X-Force (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 
The Enemies Of My Enemies…

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Rob Liefeld (pencils), Matt Yackey (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine catches a familiar scent, and the track leads to one of his old enemies: the Watchtower! Wolverine fights his way through the various security guards, and later on through Shatterstar as well. With Shatterstar defeated, Wolverine finds the mutant he came looking for: Caliban. Unfortunately, Caliban has been experimented on by the Watchtower and, even though with him recognizing Wolverine’s scent, the two mutants fight each other. The battle is stopped by Cable and the rest of X-Force, who explain that they and Shatterstar also came to rescue Caliban, in the hope to convince him to join the team to defeat the menace of the Skornn. But, before the conversation can go on, the mutants are attacked by the Administrator. He too knows about the Skornn and its plan to kill all the mutants, but the Administrator doesn’t want that to happen, because he wants to use mutants in his own evil plans. The Administrator attacks everyone so that his new body armor can absorb their powers, so that he can destroy the Skornn by himself. The team gets the help from Deadpool, who arrives, thanks to his sharing ability with Cable’s Bodyslide trick. But the Administrator defeats Deadpool just as easy as he defeats Wolverine and X-Force. But then, the Administrator finds himself getting shot through the chest! Surprised, everyone looks up to see who’s responsible for that. Cable recognizes the power, but… it can’t be! But it is. Stryfe has made his formidable return and he isn’t alone: he has brought the Mutant Liberation Front with him as well!

Full Summary: 

The Watchtower:

It is an anti-mutant medical research facility. They want to destroy Homo superior – people born with extraordinary gifts and abilities – and they will use any scientific means available to do so: cloning, power replication or vivisection, it doesn’t matter. But this hidden facility, which is so sadistically proud of its ability to slice and dice the human body, has just met the best there is at what they do: the X-Man known as Wolverine!

The feral mutant fights his way through the facility, killing every Watchtower security guard in his sight. Wolverine has been looking for a reason to get back here, and once he was able to work through all those various security systems that disrupted his enhanced senses, he caught a familiar scent and wanted to check it out. Wolverine grows impatient and lets one of the guards live to tell him where that person is. The guard refuses to talk, so Wolverine puts his claws against the guards’ back, in the hope that he’ll talk. The plan works and, almost without air to speak, the guard informs Logan that the one he is looking for is captured in sub-level two, where the Watchtower keeps all of their test subjects. But the guard is confided that Wolverine will never make it there, because he has called reinforcements!

That’s just fine for the X-Man. Wolverine keeps on fighting until every guard is killed and, once that is done, he decides to go for sub-level two. He catches the familiar scent so he doesn’t have a hard time finding the level. But Wolverine is caught by surprise, as an out of control and mutated Caliban attacks him! Caliban hesitates for a moment, and Wolverine realizes why: Caliban must recognize his scent as well. But Caliban continues the fight nonetheless. Wolverine tries to explain that he is here to rescue him, but Caliban doesn’t seem to hear a word he says. Wolverine punches Caliban a few times, in the hope that he will knock him down so that he can drag him outside. Wolverine succeeds, but for a moment gets caught in his feral state and triumphs over his victory, growling like a true wolf.

Shatterstar appears and attacks Wolverine. Wolverine can’t believe that he is actually seeing Shatterstar and asks the warrior why he is here. Wolverine jokes that he must be one of the security guards now. Shatterstar angry tells Logan to stop talking and to just fight. The two fight for a while, until Wolverine gets the upper hand. He asks the defeated Shatterstar again why he is here, but Wolverine is surprised by a materializing Cable, who gives Wolverine a quick punch to the back of the room. With Wolverine down, Cable informs him that Shatterstar came here to protect Caliban, just like Cable came to do, and the rest of… X-Force! Cable asks Logan what he is doing here. To do the exact same thing, Wolverine says. Cable sarcastically says that he thought so, seeing all the cuts Caliban has on him. Wolverine knows for sure that for Caliban that he’ll heal, just like him.

Caliban hugs Meltdown, recognizing her. With all said and done, Wolverine asks Cable what his agenda is this time. Cable explains that he is recruiting for a preemptive strike against a threat called the Skornn. And, unlike Wolverine, Shatterstar says, he and his friends don’t attack their allies, with the exception of Cannonball of course, a few days ago. Wolverine can’t believe that X-Force fought with his teammate. Cable explains that it was all just a misunderstanding. He says that Sam preferred not to join this particular mission. “Preferred not to join you,” Wolverine says. Wolverine calls that good judgment. Yes, Cable continues to say, because by the time the X-Men lift a finger, half of all the mutants on Earth will have been eaten. Wolverine asks Cable to say that again: eaten?” Suddenly, a blast from above hits Cable!

Everyone looks surprised up and find the culprit: the Administrator! Shatterstar, not knowing the villain, asks who the man is. The Administrator introduces himself, revealing that he is part of the Watchtower and that they all are trespassing. Wolverine laughs at that remark. The Administrator informs that once he had a little talk with Cable, he might choose to work with them. Wolverine doubts that, especially after the Administrator blasted him down like that. Nonetheless, the Administrator continues, he has also recently learned of the Skornn. He reveals that since the Watchtower had begun to study mutants by learning about their biology and seeking a way to replicate it, the group decided to use bloodhounds such as Caliban to ferret out the Skornn before they hatched. The Administrator has discovered that at least one has already hatched, so their second option is to unleash a cleansing Scourge to eradicate them.

Meltdown doesn’t like the word eradicate and uses her powers against the Administrator. Trying to stand up, Cable tries to stop Tabitha’s attack. Wolverine tells her that Nathan is right, as she’ll only make things worse. Shatterstar refuses to sit idly by while guns are pointed at them and starts a battle. The Administrator easily knocks Shatterstar down.

Wolverine asks the Administrator that, if these Skornn are such a threat to mutants, why the Watchtower would stop them? Wolverine thought that the Administrator wanted to do that as well. The Administrator says that he and his group needs mutants to serve as their first and best line of defense. Wolverine believes that the Administrator only wants to find out what makes the Skornn so angry, so that he can eventually find a way to use that knowledge against mutants. Naturally, the Administrator says, while preparing to fight Wolverine. But that is a future that will not concern Wolverine, the Administrator adds.

Wolverine asks why. Because, the Administrator smiles, tonight, Wolverine… will die! The two enemies begin to fight each other, with the Administrator giving Wolverine a few hard punches. The Administrator finds it a shame that Wolverine resists himself so much against him, because he could have been so useful. Wolverine continues to fight, while the Administrator adds that Logan continues to impress him. Even knowing that Wolverine is incapable of stopping him in his new battle suit, the Administrator notices that Wolverine keeps his claws sheathed while he fights, because, the Administrator thinks, that just maybe he will be needed to help mutants kill the Skornn.

The Administrator keeps Wolverine in his grip, making Logan have to ask Cable for help. But Cable had to leave for a second, but no worries, Wolverine got someone else to help him out: Deadpool! With Shatterstar on his side, Deadpool joins the fight. He explains to Wolverine that since shortly, when Cable does a Bodyslide, he appears right next to him. And Deadpool has noticed that Cable uses that to his advantage sometimes, but he doesn’t care, because Cable gives him a big paycheck instead. And besides, Deadpool adds, he has helped Wolverine before against that mutant with the “horrible breath.”

Deadpool tries to slash the Administrator with his blade, but a quick-reacting Administrator punches Deadpool unconscious, as he does again with Shatterstar. The Administrator touches their unconscious bodies, planning to use both of their healing factors, combined with Caliban’s tracking skills, to his advantage. But, before the villain can do that, he gets blasted through his chest!

No… Cable recognizes the power, but… it can’t be! Not now! “Yes,” an evil voice says. And with what better time and place than this for Stryfe to return!? And as long as he is here, Stryfe thought to bring along some old friends: the Mutant Liberation Front!

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Meltdown, Shatterstar (all X-Force)

Caliban (former X-Force member)

Wolverine (X-Man)


The Administrator

various Watchtower security guards (unnamed)

Cannonball, Forearm, Spectre, Stryfe, Thumbelina (all Mutant Liberation Front)

Story Notes: 

Neither Domino, Sunspot nor Warpath appear in this issue, for reasons so far unclear. This is also the first time Cable uses the group-name “X-Force” for his gathered team.

Wolverine has fought the Administrator and the Watchtower once before, in Wolverine (2nd series) #154-155. Ironically, Deadpool was at the time a member of the Scourge, a group who were working for the Administrator. But Deadpool only agreed to work for them because the Administrator promised to have a way to restore Siryn’s then lost powers.

Caliban was last seen in the four part limited series called the Search for Cyclops. During that story, he desperately tried to find his former master, Apocalypse (who was merged with Cyclops at the time), but thanks to a collapsing tunnel Caliban was separated from Cable and Jean before they got the chance to bring him back to normal. His whereabouts after that remained unclear until now.

Cable and Deadpool began to use the Bodyslide together in Cable/Deadpool #6.

Once again, Marvel doesn’t seem to bother that a character has died in a previous comic. Forearm was killed by Anaconda during the Madripoor game fights in Wolverine (2nd series) #167. Stryfe too was thought dead after the events in the limited series Gambit & Bishop: Sons of the Atom. In that story, Stryfe sacrificed his life to stop the menace of le Bete Noir.

Wolverine and Deadpool indeed once teamed-up together in the Wolverine Annual from 1999. There, they fought a group of werewolves who eventually vanished with just a warning to come back one day for revenge when the next full moon came. But so far, a rematch hasn’t occurred.

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