Issue Date: December 2004
Story Title: Identity Disc: Conclusion
Staff: Rob Rodi (writer), John Higgins (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), SotoColor’s J. Brown (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Warren Simons (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
The Vulture has been apprehended by Nick Fury and SHIELD. After being informed by the Vulture about the scheme, Fury doesn’t believe the story and hands the Vulture back over to the feds, and wants him to rot at Riker’s prison. A female SHIELD agent escorts the Vulture to the van, which will take him to the prison. Once outside, they talk, and the agent is revealed to be Valeria, the Vulture’s daughter! She thanks her dad for helping him out clear her name, as she couldn’t have loose her job at SHIELD because AIM had framed her. They say goodbye, and Valeria watches her dad being taken away from her again. Later, Deadpool has survived the entire situation, and goes for a drink in the bar the villains had visited earlier. But he finds it completely empty, with the bartender gone as well! Meanwhile, the Sandman still lives as well, and enjoys a holiday on a tropical beach. Though, he freaks out and gets in a little shock when a mysterious man approaches him. The man compliments Baker on the nice show he put up, making people believe he was dead and working together with Valeria the way he did. But, the man thanks Sandman for coming to him and informing him about the fact that Valeria was using his name for her plan. Not planning a revenge just yet, the man admits to be intrigued about the Identity Disc and might really go after it when the time is right. He leaves, and asks Sandman to be available when he should need him. Sandman replies he will, and says goodbye to… Mr. Silver!
Avatar 1: “… And then the police closed in, guns drawn. Aaand… I guess that’s it”.
Avatar 2: “That’s it? That’s all you’ve got to tell me?’
Avatar 1: “Well… yeah. That’s everything that happened…”
The SHIELD Helicarrier…
The Vulture sits, without his costume and hands in the air, in SHIELD custody, with Nick Fury and Dum-Dum Dugan interrogating him. Fury isn’t pleased with the story, so Adrian asks Fury what he wants to hear.
Fury shouts to the Vulture that he should address him as “Colonel Fury” or, even better, as “sir.” Or else, Fury threatens, they’ll find a way for Vulture to address Fury without the use of his teeth. Fury wants the Vulture to fill in the blanks for him. Nick recalls that the Vulture told him what the Merrick woman had on all of them: for the Vulture, it was a daughter now on death roll, and Merrick claimed that she could clear the daughter’s name.
For Bullseye, it was to get two rivalry syndicates off his back, who were after him because he had signed on both gangs. To Deadpool, she promised the location of his ex-wife. To recruit Juggernaut, she dangled evidence that could acquit him of a bogus murder charge. And for the Sandman, Merrick threatened to kill his old mother. The only thing Fury still doesn’t know, and wants to know, is what Valeria Merrick had on Sabretooth.
Vulture claims not to know that, as Sabretooth is the only one who never confided in the others. But he guesses that Tristram Silver found out something about Creed that was so horrible Creed couldn’t resist the job. Upon hearing the name of Silver, Fury realizes something. He can’t believe that the Vulture hasn’t figured it out yet: THERE IS NO TRISTRAM SILVER! Sabretooth held everyone for fools. The Vulture refuses to believe that, as Sabretooth was one of them. However, Fury mocks him, and tells Fury if Sabretooth really was a pawn in the game.
He doesn’t think so. He is talking about a chessmaster here. Creed had all the other villains’ brains so addled they actually agreed to take on thousands of AIM agents on their home turf. Just the five of the villains. To steal something they weren’t even sure existed. A confused Vulture thinks Fury is wrong about this statement. Fury in return reminds Vulture of the only “secret” that was never revealed.
Avatar 2: “Who let the attack against Sandman when he threatened to pull out of the operation? And then against Bullseye, who did the very same thing. Who was there always reminding the others of the price of insurrection?”
The Vulture thinks about the time they fought against Sandman, and when they found Bullseye in the bar checking out info about Silver, and eventually Sabretooth telling them what would happen should they betray Merrick.
Avatar 2: “Who emerged as your leader, calling all the shots, giving all the orders? Who refused to pull out of the AIM base without the Identity Disc, committing the rest of you to a mission clearly going south?”
The Vulture remembers the time of Sabretooth driving the van to the AIM base, and him saying that he isn’t leaving without the Disc. He sadly realizes that Fury is right, and Creed played them all. But, he suspects that Sabretooth couldn’t have been that much of a mastermind, since the mission failed. Fury wants the Vulture to think. Sabretooth and the Juggernaut were the only ones left to complete the mission, and Fury will be very surprised if their bodies turn up in the rubble.
Vulture wants to know if Fury is saying if Creed sacrificed the others. That’s exactly what Fury is saying. Fury explains that the Vulture doesn’t know Sabretooth’s history. SHIELD has reason to believe that the names “Sabretooth” and “Victor Creed” are only two of the mutant’s most recent identities. Fury is aware that Creed is a man with decades of treachery behind him, and of which most of them are still unknown to even SHIELD. Somehow, he thinks, Creed became convinced that his secrets were compromised with the Identity Disc, and that the Disc was in the hands of AIM. And that’s what Fury wants to know: where those thoughts and ideas came from.
Vulture claims not to know it, as they all thought the ideas came from Silver, who told Valeria Merrick. Fury can’t believe that the Vulture still doesn’t get it: there is no Valeria Merrick! The woman the villains got their mission from, was just someone hired by Sabretooth to make it look pretty. And Fury wouldn’t even be surprised if Sabretooth later killed the “Merrick” woman after her service ended.
Fury finds the Vulture’s story useless and orders an agent to apprehend him back to the feds, and to make sure that she tells them SHIELD will do anything they can to make sure the Vulture rots at Riker’s. As the agent walks away with a chained Vulture, Dum Dum asks Fury what he thinks. Does the Vulture...? Fury holds his friend, telling him not to say anything yet.
The female agent escorts the Vulture through the Helicarrier, and takes him outside. When opening the door, the Vulture asks her if that was… The agent asks him to not say anything yet. They walk over the big parking lot. The Vulture replies that there isn’t much time, as the van they see will take him straight to prison. That’s just enough for the agent to thank… her daddy!
The Vulture says it’s nothing, as it’s his duty to protect his little girl! Besides, he adds, he had years to make up for the cheating his wife and the agent’s mother brought upon them. Valeria explains to her dad that her mom thought she was only protecting her at the time. The Vulture realizes that he and his daughter did make a good team. While Valeria scared the pants out of the other villains, he kept Valeria apprised of all their movements so she could show up unexpectedly and ratchet their paranoia sky-high.
They recall the Vulture calling Valeria informing her about the time the Juggernaut had reached the Identity Disc. Valeria is just sorry that so many of her dad’s friends had to die. Vulture tells her not to worry about that, as the villains weren’t his friends. And, he has learned that many of them are hard to kill, so he wouldn’t be surprised if any of them should show up alive soon, not even the Juggernaut, as the Vulture remembers he took him out himself. Valeria never meant for her dad to hurt anyone.
Vulture replies that he had to do it, since Marko saw what was on the Disc and couldn’t have that. The Vulture had to shoot a poisonous dart into his mouth and knock Marko out, because he saw Valeria’s picture on the Disc, with information about her aliases and as a SHIELD agent! Plus, Vulture knows this not for sure, but Marko must have also read that this whole scheme was meant to protect Valeria from blackmail. But, the Vulture is glad that at least he didn’t kill Marko, just injured him, so that he could escape.
Valeria feels bad for finding her father after so long, and now losing him again to prison, as he’ll be there for a very long time. The Vulture jokes that it wouldn’t be the first time, and tells her not to worry, as it won’t be so bad, because now he’s got something to live for once he gets outside this time. Valeria tells her dad that he doesn’t have anything to prove to her: he’s already her hero because he saved her life. Her job at SHIELD means everything to her, so he can imagine when she felt when AIM sent her that package: a disc proving she had lied about her past to join SHIELD, and that she had tampered with every document that could have proven her past with him. Valeria just feared that if SHIELD found out, they’d prosecute her. And she couldn’t let AIM use her to collect secret intelligence information from SHIELD for them.
Now, Valeria finds it ironic: she hoped to clear the Vulture from her past in order to join SHIELD, but when it came to this, she had no one else to run to for help. Vulture is just glad that he’s good at making these kind of plots, and even could use Valeria to make the others believe that she worked for a legendary criminal mastermind. He tries to touch Valeria, but she warns him not to, as they might be watching. She apologizes for it, but he knows she’s right: after all they’ve been through, they can’t ruin the whole thing by just a touch.
When having almost reached the van, Valeria asks the Vulture to trip so she can help him up. He gets the idea, and does so. Valeria helps him out, and touches the Vulture’s hand. They share a hug, and the Vulture gets into the van, which drives away. It starts to rain, leaving a watching Valeria behind.
Inside the carrier, Dum Dum and Fury keep discussing the story Vulture told them. Fury thinks that Toomes is a fool, who believes what he’s been told. Dum Dum asks if it really was Sabretooth then. But he couldn’t really have been after the Identity Disc, could he? Fury doesn’t think so either, which why he is frustrated. They know AIM never had the Disc. So, he wonders what Creed’s real purpose was for going after them. Dum Dum doesn’t know, but knows that they’ll find out some day. But for now, he’s glad that they can at least breathe easy because they are safe. Fury thinks Dum Dum is right about that. But, he fears what would happen if someone finds out that the Identity Disc truly is real, and that SHIELD has it!
At the same time, Deadpool returns to the bar the villains went to when they found Bullseye talking to the customers, asking about info concerning Silver. Deadpool wants a drink, but neither the bartender nor none of the former customers are there! Another man walks inside, wondering where the bartender has went to as well. Deadpool finds it curious, as he recalls there being a bartender when he came there yesterday.
Southfiere, St. Lucia…
The Sandman relaxes on a beach, enjoying a cocktail. A mysterious, evil-looking man walks up behind him, finding it ironic to find the Sandman on the beach. Sandman freaks out, and is in shock. The man compliments Sandman on the nice resort, thinking Valeria must have paid Sandman well. He confirms it, joking that she paid him more than the mysterious man. He replies to Sandman that he shouldn’t complain. Sandman claims he isn’t, and was just… observing.
The mysterious man warns Baker not to be too greedy, as he has ruined better man than him. But, he agrees that Valeria should have paid him more, since Baker had to die for her, plus the man has heard that Sandman put on a little show to make it seem he really had died. Still in shock a little, the Sandman explains he had to, because it was the only way to make the others believe it was all real. The mysterious man realizes that Baker also messed with him. Hesitating, Sandman confirms that, again saying it was for the other’s sake.
The man tells Sandman he did the right thing to come to him after he found out. He jokes that Sandman wouldn’t believe the things he found out that Valeria had been doing in his name. Baker asks if Valeria got a hold on the Identity Disc. The mysterious man denies that, claiming the Disc was a red herring. It seems the whole scheme was about some personal matter. Sandman tries to apologize to the man, as this is what Valeria told him. The man knows that Valeria only told Baker half of the story.
But, it’s alright to the man. He thanks Sandman again for coming to him and informing him about Valeria, as the man always likes to know it when someone is using his identity for their own good. Sandman wants to know what the man will do to Valeria. He won’t do anything… yet. He replies he may owe her a favor, namely the Identity Disc. He never really considered going after it, but now he has other thoughts.
The man tells Sandman to enjoy his holiday, but also warns that he might contact him soon, and hopes the Sandman will be available. He walks away, leaving a confused Baker behind. He tells the man that he can count on him, and says goodbye to… Mr. Silver!
Deadpool, Sandman, the Vulture
Dum Dum Dugan, Nick Fury (all SHIELD operatives)
various SHIELD agents (all unnamed)
the tattooed bar customer (unnamed)
in various flash-backs:
Bullseye, Deadpool, Juggernaut, Sabretooth, Sandman, the Vulture
Sandman’s mother (unnamed)
Cheryl (Deadpool’s ex-wife, on photo only)
a younger and current Valeria Merrick (the Vulture’s daughter)
This issue finally reveals who the avatars are in the previous issues: Avatar 2 is Nick Fury and Avatar 1 is the Vulture.
This issue also gives away Valeria’s last name as “Jessup,” the last name she now uses today instead of her “Toomes” or “Merrick” names. It’s unclear, but most likely not since this issue takes place way before it, if Valeria is also in any way related to Jack Jessup, the thief introduced in Gambit (4th series) #1.
The villains visited the bar Deadpool is in now for the first time in Identity Disc #2, and it really had a customer, who told them a story about Silver’s origin.
At the end, readers are really left confused: there actually appears a man named Tristram Silver! Though his entire face is covered up in a giant raincoat and big hat, and his face covered in black. Now, it’s unclear if Silver is real, or if it was just Sabretooth again in disguise trying to fool Sandman. At any rate, the whole plot of Silver is reminiscent of the 1995 the Usual Suspects, with Silver being a comparative of Keyser Soze.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Identity Disc (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay