Weapon X (3rd series) #20

Issue Date: 
September 2018
Story Title: 
If He Dies, He Dies, part one

Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (artist), Frank D'armata (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Rahzzah (cover artist), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (editor), Jordan D White (X-Men group editor), C B Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)


Brief Description: 

On the SICKLE Mothercarrier, 1400 feet over St Petersburg, Russia, Director Rossovich is told that General Zaslon must be dead, and that his brother, Omega Red, is headed this way, and Rossovich vows to put him down. Omega Red is inside a jet with Sabretooth, Domino and Deathstrike, approaching the massive Mothercarrier. Domino is frustrated with the lack of certainty about what the team is doing, and adding to the problems is the fast approaching Warpath, who wants to take Sabretooth down – but before Warpath can reach his sort-of teammates, he is apprehended by Darkstar and the Winter Guard, who are working under the orders of SICKLE. Warpath puts up a decent fight against Russia's premiere super heroes, until Darkstar traps him in a Darkforce dome. Omega Red lands on the Mothercarrier and confronts his brother, ready for the freedom that his brother promised him – death. The brothers discuss aspects of their childhood, including how Omega Red was treated by the family, and the government at the time. When secrets are revealed, Omega Red reveals a more current secret – that he is no longer under his brother's control, free of the nanobots that have been manipulating him. He traps his brother in one of his carbonadium coils, and when SICKLE operatives move in and surround him, Sabretooth, Domino and Deathstrike emerge from the shadows to fight them. The battle carries on for some time, until Sabretooth breaks into the control room on the Mothercarrier and patches a live feed to his contact, Foreigner, who is in a swimming pool in Madripoor Towers, and watches the live feed on a television screen, and informs Sabretooth that by the time he is done, every person or organization looking to hire mercenaries will pay Sabretooth's group double. Deathstrike then hacks into the system and erases every upload and all copies of the mutant registry across Russia. Sabretooth informs his group that this is being webcammed around the world, so they are about to be designated international terrorists – before the group can reflect on this, Warpath bursts onto the Mothercarrier and grabs Sabretooth!

Full Summary: 

Inside the SICKLE Mothercarrier, 1,400 feet over St Petersburg, Russia, a SICKLE operative calls out to Director Vassily Rossovich, informing him that the craft approaching them contains Omega Red, and that by all accounts, he has completed his mission. 'General Zaslon must be dead' the agent adds. 'And my brother comes straight here? So much for maintaining plausible deniability' Rossovich remarks, before declaring that Omega Red is an animal, like the rest of his kind, and that he has outlived his usefulness and shall be put down. Several SICKLE agents arm themselves and get ready for the arrival of Omega Red.

In a much smaller jet, Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth tells Arkady Rossovich a.k.a. Omega Red that he has a question for him: 'How the hell does that freaking thing even stay in the air?' he asks, looking up at the massive Mothercarrier floating before them. Omega Red replies that the SICKLE Mothercarrier is Rusian, and it stays in the air because it is too stubborn to fall down. Yuriko Oyama a.k.a. Lady Deathstrike and Neena Thurman a.k.a. Domino also look up at the vessel. 'That thing looks...' Domino begins. 'Ugly' Deathstrike tells her. 'Formidable' Domino adds. 'Really ugly' Deathstrike declares. Domino turns to Omega Red and points out that he nows these guys, and asks him if he is sure they can take this thing out now that Warpath has ditched them, as he was their most powerful member. 'I doubt we could have even done it with him, Domino' Omega Red replies.

'Wait – what? Then what the hell are we doing here?' Domino asks. 'Fighting. What else?' Omega Red points out while dangling one of his carbonadium cables above his pet tiger cub. 'You're supposed to have a death touch, not a death wish!' Domino snaps. 'First we live. Then we die. In between is just blood and noise' Omega Red responds. 'You should write greeting cards' Domino mutters, before turning to Sabretooth and shouting 'Great! Follow the serial killer into battle. Great plan, Victor!' and adds that she likes how on his first mission as team leader he made them subordinate to the one person on Earth who is more of a psycho than he is. 'Hey! I promised you nothing but a good time, Domino' Creed snarls back. 'And when will that start, exactly?' Domino asks. 'Right... now' Omega Red points out as something suddenly strikes their jet, knocking the team about.

'They're shelling us over a densely populated city' Deathstrike frowns. 'These Russians do not play' Domino points out. 'Keep your raccoon eyes on, Dom! Ain't the Russkies...just your boyfriend. Breaking the sound barrier!' Sabretooth declares as James Proudstar a.k.a. Warpath can be seen flying at very high speeds towards them, creating sonic booms in the process. Sabretooth remarks that Warpath wants to get his hands on them, and asks Domino if she is on the right side here. Domino scowls as she declares that she never said Warpath was her boyfriend. 'He's just a hot dude I like to play smashmouth with. Don't hurt his abs, please' Domino adds, before Deathstrike reminds Creed that Warpath is stronger than all of them put together, and asks him how he plans to keep Warpath from breaking in here and tearing his arms off. 'Easy, I won't...they will!' Sabretooth replies, as he points out the front of the jet, where they see a surprised Warpath suddenly restrained mid-air by energy bonds of Darkforce.

'Wha – who -?' the wide-eyed Warpath calls out, surprised, as he is lowered to the ground, where the government-sanctioned Winter Guard are waiting for him. 'The Winter Guard asks the questions around here!' Laynia Petrovna a.k.a. Darkstar exclaims. 'But we do not have any...' Nicolai Krylenko a.k.a. Red Guardian begins as he tosses his shield towards Warpath, adding 'You are a foreign mutant violating Russian airspace without registering with SICKLE. Which means you will surrender. Immediately' he declares. With Darkstar and Red Guardian are Major Mikhail Ursus a.k.a. Ursa Major and Dimitri Burkharin a.k.a. Crimson Dynamo. 'Listen! Captain Comrade...I'm here to save SICKLE from an international team of maniacs you guys do not want to mess w-' Warpath begins to reply as he frees himself from the Darkforce bonds and catches Red Guardian's shield, just before it slams into his face – however touching the shield gives Warpath a shock, zapping him with a powerful energy, distracting him, and enabling Ursa Major to slam Warpath into the ground, 'Your surrender is not required to be voluntary' Ursa Major points out.

'That's okay. I feel the same way... about kicking your ass!' Warpath replies as he breaks free from Ursa Major, kicking the great bear backwards, before cartwheeling across the ground, dodging weapons fire from Crimson Dynamo, until he flipes towards him and slams the armored operative into the ground. 'Yield! American super people have no authority here!' Red Guardian calls out as he attempts to punch Warpath, only for Warpath to grab his arm, and hurl him into the air. 'See, I have this thing with authority, Guardian...generally speaking, I'm against it!' Warpath declares. 'Typical Western arrogance' Darkstar points out as she suddenly traps Warpath inside a Darkforce dome. 'Arrogance... stubbornness... call it what you want. But I'm not giving up...not matter what you throw at me!' Warpath exclaims, as Ursa Major, Red Guardian and Crimson Dynamo surround the Darkforce dome.

Looking out the window of the het, Domino remarks that she feels bad and suggests that they go help Warpath, but Sabretooth tells her not to think about it, and points out that they got bigger fish to fry.

At that moment, Omega Red, followed by his tiger cub, approach Vassily Rossovich on the large open space on the Mothercarrier. 'Brother Arkady. Well dome' Vassily calls out. 'Thank you, Comrade-Brother-Director Vassily' Omega Red responds, announcing that he is ready for his reward, for the freedom that Vassily promised him – before announcing that instead he grants Vassily freedom, the freedom to deal with him as he must. 'Eh? I'm not sure I follow, brother...' Vassily replies, confused. 'Do you think I do not know what kind of walking atrocity I am?' Omega Red asks. 'Ah...the horrors my mutant powers have wreaked on the world! Many times I have wondered when our Motherland would finally shut me down and seal me forever in a stasis tube' Omega Red reveals, before kneeling in front of his brother, telling him that he knows it is a lot to ask from a loving brother such as himself, but among all the wondrous devices on the Mothercarrier, there must be one that can defeat him utterly.

Omega Red continues, adding that, surely, ridding the world of one more mutant can only increase Vassily's status within the government. 'You poor, tortured man. Part of me wants to talk you out of your decision...I have no great hatred for mutants' Vassily lies, telling Arkady that none of this is personal, but that until the economy improves, the people need something to vent their hatred and anger on other than the State – and mutants are strange and frightening to most anyway. Hiding behind some crates in a nearby hangar, Deathstrike mutters that she wants to kill this scum herself, to which Sabretooth points out that Omega Red is having his moment. Vassily reminds Arkady that their mother and father were terrified enough of him before they even knew he had special gifts – as if the animal mutilations and disappearance of the local beggars were not enough. 'Yes... when I was a child it took me a while... to understand what I was. To being the beast inside me under control' Omega Red replies, adding that he never had any help from Vassily or their mother.

'What were we supposed to do? We were simply peasants. Not psychologists' Vassily replies, to which Omega Red points out that only the KGB could do that – to take a predator and make him a tool of the State. Omega Red remembers being kept in some laboratory, inside a stasis tank, and tells Vassily that he always wondered who called the secret police to take him away. 'It could have been anyone' Vassily suggests, somewhat nervously. The tiger cub suddenly jumps up onto Omega Red's shoulders. 'Oh, ho! Kotik says he knows... Kotik, meet brother Vassily. Vassily, meet Kotik' Omega Red remarks. Kotik hisses at Vassily, and Omega Red remarks 'Really, Kotik? No – it couldn't possibly be him...why, ever since I was captured by the X-Men... he's done nothing... but help me' Omega Red remarks. Kotik licks Omega Red's face, and Omega Red grins at his brother, pointing out that Kotik understands him, understands what he was doing when he hunted the rats in the back alley, when he poisoned the magistrate's dog. 'I was just practicing... to kill you, brother' Omega Red announces.

'So you were trying to trick me. I should have known you'd never have the decency to truly wish your destruction. So let me finish the job for myself' Vassily declares, pressing a detonator, he clicks it repeatedly, and is confused when nothing happens to Omega Red. 'You – you should be in agony – the nanochain –' Vassily remarks, 'Ah, yes. The X-Men cleared your bots from my blood. And now... there it is... that look!' Omega Red exclaims as he wraps one of his carbonadium coils around his brother's neck and lifts him off the ground. 'That will get me through many a difficult night' Omega Red remarks, as he moves another coil that holds Kotik towards Vassily. 'Please – please don't -' the nervous Vassily utters, sweat pouring down his face. Kotik growls at Vassily, as Omega Red adds '- consume your life force as I have so many others? I wouldn't dream of it, brother. You are, after all...poison'. 'Release him! Now!' a SICKLE agent shouts, as several surround Omega Red and raise their weapons towards him.

'That's our cue, ladies!' Sabretooth exclaims as  he rushes out of the hangar bay, claws at the ready, and teeth bared. Deathstrike does the same, her long, deadly claws ready for action, while Domino starts firing her weapons as they start to take out several SICKLE operatives with ease. 'You...dare unleash this madness – on your own countrymen?' Vassily asks Omega Red, telling his brother that he always knew he was a killer and a madman, but never pegged him as a traitor. 'Newsflash, comrade! All them mutants you had locked up on that freaking glacier – they were your countrymen, too!' Sabretooth snarls, knocking back two more SICKLE operatives, Sabretooth remarks that the only traitors to Russia he sees here are Vassily and his jumpsuit goose-steppers. Deathstrike draws blood as she shoves her claws into one of the agents, and Domino continues to open fire.

'Comrade Creed has a way with words, does he not, Vassily?' Omega Red remarks as he runs along the deck, dodging bullets fired at him and holding his brother upside down with his carbonadium coils. 'You taught me I was born a monster – he is the first person to make me believe I could be something more!' Omega Red grins. 'That's right, Red...now wait'll you see how much more' Sabretooth calls out as he climbs up the Mothercarrier, and breaks through a window, into a control booth. 'Hi there, dirtbags!' Sabretooth exclaims as he drops down towards the SICKLE operatives. '#$%&! What are you doing?' one of them gasps. 'Oh, you know. Just trashing the SICKLE data banks, like you do' Sabretooth replies casually as he fights back several agents, drawing a lot of blood. Sabretooth locates a console and starts tapping away at the keyboard. 'This is where they keep the Russian Mutant Registry, so -' Creed begins, while patching the SICKLE Mothercarrier up to his mysterious contact called Foreigner. 'Like what you see?' Creed asks via communicator.

In the penthouse suite at Madripoor Towers, a muscular man relaxes in a pool. 'That I do, Victor' he replies as he observes the footage on a monitor that is on a wall next to the pool. Foreigner informs Creed that he is going to make sure this is posted on every corner of the dark web. 'You're going to go dark viral' he adds. Others swim in the pool, including two men who embrace each other against the edge of the pool. Others walk around the edge of the pool as the Foreigner tells Creed that by the time he is done with this incident, every person or organization looking to hire mercenaries will pay his group double. 'Music to my ears, pal' Creed replies, adding that he has to wrap it up here. He plugs a USB stick into the Mothercarrier's console and tells Lady Deathstrike that this little fun pack of hers better work. 'I'm a cyborg, reed. About ten generations more advanced than anything on this flying boat. That code will reverse track every upload and eliminate copies of the mutant registry in every server across the country...and blow stuff up for good measure' Deathstrike adds as the console suddenly explodes, and Sabretooth leaps back out of the control room and onto the deck below.

Deathstrike and Domino have taken out all of the SICKLE agents, and Creed tells them that is some quality work following his flawless orders, but he has some good news and bad news. 'I webcammed this fight all over the world. We just went toe-to-toe with a government-sanctioned law-enforcement agency – so we are about to be designated international terrorists'. 'What? Are you – yes. Of course he's insane. You already knew that, Neena' Domino mutters to herself, slapping her forehead. Deathstrike waves at Creed and asks him what the good news is. 'What do you mean? Cha-ching, baby! That is the good news!' Creed replies, when suddenly, the deck below him breaks upwards, as Warpath bursts through it, knocking Omega Red, who still holds Kotik and Vassily, into the air, and knocking Domino and Deathstrike back, as he grabs Sabretooth by his throat and shouts 'Well, if you liked that... you're gonna love what's coming next!'

Characters Involved: 

Domino, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Warpath (all Weapon X)

Omega Red

Crimson Dynamo V, Darkstar, Red Guardian VIII, Ursa Major (all Winter Guard)




Vassily Rossovich

SICKLE soldiers


The Foreigner

Others in Madripoor Towers

Story Notes: 

This line-up of the Winter Guard was established in Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3, however since then, as a team, they have only made brief appearances in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Fantastic Four (1st series) #643 and Monsters Unleased #2.

Considering Darkstar, Red Guardian VIII and Ursa Major are mutants themselves, it is odd that they would let the Stranniy Corrective Labor Camp, seen in the last few issues, exist, especially as they have fought for the mutants of their nation on many occasions. Presumably they were unaware of its existence, which is not entirely unbelievable given the lies that are fed to them and how they have a penchant for blindly following orders.

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