What If…? Wolverine: Enemy of the State

Issue Date: 
January 2007
Story Title: 
What if Wolverine was never deprogrammed? Bite the hand that feeds

Jimmie Robinson (writer), Carmine Di Giandomenico (pencils and colors), Robert Campanella (inker), VC’s Randy Gentle (letters), Doug Gregory Alexander (cover artist), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Pannicia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Captain America, Shadowcat, the Invisible Woman and Magneto are all on board the Blackbird jet, flying off to an unknown location. They wonder where they are going and Nick Fury, via satellite, tells them that they in a war with Hydra they are taking massive casualties, thanks to a brainwashed Wolverine. They are going to capture him so he can be deprogrammed. Their biggest issue is the fact that, any time Wolverine gets into trouble, Hydra teleports him out. He has killed many heroes, including Spider-Man, Moon Knight and Luke Cage. The latter he did live on TV, as Cage tried to protect the president. The plane lands on an island and the team enters a base hidden in the jungle. Captain America tells them that they are going to lure Wolverine there. The structure should contain him long enough for him to be helped. Shadowcat will close the doors as the Invisible Woman traps Wolverine in a force field. Magneto will use his powers to block Hydra from teleporting him away. And Captain America is the bait. Sure enough, the proximity alarms go off and, when the team tries to find him, Wolverine surprises the Invisible Women by stabbing her feet through the floor. He quickly kills her and then moves on to Captain America. Magneto stops blocking the teleporter to attack Wolverine himself. Hydra teleports Wolverine behind him and he is killed. Wolverine attacks Captain America but Shadowcat keeps him phased. Cap gets her to let go and he takes on Wolverine and is killed. Shadowcat can only watch as he kills the heroes and then turns his attention to her. She stays phased as she pleads with him to overcome his brainwashing. It doesn’t work and he tries to kill her to no avail. Eventually, she realizes that he cannot be saved and she has only one option left. She jams her hand in his head and lets him slice it off. She cradles her bleeding arm as Wolverine drops down to the floor dead. Afterwards, Nick Fury and Elektra are clearing up the scene with a bunch of SHIELD agents. Fury says that deep down Shadowcat knew that she was the ultimate Plan B. She just needed to let go first.

Full Summary: 

Shadowcat confronts Wolverine and pleads with him. She says she still knows it’s him. Wolverine stands in front of her, with blood dripping down his claws. She thinks to herself that she didn’t want it to end like this. They said talking would be useless but they meant everyone else right? She’s his little angel, he’d never hurt her.

(seven hours ago)
The X-Men’s Blackbird jet flies through the night sky. On board, someone says to Captain America that they know SHIELD is all about its secrets. They ask him if he plans on letting them in on what’s going on. Captain America brings up some schematics of a building on a monitor. He says that they couldn’t risk any leaks. If Hydra found the base or if any of them were captured, then the mission would be over. A voice comes through on the computer and interrupts him. Nick Fury’s face appears on a monitor and says that it’s plain and simple… this is Operation: Wolverine.

Gathered around the monitor are Captain America, Magneto, the Invisible Woman and Shadowcat. Nick fury explains that their war is with Hydra and the Hand but with Wolverine on their side they are taking massive casualties. Their goal is capture. If they figure out how to deprogram him, then they can help other Hydra victims. Captain America says that he and Fury handpicked each of them for the mission. If they stick to the game plan, they’ll be fine. Magneto says he handpicked them because they are the only ones not dead. Captain America says if he falls in line then he will stay that way. The plan is to divide and conquer. Hydra has assisted Wolverine in taking down other heroes and the idea is to sever the link.

They knew Hydra had implants in him. For six months, the bloody evidence lay on the ground with every fallen hero. One such hero was Spider-Man. He and Wolverine ended up in a fight and Spider-Man was besting him. He managed to use his web shooters and stick Wolverine to a wall. But he was teleported out of it and materialized behind Spider-Man. He stabbed the web-crawler, killing him. Hydra was a scary enough when they were just an organization shooting for world domination. Add Wolverine into the mix…

Nick Fury continues and says the secret location will prevent the mistakes they saw in Washington D.C. SHIELD caught hell from Homeland Security over that incident. Shadowcat looks saddened and says they all saw it on live TV. She remembers seeing Iron Fist fighting Wolverine outside the White House as the president’s bodyguards lay dead around them. As hand ninjas jump into the fight, Luke Cage comes up to Wolverine and tells him he’s gone too far. Wolverine slashes his shoulder but Cage says he will have to dig deeper than that. He lunges at Wolverine but is killed by him instead as Iron Fist looks on in horror.

Shadowcat muses that Luke Cage died saving the president’s life on national TV. She thinks to herself that Captain America wanted to be there for Luke and for all of them. But he was now confined to a wheelchair as he lost his left hand and leg. He says SHIELD has bionic prosthetics waiting for him after the mission. Shadowcat wishes she had his resolve but she’s no super soldier. Captain America asks if she’s in. Staring out of the window, she says she’s good but she’s lying. She starts to asks what happens if they manage to contain him but Magneto interrupts. He says Wolverine is too dangerous as he’s been brainwashed for too long. Captain America turns to him and says that he knows losing a son is painful but they have to try for containment and to stay with the plan. If it goes wrong, then they will take other measures.

The Blackbird approaches an island and lands. In the distance, they see a large dome poking through the jungle tree tops. Captain America says that this is home base for a few days with provisions courtesy of SHIELD. As they enter the base, Captain America tells them not to get comfortable, as Fury has been leaking false transmissions to Hydra. Once they take the bait, they’ll come knocking with Wolverine in tow. When Shadowcat asks what makes the base so special, Captain America tells her it’s the high-impact cement base and ultra-grade titanium framework. There’s only one way in and out. Magneto asks if it will contain Wolverine and Captain America pauses for a second and then tells everyone to settle into their quarters.

Although they were told to be back in twenty minutes, they were all there in ten. Captain America is looking at a schematic to the base on a monitor. He tells them that Hydra has zero data on the base, so they can’t teleport Wolverine in. He will have to take their shotgun hallway and, once he’s inside, Shadowcat will close the titanium doors and then phase through to join them. Sue will contain him and then Magneto will use the base generator to cast an electromagnetic force field linked to the base. This special frequency will disrupt Hydra’s ability to teleport him away. Captain America says he’s the bait. Hydra hates leaving loose ends and they will come to finish the job.

Shadowcat thinks that he made it sound so easy. But even the best fighters will tell you there’s nothing easy about Wolverine. As Moon Knight and Wolverine fight on a rooftop, Moon Knight tells him it’s a full moon. He picked the wrong night to fight. As both men take a few seconds to catch their breath and wipe the blood away, Wolverine tells him that he’s got style. As he kicks Moon Knight in the chest, he says he respects knuckle bruisers like him. He tells him they need good back-alley jockeys. As he kills Moon Knight, Wolverine tells him that it hurts now but Hydra will patch him up and screw his head on straight. He should count himself lucky, Cap’ isn’t getting the same deal.

Back at the base, Shadowcat says that, as soon as it started, it all became a blur. The proximity alarm sounds and everyone rushes to their stations. Magneto starts to electrify the generator and Captain America tells him to hold until his signal. Shadowcat phases her head into the tunnel and says she can’t see Wolverine. Sue Storm stands behind her and tells her not to blink, as he could be anywhere. All of a sudden, Wolverine’s claws burst up through the floor and Sue’s feet. She screams as she falls over and Wolverine crawls out of the floor space. Magneto tells Captain America that Sue needs to kill him. Captain America starts shouting orders and trying to get Wolverine’s attention.

Wolverine still has his claws in Sue and so she creates a force field around his head. He starts to choke but he stabs a hole in his throat and gives himself a tracheotomy. Captain America tells Magneto to cover the base above and below. He can’t believe Wolverine tunneled all the way inside. Shadowcat says Wolverine’s speed boost took them by surprise. Wolverine jumps onto Sue and stabs her in the head. As Captain America looks on in shock, Magneto yells for him to get back. But it’s too late… Wolverine has set his sights on him. Wolverine lunges for him but he dives out of the chair just in time.

Magneto tells Captain America that Wolverine is too much for him to deal with and that he’ll handle him. Captain America shouts back at him to concentrate on the force field and he’ll handle it. But Magneto doesn’t listen and he uses his powers to take control of Wolverine. He tells Captain America that this is why Hydra avoids him. They know the disadvantages of an adamantium skeleton. As Captain America crawls back into his chair, he reminds Magneto about the force field. But it’s too late again and Wolverine has teleported behind Magneto. He stabs him through the chest and he falls down dead.

Shadowcat says she wanted their plan to work. She wanted Sue to contain him. Wolverine looks at Captain America and asks what Plan B is. Wolverine dives towards him but Shadowcat manages to phase Captain America and his chair. She thinks to herself that she wanted to stay in the shadows until it was all over. Then she wouldn’t have had to face him.

As she keeps Captain America phased, Wolverine continuously slashes at him. Captain America throws his shield and then forces Shadowcat to let go of him. He punches Wolverine in the face as the shield hits him from behind. As Wolverine lies dazed on the floor, Captain America tells her she knows what she has to do. He goes over to fight Wolverine but he is quickly impaled through the head.

Shadowcat stays phased as Wolverine approaches her. She says he needs help and she’ll call Fury. He tells her no-one is coming, as she can’t touch a comm. link in ghost mode. But if she wants to chin-wag about old times, then he’s all ears. She says he’s just sick but he ignores her and says to keep talking because when she needs to eat or sleep he will be there to tuck her in, or she could make it sporting by phasing out of there. He’s got her scent so there is nowhere on the island she can go. She asks what they did to him to make him forget about her. She tells him he’s hurt so many like Jean-Paul. She says he attacked Northstar right through her. He used her for cover. Northstar died instead of her and because of her. She tells Wolverine he helped her at the school. He was like a brother, she envied him. She thinks that her powers are about not touching but for him contact is everything.

As he jumps at her, he says he is better in lots of ways now. She tells him Hydra is in his mind. She pleads with him to open his eyes to see all the people he’s killed. She’s read the reports; SHIELD tried to cover it up. But the media broke the story and now the people live in fear of the heroes and the villains. Meanwhile, Hydra and the Hand are assassinating political figures left right and center. All because of him. As Wolverine dives at her again, he says that the old world is dying off and even Jean-Paul understands. She says that Jean-Paul was a good man that Hydra turned into a machine… like him.

She remains phased but takes a swipe at him. Wolverine says that she has some life in her now. He tells her to go for his lungs or heart… he’ll just grow them back. She realizes that he’s gone mad just like they said. He goads her into taking her best shot stating that he’ll always recover. With tears in her eyes, she thrusts her hand into his skull and then lets him slice it off. She grabs her bleeding arm and tells him she’s sorry, she had to. Wolverine slumps to the floor, his face all contorted by having her hand embedded in his skull.

Shadowcat thinks to herself that, if he comes back and they fix that adamantium skull, then she hopes he doesn’t remember what he did. Or what she did to him.

The stop button is pressed on a video player. A SHIELD agent says that’s how they found it. Nick Fury emphasizes that that’s how they found her… Kitty Pryde. Elektra says she was never taught to do that. Fury says that war does ugly things to people. Elektra asks if Shadowcat knew all along. Fury asks if she meant that she was the ultimate back-up plan. He says Kitty isn’t stupid, she knew. She just had to let go.

Characters Involved: 

Shadowcat, Wolverine (both X-Men)
Invisible Woman
Captain America
Nick Fury

SHIELD agents

(in flashbacks)
Angel, Northstar, Shadowcat, Wolverine
Moon Knight
The Thing
Iron Man
Spider Woman
Black Panther

(in TV flashback)
Iron Fist, Luke Cage (both Avengers)
Numerous Hand ninjas

Story Notes: 

The Enemy of the State storyline appeared in Wolverine (3rd series) #20-25. In it, Wolverine is brainwashed by the Hydra and the Hand and he is forced to attack his former allies. He is eventually captured by SHIELD after he kills a number of their agents, as well as Northstar. He is deprogrammed and ends up fighting to help defeat Hydra.

Shadowcat narrates this issue.

In phased mode, Shadowcat doesn’t need to eat, breathe or sleep.

Wolverine killed Northstar in Wolverine (3rd series) #25 but he was quickly resurrected and turned into an agent of the Hydra. Eventually, he was also deprogrammed and returned to normal.

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