The Weapon X program has always played a big part in the Marvel Universe. It is the name of a secret project that intended to deliberately induce superpowers for military purposes. Weapon X was the 10th installment of the Weapon Plus program. The mechanism was genetic engineering, creating mutations in normal humans and enhancing existing mutations. However, those enhanced mutations often led to terrible side effects. The original Weapon X program started in the '60s, by Professor Thorton, sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency to recruit skilled intelligence operatives into their first squad named Team X. Members of Team X, including Wolverine, Sabretooth, and others, received memory implants via low-quality stage scenarios. After 1968, the Weapon X program continued to operate under the cover of something being used for the betterment of the world.
In the '70s, Department K came around, finding a way to duplicate Logan’s healing factor. One of their first subjects was Wade Wilson, who would become Deadpool. Department K then formed an early installment of Weapon P.R.I.M.E. When Deadpool escaped from the Hospice en masse with other mutants, the Canadian branch of Weapon X was shut down. Eventually, Malcolm Colcord, the former head of security of Experiment X (the iteration after Department K), became the new mysterious, ambitious Director of the Weapon X program. In all, the Weapon X program has created some fascinating mutants -- and some that never really did anything spectacular, but were mainly fodder for the more prominent members. Here are 10 of Weapon X’s biggest failures, and 10 of their greatest successes.
20 SUCCESS: WOLVERINE
James Howlett is the most famous Weapon X test subject, and one of the primary leaders of the X-Men, despite his brooding rage. He was placed on a Black Ops squad run by the CIA, called Team X, received memory implants via staged scenarios, and his healing factor was duplicated and implanted into the team, slowing their aging process.
He was the first to be implanted with an adamantium skeleton via the Weapon X program and he’s taken on some of the toughest mutants in the Marvel Universe, and has a history that would take days to explain. Overall, as one of the original Weapon X subjects, he is also one of the most successful, despite consistently working against the very group that made him.
19 FAILURE: SAURON
Karl Lykos was bitten by a pteranodon, a flying reptile from the age of dinosaurs when genetic structure was altered and he was turned into Sauron. He ended up in the Weapon X program and had experiments run on him which didn’t go well, making him initially less intelligent and prone to berserk rages, and without the ability to use his hypnotic powers.
He succeeded in capturing and recruiting the mutant Jack for the Weapon X program. He served the program for months, then escaped and began finding victims, preying on innocents to feed his hunger for the life forces of others. He then joined Cable to try and overthrow the Weapon X program, but was defeated and had his memories erased regarding anything he saw and learned about the program.
18 SUCCESS: MAVERICK/AGENT ZERO
Christoph Nord was originally a freedom fighter against the communist regime of West Germany. As a mercenary, he accepted an offer to join the CIA’s Weapon X program, changed his name to David North, and took the codename Maverick. Maverick was able to take out Weapon X scientist Doctor Cornelius, and help the X-Men stop the Russian super-soldier Omega Red from obtaining a device that would stabilize his mutant power.
Maverick became allies with Wolverine in hunting down Sabretooth for his numerous crimes, and when he contracted the Legacy Virus, which later went into remission. Maverick was later genetically modified to become Agent Zero, who was ordered to assassinate Wolverine by Weapon X’s Director, but he purposely failed the assassination, knowing he couldn’t end an old friend.
17 FAILURE: WASHOUT
John Lopez has the mutant ability to generate spurts of water from his body. When he wasn’t recruited into the X-Force team, he joined Weapon X via Malcolm Concord. As Washout, the Weapon X process enhanced his ability to the point where he could transform his body into water, project high pressure jets of water from his arms, and shape water into any form.
The process had severe side effects and his powers gradually began to dehydrate him. He joined Weapon X agent Brent Jackson in a coup against the Director of Weapon X and he almost took out the Director by causing the water within his body to boil, but the side effects of his powers caused Washout to die before he could finish off the Director.
16 SUCCESS: GARRISON KANE
Garrison Kane was a former member of Cable’s mercenary team, Six Pack. He was the youngest, most immature member, but was great on the battlefield. He eventually lost his arms and legs in a battle. Along with Wade Wilson, Kane joined the second Weapon X program under Canada’s Department K, and was “fixed,” transforming him into a cyborg with cybernetic arms grafted in place of his real ones.
He formed a team called Weapon P.R.I.M.E. with the goal to apprehend Cable (who had abandoned him in the battle where he lost his limbs) and X-Force. He was sent to Cable’s future timeline and his limbs were further upgraded to liquid metal, with new weaponry. He eventually rejoined Six Pack, and even came even in blows against Wolverine and Alpha Flight.
15 FAILURE: MESMERO
Vincent, or Mesmero, used his mesmerizing abilities to make Polaris believe she was Magneto’s daughter. The X-Men foiled his plans, beginning a long cycle of Mesmero attempting to do something criminal and being stopped by an X-Team. He lost his powers on M-Day and became a “normal” person, though his powers later returned through unknown means.
With his increased powers from Weapon X, he could control crowds with a glance. He had rebels turn their guns on themselves, and hypnotized an entire country over television. However, his powers were based on his confidence, and when his mother passed away and he was unable to stop it, he lost the ability to control others.
14 SUCCESS: SILVER FOX
Silver Fox, a Black Foot Native American, formed a relationship with Logan when he was accepted into the tribe. After she was taken away by Sabretooth, Logan was distraught, but Silver Fox resurfaced in the '60s and joined the Weapon X program. She was implanted with false memories and betrayed Team X, joined the Cuban revolutionaries after President Kennedy’s assassination, and Weapon X completely lost her tracks.
She eventually joined Hydra and became one of the organization’s leaders -- monitoring and following Logan’s activities over the years, searching for vengeance. She took out The Professor, the man in charge of Weapon X. When she was eventually taken out (again) by a mind-controlled Sabretooth, she had become one of Weapon X’s most successful experiments.
13 FAILURE: SLAYBACK
Gregory Terraerton, or Slayback, was ended by Deadpool some time in the past. Years later, he returned and used stolen Weapon X files on Kane and Deadpool to apprehend Copycat, in order to use her as bait to find and take out Deadpool. He was then seemingly ended by Zero, an A.D.A.M. unit, but he returned again and hired himself out to a group of scientists wanting to use Deadpool’s healing factor as a possible cure to the Legacy Virus.
He carved on Wade’s chest during the experiments. He was later taken out by Sharp after test subjects from the Weapon X program escaped. He mysteriously came back alive to fight Deadpool again. No matter how many times this guy came back, he seemingly always failed to defeat The Merc With a Mouth.
12 SUCCESS: NATIVE
Native was captured by the Weapon X program and worked on to give her the codename “Feral.” She escaped with Wolverine from the organization, and the two became lovers living in a cabin on the hills of British Columbia. Sabretooth was hired to take her out, but Native incapacitated Creed and ended the two agents accompanying him.
She took out various snipers over the years and kept personal articles from them, which she kept in her cave. Native eventually fought an amnesic Wolverine, both of them holding nothing back, and it led to a romantic interlude back in her cave. She had the same healing abilities as Wolverine, was one of the original Weapon X test subjects, and was very powerful.
11 FAILURE: WILDSIDE
Richard Gill, or Wildside, was one of the founding members of the Mutant Liberation Front (MLF). He was eventually captured by Weapon X, and placed in a mutant camp. He joined the Program in exchange for his life, with his mission being to heighten anti-mutant sentiments.
Wildside’s upgrades included techno-organic claws which could be extended from his fingertips, and mental conditioning. He was dispatched alongside Reaper to take care of Cable, but the two were easily defeated. Cable attempted to do a telepathic probe to figure out more about Weapon X, but the Program had installed mental firewalls in Reaper and Wildside, and Cable’s efforts caused them both to become brain dead.
10 SUCCESS: SABRETOOTH
Victor Creed, or Sabretooth, is one of the most well-known and strongest Weapon X test subjects. He is Wolverine’s archnemesis, often tricking the “runt” into doing stupid things, and sometimes beating him in combat. He also partook in missions alongside Wolverine and Team X, and he was later forced to join Weapon X program teammates to figure out why their age-suppression was wearing off.
They infiltrated the base, learned the truth about their memories, and while being driven mad by Psi-Borg, Sabretooth turned on Silver Fox. The implanted memory of Silver Fox’s demise at the hands of Sabretooth haunted Logan for years. He was later re-implanted with adamantium bones by the revamped Weapon X program, then used Weapon X files against the organization and took out new recruits of the program.
9 FAILURE: CYBER
Silas Burr, or Cyber, was set to take out but Sabretooth saved him. As part of the Canadian Army unit’s Devil’s Brigade, he became Logan/Wolverine’s brutal drill instructor. He took a woman named Janet, whom Wolverine was interested in romantically, to further dehumanize Logan.
Wolverine attacked him, and Cyber effortlessly injured him during the fight. This resulted in Logan’s most severe beating, which resulted in psychological effects and a deep-seated fear of Cyber for decades. However, later, he was beat up by Logan’s son, Daken. Then he was implanted with adamantium. He eventually clashed with Wolverine and lost badly, losing an eye and falling into a hallucinogenic drug that drove him mad.
8 SUCCESS: WEAPON H
Clayton, an ex-military Eaglestar contractor, was captured by Dr. Alba, the head of Weapon X’s Batch-H division. The division’s purpose was the creation of Hulk/Wolverine hybrid and H-Alpha was different than other subjects. He wasn’t recruited by Director Stryker, and wasn’t a “true believer” of the cause. More of his brain was also left intact than other subjects, with the intention of better training and disciplining.
H-Alpha was released at the same time as H-Beta, and as an apex predator he beheaded H-Beta. He turned on his creators, but the Hulk held him back. He escaped, later trying to hide as a Spanish worker hiding in the forest. He was compelled to help an archaeological dig, and he stopped the newly-created Ur-Wendigo beast. With the Hulk and Wolverine’s powers, H-Alpha is perhaps the strongest mutant Weapon X ever created.
7 FAILURE: WILD CHILD
Wild Child, or Kyle Gibney, emerged as a freakish looking mutant early in life. He joined the subversive organization, the Secret Empire, and was experimented upon in their attempts to create a weapon. He was injected with DNA from the assassin Wyre, making him near-mindless, animalistic, and uncontrollable.
Under Weapon X’s experimentation, Wild Child was found to have been twisted so many times, he no longer had his own identity. He only needed minimal suggestions to follow orders like an animal or machine. He eventually became the Head of Security of Weapon X after Cable’s failed insurrection. He was eventually take out by Omega Red, after aiding Omega Red against Wolverine.
6 SUCCESS: X-23
X-23, or Laura Kinney, was a female clone of Wolverine, created after Weapon X experimenters were unable to find a subject capable of withstanding the adamantium bonding process. X-23 was trained as a weapon, raised in captivity. She was subjected to radiation poisoning at the age of seven to accelerate the activation of her mutant gene.
She was treated with a chemical compound called “trigger scent,” which causes her to end anything in her path. She’s survived against numerous odds many times, has been sent on countless field missions, and is one of the most powerful subjects resulting from the Weapon X program.
5 FAILURE: JACK-IN-THE-BOX
With a name like Jack-in-the-Box, it’s no wonder Jack Mead makes the worse half of this list. An Australian aboriginal, his mutant powers include telepathy and radar sense, allowing him to scan surrounding areas. However, his powers side effects make his body become petrified and brittle every time he uses them. Jack joined Weapon X, thinking they were a superhero team that could fix his mutant side effect.
He was torn apart by Sauron after making an ill-conceived joke about the Director and Sauron, but the pieces of him survived and Jack was put in a box. He was brought to the Weapon X compound, and using his powers discovered the Director’s plan for him. He was utilized by Wewapon X as a mind-reader during the admissions process for captured mutants, in the “Neverland” concentration camp, but other than that was rather insignificant.
4 SUCCESS: DEADPOOL
The Merc With a Mouth, Wade Wilson, is one of the most endeared, favorite Weapon X test subjects. His cancer was temporarily arrested via implementation of a healing factor by the Weapon X program, derived from another Department K agent, Wolverine. He became an active covert operative with Sluggo, Kane, and Slayback.
His healing factor began to destabilize, bringing his cancer back from remission and causing deformities in his flesh. Wilson was subjected to various experiments under Ajax, who placed him in a “deadpool” to see how long each subject would live. Wilson has had a romantic relationship with the cosmic entity Death, has defeated some of the strongest mutants around, and ultimately is one of Weapon X’s most accomplished experiments.
3 FAILURE: S.H.I.V.A.
S.H.I.V.A. was the Weapon X program’s fail-safe against discovery. Agents traditionally had their memories altered or wiped before placing them into society, but if Program security was ever compromised, S.H.I.V.A. was activated to eliminate the Program’s subjects, to ensure Weapon X’s anonymity. Wolverine once accidentally activated the S.H.I.V.A. program, and the robot made several attempts on test subject’s lives.
Years later, the android was reactivated when Wolverine began further researching his origins. During the fight, Wolverine sliced S.H.I.V.A. in half with a single blow from the Muramasa Blade. It was sliced on the molecular level, not “cut,” and destroyed. Despite being one of the strongest things Weapon X has ever made, S.H.I.V.A.’s history is filled with unfulfilled expectations.
2 SUCCESS: ROMULUS
Romulus was born in prehistoric times as a Lupine, a tribe of feral humans that possibly evolved from canines, rather than apes. He ruled as Emperor during the time of the Roman Empire. He’s also manipulated people from Wolverine’s bloodline for centuries, and he planned to make Wolverine’s son, Daken, into the next-generation Weapon X. T
his was achieved by the Tinkerer, who bonded metal from the Muramasa Blade into Daken’s inner claws. The original Weapon X program began in the '60s by Professor Thorton, under Romulus’ influence. He was the first “subject,” and the first to recruit skilled operatives: Logan, Victor Creed, Silver Fox, David North (Maverick), John Wraith (Kestrel), and Mastodon.
1 FAILURE: COPYCAT
Copycat, or Vanessa Carlyse, is a shapeshifting mutant, who met a young mercenary named Wade Wilson and fell in love with him. Vanessa became the mercenary Copycat, impersonating Domino to spy on Cable. She sought revenge on Deadpool for breaking her heart, and impersonated the super-strong Titania to gain Deadpool’s trust.
She joined the Weapon X program alongside Kane, and was sent to recruit Deadpool into the program. Her power enhancement affected her memory, though, and she lost track of her mission. Instead, she seduced Deadpool, often taking the form of other women to surprise him. She was eventually mortally wounded by another Weapon X agent, Sabretooth, and passed away in Deadpool’s arms.