Wolverine (3rd series) #26

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Agent of SHIELD - part 1

Mark Millar (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inkers), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Randy Gentile (letters), Greg Land & Richard Isanove (cover art), Marc Silvestri (variant cover art), Jennifer Lee (editor), Axel Alonso (exc. editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The origin of Hydra’s mysterious new leader, The Gorgon, is revealed as he launches into his first campaign as joint head of Hydra, the Hand and the Dawn of the White Light. A large part of this plan centers on the capture and conversion of B-list super-villains to Hydra’s growing army of superhumans. Minor Spider-Man foes like the Spot and Slyde are among those who fall to Hydra’s main assassin, Elektra. Meanwhile, some of the X-Men are dealing with the funeral arrangements for their fallen teammate Northstar. Before they can react, Elektra and her team of Hand ninjas teleport in and claim Northstar’s body for Hydra. At the same time, SHIELD is using virtual reality simulations to reverse the mental conditioning that Hydra subjected Wolverine too. They have a major breakthrough with Wolverine just as Hydra unleashes a massive attack on the helicarrier. Scores of superhuman agents are launched against the helicarrier, led by Elektra and the newly resurrected Northstar!

Full Summary: 

(Flashback - Akamatu, Japan – 18 Months Earlier):

The Gorgon is shown running through a forest in Akamatu, Japan. He is blindfolded and armed with a katana. The narration relates the following details of the Gorgon’s origins:

From an early age, Tomi Shishido was not your average child. He said his first words at two weeks, could walk at three months and was reading and writing by his first birthday. He was an accomplished painter by age four and composed an opera at age six. This is also the age when he first attempted suicide. At age 13, he created a mathematical formula that proved the existence of God and manifested the mutant ability to turn people to stone just by looking at them. The media dubbed him “The Gorgon”. Shortly after, he ran a mutant death-cult called the Dawn of the White Light, which made terrorist attacks throughout Japan. It was at age eighteen that he sought out the Hand.

As the Gorgon enters the densely forested area, Hand ninjas descend from the treetops and attack him. Even blindfolded, he manages to handily defeat them all. After doing so, he makes his way to a small chapel. Inside, two Hand masters confer about the unusual young man. The senior master believes that he is the one prophesied to bring them “eternal death”. His inferior wonders why The Gorgon does not merely use his mutant power to turn his foes into stone. The master notes that he wants to prove he can best them with his eyes closed.

The Gorgon enters the Hand sanctuary and is surprised at how immense it is inside. The Gorgon kneels before the Hand master and offers to serve the Hand. The master asks if his plan was to impress them by slaying their guards. The Gorgon boldly states that he is worth a thousand of them. The Hand masters ask if he is ruthless enough to be of use to them. He shares with them that he killed his entire family and his only real friend prior to seeking them out. The Hand master then questions whether such an ambitious young man would prove dedicated to the Hand. To prove his dedication, The Gorgon draws his katana and kills himself with it. His dying words: “Resurrect me.”

(The Present - Fussen, Germany ):

Atop a medieval-style chateau, The Gorgon looks out over the land with his arms wrapped around his lover, Elsbeth von Strucker. The pair discuss The Gorgon’s phenomenal rise to power to become head of both the Hand and Hydra, all within eighteen months. He notes that titles mean little and results are important. He mentions that they have lost Wolverine. Elsbeth counters this by mentioning that in the seventy-two hours since he assumed control of Hydra and executed her husband, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Hydra has added Elektra and numerous other superhumans to their agents. She adds that the Sickly Ones have high hopes for him and have awaited his arrival for almost four billion years.

(New York):

The media has yet to release any official information about the abduction of superhumans by the Hand and Hydra. In an alleyway behind St. Mary’s church, Johnny Ohnn AKA The Spot is about to meet an old colleague, Jalome Beacher AKA Slyde. The Spot is second-guessing his decision to venture out after SHILED issued warnings to all super-powered criminals to be cautious and travel in pairs due to Hydra’s recent actions. He mentions that Knickknack and Leapfrog were among those captured by Hydra and the Hand. When he teleports inside the church, The Spot sees Elektra and several Hand ninjas standing over Slyde’s dead body. Elektra, clad in a black version of her normal costume, throws a pair of blades at the Spot. Adding Slyde and the Spot brings Hydra’s total number of “capes” captured up to 24 in the past day alone.

Meanwhile at NYU Medical Center, a handful of X-Men and a SHIELD team are standing watch over the body of Northstar. Dani Moonstar, Polaris and Iceman are on watch and discussing the current state of things with the coroner. He has been ordered by SHIELD to cut off Northstar’s head to prevent him from being resurrected by the Hand. Iceman expresses that he isn’t comfortable with this and Lorna notes that he’s being cremated. The coroner notes that they’ve already wasted time trying to contact Northstar’s family and that in this case, normal rules of etiquette don’t apply.
Iceman notes that he and Jean-Paul weren’t the best of friends and Dani mentions that Iceman was asked to read a prayer in Northstar’s will. Lorna chimes in that Jean-Paul talked about Bobby all the time. Iceman is still shocked that it was Wolverine who killed their teammate.
As the small group of mutants discuss this, a flash of light erupts in the room heralding the arrival of Elektra and three Hand ninjas. Before they can begin to react, Elektra has taken down Dani and Polaris and killed the coroner. Iceman tries to nail her with a blast of ice, but she dodges and leaps onto the table where Northstar’s body rests. In another flash of light, she and the ninjas disappear with Northstar.

Nick Fury receives the report of Northstar’s abduction while aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier. It is noted that Hydra has grabbed forty-one superhumans in the last week; four heroes and thirty-seven villains. The agents present wonder why they’ve changed targets and Fury says it’s because villains are less organized and easy to pick off one by one. Fury pauses to get an update from the team attempting to undo Wolverine’s brainwashing.

In the lab, Wolverine is hooked up to hundreds of tubes and monitoring devices. A team of technicians note that they are running 50,000 mental simulations a minute and Logan appears to be responding. Another team of agents notes that the anesthetic has to be precisely calibrated to compensate for his healing factor. As the two agents discuss Wolverine’s diagnostics, one mentions that the physician in charge, Dr. Weinberg was once a minor league super-villain called the Rabble Rouser who faced off against the Human Torch. Apparently, Weinberg broke the Torch’s jaw, which the techs find pretty cool. Weinberg interrupts them and asks them to at least be polite enough to talk about him quietly. The techs apologize and one realizes that he set Wolverine’s anesthetic too low. As he tries to correct this, Logan lunges forward and claws the guy. They call for guards, but in moments Wolverine has killed the whole medical team including Weinberg.

SHIELD agents scramble to contain Wolverine. He makes it to where Fury is issuing commands to shoot to kill. He claws his way through numerous SHIELD agents and then gets to Fury. He pops his claws into Fury’s chest. As he does so, his Hydra programming commends him on such a major hit. Wolverine looks around, his heart racing from the berserker rage that has overtaken him. He notes a scent that isn’t right and approaches a wounded female agent. She tells him to just get it over with. He refuses and says he can’t kill her because she is three months pregnant. She seems surprised by the news.

As Wolverine hesitates momentarily, Doctor Weinberg steps out into the corridor and expresses that he is pleased with this progress. Logan is surprised and notes that he’s pretty certain he killed this guy a few minutes earlier. Weinberg explains that Logan just took part in a virtual reality simulation designed to reverse Hydra’s mental conditioning. This same program has been running millions of times over the last three days. Weinberg notes that this is the first time he has spared the pregnant agent and that this is a sign of true progress in restoring his true personality. Weinberg then commences a new sequence of simulations, starting back at the technicians’ earlier comments about the required dosage for Logan’s anesthetic.

Fury receives the report that Logan is making progress and that Weinberg hopes to have him ready for active duty in twelve to eighteen hours. Fury is pleased, but still concerned with the data coming in about superhuman abductions. He notes that between sixty and seventy villains have already been tapped by Hydra. As he ponders what the Gorgon is up to, a technician reports that they are being hacked. The perpetrator has gone for the helicarrier’s defense systems and dropped their shields. A satellite imaging system shows a mass of flying objects heading towards the helicarrier. As the onslaught draws nearer, they realized that they are not missiles at all. They are superhumans. Those who can’t fly on their own are equipped with rocket boots and they are all carrying mechanical devices, likely some kind of explosive. There are at least sixty altogether and Elektra, Northstar and Slyde lead the charge. Fury gives the call for all agents to respond because they are in serious trouble.

Characters Involved: 


Iceman, Polaris, Danielle Moonstar (all X-Men)

Nick Fury

SHIELD Agents and medical technicians
Dr. Weinberg AKA The Rabble Rouser

Elektra, Northstar,Poison, S.H.O.C. The Spot, Slyde (All resurrected by the Hand to serve as Hydra’s superhuman assassins)

The Gorgon, Elsbeth Von Strucker (Both Hydra)

Hydra agents and technicians

Story Notes: 

Elektra was killed and handed over to the Hand to be resurrected as their pet assassin in Wolverine #24.

The Spot is a minor league super-villain with teleportational powers. He has clashed with Spider-Man and the Black Cat. He was also a member of the collection of second-rate villains referred to as The Legion of Losers.

Slyde is another former foe of Spider-Man. His powers derive from a suit treated with a special frictionless substance that gives him some resistance to attacks and lets him skate across surfaces at high speeds. He most recently appeared as a member of the Masters of Evil team assembled by the Crimson Cowl.

Knickknack was a member of the Death-Throws, a band of mercenary criminals who were highly skilled and deadly jugglers. Knickknack’s specialty was juggling oddly shaped objects like bowling pins and chainsaws. The Death-Throws most frequently clashed with Hawkeye and Captain America.

Leapfrog AKA Vinnie Patilio was another minor villain who had clashed with Iron Man, Daredevil and Spider-Man during his brief and highly unsuccessful criminal career. As his name implies, he had frog-like abilities derived from a high-tech suit. This enabled him to leap and bounce about and provided some measure of overall physical enhancement.
In addition to Elektra, Norhtstar and Slyde whose
abductions by Hydra and the Hand were shown in this
and previous issues of WOLVERINE, two other
identifiable characters are shown in the final montage
of superhumans: S.H.O.C. and Poison.

Poison is Cecilia Cardinale who first appeared in
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #60-67. She gained her
superhuman powers after merging with an alien
lifeforce. She mostly recently surfaced as a
participant in the Great Game in the pages of
SPIDER-MAN #64. John Romita Jr. was the artist of
this issue and re-designed Poison's costume. This is
likely the reason she was included in this assembly of

S.H.O.C. is another character from John Romita Jr's
run on SPIDER-MAN. S.H.O.C. is Neil Aiken, a
classmate of Peter Parker's and the son of the
original S.H.O.C. Neil's father designed this
powerful suit of armor while working for Hydra. He
stole the suit from Hydra and became SHOC. Now his
son wears the armor. He has also tangled with Hydra
in his limited number of appearances and was likely
targetted by them as a result. The current S.H.O.C.
first appeared in SPIDER-MAN #76.

Northstar was killed by Wolverine in the previous issue. In the pages of the core X-Men titles, he had expressed romantic interest in Bobby Drake AKA Iceman.

Doctor Weinberg AKA “The Rabble Rouser” clashed with the Human Torch in Strange Tales #119 which is apparently his only previous appearance. As The Rabble Rouser, Weinberg used a mind-control device and various other technology in his criminal efforts.

Once again, distinct coloring is used to distinguish Wolverine’s consciousness from the Hydra programming which invades his thoughts. This occurs only during the virtual reality simulation. Hydra’s influence is noted in green text boxes while Logan’s psyche is represented in beige.

The montage of Hydra’s superhumans shows well over sixty individuals but only Elektra, Slyde and Northstar appear to be established characters.

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