X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 
Follow the Leader (1st story), Bar Stools (2nd story)

First Story: Scott Killinger (Writer), Rael Lyra (Penciler), Jay Leisten (Inkers), Transparency Digital (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Letters)
Second Story: Vito Delsante (Writer), Lee Ferguson (Penciler), Transparency Digital (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Letters)
Both Stories: Pat Lee (Cover Artist), Sean Ryan (Editor), Mike Marts and Stephanie Moore (Consulting Editors), C.B. Cebulski (Special Thanks), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
After waiting four days, Logan heads down to the Danger Room to see if Cyclops is close to finishing reprogramming it. As he arrives, Cyclops finishes entering in a new program, but is not sure if it would suit Logan. Not wanting to back down from a challenge, Logan tells Cyclops to just let him try it out. Logan enters the Danger Room and is placed into a scenario based on the play Henry V with Logan playing the king. He arrives on a battlefield with his English troops as the French attack. Alone, he pulverizes a part of the French army rather quickly with his claws and sends the others running. Logan’s troops, however, are disappointed, as if Logan told them that he would fight alone they could have repositioned themselves to cut off the retreating French. Now, they must fight them again along with a French army five times their size. That night, Logan sneaks out of his camp after refusing to give a pep talk to the troops. He tries to find the French army, but instead finds some English troops around a fire. Not knowing that they are talking to Logan since he is wearing a cloak, the men talk about how they could still be with their families had Logan told them he wanted to fight alone. They will only fight with him tomorrow if he will allow them. The next day, Logan leads the British and, with his sword, he and his men defeat the French. The men cheer their king, but the program ends. Cyclops tells Logan that the point of the exercise was to test Logan’s leadership skills. Logan tells Cyclops that he never wants to lead anyone else, but Cyclops is not sure Logan can avoid leadership forever.

Second Story:
Logan heads to a bar and immediately takes notice of a man at a pool table. However, Shamus, the bartender, informs Logan that a usual guest named Polly is checking him out. After being urged to talk to Logan by her friends, Polly drinks some more and talks to Logan, who isn’t really interested. Polly tries really hard to get Logan’s attention, but notices that he is more interested in the man at the pool table. Logan informs her that he is not someone she wants to get mixed up with and then tells her that he is a mutant and an X-Man. Annoyed since men often claim to be mutants to get rid of women, Polly leaves with her girlfriends. However, the man at the pool table approaches Polly and she decides to leave with him. After Polly’s friends leave, Logan follow Polly and the other man out, where he tells Polly to go home. Angered by Logan, the man reveals that he is a mutant and tries to kill Polly. Logan injures him and tells Polly to get home, informing her that she is in NYC and no one is who they seem to be. He then chases after the killer, leaving Polly to wonder if any of the other X-Men are single.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Wolverine returns back to the Danger Room and once again finds the same note on the door, which has been there for several days. Wolverine takes down the note written by Cyclops, which states that the Room is locked for reprogramming. Though the note instructs Logan to come back the next day, the feral X-Man enters anyway. Inside, he finds Cyclops busy at the control panel of the Danger Room. He complains to the leader of the X-Men about how the note has been up for four days. There is only so much reality programming one can watch. Cyclops replies that he is glad that Wolverine has been keeping his mind sharp.

Wolverine ignores the comment and asks when the room is going to be ready. If he doesn’t get into a fight soon he might have to take up hockey. Cyclops informs Logan that he is almost done loading a program, but then adds that he doesn’t think it would suit him. Surprised, Wolverine tells “mono-brow” that he can take anything Cyclops can throw at him. Cyclops asks Logan about his familiarity with Henry V. Is that the guy who carried around the big turkey leg, asks Logan. It was a William Shakespeare play, responds Cyclops. Wolverine explains that his dog must have eaten his copy then. Cyclops takes Logan down to the Danger Room and lets him know in advance that he will be facing some unique challenges in this simulation. Impatient, Wolverine tells Cyclops to forget the lecture and to get the program started.

Cyclops leaves and starts the program. In seconds, the environment around Wolverine transforms from cold metal to a green valley. Wolverine finds himself dressed in full knight’s armor with a king’s crown on his head. He is Henry V. Around him is an entire army, ready for battle. This wasn’t what he was expecting, but it does beat reruns of “Extreme Dating.” As the French army charges right at Logan and his Englishmen, his aide Gabriel turns to him and informs his highness that they should retreat through the woods immediately since this fight is of no consequence to them. Annoyed, Logan tells Gabriel that he isn’t his highness and he isn’t retreating anywhere.

At that moment the French army reaches the English army. A soldier to Wolverine’s right has his head crushed by a sledge, while a Frenchman on a horse runs charges straight at the X-Man. Gabriel tries to give Logan his sword, but he refuses to accept it. He then pops his claws and knocks the French soldier of his horse. Wolverine tears through ten French troops all by himself before the armada retreats out of fear. He looks back to see his army standing there in fear and awe with all eyes transfixed on the adamantium claws. Gabriel stutters that they should return back to the camp.

As the English army walks back to camp, Gabriel asks his king if he may have a word with him. Gruffly, Logan replies that he is not his king, but he may say what he wants to. Gabriel informs Logan that the men are wondering why he did not inform them of his plan to charge. I work better alone, replies Wolverine. Perhaps, says Gabriel, but had the other men known about his plan they could have repositioned themselves to cut off the French as they were retreating. Now, they will have to fight the same men tomorrow that they could have eliminated today.

That night at the camp, Wolverine sits in his tent, pondering. Gabriel comes in and Logan takes the opportunity to ask whom they are fighting. It’s the French, right? And they are the English, correct? Concerned, Gabriel speaks honestly and informs Logan that the men are in need of inspiration from their king. Wolverine apologizes, but he doesn’t give “inspiration.” Gabriel pleads for Logan to give a speech. The men know that they will be outnumbered five to one tomorrow. They need to have their hopes raised. Wolverine tells Gabriel that he does not do speeches, so leave him alone. Sadly, Gabriel complies and leaves. Wolverine gets up and complains that this is the dumbest simulation ever, but he cannot give up yet, though he might go nuts playing king. That is when Logan spots the tattered red cloak in his tent.

Wolverine dons the cloak and heads out into the night. He figures that an army of French soldiers is nothing compared to him. All he has to do is find their camp. As he walks, he passes by three English soldiers around a fire. One of the soldiers spots him and asks him to come over, as all he will find in the woods is the cold and the French. Wolverine decides to join them, though none of the men recognize Logan because his face is hidden under his hood. One of the soldiers tells Logan that they were just talking about their king. They heard he steel claws sprung from his hands this morning and he refused to fight with the army. Logan informs them that he heard the king killed ten French knights. Many escaped though, adds another. A third wonders why they all left their families if the king just wants to fight by himself. Concerned, Logan asks the men if they will fight with their king tomorrow or not. “If he chooses to lead us,” responds one man.

The next morning Wolverine dresses himself for battle. Gabriel comes in and informs Logan that all the men have been gathered as he ordered and his sword has been sharpened. Wolverine takes his sword and heads outside to greet his troops. He announces to them that his Shakespeare is a bit rusty so they must beat with him. A concerned troop asks Wolverine why he wants them to fight an army five times their size today. What chance do they have? Wolverine calls out that he wants them to fight, because he knows that they will win. Another troop asks him why he is so confident. Wolverine tells them that he has one reason: he has them on his side. With that, the troops all cheer.

Later, the French and English armies meet. Logan tells Gabriel that, once the French cavalry begins to charge, they will fall back to their protected positions. Gabriel informs Logan that the troops are fully aware of his plan. Pleased, Logan runs past the archers and orders them to fire the first salvo. They do and the French army begins to charge right at them. Logan orders them to keep on firing, even as the two armies meet. Wolverine rushes into battle with his sword brandished. He slaughters through the army with his troops. In the end, there are few survivors in the French army. As the French retreat, the English cheer and lift their king into the air, praising him. Logan is quite pleased.

The simulation ends and Wolverine finds himself back in his wife beater and shorts. As Cyclops comes back in, Wolverine tells him that the simulation was fun. Cyclops informs Logan that it wasn’t for amusement. It was done to assess Logan’s leadership skills. Logan thanks Cyclops, but he is not interested in leading anyone but himself. Logan leaves the Danger Room, as Cyclops says to himself, “One day perhaps you’ll have to be.”

Second Story:
A shirtless man with green hair wearing an open blue vest walks into a bar. A brunette asks her blonde friend if she would be interested in him. The blonde admits that the man is okay, but she isn’t into the 1981 Los Angeles punk look he has going on. The brunette reminds her friend that the style is back in and adds that she is quite picky.

The brunette spots two more men, whom the blonde agrees are better looking. The redhead tells her friends to look again, as the two cute men are holding hands. Disappointed, the blonde complains. The brunette tells the blonde, Polly, that they will find her a boy-toy tonight. Just for the night, adds the redhead.

Suddenly, the brunette spots a man entering in and decides that he is the perfect man for her friend. Polly smiles and admits that she sees potential. The red immediately notices the shoulders and the arms of the man. Polly agrees, but notices that he is kind of short. However, that doesn’t matter to her.

Logan reaches the bar and is greeted by Shamus, the bartender, who cleans out a shot glass. Without even asking, Shamus tells Logan that he will give him the usual. Logan thanks the man and asks him how things are this evening. The bar is slow for a Thursday. Shamus tells Logan that it is still early and that he doesn’t get this place packed until 1 a.m. Logan eyes a man at the pool table and asks Shamus what he knows about him. Shamus admits that he never saw him before, and then asks Logan why he asks. “Oh nothin’,” replies Logan, “Just a hunch.” Shamus smiles and tells Logan that the “agency girls” want to start early tonight. Logan is confused and asks the bartender what he means. Shamus directs Logan’s attention towards the door and informs him that one of the women is eyeing him.

At the table, the brunette asks Polly if she is going to go over to the bar. Polly tells her friends she will go in a minute after she drinks some more courage. One of the women notices that Logan has looked at Polly and ecstatically tells her that he is checking her out. At the bar, Logan begins to sniff the air. At her table, Polly drinks more out of her martini. Her heartbeat rises and she begins to shake her leg. At the bar, Wolverine gulps down some of his beer. Tipsy enough, Polly walks over to the bar and orders an Amaretto Sour. She asks Logan if the seat next to him is taken and introduces herself. Logan says hello, but doesn’t show much interest in Polly.

Polly gets closer to Logan and tells him that she is a deejay. Well, she isn’t really. She is interning at a local morning show. She is on air a lot so perhaps he has heard her. She was on today as a matter of fact. Polly notices that Logan is staring at the pool table and the man there and asks if he plays pool. She isn’t that good herself. Noticing that this is a one-sided conversation, Polly asks Logan if he knows the man over there or something. Logan turns to Polly, who rests her head on his shoulder, and tells her that she and her friends should leave. Polly agrees and asks where the two of them are going. Logan smiles and tells her that she needs to leave right now.

Stubbornly, Polly tells Logan that she is not leaving without him. Logan tells Polly that he is the last man she wants to get mixed up with. Polly pulls down the zipper to her dress to reveal more of her breasts and sexually tells him that he doesn’t mean that. Look at her! Doesn’t he want to go somewhere a bit more private? Logan leans over to Polly and whispers something in her ear.

Angry, Polly leaves Logan and tells him that all he had to do was say no. She returns to her friend and tells them that they are leaving. The brunette asks Polly what Logan told her, to which Polly replies that he used the “I’m a mutant” line. He even claimed he is one of the X-Men. The redhead moans that she hates that line. At the bar, Shamus asks Logan why he didn’t give her what she wanted. Cryptically, Logan replies that some folks can’ see the train coming until they are on the tracks. He is like the downtown express. Polly likes what she sees, but that is where it ends. Besides… he prefers redheads.

Logan gets up and leaves the bar, following the three women out. He notices that the man he spotted at the pool table approaching the women and asks if they are leaving already. Polly admits that she can be talked into staying and sure enough she is. The brunette and redhead get a taxi and Polly tells them that she will call in the morning. The other women leave and Logan realizes something. He taps the man on the shoulder and tells him that Polly is heading home. The man tells Logan to buzz off and Polly tells him that he had his chance. Logan tells the couple that they are misunderstanding him, but the man, who now addresses Logan as Wolverine, tells him that he is misunderstanding. Suddenly, his eyes burn red and his skin turns gray. He grabs Polly by the throat, but Wolverine separates the two and pops out his claws. Logan stabs the mutant killer in the gut.

Polly and Logan watch him stumble off. Logan tells Polly that this is New York City and some people aren’t always what they seem to be. As he walks off to catch up with the killer, he tells Polly to get out of her before a worse creep comes along. A few moments later, Polly collects her bearings and smiles. “X-Men, huh? Wonder if any of them are available…”

Characters Involved: 

First Story:
Cyclops, Wolverine

Danger Room Simulation:
Various English soldiers
Various French soldiers

Second Story:

Polly and her two girlfriends
Man at pool table