X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #28

Issue Date: 
September 2000
Story Title: 
A Plague Among Us (1st story)<br>Garden State Slaughter (2nd story)

First Story: Joe Pruett (writer), Brett Booth and Ron Lim (pencilers), Sal Relga and Derek Mei (inkers), Marie Javins (colorist), Sharpefont & PT/JC (letters), Lysa Hawkins (assistant editor), Jason Liebig (editors), Bob Harras (editor in chief)
Second Story: Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Liam McCormick-Sharp (penciler, inker), Marie Javins (colorist), Sharpefont & PT/JC (letters), Lysa Hawkins (assistant editor), Jason Liebig and Mike Marts (editors), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story: After attending to some business in Moscow, Phoenix, Beast, Storm, Cable and Gambit are attacked by a mind-controlled Darkstar, their friend from the Winter Guard. After freeing Laynia from the control cast upon her, they learn that she was investigating some strange occurrences on Rebirth Island at the request of some of the locals. Gambit flirts with Darkstar as the X-Men offer their help. Laynia teleports everyone to Rebirth Island where they note the desolateness of the abandoned research station, until they are attacked by some droids. With the droids easily destroyed, the Black Death introduces himself and reveals his predicament, that the Russian authorities deemed his mutant power of influence too powerful, so they experimented on him with this virus. He is the one who mind controlled Darkstar into attacking the X-Men because he wants the Beast to help cure him of his condition. The Beast has no choice but to help him when the Black Death puts the others under his control. Beast begins his work while trying to call out to Phoenix, who is finally woken from her dream, and starts about setting the others free. The X-Men and Darkstar attack the Black Death and the “cure” that Beast was working on turns out to be stun gun, which knocks him out. Darkstar prepares to take him to the authorities so he can be helped and so they can all make amends for their wrong-doings, while the X-Men return home, everyone safe.

Second Story: Deadpool is in a bad state, and thinks back to a mercenary mission he was once on which involved a troubled young girl, who after he helped her committed suicide soon after. At the time he took full responsibility for her and buried her “Sandee Wade” along with some money which he swore never to use because it was blood money - but now he needs the money, and digs it up, hoping that Sandee will understand, after all, she is his family.

Full Summary: 

First Story

In 1972, the Soviet Union was among the 140 signatories of the Biological Weapons Convention, pledging not to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain biological agents for offensive military purposes. It lied. For in the Aral Sea, dividing the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, sits the island of Vozrozhdeniya, or as it is more commonly known: Rebirth Island. It is from this most clandestine of locations that the former Soviet Union built the largest and most advanced bio-logical warfare establishment in the world.

Eight years ago, Rebirth Island became a casualty of the collapse of the Soviet infrastructure. 37 Days ago, Rebirth Island was reborn. A military General watches several scientists all wearing orange containment suits as they go about their business in the facility, when suddenly, he orders ‘Now!’ The scientists suddenly are trapped in one part of this complex on Rebirth Island, while the General is safe behind some glass. Doctor Ivan Kivelki asks the General what the meaning of all this is, to which the General replies: ‘Research, Dr. Kivelki. This is a research facility is it not?’

The General asks Kivelki is he personally has not supervised countless experiments here - experiments that would brand him a monster among his own people if they knew the putrid truth of what he has done. The General informs Dr. Kivelki that it is not only scientists who do research, but the military as well, and reveals to the Doctor that they know about him, they know what he is - a freak of nature - a mutant. He claims that they have known for a very long time, but until this time there was a perceived need of his expertise in matters regarding biological warfare, but that time has passed.

The General declares that mutants are a race which believes itself to be genetically superior to humanity. The General believes this is an anomaly that must, and will, be addressed. He mentions Magneto, the butcher responsible for the Leningrad tragedy, who is now the tyrant ruler of Genosha, and asks which corner of the world will fall next to the coming mutant intrusion. He declares that it will not be Mother Russia, before revealing to Kivelki that the containment suit which he wears is flawed, and directs him to rub the back of his next, where he will discover the pinprick that renders it ineffective.

The General explains that this was known only to a chosen few, and tells Kivelki that a defense has been prepared to subjugate his kind, and he is the first test subject. Suddenly, red gas pours into the room, and seeps into Dr. Kivelki’s containment suit.

Now, elsewhere in Russia - Moscow to be exact - five members of the mutant heroes known as the Uncanny X-Men are doing some sight seeing. They are beings born with exceptional genes which grant them extraordinary abilities beyond that of normal man. They are feared by a world for that difference, yet they still aspire to save it, while striving for the day when mutant and man can live together in amiable coexistence. Their business in Moscow has concluded, so the five individuals now find themselves in a most unaccustomed role - that of tourist.

Nathan Dayspring Summers a.k.a. Cable admires the beautiful landscape, as Remy “Gambit” LeBeau welcomes his teammates to Moscow. Ororo Munroe, better known as Storm remarks that it is almost as beautiful from this perspective as it is from the skies. Disguised thanks to an image-inducer, Doctor Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast tells Ororo that she has him at a disadvantage as far as scope goes, but he does agree with her on her assessment of the pulchritude of the city’s magnificence. ‘Hank, you say the sweetest things,’ exclaims the beautiful Jean “Phoenix” Grey.

As the quintet make their way through the streets, Beast tells Gambit that while he appreciates the opportunity to explore the rich culture and beauty of Mother Russia, he would welcome a brief respite in the comforts of his own bed instead, that is, unless he has yet another Thieves Guild debt he has neglected to apprise his teammates of. ‘Touché, McCoy’ remarks Remy, before telling the Beast that one thing he learned as a thief is that you have the chance for a moments relaxation if you take it, adding that he likes the Russian scenery, while he gazes down an alley where a cloaked young woman is standing.

‘When you say “scenery”, why do I get the feeling you are not referring to the Kremlin?’ Hank asks. Remy tells Beast that he must know how thinks, as an old stone building pales in comparison to the work of art that is a beautiful woman. ‘The man is a walking hormone. What did Rogue ever see in a scoundrel like that?’ asks Cable. ‘Charm, wit, good looks…need I go on?’ replies Storm. Walking down the alley, Remy points out that the “petite” looks like she needs some assistance. ‘What a gentleman’ Cable remarks sarcastically.

Remy decides that the young woman needs a light for her cigarette, and holding a match out for her, asks if he may be of assistance. ‘Why thank you…idiot!’ the blonde woman replies, before throwing off her cloak and revealing herself as Laynia Petrovna a.k.a. the dazzling Darkstar! Laynia unleashes a powerful blast of the Darkforce energy that she controls at Gambit, knocking him off his feet.

Beast ditches his image-inducer as the other X-Men remove their civilian clothing, revealing their costumes underneath. Storm recognizes Laynia, but to be sure of who she is checks with the Beast. Hank confirms that it is Darkstar of the Winter Guard, who are Russia’s answer to the Avengers. Beast informs everyone that Darkstar was a member of the Champions alongside other X-Men Angel and Iceman, while the Beast himself was a member of the Avengers. He explains that Darkstar is a mutant who commands an inmeasurable source of power called the Darkforce, adding that she is a professional, trained by the best the Soviets had to offer - she is no novice.

Taking to the skies, Storm tells Cable that Hank’s assessment of Darkstar’s abilities is an accurate one, so she is not to be underestimated, adding that if it is a battle she wants, then it will not be an easy one. The handsome Cable tells Storm that she is preaching to the converted, for one of the first things he learned was to never misjudge an opponent. Darkstar thanks Storm for taking to the air, because it has allowed her an unobstructed opportunity to comply with one of the basic principles of conflict - nullify the strongest foe first.

With great ease, Darkstar traps Storm in a Darkforce bubble, before turning her attention to Cable. Cable points out to his “mother”, Jean, that Storm being trapped in a lightless sphere cannot be good for her claustrophobia, so they need to get her out of there. Jean replies that she knows, and reveals that she is telepathically connected to Ororo, who is remaining calm so far, but she can feel her already starting to panic.

Cable suggests to Jean that she continues to reassure Ororo while he takes out the source, but as he lunges at Darkstar with his psimitar ready, Darkstar deflects its like it was nothing. He asks what this Darkforce is made of, to which the beautiful Darkstar replies that even she doesn’t fully understand the workings of her power. Dropping to the ground, Laynia remarks that it is formidable, but that she does not have to rely only on her mutant abilities, and tripping Cable up, she tells him he can attest to that himself.

Gambit lunges at Laynia with several playing cards kinetically charged, and tells Laynia that he will admit she is good, for not many can boast to catching Gambit off guard. However Remy believes that he will always be a sucker for an alluring beauty such as Darkstar. Taking flight, Laynia tells Gambit that his brutish attack is as easy to avoid as his attempts at charm.

Beast jumps up at Darkstar, ‘Sticks and stones’ he remarks, telling her that Gambit may be a bit uncouth, but he is still their favorite Cajun, and suggests that they halt any further aggressive acts on either side and discuss the subject of her unprovoked incursion on the X-Men. Hank tells Laynia to remember who he is, a friend of Bobby and Warren’s, her old friends from the Champions, and reminds her that the two of them fought Dr. Doom together on the White House lawn.

Suddenly, Storm is free from the restraints of the Darkforce sphere, explaining that Beast has succeeded in breaking Laynia’s concentration allowing her to escape from the “prison”. Storm orders Hank to stand aside, as she and Darkstar have a reckoning. Seeing how furious Storm is, Beast whispers that he doesn’t envy Laynia right now, and in an instant, a mighty bolt of lightening is thrust upon Darkstar, who falls to the ground. Beast jokes that if he were a betting man, he would say the young Russian lass if most definitely down for the perennial count of ten.

However as the resilient Darkstar starts to get to her feet, Beast admits that he has been known to be wrong before, and as a puzzled Laynia looks around, Hank adds that the prevalent amnesia predicament is right on cue. Laynia is surprised to see the Beast, and asks where she is. Cable points out that there is always a way to find out if she is telling the truth or not, and asks Jean if she wants him to do it.

Phoenix replies that she will do it, and touching Darkstar’s face, Jean reveals that Laynia is telling the truth, she doesn’t know why she attacked, or even how she came to be out here, meaning she is as out of place as any of them. Using her phenomenal telepathic abilities, Phoenix explains to Darkstar that she is going to probe a bit further, then perhaps she can find answers that they are all seeking. Jean informs Darkstar that she may feel a little discomfort, but otherwise she will be unharmed.

Jean discovers something hidden, and manages to pull it forward in Laynia’s mind. ‘BOZHE MOI!’ Laynia exclaims, wide-eyed, and frightened, she exclaims that she is beginning to remember - the beast on the island, the blackness…. Laynia apologizes to the X-Men for attacking them, and asks that they find it within themselves to forgive her, for she must leave now. Gambit puts a hand on Laynia’s shoulder, telling her that she doesn’t know them as well as she might think, for the X-Men would never allow a petite such as herself to face the unknown by her lonesome.

Laynia begins to protest, but realizes that the X-Men will not let her leave on her own, she thanks them, before telling them to prepare themselves, and with that she gathers them in the Darkforce, using it to teleport them to their destination - and moments later, they have arrived. As the Darkforce dissipates around them, Hank jokes that he thinks he left his stomach back in Moscow, and asks if once this is over they can go back and retrieve it - if it hasn’t already been sold on the black market that is, he adds. With that, Laynia welcomes the X-Men to Rebirth Island.

As Darkstar and the X-Men make their way throughout the Island, they are being watched via hidden cameras, by someone within the complex. The strange being sees that Darkstar has returned, though no longer under his influence, which he thinks is a temporary setback at best, though she has still unwittingly succeeded in her mission - brining Doctor Henry McCoy the erstwhile Avenger and X-Man known as the Beast to the island. He thinks that the Beast’s reputation precedes him, for even in the outer regions of a failing empire, McCoy’s scientific knowledge is well known and respected. ‘For your sake, I hope it is well-deserved’ he mutters to himself, threatening the Beast.

Entering part of the complex, Cable points out the cages that fill one room, and declares that something tells him that the research going on at this facility was not agricultural. Storm remarks that man’s proficiency for cruelty never fails to sicken her, for destroying innocent creatures in the name of science is obscene to the point of senselessness. Cable then declares that he doesn’t like this at all, and asks anyone if they have noticed the vegetation - no? - that’s because there isn’t any. He points out that the soil is as arid and dry as a ten-year drought, believing that this isn’t natural, that man did this. He then reveals he has a feeling that they have been watched since the moment they arrived.

Phoenix agrees, and though her telepathy isn’t picking up any thoughts besides their own, she can almost feel a presence lurking and watching them. Laynia informs everyone that this facility was at one point a military biological weapons experimental station, and its existence was known to only a select few. She explains that with the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the economic recession that followed, governmental cutbacks forced a number of facilities to be closed, this being one of them.

Darkstar reveals that she had come here at the request of local citizens from a nearby village who reported unusual disturbances from this island in recent months, so she decided to investigate for herself. Laynia explains that the building they are entering now is devoid of power and is sealed so tightly that no light enters, and it was here that her memories fade - whatever waits within has already defeated her once.

Inside the blackness, Gambit asks Storm if she is okay. Ororo replies that she will survive, before Gambit offers to bring as little light to the matter at hand, and strikes a match, remarking that the dark is only good for one thing - and that involves two people being alone. With some light filling the room, the X-Men turn to see several large robots.

Phoenix declares that the Soviets did more than just experiment with biological weapons at this compound, for these robots are in the same class as SHIELD’s Mandroids. She believes that they may be formidable against conventional foes, but not against the X-Men, and tells her friends to hit them hard. The X-Men do as Jean commands, as Storm blasts them with lightening, Gambit uses his kinetically charged playing cards on them, Cable slashes them with his psimitar, Beast uses his super strength combined with his intelligence to outmaneuver the robots, while Laynia uses her trusty Darkforce to defeat her opponents.

Beast sees that Jean is in some trouble, and remarks that she is a fair damsel in distress, before adding that it can never be said Henry McCoy is not a knight in furry blue armor. Grabbing a pipe, he exclaims that it is exactly what the doctor ordered, and wraps it around Jean’s opponent, before asking Cable if he would like to do the honors, to which Cable replies ‘With pleasure’ as he slices the head off the robot with his psimitar. Darkstar finds herself wrapped in the arms of one of the robots, though Gambit comes to her rescue, remarking that it is humbling enough that she spurned his advances, but to find her in the arms of another so soon is more than he should have to bear. He throws some charged playing cards at the robot, who releases Laynia, enabling the young woman to use the Darkforce to gather the remaining robots in one cluster.

This is Storm’s cue, who calls upon the lightening to dispose of the robots, ensuring that they will not threaten them again. Just as the battle is over, someone steps out of the shadows, ‘Most impressive’ the being in similar armor to the robots remarks, before revealing that he was once Doctor Ivan Kivelki, but that name no longer applies, for he abandoned that name when the humanity abandoned him. ‘Now and forever more I am…the Black Death!’

Darkstar points at him, declaring that although her memories are vague, she knows him, for it was he whom she encountered when she first arrived upon this island, and it was he who stole her will and made him a slave to his selfish whims. The Black Death tells Laynia that she is correct, that he is indeed responsible for her loss of autonomy and subsequent fray against the X-Men, a situation he would have avoided if he had been more cautious in his ambitions.

The Beast asks the Black Death what exactly is the nature of his inquisitiveness towards ‘This band of merry mutants’, for he is not aware that their reputation had extended to the outer limits of Mother Russia. The Black Death replies that of the X-Men he has no interest other than simple curiosity, but his fascination lies entirely in the Beast, for like him, he is also a mutant and scientist, with the ability to bend the strongest of wills to his own. He explains that months ago he was exposed to an experimental biological weapon developed within this compound - one specifically engineered to attack a mutant’s genetic abnormalities.

The Black Death claims that Russia has no fear of other nations, but of a genetic oddity within its own populace - mutants - one which might even one day rise to challenge the obese bureaucracy, that is another story. He explains that a weapon of destruction had to be primed, and with his secret discovered, he became the guinea pig. He reveals that the agent reacted with his mutant biology in a way that neither he nor his superiors would have anticipated - he didn’t die, instead he grew stronger. Concerned for her friend Hank, Jean asks the Black Death what role Hank plays in all of this.

Taking off part of his helmet and revealing his disfigured face, the Black Death supposes that by letting the X-Men see what has been done to him, they will see why the Beast is so integral. He explains that the contagion failed in its initial objective, for its purpose was to cause the mutant DNA to erode and consume itself. So to a degree, it worked, but for reasons he does not understand, his body absorbed the toxins and he lived. Yet those around him perished as the toxins continued to emit from his skin, so in essence he became a living biological weapon. Kivelki claims that using his mutant power of suggestion, he instructed the survivors in the creation of this armor which acts as both a containment suit and an exo-skeleton.

The Black Death reveals that he has long been aware of the Beasts’ reputation, and that it was his research on the Legacy Virus which specifically caught his attention. He was positive that Hank’s expertise, coupled with his own, would uncover the means of ridding his body of the poisons which threaten to consume him, so all that remained to do was to locate him. Kivelki explains that Beasts’ former Avengers affiliation was they key, for anything can be brought upon the black market - even stolen Avengers flies which included a persons distinctive bio-signature. He thinks that it is ironic how he was tracking Hank’s bio-signature only to discover him already within Russia’s borders, and as Darkstar was already assimilated to his will, she was sent to retrieve him.

Gambit tells the Black Death that a plastic surgeon would be more beneficial to him than his blue-furred chum, adding that he doesn’t buy the story about the others dying on account of his seeping spores - not unless the dead tend to have a habit of destroying half the compound before they go to the great beyond. Beast steps forward and tells Remy that they can sort out the nuances later, but for now a man’s life may be at stake. Hank tells Kivelki that he is flattered by his confidence in his prowess, but that to be truthful, this is something far beyond anything he has had to deal with before.

The Beast suggests that Reed Richards or Bruce Banner would be more qualified, and explains that if he is allowed the opportunity to consult with them, then he promises they will do everything in their capacity to find a cure for his condition. The Black Death exclaims that he forbids it as they are not mutants, but outsiders. He exclaims that it is becoming obvious the Beast does not understand his sense of urgency and supposes that he may require an incentive.

Suddenly, Darkstar, Phoenix, Storm, Cable and Gambit are motionless and trance-like. The Black Death boasts that they now belong to him, and informs the Beast that he must use all the skills at his disposal to cure his condition - and for each failure, the Black Death is going to command Hank’s friends to kill one of their own until he is the only one left - and when that time comes, he will be directed to take his own life. ‘Are we speaking the same language now, Doctor McCoy?’ Reluctantly, Hank agrees.

Beginning his work, the Beast tells the Black Death that he is curious as to why he wasn’t put under control like the others and forced to do the work. Kivelki reveals that his mutant power over others causes one to function at a methodical pace, therefore he did not want any circumstances to hinder the process. The Black Death adds that as long as he holds the lives of Hank’s friends then he has no doubt the Beast will not fail him.

‘I can’t promise that you will be on the cover of GQ, but it should fulfill the exact purpose for which it was created’ Hank remarks, before telling Kivelki to give him a few minutes. As he tinkers, the Beast thinks thoughts of Jean, asking her if she can hear him. Jean however is wearing a flowing pink gown and standing in a field of roses, when suddenly, she hears Hank’s thoughts and snaps back to reality - where she finds herself imprisoned in a small cage.

Phoenix looks around to see her friends also imprisoned in similar cages, and all seemingly sleeping. She recalls that not long ago she would have just opened the locks telekinetically, but those days are past. Jean supposes that the others are in the same sort of dream-states that she was until she was jarred awake, and hopes that she can return the favor. She telepathically calls to her best friend, Storm, telling her that she is needed.

Ororo wakes up and is horrified to discover herself in a cage. ‘NO!’ she screams before summoning thunder and lightening to free her. ‘Remind me never to ride in an elevator with you’ Jean jokes, before Storm admits that she may have over reacted. Jean just smiles and asks Ororo if she happens to know a good locksmith.

Shortly, the Beast remarks that it should just about do it, and Kivelki asks him if he has finished his work. Hank replies ‘You might say that’ and tells the Black Death not to worry, as he is about to get what is coming to him. On cue, Darkstar and the four X-Men burst into the room and Jean tells the Black Death that he stole their dignity and violated their minds - but the X-Men are no man’s slaves, so there will be a reckoning.

Jean tells Kivelki that he is sick, that the disease has not only ravaged his body, but damaged his mind also. She suggests that he surrender to them peacefully, and they will assure he gets the best possible care. Laynia steps forward and tells Kivelki that he will receive treatment, but also will answer for his crimes, as you cannot walk away from murder. The Black Death replies that they deserved to die, pointing out that the whole purpose of this installation was to discover new and better ways to kill. ‘They created me and suffered the consequences’.

Storm asks Kivelki if he wasn’t one of the men whose profession it was to create death - does that mean he has forfeited his right to life as well? She asks who they are to determine who lives or dies when they flawed themselves. The Black Death does not answer Storm’s question, instead he tells the heroes that they should have fled the facility when they had the chance, pointing out that he has subjected them to his will before and shall do so again.

‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ exclaims Phoenix who admits that Kivelki may have caught her off guard once, but does he really expect to catch her so carelessly again? Her powers manifesting in a purple raptor, Jean points out that she is one of the world’s most powerful psychics, so she can assure him that he will never touch the mind of an X-Man again. ‘I see’ Kivelki replies, taking off his helmet he declares that it seems that the X-Men’s usefulness has reached an end sooner than he had hoped.

Gambit suggests to Storm that she should drown Kivelki in the biggest shower she can muster. Ororo does as she is requested, pointing out that the rain prevents Kivelki’s body toxins from escaping. With the Black Death disorientated, Remy and Nathan use their powers against him, confusing him as the Beast jumps on him and saves the day by sticking a device into the back of his neck, causing Kivelki to fall to the ground.

Laynia then uses the Darkforce to encase Kivelki so that none of his biological emissions escape into the air. She informs her friends that she will take him back to Moscow to see that he gets the treatment he needs as well as to make certain that her government takes responsibility for what it has done to him. Darkstar declares that he will pay for his crimes, but that he will not be alone in that regard.

Cable asks Beast what would have happened if Kivelki realized he was actually constructing a makeshift stun gun as opposed to trying to cure him. He remarks that he admires Hank’s tenacity, but points out he was taking a big chance with their lives. Hank smiles and replies that he wasn’t really taking a chance with their lives, because he had the utmost faith that the X-Men would come through long before his deception was discovered.

Gambit smiles, remarking that by the looks of things, it was only thirty seconds, and telling Hank that he likes the way he thinks. Beast exclaims that it is time he takes the opportunity to enlighten them with another contemplation of wisdom: ‘X-Men, let’s go home’. With that, the X-Men and Darkstar leave the complex.

Second Story

Times Square: Wade Wilson a.k.a. the Merc with the Mouth Deadpool has a trench coat and hat on protecting himself from the pouring rain. He decides that the “polished apple” is really getting on his nerves, for he used to really feel at home here, but once the mayor chased away the lowlifes, strip clubs and triple-x-rated features, the city lost most of its edge. The only way he thinks he would feel comfortable now would be to dress up in a mouse suit, dance and sing down Broadway while holding hands with his fellow man. ‘Just kidding. I’d rather suck down a double barrel’s worth of buckshot’.

He recalls that it has been a couple of bad days, for his apartment blew up and along with it, almost everything he owns. All he has left are a few trusty weapons and around 200 hundred dollars, but at least he is still alive, that has to count for something. He knows that there are people he could seek out for help, but he is just not in the mood for panhandling. In fact, he is so out of it he nearly forgets he still has his mask on - but it is New York, so no one notices.

He stops at the hardware store to pick up a shovel and some construction gloves, with a final cost of $38.00, meaning there is plenty left over to get him where he is going and back. Deadpool hails a cab and is on his way. ‘Fort Lee, New Jersey, take the George Washington Bridge’ he tells the driver. With all the rain and traffic, the ride will give him a little time to think, especially as his mind keeps going in the wrong directions lately, he needs to focus on the hear and now.

He cannot help thinking about Sandee, it has only been…three years now? He can’t quite recall. He does remember that it was Summertime at the Jersey shore, Wildwood to be exact. There were three thieves who robbed 4 million from one of the Donald’s Casino’s the night before, and there was a price on their heads. Big crime equals big reward. It was work for hire, so Deadpool was on it.

The guys name, as he later found out, was Jack Krush, a small time thief who was in way over his head. A red light went on when Deadpool got a tip about some moron throwing around a bunch of crisp hundred dollar bills in a buck-three-eighty type of strip joint called “The Crab Shack”. Amateur. Deadpool engaged Krush in a fight which tumbled out of the bar and onto the boardwalk, It took most people who were there a couple of minutes to figure out that this wasn’t part of the freak show exhibit!

Little did they know, Deadpool thought, before almost feeling sorry for the guy. Almost. But then Krush lands on the roller coaster tracks. ‘Gee, roller-coasters are fun!’ When the screams of horror died down and the Technicolor vomit stopped flying, Deadpool fished a bunch of numbers from the bottom third of Krush’s body. Not much else to be found there, so he hunted the midsection, and the search didn’t take long, thanks to the friend dough vendor, he found a key in the shirt pocket, which was all he needed.

Later, Deadpool scoped out the motel, everyone was still in there on the second floor. The girl doesn’t look too happy, and while it was hard to make out what was going on, he knew that there were three of them, two baddies and a young girl. He doesn’t like it one bit, for she looks young. ’Fifteen will get you Twenty in Jersey’. Every bone in his cancer-ridden body wanted to charge in there with guns blazing - not a good idea, he had to be smarter than that. So it took him thirty minutes and a little imagination, but it was all he could come up with - pizza boy.

Deadpool was thankful for his image inducer, and knocked on the apartment door, ‘Pizza!’ ‘Didn’t order any…aw, what the heck…’ comes the reply, as the younger of the men let the disguised Deadpool inside. Crime makes you hungry, something Deadpool is familiar with. Deadpool enters the apartment and fires at the younger man, clipping his shooting arm causing him to fall to the floor. The old guy reacted a little too fast, but adding to the confusion the girl cried ‘Mom?’

Never in a million years did Deadpool expect what happened next - ‘Die!’ shouted the girls mother as she shot Deadpool at close range in the back. All of a sudden, he was the bad guy. He didn’t even have time to laugh. ‘She shoots me in the back and mothers everywhere let out a sigh of relief’. Deadpool falls down hard. Things then went from bad to ugly really quick - the older guy panicked and shot the girls mother right in the head - she was gone in a flash. The younger guy tried to get to his feet but he got caught the crossfire. Bad move, and he too is shot in the head.

The older man was in shock and froze, giving the girl an opportunity to strike back, she lashed at his face with her nails and in a blind panic he runs toward the front door, tripping over Deadpool and the mother in the process, and then fell through the second story window, landing in a bloody mess on top of a car parked below.

Deadpool managed to get up with the girls help and they made their way down to her car. The night turned out to be full of surprises, and the girl, Sandee, turned out to be a lot tougher than Deadpool had originally thought. She drove them down to Cape May and checked them into the Dillon motel. By the time Deadpool passed out and woke up the next morning, Sandee had removed his shirt, turned off his image inducer and bandaged him up like a pro.

Wade gave her credit, and she wasn’t freaked out by how he looked - either she was just being polite or she was more screwed up than he thought. Deadpool sat up and spoke to her. He doesn’t know why, but he told her all about himself, how he started up in the mercenary game, how he found out he had terminal cancer and how Dr. Killbrew’s treatment gave him this uncanny healing factor. How he had so much going against him and still managed to come through it all - he thought it might help her.

Through Deadpool’s entire story, Sandee didn’t say a word, but she smiled - amazing what that can do to a hard-boiled guy like him. It was then that they heard it, right outside the room. The old man was back. Deadpool regrets that he didn’t check his body before they left, and thinks that they should have used his car. Lots of should haves…. Deadpool was caught off guard and still feeling like tendered beef, the old man gets the upper hand and he is mighty angry.

‘See what you did yo your father? Now your boyfriend’s gonna die!’ the old man shouts. Wide-eyed, Sandee replies that she was so scared, and asks her father to let her prove it. Somehow, she wins her father over in a second - this didn’t look good for Wade as Sandee told her father she can prove her live for him and pointed the gun at Deadpool - then winked.

With a tear falling from her eye, Sandee fired to the right of Deadpool - one shot, and this time, Dad stayed down. Sandee slumps to the ground, she was mess, and with a family like that, she never had a chance. Deadpool thought he could change that. He checked the bad and discovered 300 hundred grand - about one million short. He put two and two together and realized that it was an inside job, an insurance scam from the casino, by claiming more was stolen, they make more money. Only they were never meant to be caught. That was their mistake.

Deadpool made a collect call to the insurance agency handling the casino, tell them the full story and kept the cash for a job well done - and for the expenses of the damage done. Wade collected Sandee and the money then headed North on the Garden State parkway, not much else was said between them.

Their first stop was the Lady of Help Psychiatric Center, highly recommended in its field, Wade thinks that he could use a year or seven in their too. Sandee was so shell shocked that she doesn’t even notice where she is. Wade set up an account with the “main penguin” and gave her most of the cash to help her out, also giving her his phone number and any other info she might need, it is kept to a bare minimum.

Deadpool was hoping that this might set Sandee in the right direction, a new name, a new home and a new way of looking at life. But a week later he received a phone call - Sandee had taken her life. He was her only next of kin and took care of all the details. He tried to help, but it was out of his hands. Sandee was not at rest so he made sure she was properly marked and buried - the remaining money was buried with her too, for there was too much blood and bad vibes connected to it.

Only now the tables have turned and Deadpool is in a bad way for some cash. Blood money or not, he needs it, Sandee isn’t going to miss it after all. He feels bad about doing it, but everyone deserves a second chance. Sandee’s grave, marked “R.I.P. Sandee Wade 1983-2000” is dug up. Deadpool hopes that he will not let her down, after all, they are family. With that, he takes the money, covers her grave back up and leaves in the pouring rain.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:

Beast, Cable, Gambit, Phoenix IV, Storm (all X-Men)


Dr. Ivan Kivelki / The Black Death


Other scientists


Second Story:


People in Times Square

In Deadpool’s memory


“Sandee Wade”

Jack Rush



Sandee’s mother and father

Unidentified guy with Sandee and her parents

Casino Owner



Story Notes: 

First Story:

Magneto destroyed the Russian vessel Leningrad in Uncanny X-Men #150.

Darkstar first appeared in Champions #7, and joined the team in Champions #10, lasting until the team disbanded, she then returned to Russia. Though many times has she tried to defect to the United States. A core member of the Soviet Super Soldiers, following the Soviet Super Soldier’s one-shot in 1992, the Super Soldiers, People’s Protectorate / Supreme Soviets and other Russian super beings were merged as one team, the Winter Guard first seen in Iron Man (3rd series) #9. Darkstar has allied herself with many Marvel Heroes and has always been one of the most reasonable Russian super beings. The daughter of the mad being known as the Presence, Darkstar would next appear in the Maximum Security crossover, before joining X-Corp, and sadly being killed in New X-Men #130.

Beast, Darkstar and the rest of the Champions fought Dr. Doom on the White House lawn in Champions #16.

Phoenix lost her telekinesis during the Six Month Gap.

Second Story:

This story is narrated by Deadpool and shown mostly in his memory.

Issue Information: 
Written By: