Wolverine / Captain America #3

Issue Date: 
April 2004
Story Title: 
Heart of Darkness

R.A.Jones (writer), Tom Derenick (art/co-plotter), Hi-Fi Design (colors), Jon Babcock (letterer), Cory Sedlmeier & Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Captain America and Warbird find Wolverine, barely alive. Warbird takes him to the S.H.I.E.L.D flying headquarters, while Cap heads after the Contingency. He follows them to an apartment block, where Rapture preps their escape as her crew keeps Cap pinned down with gunfire. Inside, Rapture finds a woman with two children cowering against the wall, and she smiles. Eventually, Cap manages to follow them inside the building and, despite being caught in one of Kite’s traps, he makes his way to the roof. He is too late, though, and sees the Contingency escaping, using a stolen S.H.I.E.L.D hovercraft. Rapture holds the woman’s baby in her arms and asks Cap, telepathically, if he still believes that she won’t do anything it takes to win. She then drops the baby, forcing Cap to forget about her and save the baby instead. Soon, he returns to the SH.I.E.L.D craft and tells Warbird and Sharon Carter what happened. The on-board doctor explains that they have found Wolverine’s medical problem: magnetized bullets attached to his adamantium skeleton. His team jury-rigs some electro-magnets in order to remove them and their plan succeeds, allowing Logan’s healing factor to kick in again. Logan is determined to get the chip back but, when they find the Contingency, Rapture is his.

Full Summary: 

(The sewers beneath New York City)

Wolverine has been left for dead once again by Rapture, leader of a group of renegade S.H.I.E.L.D mercenaries called Project: Contingency. Captain America and Warbird find him lying in a tunnel, barely alive. Cap tells Warbird that she needs to get him to a S.H.I.E.L.D facility right away. They may be the only ones with the resources to keep him alive. When Carol asks what he’s going to do meanwhile, Cap holds up the tracker that Wolverine had been using to locate the stolen Shi’ar computer chip. When he finds the chip, he’ll find the ones who did this to Wolverine. He’ll make sure the Contingency wish they’d never been born!

He sprints away, leaving Warbird to fly Logan to the surface and to the nearest S.H.I.E.L.D facility. This just happens to be their massive flying headquarters, hovering over New York City. Once aboard, Wolverine is carried away by two members of staff, to be checked over by the doctor. Carol asks Agent Sharon Carter if she can save him, but she replies that it’s always difficult with mutants. Carter enquires about the Contingency and the whereabouts of Captain America. Carol says she honestly doesn’t know where he is right now, but shame on anyone at S.H.I.E.L.D who had a hand in creating the Contingency.

(New York City)

Far below them, Captain America is giving chase. His limbs may be old, but he moves as swiftly as ever, as he dives for cover behind a parked car, while four members of the Contingency fire at him. They manage to keep him pinned down while Rapture heads to the roof to prep their escape with Kite. Before she departs, Killdeer asks whether she should be fixing the whopping wound on her side. She looks down. She thinks it’s odd, but she’s forgotten all about Wolverine’s cuts. She remembers a lot of blood, but maybe only her neuro-net suit was damaged.

Unfortunately for her, as she speaks, the suit expels a burst of energy which throws her to the ground, knocking the wind from her. Condor offers his hand and proposes she take the suit off before something worse happens. Rapture looks up at him, sweat dripping down her face. No, she cries, she needs the suit; it feeds her strength. She’s clearly a little concerned, but heads up the steps of the building, informing her crew that she’ll be fine. They should just worry about taking Captain America out.

Rapture shoves her fist through the two doors of the building behind them and takes a look around. Against a wall, she notices a woman cowering away from her. She has a small child in one arm and a baby, wearing a yellow jumpsuit, in the other. Rapture gives a particularly evil smile as she says hello to the woman.

(S.H.I.E.L.D flying headquarters)

Wolverine has been placed in a tank filled with a green liquid, lit from above and below. He breathes through a face mask as he hangs there, immobile, his chest strapped up with bandaging. He moves spasmodically. Warbird and Sharon Carter stand alongside the doc, watching him through an observation window as more members of his medical team operate equipment inside.

Carol asks the doc what he’s doing to Logan. He explains that these periodic electrical jolts, along with the anaesthetic fluid he’s floating in are the only things keeping Wolverine from going into cardiac arrest. What’s worse is that they still haven’t figured out why his advanced healing abilities haven’t kicked in yet. If they could figure out what caused his immune system to fail in the first place, then maybe they could find a way to jump-start it. They can only keep shocking him for so long. If they can’t come up with a solution soon, it’ll be the end of him.

(New York City)

Meanwhile, Captain America decides to make his move and jumps out from behind the parked car, which is now totalled. He carries his shield in front of him, as the Contingency maintains their attack, but he deflects their fire. Killdeer calls Kite on his two-way and asks for an update. Kite replies that they’re just about set up there, and so Killdeer orders Condor and Shrike to fall back. They can continue to lay down covering fire but, if they’re gonna make it out of there, they’ve got to keep the star-spangled jackhammer off their butts.

Once they’re gone, Cap moves quickly and dives headfirst through a window into an abandoned apartment inside the building. He makes his way to the stairwell, just in time to see Shrike and Killdeer making for the first floor. As he ascends the staircase, Kite laughs to himself, as Cap heads straight into the trap he’s prepared. Cap notices a small device attached to the wall with a flashing red light and, thinking quickly, he immediately covers his torso with his shield, just as the device explodes. The impact knocks him through the creaking banister, although he manages to grab hold of it to prevent himself falling. Although the blast doesn’t injure him too badly, the phosphorus flashbang temporarily blinds him. Despite this disability, he is determined that they won’t get away.

He gradually makes his way to the roof of the building. However, when he gets there, he finds that he is too late, as a small craft, an appropriated S.H.I.E.L.D hovercraft, takes off. He should have known, he thinks. As he watches it rise, a woman runs towards him shouting, “Maria!” She is panicking and asks Cap to save her baby. When he grabs her and asks what’s happened, the woman points to the hovering craft. “They took my baby,” she cries. Cap looks over at the craft again and notices the figure of Rapture standing in the open doorway. She is holding the baby, arms outstretched over New York City.

As the baby cries for its mother, the look in Rapture’s eyes shows she is lost in her insanity. She smiles as she contacts Cap, using her limited telepathy. “Hello, Captain. You know I can read your thoughts. You still aren’t convinced that I’ll do whatever it takes to win. So watch this!” With that, she releases the baby Maria from her grasp and she begins to fall. Cap is astonished at her barbarity, but he instinctively begins to run towards the baby. Using his powerful leg muscles, he jumps from the building, catches the small baby in mid-air and lands on the opposite building, rolling over to protect her before coming to a stop.

The baby’s mother has her heart in her mouth, but Captain America stands up and calls over to her, informing her that Maria is okay. The woman cries tears of joy and thanks him profusely. The baby gnaws on Cap’s shield, evidently none the worse for the experience. Cap sees the craft disappearing into the distance and looks grim, as his targets make their escape.

(S.H.I.E.L.D flying headquarters)

Soon, Captain America is aboard the massive vessel and explains to Warbird and Agent Carter what happened. The hovercraft they stole moves pretty quickly and was out of range of his chip tracker in a couple of minutes. The doctor appears and pardons his interruption, but he believes he has found the source of Wolverine’s medical troubles. He produces an x-ray and explains that he was shot with magnetized bullets. They attached themselves to his adamantium skeleton and the attraction is too strong for his immune system to expel them. Also, the magnetic pulses prevent the wounds from healing around them. Whoever did this to Wolverine knew what they were up against. It appears someone designed the rounds expressly to use against him. Carol asks what the verdict is; is there anything he can do to save him? It doesn’t look good, the doctor replies, but there’s one chance.

The doctor explains that his team are jury-rigging several electro magnets from engineering. Their hope is that they are powerful enough to tear the bullets from Wolverine’s skeleton. Cap says he means no offense, but asks if that isn’t like performing brain surgery with a chainsaw? The doc replies that the description is fairly accurate. Unfortunately, they don’t have time to be delicate about this. If they don’t do this soon, Wolverine’s heart is going to explode.

He shows them into the observation room and tells them that they need to take cover, because, if this goes as planned, then it could get a little messy. He runs his fingers over a touch sensitive keyboard and the electro-magnets around Wolverine jump to life. Logan’s body convulses and shakes violently, as his skeleton is pulled this way and that. Carol can barely watch, as the magnets begin to carry out their task. Suddenly, the tank containing Wolverine shatters, as the bullets are ripped through his flesh and out of his body. The escaping water sweeps Wolverine across the floor, as Cap and Warbird rush inside the lab to help him.

Cap picks Logan up and asks if he’s all right. Wolverine opens his eyes and he says, through gritted teeth, “Get yer stinkin’ meatpaws offa me.” As he stands, he tells Cap that they’ve got to get a move on. Cap says that he is healing fast, but maybe he should take it easy for a while. Logan replies that he could hear everything he said when he was in the tank. The Contingency’s still loose and they’ve still got the Shi’ar chip. They have to get them before they do something stupid with it. All he asks is that Cap remembers one thing. He pops the claws on his left hand. “Rapture’s mine!”

Characters Involved: 


Captain America


S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Sharon Carter

Several S.H.I.E.L.D members of staff and the doctor

Condor, Killdeer, Kite, Rapture, Shrike (all the Contingency)

Woman and her two children, one named Maria

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
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