Mutopia X #3

Issue Date: 
November 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), Sean Ryan (editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

While scouring the headquarters of the Sapien League, the NYPD learns that Ismael Ortega is among their intended targets. Their leader Popova eludes arrest but is captured by Daniel Kaufman. Ortega and his family are assigned a security team to protect them. Ismael has more to worry about than a death threat when pictures of him kissing Lara the Illusionist are splashed across the front page of The Pulse. Armena threatens to kick him out but agrees to give him one last chance if he allows their daughter to go through the Rite of Transformation. Kaufman proves to be more unstable than anyone thought and locks his wife Lara up in a warehouse where he keeps his enemies and tortures them. He offers Popova a chance at personal vengeance in exchange for killing Ortega for him.

Full Summary: 

Bishop and Ismael Ortega escort some police officers through the remains of the sapien terrorists’ hideout. There they find photos of the Sapien League’s targets including Izzy. As Izzy wonders why they’d be after a lowly sapien like him, a female terrorist pops up from the wreckage and fires on him. Bishop blocks the bullet with his hand and the other officers take the terrorist down in a volley of machine gun fire. He hands the bullet to Izzy for a souvenir. The other officers discover a tunnel and realize that the leader of the terrorist cell has fled. Popova is detected by Daniel Kaufman, who sends his enforcers to collect her when she surfaces. Kaufman is pleased at their success and orders them to bring her in.
Alexei Vazhin assigns Bishop to protect Izzy and his family from the terrorists. Bishop sets up a watch rotation outside of the Ortega home. Izzy thanks Bishop for saving his life. When Izzy makes it upstairs, he finds a copy of the Pulse with the photo of he and Lara Kaufmann kissing on the cover. Armena sees him and turns her back on him and gives him the silent treatment.
Meanwhile, Daniel Kaufmann sees the same cover and angrily chides Lara for being so careless. She begs him just to let her go and says she doesn’t want anything from him. She goads him by saying that her brief hour with Ortega was more than she ever got from him sexually. He punches the wall next to her face and again she asks him to let her go. He makes it clear that no one leaves him and orders his bodyguard Erik to take her downstairs for a drive to some unspeakable parts of town. Lara tries to use her illusions to scare Erik off but she fails and he leads her down to the garage. Kaufmann tells her that he’s taking her to a place where nightmares come true.
Izzy tries to convince Armena that his tryst with Lara meant nothing and was just his way of dealing with the stress at work. Armena says that it’s over and she wants him out and Izzy asks about what this will mean for the kids. Their fight is interrupted by Chamayra who tells them that something is wrong with Esteban. They run to his room to find him telekinetically levitating all the objects in his room around him. Armena holds him and brings him out of the trance. Esteban says that he heard them fighting and knows that something bad will happen if his father leaves. Armena reluctantly agrees to give Izzy one last chance if he agrees to allow Chamayra to go through the rite of transformation.
At the Center for Transformation and Illumination, Absolon Mercator is informed by Patricia Hamilton that Chamayra has been approved for the rite. He seems upset that only twelve young people will be part of the next transformation. He goes to visit Gregor and wonders aloud to his old friend whether they should be playing God with the genetic destinies of others. He wonders if such arrogance can go unpunished.
Kaufman’s goons have been watching the Ortega family and report in that they are under heavy police escort and can’t be touched. Erik finds out that Chamayra is scheduled for the Rite of Transformation and Kaufman asks if the ceremony is open to the public. He then goes to visit Popova who is being held in a dungeon-like facility. He asks if she wants to live and she replies that she lives only to kill mutant filth like him. Kaufman explains to Erik why Popova hates mutants so much. He sister had an affair with a mutant and got pregnant. The mutant then abandoned her and during childbirth, the infant ate his way out of the womb. Popova’s sister died and the mutant child was placed with a new mutant family. Kaufman knows the child’s whereabouts as well as his mutant father. He promises to give this information to Popova if she agrees to kill Ortega for him.
Erik and Kaufman’s other henchman comment on how creepy this place is. Kaufman excuses himself and makes his way through the corridors. He checks in on Lara who is locked up in a cell. He then makes his way to a room full of robots designed to look like Mr. Punch, his old bodyguard. Mr. Punch was impervious to pain and Kaufman used to hit him whenever he lost control of his temper. Punch was killed by Filthy Frankie Zapgruder in an attempt on Kaufman’s life.
Erik explains to Kaufman’s new bodyguard that the boss had a unique relationship with Mr. Punch and that when he died, he had Stark Industries build him an army of Mr. Punch cyborgs to replace him. Kaufman takes a lead pipe and pummels one of the Mr. Punch robots. He beats on it until the head comes off and then he cradles it sadly. Watching this horrific scene is Frankie Zapgruder who is strung up on the ceiling by tiny hooks piercing his flesh and connected to life support. He looks down in terror at Kaufman as he is forced to watch this again and again as a reminder of what he tried to do to Kaufman and what it cost him.

Characters Involved: 

Ismael “Izzy” Ortega, Lucas Bishop and other unnamed officers (all NYPD)
Armena, Chamayra and Esteban Ortega
Patricia “Amazing Merwoman” Hamilton, Lorelei, 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 and another unnamed bodyguard
Alexei Vazhin
Filthy Frank Zapgruder
Sashenka Popova and another member of the Sapien League terrorist cell
Various mutant and “sapien” citizens in Mutopia X and Sapien Town
On Billboards and as Action Figures:

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel

Story Notes: 

Although Popova first appeared in DISTRICT X, her first name Sashenka was not revealed until this issue. The details of her origin had not been revealed. Given the altered reality of the HOUSE OF M, it is unclear whether her anti-mutant sentiments as shown in the DISTRICT X series stem from the same family history conveyed here.

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