Fantomex Max #3

Issue Date: 
February 2014
Story Title: 

Andrew Hope (writer), Shawn Crystal (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Francesco Francavilla (cover artist), Jordan D. White (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

While Fantomex still battles the Kraken, the Shivas hologram reveals to EVA that he created her. She admits that she loves Fantomex and then helps him beat the Kraken. Afterward, they find out that the real Shivas is dead and get the key Grover Lane demand. In Antarctica, Agent Flemyng is trying to play the members of Grover Lane against each other, resulting in their leader Stirling killing theirs strongman aunt. He reveals to Flemyng how they were lost in the Andes and survived on eating the flesh of an alien which gave them powers. When Fantomex comes, Stirling uses his power to get the key sequence for the laser from his mind and uses it to destroy the island Antataniviro with two million inhabitants.

Full Summary: 

Michael Shivas’ undersea fortress:
EVA finds herself in the body of a young woman at a sunny beach. It is too much for her and she screams in confusion.

The hologram of a middle-aged man appears and tells her it’s okay. It’s probably the shock of transitioning to a corporal form. She’ll be fine soon. EVA tells him she knows him. He is Michael Shivas. He’s her father, he replies. He detected has as soon as their craft approached. He assumes Fantomex found his original retreat. And her sleeping inside.

Is this the real her? EVA asks confused. It’s the look he chose when he created her. Her look in this reality is based on Milicent, his wife. He created all of this? She asks. He thought so but then realized he just opened a quantum gate to an already existing space.

What’s happening to Fantomex? she asks. Calling him ‘dad,’ she admits Fantomex is the man she loves.

Fantomex is entangled with the Kraken and telepathically tries to call EVA. He sees some kind of antenna on the Kraken’s head and realizes it is being remote controlled. After suffering some more injuries, Fantomex manages to tear off the antenna and hits the beast’s brain.

That moment, EVA announces she’s got control of the drainage system. As the water level sinks, she apologizes for taking so long. Better late than never, he replies. She made acquaintance with the building’s A.I., he assumes. EVA doesn’t reply first, then explains she is not in a mood to talk. They’ll discuss her poor performance later, he threatens.

Meanwhile in Antarctica:
Alexandra MacReady returns the abused agent Rhona Flemyng to the other members of Grover Lane. She tosses her at her teammate Richard Gaunt, claiming she softened her up for him.

After Flemyng whispers something to him, Gaunt becomes angry and demands if it is true what she said. Are MacReady and Stirling planning to fuck him over?

They tell him she’s messing with his head and order him to calm down. He repeats Flemyng told him they are teaming up against him, the “dumb muscle.” If Stirling doesn’t man up and tell him the truth, he’ll smash Nauls’ head like a melon. Stirling orders him to get away from Nauls. Gaunt demands the truth. He wants the truth? Stirling repeats. A tentacle grows from his brow and connects to Gaunt’s. The truth is he’s a fuck-up! He keeps him around for kicks but doesn’t need him anymore! MacReady and he are more than match for Fantomex! The tentacle digs into Gaunt’s brain and kills him.

Stirling grabs Flemyng’s hair. She’s become more trouble than she’s worth. He should kill her now but the truth is they have some time. So he’s going to tell her a story…

Stirling’s story / flashback:
It was three years ago. A routine investigation of some mysterious lights in Mote Patria was a dead end. They decided to take a shortcut and fly over the Andes to Tudcum, Argentina. There were four of them back then. They were one division of the Paranormal Investigation Department she knows as Grover Lane. The three of them and Anthony Tremayne.

They hadn’t counted on a leak in the fuel line. He assumed they’d still be able to make it over the range and glide to safety. His mistake. Minutes later, the controlled landing he hoped to make turned out badly. Miraculously, they survived the crash relatively unscathed. But in the middle of nowhere, with no one to help them, their chances were slim. But as it turned out they weren’t alone….

Gaunt and Alexandra were close to death. Anthony was nowhere to be seen. Because of his superior physical conditioning only Stirling had a chance of survival. He followed a sound he’d heard from the cave mouth and found an alien creature eating Anthony’s brain.

Stirling silently withdrew terrified. He and Arthur Tremayne were the longest serving agents of Grover Lane, both recruited straight from the Koestler Parapsychology Unit in Edinburgh. He was terrified. It was his first time seeing an extraterrestrial. He was a lousy shot. But it’s amazing what human survival instinct can do. His aim was true and he shot the creature in the head. He was always different. But as he stood there over the alien corpse, he realized he was born to be great.

They were desperate. Despite arguing about it for days, eventually the three surviving agents cooked and ate the corpse of the alien. Only hours later they paid the price, as they were in horrible pain. They thought the poison would be a quick alternative to a lingering frozen death. Of course, they didn’t die. They spent the next three or four months sleeping and when they awoke they were… different… better, displaying among other things super-strength. They made it down the mountain in half a day and decided to keep their new powers a secret. Having worked for Grover Lane, they knew all too well what would happen to them if they revealed their powers. But now it’s time.
End of narration

In the undersea base, Fantomex has an easy time going ahead as EVA gave him a high security clearance. He stands before a closed door, a sign saying: Smartest man in history at work. Do not disturb. Fantomex admits he likes Shivas. In another life, they’d get on like a house on fire. Does she think he has a sister?

EVA announces they need to go. She was able to get the key algorithm they came for. Fantomex is curious and opens the door despite EVA’s urging that they have to go.

Inside, he sees a wasted human body in a tube. Mr. Shivas, he presumes. In his house at R’lyeh, dead Shivas lies dreaming. Very apt. “Waits dreaming,” EVA corrects him. Can they go now? Fantomex is irritated by the correction. He is getting a strong senses of familiarity. And she knows why. Just what was she doing all the time while he was seconds away from… saving himself in a spectacular fashion?

EVA appears in the hologram form Shivas chose for her and announces they need to talk. They certainly do. Look at all these toys, Fantomex muses. He could use one for his collection. She asks him not to ignore her. He’s being mean. She doesn’t like it. He is still entranced. She warns him that, if he doesn’t leave now, she’ll erase his entire security profile. The entire building will be forced to destroy him. He agrees to go, but they need to make a stop first.

MacReady asks what they do now. They wait, Stirling informs her. That’s his fucking masterplan? she asks disgusted. He’s. Not. Coming! She attacks him physically and taunts him to kill her like he did Richard. Don’t think he won’t! he threatens.

Fantomex enters and asks if he is interrupting something. MacReady believes he hasn’t got the key. Stirling tells her he has it and orders her to look after Flemyng.

A tentacle grows from his forehead and attaches itself to Fantomex’s forehead, cutting off his motor-functions.

Stirling mocks his helplessness, then reads the information he needs from his brain. He tells him to enjoy his last five minutes of life. The clock starts now! He walks to the console and tells MacReady she can kill Flemyng, as she is of no more use to him now. The only thing in his way now is his lack of typing skills.

MacReady throws Flemyng over to Fantomex. Flemyng tells him he shouldn’t have come. He groans he is not yet beaten.

Stirling asks MacReady if she remembers when they visited Antananarivo to investigate the Confederate of Ghosts? He held back the truth from her and Mr Gaunt. He presses a button. In his trip to the afterlife, he met a man who told him: “I see you, my king.” He called him a king! He understood the meaning of his power.

Fantomex tells Flemyng he didn’t anticipate Stirling’s powers. He was overconfident.

MacReady states so Stirling has the launch code. When is he going to send the demands? He tosses her back against the wall with his powers. Change of plan, he announces.

He turns to Fantomex and calls him a man of exceptional knowledge. He’d be surprised if he didn’t know the population of Antananarivo at last census. He tells Flemying it is 2 million people.

The space cannon fires as Stirling quotes: “If the splendor of a thousand suns were to blaze out at once in the sky, that would be the splendor of that mighty being. Gaze upon me with your blinded eyes and weep, for I have come to shatter your world.”

Characters Involved: 


Agent Rhona Flemyng

Gaunt, MacReady, Stirling (all Grover Lane)

Hologram of Michael Shivas

In narration:
Gaunt, MacReady, Stirling, Tremayne (all Grover Lane)

Story Notes: 

In normal continuity, EVA is a part of Fantomex’ mutation.

The Koestler Parapsychology Unit (KPU) is a research group based in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh. Established in 1985, it consists of academic staff and postgraduate students who teach and research various aspects of parapsychology.

“In his house at R’lyeh dead Shivas lies dreaming.” Fantomex and EVA are again quoting H.P Lovecraft.

Stirling quotes from the Baghavad Ghita at the end, much as Oppenheimer did during the test of the first nuclear bomb.

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