Greetings from the Odinson,
Correction: Last week, I stated that V for Vendetta came out within a year of The Mark. Actually, Alan Moore’s seminal tale preceded Dark Horse’s series by five years as it started out in the pages of Warrior. Thank you Mr. Wayne for the heads up.
The Weapon Plus Program
Wolverine made his comic book debut in 1974 in the pages of Incredible Hulk #180-181. In the years since, he has affected nearly every corner of the Marvel Universe. He’s the backbone of the X-Men. He was a founding member of Alpha Flight. He has served in the ranks of the Avengers. He has significant history with everybody from Black Widow and Elektra to Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers , Captain America and Nick Fury and even with villains like Sabretooth, Cyber, Omega Red, and Nuke, just to name a few.
At first, Wolverine was simply known as Logan, a dangerous man with a mysteries past. He was the product of Weapon X, a secret clandestine government program started in order to create the perfect soldier, the perfect weapon.
Wolverine is that perfect weapon.
For years, everybody in the Marvel U, as well as the fans reading at home, believed that the X in Weapon X was the letter X. This made sense because Wolverine was part of Professor X’s X-Men, and just like Batman who loves to slap the prefix BAT on the front of everything, the X-franchise is very notorious for doing the same – ex. X-Mansion, X-Factor, X-Force, X-23, X-Tinction Agenda, etc. However, writer Grant Morrison blew the roof off when he revealed during his extraordinary New X-Men run that X in Weapon X was not the letter X but in fact the Roman numeral 10.
BOOM! Fans everywhere had their minds blown.
So if Wolverine is in fact Weapon 10, then who or what were the nine Weapons before Weapon X? And, are there any Weapons after Wolverine? The answers are yes and yes!
The Weapon Plus Program
The Weapon Plus Program started out with altruistic intentions to created super soldiers to combat the evils of the world, but over the years, it got twisted into something truly scary as its goals morphed to seek out the utter annihilation of mutants.
Weapon Zero: John Steele – He was a veteran of World War I and the world’s first super soldier. His first appearance predates Captain America by one year. He was endowed with immense strength, staggering speed, and nigh invincibility. He was a hero from the Golden Age of Comics.
Weapon I: Captain America – The scientist Abraham Erskine spearheaded Project: Reborn. He created the super solider serum and procedure that transformed frail Steve Rogers into the peak of human potential. With incredible strength, speed, and durability, an unparalleled tactical mind, and an indestructible shield, Rogers became a living legend. Thanks to a few decades in suspended animation, Captain America fights for justice in the present day and is an inspiration to all. NOTE: Other products of the study done for Project: Rebirth include Protocide, Union Jack II, and Isaiah Bradley. Plus, Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Mockingbird all benefit from the Infinity Formula, a derivative version of the super soldier serum that Steve Rogers took.
Weapon II: Brute Force – The program turned to the animal kingdom for the next phase of their experiments. They created animal-cyborg hybrids.
Weapon III: The Skinless Man – Harry Pizer was a mutant with bizarre malleable skin powers that worked in espionage for the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Weapon IV: Man-Thing – Biochemist Dr. Ted Sallis was attempting to recreate the super solider serum that transformed Steve Rogers into Captain America. To keep his findings from falling into the hands of AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) he injected himself and crashed into the swamp where he was transformed into the macabre Man-Thing. NOTE: Sallis also worked with Dr. Curt Connors whose own version the serum transformed him into the Lizard, one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes.
Weapon V: Ve’Nam – When a symbiote is discovered, the government decides to bond it to their soldiers in order to win the Vietnam War. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the experiments drove the soldiers mad. NOTE: This was called Project: Reborn 2.0 which later produced the Flash Thompson/Venom super soldier, the version of Venom that the Odinson finds most interesting.
Weapon VI: Luke Cage – While serving time for a crime he did not commit, Luke Cage was experimented on and given super human strength and diamond-hard skin. He would, of course, go on to found Heroes for Hire and serve in the ranks of the Fantastic Four and Avengers.
Weapon VII: Nuke – Frank Simpson is a Vietnam vet that was turned into a super soldier with cybernetic implants and volatile experimental drugs. These experiments succeeded in giving him immense strength and endurance, but it also drove him mad. He was a force of nature during Frank Miller’s seminal Born Again tale. NOTE: Wolverine, during his spy days, was responsible for recruiting Simpson for the experiment and helped to brainwash him.
Weapon VIII: ??? – I don’t know if Weapon 8 has been revealed yet.
Weapon IX: Typhoid Mary – Mary Walker is a pyrokinetic assassin with multiple personality disorder. She was recruited by Wilson Fisk the Kingpin of Crime to be his top enforcer and take out his enemy – Daredevil.
Weapon X: Wolverine – Logan is a mutant with an extremely potent healing factor that allows him to regenerate loss tissue and recover from nearly any wound. He is immune to disease and toxins. His five senses are incredibly heightened. And, his bones are laced with the nearly indestructible metal called Adamantium, including six foot long claws housed in his forearms that can cut through nearly anything. NOTE: Other products of Weapon X include Sabretooth, Deadpool, Maverick, Shiva, and X-23.
Weapon XI: Kane – Garrison Kane is a cybernetically enhanced government agent. Like that old fantastic Godzilla Shogun Warrior toy from the ‘70s, Kane can fire his metal fists like missiles. He has a dark past with Cable as they both served in the ranks of Six Pack together.
Weapon XII: Huntsman – He is a human-Sentinel hybrid that is immune to psychic attacks.
Weapon XIII: Fantomex – Like Weapon 12 before him, Fantomex is a human-machine hybrid. Nano–tech flows through his body and has transformed him into a perfect weapon – enhanced strength, speed, agility, reflexes, skills, and a super brain. He was created to hunt and kill mutants but he revolted and turned against his creators and actually became a valued ally of the X-Men.
Weapon XIV: The Stepford Cuckoos – The Stepford Cuckoos were clones of Emma Frost who share a hive mind. When they combine, they possess a psychokinetic arsenal on par with the most powerful psychics in the Marvel U. They were originally bred to be used as weapons against mutants, but they have been reformed and taken under Emma Frost’s wing who acts as a surrogate mother to them. There was originally five sisters, but two have since perished.
Weapon XV: Ultimaton – It was a next generation Sentinel designed to hunt and kill mutants.
Weapon Plus the Future: Deathlok – In the not too distant future, the Deathlok Program transforms deceased human soldiers into nigh unstoppable cyborg killing machines.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.