NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for Weapon X #1
It's an unavoidable truth that every hero must eventually fall... or in the case of Wolverine, who can't die, you might just wind up obsolete. And thanks to the newly-launched version of the Weapon X Program, the Marvel Universe may finally have soldiers deadly enough to take down Wolverine. Granted, it's still the older, less virile, Old Man Logan version of Wolverine, but that shouldn't take away from the victory achieved in the debut issue of Marvel's Weapon X series.
The comic promises to return the spotlight to the most visible products of the experimental mutant program - Wolverine, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Deadpool, X-23, and apparently Domino (even though she was actually a test subject of Project Armageddon... but we won't tell if you don't). In Weapon X #1, the restarted government organization makes its presence known in a big way, taking their first shot against Wolverine, and actually getting the upper hand. What's changed about Weapon X's soldiers? Well, they've gotten some help from prior test subjects... and they're looking to capture more.
How Do You Outsmart The Wolverine?
It's a bit of heartbreaking opening to the story, with Old Man Logan taking time away from the stresses of his role on the new X-Men: Gold team by sitting among the wildlife hundreds of miles away from civilization. Having been displaced from his own dystopic future and into this current Marvel timeline, it's been a while since Logan could enjoy some peace and quiet. Just sitting in the wilderness, coexisting with the harmless animals and the peaceful stream... and two lost hikers who seem too friendly to be believed. Still, Logan is trained to smell potential threats, and plays the wise old man looking out for a young couple, for a change.
And that's his first mistake. Logan doesn't even realize that the technology held by those out to kill him may have passed his ability to sense - not until an adamantium spear is thrust straight through his back and out of his chest. It's a grotesque sight to see the couple's faces and skin be mechanically replaced by an adamantium, Terminator-esque skeleton of unbreakable metal. As Logan takes slash after slash, he realizes that his war for survival and existence will never be over. But these killing machines are too fast, and the old Wolverine has to wonder if this might actually be the day he bites the big one.
He succeeds by fleeing the scene, hacking off a chunk of his arm to distract them, before hiding out in a nearby cave. As always, Logan is forced to reckon with the fact that these things sent to kill him have undergone the same brainwashing and brutal 'conditioning' the he, too, experienced. But they're never the problem, and never the real enemy. The real mystery is who has started the wheels of Weapon X back in motion... and why these killers wield the same adamantium claws of Yuriko Oyama a.k.a. Lady Deathstrike.
The New Weapon X is Up To No Good
No imagination is needed for the reader to make the same conclusions as Logan: Weapon X has Yuriko, and has somehow tapped into her own powers and physiology to create a new breed of Weapon X soldiers. It's a return to the good old days of Weapon X, with Yuriko contained, unconscious, in a liquid-filled test tube, surrounded by blades and tubes meant to apparently harvest genetic tissue whenever needed. True to her nature, though, Yuriko stares directly at the lab technicians controlling the tiny blades scraping across her flesh, scratching a fairly direct message into the glass.
Before she can either pass out or make good on her promise, another lab technician enters with the aforementioned slab of Logan's flesh, given willingly in the battle with the two Weapon X operatives. Exactly what procedures or aspects of Logan's physiology the group was hoping to carry out or recreate isn't clear, but Logan may have unwittingly given the group all they need. The hunk of flesh occupies the tank clearly prepared for the Wolverine, suggesting that it may only be his healing factor or heightened senses the scientists were after.
The job is far from over, though, as Yuriko and Logan's containment tanks are just two of several. The tanks waiting for Domino, Sabretooth, and Warpath remain empty, awaiting their own quarry. Domino and Weapon X may hold the real secret here, since neither of them was given their abilities by Weapon X specifically, but do have some complicated ties to various incarnations of X-Force. Weapon X, then, may not be looking to undo past mistakes and harvest their previous subjects... but craft a new kind of weapon, with these mutants all chosen for specific abilities. We pity whoever that subject is meant to target.
An Involuntary Team-Up
Thakfully, Weapon X #1 ends on a hopeful note (of a sort), as Logan seeks out everybody's second favorite clawed, radpidly healing, scruffy human beast: Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth. The two begin with a fight - as always - but cease once Creed confirms that he, too, has had a run-in with one of Weapon X's robotic, adamantium killers. The depths to which Weapon X will sink are not yet known, it turns out: to catch the even less trusting, more suspicious Sabretooth by surprise, Weapon X created that monstrosity out of a little girl.
But after having "half his internal organs and a hundred pounds of muscle" torn apart by her own adamantium weaponry, Creed is through with trusting anyone - including Logan, who he's spent most of his life trying to kill, not partner up with. Fortunately, this Logan may be older, and perhaps possess senses slightly dulled... but he's as cunning as he is pragmatic. Knowing that Creed would never agree to partner up with him, giving them both a fighting chance against these devastating enemies, Logan did the next best thing. In short: bring one to his doorstep.
Fans wouldn't expect any less of an unconventional alliance when it comes to Logan and Creed, but these two will actually stand the best chance against Weapon X and its currently unknown director. When the group targets the likes of Domino and Warpath, this twosome might grow to twice the size,,, assuming they all like living. Of course, a cold grave might actually seem like a happy ending once the long-teased Wolverine/Hulk hybrid character is deployed in a few months' time.
Who will be alive to see it... well, you'll need to keep reading to find that out.
Weapon X #1 is available now.