Meet the Creations of the Weapon Plus Program
You already know about the secret histories of Wolverine and Captain America – discover more about the deadly creations of Weapon Plus…
When Weapon X made its debut during Wolverine’s first origin story, it was believed that was the name of the program that gave Logan his adamantium claws. But in Grant Morrison’s NEW X-MEN run, fans discovered that Weapon X was just the tip of the iceberg. The Weapon Plus program has been around since the ‘40s, and the first “Weapon” was none other than Steve Rogers aka Captain America.
Who else has been the product of these scientific masterminds? Read on to find out!
Weapon I/Captain America
During World War II, Project Rebirth led to the creation of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes: Captain America. But after Dr. Abraham Erskine was murdered and Steve Rogers became an icon, the program experimented on African-American soldiers. TRUTH: RED, WHITE & BLACK told the story of Isaiah Bradley, one of the few survivors of those experiments, who also became a super soldier.
Would you believe that the next Weapon was a squirrel? Weapon II research focused on animals. But as revealed in HOWARD THE DUCK #1, at least one squirrel was given Wolverine-style claws, a healing factor, and enhanced intelligence.
Weapon III/Skinless Man
During the Cold War, the Weapon Plus program had another success with Harry Pizer, a mutant with elastic and multi-sensory skin that made him an ideal spy. However, Pizer was betrayed by Weapon Plus and his skin was claimed by Fantomex, who used it to create sentient bullets.
Pizer resurfaced as the Skinless Man in UNCANNY X-FORCE #21, and he joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants while getting his revenge on Fantomex.
Sgt. Frank Simpson was the only survivor of Project Homegrown, a Vietnam War-era Weapon Plus program. Simpson was given armored implants under his skin and took on the codename Nuke. Simpson nearly killed Matt Murdock in his first appearance in DAREDEVIL #232, which was during the classic “Born Again” storyline.
Nuke’s ties to Weapon Plus weren’t revealed until the first four issues of WOLVERINE: ORIGINS. Apparently, Logan even kidnapped Simpson as a child to prepare him for the program.
Although Logan is the most famous “graduate” of Weapon X, he wasn’t the only one. The CIA and Canada created a joint offshoot of Weapon Plus that was run by Professor Truett Thorton. Weapon X primarily experimented on mutants and used brainwashing techniques and psychic implants to make them ruthless killers.
Calling Weapon XII “Huntsman” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not really a man at all. In NEW X-MEN #128, Weapon XII was revealed as the artificially-created Zone Cluster-6. It could possess its enemies within its hive mind. As Fantomex said, Weapon XII essentially turned its enemies into a part of itself.
Aside from Wolverine and Captain America, Fantomex is perhaps the most successful escapee from the Weapon Plus program. As Charlie Cluster-7, Fantomex was created to kill mutants. However, in NEW X-MEN #128, Charlie debuted his Fantomex persona and posed as a master thief. He rebelled against his masters and played a vital role in taking down Weapon XII. Fantomex went on to join X-Force, and he was even among the X-Men when they fought the Shadow King.
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Weapon XIV/The Stepford Cuckoos
On the surface, Sophie, Phoebe, Mindee, Celeste, and Esme Cuckoo seem like odd choices to be Weapon XIV. When they debuted in NEW X-MEN #118, they were Emma Frost’s prized students. The quintuplet sisters had a group mind and telepathic powers that rivaled their mentor’s.
This was not a coincidence. In PHOENIX: WARSONG, it was revealed that the three surviving sisters were created from Frost’s stolen DNA and that they were designed to entrap the Phoenix Force in a bid to eliminate every mutant in the world.
In NEW X-MEN #143, Ultimaton debuted as the next evolution in the Weapon Plus program. He was in many ways, the perfect killer. But his creators did perhaps too good of a job when making him. Ultimaton actually questioned his purpose when he was sent against Wolverine, Cyclops, and Fantomex. Ultimaton was subsequently destroyed in an explosion, but Fantomex rebuilt a version of him within the artificial space known as the World.
DARK REIGN: THE LIST - WOLVERINE #1 unveiled perhaps the most bizarre Weapon to date: Allgod. It was a “living religion” that could make anyone who believed in a religion worship it as their new god. However, it had a rather telling weakness: it didn’t work on atheists.
Weapon H/Clayton Cortez
One of the more recent creations of Weapon X, Clayton Cortez was infused with DNA from the Hulk (Amadeus Cho) and Wolverine to become a fearsome killer. However, Clayton retained enough of his personality to rebel against his masters. He’s gone on to reclaim his identity and headline the WEAPON H series.
Considering its global reach, it’s not unheard of to believe that there are even more Weapon Plus secrets to be revealed. Is any character in the Marvel Universe truly safe from its power and plots?
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