Wolverine (2nd series) #146

Issue Date: 
January 2000
Story Title: 
Through A Dark Tunnel

Fabian Nicieza and Erik Larsen (writers), Mike Miller (penciler), Durruthy, Massengill and Christian (inker), Marie Javins (colorist), RS / Comicraft / WA (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In the Morlock tunnels underneath the X-Mansion, Archangel, Kitty Pryde, Jubilee and Nightcrawler search for their misguided comrade, Wolverine, who is now the Horsemen of Apocalypse, Death. With support from Psylocke, the X-Men attempt at taking down Wolverine, first with force but then via mental means. Kitty is able to have some success but, unfortunately, not completely after Death stabs her in the foot. It isn’t until Jubilee approaches Logan that she, Nightcrawler and then Psylocke are able to free Logan from his mental conditioning. Thinking they have won and their ordeal is over, the X-Men are shocked to see Warren Worthington in severe pain and exclaiming that the light never dies in monsters!

Full Summary: 

Elisabeth Braddock can feel the darkness reaching for her, but it’s not until she’s actually wearing the helmet that the X-Man named Psylocke fully realizes what she’s doing. What she’s putting herself through. The device she wears is called Cerebro, and it can amplify even the most latent telepathic abilities to a staggering degree. That’s the last thing she wants to do right now, the last thing she should do. But even though she can acknowledge the risks, she can’t disavow the need.

As she fits Psylocke with the Cerebro helmet, Moira MacTaggert tells her that everything is ready and asks her if she’s sure she can do this. Psylocke informs her that she doesn’t have a choice, does she? A man’s soul is at stake. Her own telepathic abilities are inaccessible as a result of her encounter with the Shadow King. To use them now would mean freeing him from the psionic plane, his prison within the folds of her mind. Putting her hand on Psylocke’s shoulder, Moira tells her that she knows they’re asking a lot of her. It takes the complete focus o’ her powers t’ hold that devil at bay and she can’t deny the risks o’ lettin’ ‘im loose are great. She knows it’s got to be frustrating too, given an artificial means o’ restorin’ her telepathy and knowin’ it’s only temporary. Calmly, Psylocke tells her to just get this over with.

Instantly, Cerebro pulses to life and for the first time in months, Betsy Braddock’s mind is free to roam. So, into the darkness, her mind soars free as a bird.

In the subterranean access tunnels connecting the X-Men’s headquarters to New York City, Warren Worthington (Archangel) deftly flies through them. When Kitty Pryde asks him if there was any sign of him, Wolverine, Archangel tells her not a one. Whichever way he went, it wasn’t the direction he took. He then asks if they have heard any word about Kurt’s recon? Just then, Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) appears and tells them yes, and that he hasn’t out-foxed them just yet.

As the team of X-Men – Kitty Pryde, Archangel, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee – head deeper into the tunnel, Archangel tells them that he doesn’t want this to take any longer than necessary. Thinking to himself, Archangel wonders, of all places, why Wolverine had to draw them back down there. Just being in these tunnels conjures up so much darkness, so many bad memories. Not long ago, a trip to the Morlock tunnels would have been unimaginable to him but, looking at it realistically, he’s one of the lucky ones. He lost his wings, his confidence and his pride but scores of Morlocks lost their lives.

Just then, Betsy contacts Warren telepathically and tells him that she is using Cerebro to amplify her telepathic abilities and that she’s going to be there with him to help. Warren informs her that she’s come to the right place then because right now, he doesn’t think she could find anyone in greater need of it. Betsy then asks Warren how this all happened so she can gain a better understanding of it all.

Even as she asks, Psylocke knows there’s no clear answer to her question. The explanations come in fragments. Archangel tells of the team hastily assembled in the wake of the men’s dissolution and their aid to save the Mannites while staving off the attacks of a killing machine known only as Death. As unstoppable as his name implied, Death attacked again and again. Finally, to protect the lives of the Mannites, a sacrifice was made. The end was brutal and quick – Wolverine was dead. Or so it seemed.

Subsequent examinations revealed that Wolverine had been replaced by a Skrull imposter to infiltrate and observe the X-Men. But even that revelation paled before those to come. In search of clues to the real Wolverine’s whereabouts, the X-Men penetrated the Skrull’s headquarters. What they discovered however was far more than any of them had bargained for. Wolverine had been enslaved, transformed into one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. The circumstances of his transformation (his vicious battle against Sabretooth) were a mystery to all of them but they knew only a horrific ordeal could have turned their former teammate, the man who was in many ways the heart and soul of the X-Men against them.

Against them he was, though. Apocalypse’s Horsemen launched a scorched earth assault on them at the school they call home, ad Death struck as would a force of nature. Only when the other Horsemen were repelled, and Death was trapped within the mansion, did an opportunity to rise for them to reach the man they once knew.

Nightcrawler adds that, somewhere in the midst of all that has happened, all that is happening, while the others fight Apocalypse to prevent him from gathering the legendary twelve, is the key to defeating Death and driving Apocalypse’s influence from Logan’s mind. While they run, Jubilee asks Kitty what she thinks about all of this, how hard can they push to do this? They aren’t going to hurt him, are they? Kitty replies that in situations like this, there’s a fine line between helping and hurting and they’ll have to walk it even if Wolverine won’t be playing by the same rules. She’s taken precautions though, it’ll be all right.

As he listens to them talk, Warren telepathically tells Betsy to just listen to them. Kitty and Jubilee are two of Wolverine’s closest friends and because of Apocalypse, they may have to do battle with him, it’s not right! When Apocalypse got to him before, he was weak, at his lowest ebb. But Wolverine… Betsy tells him that he can’t think like that. She knows how this angers him, but succumbing to those feelings now only plays into Apocalypse’s scheme. Out loud, Warren asks Betsy if she has any better plans. Nightcrawler states that if she doesn’t, he does. It’s going to require Psylocke’s help though and it may necessitate using Cerebro to a somewhat greater extent than she’d like.

Elsewhere, Death moves as swiftly and as silently as his namesake. The dank gloom of the tunnels suits him. He’s at home here, but why are his senses on edge? He senses sounds, smells, images of the past, images of death, images of dead Morlocks all over the tunnels. As quickly as they came, they’re gone. There’s nothing there so why does he feel like he’s under attack?

Just then, Betsy uses her telepathic powers to lock onto Wolverine’s mind. When she does, Death can feel the darkness rise up around him, anguished thoughts he believed long buried, the reintroduction of the adamantium to his body by Apocalypse. For so long, he’s tried to not remember but now, the memories are too strong and the pain too real.

Before he can react, Archangel proceeds to club Death in the back of the head knocking him forward. While he does, he tells Betsy nice going but states that he’s gonna need back-up in a hurry though. Leaping into action, Nightcrawler punches Death across the face. As he does, he thinks to himself that if his assumptions are correct, Psylocke’s mental attack should keep Wolverine disoriented but he still has to move quickly, he cannot give him a chance to react.

Just as Nightcrawler teleports of the way before Death can connect with a swipe of his sword, Archangel reminds Kurt to keep moving and that he can’t linger long enough to become a target. Wrapping a bolo around Death’s arm, Archangel picks him up and tells Logan that he’s going to hate him for this and proceeds to slam him into one of the tunnel walls. While he flies away, Betsy asks him if that was absolutely necessary. He’s said Wolverine is dangerous in this mind-set but these weapons, his ferocity, this isn’t really like him. Warren angrily tells her that she doesn’t know everything about him, does she. He then tells her to just leave him alone and let him…

Before he can finish his thought, Death swipes at his feathered wings and knocks him out of the sky. When he crash lands against a wall, Death tells him that he remembers him, he is one of the master’s failures. He may have wanted to settle things before but now is the time he dies. With that, Death tosses his sword in Archangel’s direction, narrowly missing killing both Nightcrawler and Archangel.

Death could kill them both, he knows that. Instead, he takes flight again. Something about this place, why is it having so strong an effect on him? Mental images wash over him (Storm battling Callisto). Was he here before, did he watch as these things happened? No, the answer has to be “no.” There has to be something else, another explanation. But what? Why does every step he takes overflow his senses with memories? Why can he remember this (Kitty Pryde’s “marriage” to Caliban)?

Just then, Death sniffs the air and sees Kitty Pryde emerging from the wall behind him. She says to him that she nearly got married there once, remember? Her and Caliban, way before he fell under the influence of Death’s “master” the first time. It was a sweet gesture, but she asks Logan if he remembers how scared she was. Blocking her attack, Death pops his claws and tells Kitty that Logan is dead but she can join him. With that, he slashes at her with his sword, but she is able to phase right through it.

Preparing herself for battle, armed with her own two swords, she tells him not to be offended but that’s not the kind of reunion she had in mind. Death tells her that’s a poor choice o’ words darlin’. She moves well and is an experienced fighter but he is Death! Kitty asks him is he? There’s a difference in claiming to be something and actually fitting the bill. She tells Logan that she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she will and that’s a claim he can bank on. Each time Death slashes at Kitty, his sword phases right through her. Kitty, however, is able to get a few shots in and even delivers a kick that knocks Logan backwards.

As they fight, Death tells Kitty that she’s talkin’ to a man that doesn’t even exist. Kitty says that isn’t true, he does exist and he’s still there inside him. Death tells her no and proceeds to ask her if she thinks her phasin’ powers give her an edge. She can’t evade him forever though, he’s faster ‘n her. Stabbing Death in the face, Kitty says maybe this will slow him down. As Death continues to slash away at Kitty, he is still unable to make contact with her. Kitty points out that it’s hard to hit something he can’t touch, eh Wolvie? Death replies that he won’t hesitate to kill her “pum’kin.” The master…

Kitty cuts him off and says that he has filled his head with lies. This isn’t him, can’t he see that? Looking at Kitty with her sword in his neck, Death tells her what he sees is a weak little girl who’s way out o’ her league. As he knocks Kitty off balance, he proceeds to stab her in the foot with his claws. As she falls backwards, Logan notices that she doesn’t have anythin’ to say. Probably cuz she’s findin’ it pretty hard to concentrate right about now. And they both know she needs to focus to phase, don’t they?

Approaching her, Death tells her not to worry, it’s all over now. Looking into Logan’s eyes, Kitty quietly says that he’s not mean. Death tells her not mean, worse and goes to deliver the final killing blow to Kitty. Before Death can connect with the killing blow, Warren flies in, grabs Kitty and takes her to safety over next to Nightcrawler. As he does, Kitty tells him that she thinks he was getting through to Logan. Once they reach Kurt, Death rushes towards them at full-speed. At the last second, Kurt teleports he, Warren, and Kitty out of the way and Death crashes into a large wooden door.

Leaving Kurt and Kitty behind, Warren tells them that if they’re going to finish this, they’ve got to stay on him and flies off. While he does, Betsy tells Warren that he needs to calm himself. She knows where he is and what this place means to him but he’s got to stay in control. She wouldn’t want him to… Warren asks her flutter about in the dark and maybe hurt himself? Thinking back to when he was held captive by Callisto, Warren tells Betsy that she’s right about one thing, bad memories are thick as the stench down there.

As he continues to fly, Warren remembers back when he decided that he didn’t want to be part of the X-Men when Wolverine joined and when he faced off against Wolverine during Inferno. Betsy tells him that she can see his thoughts and that she knows there’s never been any love lost between him and Wolverine and he knows how difficult this is for him, but she’s sensing something else, that there’s something physically wrong with him. It’s like there’s something growing inside him. Warren tells her to give it a rest; he’s just sick and tired of the dark is all, he just wants to…

Before Warren can finish his thought, Death descends upon him, prepared to kill him. Just then, a blast knocks Death away from Warren that slams him against a beam and buries him in a pile of rubble.

Once he frees himself, Death looks upon his attacker – Jubilee. She tells him that this is pretty much par for the course, isn’t it? He goes and gets his big, hairy butt in trouble and it’s up to her to dig him out. She adds that it’s time for the hard choices “bub.” If he wants to go after them, he’ll have to go through her first. Pulling down her mask, she asks if he’s ready to do that. Or is he willing to listen to some of his own advice for a change. He’s always been there for her, he’s talked her out of some pretty dark spots in her life, kept her from doing thinks she knew she’d have regretted later (facing her parent’s killers). She asks him doesn’t he think it’s about time he let her return the favor?

Struggling, Psylocke tells Jubilee good job and to keep talking. Jubilee reminds Logan that she’s always been there for him, from when she first found him nailed to a crucifix in the Australian Outback to when Magneto ripped out his adamantium on Avalon. She pleads with him to please let her, them help him now. Kurt adds that they’re not backing down from this; he’s taught them all better than that, hasn’t he? Or were all those combat games in the woods surrounding the mansion really fun and games with nothing more at stake than a couple of rounds down at Harry’s Hideaway?

As he continues to plod along, Betsy telepathically tells Wolverine that he’s got to listen to her. She knows he’s in there, she can sense him fighting to gain control but he’s got to let them do what they can to help him. Inside his mind, Logan tells her that it’s not as simple as that. Maybe he could assert some kinda control over Death but all he’d be doin’ is layin’ a blanket down on a whole pile o’ stink. Coverin’ up ain’t the way he does things, she knows that. Betsy tells him perhaps, but she also knows the only alternative is relinquishing himself to Apocalypse’s conditioning. With that, she jams her psychic knife into Logan’s head. As Death faces Jubilee, Betsy tells Logan that he has to fight back now while his true personality is as close to the surface as it’s likely to get.

Stopping in his tracks, Logan tells Jubilee that it’s him, for now at least. Death’s taken a holiday. Standing next to Kurt, Kitty states that everything’s finally all right then. Just then, Betsy tells them no, something’s wrong with Warren. Turning around, Logan, Kurt, Jubilee, and Kitty take a look at Warren. With his hands over his eyes, Warren says he never realized. Light, it never dies, not even in monsters!

Characters Involved: 


Nightcrawler, Archangel, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke (all X-Men)

Moira MacTaggert

In flashbacks:

Archangel, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue, and Storm (all X-Men)







Callisto, Caliban, Masque, various other unnamed Morlocks

Story Notes: 

Psylocke fought the Shadow King and imprisoned him in her mind in X-Men (2nd series) #78.

Warren Worthington was stabbed in the wings during the Morlock Massacre – Thor (1st series) #373-374.

Cyclops, Cable, Jean Grey, Archangel, “Wolverine” and X-Man faced Wolverine as Death for the first time back in Astonishing X-Men (2nd series) #2-3.

“Wolverine” was killed by Death/Wolverine as shown in Astonishing X-Men (1st series) #3.

The X-Men discovered that the dead Wolverine was in fact a Skrull in Uncanny X-Men #375.

The X-Men discovered that Death was Wolverine in X-Men (2nd series) #95.

Wolverine had to fight Sabretooth in Wolverine (2nd series) #145. Whoever won that fight became Death, a Horsemen of Apocalypse. Wolverine won and in doing so, gained his adamantium back.

Death’s battle with the X-Men at their school was documented in X-Men (2nd series) #96.

Warren Worthington was turned into Apocalypse’s Horsemen Death in X-Factor (1st series) #17-18.

Kitty Pryde was almost married to Caliban, a Morlock, back in Uncanny X-Men #179.

Caliban was transformed into Apocalypse’s Horsemen Death sometime between X-Factor (1st series) #28 and 51. In this current go-around, he is the Horsemen Pestilence. The Horsemen of War is Deathbird, Famine is Ahab, and Death of course is Wolverine.

Angel was kidnapped by Callisto and her Morlocks but was saved by Storm and the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #169-170.

Angel abruptly quit the X-Men after becoming annoyed with Wolverine in Uncanny X-Men #148.

Archangel and Wolverine faced off during the Inferno storyline back in Uncanny X-Men #242.

Jubilee faced her parent’s killers back in Wolverine (2nd series) #74 along with Wolverine’s assistance.

Jubilee saved Wolverine from Donald Pierce and his Reavers after he was crucified back in Uncanny X-Men #251-252.

Wolverine had the adamantium ripped out of him on Avalon by Magneto in X-Men (2nd series) #25.

Archangel lost his metal wings in Uncanny X-Men #338.

This issue is a part of the storyline Apocalypse: The Twelve. Other issues include:

Part 1 – Uncanny X-Men #376

Part 2 – Cable (1st series) #75

Part 3 – X-Man #59

Part 4 – X-Men (2nd series) #96

Part 5 – Wolverine (2nd series) #146

Part 6 – Wolverine (2nd series) #147

Part 7 – X-Man #60

Part 8 – Uncanny X-Men #377

Part 9 – Cable (1st series) #76

Part 10 – X-Men (2nd series) #97

Issue Information: 
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