In a Nutshell
Weapon X defeats Pierce using his stump claws, allowing Gateway to send the Human Council's armada to Apocalypse.
Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Joe Rosas
Seps: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
With the help of the Human Council, Weapon X convinces Gateway to navigate the nuclear armada across the ocean to attack Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Rex brings word of the armada and its potential threat to Apocalypse, but he is less than concerned. The armada departs from Paris, but as it nears Apocalypse's sea wall defenses, a storm kicks up, prompting Gateway to climb atop the lead airship to better navigate the storm. Just then, Pierce and another enhanced human use the storm as cover to attack. Pierce sends his ally after Weapon X & Gateway while he radios the Infinites at the nearby defense platform to shoot down the armada. As Weapon X & Gateway realize Pierce's ally is their old friend Carol Danvers, Emma Frost tries to attack Pierce but is stopped by Brian Braddock, who reveals himself to be reluctantly working for Apocalypse. Braddock manages to briefly overcome his programming long enough to knock Pierce out the window, where he proceeds to climb on top of the ship and execute Carol Danvers for failing to kill Weapon X or Gateway. As Pierce turns on Gateway, Weapon X is forced to extend the claws from his missing hand to kill Pierce & save Gateway, who then uses his bullroarer to open a massive portal, allowing the armada to travel directly to Apocalypse.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue reveals that, while Weapon X may have lost his hand, the claws that were extended through that hand remain, having resided within his forearm since then, as he pops them through his stump this issue. On the one hand this is a cool reveal; on the other, it's hard to believe this is the first fight Weapon X has been in since he lost the hand where he was so outmatched that he had to resort to popping his second set of claws (and, I guess we have to assume that the claws were retracted when Cyclops blew off his hand, somehow severing his adamantium wrist bones).
Brian Braddock is revealed to be a traitor in this issue, something that had been mildly hinted at in previous issues, on account of a cerebral implant he received from Apocalypse's forces, but he manages to overcome the implant to fight back in the end.
Gateway was apparently taken out of the Outback by some Berkley scientists, accounting for his more erudite nature in this reality (though it’s unclear why there’d be Berkley scientists doing work like that while Apocalypse is ravaging the country).
A Work in Progress
Mikhail is referred to as the “missing” Horseman, as Rex provides a status on events in Europe, including X-Universe.
Apocalypse, to his credit, is less concerned with the threat of the armada, if it attacks, it will merely serve as another avenue to test the strong and cull the weak.
Carol Danvers briefly returns as an altered human cyborg before being killed by Pierce as she fights her programming.
Chekhov's Nuclear Armada finally launches in this issue, to make its contribution to the "Age of Apocalypse" endgame in X-Men: Omega. On the way there, this issue features much of the same from previous ones: more Weapon X fighting slobbering cyborgs (particularly Pierce) and getting beat-up in the process before battling back, with this issue gaining a little added oomph from the admittedly-cool but also kind-of-nonsensical reveal that Weapon X still has the claws that were once attached to his missing hand. But the relative repetition of micro-plots (Weapon X fights cyborgs!) in this series highlight the problem with it: it's all very much the same, both in terms of issue-to-issue happenings, but also in terms of the difference between Weapon X and Wolverine.
Strip out the AoA settings, and really, the only difference between Weapon X and the prime Wolverine (aside from cosmetics, like the missing hand) is that this version of the character has, at least at the start, an long-standing relationship with Jean Grey (something the prime Wolverine has long pined for but never achieved). But that aside (and, notably, Jean leaves Weapon X in issue #2 of this series), the characters are essentially the same, more willing to cross moral lines and kill than their peers, both possessing an indomitable will that pulls them back from the brink of defeat, even in the face of painful injury, both presenting a tough exterior that protects a fierce devotion to those they care about. As with much in "Age of Apocalypse", everything here is dialed up to the Nth degree (this Wolverine is willing to rationalize the nuclear annihilation of an entire continent), but cosmetic trappings aside, Weapon X isn't terrible different from what Hama had been doing in Wolverine. Which is by no means bad (Hama's scripting remains on point and Adam Kubert - who, to his credit, turns in all four issues of the series - seems to be having a blast with the new setting, cutting loose and presenting even bigger, bolder art), but it does pale in comparison somewhat to the kinds of things being done elsewhere in the event.
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