Age of Apocalypse #6

Issue Date: 
October 2012
Story Title: 

David Lapham (writer), Renato Arlem (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado (cover artists), Jordan D. White (editor), Nick Lowe (senior editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Zora Risman goes to work at the mutant powers registration center but it is empty and she realizes it’s because a newly resurrected Monet St. Croix is addressing a mass of people. Monet states that she is no longer going by her given name and now she is Penance. She stirs up the crowd, giving them hope for the future and puts herself as their prospective leader. Weapon Omega is watching the speech from his bases and is confused as to how she is alive again. Dark Beast confirms she was down to be resurrected but they never got the chance to do it. Afterwards, some of Omega’s men go and speak to Penance in a bid to get her to meet with Omega. She doesn’t want to, instead she uses her powers to free a resurrected Colossus from the conditioning Omega put on him. Cyclops blasts her for it and the group, sans Colossus, leaves Penance. Prophet appears and tells Penance he was the one who brought her back and that he wants to strike a deal with her in return for her helping keep humans alive in the new world. Afterwards, Deadeye is furious with him for saving Penance and offering the Sugar Man up to her. She storms off and Harper Simmons chases after her to find out what is up to. She recalls a moment with her brother when they killed a mutant family but she was too weak to kill any of them herself. She reaffirms her pure hatred of mutants to Harper. Later, Weapon Omega goes to Penance and, after a tense exchange, she bows down to him. As he leaves, Deadeye arrives with the Sugar Man but she makes it clear she doesn’t trust Penance.  

Full Summary: 

(New Apocalypse)
Zora Risman, aka Deadeye, is dressed in civilian clothes and is walking through the ruins of the city as various mutants go about their daily business around her. Zora is a sure shot like no other man or mutant. She’s smart, sharp, mature and beautiful, she does her job, never fails, never complains. She also holds her cards so tight that not even she can see them.

(Mutant Powers Registration Center)
Zora walks up to the office, holding a pamphlet, and thinks to herself that she would like some new shoes. She is greeted by some security guards who let her through into the admin area. There she greets Diane, a two headed woman, who is working in a little office and Zora gives her the pamphlet on a shoe sale. She glances down at a file Diane is holding and sees it is about a newly registered mutant. Zora goes and sits down at a desk and after a little while, asks Diana over an intercom if the chains are off the door. Diane confirms they have been for twenty minutes and they wonder where everybody is, as the whole building is empty.

In the streets of New Apocalypse, a woman floats high above a huge crowd and addresses the listening mass. With her arms held high, she says the war is over and Homo superior has taken their rightful place as the dominant species, yet here they reside in the filth and poverty. Why? Because there is so much blood on their hands but to rise above it they must first find forgiveness in themselves. The woman says it is why she has cast aside her old name. She is no longer Monet St. Croix, in the new world she is reborn and now she is Penance. Through her, they will all be renewed and together they will rebuild the world and claim the glory they were promised.

In their base, Weapon Omega and his group look at a holographic display of Penance’s address and Omega wonders if she is one of theirs. Dark Beast says the lab was blown to pieces and there was no way to take an inventory of all the bodies. Omega cuts him off and tells him he doesn’t want excuses, only answers. Dark Beast confirms Monet was one of those they were looking to resurrect but the lab was blown up before they could get around to her. He says he has no idea how she came back but he does know the Sugar Man never altered her cerebral pathways.

Omega asks if she is powerful and Dark Beast confirms she is, with strength, speed and invulnerability. Her flight and influence come from her mind and they are not directed like a true telepath but she is formidable all the same. As Omega stares at Monet’s image, he remarks she is perfect and that she is the future the Celestials charged him with creating. Dark Beast says that there is no way he can tell if she’ll be loyal but Omega disagrees and tells him that they just have to ask right.

Back in the mutant registration office, Zora and Diane are looking out of the window at Penance’s display. Diane says that Penance seems to really want to help people but Zora thinks that power corrupts. Zora tells Diane that, if she wants to go down, she will hold the fort, an offer Diane accepts. Zora’s phone starts buzzing and she sees a message from one of her teammates asking if she wants a balcony seat for act II.

In the ruins of an old church, Weapon Omega’s team meets with Penance as construction workers clear up around them. Azazel tells her Weapon Omega sends his regards and she asks who they are. Azazel introduces himself as the minister of death and informs her that Omega requests the pleasure of her company. He wants to discuss how she would aid him in her endeavor to service the citizens of his city. Azazel has also been permitted to offer her accommodation in the spires; they are quite luxurious. They would be a more suitable surrounding for one of her ability.

None of them notice that Prophet and Deadeye have scaled the walls of the church and have snuck in the open roof. 

Penance declines their offer and tells them that, to heal the people, she must live with the people. She has heard of the overlord and she is sure that they will have many conversations about the conditions in the city, but for now she is busy. Cyclops tells her that it wasn’t a request but she ignores him and walks over to Colossus, another of Weapon Omega’s newly resurrected mutants. She sees that he is Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin, husband of Kitty Pryde, whom he killed. The steel man replies that he is Colossus and he has no wife. Penance says they have cut him but she believes she can restore that fragment. With that, she grabs his head and uses her powers to trigger his memories of before his death.

He sees going crazy over his sister and, charging forward, directly at his wife.

Colossus doubles over as he remembers his wife and states that he was so full of rage he did not see her. Penance says that it was a terrible thing but he is a good man and asks him to join her in her work there to cleanse his heart of the great stain on it. Colossus accepts but Azazel tells Penance that he would advise against taking things from the overlord. She asks Colossus to tell his friends to return at a later date but Cyclops informs her that she will be seeing Weapon Omega now.

Penance approaches him and starts reading his mind like she did with Colossus but instead he lets out an optic blast, catapulting her across the room. As she regains herself, she muses that they did a better job on him as Colossus grabs Cyclops’ arm and breaks it. Cyclops fires another pin-point beam at Colossus that pieces right through his shoulder.

Prophet and Deadeye watch the scene below and Deadeye comments that they might take care of this themselves. Penance looks at Azazel and calmly asks if they are to fight too but he says he finds this too interesting to leave. She disagrees and tells him perhaps it is time for him to go. Azazel teleports to Cyclops, grabs him and then the both disappear.

As soon as they have gone, Penance looks over her shoulder and demands the humans come from out of the shadows. As Prophet walks towards her, she says he is safe unless his intentions are less than honorable. He addresses her as Monet St. Croix but she corrects him and tells him that the old names are gone and she is now Penance. As Deadeye stares at her through a sniper rifle, Penance says that, if Prophet is testing if she can read his thoughts, she can assure him she cannot. Prophet gets to the point by telling Penance he gave her life, to which Deadeye is visibly shocked at learning. He confesses he destroyed Dark Beast’s lab and all the mutants he wanted to resurrect, all except for her. He asks her if she knows why he did it and she guesses that it’s because he thinks she would be a boon to their inferior race.

She sternly tells him she won’t be held in some quid-pro-quo as she had no choice in her resurrection and made no bargain for it. Whether she is boon or terror to their race will be up to his folly or fortune. Prophet says he expects no quid-pro-quo but he was hoping she would be more open-minded than current overlord. He wants to aid her in claiming power and for that he would like to make a bargain. From the shadows, Deadeye wonders what on Earth Prophet is doing. Penance asks what Prophet wants in return for her assistance.

As the X-Terminator’s ship flies back to base, Deadeye is shocked and furious that Prophet would give Penance the Sugar Man. As they land and exit the ship, she continues her tirade and tells him they nearly died getting him and now he offers the sadistic son of a bitch up as Penance’s chief scientist. All on the belief that she will keep her promise if she overthrows Omega and allows them to live on a preserve somewhere like zoo animals. Prophet replies that is better than living in a museum like dinosaurs.

Deadeye angrily tells him they have always differed on that and Prophet tries to reassure her they will have a place in the sun. She ignores him though and punches him square in the jaw, then storms away, telling him not to sell him on that crap like he does with the others. Bolivar Trask asks Prophet how it went with Penance and the man replies that it is a gamble but it went as well as can be expected.

Having watched the fight, Harper Simmons chases after Zora and catches up with her in the tunnels. Still angry, she lashes out at him and asks why he is recording everything he is. She shouts at him and wonders who he is doing it for. He asks her why she keeps fighting and she calms down slightly and says her brother hated them. She remembers he used to say “you let one of them live and they will live to destroy you.” Harper points out that the shoes is on the other foot, as she now lives to destroy them. He then asks if she does it for retribution.

Zora recalls that when she was a teenager the Apocalypse mutants laid Philadelphia to waste in a battle with the X-Men mutants. She and her brother were separated from the resistance and they were going to sail down the river to Delaware but, when they came through a thicket, they saw a mutant family. There were two kids, one of which was blue with eyes all over his head. The other looked normal and the parents looked like some kind of formidable betas or gammas. Zora says that the father breathed fire. She knows that, because she still has the burn scars all up her side. As she tells Harper that, she gestures to the side of her torso.

Matthew dropped the father with a bullet right through the eye and the mother went down right after. She didn’t know what the woman’s power was either, but Matthew shot the kids as they tried to run. The normal one’s neck exploded and the river took his body but the other one was only injured, Matthew wanted him alive.

Zora had passed out and when she woke she found Matthew had dressed her wounds. The blue skinned boy was leaning against a tree and there was a gun between him and Zora. She couldn’t move as she thought laser beams may have come out of his eyes but he just turned around and ran instead. She watched him get smaller and smaller as he fled. Then, just as he hit the ridge on the horizon, blue turned to red as Matthew hit him with a perfect shot. He was disgusted with her as he was sure the disgusting monster would have used his powers to kill them both.

Zora thinks he was right but Harper tells her Matthew shot a kid in the back and he is the one who is a monster. Zora retorts that mutants killed millions of kids but Harper asks her what powers the blue killed boy had. Zora looks down and replies that he could see bullets coming.

(New Apocalypse)
In the church, Colossus says he doesn’t know what to do but Penance says that all he needs to do is help with the good work and his shame will pass with time. He replies that he will protect her with his life. A “bamf” sound rings out and they turn to see Azazel and Weapon Omega. Omega, having overheard the last bit of the conversation, says it’s a shame as he just brought Colossus back and he would hate to turn him into scrap metal already.

Colossus tells him he won’t find it so easy but Penance tells him to hush as Omega is plainly there for a conversation. He replies that he is there to see her kneel before him. Penance says that she heard the great Weapon Omega was unafraid of a little rivalry, to which he smirks at her and says he likes her style He is willing to give her a lot of leeway but she isn’t in his class so now it’s her play. Penance kneels down to Omega and he says he thinks they will get along and she will be expected for dinner.

After Omega and Azazel teleport away, Colossus helps her up, but she informs him they have another visitor. They see Deadeye with a shackled and gagged Sugar Man before them. Deadeye says that Prophet couldn’t come and that this piece of garbage is their part of the bargain. Penance remarks that the humans surprise her as they are all so good at hiding their thoughts, unless she really is obsessed with shoes. She says the wayward son will be reformed as his science will be of great use to the reformation. She instructs Deadeye to inform Prophet she will be in touch. Deadeye says she will and Penance picks up on a tone in her voice and guesses that she would rather kill her. Penance senses her hatred and the fact she is not quite as controlled as Prophet. As Deadeye walks away, she says that there is no one more in control than her.

Harper later remarks that, in her heart, Zora Risman believes her brother was right as he raised her, taught her, molded her. He could tell her that it makes all the difference between them, between good and evil, right and wrong. He could tell her but she would probably just shoot him. 

Characters Involved: 

Deadeye, Prophet

Bolivar Trask
Harper Simmons


Weapon Omega
Azazel, Colossus, Cyclops, Dark Beast

Security Guards

Citizens of New Apocalypse


Colossus, Shadowcat

Zora Risman/Deadeye
Matthew Risman
Mutant family

Story Notes: 

This issue, like the rest of the series, is narrated by Harper Simmons, a reporter from Earth 616.

In the 616 universe, Matthew Risman was a member of the Purifiers. As yet, 616 Zora hasn’t made an appearance.

The Sugar Man was captured in issue #4.

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