Wolverine and Maverick have a classic trick they taught each other years ago in the Weapon X Program, and it’s still useful today.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Wolverine #9 by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, Frank Martin & VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now

As members of Team X, Wolverine and Maverick both had to suffer years of violent missions and constant mind-wipes, turning the two men into nothing more than weapons. But it turns out that the pair were at least somewhat aware of what was happening to them, and actually worked out a means to deal with it.

During their attempted escape from the Legacy House in Wolverine #9, Wolverine and Maverick are revealed to have developed a trust-based mnemonic device that helped them both during their time on Team X.

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Wolverine and Maverick met each other and worked together during their time on Team X, a secretive paramilitary force for the United States Government. Together, they developed a deep respect for each other if not an outright friendship, as they saw each other as trapped in the same cycle of violence as themselves. Wolverine #9 even reveals that the pair eventually formed a strong bond partly through being each other’s anchors. They refused to let themselves become remorseless and brutal like their fellow teammate Sabertooth, and instead focused on retaining some semblance of their humanity. They even developed a mnemonic device using a quote from The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi to help them remember their pact, even after every mind-wipe.

This turns out to be a useful device for the pair even years later when Wolverine is hunting down Maverick in the present-day. On orders from Krakoa to help bring in Maverick so as to help soothe over any potential international conflict the mutant mercenary just caused, Logan, heads to the Legacy House in Madripoor. Disguised as Patch, the mutant hero discovers a major auction of various relics and gadgets from across the history of the Marvel Universe. The ultimate prize is Maverick himself, who is revealed to have been captured by the Legacy House and given another complete mind-wipe. While this hasn’t dulled his abilities in the slightest, it has left him essentially an empty vessel that could be used by any interested buyers, as he is capable of passing through Krakoan Gates.

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Wolverine does his best to reach Maverick and help free him — only for the auction-house seller to hold Logan at bay with the Magnetic Man’s gloves. He initially intends to mind-wipe Wolverine as well, turning him into another agent of chaos to sell to the highest bidder. But Wolverine takes the chance to try and force Maverick to recall the mnemonic device they’d used in the past — and it even seems to work for a moment. Maverick quickly draws his gun and takes the auction-house seller hostage, revealing that he doesn’t have any memory of Wolverine but he’s willing to work together to escape from their current predicament.

It’s a surprisingly sweet moment between the two professional killers, especially given their history. Wolverine’s erased memory haunted him for years, so it’s nice to know that even during those dark days Logan had someone he could turn to for help — even if he didn’t realize how close they really were. This could also further set up Maverick to work with Wolverine and the rest of Krakoa after they escape the Legacy House, potentially giving Beast and X-Force the kind of black ops team that the former has been wanting to recruit. It’s also a useful tool for the pair to remember, giving them essentially a code-phrase to help contend with any future mental tampering done to them.

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