|Wolverine (3rd series) #33|| || |
Issue Date: November 2005
Story Title: House of M: Chasing Ghosts: part 1
Staff: Daniel Way (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark Texeira (finishes), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters), James Taveras (production), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Jennifer Lee (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (cover & editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
A few days ago, SHIELD Captain Logan had jumped off the Helicarrier, leaving a panicking lover, Mystique, behind. Raven now has to report these events back to their director, Sebastian Shaw. He isn’t pleased with the situation, and wants to know what really happened during Logan and Raven’s earlier mission in Mexico, two weeks ago. Raven explains that, after a rescue from a kidnapped Paula D’onofrio in the jungle, they were deployed to the local embassy, where a party was held in honor of the House of Magnus. The House had given Mexico a Sentinel as a present for their own safety. At first thinking their mission would be easy, Raven and Logan took it calmly. While Raven scouted the area for possible danger, Logan headed to the nearest bar and took a few drinks, like he does more often these days. While there, his entire body started bursting into flames. He had been attacked by weaponized corrosive acid. The moment he collapsed, the rebels revealed themselves and took Devin Price, a foreign minister of the House of M, hostage. Thinking the battle was because of Price, Raven quickly shapeshifted into his form to fool the attackers. Together with the help of some marines, most rebels were killed. However, as they later discovered, the battle wasn’t about Price, but about the new Sentinel. Other rebels managed to make it theirs throughout the confusion and are now in their custody. After hearing the story, a disappointed Shaw hands Raven a photo. She recognizes the leader of the attack, and also… Logan?! She defends that Logan had nothing to do with the attack. Raven also recognizes another man on the photo, who possibly does have something to do with all this: Nick Fury!
SHIELD Mobile Headquarters, high above Manhattan…
With the ship constantly guarded by scouting Sentinels, SHIELD leader Sebastian Shaw is talking to one of his soldiers. The soldier has recorded a conversation between agents Wolverine and Mystique, but unfortunately there is no audio to it, so they have no idea what the two lovers are talking about. However, their lip-readers are working on it.
The agent mentions that Mystique, if she wanted to, could fool a lip-reader if she wanted to very easily using her mutation. Shaw informs agent Colenridge that he is well aware of Mystique’s shapeshifting powers. He asks the agent what the many witnesses to this morning’s entertainment had eavesdropped upon.
Colenridge mentions that it was very windy when Captain Logan jumped off the ‘Carrier the way he did, but almost everyone agrees that they heard Mystique yell a loud “no!” Shaw wonders. They look at Logan jumping down into the very deep distance that’s between the city and the ‘Carrier and see a panicking Mystique reach out her hand to her beloved, and Shaw thinks that a “no” yell would be appropriate.
Four hours later, at SHIELD Director Shaw’s office…
Mystique reports in, after Shaw called her to talk about Logan. Raven reminds Shaw that he already has her report concerning that. But Sebastian wasn’t talking about that. No, he wants to know what happened in Mexico two weeks ago. Mystique is confused. Shaw has also that report. Shaw admits that he has them both, both of Raven and Logan and they are almost identical. But, Shaw is interested in learning what isn’t written in those reports. And since Raven and Captain Logan are so close, Shaw had hoped that she could give him a few more details about why Shaw’s Red Guard army literally jumped ship. And he suggests that Raven starts from the beginning.
Two weeks ago, Southeastern Mexico, high in the Sierra Madres…
Mystique begins her story. She and Logan were developed to Mexico to track down and retrieve Paula D’Onofrio, an assistant press secretary to the House of Magnus. She had been kidnapped while on vacation with her family by a group of human guerilla fighters. Shaw wants to know if Raven believes these fighters were working with the Human Resistance. Raven doesn’t think so. This wasn’t an attempt to advance “their cause.” The only thing the rebels wanted to negotiate about was a big, fat ransom paycheck. But unfortunately for the rebels, the House of M doesn’t have a negotiation policy.
Raven remembers the battle well. They watched the rebels chasing, together with their prisoners, through the maze the jungle is. One of them thought what he thought was a tree trunk, but in truth was in fact Mystique’s shapeshifted leg! She transformed back into herself, and informed the rebel he shouldn’t be doing that, as her boyfriend is the jealous type.
Raven explains to Shaw that, on that moment, Logan jumped in full rage at the rebels, with his claws open for action. He wasted no time and immediately killed the whole lot of them, except for one who managed to survive the massacre somehow. While Raven tended to Paula and set her free, she heard Logan taking out his gun and shooting the final rebel. After that, they called in the lift as they were done. <>
Two hours later, at the Four Seasons hotel in Mexico City…
Logan gets himself into a nice tuxedo into his and Raven’s rented room. She joked around with her powers, trying out different dresses. She was debating between a Dolce & Gabanna, or a stylish Van Dyne’s? Logan smiles that he liked the blue one. Raven, smiling back, told Logan she knows he does and goes back to her changing area. Along the way, she promised Logan they’d play the “dirty old man game” later. When she asked Logan if he was ready to go, much to Raven dismay, he had to take a final drink before he was ready.
Shaw wants to know how long Logan has been abusing drugs and alcohol like that. Mystique gets a serious, rather angry look on her face. She asks Shaw permission to speak frankly and gets it. Raven defends that there’s a certain… rage inside Logan. Shaw knows about that, as he exploited it on various occasions. Shaw can’t deny that. And for the sake of mutantkind, he wouldn’t hesitate if he had to do it again. Raven thinks that’s the point: at whom will Shaw use the rage, as the war against the humans is long over? Shaw corrects that these recent events in Mexico would seem to contradict that statement. Raven hesitates, uncertain about what to answer.
Again, Raven defends that Logan has spent, really, his entire life, several lifetimes in fact, fighting out a war. And even though the mutants, as a race, won that war, Logan has personally lost more than they’ll ever know. So yes, Logan takes pills. They help to dull his pain. And yes, Logan does drink. Sometimes, the alcohol even makes him smile. But, Mystique angrily shouts at Shaw, never have these things ever compromised Logan’s abilities as an agent or a leader. Shaw wants to know how Raven would explain Mexico if that’s true. Hesitant, Raven claims that they were all caught off-guard that night.
Two weeks ago, Mexico…
Mystique explains that the Mexican government was throwing a dinner party, which was hosted by the American embassy to celebrate the arrival of their new Sentinel. And the Sentinel was a gift from the House of M. Lots of low-level diplomats were there. This event was just a glorified photo-op and not really a state dinner. And since she and Logan were already in Mexico, they got folded into the security detail. The marines already had the place covered. Raven and Logan were more there as ambassadors of SHIELD than as agents.
Shaw doesn’t want to hear Raven’s excuses. Mystique knows that and claims not to be “excusing” herself at all. She is simply explaining that their presence seemed redundant, because, as far as they were concerned, the mission was already over. In retrospect, Raven now thinks that perhaps they should have taken the assignment much more seriously.
Raven remembers that the first thing Logan wondered about, when they arrived at the party, was where the bar was. She pointed to the bar, which was over by the fountain. She joked that she was going to go mingle. Mystique remembers she surveyed the area, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She noticed Devin Price, though, the House of M’s foreign relations minister. Price seemed to be the ticket out on the floor, as everyone was lining up to meet him. After approximately two hours, everyone began to take their seats and a toast was made.
Shaw wants to know where Logan was at this point. Hesitant, Raven has to admit that he had stationed himself near the fountain, taking in drink after drink.
Raven reports that the mess all began at the fountain. The attack came out of nowhere. After Logan tried to order another drink, he suddenly freaked out after he smelled something. Suddenly, he screamed it out from the pain, as he was starting to go up in flames!
Raven now learned that Logan was attacked by weaponized corrosive acid. The attackers sure did their homework.
While Logan noticed the attacker, who had sneaked in claiming he was a waiter, he pulled out his claws for a battle. Raven heard the screaming and used their communicator to ask Logan what was going on, but got no response. Logan initiated the battle, but didn’t notice other seemingly waiters sneaking up from behind. They started shooting at him. Logan fought back, but there were too many and, thanks to the pain of the flames, he collapsed.
Once Logan was down, the remaining resistance fighters made their presence known by taking out their guns and knives. They were surrounded. With Logan neutralized, Mystique became the Ranking Officer. She took charge of the situation. While ordering the guests to stay down onto the floor, she opened fire on the rebels. In their hurry, Raven could overhear some rebels searching for Price and found him hiding under a table.
They took Price hostage, and angrily shouted that the genocide had to end. They claimed that the House of M was built upon the bodies of millions of murdered human beings! Price tried to hold his attackers back, but they simply told him to shut up. What the rebels didn’t know was that Price was in reality… a transformed Mystique! When changing back into her normal form and startling her attacker, she kicked him down and killed the man using his own knife. After this, the Marines finally got in action and killed the remaining rebels.
Mystique adds that the entire battle ended in less than thirty minutes. Luckily, only nine dignitaries were injured and only ten were killed. Price escaped without as much of a scratch. But then again, Price wasn’t the intended target. It was the Sentinel. And the rebels got it.
Shaw angrily confirms that “they” really did. Raven hesitates. She recalls that it was a tactically brilliant attack strike. She doubts that the revolutionaries stationed inside the Embassy were even aware of their true part in their mission. Shaw agrees. He’d even go as far as to say that SHIELD couldn’t have planned it any better. Raven hesitates, and wants to know what Shaw is saying here. With a serious look on his face, Shaw corrects Raven that what he is saying is that she has to calm herself.
He wants to know if Logan ever talks to her about his past. Hesitant, Raven has to admit that he doesn’t do it often. Shaw takes out a file, and wants Raven to look at a photograph. He wants her to tell him if she recognizes anyone on it. Raven claims she can do that easily, as she never forgets a face. Raven recognizes someone, and points at the man responsible for the attack on the embassy. Shaw wants Raven to take a look again, particularly to the bottom left-hand corner. Raven does, and recognizes a sitting, younger Logan.
Shaw thinks that Raven now wants to be a little more specific. She angrily slams the photo on Shaw’s desk, defending that Logan had nothing to do with the attack. It was another man on the photo, someone standing in the right-hand corner… Nick Fury!
Mystique, Sebastian Shaw (all SHIELD Red Guard)
through-out Mystique’s flash-backs:
Mystique, Wolverine (both SHIELD Red Guard)
Nick Fury (on photo only)
Devin Price (House of M foreign Relations Minister)
human resistance rebels and Paula D’onofrio (rebels unnamed)
various party guests & soldiers (all unnamed)
In earlier issues, the new Avengers and the astonishing X-Men met to discuss the fate of the Scarlet Witch – the powerful daughter of Magneto – after her recent breakdown which resulted in the death of some heroes. After that battle, Magneto learned of his daughter’s actions, and took her back to his island of Genosha, so that his friend, Professor Charles Xavier, could take care of her. However, this was easier said than done and Wanda kept losing control of reality by the day. When the heroes and mutants had their meeting, Quicksilver, the son of Magneto, was also present. Hating the fact that the Avengers might agree to kill Wanda as the only way to deal with the problem, he ran back to his father and warned him to do something. When the Avengers and the X-Men arrived on Genosha, they found nothing. Magneto, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch had vanished. On arrival, Xavier vanished as well. On that moment, the entire world suddenly changed completely. [Avengers (1st series) #503, Excalibur (2nd series) #14, House of M #1]
In current days, agent James Howlett, otherwise known as the mutant Logan, aka Wolverine, is a member of SHIELD’s elite Red Guard. Along with his partner Raven Darkholme (aka Mystique), Logan carries out the most dangerous for King Magneto’s ruling government without any failures. But lately, Captain Logan hasn’t been himself lately. His behavior has been reckless and erratic, with others fearing he might have cracked.
The “Van Dyne” remark from Mystique while trying out several dresses is, of course, the surname of Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp of the Avengers. She has been seen as a successful dress designer in House of M #2.
The story’s opening flashbacks of Mystique’s and Logan’s conversation and him jumping off the SHIELD Helicarrier is literally taken from House of M #3. In truth, this story actually consists solely out of Mystique’s flashbacks and her report to Sebastian Shaw, and is already partly over before it begins. Logan himself only appears through several flashbacks in this issue.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
House of M: World of M, Featuring Wolverine (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay