Appearing in "Midnight Train to Moscow"
Synopsis for "Midnight Train to Moscow"
High over Russian airspace, Ben Grimm, Logan, and Carol Danvers spy mission into the country has already been compromised and they are being dogged by members of the Russian Secret Service led by Natalia Shostikova. Logan and Grimm have just finished a brawl after Logan accused Ben of being a traitor. Realising this is not the case the two men answer Carol's demands to take evasive action promising to settle their issues later. They manage to evade the missiles fired on them, a warning shot by Shostikova and her troops who order them to land or be blown out of the sky. The three spies refuse and when they try to fire back they soon discover that the ship they are flying is unarmed and Logan suspects that they were set up. Carol tells him that the ship was intentionally unarmed because of tensions between the United States and Russia. When Logan suggest they bail out, Carol informs them that the ejection seats and parachutes were disabled as capture was not an option. With no other option, Ben decides he is going to take them down at the nearest landing site he can find. As he swoops down below he almost crashes their plane into one of the ultra-low frequency transmitters that they were sent to investigate.
As soon as they have landed their experimental spy plane they try to out run a convoy of Spetsnaz troops under the command of Colonel Malenky that are pursuing them. With no place left to run, Carol sets the plane to self destruct and orders Ben and Logan to cover her while she runs for the nearby forest so she can destroy the black boxes with thermite grenades as they will be impervious to any other type of explosion. Outside, Shostakova has landed her jet and joins Malenky and his troops out front of the American plane. Malenky tells Natalia to stay out of his way as these invaders are under his jurisdiction. As the Spetsnaz soldiers approach the spy plane, Logan and Grimm come jumping out with guns blazing. They provide the cover fire that Carol needs to make a clean getaway with the black boxes. When the two men run out of ammunition they still refuse to surrender and lay into the approaching soldiers with their fists. While the Russian soldiers subdue Logan and Grimm, Malenky orders men after Danvers. Natalia points out that she will not be able to survive the wilderness alone and that he has forgotten about the American plane. Going into the spy plane with Malenky in tow, and just barely manage to shut down the self-destruct sequence thanks to Natalia's experience.
At that moment in the woods Carol is making good distance and just when she is far enough away to destroy the black boxes she realises she has bigger problems when she becomes aware of a pack of wolves surrounding her position. With the spy plane disarmed and Logan and Grimm captured, Malenky demands to know how Shostakova was able to disarm the device. She refuses to tell him because he doesn't have the proper security clearance. Furious, Malenky orders his men to load Logan and Ben into a prisoner train heading to Moscow where they will be interrogated. Back in the woods, Carol manages to kill one of the wolves that lunges at her. When the other starving wolves begin feasting on their fallen brother, Carol is able to make a clean break from the scavengers. Later inside one of the ultra-low frequency transmitting towers, Malenky explains that they are being used to oscillate a rare metal for a project called Red Storm, which is at a crucial stage. This leads the Colonel to wonder if the American's arrival here is a precursor to a raid to steal Red Storm from them. When he impresses her of the potential harm to Russia if the Americans get Red Storm, Natalia tells him that is none of her concern.
Not far away, Logan and Ben are being loaded up into a train car to be sent off to Moscow for interrogation. Colonel Malenky also informs his troops that they will be carrying a strongbox containing the sample of Red Storm to be taken into Moscow for safe keeping. This is overheard by Logan, whose mission it is to steal Red Storm and return it to the United States. As the train car begins to roll, Logan comes up with a distraction by starting another brawl with Grimm for the amusement of the other prisoners. Soon the one-on-one fight turns into an all out brawl inside the prisoner car. When Russian soldiers come to quiet the prisoners, Ben and Logan nab them and take their guns. Back at the site of their capture, Carol spots an observation plane and decides to steal it in order to escape the area. Meanwhile on top of the speeding train, Logan explains to Ben that he needs to recover something before they bail out of the train. As Carol secures the observation plane, Logan and Ben storm the train engine and knock out the troops and take Red Storm. Getting it back on to of the train, Ben points out that they have no way of getting it off the train when they suddenly spot Carol flying by. When Carol spots them on top of the train she swoops down so they recognise her as the pilot before swinging back to pick them up.
Back in the United States at Nellis Air Force Base, Nick Fury is just learning about the real purpose that Logan was being sent on this mission. He is furious to learn that this was kept from him and also hearing the reports that the plane has also been captured. When he demands answers he is hung up on. When Fury tells this to Tony Stark, Stark tells him that the Department of Defence also told him that they are cancelling their contract on the experimental plane he was developing for them. Stark also tells him that the ultra-high frequency project was nothing more than junk science with no practical application. This angers Fury even more and suspects that the three people he sent on this mission won't like the fact that they had been manipulated from the start anymore than he does.
- Logan, Ben Grimm and Carol Danvers - trapped behind enemy lines and hunted by the Black Widow!
- There are a number of facts stated here that should be considered topical references as they would prematurely age the characters due to the Sliding Timescale. While characters such as Logan, Nick Fury, and the Black Widow age slowly, Ben Grimm, Tony Stark, and Carol Danvers do not. As such, any story about these characters prior to the Modern Age must therefore push forward along with the Modern Age per the Sliding Timescale. These facts are:
- The "experimental plane" that Ben Grimm is flying is identified as a Northrop YB-49. That plane was designed after the end of World War II. It did not make it past the test flight stage in 1947.
- Likewise should references to Natasha being a member of the KGB. Firstly, if Ben were flying the YB-49 the KGB did not exist at the time as they were not formed until 1954. More over this would have to be considered a topical reference as the KGB disbanded in 1991. As of 2016 the Modern Age of Heroes does not begin until the early 2000s (and continues moving forward), as such Ben's time as a test pilot would have occurred AFTER the dissolution of the KGB.
- Likewise are references to the Cold War and Russia being referred to as the Soviet Union as the Cold War and the Union both crumbled in 1991 as well.
- The Black Widow is referred to as Natalia Shostakova because at the time of this story she was still married to Alexi Shostakov (who was revealed to be her husband in Avengers #43). Per Black Widow: Deadly Origin #4 this was all part of Natasha's conditioning to be an agent of the Russian government.
- Logan and the Black Widow do not recognise each other here, despite meeting as early as 1920s. As Black Widow: Deadly Origin #1–4, Natasha herself has had numerous mind wipes and implanted memories due to her training as an operative of the Red Room. Likewise Logan was subject to a series of similar treatments from his experiences in the Weapon X Project as first depicted in Marvel Comics Presents #72–84.
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