X-Men: Liberators #2

Issue Date: 
December 1998
Story Title: 
Home is Where the Heart Is

Joe Harris (writer), Phil Jiminez (penciler), Keith Aiken, Andrew Pepoy and Leigh (inker), Shannon Blanchard (colorist), RS & Comicraft/EM (letterers), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Colossus pays his respects to his recently deceased parents and bumps headlong into a mystery from the buried past of his village in Russia. He meets an embittered village woman who is angered at his return. They are attacked by Soviet troops sent in search of a mutant “creature” with life-draining powers. This creature escaped from Province 13, a secret and mostly forgotten Soviet facility designed for the study of mutant children. As Colossus helps the village woman escape from the soldiers, his friends Wolverine and Nightcrawler come into conflict with the escaped mutant. Wolverine falls victim to the mutant’s “death touch” and is captured by the soldiers. The escaped mutant manages to elude the soldiers once again. Meanwhile, General Sergei the director of Province 13 learns that a government inquiry into his station’s usefulness has been initiated. Desperate to recapture the escaped mutant, General Sergei orders his troops to search the Savage Land for the deadly Soviet agent known as Omega Red.

Full Summary: 

(Flashback – Xavier’s Mansion)

The second generation of X-Men (Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Banshee, Sunfire, Wolverine and Thunderbird I) have been assembled by Professor Xavier and Cyclops after receiving their original costumes. The other X-Men are admiring and in some cases, sizing up the young Russian powerhouse called Colossus.
Wolverine snidely asks if Colossus’ metal will rust. Piotr feels a bit silly in his costume but replies that he will not rust. Xavier tells him he should be proud of his gifts as they make him special. Wolverine tests Colossus by climbing onto his shoulders and then popping his adamantium claws in his face. He asks the young Soviet if he thinks this is a game. Colossus assures Wolverine that he does by grabbing the scrappy mutant by his throat and hurling him to the floor.
Professor X orders them to stop but Wolverine explains that he was just making sure that Piotr had the nerve and courage to back him up if it became necessary. He tells Piotr that there’s a time and place when you have to be tough and that he’ll need to be ready when that time comes.
(Present – A graveyard in Russia)

Piotr stands over the grave of his parents in a crowded graveyard. He has come home at last to pay his respects.
(Present – Province 13)

Meanwhile at Province 13, General Sergei watches two of the children who are working with a nurse to test their potential for mutant abilities. The kids are trying to guess the figure on a flashcard. As they play, a blond girl named Nanya looks in the general’s direction and he gets the sense that she is inside his mind.
His thoughts are interrupted by a soldier who has come to deliver an urgent message that he has a call from Moscow. Before he leaves, he asks the nurse how Nanya has scored on her tests. The nurse assures him that Nanya shows no psionic potential at all. The nurse asks if she has done something and the general brushes her off.
(Present – a small chapel near the graveyard)

An elderly Russian peasant woman is kneeling to pray in the graveyard chapel. She has done so for many years and can no longer recall if she prays for prayer’s sake or for penance. Her prayers are interrupted when Piotr enters the chapel. He apologizes for the intrusion and the woman stares at him for a moment before asking his name. When he tells her, she becomes enraged and spits at his feet. She tells him that she knows him and wants nothing to do with him or his family. She tells him she knows what they are and is bitter that they were allowed to leave. She tells Piotr that he should not have returned. Piotr is stunned and leaves quickly.
Nearby, Wolverine and Nightcrawler are walking in the woods. Their conversation turns to Piotr’s suddenly distant demeanor and Wolverine reminds Kurt that they haven’t been around each other so much in recent months. Both feel uneasy about being there for different reasons, Logan is expecting a Soviet spy on his tail and feeling a bit exposed
. As they walk, they notice that the trees around them are dying. They then come across a deer that had been shot and left to die a slow death. They hear a gunshot in the distance and decide to investigate.
Back at the church the peasant woman’s prayers are disturbed again, this time by the lights and sounds of an arriving military helicopter. It is a sound she remembers from long ago. A squad of armed soldiers disembarks and storms the chapel. The woman asks what they want.
Outside, the soldiers in the helicopter get a reading on a large target, possibly a mutant. They wonder if it’s the creature they are seeking. Something runs past them unseen.
Inside, the other soldiers are taking the bewildered peasant woman. Colossus bursts through the wall, drawing their fire, which merely bounces of his metallic skin. He grabs one soldier and reminds him that this is a place of mourning before hurling him into his comrades.
The soldiers in the helicopter outside assume that the mutant signature is the creature they seek who has come back for his mother as expected. The helicopter shoots into the chapel and more soldiers enter to search it. They find a tunnel that has been dug into the ground that leads out of the church.
Nearby, two more soldiers, Gregor and Valerie are patrolling. Out of boredom, Gregor has begun shooting animals. Wolverine is tracking them and expresses his dislike of hunters, especially those who do so for kicks. Nightcrawler is a bit uneasy about getting involved but Wolverine continues. Nightcrawler teleports himself and Wolverine in front of the soldiers but is surprised to find that they are military personnel. Wolverine threatens to teach them some respect for the wild regardless.
But as he approaches the soldiers the mutant “creature” arrives on the scene, lumbering forward to attack him. The mutant is mumbling words, repeating parts of what it heard Logan say as it attacks clumsily. Wolverine evades the blow and slices into the mutant with his claws.
The soldiers prepare to fire as the mutant flees into the woods. Wolverine looks to Nightcrawler and then collapses to the ground. He tells Kurt that his guts feel like they’re being squeezed. Nightcrawler says they should get out of there just as a military helicopter arrives. The soldiers grab Logan and drag him onto the helicopter. The others surround Nightcrawler who has no choice but to teleport away. He watches from the trees as the helicopter leaves with the seriously hurting Wolverine.
Back at Province 13, General Sergei speaks with a shadowed government official in Moscow. He has called to tell the general that Province 13 is under review and that he will be arriving shortly to evaluate the present station’s usefulness. The official seems sympathetic to General Sergei’s situation but will be arriving shortly nonetheless.
Sergei then receives a call from the soldiers he sent to retrieve the mutant creature whose name is revealed to be Nikolas. General Sergei authorizes more extreme measures to bring him back and demands secrecy in carrying out these orders.
(The Savage Land )

A military copter hovers above the dense floor of the prehistoric jungle as it registers its target. As they await a clearer signal, metallic coils stretch out and latch onto the copter. They cannot break free and try to shoot at their target before being ordered to hold their fire. The commanding officer then relays their orders to the mutant below. The mutant steps forward and reveals himself as Arkady Rossovich AKA Omega Red. The commanding officer explains that they have orders to locate Omega Red and return him home where his services are required.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (all X-Men)
General Sergei

Omega Red / Arkady Rossovich
Soviet military personnel (including Gregor, Nikolas and Valerie)

Nikolas, life-draining mutant

Nikolas’ mother
Children in Province 13 (including Nanya, who is named in this issue for the first time)
in flashback

Banshee, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Storm, Sunfire, Thunderbird I (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

This issue’s initial flashback takes places around Giant Size X-Men #1.
Colossus’ parents were killed in X-Men (2nd series) #18-19. His sister Illyana succumbed to the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #303.
The unnamed mutant detainee’s name is revealed to be Nikolas in this issue. He is not to be confused with the soldier of the same name that appears in the series.
Omega Red was last seen with an ad hoc team of mutants gathered by the Acolytes to attack the High Evolutionary and the Knights of Wundagore. (Quicksilver #6, 8-9) These mutants were all apparently infected with the Legacy Virus and were working with Exodus in the hopes of securing some kind of treatment. It was not specifically stated that Omega was among those infected, though he was given no other motive for working with this group. The Acolytes abandoned Omega Red and the others in the Savage Land for failing in their assigned mission against the Knights of Wundagore.

Issue Information: 
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