Agent-X #7

Issue Date: 
March 2003
Story Title: 
Shameful William

Gail Simone (writer), UDON (artists), Cory Petit (letterer), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Alex is hired by Sir William, an omni-fetishist (meaning he gets aroused by everything) to retrieve several stolen pairs of rare panties. Elsewhere, Sandi and Taskmaster figure out why Alex Hayden has named himself as such, after finding CDs of composers Alexander Schumann and Franz Hayden. Starting his assignment, Alex is dropped on the train where the panty thief (Lynda Lodestone, an omni-fetishist herself) and her henchmen are waiting. A fistfight ensues on the train’s roof and, after a short while, Alex defeats the henchmen. Then, to stop Lynda from blowing up the train with the stolen panties, Alex convinces she and William that they are made for each other. The two recognize the truth but accidentally set off the detonator. Alex is unhurt, though, and after handing William a pair of stolen panties, he asks to be paid. At home, Alex tells the others that he wants to turn Agency X in a real business. Taskmaster refuses and Outlaw tells Alex that she has to return to Texas because her father is ill. Sandi and Mary, however, do go along with it and the three of them form Agency X.

Full Summary: 

Across a piece of notebook paper, Alex Hayden has written his thoughts. For the most part, his thoughts are comprised of lists of things her does and does not like. Not in order, the top ten things he likes are… shooting people, hitting people, washing, Mary Zero, Sandi, Outlaw, Alpine Park, Corn Dogs, Yentl and not having a criminal organisation out to kill him. His least-liked list is incomplete but it includes Taskmaster, Jock itch, rudeness, head wounds and shemp. Alex also writes about a “brilliant idea” he had last night, but he doesn’t go into details yet.

(in a mansion)

Alex is welcomed by a secretary/personal assistant and is asked to sign a waiver of all rights. By signing it, he will waive all rights to sue S.W., Inc. for all kinds of sexual diseases he may contact while working for them. The woman explains to Alex that he may not make eye contact, remove footwear or make any physical contact, but she’s distracted by Alex eating something. He tells her it’s “Fruit by the Foot” and offers her some but she declines. The woman opens a door and tells Alex to do nothing to entice her employer, Sir William. Inside, there is a man, bathing in yogurt. William gets out of bath and immediately gets lyrical about Alex’s scars and outfit. Confused, Alex offers him his “Fruit by the Foot” and William accepts, immediately going into frenzy about the taste of it.

William asks another woman, Artemis, for a robe, while the first woman explains to Alex that Sir William is an omni-fetishist: somebody who finds everything exciting. Alex asks if she ever considered that he may just be disgusting.

William returns and begins to praise Alex being a fighter while he tells them they are going to the panties. They stop at a door with a hole blasted in it. Inside, William shows off his complete collection of panties, previously owned by celebrities (including a SM-style leather pair, belonging to UDON-artist Alvin Lee). Alex stands still by a pair apparently belonging to Thor but William is horrified when Alex tries to touch them, since they are worth more untouched. Alex asks if there other people who would buy them then, but William replies that he would never part with them and that it makes them being stolen all the more heinous. He tells Alex that they are being transported, as they speak, while Alex is checking out a pair belonging to Madonna. William grabs the pair, telling that they are quite common and returns them in place.

After being asked by Alex why he didn’t go to the police, William replies that he finds this more erotic. Hayden accepts the mission, stating that it is sort of juvenile and he likes that. He plays with Mr. Fantastic’s superstretching underwear. William warns Alex that the woman who stole them is very dangerous. She delights in violence and destruction and would rather destroy them than let them have them back. Alex isn’t worried by it though. Now wearing a red, blue and white pair, which obviously belongs to a certain star-spangled Avenger, Alex informs William that being killed just makes him thirsty.

Two hours later, Alex reports to Sandi about William’s weird habits. At the office, Sandi hangs up a sign saying Agency X, while Taskmaster is helping her. She tells them that they suddenly have lots of paying gigs since word of them is spreading. She also tells him that Outlaw wants to talk to him and that his CDs arrived. She then notices that the CDs are of two classical composers: Alexander Schumann and Franz Haydn. She tells Taskmaster what she discovered but he’s too busy bragging about his new Spice girls CD. Sandi tells Taskmaster that Alex said that he had chosen the name Alex Hayden at random. Taskmaster tells her not to worry and admits that he was wrong about Alex faking amnesia. He asks her why she believes in Alex so much and Sandi replies that he’s the first guy that didn’t try to tell her how to live her life. Taskmaster is hurt and, as they leave through a giant clown head and are in Alpine Park, Sandi adds that the work environment is interesting.

Back at the mansion, Alex explains to William that he needs to man the crank when he gets lowered from a helicopter on a train transporting the stolen goods. The woman they saw earlier is the pilot. Alex asks William about his condition and if he really gets excited about anything and tries several objects, animals and persons and William replies to each one how excited he gets by them. He then tells Alex to be careful, since his opponent loves explosives. Alex asks William to lower the ladder he is hanging from, but William is too busy to seduce the spool of the crank. Impatient, Alex decides to make a jump for it, hoping that the roof won’t explode.

Inside the train, an overweight woman, dressed like the White Queen, and two henchmen, one dressed as a police officer and the other a construction worker, hear Alex landing. She orders them to deal with them, while she takes the detonator and starts whispering about how excited the detonator makes her.
Meanwhile, William climbs out of the helicopter onto the train. Alex tells him to hurry and asks him if he’s sure that Lynda Lodestone is behind this. William confirms this, since Lynda is suffering from the same condition as William himself is. Alex grabs William who is about to fall from the train, but William gets hysterical. It turns out that he can’t stand to be touched by people. Alex is very surprised about this and makes a mental note to spend some time with Inez, to prevent from turning into someone like William.

At this time, three henchmen have climbed the roof of the train and one of them fires an arrow through Alex’s hand, causing him to drop his gun. Lynda then welcomes them. She recognises Alex as the mercenary who caught the monkey. William confirms it, but says that he has improved since then. Alex decides to prove it and attacks the henchmen, quickly taking them out. However, he is stopped by Lynda who threatens to throw Marie Antoinette’s panties from the train. William is outraged that she removed the protective sleeve from the panties, but immediately goes into ecstasy at the thought of protective sleeves.

Lynda lets go of the panties and Alex jumps after them, at the same time questioning his sanity to risk his life to catch some 18th century knickers. He grabs them with one hand and manages to grab the ladder, hanging from the helicopter, with the other, despite having an arrow wound in his hand. Lynda then threatens to detonate the explosive, which is in the case she stole from William. Alex lands on the train again and, while kicking and punching the henchmen, he tells Lynda and William that they are made for each other. He points out the similarities between them and pushes them at each other. They stare in each other’s eyes for a moment before realizing the truth. They hug but accidentally press the button on the detonator. The train explodes and, in the explosion, Alex manages to grab some underwear he recognises as his own. He falls into the water, showered in underwear. He grabs another pair and walks towards William. Alex returns the pair, while William moans about how exquisite the pain is. Alex tells him that he thinks that William’s new lady landed over there. Then pointing in multiple other directions he adds, “there and some pieces over there” Addressing his still horizontal boss, Alex asks when he is going to get paid.

After he’s paid, Alex returns to Alpine Park, where he has gathered his friends (and Taskmaster) and offers them to become a team together. He looks at Taskmaster and says that, while they may have some problems, when they worked together, they kicked ass. He then tells them that they have a load of jobs to do. Taskmaster refuses, telling them that he already has loads of jobs, but Alex says that the point is that they don’t have to be alone. Taskmaster replies that he likes being alone. Maybe he’ll come by from time to time but that’s it. Inez then tells Alex that her father is sick and that she needs to return to Texas for some time. Alex is confused but he says that he can’t go with her. Inez is disappointed but tells Sandi to take care of Alex. Sandi tries to comfort her but Inez leaves, wishing them all good luck.

Alex asks Sandi what she thinks. She replies that while her life is far more dangerous, she also likes it and that the park may need a makeover, but that she trusts Alex to become something. Mary tells Alex that he can’t get rid of her and Alex concludes that the three of them would make a fine organization. He hands Taskmaster an Agency X business card and thanks him for helping them when they needed him.

Characters Involved: 

Alex Hayden/Agent X (mercenary)

Sandi Brandenberg (Hayden’s business partner)

Mary Zero (homeless girl, who is invisible to anybody except Alex)

Taskmaster/ Tony (Sandi’s boyfriend and notorious mercenary)

Outlaw / (Crazy) Inez (gun-expert)

Sir ‘Shameful’ William (omni-fetishist)

Unnamed personal assistant to Sir William

Artemis (servant of Sir William)

Lynda Lodestone (another omni-fetishist)

Henchmen of Lynda Lodestone

Story Notes: 

Lynda’s henchmen are all dressed like characters from the Village People, a musical group who first debuted in the 1970s.

In Agent X #1, Alex first assignment was to retrieve several escaped zoo animals, including an ape (which is erroneously referred to as a monkey in this issue)

Robert Alexander Schumann (1810-1856) was a German composer who was a leader of the romantic movement of the 19th century. He was known for trying to blend classic forms with intense, personal emotion. Franz Joseph Hayden (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer who was a close friend of Mozart. Among his many accomplishments include over 100 symphonies, Hayden wrote the national anthem of Austria.

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