LA LUNATICA

Publication Date: 14th Jul 2016
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Dean Clayton.
Biography

The origins of the woman known only as La Lunatica remain a mystery. She has strong ties to the Theatre of Pain, a macabre cabal of sadists and fetishist voyeurs who hide their depravity behind a veil of commerce and art. The Theatre provided their extremely rich clientele with a regular supply of pain, terror and violence, vicariously experienced for the thrill of it at the expense of the common people actually being tortured or killed. Allegedly dating back centuries, by the year 2099 the Theatre of Pain provided everything from visceral bloodsport combat to full reality emersion into the painful memories and torture sessions of their victims. [X-Men 2099 #12]

La Lunatica was reportedly living in a Mexican border town called Luego Laredo when she was recruited into the Theatre, likely as an early teen or younger just after her mutant powers manifested. [X-Men 2099 #13, X-Men 2099: Oasis] However, reports have also been made that Luna is biologically related to Brimstone Love, the Theatre's founder and grand manipulator. Why she then had to be found and recruited is a mystery. [X-Men 2099 #25] La Lunatica's mutation gave her an animalistic personality, an instinctive predator whose psychoactive touch compelled her to feed off of the mental anguish of others through physical contact. Her heightened animal side only led to a heightened drive for freedom, and she hated being contained by the Theatre. Her designated handler, Controller-13, slapped an obedience collar on Luna when she was still young. Its neural shock effect kept Luna in line, and Thirteen's dead nerves made him immune to all sensation, including Lunatica's touch. La Lunatica spent ten long years training as one of the Norns for arena combat and serving Controller-13 at his Darkroom, but she never lost her desire to be free. [X-Men 2099 #4]

When a new team of X-Men made headlines in a confrontation with the Greater Nevada Syndicate of Las Vegas, Brimstone Love ordered Thirteen to see if these mutants could provide new entertainment for the Theatre. [X-Men 2099 #3] He sent La Lunatica to corral the loner eco-terrorist Bloodhawk first. Luna easily overcame Bloodhawk and brought him back to the Darkroom. There, she and Controller-13 exploited Hawk's turmoil as a former test subject of the Theatre himself. As Lunatica's touch triggered Bloodhawk's painful memories, the Darkroom's neural-link equipment accessed his mind and recorded these memories for the depraved excitement of their clientele. Eager to experience more mutant pain, Thirteen sent Luna out for additional subjects. She located three of the X-Men (Meanstreak, Krystalin, and Timothy Fitzgerald), disabling all three of them with ease.

Back in the Darkroom, Luna and Controller-13 put Fitzgerald through their process first. The timid Timothy harbored the guilt of accidentally killing his girlfriend Reiko when his mutant power first erupted. Luna triggering these memories pushed Fitzgerald over the edge, causing his energy rechanneling ability to overload the Theatre's restraint tech and send all the energy in the Darkroom erupting out through him. The explosion freed the X-Men and also shorted out Lunatica's obedience collar, leaving her free for the first time in a decade. Controller-13 attempted to flee his collapsing Darkroom, and was prepared to kill Bloodhawk when the weakened mutant got in his way. La Lunatica stepped in and saved Bloodhawk, turning the full force of her psychic vampirism on Thirteen. In revenge, her powers were strong enough to reignite Thirteen's dead nerve endings, allowing him to experience the agonizing effects of her touch before she finally killed him. When the other X-Men arrived, Lunatica announced that she had no quarrel with them, and had only acted on behalf of the Theatre because she was forced. Fitzgerald and Bloodhawk in particular weren't that forgiving, but they had been in the middle of searching for Meanstreak's missing friend when attacked, and didn't push the fight with Lunatica any further at that moment. [X-Men 2099 #4]

Realizing the Theatre wouldn't give up on her so easily, La Lunatica began traveling from the American Southwest back down towards her old home in Mexico. When she hitched a ride with a trucker who got a little too friendly, Luna jackknifed the truck and fed off of his death agonies after the crash. His terrors informed Luna that the driver was afraid of his cargo, so she opened it up and found an anesthetized Junkpile. A former X-Man who betrayed his clan to the Syndicate, Junkpile was sold out himself to an Alchemax Bio-Shop. Feeling he might be useful, La Lunatica freed Junkpile in exchange for his promise to meet her in El Paso later. [X-Men 2099 #12]

As she made her way from truck stop to truck stop, La Lunatica confronted several Circuit-Skips sent by the Theatre to bring her back. She disabled each of the hunters, but knew time was running out. On her way, she inadvertently crossed paths with Tim Fitzgerald again. Tim's blazing anger led him to confront her in the parking lot and, after a short battle, Lunatica had the reckless live wire pinned under her. Instead of striking Fitz again, however, Luna followed her instincts and kissed him instead. Luna's touch in the Darkroom had awakened a wild side in Timothy Fitzgerald that hadn't been there before, and Lunatica was now drawn to his passion and intensity. Surprisingly, Fitzgerald began to reciprocate her affections. [X-Men 2099 #10]

The couple gave in to their animal magnetism until Xi'an Chi Xan interrupted their antics. Tim and Xi'an had broken from the X-Men to hunt down the Driver, a former operator on the Mutant Underground during the Great Purge generations ago. When she heard they were headed for El Paso, Lunatica wanted to come along. Inflamed passions aside, she thought Tim would be good protection for her against Brimstone Love and the Theatre. Xi'an couldn't care less and left the decision to Fitzgerald, who let Luna ride with him. It wasn't until the El Paso Mondoplex that La Lunatica let the other shoe drop and told Fitzgerald she expected him to work with Junkpile. [X-Men 2099 #11]

Tim hated Junkpile for killing his friend Serpentina, and his lust for Luna wasn't enough to make him forget that. Tim was prepared to leave Lunatica behind when Xi'an got a lead on the Driver's actual whereabouts, forcing Luna and Junkpile to tag along on the mission. The unlikely foursome found the Garage, a bunker in the middle of the desert where the Driver operated. Unfortunately for Lunatica, Brimstone Love found them as well. [X-Men 2099 #12]

The Driver had been manipulated into believing he was saving mutantkind by digitally housing their disassembled genetic codes in his Accelerator, ostensibly to one day be reassembled when humanity no longer hated mutants. He had hunted down and digitized over seventy mutants over the years. The Driver planned to do the same to Lunatica and her allies, but the arrival of Brimstone Love threw everyone's plan awry. Luna went nearly fetal in Brimstone's presence, so terrified was she by the Theatre's founder. During the three-way battle that followed, the Accelerator was dismantled when an injured Junkpile had a seizure that overloaded his scrapmetal telekinesis, costing the Driver his entire life's work and any chance of reviving the mutants he "saved." As the Driver fled in disgrace, Brimstone Love overpowered Fitzgerald and offered the now directionless Xi'an Chi Xan a place in the Theatre. When he accepted, Brimstone Love told Luna she had earned a stay of execution for leading him to this exciting new recruit, and teleported away. [X-Men 2099 #13]

Timothy and Lunatica made their way back to the X-Men, and Luna received a less-than-warm reception from Meanstreak and her other former victims. Fitzgerald deflected their concerns about Luna by informing the team that their former leader had joined the Theatre of Pain. In Xi'an's absence, Tim declared himself the new leader of the X-Men, and was soon accepted by Xi'an's former second-in-command, Cerebra. [X-Men 2099 #14] Some animals mate for life, a maxim at times only half-jokingly applied to La Lunatica. Luna's animal attraction to Timothy became the main motivating force in her life, and she even played at being "domesticated" in order to support his role as leader of the X-Men. Her attempts to play nice with Meanstreak weren't very productive, but it remains notable that she reached out to him in the first place. [X-Men 2099 #16]

When Xi'an returned with the Theatre of Pain and bombed the X-Men's base, [X-Men 2099 #19] La Lunatica warned the others to write him off for good. Once the Theatre got their hooks into someone, she said, their soul was forfeit. Fitzgerald reminded Luna that she escaped the Theatre, though, and the X-Men weren't willing to abandon their former mentor. Even without Xi'an, the Theatre of Pain had proven itself to be a threat to the fringers and Corporate outcasts the X-Men had always tried to protect. The animal in La Lunatica recognized the superior threat and wanted to run and hide; Timothy and the X-Men showed her that heroes don't run just because they're scared. [X-Men 2099 #22]

Despite her protests, Luna joined Tim and Cerebra when they tracked down the Floodgate Bio-Resources Center, aka the Theatre's Slaughterhouse and major base of operations in the Southwest. Their attempts at subterfuge barely got the trio past the front gate. Luna and Tim were tranq'ed and then forced to fight Felicity and the Norns, Lunatica's former "sisters" in the Theatre's slaughterpits. Luna was chained and led around inside the Theatre's passageways until she confronted Brimstone Love himself. Lunatica tried desperately to attack Brimstone, but he easily brushed her aside. As he placed the obedience collar back on her neck, Brimstone chuckled that her psychic vampirism wouldn't work against him in any case, revealing to Luna that they were family and therefore immune to each others' powers.

Still reeling from the revelation, the collared La Lunatica was set loose to hunt down her teammates, but Tim managed to snag her collar and drain it of power, freeing her again. On the main stage, the X-Men assembled against Brimstone Love and Xi'an, now called Controller-X. Xi'an turned against Brimstone Love in an attempt to overthrow the Theatre's ruler to feed his own lust for power. He failed and Brimstone Love teleported away, leaving a petulant Xi'an lashing out at his former teammates for disrupting his plans. La Lunatica couldn't take any more barbs and grabbed hold of Xi'an, subjecting him to her psychoactive touch. Xi'an's own touch disintegrated matter, and he tried to disrupt his way free of Luna's grasp. The accumulated pain and torment in Xi'an's soul, however, was strong enough to constantly reinforce Luna's strength. She resisted his disintegration long enough to force Xi'an to confront his inner demons, shocking him free of the more sadistic personality he had been operating under for months. [X-Men 2099 #23-25]

In the aftermath of the Slaughterhouse uprising, President Victor von Doom and SHIELD arrived to back up the X-Men and take down the Theatre of Pain. Doom offered the X-Men and the Slaughterhouse's victims a Mecca in the desert, dubbed Halo City, which could be a home to the outcasts and disenfranchised of society. The X-Men became the city's Protectorate, working alongside Doom's Minister of Humanity, Morphine Somers, to protect the people of Halo City from the Mega Corps and, in short order, Anthony Herod's new government that overthrew Doom's. [X-Men 2099 #26]

La Lunatica stood by Fitzgerald as he led the X-Men and the Protectorate, even after Xi'an's return. Their first major challenge after Doom's fall was the Graverobber and his cadre of Undead mutants. As part of his crusade against Cerebra's father, Zail Haddad, Graverobber had Timothy Fitzgerald captured and murdered so that he could be resurrected as one of the slave-like Undead. When Cerebra's unique mutant sensitivity detected Tim's passing, Luna refused to believe it and stormed out on the other X-Men to find her missing man on her own. [X-Men 2099 #26-27]

Luna's hunt brought her to the Graverobber's hiding place under the Spark, Halo City's power center which he intended to commandeer with Fitzgerald's help. Lunatica jumped the Graverobber and his minions but, when she expected the reanimated Fitzgerald to stand by her side, he was unable to overcome the Graverobber's control and rejected her. Luna was beaten senseless by the Undead, but luckily the other X-Men arrived as reinforcements. Morphine Somers eventually disabled the Graverobber using a neural shock charge, cutting the strings on his reanimated puppets at the same time. Although Fitzgerald returned to the dead as well, his powers miraculously sustained him, and he came back to life supercharged and more powerful than ever. [X-Men 2099 #28-29]

On their next mission, La Lunatica, Fitzgerald, and Meanstreak rescued a reclusive mutant savant named Book from Mexico. Book's data-mining skills had supposedly uncovered secrets on all of them, including proof regarding Lunatica's relationship to Brimstone Love. After getting him back to Halo City, La Lunatica attempted to speak to Book about his information, but he preferred toying with Luna while enjoying her company. Lunatica's patience for Book's games quickly ran out, but she was summoned to an emergency before she could force him to reveal what he knew. [X-Men 2099 #31-33]

The whole world fell into crisis when a Phalanx moon moved into the solar system and then Earth's orbit, radically affecting the rising tides. Halo City rapidly went from oceanside property to underwater reclamation, and the X-Men were forced to evacuate the entire city before it flooded completely. During the crisis, Luna and Fitzgerald were summoned to The Tower by an explosion, finding the flesh-manipulating Vulcann the Bloodsmith and his new protégé, the Darkson. The Darkson incapacitated Lunatica with a telekinetic blow, and the Bloodsmith then used his abilities to make Timothy come unglued, causing the organic matter of his body to break down and scatter to the four winds. [X-Men 2099 #34]

Bloodsmith deposited the weakened and grieving Lunatica back at the rest of the X-Men, then tied them to the mast of Halo City's flotilla as he took command of the refugees. Surprisingly, the death of his physical body did not kill Timothy Fitzgerald. 

He returned as a semi-humanoid mass of energy and easily struck down the immensely powerful Darkson. After the other X-Men rid themselves of the Bloodsmith, Luna and Tim were reunited. Tim told Luna that he was beckoned on to another dimensional plane by an emissary for energy beings like him, but he rejected their offer and returned to Earth because of his love for her. With worldwide ocean levels rising by a kilometer, the X-Men and their Halo City survivors moved on to the Savage Land, one of the few surviving land masses on Earth. [X-Men 2099 #35]

[Note: Due to the editorial upheaval caused by the 2099 line being cancelled and relaunched into a double-sized but short-lived combined series, 2099: World of Tomorrow, Timothy Fitzgerald was lost in the shuffle. His disappearance and its effect on La Lunatica was never explained in the new series.]

Once the refugees made it to the Savage Land, an expedition was assembled to chart the land and determine where civilization could be rebuilt. La Lunatica joined these self-named "X-Peditioners" along with Bloodhawk and his friend Jade Ryuteki, the X-Nation kids Willow and Nostromo, and their human companions Hodge and Wynn. During their survey, they uncovered an ancient Martian spaceship that crashed thousands of years ago. While exploring their find, Lunatica and the others were attacked by Phalanx and Doom-troopers, who were fighting over Nostromo. Nos contained the "Scout program" that was a key to the Phalanx invasion of Earth.

When Nostromo was kidnapped, La Lunatica and the others made their way back to the human refuge, and defended it against the Dreadnode unit that attempted to assimilate them and the surrounding environment. The united humans and mutants of the Savage Land fought against the Phalanx until Nostromo and several other defenders of Earth ended the invasion. [2099: World of Tomorrow #1-8]

By the end of the year, humanity had reestablished colonies in the Savage Land and in the highest towers of New York City. Their reconstruction was aided by the return of the real Steve Rogers wielding the power of Mjolnir. When the Watcher arrived from the moon to alert humanity to the interdict barrier cutting their solar system off from the rest of the universe, La Lunatica and the heroes of Earth were assembled by Rogers into an ad hoc unit of Avengers to breach the barrier and reclaim the stars. [2099: Manifest Destiny #1]