Mutant X #18

Issue Date: 
April 2000
Story Title: 
America’s Future

Howard Mackie (writer), Cary Nord & Billy Patton (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Gina Going (colors), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Jack and Dianne are two ordinary human beings, who enroll, just like every other American kid that is old enough, in Nick Fury’s fresh S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits, who have no other duty than to capture every mutant and super-being and bring them to “safety” for their “own good.” When S.H.I.E.L.D. locates the Six, who have just rescued another young mutant from S.H.I.E.L.D. danger, Jack and Dianne are the only one left standing. Havok explains to them that they are supposed to rescue two mutants. Nobody understands what Alex means, when suddenly Dianne’s mutant fire powers begin to manifest, right in front of them. Dianne escaped the scanners that locate positive mutants, but she most definatly is one. Jack can’t stand this revelation and calls for back-up, entering Frank Castle and the Punishers. The Six, realizing they are outnumbered, prepare for battle anyhow and get the help of a mysterious redhaired woman, who defeats the Punishers and helps the Six and the two mutants escape. In the plane, the mysterious woman introduces herself to be none other than… Jean Grey!

Full Summary: 

This is a story about Jack Lang and Dianne Davidson, two American citizens with two complete different backgrounds. Jack comes from the mean streets from Brooklyn and has had trouble with the law from the day he was born. Dianne’s a girl with rich parents, whose father is CBO of a major company and her mother’s family lineage goes back to the day of the Mayflower. Now, though, they both enroll together to join Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. against the long expected war against… mutants.

Nick Fury gives his gathered troops a long, but strong speech. Fury knows that things won’t be easy, but the best will get through. They shall test their skills against recent captured alien Skrulls.The soldiers will also be scanned on a daily basis to see if they have the mutant factor in their bodies or not. If not, they can proceed training and, if positive, they will be treated with respect but moved to another faculty. They are not monsters here, but the mutant threat must be handled, and America must prevail!

Meanwhile, Havok, Bloodstorm and Brute have rescued yet another mutant, Harry, but are attacked by several S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Brute’s scared, so Havok orders him and Bloodstorm to take Harry to their plane, while he tries to reason with their attackers. Havok fails with his reasoning and, when noticing that his attackers aren’t even yet full S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they can stop now from trying to arrest him. While Havok prepares to defend himself, Bloodstorm summons the Creatures of the Night (rats) and they help her and Brute fight against the S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits.

The recruits go for back-up, leaving only Jack and Dianne behind. Jack’s nervous and gives their position away, due to a rabbit that scared him. Jack doesn’t think he can pull the trigger against a human being when the time comes. Dianne kisses him, saying that they’ll be fine. They go scouting and find Harry sitting on the ground and trying to warm himself up. Dianne goes in defense but Harry tells her not to be afraid, as he won’t hurt them; he’s just kid. Dianne wants to do what their training taught them to do, but Jack isn’t sure what their training was: capture or kill?

Dianne wants to kill Harry, because he’s a mutant, but Harry begins talking. He says he’s only 13, small for his age, but his mom always told him that he’d grow, until the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents killed her. Dianne tells him to shut up, realizing that Harry is trying to make them like him. Dianne tries to figure out where the Six are and she realizes that it’s a trap. She and Jack are attacked by spiders, which comes from Bloodstorm, of course. Bloodstorm shows up, rising from her mistform, and introduces herself to Jack and Dianne. Dianne finds Bloodstorm to be beautiful.

Bloodstorm would, in other circumstances, find that a compliment, but not tonight. She orders her spider-friends to leave and thanks them, but she’ll handle things from here. Havok and Brute show up, saying that they came to safe two mutants from Fury. Dianne wants to give up, but Jack convinces his friend not to give up against a mere mutant. Alex becomes angry, not believing what Fury is doing to kids these days. When he first came to this world, it was so different from the world where he came from: they were living in peace. Jack and Dianne don’t know what Alex is talking about, when Dianne suddenly seems to faint.

Alex now realizes that they are too late, thinking about Cerebro, who told them that they had enough time, but Bloodstorm knows that even Cerebro sometimes makes mistake. Jack gets angry, demanding to know what they have done to Dianne. Dianne cries for help, when her body turns completely into fire! Dianne is the other mutant the Six came for. Dianne didn’t get caught by the scanning machines testing for positve mutants, because machines too can sometimes make mistakes. Bloodstorm offers both Jack and Dianne to come with them, but Jack panics and calls for back-up.

Jack runs away and warns the mutants that they will take them away. Alex believes it best to move, just as a mysterious redhaired woman shows up, offering their help. Alex doesn’t trust her but, before he can ask her any further questions, Bloodstorm is blasted by a powerful beam that knocks her out. More troops show up and the mysterious woman introduces them as Frank Castle and the Punishers: brutal mutant hunters and assassins. The mysterious woman uses a mind-blast against the soldiers that make them freeze, giving them the chance to run to the castle. The woman claims that she’s a friend and promises Alex that, in time, he’ll come to trust her, but this Alex doubts. The Six and the woman leave in the plane and Alex asks the woman who she is. She can’t believe that he doesn’t recognize her, because she is… Jean Grey! Alex can’t believe it.

Dianne is rescued by the Six and is aboard their escaping plane. Jack returns to the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, but has seemingly changed, in the bad way. He now trully hates mutants and wants to be nothing else than to become a Punisher!

Characters Involved: 

Bloodstorm, Brute, Havok (all the Six)

Jean Grey

Nick Fury (S.H.I.E.L.D. colonel)

lots of new (unnamed) S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits

Frank Castle and the Punishers

Jack Lang

Dianne Davidson

Harry (young mutant the Six rescue)

Skrulls captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Story Notes: 

When Fury is giving his speech, the readers of this story can see that he’s lying about mutants being treated with respect, as an unconcious mutant is carried aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. plane.

The Skrulls were apparently caught by Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Mutant X #14, though this is uncertain.

In the real universe, Frank Castle is the Punisher and swore to avange his murdered family by killing every criminal the world knows.

The first sentence of the story “This is a story about Jack and Dianne” is inspired by the song “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp.

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