Mutopia X #2

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
House of M: Mutopia X

David Hine (writer), Lan Medina (penciler), Alejandro Sicat (inker), Avalon’s Dave Kemp (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterers), Jacob Chabot (production), Sean Ryan (editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Ismael Ortega’s marital problems come to the forefront as he and his wife have a disagreement about sending their daughter Chamayra through the transformative process that will unleash her mutant genes. Izzy believes that being human is just fine while Armena feels that the process simply allows Chamayra to reach her full potential. Izzy seeks comfort in the arms of Lara the Illusionist but their tryst does not go unnoticed by Lara’s husband, who sends his bodyguard to teach Izzy a brutal lesson. Their liaison is also captured by Daily Bugle photographers. At work, Izzy has a tough time explaining why his face is a mess but still manages to help capture some sapien terrorists. His troubles have only begun as the Bugle plans to publish the photos of him in the arms of Lara the Illusionist on their front page.

Full Summary: 

Movie mogul Daniel Kaufman is a ball of rage as he watches the news coverage of his latest premiere, which was disrupted by a terrorist attack. He points at the image of the terrorist leader, Popova and tells his bodyguard to find her and bring her to him before the feds get a hold of her. He is especially angered that she made him look like a psychopath on national TV. Kaufman’s wife Lara the Illusionist enters the room and tells him that he is a psychopath but that she thinks she came out of the debacle looking quite good. She watches the segment with her thanking Izzy Ortega for saving her life. Kaufman simply glares at his wife with jealous eyes.
At home, Izzy Ortega is looking at the phone number he was given by Lara after saving her at the premiere. He pockets it as his wife Armena enters the room and shares the news that their daughter Chamayra has been approved to take part in the next Transition Day and that they have a meeting tomorrow with Absolon Mercator to finalize things. Izzy wonders what it is that Chamayra will “transition into” and Armena replies defensively, “What she was meant to be!” She goes on to say that Chamayra has mutant genes and is already envious of her brother Esteban, whose powers have already manifested and involve some form of psychokinesis.

The next day, the Ortega family visits the Centre for Transformation and Illumination. Esteban is needling Chamayra about the kinds of powers that she might develop. Armena introduces Izzy to Patricia Hamilton, Chamayra’s mentor. She leads the family past murals of the Centre’s founding painted by Nemesio Pietri on the way to see Gregor Smerdyakov, the mutant mystic who evolved into a sentient tree-like creature. Patricia explains how Absolon Mercator uses the fruit from Brother Gregor’s limbs in the rite of transformation. She explains that sixty million people worldwide suffer from Arrested Genetic Development (AGD), a condition that hinders the manifestation of mutant powers.
As she mentions Mercator, he arrives on the scene and notes Izzy’s obvious second thoughts about the need for the rite of transformation. Izzy notes that this is all a bit too mystical for him. Mercator suggests he think of it as a medical condition that needs treatment. Izzy explains that Chamayra is perfectly fine and that they make it sound as if being a “sapien” is an illness. Mercator sees that Izzy does not support the process and makes it clear that Chamayra cannot participate until all three of them are in agreement. Armena tries to protest but is cut short by Mercator who encourages them to take some time and decide together. Patricia notes that they can hold Chamayra’s space in the ceremony for a couple of days but after that, they will have to re-apply.

At home, Izzy and Armena discuss the situation before bed. Armena asks Izzy to let Chamayra reach her full potential, but Ismael is offended by the notion that being human is an illness. He wonders what’s so bad about being simply human. Armena notes that she married one but Izzy reminds her that he’s a rung below her on the genetic ladder. He says it must be like being married to a chimpanzee. She says he’s more like a big bad-tempered gorilla as they are about to kiss. He kisses her passionately and she pushes him away gently saying she’s not really in the mood. Izzy wonders if this isn’t just her way of punishing him for their earlier disagreement. She says she just doesn’t feel like sex and would like to just cuddle. He agrees and holds her until her protective membrane activates. He mentally notes that despite mutants being more advanced genetically, you never know what you’re going to get. He then picks up the phone and calls Lara Kaufman to talk.

The next day, a pair of photographers is staking out Lara Kaufman’s residence in the hope that they can catch her in a dalliance with Ismael Ortega. They spot her leaving despite a horrific illusory disguise. She meets Izzy at a bar and puts on a more appealing face when they meet. She explains that her illusion go beyond just her own appearance and manifests a hellish environment within the bar, guessing that Izzy likes things a little exotic. He asks what gets her husband turned on and Lara bluntly says that if he agrees not to ask about her husband, she’ll agree not to ask about his wife. Izzy asks if she’s worried that her husband’s psychic bodyguard will catch on to their rendezvous and she shows him a psionic shield that she wears. She makes it known that Kaufman doesn’t really care about her and that no one is going to find out. As they head up to a room, Erik places a call to Daniel Kaufman. Kaufman says to let them have their fun and then make sure that Ortega regrets it.

After the two have had sex, Izzy walks Lara to her car. He asks her to drop her illusion for a moment so he can see the real her. She says that she’s nothing special and Izzy disagrees and kisses her. The cameraman trailing Lara catches the kiss but doesn’t stick around long enough to see what happens after Lara leaves. As Izzy heads for his car, he is intercepted by Erik who says that Mr. Kaufman sent a message: he hopes you enjoyed yourself and that it was worth it. Izzy begins to answer “yes” but Erik stops him. He then proceeds to beat the living daylights out of Ortega. Once he’s through, he asks once more if it was worth it.

As Izzy stands in front of his bathroom merely cleaning up his face, Armena enters and asks what happened. He claims he was mugged and doesn’t want to report it from sheer embarrassment. His phone rings with a call from the police indicating that they’ve located the terrorists’ safe house.

When he arrives, Officer Halliwell catches Ortega up on the situation. A handful of terrorists holed up in a tenement in Sapien Town. The owner, Manfred Jones, asks that they try to keep the damage to a minimum since there are people living there and his insurance doesn’t cover acts of anti-terrorism. Bishop is there and asks Izzy what happened to his face. Izzy says he cut himself shaving and Bishop isn’t buying it.
As they begin discussing the situation, a bomb is launched from the window of the building towards them. The resulting blast throws them both to the ground. Bishop asks for permission to deal with the situation with extreme prejudice and Izzy grants it. Bishop powers up his gun with his mutant power and blows a huge hole in the side of the building. The terrorists emerge and surrender. Manfred Jones threatens to go to City Hall, which Ortega counters with the threat to charge him with harboring terrorists. As Izzy leaves the scene, he gets a call from Lara who apologizes for Erik’s attack. Izzy asks if Kaufman has hurt her and she assures him that Kaufman is taking his anger out only on her belongings. She explains that Kaufman views her as property and their fling as trespass. She tells Ismael that as long as they don’t see each other again, Kaufman will leave him alone. Just as long as Izzy doesn’t do anything else to make him mad.

Across town at the Daily Bugle office, the editor in chief is extremely pleased. Despite her frown, the three-eyed reporter and photographer believe she’s actually pleased for once. She states that Kaufman has been riding high for too long and she would love to see his face when he sees their latest cover: a shot of Lara and Ismael kissing passionately.

Characters Involved: 

Ismael “Izzy” Ortega, Lucas Bishop, Halliwell (all NYPD)

Armena, Chamayra and Esteban Ortega

Patricia “Amazing Merwoman” Hamilton, Absolon Mercator, Gregor Smerdyakov (all Center for Transformation and Illumination)

Daniel ‘Shaky’ Kaufman

Lara “The Illusionist” Kaufman AKA Lara King

Erik, Kaufman’s psionic bodyguard

Manfred Jones

Various mutant and “sapien” citizens in Mutopia X and Sapien Town

Editor-in-chief, photographers and reporters for the Daily Bugle

On TV:

Popova and other members of the Sapien League terrorist cell

TV Reporter

On Posters in Esteban’s room:


In photos in the Daily Bugle offices:

Carol Danvers/ “Captain Marvel”, Magneto, Spider-Man

Story Notes: 

The unnamed blue female editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle and the three-eyed reporter appeared previously in The Pulse #10.

The events of Mutopia X closely mirror those depicted in later issues of the DISTRICT X series. In both scenarios, Izzy Ortega finds himself drawn to Lara the Illusionist following tensions with his wife Armena.

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