Chamber #2

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
The Hollow Man - chapter two

Brian K. Vaughn (writer), Lee Ferguson (penciler), Norm Rapmund (inker), Jose Villarrubia (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Mike Raicht (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Chamber awakes from his sleep after being shot by an unknown attacker, who escapes through a window. Fortunately Chamber is not dead, as his entire body consists of bio-kinetic energy with no vital organs that could be damaged. A few minutes later, his human roommate Walter returns and they have another verbal argument. The next morning Chamber confides in his new friend Amber, a mutant like him. He tells Amber his true reason for being at ESU, as well as the fact that he is an X-Man. Recognizing a student trailing him, Chamber angrily asks what he wants and is surprised when he is asked to take part in a student film. However he soon gets disappointed, because the guy only wants him for his special effects. Afterwards, Chamber and Amber are again harassed again by Kirk, the Neutrino Annihilator, and his mutant friends among the Magnetic North, but again Chamber is more clever than them. In the afternoon, Chamber meets with Gigi Martin the co-founder of Students for Tolerance. She was in love with one of the mutants killed in the bomb blast. Gigi thinks that the people behind the Purity website are responsible for the attack. Having not much internet experience, Chamber goes to Amber, but is startled when a beautiful blonde female opens her door. It turns out that she is Amber’s roommate, and she leaves to get Amber. Half an hour later, she has tracked down the moderator of the local Purity website to a certain dorm room. Chamber investigates and finds it belonging to the “film student”. Chamber accuses him of being the shooter from last night, but the guy finds it ridiculous. Killing mutants only results in them becoming martyrs. Instead he tries to make them feel outcasts. Chamber wonders if not he, who then was behind the bombing, and is surprised to find that the guy too has been investigating this. His conclusion – the mutants students weren’t killed by a bomb but another mutant.

Full Summary: 

Chamber is rudely awakened in his dorm room at Empire State University by six gunshots fired directly at him. After the clip is empty, the gunman flees out the open window. Shocked Chamber tries to question him as he falls back into his bed from the injury. Chamber is a mutant, and when his mutant power manifested it ripped a gaping hole in his lower face and chest. Screaming, he sits up out of bed, with six holes in his chest, his biokinetic energy spewing out of his wrap that covers his chest and lower face. He makes a sarcastic remark to himself about not being dead, as there is a knock on his door.

From outside his room he hears his R.A. who asks what the hell is going on in there. He warns that if he’s setting off bottle rockets, then he’d have to look for off-campus housing. Covering up Jono replies that he had just had the volume too high on his Soprano’s DVD. Not having a mouth Jono communicates telepathically. With Jono’s thought reply, the R.A. recognizes him as one of the Campus mutant students. He pathetically tells Jono that Empire State University does not discriminate against students based on their genetic differences, and that he is there to help him with his special needs. Halfway sincere, the R.A. urges not to report him, as surely his parents would kill him if he lost the free room and board. Jono replies that he knows how that goes.

Still aching and sore, Jono gets up to put on his robe, when he hears the door clicking open. Still alarmed he asks who is there. As the door opens he sees that it is only his roommate Walter, who bitterly tells Jono that he didn’t know he had to knock to enter his own room, and that next time if he wants privacy he should put a sock on the door knob. When asked where he was all night, Walter says that he was in the library like he had already told him before he left. Jono tells him that the library closed three hours ago. Now defensive, Walter tells him that afterwards he went to the computer lab, and asks Jono if he is now Walter’s den mother. Walter tells him asks if they can continue his “interrogation” tomorrow, with the first day of class only a few hours away, and Walter would really like to sleep. Jono bids him sweet dreams as he gazes out the window through which the gunman only recently made his escape.

(the next morning)

It’s raining hard and in the campus courtyard, Jono finds his new friend Amber, who greets him, “Hey it’s me new mate”. Jono tells her to stop talking like that because she sounds like a pirate. She starts to make a physics in cinema joke but is cut when Jono tells her the truth. He tells that when he told her that he was a student majoring in journalism that he wasn’t entirely truthful. That he is actually undercover. Amber jokes and asks if it’s like 21 Jump Street undercover. Jono doesn’t understand, never having heard of the television show. She guesses that the BBC didn’t carry that one. He tells her that he is a member of the X-Men. Amber has heard of them, or at least what she has read online, sworn to protect a world that hates them, “leather pants and all that jazz?”. He tells her more or less she’s right, and that his teammates call him Chamber. That he was sent to find the killer of the group Students For Tolerance. Amber tells him that that’s cool and all, but asks why she telling her. Jono tells her that it is for her own protection, that he is fairly certain that the person he is looking for isn’t done killing mutants.

Spotting a familiar figure in the background he tells Amber that it was the tenth time he has caught him staring at him in two days. When she asks if Jono wonders if he’s spying on him, he replies that there is only one way to find out. Angrily Jono confronts the student, who instantly replies no, and that he was just curious to see if Jono had ever acted before. Jono tells him that he hasn’t acted since grammar school and asks why he is even asking him this. The boy tells Jono that he is a film student and was wondering if he would like to participate in an upcoming project. Shocked Jono asks if he’s serious. The student replies that he had seen the “light show” that Jono had put on yesterday and it would make a sweet special effect, like a zombie being shot in the chest or.... Disappointed and insulted Jono walks away telling him he’s not interested. The student asks if he did something to offend him, because he has a great deal of respect for mutants, and that some of his best friends are mutants.

Walking back to Amber, she warns Jono to get used to it, as that sort of thing happens a lot. He asks if there is a place where they could talk in private, and Amber tells him that she knows just the place that should be empty right about now. Inside the building, a sign reads: Welcome to the dining hall! Today’s lunch: Salisbury Surprise. The dining hall is empty, except for the lunch lady. Jono starts arguing with the lunch lady asking why he should have a meal plan to come in, because he doesn’t have a bloody mouth. Telling him to relax Amber insists that she can put him on her card. Sitting in a far away table, she asks why he thinks mutants are in any danger now than any other day of the week.

Jono tells her that it is either just a hunch or the fact that someone had broke in his room last night and shot him. Surprised and concerned, she asks “ Shot you?”. Jono goes on to tell her that he was shot point blank six times in the chest. It was some kind of handgun, whatever American kids are bringing to school these days. He didn’t get a good look at his face. Still in disbelieve, Amber interrupts by saying it’s impossible. That he couldn’t have been shot with a real gun because he’d be dead, that it must have been a starter pistol or something, Then she asks if he is sure that he wasn’t just dreaming. Dropping the bullets on the table, he tells her that he knows because these came out of his body.

Examining the bullets, she stops and asks just how they came out of his body. When he simply tells her not to ask, she immediately drops them with an “Ew”. When she asks how he is still alive, he tells her what he says is probably the understatement of the century, but he is not like other boys. He continues telling her that he doesn’t have lungs or a heart but that his body is made up of energy. Psionic, biokinetic, or whatever it’s not human. And that not being human is exactly why the bigot had tried to execute him. Amber asks if he is sure meaning that whoever shot him, must have known that bullets couldn’t kill him, that perhaps they were just scare him. As Chamber tells her that they’ve already blown up a club of mutants, he doubts they’d have any problems killing him, he is grabbed by a giant gray hand with claws.

Jono says Hi to Kirk, asking how his face is. Kirk sarcastically replies that it’s Step and Fetchit, the resident house mutants, poking fun at Amber and Jono. Kirk says that his face is fine with a healing factor second only to the mighty Sabretooth. Jono asks what the hell he knows about Sabretooth. Kirk tells that Sabretooth isn’t ashamed to be a mutant like Jono is, and Amber suggests that the Magnetic North should just go back to their little clubhouse. Kirk says that they will as soon as Jono licks his boots. When Jono doesn’t move, Kirk tells him to do it before his comrades break his girlfriend’s arms. Jono reminds him that he would be expelled. Kirk tells Jono that the dean of the college cannot afford to loose any more mutant students, because the bleeding heart humans would stop sending their big donations. Amber in the clutches of Kirks two friends begs Jono not to do it. Bending down with his face towards Kirk’s boots, Jono tells Amber not to worry, that he’s going to get this over with. As Kirk tells him to shine them up real nice, Jono asks if he’s happy, as Kirk is now big mutant on Campus again.

Kirk lets them go telling them he could of avoided this if they would have joined his brothers and sisters in, Jono cuts him off with “whatever”, telling Amber to get out of there. Outside Amber tells him that she cannot believe that he actually kissed Kirk’s boots. Jono replies that he didn’t, as he has no mouth. Puzzled Amber asks what he was doing down there then, when they hear a “Woah!” from inside as Kirk falls. Jono explains that he was tying his shoe laces together and from behind they hear a death threat screamed at them. Jono tells her head for the hills before “Neanderthal” Annihilator comes back when he learns how to untie. That he has to head over to his interview with the human girl from Students For Tolerance, reminding her to watch her back, calling her “luv”. After he left, Amber stands alone in the rain asking herself “ love?”

(at noon)

In the New Students Center, Jono approaches two very strong built students blocking Gigi’s office. They tell him that no one sees Gigi without an appointment. Frustrated Jono reminds them that he’s already told them he has an interview. As he is about to tell his name, Gigi opens the door, telling him she is glad that he could make it. She asks how the student body is treating him, she is wearing a mini skirt with a tight sweater. Jono stares at her, if he had a mouth it would probably drop open, coming up with some words he mutters that he has been treated fine. Inside her office, Gigi calls him a lousy liar, and apologizes for the security hassling him, but they’ve been a lot more serious since her last office was destroyed. Jono says that is exactly why he’s here. She tells him she will try to give him info, but that she does has to go to class soon. Asking his first question about being the founder of the group, she cuts him off. Co-founder she tells him, caressing a picture on the wall of her in a man’s arms. She explains that she and her freshman boyfriend Alex had started the group shortly after they started dating. She re-calls that they thought of themselves as Romeo and Juliet for the twenty-first century.

When he asks if she means that he was a mutant, he learns that Alex was one of the first to take advantage of ESU’s affirmative action program. He had the gift of telepathy, not unlike Jono’s own. When asked if he died in the blast, Gigi looks down and says that he and five other mutants were killed. According to the FBI, someone had hidden a bomb inside a storage closet. Remembering back, she claims that it all happened so quickly that no one had time to react except Alex using his body to shield her from the explosion. Jono tells her that he is very sorry, as she continues that he knows exactly what it’s like to live through tragedy, only to loose someone you love. Gigi tells that she knows that when his mutant power manifested it ripped a massive hole in chest and face, that the same burst of energy reportedly crippled his then girlfriend. When Jono asks how she knows all of that, she tells him he’d be amazed how much he can learn of the internet, claiming that he was “outed” on a website called Purity. That Purity is a website of on-line collections of lunatics who are dedicated to “preserving the human species. ESU doesn’t allow hate groups of any kind to congregate on campus, so they chose to place their anti-mutant campaigns on the internet.

Gigi is sure that they are the sick individuals who planted the bomb, but Chamber reminds her that while it’s clear that morons like them incite violence they can’t be really sure that they are to blame this time. Putting her hand on his chest, Gigi says that intuition tells her that as well as her knowing that he is interested more than just for a byline in the school paper. Agreeing with her, he leans towards her face as she tells him that when he finds the people responsible for the Purity Website, then he will find the monsters who killed her friends.


In the girls dormitory, Jono knocks on Amber’s door. A beautiful blonde girl answers, wearing nothing but a bra and a towel. Fumbling on his words, he asks if she’s single, then rephrases asking if she lives in a single room because... She cuts him off telling him he sounds exactly like Hugh Grant telling him to wait, as she calls for Amber.

Momentarily left alone, Jono sighs in relieve. A few seconds later Amber greets him with a “howdy, handsome”, asking if the fraternity boys sent him on a panty raid. Jono tells her he needs a favor, as he enters he asks if her roommate is into mutants. She tells him not unless they are ninja, turtle, and decorations on her pillow case. He tells that he needs help surfing the web, that he is lousy with that sort of nonsense. She tells him she is a fine arts major, asking if he assumes that every brainy girl is a computer whiz. Asked if she’s not, she sighs asking what he needs, taking the covering off her computer. Chamber tells her he needs to find the ESU students chapter in the Purity website. Asking why, Amber says she always thought they were just harmless nerds that compared to zillions of better funded terrorists, she is cut off when Jono says he just has a hunch. Claiming that’s fair enough, she starts with the moderator of the local board, stating that their security is pretty bush league, with outdated onion routing. She tells him that give her thirty minutes, and she should be able to trace their remailer back to the Ethernet’s original connection, and tell him exactly where the dorm of this creep is.

Somewhat later, outside the suspects room, Jono says to himself that he is glad Ms. Ororo taught the Generation X kids how to pick locks. As the door creeps open, he asks if anyone’s at home, jokingly telling them that they are missing the meeting about the perils of teen smoking. Trying to see in the dark, Jono removes the wraps that cover his mouth, illuminating the room with his bio-energy. Too late he notices a figure with a baseball bat about to swing. The baseball bat cracks him along his face. Jono asks if it is a Louisville Slugger, telling him that the one thing he cannot stand about this country is sodding baseball. He fires his kinetic energy, blasting the figure in the air. Getting a good look at his attacker, Jono realizes who it is. It’s the young student who was following him earlier, claiming to want to use him in a student film. He tells Jono to get his stinking mutant voice out of his head. Jono tells him he thought he “had a great deal of respect for mutants’’. The man tells Jono that he had lost both of his parents to a mutant, so he wouldn’t like mutants either, telling Jono to leave before he calls Campus security.

Chamber dares him to do so, but informs him that he would also tell them that he shot him. The students asks what he is talking about. Jono grabs his collar and tells him to save his stories for his next short film, that they both know that he is part of the internet cronies who tried to kill him. The mutant-hater asks Jono if he is insane. He’d never kill a mutant as that only makes them martyrs. That’s why him and his friends stick to psychological warfare, they embarrass and be-little mutants every chance they get. He claims that he makes them feel like the outcast they are, and is twice as effective at getting them to leave campus.

Jono asks if they came up with that strategy before or after they’d bombed the Students for Tolerance. Rolling his eyes, he saying oh, please, asking if he really thinks a bomb killed those people. Jono asks about what the FBI said, but the guy tells him that he of all people should know that the FBI could care less about finding the killers of a bunch of mutants. Jono asks but you do care? The guy tells Jono that he cares more than he knows, that one of his friends who is getting his master in forensics did his own sweep of the crime scene. He confirmed what they already had guessed: That the Students of Tolerance were not killed by a bomb, but from another mutant. Jono’s eyes are wide in shock.

Characters Involved: 


Walter, Chamber’s roommate


Gigi Martin (Students for Tolerance)

other human students

“film student / Purity website moderator

Neutrino Annihilator (Magnetic North)

other mutant students

Story Notes: 

Bastion of Operation: Zero Tolerance already theorized that Chambers body is completely made up of psionic energy in Generation X #20.

“21 Jump Street” was a TV show with teenage cops in training doing undercover missions, like infiltrating street gangs.

The group Purity was involved more in the Mekanix limited series #1-6. The actual website was read by Shadowcat in the back-story in X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001.

Ms. Ororo is none other than Storm of the X-Men. As a child she was living in Cairo and trained as a thief and lockpick.

Issue Information: 
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