Issue Date: July 2009
Story Title: “The Adamantium Men” Part 2
Staff: Jason Aaron (writer), Ron Garney (artist/cover artist), Jason Keith (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Marko Djurdjevic (variant cover artist), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), John Barber (editor), Axel Alonso (group editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
In San Francisco, up in the offices of The Post, Melita Garner sits in on an editorial meeting called to determine that day’s front page stories. Several different stories are suggested and shot down, leading Melita to pitch an exposé on Wolverine’s past. This, too, is shot down, leading to an altercation between Melita and the X-Men beat writer. Later, in her apartment, Melita attempts to track down information on Logan’s military record to no avail. Just as she has given up, the phone rings with a mysterious message from an anonymous caller telling her that she is looking for the story in the wrong places. If she really wants the story, she should look into Blackguard instead. Meanwhile, in Colombia, Wolverine begins the process of tracking down Blackguard’s Adamantium Men, trying to find a way to put them down to good. While feigning passing out drunk, Wolverine draws out two of the Adamantium Men and draws them into a close-quarters fight, using the skirmish to gauge their upgrades. He finds that the Adamantium Men have upgraded senses and reflexes, healing factors, and even energy claws. The fight cuts a swath through the jungle, ending with Logan surrounded by eight more Adamantium Men drawn to them by the sound of the fight. Knowing that this is a fight he cannot win, he runs off into the jungle, knowing that they will be ordered to find and kill him. There, like a spider creating a web to trap flies, Wolverine waits for the Adamantium Men to come into his trap…
In the offices of The San Francisco Post, an editorial meeting is called to determine which stories will make that day’s front page. One reporter suggests stories such as Simon Trask calling for emergency voting on Proposition X, Norman Osborn’s speech to the American Legion, or a profile on the new Black Panther. “That’s it?” the editor asks. “Nothing local?” Another reporter suggests an article on dropping crime rates in Chinatown, including quotes from the Sons of the Tiger. More stories are suggested, including a woman who burned down gift shops claiming she was told to by the Ghost Rider and a series of aerial shots of Warren Worthington. The editor kicks back in his chair. “Is this really the best we got?”
“What about Wolverine?” Melita Garner holds her hand up at the end of the table. She makes her case, stating that he is one of the longest tenured X-Men, but that no one knows anything about his past. She suggests doing a full profile of him, digging up all the information she can find. The editor asks if Wolverine is the one with all the claws, claiming that he is too overexposed and that half the videos on YouTube are of Wolverine stabbing someone. The editor wants something fresh, so they’ll use the shots of the Punisher stabbing someone instead.
Melita leaves the meeting, but she finds herself called back by another reporter, miffed that Melita seems to be chasing a story that crosses into his territory. Melita explains that she just really thinks there is a story surrounding Wolverine. Even the press kits the X-Foundation gives The Post don’t tell them anything about him. She asks the reporter if he knew that Wolverine has Canadian military credentials but no record of his birth. The reporter puts a finger in Melita’s face, asking her what there really is to know? All Wolverine is to him is a hairy little dude with claws who likes to skewer bad guys. He knows that Wolverine saved her from being mugged, but he wants her to lay off the X-Men beat and find her own stories.
That night, ignoring the reporter’s demand, Melita finds herself alone in her apartment making phone calls to find the military records of Logan, getting nowhere with only the single name to go by. She curses as the person on the other end disconnects the call, slamming the receiver down into its holder. She stares at a picture of a nude Wolverine, claws extended, apparently taken sometime during a feral era. She talks to the picture, wanting to know just who he is and what Weapon X is, too. As she expresses this exasperation, the phone rings. She answers.
“You’re gonna get yourself killed doing this, you know?” the voice says. The voice explains that it knows who she is and what she’s doing, but that she is going about it all wrong. Melita demands to know who the person is. Ignoring her, the voice tells her that Wolverine is only a small part of the story and that she is missing the big picture. If she has the guts to keep digging, it’s Blackguard she needs to be looking up. Melita once again demands to know her identity and how the voice knows about her story, but the line is disconnected. Unsettled, she sets the phone down, picking up her cat as it nudges itself onto her lap. She pulls the cat close, smirking to herself. “Told you there was a story here. Now we’ll just see where it leads.”
Meanwhile, an airplane is in midflight over the Pacific Ocean. One of the flight attendants approaches Logan on the flight, informing him that they will be landing within the hour and asking if he will be needing anything else. Lounging in his seat with Louis L’Amour’s Mojave Crossing, Logan asks for the flight attendant’s phone number and eight or nine more bottles of alcohol. Thinking to himself as he stares out the window, Logan thinks he’d also like to know what she knows about Blackguard, what they’ve been up to in the jungle and how he can get his hands on them.
Once the plane has landed, Wolverine finds himself on the Pacific coast of Colombia in a small town. He thinks that the men from Blackguard are reporter to come and go like ghosts, doing their business and slipping away into the jungle. In Colombia, there are 200,000 square miles of jungle. How is he supposed to find them in all of that? He thinks that with his tracking skills, he can track a falcon on a cloudy day or trail an ant across the Sahara Desert, but generally he finds it best to hang out and let them come to him. Walking into the El Barcito bar, he greets the bartender as a friend and buys a round for the house, toasting to future endeavors.
Sometime later, as he stumbles drunkenly down the street to the Casa Suelta, he is observed from afar by two Adamantium Men. After confirming that Wolverine is the one they are looking for, they realize he looks completely drunk. The man with the sniper rifle claims that this is almost too easy. His partner asks if the boss really thinks the bullets they have will take Wolverine out. The sniper responds that each one is designed to release 38 different kinds of cancer into his system. Even if it doesn’t kill him, it will slow him down. They only have three of the bullets, though, so they need to make each one count. The sniper’s partner says that Wolverine looks like he is passed out. What is the sniper waiting for? The sniper bets two thousand dollars that he can put the bullet right up Wolverine’s nose. His partner tells him that bet is nothing, suggesting that he pick a specific nostril. The sniper chooses the left one and his partner accepts the bet.
Looking through his scope, the sniper says, “Uh-oh. Where’d he go?” He pulls back from the scope and the two begin sniffing at the air, trying to get a whiff of his location. The sniper asks his partner if he smells it. The partner confirms it. Suddenly, from below them comes the sound of a SNIKT! Dressed in black and grey, Wolverine stands at the base of the tree with his claws popped. He takes a swipe at the tree trunk, cleaving away halve of their perch. Enough damage is done in the single swipe to take the entire tree down. The sniper leaps and lands in a crouch, but his partner is not so lucky. He tumbles from the branch, landing with a THUNK on Wolverine’s claws. All six claws protrude from the Adamantium Man’s chest.
“Hiya, bub,” Wolverine says. His greeting is met with an elbow to the nose. The man forces himself off Logan’s claws, holding a hand to his chest. They have animal-like senses and enhanced strength and reflexes, Wolverine thinks to himself. Those traits were probably drug-induced or created by bionic implants. He watches as the Adamantium Man’s wounds knit themselves back together. He sniffs at the blood on his claws to gauge the man’s biochemistry. They have a healing factor, he thinks, but it’s artificially engineered or techno-organic. They aren’t mutants. They just have nanites in their blood to regrow tissue. Launching himself at the Adamantium Man, Wolverine thinks it’s time to see if they are any good at regrowing heads.
He doesn’t get a chance to find out, however, as the Adamantium Man’s partner, the sniper, opens fire with automatic weapons. Many bullets hit their mark, allowing the man’s partner to escape Wolverine’s grasp. He keeps firing, forcing Wolverine to slice down two more trees as a long-range offensive maneuver. With the sniper temporarily out of the action, Wolverine takes a roundhouse kick to the face from the first man he engaged. He attempts to strike back with his claws, but the Adamantium Man takes the claws through the palm to stop them from reaching his face. They have unbreakable adamantium bones, Wolverine thinks. He flips over, attempting to get a different angle on the man. They go the complete makeover, he thinks, and the only thing they are missing is…
ZZZIKT! The Adamantium Man’s hands explode with three green, glowing adamantium claws. As they tumble, Wolverine’s left hand claws ends up through the Adamantium Man’s right shoulder and the Adamantium Man’s right hand claws protrude through Wolverine’s left shoulder. Wolverine thinks that they have some kind of energy blades and he can feel them burning through his guts and scraping against his ribs. He guesses that this is what it feels like to be killed by him, and he doesn’t like it much on the receiving end.
The gunman returns, weapons drawn on Logan. Wolverine growls, kicking the Adamantium Man off him and darting across the line of fire as bullets spray from the automatic weapons. Slashing backward, Wolverine cuts off the tips of the guns, bringing his other arm around to slash against the man’s chest. The Adamantium Man extends his energy blades, slashing Wolverine against the back. Now he finds himself up against two Adamantium Men, both with all of their claws out. In an animalistic manner, Wolverine lunges with his claws, attacking both men with in a ravenous fury. From away in the jungle, all that can be seen is the glow of the Adamantium Men’s claws and the shadow of Wolverine, all surrounded in blood spray.
Eight minutes later, the three men stand in a faceoff in a clearing of their own making, surrounded by fallen trees and shrubbery. Wolverine thinks to himself that these guys aren’t a joke and that he is lucky to have his decades of experience on them. He has killed more people than they have ever met in their lives. It will take more than two Adamantium Men to take Wolverine out, he thinks. That much is certain.
He sniffs at their air, suddenly smelling at least three more Adamantium Men making their way through the jungle. He should have known that those were famous last words. In moments, he finds himself surrounded by ten Adamantium Men, all with their claws extended. He realizes that these men don’t speak, make insults, posture, or anything. They merely close in for the kill and suddenly he realizes the cold hard truth.
Wolverine lunges forward with a brutal roar, slashing at one of the men to clear a path. He can’t win this fight, not like this. The Adamantium Men stare at him as he runs off into the jungle.
One of the Adamantium Men speaks up after Wolverine is out of sight. “Never figured him for a runner,” he says. This does not faze the lead Adamantium Man. “Get after him,” he orders. “He doesn’t leave this jungle alive.”
In the jungle, a spider weaves its web, waiting to trap its prey as the Adamantium Men search through the jungle underneath. Yeah… Wolverine thinks, arms crossed over his chest with his claws extended as he stands stock-still behind a tree trunk. Come and get me, you bastards.
Blackguard Adamantium Men
Unnamed bartender at El Barcito
Various Colombian townspeople
Various San Francisco Post editorial staff
Various San Francisco Post reporters
The song Wolverine sings as he stumbles through the streets of the Colombia town is Hank Williams’ “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.”
Louis L’Amour is an American author whose work consists primarily of Western fiction. Mojave Crossing is about a man named Sackett escorting a woman across the frontier to Los Angeles while confronting a gunman also named Sackett. Similarly, Wolverine is venturing into unknown territory to fight new-generation Wolverines.
Issue Summary written by: Crawler Hunter Lambright