Wolverine (2nd series) #101

Issue Date: 
May 1996
Story Title: 
The Helix of an Age Foretold

Larry Hama (writer), Val Semeiks (penciler), Chad Hunt (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas (colorist), Malibu’s Hues (color seps), Bob Harras (editor & chief), Cover by Adam Kubert and Dan Green

Brief Description: 

Deep inside the cavern, as Cyclops continues to plummet into the chasm, Wolverine manages to break free from Ozymandias’ grasp and leaps into the chasm to save him. Despite the head start, Wolverine catches up to and stops his teammate’s descent, and in the process discover an image of Professor Charles Xavier etched into the helix, disturbing Cyclops greatly. Back on the surface, Jean Grey, Cannonball and Iceman continue to face off against stone versions of Magneto, Hurricane and Wolverine. During her struggle with the stone Magneto, Jean is buried by rocks, turning the tide in Ozymandias’ favor. When he orders Hurricane and Gauntlet to gain a better vantage point from going higher, they are taken out by Elektra, who deftly hides herself. Back on the surface and seeing what has happened to his wife, Cyclops lashes out in anger and destroys Magneto while Cannonball and Iceman team up to take out the stone Wolverine. Seeing the battle lost, Ozymandias destroys both the helix and himself. With the battle won, the X-Men decide to make their way to where the sun shines as Elektra looks on in the shadows, undetected by all but Wolverine himself.

Full Summary: 

He is Ozymandias, the ancient, blind record-keeper to the arch-fiend En Sabah Nur – also known as Apocalypse – self-proclaimed master of the double-helix. He inscribes the pertinent history and future of mutantkind upon the single helix stele for the perusal of Apocalypse alone and he is granted such powers as are necessary to safeguard this petroglyphic annal.

As the stone version of Wolverine leaps at Iceman and proceeds to shatter his iceslide, Iceman calls out to his fellow X-Men that Ozymandias just pitched Cyclops into the spiral abyss – somebody has to save him! Holding the real Wolverine captive, Ozymandias tells him that is not to be. For are not his fellow X-Men sore-pressed to preserve their own lives against the warriors of living stone. And this creature-who-would-be-a-man, so eager to hurl himself after his friend, but to no avail.

That “creature” was once a man named Logan, a mutant known as Wolverine. As always, he walked the razor’s edge between humanity and bestial savagery, but now, deprived of the adamantium that had kept his feral regression in check all these years he is an animal unleashed. With a mighty growl, Logan forcefully frees himself from Ozymandias’ death-grip.

Nearby, Jean Grey thinks to herself that it’s taking every iota of her telekinetic power to hold the stone mutant doppelgangers before her at bay and, with Scott falling so rapidly, diverting even a small fraction to save him would mean endangering Bobby and Sam. She is Jean Grey and, although she is a psi-talent extraordinaire, she is powerless to aid her plummeting husband there is one mutant in the cavern who is not powerless and who will not be restrained. Jean yells out to Logan that Ozymandias is generating too much psionic static; he’s the only one who can save Cyclops. With that, Logan hurtles himself into the chasm to save his friend, ignoring everything else.

The man plunging deeper into the chasm of the helix is Scott Summers. He is the X-Man known as Cyclops and his eyes, unshielded by ruby quartz, emit deadly concussive beams. Those beams are the same ones that he now employs in a desperate bid at deceleration. As Scott continues to fall, he knows that his optic blasts are too weak to use as retro-rockets but maybe he can gouge out a chute in the rock wall and use friction to slow down. Further up, the creature who hurtles after him has devolved past the threshold of complex logic. He streamlines his body out of rude instinct. He knows he must have speed and he stretches for it.

On the ledge above the chasm, the stone doppelgangers of Magneto, Hurricane and Wolverine know no such considered resolve. These soulless simulacra, animated by Ozymandias’s telekinesis, hew the rough granite of the cavern and hurl it in a lethal hail against their flesh and blood foes. On the opposite end of their assault, Sam mentions to Iceman and Jean that he swears, that ol’ stone Magneto can pitch rock faster’n the real Magneto can pitch metal. Iceman agrees and tells Jean that he’s the one to concentrate on. Jean replies duly noted and proceeds to give him everything she’s got, with effective results. As they stand back to back, the X-Men wonder if it is enough.

In the depths of the chasm, a jutting fracture of schist untouched since the Mesozoic era meets its destiny and wreaks a subtle change upon a section of cerebral cortex that was damaged once before on Scott Summers. Once he hits the rock, his body flails and tumbles, increasing wind resistance, slowing seemingly imperceptibly but enough for his determined rescuer, Logan, to close the distance. Eventually, Logan catches up to Scott and grabs him. He then uses his claws to try and grab hold of the steep rock wall. At first they smoke and burn as they fight for purchase in the rock until they find it and all downward motion is brought to a lurching stop.

In the awful silence, Logan realizes that the sound of breathing is his alone. Logan responds by licking the prone Scott across the chin. Shocked, Scott awakens abruptly and asks Logan what he is doing. Just then, Scott Summers sees a carving on the spiral that amazes him.

On the spiral, he sees a perfect carving of Professor Charles Xavier sitting in his wheelchair. Scott wonders aloud why the scribe of Apocalypse would render Xavier with such reverence. You would think Xavier represented everything Apocalypse, with his survival of the fittest doctrine, hated. It’s eerie to think that someone’s been watching them all these years, probably knowing their every secret, their every thought. He adds that the implications of it all are incredible.

As Scott begins to tell Logan that they have to get back, his head begins to hurt. He recalls that it hurts like it did all those years ago in the plane crash. Just then, Scott blacks. Looking at him, Logan comprehends little of what Cyclops just told him. All he knows is that his friend is in need of help and he knows where that help may be found – at the top of the chasm.

Up, on the edge of the chasm, Ozymandias tells the X-Men that he was once king of a vast domain. Lord of all he surveyed and master of untold multitudes. It was hubris that condemned him for all eternity, for he sought to defy the dark will of En Sabah Nur, he who was and will be Apocalypse. He then tells the mutants to be warned, he will not risk incurring the wrath of the dark lord ever again.

Standing ready, Iceman tells Cannonball that he’ll freeze their stone adversaries and he can knock them down. Cannonball confirms while Jean tells them both that she’ll concentrate on the stone Magneto again. While Sam and Iceman take on the stone versions of Hurricane and Gauntlet, Sam mentions that the petrified Dark Riders ain’t hardly a challenge. Iceman warns him to not get smug, the stone Wolverine more than makes up for them.

At the same time, Jean faces off against the stone Magneto. She thinks to herself that he is strong, but not so strong that she can’t divert some psi-power to scan for Scott’s brain patterns. Just then, she senses him – he’s alive – but his signal is so weak. She wonders what’s that? Somebody else is above them in the shadows; someone who is capable of shielding their thoughts from a psi-probe.

Before Jean can contemplate her thought further, she sees Logan carrying Scott out of the chasm with his teeth and calls out to them. Just then, the stone Wolverine leaps up at Iceman and shatters his ice bridge again and he begins to fall towards the hard ground below. Before he does, however, Sam catches him. Looking out into the chasm, Jean recognizes that Cyclops and Wolverine are trapped on the spiral in the middle of the chasm. Telepathically, she informs Iceman that he needs to extend an ice bridge to save them for as strong as he is, Wolverine is at the end of his endurance. Iceman confirms the order and begins to make his way out to Logan and Cyclops.

Before he can get there, the stone Wolverine comes out of nowhere and again breaks Iceman’s ice bridge. When he does, Iceman calls out to Cannonball that they have to team up and give the creep the double-whammy. On the ground, Jean continues to face off against the stone Magneto. When she sees him redirecting his attention above her, she wonders what he is doing. The answer – he buries her with a ton of falling rock.

Ozymandias orders the stone versions of Gauntlet and Hurricane to climb to the high ground and attack from a position of strength. They carry out the orders of their master, unaware that another player has entered the deadly game. Her name is Elektra and she proceeds to kick them both in the back, knocking them into the chasm below before she runs off undetected.

On the other side of the chasm, Iceman is finally able to freeze the stone Wolverine so that Cannonball can blast into him and destroy him. At that moment, Scott begins to stir and asks Logan how long he has been out and where Jean is at. He finds his answer when he sees her buried under a load of rock. The stone Magneto responds by flinging sharp rocks at the duo perched on the spiral. When the shards get there, Logan uses his body to shield Scott from being injured, the shards plunging into his back and his legs. Cyclops then tells him that he appreciates his trying to shield him, but it’s keeping him from getting his licks in. He proceeds to unleash his optic blast at Magneto, destroying him completely.

Seeing that he has lost, Ozymandias calls out that he has failed in his trust and now he must do what he must to preserve the secrets of the helix. From beneath the rocks, Jean awakens and sees that Ozymandias is destroying the spiral record but Scott and Logan are still trapped on it. Scott sees her and calls out that Jean is all right. Maneuvering his ice bridge under Scott and Logan, Iceman says of course she’s all right. A measly rock fall can’t faze a Jean Grey psi-bubble. Jumping down onto the ice bridge Logan growls at Iceman to whom replies you’re welcome.

As the last of the helix crumbles, Ozymandias says and so crumbles him and all his works upon this wretched physical plane but the data lives on and shall again be replicated in another place and in another time at the will of the dark lord. With that, he crumbles into pieces. Freeing herself, Jean calls out gone. She tried to hold it all together telekinetically, but it was no use.

Jean then turns her attention to Scott, he was so disoriented in her psi-probe. When Iceman and Cannonball make their way over towards Cyclops, Wolverine angrily blocks their path. Iceman and Cannonball try to calm him down to no avail. Jean tells them to let her handle this and walks up to Logan. Reaching out to him, she tells him it’s okay, everything’s going to be okay. Wolverine utters out J-J-Jeeeean??

Tending to Scott, Jean mentions that he looks like he’s seen a ghost. Scott replies maybe he did. He doesn’t know exactly what he saw down there, how much he’s projecting his own doubts and fears but he does know that if the images on the spiral aren’t some elaborate form of misdirection on the part of Apocalypse. They may spell the end of everything they have ever known. Cannonball adds that on that gloomy note, may he suggest they vamoose out o’ this hole and get where the sun is shinin’. Iceman seconds that while Wolverine turns and growls. Cyclops replies that Sam’s right. This place is so creepy it’s even got Wolverine spooked.

Up above, in the shadows, Elektra watches what is going on. She is undetectable by everyone except Wolverine. Cyclops then puts his hand on Wolverine’s back and tells him let’s go. There’s nothing up there but the dust of a mad dream.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Stone versions of the following: Magneto, Wolverine, Hurricane and Gauntlet


Story Notes: 

This is the second part of the story that begun in Uncanny X-Men #332.

At the end of Uncanny X-Men #332, Jean was being held captive by a helmeted Magneto. In an apparent continuity error, at the beginning of this issue she is free.

Elektra started on the path to find Logan back in Wolverine (2nd series) #100 on recommendation by Stick.

Issue Information: 
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