District X #14

Issue Date: 
August 2005
Story Title: 
One of us - part 2

David Hine (writer), Lan Medina (penciler), Alejandro ‘Boy’ Sicat (inks), Digital Rainbow (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt & Albert Deschesne (letters), Trevor Hairsine (cover), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

With P.J. lying dead on the café floor, Ross is about to throw his knife at Billy, when Sylvie bravely stops him. The distraction allows Billy to kill Ross with his mutant claws. The eldest of the thugs grabs Sylvie to use as a hostage, but she stamps on his foot and Billy takes him out too. The guy’s son is shocked but, when he is warned to leave by Billy, he retaliates by leaping at him. The guy is killed as they struggle on the floor as Jean Claude, the café’s owner, calls the cops. With all four guys now dead, Billy takes Sylvie into the back room as the cops arrive. She is scared of him, but he wants to speak to her before this all ends. Outside, Bishop and Izzy are joined by Agent Jerry Haliwell, who is also working for Alexei Vazhin. Snipers are stationed all around, but Bishop wants to end this quietly. Haliwell calls Vazhin, who informs him that he’s sending Agent Popova to sort this out. Billy explains that the reason he chose her to out himself as a mutant is because, when he first saw her, he knew his life would change forever. Popova arrives, and uses a microwave gun to shoot Billy. The pain causes him to flail forwards, allowing a sniper to shoot him through the chest. He dies almost instantly. Bishop knows that Haliwell is somehow responsible, but can’t prove anything. Haliwell then persuades both Bishop and Izzy to get Jean Claude and Sylvie to keep a lid on the truth. One of the guys Billy killed was a leading light in the anti-mutant group Purity. If it became known that he was killed by a mutant, there would be retaliations that the mutant community just wouldn’t want. Their café might also suffer. Haliwell offers a large cash sum to the Lauziere’s to keep to his story, and they are reluctantly forced to accept.

Full Summary: 

(Mutant Town - present)

Following a recent slaughter in his café, Jean Claude Lauziere sits across the table from Izzy Ortega. He explains to Izzy that he was in his kitchen preparing lunch when he heard shouting. He thought his daughter, Sylvie, might be in trouble, so he grabbed his baseball bat and went to see what was happening. Jean Claude explains the events.


In the café, PJ is lying down with blood all around him. His friends are shocked, and PJ’s friend, Ross, has every intention of doing the same to his assailant; William ‘Billy’ Bates. As Jean Claude picks up the phone to call the police, Jean Claude’s daughter, Sylvie, grabs a knife from Ross


Jean Claude thinks his daughter is very brave. He told the police to come quick, but didn’t actually do anything himself. He just didn’t know what to do. He then saw the kid’s arms. His fingers were long and sharp - like spikes. “The kid is a mutant!” he tells Izzy. And then, he adds, “Whoosh!” Izzy queries this.


Billy lashes out at Ross, plunging his claws straight into his body and out the other side. Ross falls immediately, and his friends react by grabbing Sylvie as a hostage in order to allow them to leave. Sylvie manages to stand on one guy’s foot, and the distraction allows Billy to do the same to him as he had done to Ross. Sylvie is appalled. Billy warns the final guy to turn around and run, but he replies that no Barfield ever runs away from a fight.

Billy warns him not to do this, but Barfield leaps at him in anger and lands on Billy, crashing through a table and chairs. As they struggle on the floor, Billy wonders what’s wrong with these people. Cop cars show up, and Billy grabs Sylvie in desperation, taking her into the back room.

There, she and Billy chat as he figures out what he should do next. Billy is buzzing with adrenaline. We were great, he beams. Sylvie edges away from him, and asks him not to say that. William seems pleased that she stopped the guy with the knife. Sylvie reminds him that this isn’t Bonnie and Clyde, or Natural Born Killers. He killed them, and she has nothing to do with it. Billy replies that he just wanted to help her. Sylvie asks if he calls that helping. She deals with people like that every day, and knows how to handle them. She doesn’t kill them

Sylvie wants to leave, and tells Billy that, if he cares about her like he says, then he’ll let her go. Billy raises his mutated hand, and Sylvie cowers against the wall. He informs her that he’ll let her go, but he wants to say some stuff first.


Izzy asks Bishop what he wants to do with the kid. Bishop feels he needs some time, but he’ll come out. He just let things get away from him. Izzy agrees. From what Jean Claude tells him it sounds like a macho face-off that got out of hand. A guy with shades on approaches and asks if he knows Jean Claude. Izzy enquires as to who’s asking. Bishop introduces the man as being Agent Jerry Haliwell. He works with mutant relations.

Izzy asks if he’s FBI? CIA? Bishop never did say. Haliwell just asks him to answer the question. Is he personally acquainted with Jean Claude Lauziere? Izzy says he comes here a lot and knows his daughter, Sylvie. He’d like her to walk out of here in one piece. Bishop asks if they have a visual of Billy and the hostage. Haliwell points to the rooftops around the Café des Artistes, and shows Bishop several marksmen watching the café. So far the hostage has stayed down, he explains, but if he moves towards the hostage they should get a clear shot. Bishop tells him he can talk him out; there’s no need to shoot. Haliwell says he’ll take it under consideration, but it’s his call. As Haliwell walks away, Izzy wonders why he has the feeling Jerry would rather save the city the cost of a trial.

Haliwell calls Commander Alexei Vazhin and informs him that Bishop seems confident he can bring the perp out alive. Vazhin replies that this is no longer an option. They have new intel on the victims. One of them is Leon Joseph Barfield, who just happens to be a leading light in the Louisiana chapter of Purity. He looks at Barfield’s details on screen. He continues to point out that having a prominent member of the most influential anti-mutant pressure group in the U.S.A. being brutally murdered by a mutant in the heart of Mutant Town is exactly the reason their organization was set up in the first place. As the event has already taken place, the best they can hope for is containment.

Agent Haliwell informs Vazhin that he’s monitoring Bishop’s calls to William Bates. No one knows he’s a mutant outside of the event zone; not even his family. Vazhin asks how many witnesses know Bates is a mutant. Haliwell says the uniforms never got a look at him, so it’s just their people, the hostage and her father. Vazhin wonders if they could eliminate them, but discards that train of thought immediately. He advises Haliwell to send the corpses to their own mortuary facilities. Their people will determine that the cause of death will be stab wounds inflicted with a knife. “And Bates?” asks Haliwell. Vazhin replies that, if it gets out that Bates is a mutant, Purity will be starting anti-mutant riots all over the country. He wants Bates’ dead body bagged and shipped out within the hour.

Haliwell says Bishop isn’t going to like it, but Vazhin tells him that Bishop is becoming a liability. They cannot afford his high principles. Haliwell agrees, but he can’t just give the order to shoot. Vazhin tells him his priority is to safeguard the hostage. His marksmen will have no choice! Haliwell doesn’t really understand, until Vazhin informs him that he’s sending Agent Popova. She knows what to do.


Agent Popova arrives on the scene. She is toned, blonde and wearing shades. Haliwell shows her where to set up her equipment, which allows her a view of Sylvie through the window. She removes her coat to reveal a skimpy black outfit. She sets up a thermal imaging camera and sees Sylvie and Billy’s bodies highlighted against the colder room. Agent Popova builds a weapon that looks like a conventional rifle, but which actually fires microwaves. Haliwell asks if he’s going to microwave his brain.

Billy already regrets his actions. He killed those guys, and he’s gonna have to live with that the rest of his life. Right now, though, this may be the last time he gets to speak to Sylvie, so he’s going to say what he came here to say. He actually wanted her to be the first one to know he’s a mutant. She wonders why he picked on her. Billy says it’s going to sound stupid, but it’s because the first time he came to the café, when saw her that first time, turning round and seeing her standing there, he knew his life had changed forever.

Meanwhile, Bishop feels that Billy has had long enough, and he calls him on his cell phone. Sylvie asks him what he’s going to say, and Billy replies that he’s going to tell him he’s letting her go. As Bishop waits for him to pick up, Haliwell, still monitoring Bishop’s calls, informs Popova that they’re out of time. She can use her gizmo to kill him. Popova replies that she has no intention of killing him. Her objective is to inflict pain so intense, that it’ll drive him insane.

She targets the back of Billy’s head in her sights, and fires. Billy screams in agony and falls forward. He flails about, scaring Sylvie half to death as his clawed arm narrowly misses her. He drops his phone as a police marksman gets him in his sights. He informs Haliwell that he has a shot, and Haliwell orders him to take Billy down.

The shot rings out, and the bullet passes straight through the window and through Billy’s chest. He falls to the ground, and only has time to say Sylvie’s name before he passes away. Sylvie holds her mouth and stays put as Bishop, Izzy and several other officers enter the room. Bishop asks her what happened. Sylvie informs him that Billy was going to let her go, but then he started acting crazy; like there was something in his head. Bishop glances across the street, and notices Haliwell standing in the window, watching. Haliwell calls Vazhin and informs him that their target has been successfully neutralized. Agent Popova disappears, and Haliwell is advised that she was never there.

Sylvie is brought out and is comforted by her father. Bishop meets up with Haliwell. He knows he did something, but doesn’t know just what. Haliwell explains that the kid was mentally unstable. He just killed four complete strangers because they insulted his girl - a girl he appears to have been stalking. Bishop says he wants to see the autopsy report on Billy, and Haliwell replies that he’ll pass on his request. For now, though, he wants to get to the task in hand.

He explains that as far as the public is concerned, Billy was not a mutant. The word mutant doesn’t get mentioned. Bishop doesn’t like playing games with the truth, but Haliwell replies that, if the truth gets out there, there will be retaliation against mutants. He doesn’t want that. Haliwell asks Izzy, who knows the Lauziere’s, that they need to clarify to them where their best interests lie. Izzy tells him that Sylvie is in shock and needs to go to hospital. Haliwell wants Izzy to talk to her first, and tell her Billy was not a mutant. Reluctantly, Bishop and Izzy resign themselves to agreeing with Haliwell’s big picture.

Everyone sits around one of the café’s tables. They explain who Barfield is, and what will happen should the truth emerge. There will be riots, and the Café des Artistes is likely to become a target. Bishop confirms that it is possible. Sylvie tells them that Billy wanted to tell everyone he was a mutant. Izzy says he wouldn’t want to do it like this. He wouldn’t want to cause her trouble.

Haliwell informs them that he’s been authorized to offer them a cash settlement; compensation for damage, loss of income and the stress this has caused them. He offers them $100,000, tax free. It is on condition that they sign an agreement to abide by the official story. They don’t talk about this to anyone - reporters, friends, family, no one, ever!

Sylvie wants to think about it. She’s still in a state of shock, but Haliwell tells her this can’t wait. They need to be singing from the same hymn sheet. It’s in everyone’s best interests. Sylvie glances over at three SWAT officers carrying Billy out in a body bag. “Everyone?” Haliwell tells her they need to think about Billy’s family. They’re going to have a lot to come to terms with. He’s sure the last thing they need to hear is that their son was a mutant. There is a momentary pause, until Sylvie finally decides to accept the offer. Her father asks if she’s sure, and she replies, “Why not? He was just a crazy boy.” A tear trickles its way onto her cheek as she adds, softly, “A stupid crazy boy.”

(one month ago)

Billy and a friend walk past the Café des Artistes. His friend has heard about the place and wants to check it out. Billy thinks it sounds totally bogus, but he’s persuaded to enter. The guy explains that they’ve got cool pictures of mutants, like bearded ladies and guys with three legs and flippers and stuff. They enter to find a few diners there, and sure enough there are pictures lining the walls.

They check out stills from the movie, Freaks, and have a laugh as they remember scenes from the movie. As they chat, Billy turns around and catches sight of Sylvie. She finishes off one of the movie’s quotes for him, and Billy’s is infatuated.

Characters Involved: 


Izzy Ortega

Jean Claude Lauziere

William ‘Billy’ Nathaniel Bates

SWAT officers

News crews

Police Officers

Agent Jerry Haliwell

Alexei Vazhin

Agent Popova

Sylvette Lauziere (Sylvie)

(on screen)

Sonny Barfield

(recent flashback)

William Nathaniel Bates

Jean Claude and Sylvette Lauziere

Leon Joseph Barfield and his pop, PJ and Ross

Police officers

(flashback - one month ago)

William Nathaniel Bates

William’s friend

Two juicers and other café patrons

Sylvie Lauziere

Passers by

Story Notes: 

This is the last issue of the series. The title changes to Mutopia X as part of the House of M crossover.

Agent Haliwell’s name is clearly based on the former Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell.

Bonnie and Clyde were real-life outlaws during the 1930’s. Their story was made into a 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Natural Born Killers was a violent 1994 movie, directed by Oliver Stone from an idea by Quentin Tarantino. It starred Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as Mickey and Mallory.

Freaks is a 1932 movie directed by Tod Browning which has a peculiarly cult following.

The two juicers in the diner have appeared in four previous issues of District X.

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