Uncanny X-Men (1963) - #162
"Beyond the Farthest Star"
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David Emmett 'Dave' Cockrum
Tom Orzechowski - 'Tom Orz'
David Emmett 'Dave' Cockrum
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Cover Date: October 1982
Cover Price: US $ 0.60
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
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Letters Column: X-Mail
Wolverine is running through an alien jungle landscape, and he knows that he's dying. He gets ambushed by a plant-creature which blasts him with hallucinogenic pollen and falls into a daydream.
In the dream he is riding with Mariko Yashida - they share a tender moment, but then Wolverine notices large birds coming towards them, and on instinct tries to send her riding away. She gets blasted anyway by some sort of ray and disintegrates!
This and some banter by the Brood hunters snaps Wolverine back to reality. He dives down into the underbrush to evade them, and when that fails he takes the fight to the closest one. The others come quickly, but Wolverine is better even than Brood warriors - until he makes a misstep and plummets down through the canopy. He hits a gigantic web hard, and passes out.
Dawn finds Wolverine still in the web, but finally with a clear view of where he is. He sees a humongous corpse, resembling one of the Brood's living starships, but unbelievably huge, its ribs reaching above the breathable atmosphere of the planet. Its partially decayed, the natural decomposer's unable to degrade anything that big quickly. Its corpse is being used by the brood as the structure for a city, with gleaming transparent domes dotted along the opened rib-cage.
Wolverine then hears creatures coming to investigate the web, and starts to try and free himself - but he feels a sharp pain in his head and falls into a flashback of how he got there. He's on the Shi'ar starship Z'reee Shar, and he recounts the banquet and ambush. When he recovers consciousness, he sees Brood all around him, and tries to alert the others, but they don't seem to notice. Suddenly, he's seeing Shi'ar and a banquet instead of Brood. His senses and his intellect conflict over which is reality. Wolverine keeps flipping back and forth between the different versions, and then the main ceremony of the Shi'ar banquet begins. The X-Men each go up in turn to receive something from an incredibly tall Shi'ar woman. Each of the X-Men receive a hug from her, until its Kitty's turn, and she suddenly reacts in horror! But Wolverine can't seem to act, and then its his turn, and just before its all over, he realizes that 'tall Shi'ar' is actually the Brood Queen!
Wolverine awakes from the flashback in time to fend off scavengers moving in on him. He escapes as the scavengers turn on the ones Wolverine has weakened or killed, and he climbs up onto a large branch. None of the combats he has fought have done much damage, but he's weak, worn out. He puts his head back and waits to die.
He has yet one more flashback. Its last night. He awakes in what appears to be a room on the Shi'ar home world but looking out the window confirms he's somewhere else. He creeps out of his room to find Storm, and tries to clue her in, but she dismisses his worries out of hand. He 'nerve pinches' her, knocking her unconscious, so she doesn't alert their captors. Deciding he's on his own, he makes only one stop before escaping. He wants to take Kitty with him, but decides she's better off where she is - and gives her a kiss on the forehead goodbye. He promises himself he'll get her out of there safe, but his mind is seeing him popping his claws through her chest as the light fades from her eyes. He shakes away the disturbing image and leaves.
While leaving, Wolverine stumbles upon Fang (one of the renegade Imperial Guard) begging for his life. Suddenly he begins to transform, and the Brood disclose he was implanted with a Brood embryo, an embryo that is now hatching! He transforms into a Brood warrior, and Wolverine cries out in anguish - he realizes he and all the X-Men have also been implanted! The Brood warriors hear his cry, and the chase is on.
Wolverine comes to on the tree branch. He sees a lone Brood patrolling the area and ambushes him, ultimately forcing the brood to carry him back to the brood city. Wolverine has decided to go down fighting. However, he has another attack, and the brood takes advantage of this to drop him amongst other warriors. The fight is on, but Wolverine is the best he is at what he does. The fight over, Wolverine's implanted embryo starts to hatch. He fights - it can't remold his adamantium skeleton, and he uses that as an anchor. They both scream.
Sunrise comes again. Wolverine wakes up - his healing factor has helped defeat the embryo. Its dead. Wolverine summons up his resolve - he can't save his friends the way he saved himself - if need be he'll kill them to stop this horror. And then, its the Broods turn.
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