Agent-X #4

Issue Date: 
December 2002
Story Title: 
Dead Man's Switch - part 4: Invisible

Gail Simone (writer), Udon – Erik Ko, Alvin Lee, Rob Ross, Omar Dogan, TheRealT!, Shane Law, Calvin Lo and Ken Sio-Chong (art team), Cory Petit (letters), Lynne Yoshii (assistant editor), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Alex takes Mary Zero to a fancy restaurant, and again nobody is able to se or her the teenager save him. After attacking an annoying customer, Alex (and Mary) have to leave the restaurant, but it doesn’t matter much, as the food wasn’t that good anyway. While he is trying to talk some sense into Mary, who keeps staring at him and checking out his butt, Alex receives a phone call from Higashi, who tells him that he is in Alex‘ theme park right now, along with an expert in all things incendiary. Alex wants to save his park and needs to get there as fast as possible. He takes over a bus, and drives straight to his park, shoving all cars in the way aside and telling the frightened passengers to shut up. At the same time however, Higashi and his servant Saguri actually make their way to Sandi‘s apartment. Sandi calls Alex for help, but Mary answers his phone. Thinking Sandi to be Alex’s girlfriend, Mary hangs up. Fortunately Higashi does Sandi no harm, quite on the contrary, he admits that he has been thinking of her a lot, and wants to date her. Taskmaster, who is spying on Sandi’s apartment is annoyed by this turn of events, just like Saguri, who thinks her master is losing his mind. Alex arrives at Alpine Park, and walks straight into a trap as he is fired upon by two snipers. He eventually takes out both attackers, but he received a bullet in the throat and starts choking on his own blood. Alex collapses and Mary tries to call 911, but the operator doesn’t hear her. She runs out on the streets, but as usual, people fail to notice her, and there is nothing she can do to get medical help.

Full Summary: 

Alex is eating in an expensive restaurant. Sitting across him, Mary Zero stares at him like a love-sick puppy. He tells her to quit doing that, but she replies that she enjoys watching him eat. Sitting on a table next to them another customer compares the delicious kreplach with “sex on a plate“. A waitress arrives with another plate of food. Alex asks Mary whether she wants something and the waitress asks who he is talking to. Alex points at Mary, but the waitress can’t see her. For Mary is business as usual, most people can’t see or hear her. As the waitress walks away, Mary wants to know if Alex thinks she is pretty. Alex however is busy eating his food. He thinks that if this is supposed to be a Latverian delicacy, it’s no wonder that Dr. Doom always tried to invade neighboring countries.

Alex gets a phone call from Outlaw who tells him that his last client was very happy and that she’s fine, but she is turning in an expense report for her ruined dress. Alex agrees and asks Outlaw to collect the check and meet him at Sandi’s place. The guy on the other table is again praising the cuisine and compares the wine to “sex in a glass“.

Mary tells Alex how she knew he was special when she discovered that not only could he see her, but he also remembered her when she wasn’t in plain sight. Alex however says that although this crush thing she has is very adorable, he is a mercenary and that his line of work is dangerous to children. Mary states that she is not a child, but that she is nearly fift….eighteen. Besides nobody ever notices her, so she could be a great help in his business. Alex dismisses her suggestion, he is not going to send out a fourteen year old girl to get killed and asks for a waiter.
The waiter arrives and Alex asks him to identify his food, which turns out to be bugs and sea-monkeys. Alex checks the menu once more, and asks why they aren’t wearing the little crowns, like in the picture, and the waiter explains that they fall off when they are boiled.

By then the other customer once more talks about the quality of the food, boring the beautiful female sitting next to him. In the man’s opinion this food should be savored, tested, enjoyed, ....
Alex finally has enough of it. He attacks him and puts a gun in his mouth. Alex says that he doesn’t like people talking in restaurants, especially not about such dumb thing like food being sex. He makes the customer repeat „food is not sex“, even though he still has the gun in his mouth. Alex congratulates him, it’s important to know the difference between food and sex, or else one might end up having a terrible waffle iron accident.

Alex pulls out a few dollar bills for the food and the mess he made, but the waiter is terribly upset, and tells him never to come back again: the client he attacked was a very important man, he designed the pop-up banners for the internet. Hearing this, Alex gets even more annoyed and attacks the man again.

A little bit later, outside of the restaurant, Alex complains to Mary how terrible that place was and that he is never going to eat there again – after all they had lobster in McNugget form and the customers are flimsy and easily damaged. He notices Mary checking out his behind. Alex orders her to stop doing that, but she ignores him. He asks her if it doesn’t bother her that he thinks that she is nuts, but she replies that she is just glad to have someone who he thinks she is something at all.

Again Alex receives a phone call, and he answers it with “Agency X, where, for a fee, we can ex your Ex“. Alex stops the joking when he hears that it’s Higashi on the other end. Higashi informs Alex that he regrets that it ‚s come to this, but as they both want Alpine Park, he saw no other option than to recruit an a specialist in incendiary items. They are right now at the center of the park.

Hearing this Alex immediately rushes into action. He jumps over a bench, catches up with a bus and pointing his gun at him, orders the driver to get out of the seat. Mary jumps in after him, right as Alex drives off. One passenger repeatedly pulls the cord, but Alex ignores her, telling her it isn’t her stop yet. The bus pushes all cars in their way to the side, but the woman still pulls the chord. Alex then pulls out his gun and tells her to quit yanking the chord, or else he’ll rip it off, wrap it around her neck and pull it till she comes to her full ad complete stop. Now with that distraction dealt with, Alex notes to himself that those sea monkeys can really come back on a guy.

Sitting in a limousine, Saguri tells Higashi that she doesn’t approve, but Higashi replies that he is perfectly safe – as Alex thins he is at the amusement park, where they in fact are not. Saguri was talking about another matter though, she meant that Higashi’s position is still perilous and he shouldn’t show any sign of weakness. They get out of the car, where they find Wei and other underbosses waiting for them. Wei has shaved off his hair and is sporting tattoo on his bald head, a similar one like Higashi’s. Higashi wants to know the meaning of this, and Wei explains that it is a means to show his loyalty towards Higashi, and that several of the men have done the same. Higashi looks pleased, but Saguri tells him to not look too satisfied. The group makes their way from the parking deck to the door of an apartment – Sandi’s apartment. Higashi rinds the bell, but through the spyhole, Sandi identifies her visitors and refuses to open. She decides to call Alex.

In the bus, Alex tells Mary to answer his phone. Mary takes it and hearing a female voice on the other end, she assumes that it is Alex‘ girlfriend. Though uncertain wether Sandi will actually hear her or not, Mary says that she and Alex are in love and that he doesn’t want to see her again. Mary hangs up, and hands the phone back to Alex, says that somebody just dialed the wrong number.

Having reached the entrance to Alpine Park, Alex stops the bus and tells everybody, including Mary, to get out. He then drives into the park’s center, where a fire is raging. Seeing this, one of the passengers wonders wether they should call the fire Department. Another one says he just did, but that the fire department answered that they already knew about it. He doesn’t think that they are going to come. All of them are unaware of Mary standing among them. Having overheard this conversation, she runs after the bus and Alex.

Alex gets of the bus and enters the centerpiece of the theme park. The carousel is on fire. Alex looks at it at first in disbelief, then he gets mad. However before he can even plan his next actions, he is hit by a sniper. The bullet penetrates his chest and emerges from his back. Lying on the ground, Alex thinks to himself how the Taskmaster was right and that he is an idiot for walking into his own assassination. Alex gets up, but is shot again, from a different angle, so it‘s at least two attackers.

He takes cover beneath a hot-dog cart. Alex knows that his opponents are playing with him, they could easily finish him off now, and apparently he will die surrounded by rancid grease and congealed cola syrup – a good death. Alex realized that Mary still has his phone, so he can’t even call for back-up. He decides a different approach and calls out to his attackers that he will surrender, however they’ll have to let the corndogs go free, as they have never hurt anybody!

At Sandi’s apartment, Higashi apologizes to Sandi for his rudeness earlier and says he only wants to talk to her. She opens the door and points a gun at him, threatening to kill him if she has. Higashi says he is willing to take this risk and asks to come in. He tells his men to give her the gifts he bought her. The servants bring several boxes and a bouquet of red roses. Higashi says he’ll use every resource within his power to change Sandi‘s opinion on him. She answers that he was going to kill her friends, but Higashi replies that he can’t think about anything but her at this time and asks her for “the very great honor of allowing me to visit you socially“. Confused, Sandi understands that Higashi is asking her on a date.

From a roof on the other side of the street, the taskmaster is observing the events in Sandi’s apartment through a pair of binoculars. He cools his anger on a dovecot, and he notes to himself that he evidently should accept that he is an anger problem.

Saguri and Higashi leave Sandi’s apartment and Saguri questions Higashi’s actions, after all they promised their board the land that Sandi and Agent X own. Higashi doesn’t care, since he thinks that Sandi is worth any loss. Sandi is a real woman, and Saguri can’t understand. Affronted by this snappy remark, Saguri secretly calls the snipers in Alpine Park and informs them that Higashi has failed them. She orders them to kill Alex, dispose of the body and speak to none.

At Alpine Park, one of the snipers replies, but then is hit in the head by a drink dispensing machine, thrown by Alex. With one of his attackers dealt with, Alex’s attention shifts to the other one; he activates the roller-coaster, because the second sniper is positioned on the tracks. While the sniper is momentarily dazzled by the lights being switched on, Alex sneaks up on him from behind and gives him two options : leave and live, or fight meaning he’ll either get killed by Alex or run over by the coaster train. The sniper does the unexpected and chooses loyalty over his own life. He opens fire on Alex, and pumps him full of bullets before he is hit by the coaster and killed on impact.

Alex jumps of the tracks before the car reaches him too, and he climbs down a ladder. On the ground, Mary is already waiting for him. She tells him that she’s worried about him, but Alex can’t reply. He has a bullet in his trachea and is choking on his own blood. Apparently his healing factor can’t deal with it, the injury should be no problem, but he still need oxygen. Alex loses consciousness and collapses, massively bleeding from the throat.

Mary grabs the phone and calls 911, but the operator can’t hear her. She then runs out on the street asking for help, but nobody can see or hear her. Giving in to despair, Mary sinks to the grounds and covers her face in her hands, still asking for anyone to help.

Characters Involved: 

Agent X

Sandi Brandenberg



Mary Zero

waiters and waitresses

restaurant customers

bus passengers

Higashi, new Eastern Wind

Saguri, Higashi’s right hand woman

Wei, an underboss of the Eastern Wind‘s organization

Story Notes: 

Sea-Monkeys are a form of brine shrimp found naturally in salt lakes. These crustaceans have the ability to lay encapsulated eggs, which are called cysts. When dried out, these cysts can remain viable for years. Once immersed in salt water, the cysts quickly hatch and the brine shrimp generally mature in only eight days. In 1957 fisherman Harold von Braunhut, who had previously used the brine shrimp as bait, hit upon the idea of making them a modern-day flea circus. Over the next two and a half decades, these crustaceans were successfully marketed and sold as Sea-Monkeys, appearing in countless advertisements in comic books.

Kreplach, also known as Jewish ravioli, is made of little triangles of pasta, filled with minced meat.

Outlaw’s dress was damaged when she was shot at in the last issue.

Higashi met Sandi in the last issue where she attacked him and his men with an elephant.

Issue Information: 
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