Mekanix #1

Issue Date: 
December 2002
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Juan Bobilla and Marceto Sosa (artists), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Avalon Studios’ Edgar Tadeo (colors), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The anti-mutant group Purity claims that one of the students in Prof. Benes’ Advanced Physics class – a class that includes Kitty Pryde - is a mutant. Kitty is seething, but can’t do anything about it. She has to attend her first session of mandatory counseling with Dr. Maureen Lyzinski, since she’s been put on probation after beating up several fellow students. Kitty refuses to talk to the woman until the very end of the session. When looking at snapshots that show a younger Maureen as a soldier, Kitty mentions that her father enlisted in Vietnam as a young man.
As the girl leaves, Maureen worries about Kitty, who, once outside, breaks down crying. Later while working at the bar she runs into another former student of Xavier’s - Shan aka Karma , who’s also studying in Chicago and who invites Kitty over for dinner with her family. Later at night, they discuss their former and current lives. Kitty tells Shan that her father was killed on Genosha and that there are people who will never stop trying to get rid of mutants. Some of those people – three Purity members – Tom, Jeff and Alice are meeting in a dorm. Tom has hacked into the physics lab’s network and the command protocols of Prof. Benes’ experiment. When he leaves the room, the other two start manipulating it. Kitty’s class, in the meantime is getting ready for the big experiment. They also discuss the Purity’s site attack on them, with Kitty trying to keep out of the argument, until Benes asks them to start concentrating. Suddenly the experiment goes wild, the other students run and Kitty jumps for Benes as around them everything explodes. In another part of Chicago, Shola Inkosi, a Genoshan exchange student with no place to go, has nightmares about the destruction of Genosha. Determined not to fall asleep again, he goes looking for a coffee shop. When he is accosted by a gang he uses his psychic powers to dismantle their guns - and several cars as well – and then calmly orders his coffee. On Lake Huron a mysterious freighter resists any attempts to be boarded, and the Coast Guard members who try to do so, die in the process.

Full Summary: 

Kitty Pryde can’t catch a break. She has left the X-Men to lead a normal life at the University of Chicago, but now she and her fellow students in Professor Benes’ Advanced Physics Tutorial are having their faces plastered across the website of the anti-mutant group “Purity”. Purity claims that a mutant has infiltrated the class and considering that they are engaged in possibly revolutionary applications of Quantum Physics, there’s no telling what a mutie might do with that knowledge. Kitty’s seething, but there isn’t anything she can do about it, and besides they’re right. There IS a mutant in the class, after all.

Returning from her night job at Dylan Maguire’s bar, she gets ready for her first appointment with her therapist Maureen Lyzinski. Since she lost her temper some time ago and beat up Jeff Holloway and several other Purity members, she is now on full probation and has to undergo mandatory counseling if she wants to stay at college. Doesn’t mean she has to be cooperative though. Therefore she just sits across Maureen for an entire hour in stony-faced silence. She can’t help noticing the snapshots in Maureen’s office though, one of them showing a younger Maureen as the sole woman in a fighting unit – presumably in Vietnam – and another snapshot showing a reunion of the former soldiers. With the hour up, Maureen asks if she’ll see Kitty on Friday. Does she have a choice, Kitty snaps. Everybody has choices, the older woman calmly replies, and has to live with their consequences.

Taking another look at the pictures, Kitty states that her father joined the Marines and went to Vietnam. He lied about his age when he enlisted. That was HIS choice. Watching the girl leave, Maureen wonders what Kitty’s war was. She calls Dean Maguire, telling him she’ll do her best to help Kitty, but she hopes she isn’t too late. Riding back to College Kitty breaks down and cries. She wants her father and feels guilty about his death. She recalls Maureen mentioning choices - Kitty’s choice brought her to this place and she’s determined to stay.

Later at night, she’s back at her job tending bar at Dylan Maguire’s “Belles of Hell” and having fun. Distracted, she takes a young Asian woman’s order, until she gets a look at her, recognizing her as another former student at Xavier’s school – the former New Mutant Karma AKA Xi’An Coy Manh. The two young women hug and Kitty introduces Shan to her boss Dylan as an old friend. Dylan tells Kitty to take a break and catch up with Shan. Shan makes a flattering remark about Dylan and Kitty is taken aback. Isn’t Shan gay, she doesn’t outright state, but imply. She can still admire the view, Shan jokes, asking in turn about Kitty’s relationship prospects. Kitty replies, she’s sworn off relationships and then asks, how Shan found her.

Shan explains that she’s working in the university library while going for her degree as a librarian and possibly language teacher. She ran across Kitty’s name and face on the Purity website, a thought that sobers them both up. Kitty inquires after Shan’s younger sibling, Leong and Nga.
They’re fine, Shan replies, they have an apartment now and invites Kitty over for dinner. Kitty’s reluctant, she has to work after all, but Dylan cuts her loose. As Shan and Kitty enter the modest apartment with groceries, her younger siblings run away and hide, when they see their guest. Shan chides them, but explains to Kitty, that they’ve been through a lot and have to rediscover what’s normal.

After dinner, Shan prays with her sibling and tucks them in, before she and Kitty share a few beers on the roof. Kitty wonders why Shan isn’t cold, and Shan shows her that she’s wearing her old New Mutants uniform under her clothes. The costume works as an environment suit and – if need be – as body armor. Shan muses that she misses the superhero life. Everything feels so mundane now. Fine with Kitty though. That’s the kind of life she wants. Changing the subject, Shan enquires after Kitty’s parents and Kitty tells her that her father perished when Cassandra Nova’s Sentinels destroyed Genosha. There are people who want them dead, she says soberly and they won’t stop until they succeed.

Meanwhile at Lake Huron, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Rockhampton hails a mysterious freighter that gives no sign of having heard. Guard members board the freighter from a helicopter. As they enter the deck, they see a mysterious light. The helicopter is suddenly shot down, the freighter turns and destroys the Rockhampton. The freighter then reports to the Guard on Land, pretending to be the Rockhampton and claiming all is well.

Back in Chicago, near Hyde Park, another mutant has Genosha on his mind. It’s Shola Inkosi, a young foreign exchange student from Genosha. He finds himself in a legal no-man’s land. As Genosha was considered a terrorist state when Magneto started threatening the world again, Shola had his student visa revoked and was supposed to be deported to Genosha. But thanks to Cassandra Nova, Genosha no longer exists. He has fallen asleep, dreaming once again about Genosha. He finds himself trapped in a memory, how he psychically was in contact with Wilhelmina – a girl in Emma Frost’s telepathy class, when the Sentinels appeared and started destroying everything. Waking up, he’s determined not to fall asleep again. He runs to the next coffee shop and gets accosted by some gang members threatening him with a gun. Shola’s eyes start to glow and the gun explodes into its parts as do several cars around them. Shola calmly enters the café and sips his coffee, while the bystanders wonder what the hell just happened.

In an off-campus dorm Jeff Holloway, Tom More and Alice, three members of Purity, are meeting. Jeff is bringing he latest anti-mutant flyers with him. In the meantime Tom has hacked into the physics lab network – Benes’ class has scheduled a big test for that evening. Tom states that he wished Benes would change his mind. He and his class are playing with primal forces – you can’t trust a mutie with that kind of knowledge. Jeff grimly calls Benes a race traitor – him and his pet student Kitty Pryde. Tom points out, that Jeff is just angry because she decked him and six of his friends. This isn’t personal, he points out to the insulted Jeff, but a sacred mission. If Kitty’s human, they’re fighting for her sake as well. He asks his girlfriend Alice whether they ever wonder if the mutie alert is wrong. Alice kisses him and tells him no. Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear after all. Calmed, Tom leaves and asks the other two just to observe, but not to actually play with the command protocols, which, once he’s gone, is exactly what the two intend to do, the better to flush out the mutie.

Having no idea what’s in store for them the Physics class is getting ready for the big test: the goal is to identify and possibly manipulate the fundamental building blocks of creation. Kitty’s the resident “mechanic” in charge of the more technical aspects. While she’s aligning the lasers, Georges shows her the T-shirts the class made – showing all their snapshots from the purity site with bullseyes around them on the back and a “No Purity sign” on front. Kitty tells the others she can’t afford a fight, seeing as how she’s on probation. The others discuss the “mutant alarm”. Some of them want to crash the site with a virus, others are just plain scared, until Benes breaks it up and asks them to focus on the matter at hand. Just as they are starting the test Kitty notices something. She asks them to abort – the system is running on full power and can’t be stopped, though. The other students are running away – Benes is paralyzed. Kitty jumps at him, trying to get him out of harm’s way as around them everything goes to hell.

Characters Involved: 

Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat (former X-Man)

Xi’An “Shan” Coy Manh / Karma (former New Mutant)

Leong and Nga Coy Manh, Karma’s younger siblings

Dylan Maguire, Kitty’s neighbor and boss at the bar

Dr. Maureen Lyzinski, a psychiatrist

Shola Inkosi, a Genoshan mutant exchange student

Professor Simon Benes, Kitty’s teacher in her advanced Physics class

Sandra Burgos, Martin Hanover, Aaliyah Hardin, Brandy Hardin, Jun Ho Kim, Louis Magee, Georges Raymond, Aaron Rosenberg, Pauline Shimizu, Danny Zucco (Kitty’s classmates)

Alice, Jeff Holloway, Tom More (all members of the anti-mutant group “Purity)

In a dream / flashback :

Emma Frost

Story Notes: 

While the name “Xi’an” was always pronounced as “Shan”, the editors felt that two variants of spelling were too confusing, hence Karma is now only referred to as “Shan”.
Genosha was destroyed in New X-Men #115.
Kitty learned of her father’s death in X-Men Unlimited #36.
She also beat up Jeff Holloway and several of his friends in X-the same issue. As a result she was put on probation.
Shan was hinted to be gay in X-Force #75. How Kitty might know of this is another matter, of course.
Leong and Nga lost their parents at an early age, had to flee their country, were abducted several times, had their bodies altered and were brainwashed by several villains– so, yes, they’ve been through a lot.
So far it is unknown wether there is any relation between Dylan Maguire, Kitty’s boss at the bar, and John Joseph Maguire, dean of students.

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