Wolverine (2nd series) #68

Issue Date: 
April 1993
Story Title: 
Epsilon Red

Larry Hama (script), Mark Texeira (art & cover), Steve Biasi (backgrounds), Steve Buccellato (coloring), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

At the Tyuratam space center, Logan comes face to face with the man named Epsilon Red. After a brief altercation, Epsilon Red is able to bring Logan back to reality. He offers to remove some of Logan’s mind blocks, to which Logan agrees. Epsilon shows Logan what happened back in 1968. How he was part of a team who was sent to stop the Russian space shuttle from launching before the American one does. After a deeper mind probe, Logan thanks Epsilon for his help and offers to assist him. Epsilon tells him that he wants to go home, to the stars. Logan assists Epsilon in making his way home and, once he does, is picked up by the arriving X-Men in the Blackbird. While they are on their way home, a guard asks Elena Ivanovna, Epsilon Red’s daughter, why she chose to show Logan what happened. Elena explains that she didn’t show him everything. She left out the part of her mother being shot and killed by Sabretooth. She also explains that she did it so she can learn of Sabretooth’s whereabouts so she can kill him herself.

Full Summary: 

Standing outside the steel door, Logan wonders if it is really 1968 and if he is really in the Russian space center at Tyuratam. Tyuratam – the place they used to call Terry Adams. He asks the blonde lady with him who or what is behind the door. The lady informs him that it is his father, the Soviet super astronaut, the man he was sent to kill.

Just then, the door explodes before Logan and before him stands a blonde haired man with many appendages coming out of the back of his suit. On the end of the appendages are a rotary saw, a claw, a screwdriver, and a blowtorch. Upon seeing Logan he tells him, “you, after all these years.” Logan replies that he doesn’t know him from Adamski, Tovarich, but if he’s itchin’ for a throw-down, he’s ready. The man tells him that he doesn’t understand and uses his appendages to wrap Logan up.

The lady tells Logan that he must know him, he’s Epsilon Red. Logan struggles against Epsilon’s attack and asks him if that name is supposed to ring a bell. He then slashes Epsilon’s appendages, he tells him that all he knows is that this is Terry Adams and he’s supposed to waste the main attraction there. He informs Epsilon that looks like him. Epsilon takes that opportunity to take off back inside the building. As he does, he tells Logan that he’s got it all wrong. Logan answers wrong or not, he’s got a job to do and… The lady tells him to make sure that he keeps track of the time.

Before Logan takes the time to figure out what that means, he takes off down the hall. As he does, he notices the things around him. He wonders how they ever got Gagarin in orbit with all of the vacuum tube technology. Before he can get much further, Epsilon Red leaps towards him. Logan mentions to him that was a fast change and that it looks like he dug in the closet and found an old suit. Epsilon asks him what all of the hallucinations are and calls him a capitalist assassin. As they begin to slash and swing at each other, Epsilon asks Logan if the imperialist warmongers sent a madman to murder him. Logan tells him that he ain’t crazy, as long as the year is 1968. Epsilon confirms that of course it is. Logan replies that he was just checkin’.

When Logan goes to slash at Epsilon, a voice calls out “stop, don’t kill him!” Before Logan can stop his slice, he calls out that it was too late, he couldn’t stop the cut. The next sight he sees is Epsilon Red holding his wife in his arms. Logan asks what he has done and if she is… Epsilon removes his suit and tells Logan that it his wife endured a shallow wound, nothing that will harm the baby. He tells Logan to leave her be and take his life and spare his wife and unborn child. Logan notices that Epsilon begins to swell up. He points out to Epsilon that his armor is a containment suit.

Epsilon’s wife confirms that and explains that it had a vacuum inside. She adds that they changed him so that he could easily be a genetically engineered astronaut in every sense of the phase. He was altered so that the nothingness of space could be his natural habitat and the surface of the earth full of pressure and dense gases, was as deadly to him as the depths of the oceans are to them. Epsilon confirms everything his wife said and that even now, his body bloats and his cells rupture. He asks him if he knows what it is to not to be able to feel the wind and sun, to not be able to touch his wife. He tells Logan to end it, to do him a favor and fulfill his own mission. Epsilon’s wife stands between her husband and Logan and tells Logan not to listen to him. There’s still hope, there has to be. They can find a way to reverse the process. At that moment, Logan puts his head in his hands and screams. He yells out that he can’t go through this, not again.

Logan then composes himself and asks what he just said – “again?” He wonders aloud what he was thinking. He then notices Epsilon Red stands before him yet again, wearing his red containment suit. When he asks him what is going on, Epsilon informs Wolverine that he was remembering. He was remembering things long forgotten, or deliberately blocked. He’s returned after all this time and they’ve tampered with his memories. He tells Logan that he’s in a time slip but he will explain more about that later. He asks him if he knew that his daughter, Elena, was born the very day that he came to kill him. Logan questions him how he knew about his memory. Epsilon inquires how he thinks he controls his appendages. The first prerequisite of a DNA-altered astronaut candidate was psi-talent. He then asks Logan if he would like to know more about himself.

Aboard the Blackbird, Iceman informs Psylocke, Colossus, Jubilee and Cyclops that getting across the North Pole and most of Russia was a snap but, now that they’re approaching Tyuratam, they’re being hit with the full spectrum of sensor beams and probes. Psylocke tells Bobby that she is switching on full cloaking and all electronic countermeasures. Cyclops tells her good move and that he is cutting engine speed down to foil infrared sensors.

Iceman then tells them all to hold on. Something’s coming through on the radio and code-breaking computer. It’s a countdown – they’re preparing for a major launch. That’s why the security is all beefed up. Jubilee tells them that they have to get there before Wolvie… She then asks if there is anyway to speed the Blackbird up without being detected. Iceman informs her that he thinks he may have a way.

In Tyuratam, Epsilon Red informs Logan that he had just taken a stroll through the corridors of his mind and asks him if his name is Logan. That is how he thinks of himself – just Logan. He tells him that his brain is clogged with false memory implants and total blocks. There are implants on top of implants and so much memory tampering that there is now permanent scarring and intermittent firing of synapses. For instance, he tells Logan that he thinks that it is 1968 and he is there to pre-empt the Soviet manned moon shot and to prevent his, Epsilon’s, chance to walk on the moon. Holding up a picture of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, he tells Logan that in July 1969 Armstrong did it and that his project became low priority.

Outside at the mission control tower, base security informs a guard stationed at the space shuttle that sensors show an intruder in the old discontinued projects bunker. They have a visual. The guard asks for a direct feed. When he gets it, base security asks him if the swift-tuttle intercept now compromised. They ask if they are scrubbing. The guard informs him that the countdown proceeds uninterrupted. It’s just that old dinosaur, Epsilon Red and his crazy daughter. He then directs a security team to be dispatched to the bunker.

Inside the bunker, Epsilon Red mentions to Logan that he knows the great shining truth when he sees it. The truth has the power to counteract the misfires and short-circuits that are causing his present time slip. He then recommends to Logan that he open his mind to a probe. Allow the blocks and implants to be excised. Free his memory from the shackles of illusion and repression. Let him show him what really happened back in 1968. Logan tells him that he’s game, he wants to see.

In his mind, Logan remembers having his rifle pointed at Epsilon Red. Epsilon’s pregnant wife proceeded to stand between them and beg him not to kill him. Epsilon told him to ignore her and to do his job. Just then, rifle fire comes raining in the bunker. The source, Sabretooth, comes bursting in through a window. He tells Logan that the cavalry just showed up. Logan proceeds to ask him what he is doing there. Sabretooth replies that he just fought his way past elite KGB border guards and internal security teams to deliver an abort mission to him. Logan asks what? Sabretooth tells him that the orders came all the way from the top o’ the food chain. He is not to whack Epsilon Red. The commie space-man gets a reprieve and they jam out o’ there. He then tells Logan to move it, he’ll cover him. As Logan takes off out of the bunker, Epsilon Red calls out to him to come back there, he can’t leave him like that.

In reality, Epsilon Red asks Logan if he has seen enough and if he knows it for the truth. Logan admits that was a shocker. He knows it was the truth and informs Epsilon that he wants more, he wants the blocks removed. Epsilon tells him that it won’t restore what has been erased and there are some blocks that were put there by his own sub-conscious to prevent him from going insane. Those can’t be removed. He then warns him that it’s going to hurt. Logan tells him that it’s not like a little thing like pain is gonna bother him. He tells Epsilon to do it.

When he does, Logan screams in pain. His memories give way to fire, pain, blood, burning, ripping! Back to when he first became Wolverine and when he was turned into the animal that he is. He remembers Silver Fox and her begging Logan to not leave her there. Of Sabretooth beating him when he was a young man. Of the tree. Not the tree! He knew Epsilon said it would hurt, but he never thought it would be this bad. It’s like every molecule o’ him is screamin’ and the whole universe is white hot like the heart of a Bessemer furnace until everything is burnt away to ashes and the wind comes howlin’ in. A wind like the great mother o’ gales, northern cold, fierce and cleansin’ leavin’ him starin’ into a light like he’s never seen before. Like he’s gazin’ into the stark cold brilliance o’ reality.

In time, Logan is brought back to reality. Epsilon Red apologizes to him. He informs Logan that there are blocks that are immovable and impervious to the cleansing fires. Logan tells him that he’s shown him more than he’s ever seen before. A lot o’ it ain’t nice, but he thanks him for it. He then tells him that he wishes there was somethin’ he could do for him, short o’ puttin’ out his lights. Epsilon tells him that he can help him go home.

Before Logan can answer, a bunch of guards come crashing into the bunker. They tell Epsilon that he’s not going anywhere and call him an outdated freak. In fact, he’s going nowhere forever. They then raise their weapons up and point them at Epsilon Red. Logan pops his claws and tells them that they must think they rate mighty high on the bad-o-meter but guess what? Logan then leaps into action and slices his claws in their direction. Logan tells them that they’re messin’ with someone who’s off the scale.

The guards mention that their attacker moved so fast they couldn’t track him. They then notice that he is behind them. When the order is given to gun him down, their rifles fall apart after being slashed. Logan then asks Epsilon what it was about goin’ home. Epsilon points into the night sky and the stars. He tells Logan it is up there, the only place he can be free.

Later, the Blackbird races towards Tyuratam. They notice that it is still counting down for a dawn launch. Cyclops tells Iceman to keep cooling the engine heat vents; it’s giving them more speed than they could normally eke out without tripping the infrared detectors. Iceman replies that service is his specialty. He then points out that Logan is down near the fence. Noticing the Blackbird land, Logan mentions that that was a pleasant surprise. Here he thought he was gonna hafta hoof it all the way back to Salem Center.

With the X-Men gathered around him, they all watch the space shuttle take off. Jubilee tells him that they were worried about him. Logan answers that was real nice o’ her but what say they take care o’ this socializin’ on the way home. Aboard the Blackbird, Colossus tells Logan that he should warn him. They are making a short stop on the way back. Logan asks if it is someplace pleasant. Colossus informs him yes. Siberia is very nice this time of year. Jubilee then puts her arms around Logan and asks him if he… Logan informs her that he did not, he just helped somebody go home is all.

Up in space, Epsilon Red emerges from his shuttle into space, where he is happiest.

In Tyuratam mission control, a guard mentions to Elena that she let him come storming in there and permitted him to force him to remove the real payload so her demented father could go off on his space cruise to the asteroid belt. He then asks her, with her amazing psi-talents, pretend that it was her father who was tinkering with the American mutants brain. He asks why she, Elena Ivanovna, let him see the truth of what happened in 1968. Elena replies that she didn’t let him see the whole truth. She didn’t let him see what happened after he left. She didn’t let him see what happened with Sabretooth.

Back then, after Logan ran out, Epsilon Red mentions to Sabretooth that he seems like a different sort than his friend – harder, colder. He asks him if perhaps he will do him the favor of ending his existence. Sabretooth tells him, “nah, you want it too bad.” “But he know a way to really bum him out.” With that, he shoots and kills Epsilon Red’s wife in cold-blood. Elena tells the guard that she was born by caesarian section even as her mother died. What he got out of all this was information. When she went into Logan’s brain to remove the blocks, she did a personal perusal. She now has clues to the whereabouts of Sabretooth. When she finds him, he will surely die.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Jubilee, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Epsilon Red

Elena Ivanovna (Epsilon Red’s daughter)

Various Russian guards (all unnamed)

In Wolverine’s memories:

Sabretooth and Logan (back in their Team X days)

Epsilon Red

Epsilon Red’s wife (unnamed)

Silver Fox

Story Notes: 

Elena Ivanovna’s quest of Sabretooth continues in the Maverick one-shot “In the Shadow of Death” which in turn leads into Maverick’s solo series.

“Gagarin” refers to Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who in 1961 became the first human in space and the first to orbit the Earth.

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