The Weapon Plus program has created its next superhuman killer. Now it’s time for Wolverine to go head-to-head against the terrifying Man-Slaughters!
Warning: this article contains spoilers for X-Force #21!
The Weapon Plus program has unleashed its next weapon against Wolverine and the X-Men – the Man-Slaughter. The Weapon X program is one of the most (in)famous super-soldier experiments in comic book history, responsible for coating Wolverine’s skeleton in adamantium. But the “X” has nothing to do with the X-Men or the X-Gene; it merely indicates this was the tenth super-soldier experiment conducted by the Weapon Plus program.
The Weapon Plus program kicked off during the First World War, and it was actually responsible for the creation of Captain America – he was Weapon I. Decades later, the Weapon VII experiments were conducted during the Vietnam War, and most of their test subjects died – with the exception of Nuke, a brutal terrorist who still plagues the Marvel Universe today. Beyond Wolverine and Weapon X, there is Weapon XIII – the assassin Fantomex – and the Stepford Cuckoos, who are the last survivors of Weapon XIV. The scientists of the Weapon Plus program are always hard at work creating the next nightmare killer, whether it be psychic predator, clawed super-soldier or plant-based assassin.
X-Force #21 – from Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara and Robert Gill – introduces the next Weapon Plus creation (as yet unnumbered.) The revamped organization is creating beings the X-Men are calling “Man-Slaughters,” human beings who have been implanted with genetically edited samples of Man-Thing DNA in order to transform them into creatures more plant than man. Some of these Man-Slaughters are mindless, while others gradually regain their human intelligence. Even worse, the Man-Slaughters are being created for a purpose – to kill mutants.
Beast believes the Man-Slaughters are a creation akin to the telefloronic monsters of Terra Verde, which he feared could evolve into bio-Sentinels equivalent to the Nimrods, androids that have rendered the mutant race extinct in every iteration of Marvel’s current timeline. If that is the case, then Weapon Plus’ latest experiments may well be successful, leading to the emergence of a threat that could consume the entire mutant race. That’s certainly the intent of XENO – a deadly but secretive organization of human extremists working in the shadows to develop weapons effective against mutants. Whether the Man-Slaughters are deadly, mindless monsters or the precursors to a new, mutant-ending race of beings, X-Force need to shut this down fast.
No doubt matters will be complicated because of Wolverine’s history with the Weapon Plus project; he’s going in with a grudge to settle, and he’s also likely to feel a strong sense of empathy with their various test subjects. While that may be justified in some cases, in others the human mind has essentially died out, meaning these are plant-based killing machines and he will need to take them down with extreme prejudice. X-Force are facing an enemy Wolverine may not be willing to stop, but even if Logan commits to the battle ahead, there’s no guarantee he can win – after all, as far as Weapon Plus is concerned, he’s an outdated model.
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