Agent-X #2

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Dead Man's Switch - part 2

Gail Simone (writer), Udon – Erik Ko, Alvin Lee, Rob Ross, Calvin Lo, Arnold Tsang, Andrew Hou, Eric Vedder, Omar Dogan and TheRealT! (art team), Dave Sharpe (letters), Lynne Yoshii and Mike Raicht (assistant editors), Andrew Lis and Mike Marts (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Agent X visits the remains of Alpine Park, a theme park he now owns, as it was the payment for his first job. The Taskmaster pretends to help Agent X by giving him an “easy“ assignment, however he actually is actually worried about Sandi and hopes that Alex will get himself killed. The assignment is to steal the Punisher’s guns. Five members of a club have each recruited one mercenary, and they have 48 hours for the job. The winning merc will get 250.000 $, and the club member he represents will get the others‘ mistresses. Agent X’s competitors are B-1, the Scalpel, Bloc and his friend and trainer Outlaw. Alex and her quickly defeat the other three mercs, but while they are busy battling each other, the opportunity to assassinate the Punisher passes. Outlaw is proud of how good Agent X handles himself and after getting drunk in a bar, the two of them spend the night together and end up in bed. The next morning they break in into the Punisher’s apartment, but he shows up and makes them tell of the assignment. The Punisher leaves, taking their clothes and Outlaw’s car with him, to collect the money himself and kill the men who hired them. Meanwhile Higashi investigates the damages Agent X did to his building (last issue). Still interested in buying Alpine Park, Higashi calculates how much it would cost him to have Alex killed.

Full Summary: 

Alex, his partner Sandi and his rival Taskmaster visit Alpine Park, the theme park, Alex now owns. Sandi and Taskmaster think that the place is a dump, but Alex is very happy with the place. At the same time, Alex is thinking to himself that if he keeps repeating the name Alex Hayden enough times, he might discover why he picked the name. Alex tells the others how much he loves the place and he tries to convince the others of the potential of the it. Sandi says that the place looks pretty run down and even potentially dangerous, but Alex is eager to get in and check if the previous owner left any of the animals.

At the Kenichi Building, Higashi is investigating the damages caused by Agent X (last issue). Wei tells him that the damages where done by an insane man riding an elephant. The elephant used to belong to the man that owned Alpine Park which they tried to purchase. The owner has left town though and the amusement park has a new owner now, who has made his unwillingness to sell very clear. Higashi orders Wei to do a cost analysis of how much it would cost to have the new owner killed vs. an 5 % increased offer for the property.

While Alex still tries to enter the Park, ripping on the chains that keep the entrance gate locked, the Taskmaster tells him that he has a ‘gig’ for him. Sandi is skeptic, but Taskmaster says that it is a low-risk job. He even lends Alex his car. Alex is confused by Taskmaster’s friendly behavior, but the Taskmaster tells him that he only is so hard on him for his own good. Alex inspects Taskmaster’s CD collection in the car, but he can only find Spice Girl CD’s, even their solo stuff, while he would prefer classical music. Sandi tells him to be careful and to back away from the job if he gets the feeling that something isn’t right. Agent X doesn’t care and drives away. Watching him leave, the Taskmaster tells Sandi that this is something Alex has to do.

At the Culver Sport and Gun Club, several mercenaries are briefed on their job by five of the club’s members. They are to bring back a pair of unique items within 48 hours. The winning mercenary will get $250.000, while the member that hired the winner will get the unique pair of items and the losers‘ mistresses. The other mercenaries, B-1, the Scalpel and Bloc quickly agree to do it, only the last mercenary, Alex’s pistol-trainer Outlaw, is hesitant, wanting to know more about the job first. Alex tries to make a joke about a cashless society but it doesn’t go well with his fellow mercs. Alex then asks what they are supposed to get.

Back in her apartment, Sandi finds out what the assignment was and slaps the Taskmaster in the face. He tries to explain that he is only protecting Sandi, sooner or later Alex is going to get her killed. However Sandi still can’t believe that he sent out an untrained and inexperienced mercenary to get the Punisher’s guns.

In the club the five mercs have just filled in on their missions. Alex notices that Outlaw signals something to him, but he isn’t sure what it means. He guesses that the Punisher must be rough company, as she looks somewhat spooked. The spokesman of the Gun Club tells them that they have arranged a prey for the Punisher and that they hope to see a rousing competition. Alex asks when the competition starts and when the man replies now, he immediately starts to beat up the Scalpel. B-1 tries to fly away, but Outlaw catches him with a lasso that she ties around Bloc’s head, taking them all out. Only Outlaw and Alex are still standing. Both point their gun at each other, neither willing to shoot the other yet. Outlaw advises Alex to go home, since he isn’t ready for the Punisher and her. She jumps out of the window. Alex follows her to see her driving away and notices that she has punctured the tires on Taskmaster’s car.

The five members of the club are arguing, the three losers think they should be disqualified, but the two that have their operatives still in the game deny this, and asks the others to pay and leave their mistresses.

(ninety minutes later)

On a roof, Outlaw has a sniper gun and is prepared to shoot the Punisher, but she is attacked by Alex who wants money from her for his cab fare. Outlaw throws a punch at him, but misses him, destroying the bricks behind him. Alex is shocked, since he didn’t know she was that strong. The two fight each other for some time, and when he calls her Crazy Inez, she gets even more annoyed. The two continue to battle until they realize that on the street below, the Punisher has already left. Outlaw then throws them both over the side of the roof, while Alex makes a mental note that superbeings always fight each other because it’s fun. Having safely landed in a pile of rubbish, Outlaw tells Alex that she is proud of him. He knew she was stronger and he did not have his guns, still he did not quit.

Outlaw takes him to a bar, where his eyes start bleeding again. However Alex says that with this kind of music, he is surprised that his ears aren’t bleeding. He asks Outlaw if she doesn’t think that the whole country and western bar is a bit silly, but Outlaw comments that it makes her think of home. After some drinks, they line dance together (with Alex thinking that he needs more beer), ride a mechanic bull and finally they leave the bar. Alex is pretty drunk by now and Outlaw takes him to her apartment. Alex wants to call Sandi, but Outlaw tells him that she can’t help him right now. Outlaw takes off her hat and asks Alex if he wants to kiss her. Alex thinks that he hasn’t been around that long, but this must be one of the dumbest questions he has been asked in his lifetime. Pointing towards a bruise, Outlaw tells him to kiss her where he hit her. Then the lights go out.

(the next morning)

Alex wakes up and freaks out when he sees Outlaw’s bodiless head next to him. He screams again when Outlaw herself enters with short hair and it is shown that the bodiless head is simply a dummy with her wig. Alex asks about the wig and if her breasts are real then. Outlaw’s answer doesn’t please him. At breakfast they talk about Alex’s lack of life experience (due to his amnesia), he never was drunk before. She then invites him to come along to grab the Punisher’s guns. While he was asleep, she got a tip.

Through a pair of binoculars, Outlaw sees the Punisher leaving his apartment. They try to break in and Alex get repeatedly blown up by booby traps. They find the Punisher’s whole arsenal, accept for his two custom .45s that they needed to find. When they look around, they see the Punisher standing behind them with the two guns in his hands. They beg to him not to kill them and tell him about the gunnuts that offered them money for his guns. The Punisher thinks for a moment and then asks how much money they would get.

Somewhat later, Sandi receives a phone calls from Alex. He asks her if she can come and pick him up. In the background Taskmaster wonders why she has to pick him up when he lent Alex his car. Alex then explains that it’s kind of embarrassing, but the Punisher took Outlaw’s car and is on the way to the club to collect the bounty himself. Alex then asks if they also could bring some clothes, as he also stole their clothes and Alex and Outlaw are standing in a phone booth.

Outlaw’s car enters the drive way to the gun club and Punisher puts on Outlaw’s hat, while listening to her country music. He enters the building and fires five times.

Characters Involved: 

Agent X

Sandi Brandenberg


Roberto, a waiter

Five members of the Culver Sport and Gun Club

B-1, Bloc, and the Scalpel, second-rate mercenaries

Higashi, new Eastern Wind

Saguri, Higashi’s right hand woman

Wei an underboss of the Eastern Wind‘s organization

Story Notes: 

Agent X got Alpine Park as payment for a job in Agent X #1.
Outlaw and Alex met in Agent X #1 where she trained him in the use of firearms.
Alex eyes also started bleeding once before, again in Agent X #1.
The Black Swan also listened to classical music – a hint towards Agent X’s real identity ?

Issue Information: 
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