Wolverine (2nd series) #118

Issue Date: 
November 1997
Story Title: 
Out of Darkness, Into Light

Larry Hama (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (penciler), Edgar Tadeo (inker), Starfire Visuals, Richard Starkings & Comicraft/EM (letters), Jason Wright (colors), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

In the clinic, Wolverine faces off against Mustang after his transformation into a Prime Sentinel. He tells Cannonball and Cyclops to take the innocents out of the clinic so he can deal with Mustang alone. They do and Wolverine is aided in helping defeat Mustang with the assistance of Jubilee. Outside the clinic, the rest of the X-Men, Jean, Cyclops, Storm, Jubilee and Cannonball prepare to face off against the horde of Prime Sentinels moving in their direction. They then learn that the Sentinels are on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. One of the Prime Sentinels makes a bee-line for Cyclops and shoots him with a direct blast. As Cyclops lies on the ground, he is tended to by S.H.I.E.L.D. corpsman, who quickly discover that he has just had recent surgery and has a sub-miniature device in his chest. To save him, the X-Men commandeer one of Zero Tolerances transports and make their way back to Salem Center. On the plane, Cyclops wakes up and tells Jean that he thinks the thing in him is spreading. He thinks it’s some kind of bomb!

Full Summary: 

Once, as a stunt pilot, Mustang soared with the eagles until a fiery crash crippled and blinded him. Offered a miraculous cure by an obscure clinic in the middle of the New Mexico desert, he submitted to a protracted course of surgery and was unwittingly transformed into a dormant, undetectable killer. A sleeper agent imbued with the technology to hunt down and destroy those individuals gifted with super-human powers – mutants. The enhanced cyborg that was once the man nicknamed Mustang has just been remotely activated by the self-titled Bastion, leader of a paramilitary force dedicated to wiping out mutant kind. Now, eyes that couldn’t see only minutes ago, scan their environment with a hunter’s clarity.

Powered up, Mustang peers upon Cannonball, Wolverine, and Cyclops and identifies them as members of the outlaw group collectively known as the X-Men. Termination procedure will commence after bio-signature verification. Cyclops tells his fellow X-Men that Mustang is cycling up to blast them. Wolverine mentions that he could’ve blasted them ton free electrons as soon as he morphed into a Prime Sentinel and didn’t. Maybe all o’ him ain’t been erased yet. Cannonball asks how do they know that, can they afford to take the chance?

Focusing on Wolverine, Mustang confirms his target. Wolverine says to him that he ain’t all gone, is he? The man who stayed with his burnin’ plane rather than let it crash into a bleacher full o’ women and kids, he’s still in there, ain’t he? Mustang tells him no, he has a prime directive. He grabs a hold of his forehead and says he must follow the prime directive. Wolverine tells him to fight it. Whatever it is that Bastion planted in him to steal his soul and make him over into a killin’ machine. It ain’t strong enough to beat down a man with as much heart as he has.

It starts to work, but then, out of nowhere, Mustang blasts at Wolverine with his eye-blasts and repeats prime directive. Luckily, Wolverine is able to leap to safety at the last second. Cannonball tells Cyclops that Mustang darn near fried Wolverine, they have to take him down. Cyclops goes to fire upon him with his optic blasts but he isn’t able to track him, Mustang is too fast. Wolverine tells Cyclops that he’s liable to kill him if he connects. He then tells him to take Sam and the others out o’ there and leave him to try to get through to him. Cannonball tells Wolverine that he ain’t leavin’ him behind. Cyclops tells him that Wolverine is right. It’s their duty to save the innocent clinic patients from all the indiscriminate laser fire. Wolverine says that talkin’ sense to a Prime Sentinel is like talkin’ to a mule, you gotta get their attention first. With that, Wolverine uses his claws to slash at Mustang’s mid-section, knocking him up against a glass panel.

Outside the clinic, Cannonball brings out the last of the wounded. Jubilee asks what happened in there and where Wolvy is. Cyclops tells her that Mustang turned out to be one of Bastion’s sleeper units… Jubilee cuts him off and asks that they left Wolvy in there with him? As she runs off into the clinic, Cannonball calls out to her to wait… Storm then points out to her fellow X-Men what is approaching on the horizon – hundreds of Sentinels. She wonders how many Bastion twisted into cruel parodies of life.

Inside the clinic, Wolverine tells Mustang to let it go. He tells him that he can do it. He knows ‘cause he’s been there. They laced his skeleton with the world’s strongest metal. They tried to turn him into a livin’ weapon. They stripped away what was human in him until he was nothin’ but a howlin’ animal. He had some help clawin’ his way back from that red place where rage lives, but he did a heap of it himself. He fought to win back his humanity. He then asks Mustang howsabouit. Mustang looks at him and shoots him with a blast from his hand.

When Wolverine smacks up against the wall from the blast, Mustang tells him that he’s sorry but if his kind is left unchecked, it is only a matter of time before mankind is extinct. Wolverine picks himself up, bloodied, and tells Mustang that he’s not tryin’ to save his, Wolverine’s, life, he’s tryin’ to save his. Mustang doesn’t respond and proceeds to blast Wolverine again. Just then, Jubilee rushes in and tells Mustang to leave her Wolvy be and unleashes a firework blast in his eyes. Mustang staggers backwards and says that his vision receptors faulty photo-sensor overload. His eyes, he can’t see again. When he says again, he wonders what he has done.

Outside the clinic, the X-Men look to the skies. Cyclops tells them that the odds are totally against them, but they’re not going to make it easy for them. Cannonball then points out that the Sentinels aren’t attacking, they’re retreating under fire. Cyclops tells him that he’s right. The Prime Sentinels are being blown away by S.H.I.E.L.D. air fighters. Cannonball then mentions that the S.H.I.E.L.D. fighters are forcing the human-piloted support ships to land. When they do, the pilot calls out to his crew to abandon ship; Bastion sure isn’t worth dying for.

Cyclops points out that Zero Tolerance is on the run, to which Jean adds that S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn’t be stepping in unless the government decided to shut down Bastion. At that moment, one of the Prime Sentinels notices there are mutant designates in proximity. He then commences tracking and scanning. As the Prime Sentinel hurtles through the still desert sky, dim memories flit across his consciousness. Recollections of a life long past: images of a child, perhaps his own, perhaps himself, running with wild abandon. But he sees these things only for a moment before his vision is once again filled by the man before him.

The man, Cyclops, does not defend himself, but instead appears to be shouting something to him, words that grasp at his heart before quickly falling away. The man he must destroy. Jean tells Scott that the Prime Sentinel is homing in on him. Scott tells her to give him another few seconds, he seemed to be listening to him. He then fires his optic blast in the Sentinel’s direction. Jean mentions that he missed. Scott tells her that he just wanted to slow him down so he can reason with him. The Sentinel, however, does not slow down and proceeds to blast Scott Summers, Cyclops, with a blast directly to his chest.

Storm tells Jean to tend to him while she dispatches their opponent. She then uses her power to call lighting from the heavens to strike the Sentinel. Kneeling over Cyclops, Jean is infuriated. She calls out damn you Bastion! They’ve been through too much, survived too many tragedies, to have their life together taken away now. She says that if her husband is seriously hurt, she swears on his life she will hunt him down herself. Consumed by anger, Jean reaches out with her mind, the most powerful telepathic mind on the planet, and psionically pulls the corrupting nanotechnology from the Sentinel’s body. Cannonball catches the man and mentions that it looks like he’ll be okay too if they can get him proper medical attention. Storm asks Jean if Scott is… Jean asks alive? She then confirms that he’s breathing, but just barely.

Just then, a S.H.I.E.L.D. command ship lands. From the ship, G.W. Bridge exits and informs all present that the area is now officially under martial law by order of the president. At this rate they should have Zero Tolerance all mopped up by 18:00 hours. He asks his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. members if there are any civilian casualties and if they are within acceptable range of collateral damage. One of his agents informs him that it looks like they have some mutants there. Bridge informs him they are the X-Men, walking trouble with the best of intentions. He recognizes the skinny one as Cannonball. The rest he doesn’t know so he tells them to keep their eyes open.

He notices Cyclops on the ground wounded and orders a corpsman to attend to him. As they do, they notice that he is in shock and that he has laser burn trauma. One of the corpsman decides that they should run a scan to make sure there’s no internal bleeding. Bridge then tells Storm, “You people are lucky that Senator Kelly blew the whistle on Zero Tolerance.” Bastion is on the run, but they’ll track him down and hang him out to dry, she can believe him on that.

Storm asks, “you people?” She then asks Bridge whose side he is on. Bridge tells her that he is on the side of the millions of Americans who have every right to be afraid of mutants. That’s not prejudice, that’s reality. He is then informed by some of his soldiers that their forward scout element has contact with a large unit of Prime Sentinels. They are falling back in over watch and taking heavy casualties. Bridge then calls out to his troopers to mount up, it’s time to save the day and earn their pay. He then says that the medics will stay there with the wounded and call in a medivac.

When Bridge and the rest of his crew take off, one of the corpsman points out that that the scanner is showing some sort of foreign object in Cyclops abdominal region. He then notices that there’s minor scarring and sutures. He’s had invasive surgery in the past two days and something was implanted in him. Jean replies that’s impossible unless they did it when they were on the way to Zero Tolerance’s headquarters when they were all unconscious. Another corpsman then says that the little spigot-shaped thing is some sort of nano-tech sub-miniature device, maybe a tracking transponder or beacon.

Exiting the clinic, Wolverine tells the other X-Men that they found some computer floppy disks. He then notices Cyclops and asks what happened to him. Cannonball informs him that he missed the big shoot-out. Bastion is history and S.H.I.E.L.D. was just through there mopping up the Sentinels and Cyclops got caught in the crossfire. Jean then says that they have to get back to Salem Center. The medi-lab is his only chance, but how? Wolverine then points over to an abandoned Zero Tolerance transport and asks Storm if she can fly it. Storm admits that she can.

As Jean generates a psi-cocoon to stabilize Scott for the trip, Wolverine then turns his attention to Mustang and hands him the computer disks. He tells him that they contain all the clinic records of their Sentinel conversions. They can be used to track them down and reverse the process, thanks to him. Mustang replies that it’s gonna be hard to get used to being blind again. He then tells Wolverine that he had better get going fast and far. He can’t override the prime directive much longer and then he won’t be able to stop himself from tracking him down and killing him. Wolverine shakes his hand and tells him that he understands. He then recommends to Mustang to run the disks by the S.H.I.E.L.D. techs. They should be able to cobble together a buffer to keep that directive in check. After that, stick with S.H.I.E.L.D., they’re good people and they’ll figure a way to reverse the Sentinel process. Mustang says that he will.

As Wolverine boards the plane, he tells Mustang that it’s been an honor knowing him; he’s more man than most. On the plane, Wolverine tells Sam to secure the hatch for takeoff. He’s going up front to co-pilot with Ororo. As he passes Jean he tells her to hang in there, they’re gonna get Scott back to the medi-lab in less than two shakes. When he gets up to the front of the plane, Storm revs up the engine and takes off into the desert sky. On the ground, the corpsman mention that the X-Men just took off in the Z.T. transport. He asks if they can get a trace on it. The other corpsman tells him that it’s already out of range and that Bridge is not going to like that.

On the plane, Cyclops begins to stir. Jean tells him they’re getting him back to the medilab as fast as they can, they implanted something inside him. Scott tells her that he knows, he can feel it. In the cockpit, Wolverine tells Storm that he and Cyclops have had their problems but all that is water under the bridge. Seein’ him and Red in pain like that right now, he wishes Cyke was the one with the healing factor. Storm tells him that Jean is the sister he never had and that her anguish pains her as well. She fears a great number have suffered because of Bastion’s madness, the madness that dwells within them all, the potential for hate. She then puts her hand on Wolverine’s and tells him that it is a foe they have defeated before and will defeat again by standing together, till the end.

Suddenly, In the back of the plane, Jean asks Scott that he can feel it and if it’s moving. Scott tells her that it feels like it’s spreading, he thinks it’s some kind of bomb!

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Cyclops, Jubilee, Phoenix IV, Storm and Wolverine (all X-Men)

Prime Sentinels (Mustang is the only one named)

Inhabitants at the secret Prime Sentinel location (all unnamed)

G.W. Bridge

Various members of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Story Notes: 

Wolverine, Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, and Cannonball were taken into custody by Bastion back in Wolverine (2nd series) #115 after facing the Prime Sentinels in X-Men (2nd series) #65.

Senator Robert Kelly decided to shut down Operation: Zero Tolerance, with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s assistance back in Wolverine (2nd series) #116.

G.W. Bridge is familiar with Cannonball from his various run-ins with Cable and his group, X-Force.

The fate of Cyclops is learned in X-Men (2nd series) #70.

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