt to get them out, while Kurt shouts in German for Scott to hit the detonator. While neither speaks the other's language both of them get the idea and Kurt teleports them away before they get hit by the detonation.

Outside, Cyclops complains to Wraith: how come nobody ever taught Kurt some basic English? Because they couldn't be bothered, Wraith shoots back and then contacts Jean and Storm: What's the situation with the brain behind this little operation? What did he have to say regarding their job offer? In the lab, Jean asks the Doctor and he seems to be interested in working for SHIELD. However, Wraith interjects, there has been a change of plan: The boys with the calculators decided they're not interested in the good doctor after all, so the new order is to terminate him and Jean is to do the honors. Jean refuses horrified. Wraith replies that 85 percent of new recruits say the same in her position, hence they have developed a clever little back-up initiative.

They are joined by the boys who have received a fake distress signal. Suddenly Cyclops collapses in agony. Wraith explains that Jean either kills the doctor within the next fifteen seconds or they will detonate the sub-cranial homing-device in Cyclops' head. Her best friend or a stranger who is a war criminal anyway. Scott shouts for Jean not to do it. Why is he doing this? Jean exclaims. Because there isn't much of a point having an elite army of killers if they are all operating on PG-13 morality, Wraith cheerfully explains. The doctor addresses Jean and tells her his name is Atul Pandya. He tells her about his wife and children, his character quirks and hobbies, desperately trying to make her see that he is a human being like her friend. Wraith is counting down and Jean does the only thing she can. She stammers out that she is sorry to the dead scientist on the floor while Wraith smirks that there is hope for her yet.

(Weapon X headquarters, Finland)

Back in their cell, Scott is trying to comfort the desolate Jean. In the cell opposite to theirs, Juggernaut asks Rogue to please stop spying on them hugging. This is creepier than the time he caught her kissing herself in the mirror.

In another cell, a dejected Bobby Drake announces that they are going to die here, right? Peter doesn't have to pretend to him. These people are going to keep using them until they die and then they are just going to catch another bunch of mutants and do the same thing all over again. They're going to die in the middle of nowhere and no one will know!

Colossus touches the crying boy's shoulder and reminds him of Wolverine: how he was abused and tortured and treated like an animal by Weapon X. He was happy for the first time in his life among the X-Men. And now his only friends have been kidnapped by the people he despises. So, does Bobby really think that there is even a remote possibility that Wolverine won't come for them? Iceman sounds slightly more hopeful as he asks Peter if he really thinks so? He'd bet Dollars against Rubles on it, the Russian earnestly replies.
In that case, Sabretooth, who just entered the cellblock, interjects, he'd better never hit Vegas with Colossus, because their St. Petersburg people captured Wolverine six hours ago. They found him frozen in a snowdrift with a plastic bag in his hand and hit him with enough Napalm to hold off the Viet Cong, he explains, while guards drag the unconscious, badly injured Wolverine inside. So, are they feeling stupid?

Upstairs, Wraith tells Cornelius that he is starting to enjoy their job again. Saving Fury, recapturing Wolverine, their new talent. They're on the cusp of a golden age here. Cornelius asks him if he is in some kind of psychotic denial. SHIELD's cutting their budget and reinvests in conventional military forces. According to a leak in accounting, SHIELD intends to stop the Weapon X project. Wraith scoffs: they are sitting on a collection of teenagers with the power to change the world. So why should they accept a gutless decision from some old guy with a colostomy bag? After all, he states, as he and Cornelius enter a certain lab, they have a world-class expert on changing people's minds on the company books, right, Charlie-boy?

Professor Xavier, who is strapped into and hooked to a Cerebro-like device replies, "think big, Doctor. SHIELD could be anything you want it to be."

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Colonel Nick Fury (SHIELD's deputy commander)

Colonel John Wraith (head of Weapon X)

Dr. Cornelius

Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Sabretooth (prisoners / agents of Weapon X)

Dr. Atul Pandya

Diverse terrorists

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
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