Colombia. Somewhere along the Magdalena River.
Down in the dirt, a scorpion finds itself at the mercy of an army of ants, attacked from all sides. A group of children prod at the spectacle with a stick, indifferent to the mortal conflict below them. Suddenly, something snaps in the jungle behind them, causing fear to light up in their eyes. A moment later, the children are killed systematically by the predator as, indifferent to the struggle for life in the dirt, he crushes the scorpion and ants alike under his boots.
As he returns from his scavenging excursion with a bunch of bananas, a man is shocked to see that the entirety of his village has been slaughtered. He drops the bananas, seeing a murdered woman, child and dog all huddled in the same pool of blood. Suddenly, a dark figure approaches him from behind. The villager screams and tries to run, but the effort is useless. He is caught in the arm by a machete blade and hit in the face. His assailant grabs him by the neck. “Where are they?” he demands.
Set up in the ruins of a Mayan temple, a group of anti-Roxxon radicals begin discussing the next step in their plan to get Roxxon to end its operations in their country. The sentry shouts that someone is coming. The radicals recognize the man as Alvaro from the village. They try to ask him what is wrong, but Alvaro only coughs, choking on something in his throat. After a strong smack to the back, Alvaro coughs up a flash-bang grenade. The radical recognize it and recoil, but it explodes before they can escape the temple.
Running from the smoke and gas, the radicals attempt to escape out into the jungle. The jungle proves to be no safe haven as the radicals are picked off one by one with sniper rounds to the head. The leader of the radicals brandishes a knife, taunting the mercenaries to attack him. One of the mercenaries approaches the lead radical from behind. The leader slashes backwards with his knife, but the mercenary dodges somehow. As the leader looks to see where the mercenary went, he grunts in pain as three glowing metal claws protrude from his chest. He sinks to the ground as his heart stops beating.
The mercenaries confirm that there are no survivors, moving out and leaving bodies in their wake. As they disappear into the fog, the only sign of their identity left behind is a single playing card, an ace of spades with a skull and crossbones in the center, all marked out by a red ‘X.’
San Francisco, Civic Center Station
The daily commute home has begun in San Francisco, with headlines informing the city’s residents that the X-Men are here to stay. Melita Garner goes through her phone, expressing annoyance at the loud snoring of the passed-out drunk on the seat across from her. Alcohol spills from his tipped bottle and his face is covered with newspaper. As she mutters her complaint to herself, Melita finds a gun in her face. The only other passengers on the car, two thugs, demand that she hand over everything that she has and not to do anything stupid. Melita hands over her purse, telling the thugs that if they can find anything in her junk, they’re more than willing to take it. This isn’t enough for the gun-wielding thug. He demands that she hand over her phone, too. Melita responds with a solid, “No.”
Taken aback, the thug asks her what she just said. Melita repeats her answer. As a reporter, she just spent three hours wading through fish guts in order to do a story on sturgeon mercury levels. All of her notes are on the phone, and she refuses to hand it over. The situation escalates as the thug presses the gun against her temple, demanding that she hand the phone over or else he will shoot her in the face.
The tense moment is broken by the loud snores of the drunken man. The second thug pulls out his gun and walks across the subway car, prodding the drunk through the newspaper with his gun, even as the first thug continues to demand Melita’s phone. The second thug asks if the drunk has any money, but the drunk woozily tells the thug to go away because he’s sleepy. The thug presses his gun into the newspaper, asking the drunk if he feels it. He tells him that it’s a gun and swears he will kill the drunk, because he’s killed men over pocket change before. The drunk says not to worry, he believes the thug.
With a snikt and slash, the thug realizes he’s dropped the gun. He looks down to find out where it went, only to see that his right hand has been severed at the wrist and is now bleeding profusely. He faints. Sitting up from his drunken subway car perch, Wolverine stares at the unconscious thug with rage in his eyes, blood dripping from the extended claws of his right hand.
He turns to the first thug, who has now pulled Melita into a hostage situation. Both look at Wolverine in terror. Wolverine tells the thug that, if he values his ability to sit comfortably, he should drop the gun. If he doesn’t and Wolverine has to come take it from him, he gives the thug a good guess about where he will be sticking the gun. The thug’s eyes open wide in fear.
The subway car pulls into the station. The instant the door slides open, the thug sprints through the doors, hands clasped over his backside. Melita and Wolverine exit the subway car. She covers her mouth in shock, asking Wolverine if he just did that. Wolverine tells her she’s welcome, walking away from the car. Melita tells him to wait, because he can’t just leave. Wolverine informs her that he isn’t one for talking to the cops. If she tells the police it was the guy with the claws, they’ll understand who she’s talking about. Melita recognizes him as one of the X-Men and introduces herself as a reporter for The San Francisco Post. “Well bully for you,” says Wolverine, skulking off.
Wolverine continues into the darkness, ending up on one of the City by the Bay’s many piers. The only creature in plain sight is a seagull. A figure stands in the shadows, telling Wolverine that he is late. Wolverine explains what happened and the man begins to chastise him. Wolverine cuts the man off. “You call me here just to bust my chops, or you got something else to say… Maverick?”
Maverick pulls out a folder, asking Wolverine if he has ever heard of Blackguard. He explains that Blackguard is a private military contractor and subsidiary of Roxxon that provides security details for companies operating in trouble spots all over the world. Wolverine understands. They are corporate mercenaries, but what does that have to do with anything? Maverick explains that he has heard that they recently acquired the files from the Weapon X program, the same files that were used when the government messed with Wolverine and Maverick. This includes the process for synthesizing adamantium, the metal that covers Wolverine’s skeleton and infamous claws. Maverick explains that the same information suggests that Blackguard has put the adamatium synthesizing process to use already.
Wolverine asks how they got the files, and Maverick explains that they got them from somewhere on the black market. Wolverine wonders how Maverick got this information without any powers. Maverick tells Wolverine that not being a mutant does not mean he no longer has his contacts.
Finally, Mavericks asks the question: “What are you gonna do?” Wolverine asks Maverick what he thinks he’s going to do, asking if Maverick wants in on it. Maverick tells him that he is only passing the information on, trying to stay in retirement from wetwork. Is that why you’re wearing four guns? Wolverine wonders. Mavericks corrects him. He’s actually wearing five guns, but who’s counting?
Wolverine begins to walk away with the information, but Maverick has one more question. He asks Wolverine if he’s ever thought about hanging up the costume and letting someone else deal with all the situations like these. Wolverine tells Maverick that he tried it before, but it never seems to take. They part ways, with Maverick telling Wolverine to give Blackguard one for him.
Washington, somewhere along the Canadian border, Blackguard research facility
Night has fallen in Washington. The fence outside the Blackguard research facility is cut as Wolverine begins to make his way inside. He thinks back on his time in the Weapon X program; the memories brought back by the knowledge the program’s old files have spread. He knows that people have been trying to create super-soldiers ever since Captain America’s debut, and that he and Maverick along with all of Team X were part of that legacy. They have the scars and nightmares to prove it.
Wolverine jabs a claw into the locked door, using it as a lock pick. He thinks that this is just another round in the cycle where, every few months, someone begins to set up labs in order to build the perfect killing machine. When Wolverine gets wind of it, he shows up to remind them that they already did. The lock is broken and Wolverine enters the facility, all six claws extended.
As he goes further and further into the facility, he notices that the place is dark and appears abandoned. He thinks that he could call it “the chickens coming home to roost.” All he knows is that the world is already going to hell and that it doesn’t need more super-powered psychos running around, especially if a bunch of boardroom butchers is pulling their strings. He pauses in the next room, staring at the bloodbath in its holding area. A pack of dead dogs lie there in their own congealing blood, all gutted or strangled and cut to pieces. He recognizes the kind of beast that did this to the dogs, because he has one just like it inside of him.
Moving on deeper into the facility, he comes to the conclusion that the entire building is abandoned. He nears the labs, seeing their eerie green glow from down the hall. Whatever Blackguard tried to do, it’s obvious to Wolverine that they succeeded in doing it. The smell in the building brings him back to when he had the adamantium injected into his body. As he stands over a vat glowing with green liquid, he thinks about how much the process hurt. It took just one of these vats and wire setups to create him, Weapon X, the deadliest assassin the world has ever known.
So what is he looking at here? No fewer than twelve vats and sets of wires and tubes are littered across the expansive room.
A whole lot of killin’ that needs to be done, Logan thinks. That’s what the hell I’m looking at.