|Real Name:||Absolon Zebardyn
|| District X #2
|| molecular manipulation ability can induce energized reactions to create light, heat, force, electricity, or nuclear explosions, levitate and maneuver himself or other molecular structures, rearrange molecules to heal organic systems, repair mechanical systems, tear apart and destroy structures, bend molecular bonds to allow temporary intangibility, neutralize mutant powers, etc.
Absolon Mercator was born in a small village near the town of Ghent in Belgium. His power to alter molecular structures first developed when he was a child. He became a local healer, using his abilities at the behest of his parents to cure the sick. While the townspeople debated whether his power was a curse or from the divine, Absolon merely did as he was asked. One day, however, Absolon lashed out with his power to protect his cousin from a bully, and turned the bigger boy literally inside out. Absolon could not reverse the change no matter how he tried, and the boy suffered in agony for three days before finally passing on. Absolon’s parents sent him out of Belgium to live with family in America, where he remained for the next thirty years. [District X #4]
His experience as a child terrified Absolon, so he spent decades trying to avoid getting involved with others, and using his powers for only the simplest of acts. He made a life for himself in the low-rent area of District X, the neighborhood in New York City that became popular for mutants and mutant culture. Mercator operated as a simple repairman, making just enough money to get by while spending his free time holed up in his apartment reading books or visiting the local bars. The closest thing he had to a friend was Hanna Levy, another mutant who lived in his apartment building. Hanna occasionally baked for him after he fixed her broken appliances.
Circumstances finally pushed Mr. Mercator to take action when he witnessed a double murder from his window. In the apartment across the street, a mutant siren used her voice to compel a police officer named Gus Kucharsky to shoot her and her possessive husband before he turned his gun on himself, creasing his skull. Kucharsky’s partner, Ismael Ortega, covered up the shooting in an effort to divert blame to the husband and save his partner. Mr. M debated whether he should come forward with what he saw. Mercator visited Kucharsky in the hospital to determine whether he was worth saving. [District X #2-3]
Ruminating over the situation at the local club, Dante’s Inferno, Absolon saw a drug dealer named Jazz chasing a customer who ripped him off. He used his powers to cut off Jazz and stop him from stabbing the user. Afterwards, apparently on a whim, Mr. M followed Jazz to his boss, Shaky Kaufman, and from there to the Toad Boy, a young mutant whose excretions were being used to create a powerful psychedelic drug called Toad Juice. Mercator decided to rescue Tarquin the Toad Boy and his mother from Kaufman Enterprises. He used his abilities to reverse Tarquin’s mutation, making him normal. Unfortunately, Tarquin’s mother was addicted to the Toad Juice and caused a scene, bringing Kaufman’s enforcers out to stop them. Faced with violence, Absolon reacted and crushed the heart of one of Kaufman’s men, killing him. [District X #3-4]
While still reeling from what he had done, Mr. M ran into Ismael Ortega and his new partner Lucas Bishop of the X.S.E. on the streets. Bishop wanted to bring Mercator in for the murder of Kaufman’s enforcer and the situation quickly turned explosive. Mercator easily dropped both officers, but also recognized Ortega as Kucharsky’s partner. He found Ortega’s address and went to speak to him at home the next day, hoping to explain himself under calmer circumstances. Outside the apartment, however, Mercator saw Ortega’s son Esteban playing with his father’s gun. He rushed upstairs to stop the boy but by the time he made it, Esteban had accidentally pulled the trigger and shot his sister, Chamayra. [District X #5]
Working quickly, Absolon reached inside the girl and pulled the bullet out, leaving her healthy and unharmed. When Ismael and his wife entered the room, they found Mercator alone with their daughter who was weakened and dazed. Their son Esteban was nearly in shock and they jumped to the wrong conclusions. Unable to explain himself, Mr. M fled the scene. Unbalanced by everything that had happened in the past few days, Mercator confessed all of his recent actions to Hanna Levy. He decided his destiny was not to be a healer, but a destroyer, and began preparing to create a nuclear fire that would wipe Mutant Town off the face of Manhattan. Absolon gave Hanna 30 minutes to leave the blast radius before he started. Mr. M would have succeeded if Ortega and Bishop hadn’t arrived at his apartment with Lara the Illusionist. Lara used her powers to convince Absolon that he had unleashed his power a moment before it actually happened. Instantly regretting his actions, Mercator made no efforts to resist arrest once he learned the blast was only an illusion. Sitting in jail, Absolon was visited by Ismael Ortega, who apologized to him for earlier. Esteban had confessed to his parents about the shooting and Ortega was eternally grateful to Mercator for saving his daughter’s life. He left Mr. M a photo of Chamayra as a keepsake for his time in jail. [District X #6]
With Ortega and Bishop putting in a good word for him, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges against Mr. Mercator and he was soon released from jail. Celebrating with a drink at Dante’s Inferno, Mercator met a woman and shared more than a few drinks with her. As they took a drive out by the East River, she suddenly took out a gun and shot him three times in the head. [District X #7]Miraculously, even several bullets to the brain couldn’t kill a man with Mr. M’s powers. The moment the rounds penetrated his skull, Mercator’s power instinctively caught them and prevented them from penetrating any further. Within a matter of hours, the bullets were expelled from his head and the damage completely healed. Absolon was in a state of shock, but beyond that he was physically fine after being checked out by the hospital. Ortega quickly realized this sort of professional hit came from Bishop’s federal bosses, who likely considered Mercator too dangerous to live after his near-destruction of Mutant Town. The man had saved his daughter’s life, and Izzy begged Bishop to do something about it. Bishop agreed and later threatened his handler, Alexei Vazhin, into laying off Mercator in the future. [District X #8]
When Wanda Maximoff warped reality and created the House of M, Absolon Mercator became a man of influence. In a world where mutants ruled and flourished, regular humankind still existed in sizable numbers. Mercator found he could use his molecular powers to activate latent mutant genes in humans, turning them into full-fledged mutants. He created a transition center called Mutopia to facilitate the change in any humans who came to him. The transition process was assisted by Brother Gregor, a man whose mutation evolved him into the form of a tree that produced fruits that boosted latent mutant genes for Mercator to unlock.
Mercator was overseeing “Transition Day” for twelve young applicants, including Chamayra Ortega, when a Sapien League assassin interrupted the festivities. In the struggle that followed, Chamayra was shot in the chest by the assassin’s weapon, and lay on the brink of death. As the Scarlet Witch's reality was undone, the universe went white and began transitioning back to normal. Mercator told the girl’s parents he sadly could not raise the dead. [Mutopia X #1-4]
After the Decimation, Absolon was one of the few who retained their mutant powers and, in a twist of fate, Chamayra was still shot. Somehow the reversion of reality removed the bullet and the entrance wound, but Chamayra’s internal organs were still messed up from the bullet passing through. Izzy Ortega desperately sought out Mercator in the hours after M-Day to save his daughter’s life again, but it was too late for the girl. [Mutopia X #5]
With the mutant population of Mutant Town decimated, anti-mutant activists from Purity began making noise in the area, talking about reclaiming the neighborhood for humanity. Mr. Mercator visited Hanna Levy at Bellevue Hospital, where she had been staying since losing her mutation left her slightly imbalanced. Hanna suggested Absolon use his gifts to help the remaining mutants, who had begun congregating in Westchester at the Xavier mansion with the X-Men. Mr. M agreed and walked to upstate New York over the next few days, using his powers to easily pass through the Office of National Emergency’s security perimeter. [X-Men: The 198 #1] Mercator was a source of concern for O*N*E – his transmutative powers made it virtually impossible for them to contain him or realistically exert authority over the mutant camp on the grounds. Although Mercator’s actions were relatively benign and peaceful in the community, higher ups in the O*N*E - particularly the xenophobic commander General Lazer - were threatened by the fact that they could not stop him if he did decide to go rogue. [X-Men: The 198 #2]
Despite all the commotion about him, Mercator continued to live the rather simple life he was used to while among the 198. He made tiny flying dragons to amuse the child Leech and kept the peace on occasion. Absolon also began a relationship with Lorelei Travis, a former exotic dancer from Mutant Town. She was assaulted by Purity thugs in Mutant Town, who shaved her animated hair before she fled to Xavier’s. Absolon restored her living locks with his powers and they started to share a tent regularly in the camp. [X-Men: The 198 #3]
The situation at the 198 camp grew even more heated after the death of one of the refugees, the mutant drug dealer called Jazz, during a day trip into Salem Center. O*N*E insisted on tagging the mutants with sub-dermal chips before letting them out in public, and many refugees concluded the chip must have been responsible for Jazz’s death. Things only got worse when several attempted to riot and everyone discovered the chips could be used to remotely incapacitate anyone injected with one. When Mr. M noticed the commotion, he merely walked up to the mutants involved and physically removed the tagging chips from their necks with his powers. In a matter of minutes, Mercator quickly and easily removed all the mutants from O*N*E’s control. With that, he announced his intentions to leave in the morning with Lorelei, and any mutant was welcome to come with them. The majority of the 198 accepted Mercator’s offer, leading to a mass exodus. Mr. M easily deconstructed his way through the O*N*E camp’s outer wall and led his followers out of the encampment. [X-Men: The 198 #4]
Cyclops and the X-Men followed the 198, in an effort to prevent the O*N*E from taking matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, their efforts to reason with Mr. M and the 198 were stymied by a self-hating ans self-serving mutant named Johnny Dee, who was working with O*N*E and used his mental domination powers to stir up conflict among all those present. Absolon only saw the X-Men attacking his people and was prepared to defend them from any hostile actions. A struggle broke out between the X-Men, the 198, and the O*N*E Sentinels, but Mercator easily kept everyone at bay with his abilities. Things took a turn for the worse, though, when the mercenary Scalphunter started threatening to kill the X-Men directly. Lorelei tried to intervene in hopes for a peaceful solution, but Scalphunter clocked her. This infuriated Mr. M and his powers began to run unchecked. At that same moment, back at the camp, Johnny Dee offered to use his powers on behalf of O*N*E’s General Lazer in exchange for future favors. He possessed Leech in order to neutralize Mercator’s powers and then turned Magma’s volcanic abilities on Absolon, killing him.
The sight of Mr. M’s battered and burned corpse demoralized the 198 movement and the mutants returned to Xavier’s property. Confusion circulated over what actually took place, as Emma Frost clearly detected some form of mind control at work during the fight, but couldn’t pin down its source. Magma, for her part, pointed the finger squarely at Empath due to their personal history, and the two of them were placed in solitary confinement. This effectively obscured Johnny Dee’s role in the execution. Finally, Lorelei and Leech held a private vigil over Mercator’s coffin, but eventually fell asleep. When they awoke, they found Mr. M’s body had vanished, leaving behind a beautiful display of butterflies. This raised the question of whether Absolon Mercator had truly died or merely evolved into another form. [X-Men: The 198 #5]