Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #9

Issue Date: 
July 2011
Story Title: 
High Art

Rick Remender (writer), Billy Tan (artist), Dean White (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Esad Ribic (cover artist), Jared K Fletcher (design), Jody Leheup (editor), Nick Lower (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

On Utopia, Doctor Nemesis brings Magneto an envelope which contains a photo that upsets Magneto. X-Force return to Cavern X after battling the Shadow King, while Wolverine continues to assure Angel that killing the soldier, to prevent him from launching a nuclear weapon, was the only option. Inside their headquarters, they find Magneto, who has somehow discovered X-Force’s existence. Magneto shows Wolverine the photo - it is of a Nazi soldier. Wolverine explains that this is not a revenge squad, and Magneto does not tell him why he himself will not take the soldier down. Wolverine agrees to do it, and goes solo, taking EVA to Rio de Janeiro, where he soon finds the Nazi soldier, now an old man, living in an isolated area. The old man looks at photos of his recently deceased wife, and reveals part of his past to Wolverine, who holds his sword over the old man. The old man hopes that Wolverine will remember what he has said to him, when the times comes that his victims go after him. Wolverine wipes his sword clean and leaves.

Full Summary: 

Utopia, 60 miles off the coast of San Francisco. It is a cold, gray day. The waves lap against the rocks surrounding Utopia, as one of the X-Men’s jets lands on the island. Namor the Sub-Mariner is waiting. Doctor Nemesis exits the jet, and Namor tells his associate that whatever frivolous errand Magneto sent him on has left him maudlin. ‘He’s confined himself to quarters until you return’ Namor adds. They walk side-by-side up to the main building, and Namor remarks that they have no time for this. ‘Scott has need of him and to be frank -’ Namor begins, before Doctor Nemesis interrupts, telling Namor that what he is about to ask of him is not in his nature, but he should comply nonetheless. ‘Walk away without another word’ Doctor Nemesis tells the Atlantean.

Carrying an envelope, Doctor Nemesis makes his way across Utopia, until he finally comes to Magneto’s quarters. He enters, and finds the Master of Magnetism sitting in a chair near the fire place. ‘You’re certain you want this?’ Doctor Nemesis asks as he approaches Magneto. ‘I am not’ Magneto replies as he takes the envelope. Doctor Nemesis informs him that all the particulars are within, as he leaves Magneto’s quarters. A glass of something, possibly alcohol, sits on a table next to Magneto. He picks it up and drinks the whole glass, before setting it down on the table.

Magneto opens the envelope and pulls out a small piece of paper, or paper-like object. He looks at it - then goes wide-eyed. He sets the paper down on the table, then pours himself another drink, and downs it quickly.

Meanwhile, aboard EVA, over northern Arizona, en route to Cavern X. Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock tells her teammates that the Shadow King is not done. ‘Fueled by his failure, a second bevy won’t be far behind’ she adds, before remarking that she still doesn’t know what brought them this postponement, as her memory seems to be damaged from fighting the Shadow King inside Warren’s mind. Warren “Angel” Worthington III tells Betsy that he remembers the Shadow King in his mind one minute, laughing about the soldier he was using to launch the nukes, and when he went into the control room, the Shadow King still had possession of the soldier and was forcing him to launch. ‘Which forced me to…’ Warren’s voice trails off.

Wolverine a.k.a. Logan tells Warren that he did what he had to do, there was no choice, and suggests he doesn’t sit there stewing in it, as he saved lives. ‘And you beat the disembodied spirit of Jim Morrison. Pretty good’ Wade “Deadpool” Wilson exclaims. ‘That’s the Lizard King, you ding-dong’ Wolverine tells him. Warren smiles and remarks that there was not any choice. ‘I know. Still…can’t shake the feeling there was another way’ he admits as they exit EVA, along with their teammate Fantomex.

‘A possessed man was about to launch a nuke. Not his fault - but still - about to launch a nuke’ Wolverine points out, assuring Warren that there was no other way. Wolverine reminds everyone that is the type of ugly they do in this team - the type of ugly you don’t spend much time wondering about once it is done. Wolverine enters a code on a control panel to allow them to enter Cavern X, and remarks ‘We do this so no one else has to. So that no one else even has to know - we exist’.

But as they enter their headquarters, they see Magneto sitting on a chair, with their ally Deathlok, forcibly trapped in the air above Magneto. Costume memorabilia of the X-Men’s enemies Toad and Mr Sinister are displayed behind Magneto. Deathlok informs X-Force that he attempted to eject Magneto, but that he is at a disadvantage. Warren goes over to Magneto and asks him how he found out about them. ‘Remember to whom you are speaking’ Magneto replies. There is silence, before Magneto places the envelope on a nearby table. He turns to Wolverine and asks if they can speak in private. ‘You didn’t exactly choose private, bub. No secrets in this squad. Everything’s on the table’ Wolverine replies.

‘If you insist’ Magneto mutters, before handing Wolverine the envelope. Logan pulls the photo from it - it is of a Nazi soldier. ‘Why can’t you do it?’ Logan asks. ‘Because I’m asking you’ Magneto tells him. Wolverine explains that this team neutralizes threats, that it is not a revenge squad. ‘Please…do this for me’ Magneto asks, pleading with his eyes. Logan says nothing for a moment, before agreeing. ‘Alright’ he tells Magneto. Magneto takes his leave and walks away from X-Force. Deathlok falls to the floor after being released from Magneto’s thrall. Wolverine tells his teammates to get back to their lives, as he will handle this, and walks away from them.

Wolverine enters his barren quarters, and takes a sword from the wall - where a framed piece of paper hangs. The words “I have a high art. I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me” - Archilocus, 650 BC engraved on the paper. Logan picks up a back pack, then looks at the photo of a woman, before leaving his room.

Wolverine approaches EVA, and Fantomex informs him that EVA will take him wherever he would like. ‘Whatever it is, you don’t have to do it alone’ Fantomex tells Logan. ‘Mind the store. This won’t take long’ Wolverine replies as he enters EVA.

Soon, EVA hovers over Rio de Janeiro, and informs Wolverine that they will arrive shortly. They soon descend upon a lush landscape, and Wolverine sets off through the jungle, photograph in hand, he searches for his prey. He comes to a small house, where an old man is shopping some firewood outside. Music can be heard coming from inside the house, and as he sees Wolverine, the old man turns and goes inside. Wolverine follows him, and walks down a hallway, lined with photographs.

Logan finds the old man sitting in a chair, looking at a photograph, he explains that he came here after the war, a lot of them did. ‘Built a house. Started a new life. Then I met her’. The old man explains he told his wife he was a farmer, that he had never lifted a weapon. ‘She was a vision. A golden heart. We raised three children in this house…and I put the war behind me’ he reveals, while music continues to play from an old gramophone. The old man stares at the photograph, and announces that he never forgot that he did not deserve a single moment of the happiness he had been given. He reveals that his wife died last winter, wholly unaware of the monster she had lived her life with.

Logan goes over to the gramophone and turns it off. The old man remarks that he is glad his wife never knew of the monster she lived with. Wolverine pulls out his sword, and the old man hangs his head, remarking that he knew this day would come, even after all this time. ‘No man outruns his past’ the old man declares, and tells Wolverine that he hopes he remembers that when his own victims come for him. Wolverine stares at the old man as he shoves the sword into him. Blood splatters everywhere, and Logan wipes his sword clean, turning to leave, while the old man lies in a pool of his own blood, the photo of him and his wife, in their younger years, in his hand.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Force)

Doctor Nemesis



Story Notes: 

X-Force battled the Shadow King in Uncanny X-Force #8.

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: