Before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves - old Chinese proverb
Before setting out on revenge, first dig ten graves. Saves time later - James Howlett
(Stockton, California, 12.05am PST)
Wolverine may be the best at what he does, but what he does best became illegal five minutes ago. Mind you, what’s legal or not has never stopped him much before. Logan is wading his way through a bar full of bikers in familiar fashion. Moments ago, he found the red pickup truck in which Nitro caught a lift out of Stamford outside this bar, which is bad news for those inside.
Logan nails the driver against the wall and has his fist ready to hit hard. The driver knows he’s beaten but still insists he’s done nothing wrong. Logan reminds him about the guy he gave a lift to: big guy, white hair, purple dorky costume. Cockily, the driver replies that the purple guy paid cash. What about him? Logan tells him he’s got stones, before popping a claw and asking if he wants to keep it that way. Of course he gives Logan the location: a cabin in Big Sur.
Logan returns to his bike. He knows that there’s nothing in Big Sur but bears ‘n birds. There’s no chance of collateral damage. He climbs on, figuring he can make it in three hours by breaking a few speed limits, but before he starts the engine, he sniffs something familiar.
Moments later, Iron Man flies by, and Logan leaps at him from the roof of a nearby building. “What brings you to Stockton buddy?” he asks, as Iron Man drops to the ground. “Those repulsor boots ‘a yours, burnin’ ozone, might as well put up a billboard.” Iron Man says he wasn’t hiding from him. Logan replies that it’s a good thing, ‘cause he knows how much he hates havin’ his intelligence insulted.
They both stand up, and Iron Man reminds him that he told him to stay away from Nitro. Logan can’t remember when it was said that he took his orders from him now. Iron Man continues to point out that, as one of the 198 mutants-at-large, Logan is already de facto registered under the S.R.A. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. has put him in charge of all registered heroes…
Logan replies that it doesn’t make him his lapdog. He tries to bluff, adding that Nitro’s not in Stockton anyway. He’s just taking some time off. Iron Man removes his helmet and asks Logan not to insult his intelligence. Emergency rooms between New York and Stockton have been working overtime of late. He might as well put up a billboard. They’re one more Stamford away from the government locking all of them up and, as he’s already said, they can’t afford a loose cannon with a vendetta.
Logan inadvertently mentions that Nitro’s been hiding in Big Sur, and then asks what happens when they get him. What kind of punishment do they hand out these days for vaporizing 60 kids? “Whereas you would just kill him,” replies Stark. “As many times as I can,” snarls Logan. Stark asks if he really has to give him the ‘this is how we’re different from them’ speech. Logan tells him he’s not different. That’s why he was invited to join his little boy-scout jamboree; because there are some things that need doing that he doesn’t wanna do.
Stark asks if, by killing him, that brings those 60 kids back? Logan says that’s not what it’s about. Stark asks what it is about, then. Prevention? Incarceration takes care of that. It also takes care of punishment. So what’s it about? You want to kill Nitro? Do you even know why?
(Daytona Beach, Florida)
Paul and his wife are watching a black surfer with dreadlocks gliding through a tunnel. He returns to the beach where three other surfers confront him. A blond guy is angry that the man dropped in on him but, before any of them can lay a finger on him, the man takes out all three in one swift move, leaving them unconscious in the sand. Paul and his wife know that they’ve got their man.
Logan isn’t going to let Stark’s team try and get Nitro without him, so he joins the squad on board their craft as it heads for the coastal region. It gives Logan a chance to check out the new unit that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cooked up to take down unregistered heroes. ‘Superhuman Restraint Unit’ they call it, though Logan has a different name for them. They’re packing enough hardware to take out the guy who took out a town, or at least that’s the plan.
Their boss, Abrams, gets them ready, as down below in a small wooden cabin, Nitro drinks a coffee and reads the newspaper headlines about the S.R.A being passed. He hears the S.H.I.E.L.D. craft approaching and heads outside into the woods. Abrams gives the word for his men to spread out, and they abseil to the ground, with Logan leaping onto the cabin roof instead.
Soon, Nitro is surrounded by the soldiers, and his eyes begin to glow. A second later, the forest is an inferno. Wolverine is caught in the blast along with everyone else. The only good news, as his flesh is burned away leaving only an adamantium skeleton without the muscle to support it, is that after the first five hundred degrees, you don’t feel a thing.
Nitro remains at the center of the inferno as the flames die down. He whips out his mobile phone and calls someone. He informs that that the cabin they hooked him up with needs replacing. He takes out a couple of small red pills from a jar, as he adds that the good news is that the shortest of the X-Men looks like he’s gone the way of all flesh. For those with a scorecard, he adds, he’s now taken down Captain Marvel (sort of), the New Warriors and now the world’s best argument for male body-waxing. It’s his idea of a hat-trick.
The man he is speaking with is driving his BMW through Washington. He reminds Nitro that this isn’t a game. People are bound to notice that someone who’s both an X-Man and an Avenger is missing. The bottom line is that Nitro is too dangerous to be associated with, and the man severs his contact with him.
The driver of the red pickup that Logan beat on earlier now faces the surfer. He tells Paul that he’s already told them everything he knows. Paul replies that they appreciate that, but his wife adds, “It’s just that Janus doesn’t like you people very much.” He asks if she means blue-collar guys, but as Janus twists and breaks the man’s neck, she replies, “No. Humans.”
Nitro returns to his yellow van, angry that he’s been dissed by his benefactor. He notices a familiar reflection in the window and, as he turns, he finds an adamantium-filled fist being smashed into his jaw. Three claws emerge one by one from Wolverine’s hand. “My idea of a hat trick,” he says, as Nitro looks up at his unexpected assailant.