X-Men Origins: Colossus

Issue Date: 
July 2008
Story Title: 
The Beginning

Chris Yost (writer), Trevor Hairsine (penciler), Kris Justice (inker), Val Staples (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer), Anthony Dial (production), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

When Mikhail Rasputin departs to serve in the Russian space program, he promises his forlorn younger brother Piotr that he will always watch over him from the stars. Three months later, when Mikhail apparently dies in a space shuttle accident, Piotr is so devastated that he accidentally manifests his mutant ability for the first time. The only witness is Mikhail’s friend Alexander, also a servant of the Russian government. Alexander neglects to tell his director, but he suspects something anyway and sends a spy to monitor Piotr. The spy watches him for seven years before finally discovering proof that Piotr is a mutant. He reports it to Russian intelligence, and they send a black ops squad to extricate the young mutant. However, during those seven years, Alexander manages to contact Charles Xavier and get help for Piotr. With Xavier’s help, he thwarts Russia’s attempt to kidnap Piotr, while Xavier wipes all knowledge of Piotr Rasputin from Russian intelligence. Later, when Piotr uses his mutant ability to save his sister Illyana from a runaway tractor, Professor X finally approaches the boy and invites him to join the X-Men for the sake of bettering the world. After some soul-searching, Piotr agrees, receives the codename Colossus, and travels to New York to meet the other X-Men.

Full Summary: 

A young Russian boy dejectedly sketches a pencil portrait of his older brother Mikhail. He sighs, and once again tells his brother that he does not want him to leave. Mikhail reiterates that he has to go and fulfill his duty to his country. “I do this for Russia, but I also do this for you. To make a better world for my little brother,” he says to little Piotr. “One day you will understand.” Piotr stares at his sketch instead of making eye contact with his brother. He asks Mikhail who will watch over him with his brother gone. Mikhail, decked out in an olive-green Russian military uniform, tells his brother that he will always be watching over him. He adds that all Piotr has to do is look to the stars, and he will know that his big brother will be looking back. Before he departs, Mikhail removes a gold star from his uniform and pins it to Piotr’s collar. “I love you, little brother. Always remember that.” Siberian Russia, 62 miles northwest of Lake Baikal, three months later…
Piotr Rasputin walks home through a snowy field to his house on the Ust-Ordynski collective farm. He crests a hill and takes a look at his family’s cottage in the distance. Immediately, Piotr notices a black government vehicle in the driveway. He excitedly assumes Mikhail has returned home and rushes through the snow to reunite with his brother. However, the scene he witnesses on the porch fills him with grief. His despondent mother cries into the hands of Piotr’s father, and two solemn-looking government officials bow their heads in respect. As Piotr draws closer, he begins to understand that this is not the joyous reunion he anticipated. The sight of the government officials bearing a medal on a velvet cushion confirms Piotr’s worst fears: his brother Mikhail is dead. He drops his backpack and rushes off into the snowy field. Alexander Vahzin, one of the government messengers, is the only one who notices Piotr. He decides to follow the boy. Piotr runs for as long as he can bear before collapsing on his knees. Uncontrollable tears of grief pour down his contorted face as he begins angrily shouting at his dead brother. “You were supposed to watch over me!” Piotr yells while clenching his fists. He raises his arms back behind his head, and with a force propelled purely by grief, swings them forward and onto the ground. Unbeknownst to Piotr, in the middle of this motion his entire body turns into organic steel. When his fists connect with the snow-covered ground, the impact is devastating. It sends a cloud of snow and debris soaring through the air, clearing a bare patch all around Piotr. He screams once more to the skies before getting a look at his body. His clothes have been destroyed, and his naked body seems to be composed of steel. Confused, he looks at his metallic hands, and asks for help from his dead brother. At that moment, Alexander emerges from the flurry of snow. He glimpses Piotr’s body reverting back to flesh, and stands in shock. “Dear God…Piotr?” he asks. Piotr has no time to answer, as he collapses to the ground, unconscious. The man stares in disbelief at the naked boy lying in the center of a newly formed crater. Later that night, Piotr’s parents try and explain how they found him earlier that day. They tell their son that Alexander found him passed out in the fields. They add that Alexander was a good friend of Mikhail’s while they grew up. “Then why did he not die in Mikhail’s place?” Piotr scornfully asks. His parents express shock at hearing their normally gentle boy say something this vitriolic. Piotr’s father adds that Mikhail was a gift that belonged to the whole world, not just to their family. Piotr asks why the world could not have taken him instead. Once more, his emotions build up, and his body once again begins turning into organic steel. “I need him! I need Mikhail to tell me what is happening to me!” he cries. His parents stare in complete shock as Piotr transforms into a metallic colossus right before their eyes. Moscow, the offices of the Federal Security Service…
The director of the Federal Security Service offers his condolences to Alexander Vahzin regarding his friend, Mikhail Rasputin. He adds that the entire Russian space program mourns the young man’s death. Moving on, he commends Alexander for saving the life of Mikhail’s younger brother Piotr. “You spared the Rasputin family a second tragedy, then,” the director says. “Anything else to report?” Alexander says no, intentionally neglecting the strange occurrence involving Piotr. His lie does not go unnoticed, however. The F.S.S. director meets with another agent and, citing the condition in which Piotr was found, orders him to spy on the young Rasputin boy. He also orders a team to keep watch on Alexander, adding that they are to report on every move he makes. Meanwhile, in the F.S.S. archives, Alexander scours old newspaper articles in search of information that may aid in understanding what he saw with Piotr. Finally, he comes across a newspaper article from The New York Times bearing the headline, “Mutant Attack at Cape Citadel?” The accompanying photograph shows the masked mutants Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl attacking the man known as Magneto. Alexander’s eyes widen at this possible clue regarding the truth about Piotr. One year later…
Piotr’s parents welcome into their lives their newborn daughter, Illyana Nikolievna Rasputin. They offer to let Piotr hold the baby girl, reminding him to be gentle, as the girl is as fragile as a little snowflake. Piotr cradles his baby sister in his arms and clumsily introduces himself. He tells her that he will always be there for her, and will always watch over her, no matter what. “Although I suspect that you may be trouble, little snowflake!” he laughs as little Illyana reaches up and playfully grabs her brother’s nose. Three years later…
Little Illyana runs out to her family’s barn and finds her brother Piotr, who is busy bailing hay. She begs him to paint her portrait, but he declines, adding that he paints her a picture at least once a day. The farmhand Ivan comments that Illyana has more energy than all the men on the farm put together. He jokes that if there were only a way to put her to work. Piotr agrees, laughing. With their work for the day complete, Ivan says goodbye to the Rasputin siblings and departs, joking that he looks forward to seeing Piotr’s new painting tomorrow. Illyana, who tugs at Piotr’s leg and continues beg, apparently gets what she wants. Ivan then walks to his farm truck, enters the cab, and makes a discrete phone call to his director at F.S.S. He has nothing new to report, and adds that monitoring Piotr is a waste of time. The director refuses to budge, and orders Ivan to continue his mission. Ivan begrudgingly complies. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Alexander Vahzin sits by himself at a bar and stares at his drink. He answers a sudden call on his cell phone. The caller bypasses all formalities and tells Alexander that they need to have a private conversation. Before Alexander has a chance to respond, his surroundings melt away and he finds himself face to face with a mysterious man in a wheelchair. The man introduces himself as Charles Xavier. He explains that he is the man Alexander has been trying to contact, and then adds that their minds are currently conversing in the privacy of the astral plane. At Xavier’s request, Alexander explains about the promise he made to watch over the family of his deceased friend Mikhail. He worries that Piotr may be a mutant, which will surely attract the attention of the Russian government. “Mutants seem to be an American phenomenon so far,” Alexander says. “And while the Americans react with fear and hatred, Russia is not America. Russia seeks power. If the government here were to find out about Piotr, they would take him. They would make a weapon out of him. Mikhail always told me what a gentle soul Piotr was…an artist, or a poet. I will not let this happen.” Xavier thanks him for the information and says that he will be in touch. “By the way, they’ve thrown your body outside. The barkeep assumes you’ve passed out,” Xavier adds. Sure enough, Alexander mind returns to his body, only to discover that he now rests against a dumpster in a dirty alleyway. Two years later…
Piotr, Ivan, and another farmhand walk through a sunny pasture after a hard day’s work. Illyana comes running to her brother with her arms outstretched. “Piotr! Shiny! Come on!!” she shouts. Piotr tries to silence her, as her comments hint at his mutant condition. As Ivan wanders away, he senses that something important has just occurred. Trusting his hunch, he turns around and discretely follows Piotr and Illyana over to the barn and peeks in through a crack in the door. What he sees finally validates his entire mission: Piotr Rasputin, his body completely composed of steel, effortlessly lifts a tractor over his head with one arm purely to please his little sister. Ivan sneaks away, unnoticed. The F.S.S. Intelligence Grid, 36 hours later…
The F.S.S. receives agent Dubenko’s report on Piotr Rasputin’s condition, and the entire agency is alerted. Alexander Vahzin realizes that his fears have just come true: a black ops team is about to be sent to retrieve Piotr for government conditioning. He desperately tries to contact Professor X, but gets no answer on the other end of the line. However, he hears Xavier’s voice in his head telling him not to be alarmed. Confused, he turns around and sees several F.S.S. agents aiming pistols right at him. They inform Alexander that he is under arrest for treason. Meanwhile, out at the Rasputin farm, the family sleeps peacefully in their beds. They remain completely unaware of the covert operations team that descends upon their home in helicopters. Several masked agents approach the house kick in the front door, and proceed to Piotr’s bedroom. They enter and fire several rounds directly at his bed. However, once they take the time to examine the room, they realize that no one is sleeping in this particular bed. Their tranquilizer darts hit nothing but sheets and pillows. Nearby, Illyana awakens to see her older brother in her room. She asks what he is doing, but he assures her that nothing is the matter and asks her to go back to sleep. He switches off the light, pulls the door close, and changes into his metallic form. In the hallway outside, the soldiers move from room to room. They hold Piotr’s mother at gunpoint as they check each room. As one of the soldiers begins to open the door to Illyana’s room, Piotr’s metallic arm burst through the door and punches the man in the face. Piotr then walks through the debris and stands over the unconscious man. The other men gaze at the colossus before them, not believing what their eyes see. They begin firing anyway. The rounds from their guns are useless and merely bounce off of Piotr’s armored body. He turns and hurls their downed teammate right at them, knocking several of them down. The soldiers try to call for backup, but it does them no good. Piotr makes quick work of the squad end hurls their leader out of a second-story window. He then leaps out the same window to finish the job, but is not quite prepared for what he sees upon exiting. “Bozhe moi,” he says when confronted by an armored stealth helicopter. Piotr springs into action without hesitation. He takes a flying leap at the helicopter and demolishes it with a blow from his double-handed fist. With the threat neutralized, he walks over to the squad’s leader and hoists him off the ground. “Who are you? What do you want with my family?” he shouts. The soldier struggles to speak. “Piotr…I know you are not that stupid. We only want you.” Piotr replies that he does not wish to kill anyone, and demands that they leave and never come back. The agent tells him this is impossible. He pulls off his hood, revealing his face to Piotr. He immediately recognizes the man as the farmhand Ivan. Piotr is stunned by this betrayal. Ivan continues to speak, and tells Piotr that Moscow will not stop until they have him. They will do whatever it takes to make that happen, even if this includes hurting Piotr’s loved ones. He concludes by telling Piotr that he knows he is not a killer, and that is why he has already lost. Suddenly, Ivan is hit by a tranquilizer dart in the back of the neck. Piotr lowers Ivan’s unconscious body and sees the man who has come to help him: Alexander Vahzin. Alexander confirms that everything Ivan said was true, but then adds a curious amendment. He says that after tonight, the Russian government will no longer have any interest in the Rasputin family. The soldiers involved in this incident will wake up tomorrow and have no recollection of this event, instead having memories of a night of heavy drinking. “And it seems I have been promoted to Director of Intelligence,” Alexander adds. Piotr has trouble understanding this new development. Alexander assures him that he does not understand it either. All he knows is that they have a guardian angel of sorts, and he hopes that one day they both have a chance to meet him in person. Meanwhile, Alexander tells Piotr to clean up the mess at his house. Sometime later, Illyana plays out in the fields on a sunny day. She focuses all of her attention on a beautiful butterfly that rests on her finger. Nearby, Piotr helps his father move bales of hay. His father asks why Piotr has been so quiet and angry for the past few months, but Piotr responds that nothing is the matter. His father sees right through his lie. Unfortunately, their conversation does not have the chance to continue. Mr. Rasputin spots a runaway tractor heading right for Illyana. He shouts for her to get out of the way, but realizes he is powerless to save her from this distance. Piotr, however, is not. He sprint toward his sister, transforming his body into organic steel along the way. He steps in front of the tractor just before it crushes Illyana and completely halts its deadly momentum. Piotr then sweeps his terrified sister into his colossal arms and hugs her tightly. “You need to be more careful, little snowflake,” he says. Suddenly, Piotr hears a voice speak inside of his mind. It draws his attention to a couple of men who stand in a nearby patch of wheat. He immediately recognizes his friend Alexander, who stands beside a bald man in a wheelchair. Alexander tells Piotr that today he will receive the answers he seeks, and then introduces him to Charles Xavier. Professor X enlightens Piotr about mutants, and Piotr immediately recognizes the wheelchair-bound man as the “guardian angel” who has watched over him. “You must understand, Piotr,” Xavier continues. “The world is changing. More and more mutants are appearing every day. Humanity fears and hates what it does not understand. You and your family will always be in danger.” Piotr replies that he can protect his family, but Xavier explains that he can do so much more. He tells Piotr that together, they can change the world. He then mentions his school for gifted children, where mutants can receive proper training of their mutant abilities. Most importantly, his students learn to use their powers to protect all people from those who would do them harm. Alexander is shocked that Xavier would ask Piotr to join the X-Men. “I asked for your help because I didn’t want Piotr to become a weapon for anyone!” he shouts. However, Xavier has something else in mind for Piotr entirely. “Piotr is a weapon, Mister Vahzin…but I need him to become a hero.” Later that day, Piotr talks with his father at the dinner table. He tells his son that he is a gift, and like any gift, he belongs to the entire world. “You cannot hide here, waiting for them to come for you. Your gentle heart will turn hard and cold to match your skin. If you want to protect Illyana, you know what you have to do.” Piotr decides to accept the responsibility that comes with his mutant ability. On the night he leaves, he says goodbye to Illyana as she sleeps. He whispers that what he does, he does to protect her. “But know that I will always be there for you. Watching you. Protecting you,” he says while the light reflects off his metallic skin. “Always.” Later, at Professor X shows Piotr Rasputin around his School for Gifted Children in Salem Center, New York. “In all my life, I’ve never seen such clothing as this,” Piotr says, commenting on his red and yellow uniform. Xavier addresses Piotr by his new codename, Colossus, for the first time. Finally, he brings him to the waiting room where he meets Wolverine, Storm, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, and Banshee for the first time in his life.

Characters Involved: 

Piotr Rasputin
Mikhail Rasputin
Illyana Rasputin
Alexandra and Nikolai Rasputin (Piotr’s parents) Alexander Vahzin
Ivan/Agent Dubenko
F.S.S. Director of Intelligence
Various Russian agents Professor X Banshee, Nightcrawler, Storm, Sunfire, Thunderbird, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

The image of the X-Men battling Magneto in The New York Times is taken from the iconic cover of X-Men #1. Incidentally, while most of the print is visible, including the issue’s date, the year of the publication is smudged and unreadable. Xavier’s comment that Illyana may turn out to carry the mutant gene turns out to be accurate, as she later manifests mutant abilities of her own. Mikhail Rasputin later turns up alive and also in possession of powerful mutant abilities in Uncanny X-Men #284. It turns out the his death, as well as the entire space shuttle crash, were staged by the Russian government in order to cover for their experimentation with Mikhail’s space-altering abilities. Piotr’s parents Nikolai and Alexandra Rasputin are not mentioned by name in this issue. The scenes of Piotr saving Illyana from the runaway tractor, his first meeting with Charles Xavier, and meeting the X-Men for the first time were all originally depicted in Giant-Sized X-Men #1. Some of the original dialogue remains intact, with only slight alterations.

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