Wolverine: Origins #2

Issue Date: 
July 2006
Story Title: 
Born in Blood: part 2

Daniel Way (writer), Steve Dillon (pencils), Dan Kemp (colors), VC’s Randy Gentile (letters), Michael O’Connor (assistant editor), Cory Sedlmeier (associate editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In 1968, Wolverine was involved in the Vietnam War, where installed triggers in a captured American’s head, so that they would do anything the Army asked without questioning. Logan’s victims was Major Frank Simpson, the man who would one day become known as Nuke. Logan had Frank captured, and continuously tortured him: either with powerful electrical shocks or cutting through Frank’s body with his blade. Logan even cut the shape of the American flag into Frank’s face. Feeling his task complete, Logan left, supposedly to get more beer. Soon thereafter, Frank managed to escape, killing his remaining captor and destroying the tunnel in which he was held. When Frank made it to a local village, Logan’s conditioning kicked in and he murdered villager, which was exactly what Logan wanted him to do. In present time, the president of the United States worries about Wolverine’s actions. An aide of the President, a man named Trevor, explains to him that they have already a solution to the problem: a revived Nuke whom they have dropped in Vietnam to lure Logan out of hiding. The president dislikes the idea, but there is no turning back now. As he leaves, Trevor is contacted by a mysterious caller, who is after Logan as well, and claims that Trevor will always belong to him, until the day he dies. Later, the president shares a conversation with some scientists and the Silver Samurai, trying to determine what spliced their Shiva robot. The Samurai reveals that Logan did it with his fabled Muramasa sword, and that Logan also wants the president to know that he’s coming. Meanwhile, while meditating in his apartment, Logan hears on the news that another Vietnamese village was murdered out, exactly in the same way it occurred in 1968. Logan travels to Vietnam, where he meets up with Nuke and asks the guy if he remembers him.

Full Summary: 

Washington, DC.

Outside the White House the police hold back a crowd, gawking at a crane removing the ICBM impaled in the lawn. Inside the White House itself, the president himself is in a disturbing meeting.

He jokes that he’s just a country boy, but he isn’t a dumb country boy, so he wants a present general to repeat what he just said, so it makes some kind of sense to him. The general claims that’s just it: the situation doesn’t make sense. He explains that, by the looks of it, Wolverine wasn’t after the president or the secretary of state. In the general’s opinion, it looks like Wolverine was trying to protect her.

Another advisor, Trevor, wants to cut in, but the president asks him to wait, as he wants to hear this. Trevor disregards, explaining that they don’t have time trying to decipher Wolverine’s exact intentions. Trevor believes that Logan’s actions have told them everything they need to know. He believes that every minute they spend there wringing their hands is another minute that they’ve given Wolverine to plan his next attack. He is confident that there will be a “next attack” and that even more will follow until Logan gets his revenge. Trevor defends that isn’t just his “opinion”… it’s a fact.

Turning away from the group, the president bemoans that he shouldn’t even have to deal with this situation, because it isn’t his problem. He inherited it. Trevor promises that the president inherited the solution to the problem as well. The astounded general begins to ask the president to what Trevor is referring, but the president instead waves him off in mid-sentence.

After thinking about it for a moment, the president has made a decision and informs Trevor that he won’t be signing anything. Hearing this, Trevor rejoins that the president doesn’t have to… his verbal command will be sufficient. The president continues to stare out of the Oval Office window for a while, until the ICBM which had been impaled on the While House lawn is rolled by. Clenching his decision, he tells Trevor to pull the trigger, much to the general’s displeasure. Trevor simply smiles.

US Embassy, Santiago, Chile. Sublevel 9…

A security agent hangs up the phone, and asks a scientist if “he” is ready. The scientist claims that he is; he has been ready his entire life. Standing before them is Nuke, bare-chested, wearing green military pants and sporting monitors taped to his torso and arms.

The security agent clarifies that he means whether Nuke is physically ready. The scientist replies with an “absolutely,” and asks the agent if he remembers the show “the Six Million Dollar Man.” Well, now the agent gets to meet the one hundred and thirty million dollar man in Nuke. He explains they’ve been fine-tuning Nuke’s body, adding and updating his onboard cybernetics for over twenty years. At this point, Nuke is barely even human anymore. To make a long story short, if Nuke isn’t ready for action now, he’ll never be. The scientist just wants to run one last diagnostic on Nuke’s pump.

When the agent wants to know what the scientist means by “pump,” the scientist reveals that it’s a remote-controlled hydraulic pump. They got rid of the pills Nuke used to take, as they were just clumsy. Now, essentially, the guy has two hearts: one that pumps blood and one that pumps control agents into that blood. The agent wants to know if the scientist means “drugs” when he says “control.” Is this how he gets him tuned up? The scientist denies that, correcting that this is how they calm Nuke down. He explains that Nuke never needed amphetamines or similar drugs to “tune him up”. The red pills Nuke used to take were just placebos. Surprised, the agent wants to know what makes Nuke do… what he does.

Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam, 1968…

Tied up on a wall in a tunnel, and only wearing his Army pants, a young man – one day known as “Nuke” – receives painful electrical shocks. Two even more youthful Viet Cong stand at the car batteries supplying the electricity. A voice shouts to them in Vietnamese that it’s enough, as now it will be his turn. Holding his blade in his hand nd a snarl on his face, Logan is ready for action!

Logan walks over to the scared American soldier, telling him in English that there will be “no V.C.”. One of the two young Vietnamese soldiers says to the other that it’s obvious that their prisoner isn’t a Vietnamese citizen, so why did Logan said that? The other soldier thinks that perhaps they should observe Logan’s technique before asking any more questions.

Nearby, Logan cuts through the America’s body, and he screams horribly loud. Almost breathless, the youthful Nuke manages to mumble something… “Simpson… Major… Seven-Seven-Zero-Three-One…” His countenance still grim, Logan tells “Frank” to shut up, because he doesn’t even exist.

Frank is surprised that Logan knows him. Logan sure does. He knows Frank. But he bets that Frank doesn’t even remember him, and is confident that Frank surely won’t remember him after he’s done with him, either. Frank tries to say something, but Logan holds his hand in front of Nuke’s mouth. Logan explains that the two soldiers standing behind him think he’s a Russian advisor. Logan claims he really is that, but he’s a lot of other things as well.

Holding his covered-with-blood knife closer to Frank’s face, Logan mocks the poor guy that he isn’t a lot of things. He’s just one thing. And, since Frank’s memory is so bad, Logan suggests that he’ll give him a reminder to make sure Frank will never forget what that one thing is. Again proudly saying “No V.C.” Logan cuts through Frank’s body, and blood spurts around the room.

Brooklyn, New York. Present time…

Sitting in his apartment, Wolverine has placed half a dozen television sets and several radios in a circle around himself. Logan himself meditates in the middle, kneeling on a may and the Marumasa sword held out before him. As all the TVs play the news, Logan is lost in through, as he remembers that he has done a lot of bad things in his life. More than most folks have. But that’s because he has lived longer than most folks do. He knows that’s not an excuse, and neither is the fact that he wasn’t in control of his own mind for most of the time. Because no matter what, he still did all those bad things.

He did them all over and over again, and for that, he’ll be eternally damned. Both in this world and in the next… if he ever gets there. Logan jokes to himself that there has to be an eleventh Commandment saying “Though shalt not be like Logan. Logan smiles at this thought for a moment, before quickly returning to a somber countenance.

Bowing before his outstretch Muramasa sword, Logan believes that there is no redemption for him. But there is… revenge. And all he needs is a sign, or a scent… anything… and he’ll follow it back to the men who played him. And when that time comes, he’s going to start cutting.

J. Edgar Hoover Building. Washington, DC…

The president speaks via video-phone with the leader of the scientists, who are examining the remains of the Shiva robot. The lead scientist there can’t explain what happened to the robot; they can only tell the President what happened. The president jokes that’s at least a start.

The scientist explains that, essentially, Shiva wasn’t “cut”… it was spliced at the molecular level. That’s what they know so far. What they can’t figure out is how this was accomplished, especially with all the density of the robot’s outer hull. They are working on a theory, however, that the instrument used might be some sort of plasma form, but that, in and of itself, wouldn’t make any kind of conventional sense to him because…

The president wants to interrupt the scientist right there. He introduces the scientist to the Silver Samurai and puts him through to the scientist’s monitor. He explains that the Samurai is standing at the Edo Castle in Japan and is the head of the prime minister of Japan’s personal security cadre, and was present during Wolverine’s attack in Tokyo. The president then asks the Samurai to explain to Dr. Redford what he was explaining to him earlier.

The Samurai reveals that Shiva was spliced by the fabled Muramasa blade, which is… the ultimate weapon. Redford finds that hard to believe, but the Samurai reminds Redford that the evidence lies right in front of him. He also tells Redford, as a learned man, not to dishonor himself through forced ignorance.

The president asks the Samurai how knows about all this, and why he’s telling them this now. The Samurai admits that he didn’t tell anyone because, for centuries, it has been the distinguished honor of his family to act as keepers of the secrets of the old world. Logan knew this, and so sought him out… finding him in Tokyo. Logan wanted to know if anyone else knew about the existence of the Muramasa blade. And, as it is both the Samurai’s honor and duty to do so, he refused to answer Logan’s queries.

However, Wolverine would not accept this refusal and cut off the Samurai’s hand. Therefore, to save face and to preserve the honor of his ancestors, the Samurai instead provided Logan with information that he wasn’t bound by oath to keep hidden. In exchange, Logan spared the Samurai’s life and, for that, he is now in Logan’s debt. Which leads the Samurai to the president’s second question: he is telling him all this because Logan wanted him to. Logan wants the president to know that… he is coming.

Quietly and desperately, the president realizes that this is a bad situation. He believes they need to recall this mission and set up a new plan. Trevor is sorry for it, but that’s impossible. The mission is already underway.

Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam…

Nuke jumps out of a helicopter and lands in an open field of the jungle. He activates a time bomb, and coldly yet quietly stares in front of him.

Vietnam, 1968…

Logan has cut across Frank’s entire face in the pattern of a reversed American flag. As it bleeds badly, Frank himself is unconscious. Sweating himself from the task, Logan thinks aloud that this will do. Feeling a bit thirsty, Logan decides to drink something. But, he’s out of beer so he’ll have to go topside. Logan promises the boys he’ll return soon and that they can have some fun. As Logan leaves, the soldiers are anxious to give Frank Simpson some more electrical shocks.

As he hears Frank scream, Logan opens the hatch from the tunnel and makes it back into the jungle. He is putting on a United States uniform when an old Vietnamese woman comes across him. Frightened, she says, “No, Vee-See,” displaying that she has no weapons. Logan smiles evilly and tells the “mama-san” to keep saying that. Picking up his backpack, Logan walks into the jungle.

Back at the tunnel, the two boys can’t get enough of torturing Frank. They give him another shock, but after that Frank doesn’t seem to move anymore and the two wonder if he’s dead. With electricity still coursing through his body, Frank manages to move his neck closer to one of the boy’s heads and bites his ear! The boy too receives a powerful shock, causing him to collapse. The second youth sticks a knife into Frank, but receives a shock in the process through the metal blade.

As the youth collapses, his weight pulls on the wires leading to the car batteries, disconnecting them. At the same time, a furious Frank summons strength and manages to break loose! Frank takes the knife out of his side and sticks it into the head of another soldier, who has come to investigate the commotion.

More soldiers arrive, but Frank takes the gun from one of the soldiers he killed and opens life. Some time later, an explosion rocks the tunnel, with smoke emerging from the trapdoor! Some time later, Frank emerges from it alive, though changed. While his eyes are filled with rage, his hands are filled with guns. A bandolier of hand grenades is strapped to his chest, with two rocket launchers strapped to his back.

Some frightened villagers see the imposing American soldier and shout, “No Vee-See,” upon seeing him. Frank’s face is expressionless for a few moments, until his eyes widen with rage. Frank then expresses that rage with actions, as he murders out the entire village!

Standing on a hill nearby, Logan uses his binoculars to look at the massacre in the village, proud at the work Frank delivers.

Brooklyn, Present time…

Still at his apartment, Wolverine remembers that, at first, he just was the Army’s attack dog. But as the years went on, they found a better use for him: dog handler. He implanted triggers, stripped away men’s humanity. He wound them up so tight that those men would act without thinking or questioning. After that, all those men needed was a direction, just like Logan is looking for now.

One of the interviews shown on TV grabs Logan’s attention. It’s about the Vietnamese village of Lai Chi. Once again, Fox news is receiving word that, during the night, a small Vietnamese village was the site of a brutal attack by parties unknown at this time. The reporter mentions that as some of his older viewers may remember, this is the same village where in 1968, during the Vietnamese War, American soldiers slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians in what became known as the “Lai Chi massacre.”

Logan admits that he was hoping to intercept a player in the field and then follow the tracks back to their handler, and eventually to the handler’s handler. Obviously, those people saw his plan coming. But they are just giving Logan what he wants. These people are pushing him to expose himself, and they’ll keep pushing until he does that, not caring about the body count. Logan realizes that, if he doesn’t act, all the blood that’s spilled will be on his hands. And he can’t take that. Logan stands up, picks up his sword and leaves.

The White House…

Trevor and the others leave the president’s room. In the hallways, Trevor receives a phone call on his mobile and tells the others that he will catch up. When he answers it, te caller asks if the line is secure, and Trevor promises that it is. Trevor also promises that he did everything the caller asked – everything. He still can’t believe the news channels went for it. The caller states that what is relevant is whether or not Logan “went for it.”

Trevor guesses that the caller is right. He asks if he’s done, or if there’s anything more the caller needs. The caller is certain that he will find something. Trevor mentions he’ll be happy to help out where he can. The caller makes it clear that Trevor will help him, whether it makes him happy or not. That’s because, the caller quips, Trevor belongs to him. From now until the day he dies.

The caller asks what made Trevor think he would be any different from the rest. He can’t have possibly believed that he would show him mercy. He mentions that there are those who have done far more to help his cause than Trevor has. There are those who have given him everything – even their very souls. And he didn’t show them mercy.

Trevor panics and prays to god. The caller jokes that he isn’t god. He claims that there is no god, at least not here on Earth. But there are angels… and devils. The caller claims that he controls them both.

Vietnam, present day…

Nuke stands on a hill, and overlooks the massacre at the village he’s responsible for. He stares in front of him, when he suddenly notices that the wind is getting stronger.

Vietnam, the past…

Frank remembers a time from the past, when he was also standing in this jungle doing exactly the same thing. A helicopter also flew over, and Logan, wearing his Army uniform, approached him.

Vietnam, present day…

History repeats itself, and a helicopter lands. Wolverine steps out of it, and asks Frank if he remembers him.

Characters Involved: 



Silver Samurai

President of the United States

Trevor (president aide)

Unnamed general and presidential advisors

Redford and other unnamed scientists

remains of the Shiva robot

White House gawkers and police officers (all unnamed)

flashback to 1968:

a younger Wolverine

a younger Nuke

several Vietnamese soldiers and villagers (all unnamed)

On monitors

President of the United States

Silver Samurai

Fox News anchor

Various news anchors

Story Notes: 

This issue reveals that Wolverine has apparently been part of both the US and Canadian Army. It also finally reveals Nuke’s first name: Frank. Before this issue was released, readers only knew his surname. It’s not really certain, but it’s possible that Nuke’s newly revealed first name is in honor of his comic book creator, writer Frank Miller.

As Logan uses the term “no VC” in 1968 when he’s torturing Nuke, that is apparently a trigger installed in Nuke’s body, which makes sure he feels the pain he receives. During the Vietnam War in real life, a local Vietnamese citizen would always shout, “No, VC,” which really means “no Vietcong”, whenever they saw a US soldier approaching them, so the soldier would know the citizen wasn’t part of the enemy forces and wouldn’t end up shot.

When the Silver Samurai contacts the people researching the remains of the Shiva robot from last issue, it’s revealed that he lost one of his hands. Kenuichio lost that hand during the battle he had with Logan in Wolverine (3rd series) #36-37. This issue also clears up why Logan sought out the Samurai in the first place, which originally was a mystery.

The “Six Million Dollar Man” was an American television series in the seventies about a cyborg called Steve Austin working for a United States secret service called OSI. The part of the cyborg was performed by actor Lee Majors.

The Edo Castle is an actual Castle existing in real life, and was build in Tokyo in 1457.

It is curious why police officers would be needed to hold back people from approaching the ICBM in the White House lawn, as the entire White House is surrounded by a metal fence.

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