The “star-spangled man with the plan” and the “best there is at what he does” reunite to fulfill a request by a late super soldier project alum. The request, to bring down the very people who made them what they are, the Weapon Plus Program. How will they fare against those who gave them their powers? Let’s find out!
The issue opens up with Steve Rogers taking a stroll around his old Brooklyn neighborhood when out of nowhere, Fantomex’s weird spaceship E.V.A. crashes down into the borough with Wolverine emerging from the wreckage. Cap rushes to Logan to see what the deal is with ships falling out of the sky. He’s answered by a hologram of the late Fantomex, which is then interrupted by a group of mercenary/henchmen.
*Cue the fight scene
After a couple of shield bashes and snikts, our heroes realize that their combatants aren’t human and seem to be more preoccupied with shutting up the Fantomex hologram than fighting. Wolverine claws through most of the mercs while Captain America covers his six and manages any possible collateral damage. In the aftermath of the fight, Cap unmasks one of the soldiers revealing...his face! A clone and mangled version of it but Cap’s face nonetheless. Demanding answers, Wolverine points to the Fantomex hologram.
You see, in the event of his death (which technically happened when he sacrificed his body so Professor X can live in the real world back in Charles Soule’s Astonishing X-Men), E.V.A. would deploy this hologram message to his fellow Weapon Plus alumni which at this point is just Cap and Logan. The long and short of it is that Weapon Plus is up and running again and doing their usual shady work in the name of the usual: science, national security, etc. Unfortunately for Cap, our faux-frenchman informs the Sentinel of Liberty that this all leads back to him as an inspiration for program volunteers. Fantomex continues to explain his conspiracy theory about the program leading back to a Billy Junger, who we’ve been getting flashbacks of his life, an idealistic young man who wanted to be just like Cap and protect his country from whatever was deemed a threat.
Along with this info Cap finds a set of coordinates which leads our heroes to a decrepit, defunct government facility where they find a bunch of equipment, a chalkboard, and a bear in stasis, all from the Weapon Plus program. Any fans of Brute Force? Well then you’ll be sure to recognize the bear that bursts from the stasis pod and is now trying to bite off Wolverine’s head as Wreckless A.K.A. Bear of the titular team, who was a part of the Weapon II program. Cap is able to knock Wolvie out of Bear’s mouth and take the chip that activated him out of his brain to trace it back to yet another decrepit, defunct Weapons Plus lab. This lab is littered with dead scientists and information on something called Weapon XXX wiped from their computers. Here they find a twisted, stitched together version of Captain America who’s here to kick ass and kill communists and he’s all out of communists. He also thinks he’s actually Captain America and that God speaks to him, so he doesn’t take the news of another dude dressed up as the first avenger that well and attacks the genuine article.
Unlike the Steve clones at the beginning of this book, this Evil Cap can take a few hits and is actually holding his own against our heroes. That is until Billy Junger, who’s now seemingly in charge of the program, decides to blow the facility up with the Evil Cap in it in order to keep Weapon XXX secret. Steve tries to save his evil doppelganger for answers but Logan knows that the place is seconds away from destruction. Cap and Wolverine escape just in time, with Rogers vowing that he’ll stop whatever Weapon Plus is up to. Billy Junger has other plans though because to him Cap’s forgotten for what he once stood for and now Billy will remind him, with Weapon XXX.
So this was a pretty fun issue.
I’ll admit I’m a little biased when it comes to this issue. I’m a diehard Wolverine fan and a big Captain America fan as well. I was always interested in lore behind their respective creations and how they’re tied together, i.e. the Weapon Plus Program.
Ethan Sacks pulls together a cohesive issue, doing a good job of acknowledging all the interconnecting histories that collide with the all of the Weapon Plus program, from Project Rebirth to Weapon X to the Morrison stuff, and all the retconned programs. I found it weird that Fantomex’s “death” is what brings this together because he’s only “sort of” dead. Like I said earlier Professor X is just using his body but his consciousness is in the astral plane. Billy Jung could also use a bit more development, but I expect that to be paid off in future issues. The “it’s just another scientist from the Weapon Plus program” is kinda overdone, especially among Wolverine villains. The adage of him idolizing Cap so far as to join those who created him is a nice twist on the aforementioned villain role though. The art by Diogenes Neves was pretty good for the issue at hand.
I’m interested to see where the rest of this story goes.
Verdict: 7/10 Weapon Plus experiments