X-Universe (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
May 1995
Story Title: 
Last Stand

Scott Lobdell (based on the story told by), Terry Kavanagh (script), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Cam Smith (inker), Kevin Somers (colorist) Electric Crayon (color seperation), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Marie Javins (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In Wakanda since the death of T’Challa, their warrior King, the once great nation has been struck by famine and has become truly vulnerable to attack by outside forces. Even in the dying city there is a glimmer of hope; her name is Gwen Stacy and she walks through the streets of the dying. A little boy named N’Kim comes to her for help for his mother but Gwen tells him sadly that there has been no more aid sent from Europe, so she does not have anything to help heal his dying mother. She sends him off but, sadly, N’Kim is just one of the first victims that day as the Marauders attack the city, killing a few of it’s inhabitants. Gwen quickly kills one of them and, just in time, Tony Stark arrives in time with the relief aid from Europe and is able to kill the other three terrorists. He is flying in a big metal spider-ship with his pilot being Clint Barton. The ship lands and Tony steps out in search for the only other relief worker in Wakanda, besides Gwen, and that is Donald Blake, whom he finds only seconds after stepping off. Tony and Donald exchange pleasantries and Tony informs Donald that the Human High Council wants his help, so he must come back to London with him. Back in London, Ben Grimm and Susan Storm pilot their airplane through the mutant armada that is hovering over their city. The armada has traveled from America. Its commander, Mikhail Rasputin the Fourth Horseman, has arrived and is going to begin Apocalypse’s peace talks with the Eurasian leaders. On the ship, Mikhail receives a report on the growing nuclear power of the Eurasian Army from the Keeper, Matthew Murdock. While Mikhail makes plans for his speech, Ben and Susan begin to land at the command center hangar bay in London. A call comes over the radio for them to abort their landing, which they comply with, luckily saving them from the base which explodes, killing everyone else in the area. Ben and Susan land to search for the saboteur, which does not take long since the monster finds them. Ben calls the monster a mutant “thing” but the monster replies back that he is not a mutant, but a man, that has now become stronger than even the mutants could hope to be. The Thing attacks Ben, who defends himself by firing a full magazine worth of bullets at the Thing’s chest, which does nothing but aggravate the monster. Susan jumps in saving Ben by blowing the Thing’s right ear off, unluckily for Susan he throws her into the nearest wall and walks away. Luckily, Susan survives and she and Ben are able to continue their search for survivors, which they find one in Dr. Bruce Banner. The doctor lies on the floor bleeding from the right side of his head but tells them he does not want medical attention, only that they take him to the meeting with Mikhail, which they do. At the meeting, Victor Von Doom, the head of the Eurasian Security, greets Mikhail and apologizes for the other council members not being able to attend the meeting. Mikhail tells Doom not to apologize as he walks to the front of the ship to talk to the many Eurasian citizens below them. He tells them that he comes to offer peace, as the entire party meets behind him joining Doom. Mikhail finishes his speech, and then offers Donald Blake and his friends a tour of his spacecraft, to assure the people of his true intentions. They accept, but once inside find that they are not welcome as Mikhail introduces them to his new mutant experiment, Empath. This mutant master of emotions is held against his will, acting as a mediator between the humans and the mutants, making the humans believe everything Mikhail says.

Full Summary: 

Gwen Stacy stands in what is left of the great land of Wakanda with a duffel bag full of medical supplies thrown over her shoulder. Gwen would cry if she had any tears left for the destruction and famine that lie all around her. Since Wakanda’s warrior king, T’Challa, was killed in battle, the city has been slowly slipping into death. A little boy named N’Kim runs to Gwen with nothing clothing his body besides an old blue baseball cap. As others approach, Gwen can only offer encouragement and pity, but for N’Kim she takes an extra moment. Bending down and straightening his cap, she picks him up and listens to him tell her of his mother and how close she is to death. Gwen tells N’Kim that his place is by her side and as she places him down on the ground. She tells him to run to his mother and be by her side when death comes to take her. Gwen watches N’Kim run off, till he is almost out of sight, when a blast that is all too familiar to her explodes in the distance, killing N’Kim and leaving only his charred baseball cap to mourn the passing of the little boy. Stacy does not mourn for long though, because her sadness is turned to anger as she sees four members of the Marauders, a human terrorist group that has been given free run in Wakanda by Apocalypse.

The names of the Marauders are Dirigible, formerly known as Fisk, Red formerly known as Osborne, the Euro-Assassin known as Arcade, and the mysterious Owl. Each one of them uses “wrist-armories and air-steppers, individual power sources of some sort, to strike fear into the hearts of their victims. Dirigible orders the other three to attack the citizens of Wakanda while he begins what he calls the “barbecue”. Below Dirigible, Gwen lies on the ground and hears the cries of the babies and the parents’ cries for mercy. She prepares her gun to fire at the Marauder closest to her, Dirigible. Her aim is true enough. As she fires, she is thrown backwards from the force of her gun. Dirigible only has time to utter one last word before he is turned into nothing but ashes, and it is “no”. Gwen mourns in her heart, not for the Marauder’s death, but for the wasted technology that she was forced to destroy.

Arcade gives Gwen no time to think as he flies down to her and teases her about how he knows that her gun is powerful, but the draw back is it takes so long to load. As he nears to kill her, Arcade and Gwen both are shocked to see a giant metal spider hovering above them. Arcade has no time to react though, as his body is splattered across the landscape by a load of medical supplies dropped from the hatch of the spider-ship. Stacy wonders why, when she sees this massive metal spider, she has a bittersweet taste on her lips of a future long lost to her?

The two people aboard the spider-ship are Tony Stark, or at least what is left of the man, and Clint Barton, the pilot of the ship. Owl cries out “who?” as Red explains to him that the ship should not be able to hit them from that far distance. They are wrong, however, as Clint fires two explosive packs from the ship, exploding the two terrorists. After the death of the Marauders, Stark orders Clint to drop the rest of the supplies and to help in the dispersal of them as best as he can, while he collects the person they have come after. As the ship drops the supplies and the citizens of Wakanda sort through them, Tony steps off the ship only to be greeted by a gun toting Gwen Stacy. She holds a gun to his head as he bends down to pick up her scarf she recently had lost. She tells him that he seems more like a snake to her and his charms will not work. She also asks him where Ben Grimm is, who normally delivers the much needed aid?

In the distance, a shadowy figure emerges from the crowd of Wakandans and reprimands her for not treating their guests with respect, even if they were not expected. His name is Donald Blake and as some people stare at him, they do not see a ragged man with broken glasses, they see a god, a healer who soothes their wounds and helps them with their pain. As Blake approaches, Tony and Gwen, who still has not removed her gun from Tony’s face, Tony comments on Blake looking terrible. Jokingly, Blake tells Tony he has not changed. As Donald moves closer, Gwen warns him to not get too close to Tony, because she has not checked him yet. Donald is in no mood to wait though and he brushes past her to hug his old friend. After they embrace, Donald asks why the council had sent a man of his importance on a simple medical aid run? Tony tells Blake that his expertise is needed back in England tonight and he must take him away from the Wakanda nation. Gwen immediately tells Blake that he cannot go because of his health, but Blake shows her no mind as he asks Tony how his heart is doing? Tony replies that his heart is fine and smirks as he tells Donald he is expanding his horizons every day.

High above London, a mutant convoy led by Mikhail Rasputin has arrived to discuss peace talks with the Human High Council. In one of the Eurasian copters flying close to the lead ship of Mikhail’s, Ben Grimm and Susan Storm discuss their distrust of the man named Mikhail and also in anything Apocalypse says about peace.

Mikhail stands on the bridge of his ship, listening to his lead meta-human, named the Keeper, report that the airships that are preparing to leave London are filled with Nuclear Warheads. Mikhail stops the Keepers report and tells him that he knew of the bombs even before they left America, so he should not waste so much of his time if he values his life. The Keeper’s name is Matthew Murdock and he owes his allegiance to Rasputin because of his “second site” he believes Rasputin has blessed him with, after he was blinded in an accident. Mikhail explains that if it was not for their Navigational System’s being destroyed, the Council would have probably already bombed Apocalypse’s citadel. The Keeper reports, as he is asked on the health of one of Mikhail’s latest experiments, that the boy is almost red-lining and could die if not given a chance to rest. Mikhail angrily tells the Keeper that the death of the boy would be unacceptable.

Elsewhere at the hanger of the Eurasian forces, Ben and Susan prepare to land their airplane on the runway. Before they do so, they are surprised to hear a voice over their radio crying for them to abort their landing and to pull up. As they sit in shock over what they hear, Ben pulls back, narrowly saving the two from the destruction that laid waste to everyone below them. Ben and Susan land their plane after the explosion subsides and Susan tells Ben that they must find the person or thing that caused all this destruction. Ben tries to reason with her, saying that they should wait on backup, but she informs him that the minutes they wait might allow the saboteur the chance to escape. “Invisible grade Infiltration” is her forte she tells Ben as the two enter the hangar that had once held the command center for the entire army of Eurasia. Ben comments on how in one blast, someone was able to wipe out everyone capable of flying the planes in the attack against Apocalypse. The two friends see all the dead bodies as they rifle through, looking for the lead scientist that was working at the base at the time of the explosion.

As they walk and talk, Ben is knocked back by a large gray monster. Ben asks the monster what kind of “thing” is he? Ben believes him to be a mutant but the monster talks and he tells them that he is not a mutant, but a human who has now been given the power to survive like any mutant could. Ben, who is lying on his back, is held by the throat by the monster. After he pulls his gun from his side, he blasts the entire magazine into its stomach. The monster stands, with the bullets still stuck in him, like nothing happened to him. Susan jumps from the shadows and onto the monster’s back She listens to him ramble on about how far superior he is to humans, but Susan tells him that he still cannot watch his back as she blasts off the monster’s right ear. The monster, which now prefers to be called the Thing, throws Susan into the wall closest to him and he walks away bleeding from his open wound.

Ben scrams for Susan and orders her not to move, thinking that the Thing hurling her into the wall hurt her. Susan sits up and tells Ben that it probably would have, if the dead bodies of the hangar’s occupants had not softened her impact. Ben orders her to her feet because they still have to find the lead scientist before the monster does. That is, if the scientist is still alive. Against one of the walls of the compound, they find the scientist and call out to him, “Doctor Banner.” The scientist turns to the two and, as he bleeds profusely from an open wound to his ear, he begs them not to hurt him. Ben notices the wound and he tells Susan that the doctor is in shock. Susan agrees and tells the doctor that they need to get him medical attention, but he tells her no, he just wants them to escort him to the meeting at Buckingham Raze. He is already late.

On the platform of Mikhail’s ship, Victor Von Doom walks to shake Mikhail’s hand and apologize that he, the senior officer of the Eurasian Security, is the only one from the council able to greet him. As Mikhail walks to the head of the platform to talk to the people of Eurasia gathered below his ship, he tells Doom to not be so apologetic. Mikhail tells them all that he has not come as a dictator but as a helper, to help humans and mutants learn to live together in peace. The crowd chants Mikhail’s name and they cry “UNITY”.

While on the ship, members of Mikhail’s meta-human army inform the Keeper that the boy, who lies on a crucifix, with hundreds of wires coming from his body, might not make it if he does not rest.

After Mikhail finishes his speech he turns around to see that Doom has been joined by Donald Blake, Tony Stark, Gwen Stacy, Ben Grimm, Susan Storm, Dr. Bruce Banner, and Dr. Donald Blake and invites them all to take a tour of his ship. He tells the citizens of Eurasia that he will allow their leaders to tour the ship, to prove that he has nothing to hide.

After the group enters the ship with Mikhail, Ben takes a look out a window only to see a few humans killing themselves to try and get on the ship with them. Ben wonders aloud why everyone is acting so crazy and Mikhail answers him. Mikhail tells Ben that crazy is asking them to trust the Human Council, because the Council will only lead to a more painful destruction for the human race. Gwen pulls her gun out on Mikhail and tells him that she does not like where Mikhail is going with his speech to them. Doom, being the reasonable one, asks Gwen to put her weapon down. She would do them no good since people guard the entire ship with more powerful weapons then her gun. Mikhail tells Doom that young Stacy is right to be worried, because by weeks end the humans will have torn their own selves apart thanks to, as a door opens behind Mikhail, his pet mutant “Empath”. Mikhail points towards his mutant experiment hanging like on a cross completely naked and guarded by the Keeper. Mikhail laughs at the humans infront of him and tells them that out of the entire human race, they few might have had the chance to stand up against him. How “ironic” it is that they have just now been delivered into his grasp.

Behind the group of humans, Ben lights one of his cigars and comments to himself that it is real “ironic.” At least that is just one way to look at it.

Characters Involved: 

Anthony Stark

Ben Grimm

Citizens of Eurasia

Donald Blake

Gwen Stacy

Hawkeye (Clint Barton)

N’Kim and other Wakanda citizens

Susan Storm

The Thing (Bruce Banner)

Victor Von Doom

Arcade, Dirigible (Fisk), Owl, Red (Osborne), (all Marauders)


Keeper (Matthew Murdock)

Members of Rasputin’s Enhanced Human Army

Mikhail Rasputin

Story Notes: 

X-Universe #1 takes place between Weapon X (1st series) #3 and #4.

In the main Marvel Universe, Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s former girlfriend, who was killed years ago by the Green Goblin.

An onomatopoeia is a word that is supposed to represent an actual sound, such as “pow” or “wham”. These are also used to represent sounds of animals, such as a cat’s “meow” or, in this issue’s case, an owl’s “who”. Just before being squashed by Tony’s Stark’s falling supply canisters, the Owl mutters the question, “who,” just like the onomatopoeia for an owl’s hoot. While this could be an incredible coincidence, it is very likely the scripter’s attempt at a little bit of humor.

The last couple of pages shows pictures of past events for the humans: T’Challa (the Black Panther) was killed in action, Frank Castle is missing in action, Peter Parker was executed, Reed Richards and Johnny Storm sacrificed themselves in the evacuation of the Manhattan Island, and Namor was killed in action.

The Human High Council’s armada’s navigational system was destroyed in Weapon X (1st series) #2 but in the side notes on one of the pages of this issue, it incorrectly gives reference to Weapon X (1st series) #3.

Issue Information: 
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