Weapon X (2nd series) #17

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Defection - part 2

Frank Tieri (writer), Jeff Johnson (penciler), Don Hillsman II, Georges Jeanty & Avalon Studios (inks), Avalon Studios & Tom Chu’s Color Dojo (colors), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Stephanie Moore and Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Chamber has only joined up with Weapon X undercover for the X-Men. He secretly meets up with Wolverine in a cinema to inform him that Brent Jackson has ordered him to kill mutant organs dealer, John Sublime, as some sort of initiation. As Jono has never killed before, he is unsure what to do, but Logan doesn’t see a problem, as Sublime deserves death, and he pushes Jono rather hard, telling him that he knew what he signed up for and, now that he is within the Weapon X project, he has to maintain his cover and pull through the mission. Jono, however, is not convinced anymore and is unsure what to do. Hours later, he meets up with Director Brent Jackson and tells him that he’ll do it. That night, Jackson, Sauron, Wild Child and Chamber attack the U-Men’s main building, the others destroying the lab areas, providing enough of a distraction for Jono to secretly enter the building. He makes his way to Sublime’s office in no time and has the perfect opening to take him out. However, he hesitates a second too long and is discovered by the U-Men, eventually ending up captured by them. Their intentions are obvious; to them, he is just another mutant to dissect and make use of his organs.

Full Summary: 

And I said that I would never leave you! says the woman on the screen. Jonothon Starsmore, also known as Chamber, is sitting in a cinema watching the film “Casablanca.” There are only a few other people watching the movie and Jono is eating some popcorn. Just as the movie’s most famous line Here’s looking at you, kid comes up, someone touches Jono’s shoulder from behind. It’s Logan, aka Wolverine. Jono says that it’s about time that he showed up, but Logan answers he wanted to make sure that Jono wasn’t followed.

Jono didn’t mind him being late, though, for it gave him the chance to reflect on this fine bit of cinema, pointing towards the screen that shows Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at the airport. In fact, Jono says he finds it fairly interesting that Logan chose this movie for them to rendezvous, as it is about a “tough guy” who is forced to do “the right thing” and stand aside, as the woman he loves winds up with some “straight laced, do-gooder bloke.” In a joking manner, Jono repeats the movie’s famous quote to refer to his own situation; however Logan doesn’t smile back. After giving Jono a serious look, Logan asks why he called in this meeting.

The teenager reports that the X-Men’s suspicions about Weapon X were right – they have asked him to kill someone as a sort of initiation, his target being John Sublime. Logan wonders why the Weapon X program would bother with the mutant organs dealer, but actually he thinks it doesn’t matter. As head of Jono’s undercover operation, he gives him the okay to go through with it. John Sublime is no big loss, after all. Jono, however, has second thoughts; sure Sublime is a bad guy, but kill him? Logan reassures him; of course killing is not the X-Men's way, but they all knew when they had Chamber infiltrate Weapon X that he’d be required to do some things that were gonna get his hands a little “dirty.” He asks Chamber whether he is already losing his stomach...

Jono interrupts him, asking Logan to spare him the “don’t let the team down” speech. He says that, for Logan, it’s rather easy to say as he has been killing people for a long time. However, Jono has never killed before, he never had to, he did not even have to consider it a single time either with Generation X or the X-Men. Killing goes against the “Xavier way” that he was taught. Picking up Jono’s coke and drinking it, Logan tells Jono to wake up – Xavier’s way ain’t even Xavier’s way anymore. Times are changing and the X-Men have to change with the. The price for doing good and saving lives has gone up, Logan claims, and when all it takes to bring down such an organization like Weapon X is Sublime’s head and a small piece of your soul, then you pay it.

Logan continues that the X-Men..., but again Jono cuts him off. It’s always the X-Men, always the “bleeding X-Men,” and he is beginning to think that it might be the X-Men that he has a problem with. Maybe, Jono says, he does not like the lengths X-Men are willing to go anymore. In his rage, Jono said “you X-Men,” as if he no longer considered himself one of them, prompting Logan to ask what he means by that. They get up and head to the cinema’s exit, continuing their conversion.

Logan wonders out loud why Jono even signed up for this job the first place. By now, he is getting the impression that Jono’s “angry young man” play-acting in the bar wasn’t all that much “play.” And, if that really is the case, Logan says, he better not screw up. Whatever Jono’s problem is he needs to get over it and maintain his cover, he’s got to complete his mission and find out what Weapon X. Logan angrily asks wether he made himself clear and Jono confirms it; “crystal.” They head off in different directions, Jono looking rather troubles and confused. He is not entirely convinced and still unsure whether or not to perform the mission.

(hours later)

Director Brent Jackson is sitting in his new office, a rather large room with a panorama view over the mountains that the Weapon X base is located at, and going over some files when it knocks on the door. It’s Jono, who tells Jackson that he made up his mind and is in. Jackson proudly smiles and congratulates Jono to his decision. With the push of a button, he summons the two other agents currently at the compound, Wild Child and Sauron, and informs them of the good news. Tonight, they’ll be joined by a fourth. Jackson briefs Jono on the mission details.

John Sublime’s main business headquarters on the surface looks like another building. There are people filling their paperwork, drinking four-dollar lattes, surfing the Net for naughty stuff when the boss ain’t looking. However, some employees do not work in these average offices but in hidden subbasements beneath the buildings. They enter the building, just like everyone else, but, once in the elevator, they use a special key to take the to the subbasements and, along the way, they change clothes, as they wear special containment suits for their work with mutant organs. Some mutants are tested and examined, other are dissected, their organs being grafted to willing human subjects, the U-Men, who hope to gain their victims’ powers. Today, a pair of mutant cat eyes are transplanted to one of the U-Men.

(hours later)

At dawn, the four Weapon X agents make their move and fly up to the roof of the building, Sauron carrying Wild Child, and Jono and Jackson both using jetpacks. While Jackson acts as contact for everyone and stays on the roof, the task for Sauron and Wild Child is first to provide a distraction and then to destroy the lab area. Releasing an electric discharge from his hands, Sauron creates a minor explosion in one wing of the building, also short-circuiting the security systems. Up on the roof, Jackson helps Jono to enter a ventilation shaft to do what Jackson calls the simplest job of them all. Jono crawls deeper into the shaft, eventually stopping right above Sublime’s office. He can already see the man through the ventilation grating and tells himself that there is no backing out now.

However, before Chamber can pull it through, several U-men enter the room, informing their leader that they are under attack, apparently by two mutants: one dinosaur-man and some kind of mad dog. The U-Men report of the damages to the lab and losses among their own ranks, but John Sublime doesn’t give a damn about it, asking his men why he had them equipped with mutant organs if they can’t deal with two single attackers. Right then, one of the U-men takes his helmet off, showing his pointed ear implants, and hears something. Next, he has located the source of the “noise,” and points up towards the ventilation system, telling his teammates that there is an intruder up there.

Jono has no time to react. In a fraction of a second, he finds himself surrounded by gunfire and he comes crashing through the grid, falling on the floor. Hopelessly outnumbered by the U-Men, Jono looks at John Sublime, who somewhat mocks him, saying that first there was lightning and now it’s raining mutants. His intentions regarding Jono are pretty obvious.

Characters Involved: 

Brent Jackson, the Director of Weapon X

Chamber, Sauron, Wild Child (all Weapon X)

Wolverine (X-Men)

John Sublime



other people working in the Sublime building

cinema audience

Story Notes: 

The movie “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman was first released in 1942 and is considered by many to be an all-time classic.

Issue Information: 
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