X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #46

Issue Date: 
June 2003
Story Title: 
Weapon of Choice (1st story)<br>Upon Reflection (2nd story)

1st story: Ian Edgington (writer), Simon Bisley (artist), Jose Villarrubia (colorist), Randy Gentile (letterer), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), C.B. Cebulski & David Bogart (editors), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president)

2nd story: Bruce Jones (writer), Shin “Jason” Nagasawa (artist), Randy Gentile (letterer), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

1st story: Wolverine participates in a series of pit fights against other mutants at a seedy bar, while his friend, a dwarf named Nome, collects on all the bets. They quickly earn enough to buy the place from its owners. After purchasing it, Wolverine sets the place on fire and burns it to the ground, thereby ending its days of exploiting desperate mutants.

2nd story: As a favor to Nick Fury, Wolverine investigates a research facility that disappeared from the grid. Inside, he finds a solitary dead scientist holding a video diary with the details of his research. Wolverine is suddenly attacked by a hulking, clawed, electricity-based monster, which he manages to defeat using clues from the diary. After accomplishing his mission, he heads back home, but first leaves a sign in the facility’s yard warning others to know their limits.

Full Summary: 

1st story:

Join the X-Men — see the world, Wolverine thinks, remembering the team’s old sales-pitch. His current situation brings these words to mind, as he fights a fierce-looking, four-armed mutant monster wearing a leather mask. Meet strange, interesting new people — an' beat seven shades of snot outta them! Works for me. He brings up his knee, connecting with the mutant's face, and follows it with a swift kick to the chin. His opponent falls over in defeat.

He looks up from the battle arena. All around him in the stands, gamblers exchange handfuls of money, as well as grumblings of disappointment over how the fight ended. It has been a while since Wolverine did any pit fighting, but as the saying goes, old habits die hard. All it took was a whiff of the four basic elements of pit fighting — whiskey, sweat, blood, and money — to reel him back into the scene. Especially the money.

With the fight over, he walks over to the bar to find his manager, a short little guy named Nome, whom Logan describes as six feet of mean packed into four feet of ugly. Logan doesn't know if Nome is a mutant or not. No matter; Logan likes the tough little biker. He never shies away from buying a round of drinks, and tells jokes that would make a longshoreman blush. That makes him one of the handful of people in the world Logan calls a friend.

Logan asks how much money they earned from the fights. Nine fights and nine wins, Nome says, putting their total haul at sixteen grand. He advises Logan to let the next match last longer than a minute, however. Why, Logan asks? Because his victories have ticked off some of the local color, Nome explains, gesturing toward a group of angry gamblers. Logan doesn't care. If they wanna play, they gotta pay, he says.

Nome wonders what Logan's mentor, Charles Xavier, would think if he saw this place, the flip-side of his dream of mutant integration. "If you're MTV eye candy like that Storm or Jean Grey, Joe Human ain't gonna care if you can move mountains with your mind or not," Nome says. "If you look like a bulldog chewin' a wasp though, you ain't even gonna make it as busboy. They'll come after you with pitchforks and burning torches." He has been around the pit fights long enough to know that, for some mutants, the only way to make it in the world is to pound on other mutants. They have little choice in the matter.

"Yer breakin' my heart," Wolverine tells him. He turns to the bartender, an attractive, young, blonde woman in a skimpy dress, and asks for a round of beers before his friend begins to cry or something. Sure thing, she says, leaning over to grab the drinks. Nome asks Logan what he intends to do now. "I dunno 'bout you," Logan says while gazing at the bent-over bartender, "but I figure on swillin' some suds and admirin' the view." The girl stands back up and asks if he wants anything else. How about a phone number? Logan asks.

Suddenly, a hulking, purple mutant approaches Logan and Nome. It grabs Logan’s dwarfish friend by the cranium and hurls him aside, before getting in Logan's face. That's his girl Logan is ogling, the mutant snarls. Now, he intends to show Logan the price he pays for messing with another man's property. Logan stares at him with his arms folded, clearly unfazed. Is that so, he asks? He asks the imposing mutant if it hurts. If what hurts, the mutant asks? That busted leg, Logan says, kicking back a beer. Before the purple mutant has a chance to process the threat, his right knee gives out and he falls to the ground in agony. Nome emerges from behind and readies his fists. Logan just watches contently as Nome pummels the mutant in the face. Once the fight ends, Logan compliments his friend on his Chuck Norris-inspired martial arts moves, and asks him to ready the bets for the next brawl.

I was wrong before — this ain’t like old times. It's worse, Wolverine thinks to himself during the ensuing fights. In the past, he would fight regular guys for money or booze, and always with his claws sheathed. As time wore on, however, the fight organizers began putting more mutants into the fights. Usually these mutants were drifters, nomads, and losers, people who had no place else to turn. For them, fighting represented their only future, their only hope. People, after all, pay good money to see mutants tear each other apart. Logan intends to beat the exploiters at their own game.

After finishing his next series of brawls, Logan asks his manager for an income update. Nome, practically rolling in cash, tells his prize fighter they have enough money to keep them in booze, bikes, and broads for the rest of their lives. He takes back what he said about angering the gamblers. It seems the more they detest Logan, the more they want to see him fail. The more they want to see him fail, the more they lose betting against him. "You're learning, grasshopper," Wolverine says. "Now comes the tricky part." He asks Nome to watch his back while he makes his next move.

Wolverine approaches the owner of the joint and asks to buy it outright. The sleazy owner laughs at his proposal; his place is not for sale. Is that so, Logan asks? What if he keeps coming back, night after night, and continues winning fights? How much money can the owner lose before it starts hurting? The owner laughs; he isn't going to be the one hurting in a moment, he says. Wolverine looks him in the eye, unsheathes his claws, and asks if he is sure about that. The owner's eyes widen. He caves, and asks how much Logan is offering. "I trade you this place for everything on that table and a bottle of Jack D," Logan says, gesturing toward the pile of money he earned that night. "The dwarf you get fer free." All that? the owner asks. What's the catch? Logan tells him there is no catch. So, do they have a deal, or what?

Three minutes later, the place belongs to Logan. He hunches over the bar with Nome and the two kick back a round of drinks. Nome admits he is impressed; Logan followed through. He fought the joint to a standstill, and bought out the place to boot… even though that wasn’t their deal. "Hold yer water, munchkin," Logan says, while slicing the top of a bottle of liquor. "I remember what I promised ya."

The bar's former owners smile gleefully as they push their wheelbarrows full of cash out the door. It's been a pleasure doing business, the scumbags say. Logan says nothing. Instead, he flips open his lighter, and ignites the alcohol-soaked rag sticking out of his bottle of liquor. He nonchalantly tosses it over his shoulder. It lands in the wheelbarrow full of money and explodes, spraying both the money and the men with liquid flame.

Later, Logan and Nome stand outside the blazing bar and watch it burn to the ground. Nome, the light from the flames reflecting off his mirrored sunglasses, thanks his friend for coming through and destroying the place. He wasted too many years of his life in joints like this hellhole, knowing nothing but pain. No one should have to live like that, Logan says. No one should have to die each day to make a living, simply because they are different. Nome agrees. These men may set up their operation someplace else, but not for a while.

Logan grows bored of watching the screaming men try to escape from the burning building. He asks Nome if he wants to grab a drink. How, Nome asks? All their money went up in flames! Logan, picking up some charred dollar bills from the smoldering rubble, tells Nome not to sweat it; this round is on the house.

2nd story:

Wolverine rides his motorcycle through the pouring rain. His pocket radio broadcasts a severe weather warning for Johnson County, warning motorists to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Logan slows to a stop and parks his across the street from a billboard bearing a message against drunk-driving. He approaches his destination, a dark, monolithic building locked behind a chain-link fence. Before he enters, he double-checks a note in his pocket. It's from Nick Fury. Check this place out — you owe me one, the note reads.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes the drunk-driving billboard, completely obliterating it. Logan decides he does not want to spend any more time in the storm. He runs toward the facility, pries open its door, and slips inside. The building is silent, except for the sounds from Logan's pocket radio. He silences it. The door abruptly slams shut. Logan looks around, but sees no one.

He hears an electrical zapping sound emanating from down the hallway. He follows it to its source, a laboratory room completely empty except for a lone, human corpse lying on the floor. Wolverine treads very carefully. He detects a strange scent in the air.

An instant later, a ferocious, howling beast leaps at him from an unseen corner of the lab and knocks him into a row of glass tubes. Wolverine picks himself up, unsheathes his claws, and charges at the beast. It effortlessly slaps him away. He crashes into some computers. The beast takes advantage of the lull in the fighting and runs in the other direction.

Logan, taking a moment to recover from the rather serious blows he received, inspects the corpse for clues. He notices the deceased scientist holding some portable electronic device in his outstretch hand. Picking it up, Logan sees that it is a journal of sorts. He turns it on, and it begins broadcasting a recorded video message to a nearby monitor.

"June 8th — something’s gone terribly wrong!" the manic scientist in the recording says. "Checked the circuitry twice but can't trace the source of the breakdown. Can't comprehend how the creature materialized. Something vaguely familiar about it... certain now it means to kill me!" Wolverine watches the recording intently. After it ends, it displays a message telling him he can initiate the next entry.

SNIKT! Wolverine unsheathes his claws once more and checks for signs of the monster. Nothing. He senses something peculiar about a nearby door and swipes at it, before noticing the TV screen positioned above its header. He decides to watch the next journal entry before proceeding. After turning it on, he is treated to yet another recording from the now-dead scientist.

"June 10th — success!" the elated scientist says. "Overcame the thing by sheer chance! Even a small surge of electricity appears to reverse the polarity of the—"

Logan suddenly gets a whiff of the beast's scent. He turns around and once again sees the hulking, hairy beast, this time with its curved, metal claws outstretched. It growls and takes a swipe at him. Logan ducks under the blow, which inadvertently severs a cluster of pipes on the wall behind him. The loose pipes douse the floor with a slippery liquid. Logan slips and falls down, luckily missing another deadly swipe from the monster in the process. Before he can fully recover, the monster lunges in his direction. Logan springs directly upward and grabs a hold of a dangling chain. The monster's momentum carries it uncontrollably forward and into the group of loose electrical wires, sending a surge of power through its body. The electrified beast screams as it dissipates into the ether.

With his attacker dead, Logan limps back into the lab to watch the remainder of the video diary. The next entry bears unsettling news. "June 12th — my initial elation was premature. Electrifying the beast only dissipates it momentarily... the procedure actually feeds it!" the scientist reports. "The computers have created a self-generating field of plasma somehow... drawing energy from a source within the lab I can't account for! Attempts to reverse the polarity have proved useless, and — God help me — the regenerated creature is twice the size — twice as powerful — as its predecessor!" Wolverine winces at what this revelation portends. Suddenly, as if on cue, a crackling ball of energy materializes in the corner of the room, announcing the monster's return. This time, it is indeed twice as large as earlier.

The crazy-eyed monster bares its teeth at Logan and presents its jagged claws. After a tense moment, it roars, at which point Logan turns and runs for his life. He tears down the hallway, once again reaching for the chain so he can climb to safety. The beast does not allow it. It somehow materializes in front of Wolverine and hits him, sending him soaring. Realizing he has no idea how to defeat the creature, he turns back to the video diary and plays the next entry.

"June 13th — I'm finished," the bloodied scientist speaks. "The source of the creature's energy is me!" The scientist reveals the beast has apparently been feeding off the electrical field contained in his body, like a vampire. He could no longer fight it once it took control of the lab's computers. The ultimate irony, the scientist says, is that the entire system can be shut down with a single, AA battery, the one thing his lab does not possess!

This news delights Wolverine. Grinning, he pulls his miniature radio out of his pocket. After temporarily disabling the beast by slashing at its knees, he takes off running down the hallway, in the process readying the single AA battery found in his radio. He charges to the main computer terminal at full speed with the monster following closely behind him. It roars at Logan and claws at him, shaving several strands of hair off the top of his head. Undeterred, Logan flips open the computer's emergency override, inserts the battery, and powers down the entire console. The monster screams in agony as its power supplies vanishes. Once again, it dissipates into the ether, this time never to return.

Sometime later, Wolverine digs a hole in the ground outside the facility. He places a makeshift wooden cross in the ground, and after admiring his work, gets back on his motorcycle and leaves. The cross bears nothing but three simple words that serve as both a monument and a warning: “KNOW YOUR LIMITS”.

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Nome (Wolverine’s old friend)

Female bartender

Nameless bar-owners

Various bar patrons

Various mutant pit-fighters

2nd story:


Electricity monster

In video-diary only:


Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: