Weapon X (2nd series) #18

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Defection - part 3

Frank Tieri (writer), Jeff Johnson (penciler), Don Hillsman II (inks), 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: 

Several weeks ago, the X-Men discussed the problem of the new Weapon X program. Wolverine reported of some odd things he learned while reading the computer files at the Weapon Plus compound and proposes that they have someone infiltrate Weapon X. Several X-Men volunteer but, for one or the other reason, neither seems to make a believable traitor – no one but Chamber. Horribly disfigured, his powers not fully explored and his ex having found a new love within the team, he is the perfect choice. However, Logan warns him about the many dangers involved. In present day, Chamber finds himself caught up in one such situation, him being strapped to an examination table to be dissected by the U-Men. Fortunately, he is saved by his new Weapon X teammate, Wild Child, and, together with Sauron and their leader, Brent Jackson, they destroy the U-Men’s labs before Jono is told to fulfill his part of the mission. He does as told, breaking into the office of John Sublime to kill him. However, the U-Men’s leader entangles Jono in a discussion about some connection between Weapon X and Sublime and how he can even chose a side when not knowing all details. He then throws an explosive at Jono but the youth emerges from the blast unharmed and, no longer willing to listen to the man, he performs the kill. Later, in a bar, Jono secretly meets up with Logan, who congratulates him on a job well done, Weapon X now fully trusting him. However, Jono admits that Sublime’s words are haunting him and he is no longer convinced of him doing the right thing.

Full Summary: 

(several weeks ago)

Wolverine is angry. He says it's about time and that they have been tiptoeing with these “monsters” long enough. What he recently learned only makes him think that even more. Ask him, finally the time has come for the X-Men to take down the Weapon X program, once and for all. Seated around a table are some of Logan’s fellow X-Men: Cyclops, Husk, Northstar and Iceman, along with their mentor, Professor Xavier. Archangel and the team’s latest addition, the unstoppable Juggernaut, are standing, just like Wolverine. Rubbing his first, the Juggernaut tells him to point him in the right direction and he’ll see to that the X-Men no longer have to worry about Weapon X anymore.

Logan wishes it were that simple; in fact, he’d be the first to take the Juggernaut up his offer and join him in the attack, however this situation calls for a somewhat more safe strategy. Hearing this, Iceman comments that this is something he thought he’d never hear from Wolverine’s mouth. Logan further explains that the stakes are too high. Only recently did he and Cyclops storm the Weapon Plus compound, where he learned a few things about himself and something about a possible connection to Weapon X. Northstar asks whether they weren’t informed that Weapon X had separated itself from their “parent” Plus Programs, which Logan confirms. However, as it seems, they have rekindled that relationship and it seems to involve a place called Neverland.

This is no unfamiliar term for Xavier, as he asks whether such a place does really exist. Cyclops too interrupts that recently Cable informed them that the rumors about a Weapon X-sponsored mutant death camp weren’t true. Wolverine is convinced that it’s only more mind games from Weapon X; tampering with memories has always been their specialty. He is sure that Cable must have been duped into thinking otherwise and Xavier agrees that this is within the realm of possibility, especially considering that they obviously have a means to shield themselves from telepathic inquiries into Neverland’s existence. Which only makes sense if they are hiding something, Paige adds. The files he accessed at the Plus compound, Logan goes on, shut down when he tried to research Neverland.

The Professor asks Logan what course of action he suggests, as, after all, he is the one most familiar with the Weapon X program. “A mole” is Logan’s answer. They need to get one of them inside the program to learn what they are currently up to and, maybe more importantly, what Weapon X’s plans are for the future. Cyclops finds the idea to his liking, though he points out that there can’t be any slip-ups and they need to make sure that their act looks pretty good. The Juggernaut agrees; as a former bad guy he can say that it twill take the “mother of all stories” to make anyone believe one of the X-Men switched sides.

Iceman volunteers, saying that he’ll just play up on his being insecure over the fact that he never got a full handle on his powers, though Archangel says that they would never buy it; none of the original members would make a convincing candidate for the job. Northstar too thinks that a newer, “fringe” X-Man would be more believable; for example, himself. Additionally, that would give him the chance to check out some rumor that the Weapon X program had something to do with his sister’s disappearance. Logan tells him he’s sorry but they can’t pick someone who is concerned with such distractions. What they need is someone...

“Like me?” Chamber asks, having stumbled in on the meeting and overheard the last part of the discussion. Jono points out that, with his image as horribly disfigured, uncontrollably powered, sometimes rebellious freak, he would be the perfect choice for the job. Also, he has some experience at undercover missions and, on top of that, he has a convenient cover story for leaving the X-Men, with his ex, Husk, having found a new lover in Archangel. Hearing this, Warren says he hopes that them being an item is not the reason he volunteers for this mission and Paige urges him to think it over, as he could get hurt or worse. Jono coldly replies that not everything is about her.

He asks Wolverine if he gets the part but Logan tells him, “No.” He agrees with the others, thinking that Jono is just doing it because “your little Dixie Chick there is playin’ smootchie-bootchie with Big Bird now instead o’ you.” He calls Jono a loose cannon looking to impress “some dinky broad.” Warren and Paige are rather offended by Logan’s language and Scott too chimes in, saying there is no need for this, but Logan doesn’t stop. He grabs Jono by the collar and, pointing at him with the other hand, Logan asks what this loser has ever done besides moping around and feeling sorry for himself. Why do they even keep him around? Logan tells Chamber to get lost.

The youngster’s eyes start to glow with a passionate fire and, pulling down his turtleneck collar, he releases a blast of bio-energy at Wolverine, knocking him over. Archangel grabs Jono and holds him back from attacking again, seeing that Logan is on fire. Iceman quickly uses his powers, extinguishing the flames. Wolverine angrily pops his claws, asking whether Chamber wants to play with the big guys, and, struggling against Warren’s grib, Jono answers with “Absolutely.”

All of a sudden, Logan smiles and says that’s good. Everyone is taken aback, most of all Chamber. Logan explains that if he really will perform this undercover mission, then he’ll be in situations lot more ornery than the dressing down he just gave him. Iceman wonders if this was a test then and Logan confirms it; it was and Jono passed with flying colors. As he pats Chamber on the shoulder, Cyclops tells the others that it would be nice if Logan clued them in when he does stuff like that. Paige wonders what really goes on in Logan’s mind and Xavier can only agree with her.


Jono finds himself in one of those situations that Logan must have meant back then. He is strapped to an examination table, two of the U-Men’s scientists discussing how to remove his entire chest area, when one of them notices that Chamber is awake. The scientist curses, as they thought he would be out another few hours, and he tells his colleague to get an anesthesiologist in the operation room. The other doctor, however, says it doesn’t make a difference and switches on a bone saw. Fear in his eyes, Jono watches the instrument coming closer to his chest and, suddenly, sprays of blood hit his face.

It’s not his blood, though, as Jono’s new teammate, Wild Child, has sneaked into the room and takes the two scientists out from behind before they can even notice what is happening. Jono thanks Wild Child, who cuts him lose, and asks him where the other Weapon X agents are before remembering that Wild Child is mute and can’t answer his questions. Just as Wild Child checks out some of the operation room equipment, especially the canisters used to store mutant organs, a group of four U-Men enter the room and knock them over. They radio John Sublime that they have located the other Weapon X agent and it seems that he was trying to free his buddy.

Jono replies that it not only seems like it, but that he succeeded, and uses his bio-energy blast to hold one of the U-Men at bay. While Wild Child jumps on to another, additional help arrives in the form of Sauron, who starts draining one of the U-Men’s lifeforce, calling it “lunchtime.” Brent Jackson completes the quartet of Weapon X operatives, using his gun to kill the remaining two U-Men. Jono wants to say something to his new employer, but Jackson interrupts him, reminding him that he has places to go and people to kill, as they have everything covered here.

John Sublime sits in his office, talking to himself. He admits that he somewhat admires Brent Jackson for fighting alongside his Weapon X agents, though it won’t do him any good. Right then, his secretary calls him urgently on the speaker. Sublime asks what it is, when, suddenly, the office door explodes and Chamber enters the room. A little bit too late, Sublime’s secretary tells him that he is about to get company. Not showing any concern about the situation, Sublime tells Chamber that he is impressed, as the door he just burst through was solid titanium.

He gets up and offers Jono a drink. The young mutant coldly answers that he didn’t come here to drink but to – “Kill me?” Sublime asks, showing that he is well aware of Jono’s task. Pouring his ‘visitor’ a glass, Sublime tells Chamber to take the drink, for he seems tense and conflicted, and suggests for them to talk. Jono picks up the glass and consumes the alcohol, though he warns Sublime that this doesn’t change his view – he is a “cold-blooded monster who chops mutants up for a living.” And for that, Jono says, he is going to die.

Sublime laughs at the term “mutant chop shop” and asks Jono if that is what he thinks this is really all about. Then, more talking to himself, he adds that Jackson really does keep his agents in the dark. Further distracting Chamber by asking why Jackson should even care about what happens to the mutants captured by the U-Men, he pulls out a green canister from a drawer of his desk and throws it at Jono. It’s glowing contents explodes covering Chamber in flame and Sublime shakes his head, he always hates to waste fine material like that.

Sublime’s expression changes to shock when he becomes aware of Jono not being dead but walking through the smoke and fire towards him. Quickly recovering his countenance, Sublime congratulates the mutant on this impressive performance and, just for the record, he explains that it was a spleen taken from a mutant capable of making his entire body explode – he surely can’t blame him for trying. As Jono remains silent, the mutant organ dealer sees a chance for himself and tells Chamber that it’s pretty obvious he is in a tad over his head and not fully aware of everything that is going on. So, he asks Jono whether he is sure he picked the right side to be on; after all, Weapon X is asking him to kill someone. But luckily, Sublime points out, it’s not too late to change that, offering him to ditch both the XC-men and Weapon X and join the U-Men.

Jono does not even consider the man worthy of an answer. Instead, he places one hand on Sublime’s gut, setting it on fire. He watches as the man starts coughing up blood and slowly sink to the ground in the still burning office. Before long, the flames consume Sublime’s shoulder, his left leg and, eventually, all of him.

(an unknown amount of time later)

In a bar, Jono secretly meets up with Logan, who orders them drinks. The veteran X-Man asks him how the mission went and Jono answers that it was a success. He has Weapon X’s full trust, a mutant chop shop was destroyed and, sarcastically remarking he almost forgot, a man is dead. Logan tries to give the youngster a prep talk, reminding him that they knew he would be forced to make some bad choices but, at the end of the day, they are a lot closer to bringing down the Weapon X program and all it cost them was one bad man. Ask him, that’s a fair trade-off. Both having emptied their glasses, Chamber tells him that, after Sublime alluded to some connection between him and the Weapon X program, he asked him wether he was on the right side, and actually Jono is unsure if he knows the answer to that anymore. As Jono leaves the bar, Wolverine eyes him suspiciously.

Characters Involved: 

Brent Jackson, the Director of Weapon X

Chamber, Sauron, Wild Child (all Weapon X)

Wolverine (X-Men)

John Sublime



customers of a bar

In a flashback:

Archangel, Chamber, Cyclops, Husk, Iceman, Juggernaut, Northstar, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

Wolverine and Cyclops attacked the Weapon Plus compound in New X-Men #143-145. It was also then that Logan had access to their computer files.

Cable led an Underground movement against Weapon X but they were betrayed by Brent Jackson, who then ordered their minds to be tampered with. As a result of that, Cable and his friends no longer recall any information they learned about Weapon X’s mutant concentration camp, Neverland.

It was the first Weapon X program that bonded the adamantium to Logan’s bones. They also tampered with his mind and that of other operatives, such as Sabretooth and Silver Fox. Till present day, it is not fully known which of their memories are implanted ones and which are for real.

When her psychic problems flared up again, Northstar’s twin sister, Aurora, was sent away to a mental institute in Wolverine (2nd Series) #173 but, along the way, she was kidnapped by operatives of Weapon X. She was taken to a different asylum where she was lobotomized and tormented for weeks, before the Weapon X program retrieved her to appear as her saviors. [Weapon X – The Draft: Wild Child] Until recently, she was one of their agents, but former Director Malcolm Colcord convinced her to flee with him. [Weapon X #13]

To solve a case of mutant murders, Jono went undercover to Empire State University, where he befriended some of the people connected to the crime, eventually solving it. [Chamber #1-4]

Wild Child is mute, ever since Sabretooth severed his vocal chords for mocking his intelligence. [Weapon X – The Draft: Wild Child]

Issue Information: 
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