Fantomex Max #4

Issue Date: 
March 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: 

MacReady is shocked at how callously her colleague Stirling murdered millions of people and turns against him. Stirling kills her, then tries to use the laser again, only to find EVA has hacked into the system. Agent Flemyng further distracts him with a weapon, allowing Fantoemx to break free and fight him. During the battle, Stirling sees into Fantomex’s mind and learns something about his mother’s murder. Fantomex nevertheless takes him out and joins Flemyng and EVA outside. Agent Flemyng tries to arrest him and Fantomex knocks her out, but makes sure she is found and will get all the credit for solving the case. Later, Flemyng has become director of her intelligence service and Fantomex offers EVA a mechanical body.

Full Summary: 

Xantananarivo, Madagascar:
Dead bodies lie in the conflagration caused by the death ray.

Meteor defense, Antarctica:
Alexandra MacReady asks her erstwhile colleague Stirling what he has done. He said they were only going to use that thing to destroy landmarks! For money!

Her stupidity never ceases to amaze him, Stirling scoffs. This was a suicide mission from the start! Does she think the owners of this facility – seven of the most powerful nations – are going to stand for this? He expects to be dead within in a day! But a hundred million will fall before him!

Crouching next to Fantomex, who is under Stirling’s mind control, is Agent Flemyng who states they have probably already figured out what he is doing. They’ll nuke this place within hours.

Stirling reminds her that the Earth is marked for cosmic destruction in 2025. The only thing that can prevent this is this device built by a man who cannot be found any more.

Fantomex groans he is right. They won’t destroy the device for a few million when the fate of the entire Earth is at stake.

Stirling is amazed he can still talk but thanks him for agreeing with him. MacReady berates him for killing their colleague Richard Gaunt. They were all friends! Stirling scoffs they were all flunkies. She can’t let him do this! she decides.

Fantomex, in the meantime, tells Flemyng he needs her to find a way to break Stirling’s hold over him.

MacReady tells Stirling it is over and to get out. She will deliver Fantomex’s head to him when this is over. He tells her he anticipated this and uses his power to make her heart burst out of her body. Mr. Gaunt always said her heart would be the death of her, he quips.

The Death ray is targeting Australia. Stirling wants to fire it again, instead EVA’s face appears on the screen with the message “fuck you, asshole.”

Fantomex shouts “now” and Flemyng fires at Stirling with the small artificial creature she found in Fantomex’s holster. She manages to shoot Stirling’s right arm.

Fantomex tells Stirling he was beaten when he involved him. Michael Shivas is the one who coded his lovely companion. It was a simple matter for her to hack this system.

Fantomex decides to deliver a fatal beating to Stirling and suggests Flemyng wait outside. The man with the three brains, Stirling mocks. It’s said his body was super-engineered by nanotechnology. And he uses his powers to steal! He lacks imagination!

Three brains? Nanotechnology? Fantomex scoffs. He must have been on his Wikipedia page. He hits him hard. He has a new writer now! And Stirling is a sad little man who covets power that doesn’t belong to him. A fly who dreamt he was man. So who is he? Stirling asks. He takes off his mask and tells him to take a good look before he joins the choir invisible.

Stirling attacks him again with the tentacles. He sees a beautiful blonde, Fantomex’s mother, Lily 7.He sees the man who killed his mother…

Fantomex’s Memories:
Lily was fleeing from a broken car, carrying young Jean-Philippe in one arm, a gun in the other. She told him they needed to hurry before they get captured.

She was shot and told her son to run and find the mechanic. Speaking in German, the killer held a knife to her throat and said she had led him on a long chase. Jean-Philippe helplessly watched him cut her throat.

Stirling withdraws the tentacle and goads Fantomex, saying he won’t believe what else he found in there, and they kept it from him all the time. And now he will die without knowing. Then he shows what he can really do, as his arms deform in a strange way. Stirling explains that he is able to manipulate his body using mass from surrounding biological material, in this case Fantomex’s alien creature.

Still, Fantomx easily hits and kicks him and calls him a narcissistic cretin. He makes him sound like an anime schoolgirl. At first he thought he had a simple case of Dunning-Kruger, but no. As incompetent as he is, it could only be Anosognosia. It’s not his fault. Assuming his little origin story is true, it’s clear that eating the flesh of the alien warped his mind. But it’s no excuse for what he’s done her today. Ruining that nice shirt!

Calling him an idiot, Stirling orders him to shut up and attacks. Fantomex shoots him in the head with his small alien, obliterating the skin and flesh of his left side. Fantomex asks what he meant about someone hiding his memories. What did he see? Stirling grins that he will never know who he really is.

His work done, Fantomex steps outside where Rhona Flemyng is waiting. EVA complains that horrible woman asked to board but she told her to get stuffed. Fantomex tells her to show some manners. It’s a bit King Billy out here. Fleyming tries to ask about Stirling. Fantomex assures her he is defeated and she will be right as rain in no time. Is she okay? he asks. EVA has excellent therapy modules, if she needs to discuss her assault. Jesus, he gets right to the point, she replies disgusted.

Stirling staggers outside, still with an alien arm, threatening to kill them both. Fantomex asks EVA to do the honors and the arctic vessel she controls shoots him.

Rest in pieces, Fantomex comments and offers to drop Flemyng off at another base. She draws her gun and threatens him. Did he think she would melt because he saved her? All those flower and cute notes he’s sent? He is pathetic!

Enrage EVA aims her guns at her and offers to kill her. Fantomex tells her to stand down. He already removed Flemyng’s bullets.

She is surprised. Bitterly, he remarks he thought saving her and a lot of people would count for something. Let him give her something to remember him by. He hits her in the face and takes her out. What is it he’s doing wrong? he complains to EVA. Other than being an international super-criminal she’s been trying to put away for years? EVA asks.

He puts Flemyng into the arctic station and asks EVA to tell the government that Flemyng saved the day and the ray is safe under lock and key. His lock and key. EVA tells him she was monitoring Flemyng’s vital signals. She was lying when she said those awful things to him.

Fantomex’s mysterious fortress of awesomeness:
One month later:
Hologram EVA remarks she can’t believe they cut off that guy’s hand. She hated that guy but kinda like him too. Is that weird? Balanced retribution, he opines. He will invariably be toothless in the next season. Anyway, she’s probably wondering why he finally allowed her access to this room. She suggests he finally realized she could shut off all air to this windowless room. Any time. He sighs, he’s never met such an impatient annoying creature.

In response, she shows him the news: Agent Flemyng promising she’ll address the Fantomex issue first as acting director. She only has one thing to say and she hopes he is listening. The next time they meet, he’ll get everything that’s coming to him.

She loves him, he decides. She loves him not, EVA replies.

He announces he’s finished his mysterious hush hush project and shows her what he’s been working on: an interface he’s cobbled together from one of Shiva’s designs will allow her to take control of the somewhat crude mechanical body he’s made. It’s crude but--. She loves it. He’ll take that footrub now, if she knows what he means…

Characters Involved: 


Agent Rhona Flemyng

MacReady, Stirling (Grover Lane)

In flashback:
Young Jean-Philippe
Lily 7

Her killer

Story Notes: 

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein relatively unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate.

Anosognosia is a deficit of self-awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers a certain disability seems unaware of the existence of his or her disability.

“King Billy” if probably Cockney rhyming slang for “chilly.”

“Choir invisible” refers to the deceased, first referred to the George Eliot poem “O May I Join the Choir Invisible” but more popularly known as being a line in the Monty Python “Parrot Sketch.”

Presumably EVA and Fantomex are talking about the character of Jaime Lannister from the HBO series Game of Thrones / George R.R. Martin’s novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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