Wolverine (3rd series) #34

Issue Date: 
December 2005
Story Title: 
House of M: Chasing Ghosts: part 2

Daniel Way (story), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark Texeira (finishes), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Randy Gentile (letters), Kaare Andrews (cover), Tom Valente (production), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Jennifer Lee (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Mystique still defends her lover, Wolverine, saying that he didn’t have anything to do with the attack on the Mexican embassy. Instead, she suspects Nick Fury. Unfortunately, Shaw doesn’t believe her, as he knows that Fury has been dead for over 20 years! He reveals to Mystique that, twenty-three years ago, Nick was assigned to train the than new Red Guard. But, Fury only agreed to do it because the House of Magnus had kidnapped his son, Jacob. In the trainees, there were two significant mutants Fury disliked: Earshot… and Wolverine. Fury disliked Earshot because of his smart mouth because he had chosen a codename which informed the enemy about his possible powers. For Logan, he mocked his name because a wolverine likes to dig holes. Nonetheless, Fury appointed Logan as leader of the Red Guard. Later, Logan and Fury fought each other during one of the trainings, with Fury winning and promising that, one day, both Logan and any other mutant will be going down hard, and he will be the one responsible for it. However, on another day, Fury was killed by a gas explosion, and the prime suspect, Earshot, committed suicide not long afterwards. Shaw asks Mystique what happened when she visited Logan at the infirmary after the attack on the embassy. Raven, ashamed, has to admit she didn’t found anything: Logan was gone, and only a trail of blood was left. Shaw thought so, and wants to know how Logan could possibly know to go after Fury, but Raven doesn’t know that answer either.

Full Summary: 

SHIELD’s Mobile Command ship…

Sebastian Shaw tells Mystique to humor him: he wants to entirely clear on this matter. He wants a confirmation from what Mystique told him. That Nick Fury was the mastermind behind both the attack on the Mexican embassy and the subsequent theft of the Sentinel that was stationed therein. Furthermore, Shaw wants a confirmation from another thing Mystique is telling him, namely, to the best of her knowledge, that there was no conclusion between Wolverine and Nick Fury.

Mystique confirms both matters. Shaw understands, yet opens a drawer from his desk, in which a file lies. He picks it up. Shaw reveals that, in his day, Fury was one of SHIELD’s most prized tacticians and an impeccable field commander as well. But he thinks it’s an absolute shame that Fury was born as a human. Taking these facts into account, the scenario which Mystique outlined seems entirely plausible to Shaw. Except for one thing: Nick Fury has been dead for almost twenty years! Mystique is startled to hear that.

He adds that, when top brass finally gave SHIELD the green light to intensify the anti-human campaign, all non-mutant officers were rotated out of the field and de-briefed. Most of these “de-briefings” consisted of a high-caliber slug to the base of the brain. Nick Fury, however, was a wholly different matter. His expertise was an invaluable asset to SHIELD and they weren’t going to waste that.

SHIELD Training Facility, twenty three years ago…

Fury arrives at the Training Facility of SHIELD. He is welcomed by a platoon of soldiers who salute him. Fury salutes their general, but he can’t do the same because of the new regime. Fury wants to know what the situation is. The General tries to be calm, but Fury freaks out when he hears the terrible news: they have his son, Jacob!


Shaw recalls they used a whole different approach with Fury. Shaw remembers how a handcuffed Fury was brought to the then director of the facility.

Twenty-three years ago…

A Director informs Fury that they actually want him. They want him to train a handpicked squad, whose designation is “the Red Guard.” When the Guard’s training is complete, both Nick and Jacob will be free to leave. But, they will both be kept under surveillance after their release, though at least they will be alive. Nick isn’t so sure what to think about that. The director sadly has to report that they’ve got his family as well, even his grandchildren. If they are lying to Nick, that means that they are lying to the director as well, which would mean their families are already dead. And if they are not lying, there’s still a chance. The director is willing to take that chance, and hopes that Nick knows, that after all those years, that is the only reason the director is asking Nick to do the same. Hesitant, Fury confirms that he’ll do it.

The director thanks Nick for that. He gets up and wants to be brought to his cell, but the director claims Nick won’t be having a cell. He’ll be housed into an apartment there in the compound and it should be relatively comfortable. The director also has to tell Nick that his trainees here won’t be addressing him as “Sir.” Nick wants to know what he’s going to be called then.

A few minutes later…

Fury walks over the training grounds, and two joggers great him as “Nicky.” He isn’t pleased. Fury gathers everyone in a group. He proudly introduces himself and yells at the troops that they are nobodies.

Somebody, Fury hears someone asking where his body went to, but none of the trainees moved their mouth. Instead of paying attention to it, Fury takes out a checklist and reads a name “Spangler.” His codename is Earshot. After reading the file through, Fury thinks that it was Earshot pulling that body joke. Earshot confirms, explaining that he can throw his voice almost a hundred yards in any direction and can vary the decibel level from a faint whisper to loud enough to rupture someone’s eardrums. Fury sarcastically smiles and pushes Earshot down the ground!

Fury grabs Earshot by his throat, and explains lesson number one: cover. Cover is the curtain behind which an agent operates. Someone’s codename is part of the cover and should be an identifier purposefully devoid of meaning. While grabbing Earshot’s throat even tighter than before, Fury adds that an agent’s most effective weapon against an enemy is the weapon the enemy does not know about. If an agent’s codename indicates the nature of someone’s mutant abilities, he has given the enemy an advantage, as he gave the opponent information about the powers. And the enemy will use it to neutralize anyone against him. Fury releases Travis and tells him to get up and fall in.

Fury continues to walk the line, and reads another codename that gives the enemy information about the agent’s power: “Wolverine.” Fury down the line of men, telling them all that a wolverine is a fuzzy, stumpy little varmint with big claws and a bad attitude. Stopping at Logan, Fury wonders aloud sarcastically who it could be.

He takes a look at Logan, and isn’t impressed. Fury explains to Logan that wolverines like to dig holes and wonders if that’s what Logan does. Is he a good digger? Logan denies that: he rather fills the holes!

Nick fails to be impressed. He knows that anybody can kill as there’s nothing special about it. So, he wants to show Logan how to do something else: he’s going to teach him how to lead. Fury orders Logan to take it to the front, as he’s designation Logan as the Red Guard’s squad leader.


Shaw explains to Mystique that it was on Fury’s recommendation that he later appointed Logan as Head of the Guard. Mystique didn’t realize that, and asks Shaw if Logan and Fury were friends. Shaw denies that, as by all accounts they absolutely hated one another. The situation came to a head very quickly, as Shaw remembers.

Twenty-three years ago…

Fury points the trainees to a circle of tombstones. He mentions that, if anybody has a problem with anyone on the squad, they should fight it out in there. Earshot wants to know what if somebody has a problem with Fury. Fury calmly walks into the circle, and without saying a word points out he can be fought against as well. Logan steps forward to Fury who laughs, hading known Logan was a leader.

Logan asks Fury how they are going to do this. Fury suggests that they’ll do it until it’s done. Logan gracefully jumps at Fury in an attacking style, but Fury easily grabs Logan by his shirt and throws him over his back! Logan is startled. Fury grabs Logan tightly by his throat, and explains to the other troops that today’s lesson is “how to fight and think at the same time.”

Fury believes that the only time a trooper should confront an enemy face-to-face is when he wants to talk. If, however, an engagement occurs, the enemy should be taken down fast and not be allowed to get up again. Otherwise, the risk of success will be lost. Logan ducks and manages to release himself out of Fury’s grip, throws Fury over his back this time and jumps at Fury again at full rage.


Mystique asks Shaw if Logan killed Fury. Shaw admits that nobody knows that for sure. Only one possible suspect was ever identified. Travis Sprangler, codename Earshot. Sprangler’s motivations seemed clear enough. Fury had thoroughly denigrated him in front of his teammates. But frankly, Shaw finds it hard to believe Earshot acted alone.

Twenty-three years ago…

Earshot walks alone through the shower room. He bumps into another mutant, and looks at him angry. The scared mutant apologizes, not wanting to have any trouble. Earshot smiles and walks away to his locker, impressing everyone nearby. He opens his locker and finds a note, which reads, “Do your thing and I’ll do mine. A friend.”

The next morning, 06:00 AM…

Fury has gathered all the Red Guard troops again in a line, but Sprangler was nowhere to be found. Fury hears a message from Earshot again, thrown from a great distance. Travis jokes that he won’t be coming to work today. Fury checks every room at the base, but Earshot is nowhere to be found. Nick takes his jeep and drives to a stock room where gas is stored. He enters the room and finds a cigar light on. Fury smiles that it’s a nice touch. And on that very moment, the entire stock room explodes!


Shaw explains to Mystique that Earshot committed suicide two days before his court-martial. Mystique wants to know if Fury’s body was ever found. He could have set up that entire scenario to provide cover for his escape, or something. Suddenly, Raven stops talking and realizes the truth. Shaw confirms it. They look quietly at each other for a while. Shaw asks Mystique to tell him what happened when Raven visited Logan in the infirmary, after the attack on the embassy. Raven remembers going to Logan’s hospital room, but he… wasn’t there. Only blood trails were found all over the place.

Shaw knows that. And, according to Raven’s reports by the time she caught up with him, Sebastian adds, three days later, Logan had already located and engaged Fury. Raven confirms that. Shaw thinks that’s quite remarkable. Raven gets a bit angry by that remark but stays calm. Shaw wants his next question answered: how did Logan know that it was Fury he was looking for? Mystique doesn’t know.

Twenty-three years ago…

Logan continues his attack on Fury and even snikts his claws open, ready for the kill. But Fury quickly takes out his pocketknife and sticks it through Logan’s ear! Logan screams and falls injured on the ground. Fury explains to his troops that he has said it before: an agent’s most effective weapon against an enemy is the weapon your enemy doesn’t know about. Class dismissed.

As everyone else walks away, Fury walks back to Logan, still lying on the ground in pain. Fury takes his knife out Logan’s ear, making him scream even more. Fury shouts that, one of these days, Logan, and his entire mutant kind are going down hard. And he’s going to be the one who does it! Fury grabs Logan back to his throat, and points his knife towards Logan’s eye.

Characters Involved: 

Mystique, Sebastian Shaw (both SHIELD Red Guard)

In flash-backs to the past:


Nick Fury

Earshot and several other Red Guard trainees (all unnamed)

several SHIELD soldiers and their general (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

In earlier issues, the new Avengers and the astonishing X-Men met to discuss the fate of the Scarlet Witch – the powerful daughter of Magneto – after her recent breakdown which resulted in the death of some heroes. After that battle, Magneto learned of his daughter’s actions, and took her back to his island of Genosha, so that his friend, Professor Charles Xavier, could take care of her. However, this was easier said than done and Wanda kept losing control of reality by the day. When the heroes and mutants had their meeting, Quicksilver, the son of Magneto, was also present. Hating the fact that the Avengers might agree to kill Wanda as the only way to deal with the problem, he ran back to his father and warned him to do something. When the Avengers and the X-Men arrived on Genosha, they found nothing. Magneto, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch had vanished. On arrival, Xavier vanished as well. On that moment, the entire world suddenly changed completely. [Avengers (1st series) #503, Excalibur (2nd series) #14, House of M #1]

First appearance of Earshot. So far known, he doesn’t have a counterpart in the normal Marvel Universe.

During the conversation between SHIELD’s Director and Nick Fury when he is briefed about training the Red Guard, the director is constantly referring to people simply as “they.” “They” are, of course, the residents of the House of Magnus. Before the House of M, Jacob Fury was the villain known as Scorpio and one-time enemy of the Avengers.

Once again, Wolverine only appears through flashback stories told by Sebastian Shaw.

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