Maverick: Last Stand is a simple, two-part story totaling 14 pages that appeared as back-up stories in X-Men #s 10 and 11. These were the first Maverick solo stories, before the days when X-Men Unlimited shone a light on individual X-Men side-characters, and before they really started to test the waters with his one-shot and subsequent 12-issue series to see if he could sustain as a stand-alone character spun-off from Wolverine.
Because if the 90s were anything for the X-Men, it was a time of experimentation. Part of that experiment was to see how far they could “spin off” from the main X-Narrative and still maintain reader interest. X-Force was a spin-off of New Mutants, which was itself a spin-off of the main X-Men book. Cable was then spun out of X-Force. Domino was then attempted to be spun out of Cable, but apparently that didn’t work. X-Man successfully spun out of Cable though, so that’s successfully 4 “spins” removed from the main title. That’s a lot. When you get to that many “generations” removed, it’s hard to even call in in the same genre anymore. And it shows: X-Man is less an X-Men title than it is a Marvel Universe title that happens to star a mutant. He fits in better with Spider-Man when the two team-up than he does with the rest of the X-Men.
Maverick spun out of Wolverine-centric X-Men stories and was essentially a mercenary with ties to Wolverine’s past in general and Weapon X in specific. If that sounds familiar, it should: it could also describe Deadpool. In fact, the Maverick ongoing series started around the same time as the Deadpool ongoing series did. It was almost like Marvel was trying two approaches to the same idea: one serious, and one light- hearted and self-referencing. Clearly Deadpool won out, but we didn’t know that at the time.
Anyway, we’re waaaaaaay off track here.
In the first part of this story, Maverick fights his way through a group of mercenaries to get to a lab complex. Inside, a man named Ryking watches over a closed-circuit camera and is sad for the loss of life just to protect him, but Warhawk, whom Ryking is experimenting on, tells him not to worry. Just then Maverick bursts through the wall, saying that Major Barrington wasn’t pleased with Ryking refusing to see him, leading to a fight between Warhawk and Maverick.
In the second chapter, Maverick tries killing Warhawk but finds that his skin is made of Omnium and the bullets just bounce off him. Warhawk sends Maverick through a wall and into a secret part of the lab, where Maverick hides behind some equipment while Warhawk and Ryking search for him.
Maverick notices a nail gun and jumps to reach it. He shoots Warhawk against the wall causing the liquid fuel in his body to leak out, which kills both him and Ryking, who was pleading to Maverick to save him because he did not know what happened to the Xavier file. Maverick walks away saying how he hates his job more and more every day.
As you can see, this is a really simple story the likes of which even Marvel Comics Presents wouldn’t have published. That said, it’s not bad. They clearly just wanted to fill space in X-Men #s 10 and 11 and if that was what they sought out to do, they did it: the space was filled. The opportunity to expand Maverick’s character with elements like the Legacy Virus or a supporting cast would have to wait though.