Mystique #11

Issue Date: 
April 2004
Story Title: 
Maker’s Mark - part 1

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inker), Virtual Calligraphy’s Rus Wooton (letterer), Matt Milla (colorist), Mike Mayhew (cover), Cory Sedlmeier (Editor), Mike Marts (Consulting Editor) Joe Quesada (editor-in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Forge and Mystique are out on an awkward sort of date when they hear about a mutant boy who was allegedly kidnapped by his stepfather. They decide to investigate and, on their way, discuss matters of heritage, racism and other things they don’t see eye to eye on. Eventually, they find father and son, only to learn that the boy has power to control men’s minds and forced his stepfather to abduct him, as his mother doesn’t let him do anything he wants. He then takes control of Forge and forces him to attack Mystique.

Full Summary: 

Brooklyn, 11:01 P.M. [EST]
An apparently very violent altercation is taking place, as the mutant inventor Forge strikes at his compatriot Mystique with his metal hand, causing her to crash through a window.

Brooklyn, two hours earlier:
Forge and Mystique – in the disguise of a young, punkish woman - are having some coffee in a rundown Diner. The mood is awkward and Forge finally admits that this was a terrible idea. Mystique pointedly tells him that it was his idea to go out on this little date. It wasn’t supposed to be a date, he defends himself. He just thought she’d deserve an evening out, considering all the good she’s done for mutants and humans over the past few months. She reminds him that she’s only doing that because he and Xavier are blackmailing her into it, as they’d turn her over to Homeland Security otherwise. He insists that he doesn’t believe that that’s the reason why she’s helping. Whatever, she replies uninterested, but why drag her to this joint?

Forge apologizes and, at that moment, a waitress comes and asks if she can freshen up Mystique’s coffee. Intending to have some fun with the woman, Mystique subtly changes the tattoo on her upper arm, until it looks like the woman’s face. The waitress gets anxious but Mystique plays innocent and Forge tells her that they’re leaving.

As they get up, Mystique asks where they are going now. Some kind of crazy vision quest? To find her spirit animal? They’re going home, Forge replies. Does he want to get all sweaty back at the safehouse, she asks mockingly. Forge coldly replies that he’ll pretend he didn’t hear that. She tells him to relax, adding she was talking about sparring. Like the old days. Somewhat mollified, Forge boasts that he could still beat her when he s interrupted by a news broadcast.

According to the broadcast, a statewide Amber Alert has been issued for a 12-year-old boy allegedly abducted at gunpoint by his estranged step-father. Spencer Bronson was taken from his mother’s apartment in Sheepshead, Brooklyn, less than two hours ago.

Forge suggests they try to help, as they are only a couple of blocks away. Mystique isn’t interested and rudely tells Forge off, until the broadcast reveals that the boy in question is a mutant. Annoyed, Mystique looks at the photo of the mutant boy, who sports the obvious mutation of a third eye, and exclaims that this is why she doesn’t watch television.

9:22 [EST]
Mystique and Forge are on a roof. While Forge works on an old TV antenna, Mystique complains that they should just tell Xavier, who could use Cerebra to find the boy. Forge points out that the Professor isn’t at the mansion that night. And Cerebra isn’t that reliable. If they want to find Spencer, they’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Using “Cheyenne tracking skills?” she mocks. No, by building an untraceable Wi-fi terminal out of that old TVantenna, hack into the IRS mainframe and collect personal information about the kidnapper, Forge replies. And what’s with all the Indian cracks, anyway? He knows she’s got some hang-ups about humans, but since when is she a racist?

She tells him that she just likes to remind him of who he is. She doesn’t understand why a Native American could have any love for humans. They systematically exterminated his ancestors, after all. His human ancestors, she means? He points out the flaw in her argument. Besides, deep down, he’s sure she knows that peaceful coexistence is the only way. Sure, she adds cynically. And after humans are done slaughtering mutants, perhaps they will give them some mutant casino or name a mascot after-

Forge has finished his work and a hologram of the man they are after appears: Anthony Bronson, 39, lost his job as a night watchman at a warehouse in Gravesend last month. Mystique suggests they ask his old work buddies for info. Doesn’t she think the police already tried that, Forge asks skeptically. Does he really believe cops work overtime to help a mutant? she scoffs. Does he know what Oscar Wilde said the basis of all optimism is? Sheer terror.

9:51 P.M. [EST]
A train to Bronson’s workplace. Mystique has taken the form of a tall African-American man. Forge asks her how she can love Oscar Wilde so much if he was a human. Actually he wasn’t, she deadpans. Wilde was a low-level empath. She met him in Paris in 1898. Forge gives her an incredulous look and she admits that she was leading him on just now. So what? She loves the writing, not the man. Forge loves Leni Riefenstahl movies, doesn’t he? Does that make him a Nazi? He tells her to forget as they leave the train. As soon as that word is used, any constructive debate is dead…

Mystique doesn’t give up, though, and points out that, while he is defending humanity, they are hunting down a human who put a gun to his kid’s head. They don’t know the whole story yet, Forge warns her. Does he think it’s the boy‘s fault, she asks. He doesn’t know what to think. Hasn’t she heard about those teenage runaways in Los Angeles who supposedly murdered some girl? Who understands kids these days? So what was he doing when he was a teenager, she asks cynically. Hiding in some rice paddy overseas waiting to shoot innocent men and women? Angrily, Forge protests but Mystique tells him to be quiet. They’ve arrived. Time to put her game face on, she smirks.

9:57 P.M. [EST]
Inside the warehouse, a guard sits, engrossed in reading a newspaper, when he becomes alerted to a noise. The source of that sound is a pretty, scantily-clad woman, who asks him not to shoot. She’s Mary. The guard has no idea who she’s supposed to be and “Mary” nervously asks whether Anthony never mentioned her before babbling on that he was probably ashamed of dating so soon after the divorce. She’s Anthony Bronson’s girlfriend, she finally explains. He let her borrow 5,000 dollars a few months ago and she wanted to pay him back but then he and his son had to … leave… The guard replies that he knows nothing about this.

Getting closer to him, “Mary” calls him Bill and explains that Anthony won’t be able to survive alone without the money. What makes her think he knows where Anthony is, Bill asks defensively. Moving close, Mystique breaths that Anthony told her he was his best friend. The only one he could trust. He had to do this, she insists. The courts took Spencer from him and they always side with mothers. Bill agrees. Anthony called a few hours ago, he tells her. Said he needed a place for a few nights. Bill told him he could stay at this rich family’s brownstone, which he checks in on every other weekend. He’ll tell her where it is if she does something for him – bring him an ice-cold six-pack from his friend Bill. Mystique winks at him and tells him sure she will.

Bill raises his gun at her and states that Anthony swore of the booze six years ago. Is she some private eye hired by Anthony’s wife? he demands. Mystique quickly takes him out with a kick to the stomach, followed by a blow to the face. She grabs the gun and tells him she should shoot his eyes out. Bill relents and tells her that the brownstone is across Prospect Park. But she has to promise not to hurt Anthony. He’s a good – ‘You’re lying,’ Mystique cuts him off. The man panics and Forge, who has joined them, calmly points out that he’s telling the truth. He has turned his phone into a verbal polygraph machine.

10:53 P.M. [EST] across said brownstone.
Mystique decides she’s going in. Forge asks her to wait. Maybe could build her some non-lethal stun weapon - Mystique points out that, these days, there’s more computing power in a singing birthday card than existed on the planet 50 years ago. And 50 years ago she still was the deadliest woman alive. She doesn’t need gadgets to rescue some kid. Forge just looks doubtfully.

Mystique changes into the form of Bill and rings the doorbell. The door, surprisingly, is opened by Spencer, the mutant child. When “Bill” asks him to come with him, Spencer orders him to go away. What, Mystique asks. Spencer repeats his order, his third eye suddenly wide open. When “Bill” doesn’t react, Spencer turns to his father, asking him to get rid of his friend. ‘Sure thing, Spence,’ his dazed father replies and raises his shotgun at Mystique, who barely evades the shot. She consider appealing to Anthony then just turns to her true form and attacks him.

Forge enters the house, as he heard the noise. Mystique, still struggling with Bronson for the gun, asks him to take the kid and get out while she takes care of that psycho. She brutally hits Bronson, who then seems utterly confused and asks where he is. ‘Oh no, Spencer,’ he shouts a moment later and tells Mystique that his son can control men’s minds. He’s dangerous.

Mystique swears annoyed. She hates it when Forge is right. She turns to Spencer, telling him that they just want to take him back to his mom. His mom is a jerk, he announces. She won’t let him do anything. Mystique’s friend is his friend now, he states and orders Forge to get rid of Mystique. Forge moves to attack Mystique, who mutters that this should be fun.

Characters Involved: 


Anthony Bronson

Story Notes: 

Amber Alert is a broadcast emergency response to missing children. It was first formed in Texas after the kidnapping and murder of Amber Hagerman, in hopes that future tragedies could be thwarted in those first precious hours after the abduction occurred.

Forge’s Nazi comment refers to Godwin’s Law. “As an Internet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

Leni Riefenstahl was a brilliant directress and photographer who was popular with and had some connections to Hitler.

Forge’s comment about the murder in LA refers to events in Vaughan’s other Marvel title “Runaways.”

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