Weapon X: The Draft - Agent Zero

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 

Frank Tieri (writer), Killian Plunkett (penciler), Terry Austen (inker), Avalon (colorist), Paul Tutrone (letterer), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The man, who will become Agent Zero, is brought to Weapon X by Sabretooth, more dead than alive. He turns out to be an old friend of Wolverine and he despises Weapon X, but right before he dies, he accepts the Director’s offer to heal him in return for his services. The Weapon X scientists restore his body and even make some enhancements. The man now no longer has a scent and he can fire concussive blasts from his hands that melt whatever they hit. He gets a special vibranium costume that absorbs any sound and blends in with the shadows, making him the perfect weapon, who can’t be seen, heard or smelled. He asks for a mask as he doesn’t want anybody to know his identity or what he has become – only the Director, Brent Jackson and Sabretooth know who he is. At first Agent Zero is given a few easy missions that he isn’t opposed to. The Weapon X project hopes that this will make it easier for Agent Zero to feel comfortable. Finally he is given the order to kill Wolverine. Agent Zero tracks him down with ease, but when he fires the anti-metal bullet, he deliberately misses him. The Director knows that he did it on purpose and Agent Zero gets punished for his mistake. However actually he did not expect Zero to succeed, the whole scenario was designed to further break Zero’s strength of will.

Full Summary: 

The Director opens his file on Agent Zero. He’s the most skilled member of Weapon X and he will only be used against the most dangerous of men: Wolverine. A man, whose face remains unseen, writes a letter he will never send to Logan about how his life became a living hell. Actually he thinks the letter is a waste of ink and paper as by the time Logan receives it, he will be dead.

(in the not to distant past)
He wakes up from unconsciousness to see his bed surrounded by the Director, Agent Jackson and Sabretooth. The Director tells him that Sabretooth brought him in, but that he is terribly wounded and will die soon. However, Weapon X can heal him as long as he will join the program. The man refuses and curses at the Director, and both Jackson and Sabretooth are amazed by the man‘s foul language. The Director is angered, but calms down and the three men leave telling him that he has five minutes to live. The man reconsiders and calls them back. He agrees to do what they ask of him.

The man is brought to a lab, knowing that he sold out. He tries to convince himself that he had no other choice but to accept and that five minutes is really too short a time, however deep down he knows that it was a selfish decision. The man is put into some kind of steambath and when he comes out, Agent Jackson asks him how he feels. He replies disgusted. The Director tells him that “rejuvenated” would be more accurate, while Jackson takes the costs of the treatment into account and says that “eternally grateful” would be better. Yet Jackson is put into his place by the Director, and then he goes on to tell the man that the bath not only healed him, but also improved him. His body no longer has a scent and from his hands he can fire concussive blasts, but with an added twist. The man replies that he didn’t ask for improvements, but that doesn’t make them less effective. The blasts contain a corrosive enzyme that melts whatever he hits. The Director tells him that this trick would be handy against an opponent… who is tough to injure, finishes the man, already suspecting the identity of his target.

He is then outfitted with a uniform and weapons. The uniform is made of vibranium and dampens any sound. It is also designed to blend in with the shadows, rendering him virtually invisible in the dark. He also gets an adamantium knife and a gun loaded with adamantium bullets. The man tries both weapons on an omnium steel dummy, and the knife hits the marked spot in the dummy’s head, while the bullets penetrate it’s chest. Finally Agent Jackson presents him with the most expensive piece of his equipment, an anti-metal bullet, that can even penetrate pure adamantium. He only gets one. The man then demands a mask, he wants nobody to know who he is or what he has become. The Director complies and tells him that only he, Jackson and Sabretooth will now his true identity. Jackson points out that this leaves them with one minor problem ... what do they call their “Mr. Nobody Man“ ? The Director comes up with a fitting codename : “Agent Zero”.

Agent Zero then tells him that they did all this just so that he could defeat one man. Jackson praises his intelligence and shows him a picture that was hidden behind the marked target on the steel dummy’s head. It has been cut by the adamantium knife, but the person on it is still recognizable : Wolverine. Agent Zero walks away. Jackson tells the Director that they can’t trust him, but the Director disagrees. Due to the fact that they hold Agent Zero’s very life in their hands, he trust him more than anybody else in the Weapon X program, especially Jackson himself.

(the following weeks)
The next days the Agents are being briefed by the Program and Agent Zero tries to separate himself from the other agents, whether they are there for help (Wild Child and Copycat), to gain power (Sauron and Mesmero) or just to satisfy their twisted desires (Kane and Sabretooth). However Agent Zero knows that despite the fact he wants to kill them all, he is nothing but a hypocrite as he is one of them now, wether he likes it or not.

At first, he is given assignments that he would agree with, to ease his way into the program. He kills Colombia’s most powerful druglord in his car, he shoots a government informant, who is about to disclose too much information and he takes out a terrorist organization before they could cause mass destruction in Los Angeles. Agent Zero think that he has no problem with killing those people, but that the Weapon X program is wrong if they think that this will make him comfortable. Every night he sits in his quarters and puts his gun into his mouth, intending to pull the trigger.

Finally the day comes that Agent Zero gets assigned to kill Wolverine. From a nearby rooftop, he spies on Logan, who is in a bar enjoying a few drinks and some company. He kisses a girl goodnight and pays his tab. Logan doesn’t notice Agent Zero with a sniper gun on the roof opposite the street, as he leaves the bar. Agent Zero thinks about the letter he wrote and realizes that he actually wrote it for himself, trying to cope with what he is about to do. He wonders if Logan wouldn’t do the same in his situation as he aims and pulls the trigger. Yet, he misses.

On the street, Logan sees the bullet bouncing of the wall in front of him and looks around. He tries to get his attacker’s scent and angrily pops his claws, but he doesn’t find him. Above, Agent Zero comes to the conclusion that Wolverine would not have tried to kill an old friend, and that he isn’t sure if he himself would. The Director contacts Zero and asks him what happened. Zero replies that he missed and tries to convince the Director that it was an accident. The Director then sends a shock of electricity through his body and tells him that they know why he missed and that he won’t miss again. Zero asks God for help, but the Director replies that even God can’t save him now.

In the Director’s final report, it is revealed that the anti-metal bullet was a fake. He didn’t want to kill Wolverine, the man responsible for ruining his face, in such an easy way. He wants Logan to suffer. The test was for Agent Zero, they knew he wouldn’t be capable of doing it. It was just another step to break the man’s spirit. By the time they are finished with him, Agent Zero will do whatever they ask of him.

Characters Involved: 

Agent Zero, Copycat, Kane, Mesmero, Sabretooth, Sauron, Wild Child (all Weapon X)
The Director
Agent Brent Jackson
Dr. Duncan and Dr. Zira, scientists of the Weapon X project
Wolverine (X-Men)

Story Notes: 

Copycat’s involvement places the recruitment of Agent Zero before Deadpool (3rd series) #57 / Deadpool Agent of X #1. By then she had already left the program. Her being part of the Project was only explained after her departure in Deadpool (3rd series) #58-59 / Deadpool Agent of X #2-3, where she was killed by Sabretooth.

Agent X’s real identity remains a mystery. It is an old friend of Wolverine and a caucasian male. The gray hair that is seen when he puts his mask on, could be a side-effect of his treatment. The timing of the flashback prevents it from being Deadpool. Maverick still seems to be the best candidate.

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: